Thinking for Oneself

I agree

  • I disagree
  • You contradict yourself
  • Satyr is an idiot
0 voters

Taking the fact that most are more readily inspired and exhibit respect towards famous and established thinkers I present Schopenhauer’s thoughts on a matter of grave importance…

Having been accosted repeatedly by sophistry and academic knowledge, pretending to be thinking, and being reminded of that old member Dunamis who’s idea of ‘stringent philosophy’ was to talk incesantly about what another thought - I’m sure he’s off somewhere doing so in peace), I posit these thoughts of another because they so thoroughly express my own and because my own can be taken as attacks or as grandstanding:

From Schopenhauer’s On thinking for Oneself

Remind you of anyone?

I chose ‘Satyr is an idiot’: only because it’s more amusing, and I’m not in the mood for serious discussion this week - it’s my birthday week :smiley: and yes, I’ll be celebrating through-out the whole week…

Some minds are weak, and easily swayed by stronger minds!

That’s only because the ‘I agree’ option isn’t available, but a given.

I’d like to say, foremostly, I don’t know. Secondly, I like to say I agree to a certain extent, but you’ve done that for me satyr. I guess I’m left with ‘satyr’s an idiot’. :laughing:

Happy birthday, Magsj!!! :D/

It is always a matter of balance. When Kant talks about Enlightenment being leaving behind childish notions of authority and thinking for one’s self or when Nietzsche talks about the progression of camel to lion to child, they don’t mean to discard knowledge that has been painfully acquired but rather to take what has already been acquired and use it to produce something new and worthwhile.

A certain degree of book-learning is important in philosophy because, guess what, chances are that new idea that you just came up with . . . yeah, somebody already thought of it. But one need not despair at this, indeed, it is a wonderful thing since you can see how that idea you had progressed throughout history, what pitfalls it invariably has and then you can work on overcoming those pitfalls. Not only that, but I also find it refreshing to see where I disagree with similar thinkers and use that disagreement to propel my own thoughts forward.

Let’s use the visiting of locations as an example. I was fortunate enough to win a trip Europe recently. Now, I had been to a variety of places in Europe previously, so I can’t include most cities that I toured with the group since I had an unfair advantage. But I had not been to Venice. Since I studied both a map of Venice as well as various sites that I wanted to see (and historical information about those sites), I was able to take more advantage of the city. Just reading books would have left me deficient, but just experiencing the city would have been an impoverished experience as compared to what I was able to take advantage of.

Far from being the cast off clothes of strangers, the ideas of others fertilizer that allow our own ideas to meaningfully develop.

Thanks Gib x

…and yes, it was a very happy birthday - I aint done celebrating yet :wink:

I agree wholeheartedly. I think making half your reading big-wig historical figures and the other half small-time average, perhaps “invisible”, people who so happen to have an opinion is the healthy dosage to go with. It’s not for the purpose of being able to site a whole bunch of significant important people, it’s just food for thought - what you make of it is completely up to you. Having said that, I’m a hypocrit. I’ve been trying to catch up on all the large figures in philosophy, but I’m promising myself that one day I’ll delve more into ordinary people and random books that I just have a “gut feel” for. I’ve already printed off and read a sample of entries in Essays and Theses from this very forum, and I think I’ll do it again for the Creative Writing forum one day soon.

I read a lot of philosophy and also religion when I was younger but it wasn’t until I started travelling around and talking with people that I could make anything out of it. You can get into the most amazing eye opening discussions of philosophy and religion with fishermen and farmers and punk rockers and hippies and priests and monks and just about anyone else you have time to have a nice quiet discussion with about anything. Many of these talks I had threw new light on my readings and gave me much to ponder.

Though the discussions on the various philosophy forums are good, it is basically a self selected group and as such, somewhat limited. Just keep this in mind, everyone is a philosopher and anyone will talk about their personal philosophy with you given the right circumstance.

Do not discount the casual conversation in your quest for enlightenment.

I agree with Satyr.

People who cannot think for themselves in philosophy often become stooges of continuing other people’s philosophies before them.

Take political philosophy for instance. Why hasn’t anything been done in this arena of philosophy as of late?

Because noone has created anything new in the sense of politics as most of the world remains in the entrapment of Platonic idealism.

I’m a new guy as of yesterday

My resume (as an introduction): been an airborne soldier(18 months in Asia when I should have been a student)…been a hippie…been a religious nut…been an Alaskan fisherman and off season bush rat…been a carpenter/homebuilder.

Am a husband…a painter…a writer…a porch sitting, bull shitter…a taoist who lost the way…looking, but still haven’t found what I’m looking for.

Anyway, this is the angle of my perspective…many years sitting in a corner quietly observing the naked apes at the bar.

As to thinking for oneself…

An artist who copies a Masters work is not a true artist

A musician who reads and plays a Masters music from a score is not a true musician

No matter how good they are…These are mere technicians…and yet without the discipline necessary to follow in the Master’s foot steps the artist or the musician would never achieve the skill necessary to release their own creativity.

An artist understands truth when he breaks free from the discipline of his art and begins to create from inspiration. His brush a mere extension of his hand and mind.

