Repetition

Philosophical topics and discussions seem to repeat. We all recognize perennial observations and problems coming up repeatedly with each new generation dating back to the pre-socratics.

And after 278 posts over six months, I see how the same questions and observations come up in a cyclical fashion…every month or so I see the same topic worded in a slightly different manner, and the exercise, the tired plodding through the inevitable trains of thought ensue. At this point we make a choice to either give up, or delve deeper into complex concepts for novel philosophical experiences – surely it takes a lifetime to achieve deep understanding of a handful of the great philosophers.

One thing I come away with is that words need definitions, and defintions, especially in a text web forum, are composed of words. This infinite regression makes precision a losing game – we’re never that precise and it’s clear how we ache and throe to be. I’m tired. Secondly, it’s likely that at somepoint, probably too late, most of us will use our significant abilities to obtain real estate portfolios and law degrees, and more money – and find a measure of felicity in the freedom of financial independence and the real prospect of self actualization that these freedoms can allow for. We will then become politicians or patriarchs, and find pleasure in balance and zest, be Epicurean, and die as painlessly as possible, still having known nothing. Make no mistake, over our rotting corpses, people will be asking the same insipid questions; high school dorks will still worship Nietzsche; religious zealots will still rely heavily on Pascal’s wager; and most of the populace will think the cogito holds some profound truths, until someone enlightens them into deeper confusions.

Where is philosophy’s end for you?

When my death arrives.

I hope, as Alfred North Whitehead suggests, that I will be left in wonder, in awe, in the moment, living.

For me, philosophy ends when I get bored. But, in the greater sense, it will never end because it is a study based on the philosopher’s experiences and how he/she wants to explain them. So long as the world changes, so will philosophy. Our lifetimes are just too short to see the changes that take place.

“Philosophy can be compared to some powders that are so corrosive that, after they have eaten away the infected flesh of a wound, they then devour the living flesh, rot the bones, and penetrate to the very marrow. Philosophy at first refutes errors. But if it is not stopped at this point, it goes on to attack truths. And when it is left on its own, it goes so far that it no longer knows where it is and can find no stopping place.”
–Pierre Bayle (1647–1706), French skeptical thinker

It is possible that at the end of knowledge lies wisdom, but it is difficult to give up the ‘investment’. Just one more hand, one more roll of the dice…

JT

yeah, I’ve heard all that, too. Fucking philosophy. An aberration of evolution. A tragedy signifying nothing. No wonder the stars are so quiet. It’s the perverse orgy of useless cerebral motion that alienates us from our surroundings and yields only malfunction. Clearly the devil’s work.

Gamer,

The devil lies within us. Once the mind decides that it can know all, and that all is apparent, that is the moment we begin the struggle with illusion and ourselves. It isn’t that philosophy is wrong, it is that we too often come to it with expectations it cannot meet.

It may sound odd, but philosophy was just a perplexing puzzle until I gave it up. Once I quit looking for the missing pieces it ceased being the devil and became a sometimes useful tool.

JT