Are not philosophers merely the confused and disaffected?


“We’re very competent at engineering and completely inept at philosophy. Philosophers try to construct their systems with the same precision as a bridge or a building or a computer, and fail utterly. The reason is that philosophers have prejudices and preferences, likes and dislikes ideas of what -ought- to be or not be. Yet even with the long history of abject failure at devising workable philosophies, there is still nothing approaching consensus on how we should understand the world. Strangely, every civilization and most cultures depends -fundamentally- on some philosophy.”

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Sure Bill. We all suffer from imperfections to one degree or another. But why single out philosophers Bill? The study and practice of philosophy can provide a useful foundation of underlying inner peace.

I have always told you that humans are imperfect. I have always told you that what is logical is not always practical when it comes to humans…so what.

Scientists the supposed gods of logic are no better. Prejudiced and small minded just as most other humans are.

Look at the ‘clovis first’ controversy for just one example. People as well as scientists get attached to their views and cannot imagine it any other way. Once people become entrenched they suffer from blindness. Goes for theists as well as atheists - scientists and philosophers alike.

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On another list, a critic that didn’t like philosophers told me: “Are not philosophers merely the confused and disaffected trying to make sense of their plight?”

We (humans) just do the best we can with what we got…prejudices and all.

When we want to fly like a bird we do…just not exactly like a bird and we crash sometimes.

Same with philosophy. We do the best we can with what we got.

And being humans their are al sorts of degrees of perfection and imperfection with our work.

But the basis of philosophy is joy, as the contemplative life finds it joy in discovering the truth.

Huxley gives us some insight into philosophers.

“The highest object that human beings can set before themselves is not the pursuit of any such chimera as the annihilation of the unknown: it is simply the unwearied endeavor to remove its boundaries a little further from our little sphere of action.”

Aristotle also reminds us “It is the mark of an educated mind to rest satisfied with the degree of precision which the nature of the subject admits and not to seek exactness where only an approximation is possible.”

I heard a story one time in a Yoga lecture that offers some useful advice to the perfectionist that is having trouble being a perfectionist

“Range is of the ego - Form is of the soul.”

The only thing we need to be concerned with is how is our form and give our best efforts at discovering truth and virtue.

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In the classical sense, a philosopher is a doctor of the soul. It is unfortunate that in modern times philosophers have moved away from this purpose.

Here are the 5 values of virtues Socrates stood for:

Proportionality or Moderation

All these virtues are ephemeral in nature and not concrete like bridges and roads Bill. And even though we humans do good work at engineering as you mentioned Bill. We still fail miserably sometimes and our bridges and roads collapse. Like all things human and requiring judgments to be made - sometimes our judgments have errors in them.

You see Bill, all our actions have consequences, and many of our actions produce consequences that end up destroying peace. Our actions destroy our peace as well as the inner peace of others. And if we do not ask the hard questions, we will fail much more miserably than we do now at living virtuous lives. And many times the best we can do is find the ‘best fit’ answer to a question and sometimes this best fit answer is the lesser of two evils.

Personally, philosophy has played a big role in yielding peace dividends to me. But, just as water and air sustain life, water and air also will also destroy life when in excess. So it goes with most other things when they are out of balance…especially our thinking. Sure some people as well as philosophers get stuck in ‘Over Thinkers Syndrome’ They get stuck trying to answer the unanswerable.


I am a Practical Philosopher, as well as a practitioner of simplicity. Once in a while I look at the unanswerable along the way, but I try not to get lost in it.

The real problem is not in the discussion of concepts that no human is able to answer. We do not think in a vacuum, so thoughts ‘come and go’ and who can say where they will lead? But as for ‘when they go’ and ‘how much space’ they take up in our life and in our heads…that is our choice.

You see, the bigger problem arises when we lose ourselves in such thought or become addicted to it as a distraction from living. And, as all addictions do, they cause us detrimental problems in life due excesses

“Just as water floes downhill without effort but requires outside forces and energy to make it move uphill. So the human consciousness falls to its lowest levels of the senses without effort and energies to make our consciousness gravitate to more than our base desires.” ~ Hindu Sage

Take care,

V (Male)

Agnostic Freethinker
Practical Philosopher

Everyone is confused. It is the human condition.

I stay confused, I am conditioned well

I’m not confused and will stay that way.

Reason is the best approach

Now see you are confused.

no I am not

Why arent you?

lucky I suppose. really . I use Reason not logic and in using Reason it seems to make things clearer .

so why? good question

well interesting enough I use too and still enjoy Sherlock Holmes short stories .

he used Reason ( gathering of info ) which brings a hypothsis , then you apply logical thinking to come to a conclusion . which is sometimes outside the box.

give the read a try. if anything the read is fun :smiley:

perhaps you’ll see my point when you have read the entire series.

I’m not sure that I have answered your question but to me it is a start.

a little unorthodox , since this is a philosophy site but nevertheless I think a still valid exploration of Reason. and the skills of

Actually Sherlock Holmes was suppose to be a drug addict. So I am not sure how much reason goes into opium. And ghat sure didnt make things clearer…more hazie so to say.

get passed the drug thing Moon Raven . he was NOT a user during his investigations. it was recreation . and not that often.

just read the book. forget about preconceptions , from heresay. until you read the book how will you ever really know. really

Many years ago I have read those. See you are confused. You were assuming.

But Sherlock was a fictional character. Thus it mattered not if he was using drugs during his investigations or not. For they were not real. Also the author of these books was actually into the ‘occult’ so to say. So reasoning? we can either look at little small pictures or a larger one.

yet , it is from the Sherlock Holmes methodology that is the fundamental foundation of how investigations are now done  :smiley:

Now I’m confused. lol

You see, the problem here is that conflicting views always see each other as lost and futile. Just put an empiricist and a rationalist in the same room and see what happens when they start talking. I see differing philosophies not as conflicting ideas, just alternate thought processes.

At times I think God made mankind naturally confused just to see what we’d do about it.

Reasoning is another form of confusion.

All forms of reason are extended from baseless assumptions Jack.

to you

you are so soooooo …wrong

read the book

actually for my self any way , I see empiricist and rationalist combining to reach a Reasoned conclusion.

read the Sherlock Holmes books and you will understand what I’m getting at. the series stories are short. and easy to read. and really quite enjoyable really :smiley:


Keep your head in the sand if you like.

You seem to be one of those people chasing after the fleeting universal truism that doesn’t exist in the first place.

Fight the good fight.