A musician understands truth when he no longer needs to read the music and his instrument becomes a mere extension of his hands and mind.

Truth comes to men at the moment they lay aside the discipline of their craft and move beyond into the freedom of creativity. This freedom is their birth right, but can can only be obtained through discipline.

Philosophy is also a discipline…and IMO a true philosopher will create his own and stand on it alone if need be.

Kant said…Lao Tsu said…Joe Blow said…Jesus said…

What do YOU say? This is what I find exciting.

I have been reading you for years, now, Satyr, and i generally read everything that you post. Precisely because you think for yourself.

Wow, that really does remind me of someone.

I also agree with Xunzian here - you can never have enough ammo.

It is also instructive to read those philosophers who have had great influence. Even if they are dolts. It’s easier to fathom the Great Mistakes of Western Civilisation.

I do find it ironic that people who often fancy themselves as dogmatic dissidents still manage to somehow end up becoming what they so ardently despise. The doctrine/crowd may be different, but the mindless repetition that is so abhorred and looked down upon, is still the same at its core. Thus, the Rebel still becomes a Pharisee.

I chose “you contradict yourself”. What else?

Sattie, as one of your muses (apparently inspiring the creation of this thread, for example), I still feel it necessary to chastise you for wasting time by going off on another tangent. Although I imagine finding the opportunity to offer up virtual reams of overblown rhetoric is never really a waste in your opinion. And look, you even drew out some of your fans, the good feelings from which you can transfer over to the “What Makes Life Worth Living” thread!

Nevertheless, this is a good example of an unnecessary detour. What I said on that other thread was that if you were going to refer to Buddhism (although when I say ‘refer to’ something in your case, it usually means ‘cast aspersions at’), you might want to first actually read something on the subject. You know, so that your arguments don’t look so idiotic and uninformed. That you’ve gotten away with it as much as you have is only because you have the benefit of writing the drivel on a web site where most of the readers have as little knowledge of Buddhism as you do.

(I invite you to pop in over at e-sangha, share your ‘original thoughts’ there. Let’s see how they hold up, lol.)

Anyway, your reaction to my statement was to create a whole new topic about how it’s better to ‘think for oneself’. I’m inviting you to present to us at least one – I ask only for ONE – of your thoughts which is truly original, meaning it’s not to be found elsewhere. And, should the idea be found elsewhere, I won’t even judge who’s presented these competing thoughts more coherently, giving you the benefit of the doubt.

Anyway, it’s not even debatable that thinking ‘for oneself’ is somehow in conflict with informing oneself through reading books or via any other source of information available. You confuse acquiring knowledge with using it to assess our experience of the world.

Now it’s sweet of you to create a thread and send me here to visit it. I suspect you overreact this way on account of having that thing for me and all (maybe you should’ve included THAT as an option for people to vote on), but you may figuratively dip my pigtail in the well until the ink is all used up and it will still never be. Frankly, I like getting dumb threads like this even less than I like getting flowers. Although I was slightly amused by the ironic use of quotes from someone else to make your point about independent thinking.

Well, sweetie, I was hoping you could provide us with a crash-course on eastern thought.
You seem to be well versed in it.

From what you’ve said, thus far, your Buddhism, or your understanding of it and your interpretation of it anyways, doesn’t inspire me to further my studies on it.
Your interpretations present a Buddhism of duality and escapism. Another way of excusing yourself from life and from the indifference of the universe.

The position that suffering is caused by the illusion of multiplicity strikes me as a clever, because it is not as childish as the Christian method, way of escaping, and of masked nihilism pretending to embrace life.

Anything that promises an escape from suffering automatically alerts me as being a doctrine that promises an escape from existence into a mysterious and Utopian other-worldliness.
Suffering and existence are tautologies. No way of meditating your way out of that reality.

Just a bunch of new-agers seeking enlightenment in the exotic and a relief from life; particularly a relief from the mundane, and shallow life of a materialistic westerner with no sense of culture and heritage. The running towards Buddhism and eastern mysticism is usually a trend found amongst disillusioned and intellectually starved westerners who have everything and yet still feel empty. Americans that level everything into uniform nothing, destroy all sense of identity and then they cry for what they, themselves, have rendered.
Americans seem particularly attracted by the east’s philosophy, religion, culture and martial arts.
They are a culture of non-culture. A mundane, superficial culture, devoid of any contact to a past that grabs onto gluttony and greed to find meaning.
Uniformity pretending to be individuality.
Then you run to the first sign of depth.

No doubt, maybe I’m missing something but you certainly can’t provide it for me, sweetheart, which tells me that either I am right and that there is nothing more to it or that you have even less understanding of it than I do, despite your in-depth readings.
Now which is it, dear?

What usually happens with religions is that they practice double-speak. They contradict themselves so as to cover all the bases.
Christianity certainly does and I suspect Buddhism is prone to being interpreted in multiple ways depending on what the challenge is.
All things to all people.

Well then I ask you to provide me with one phrase where I stated that I was presenting original ideas, or define for me one idea that was “original” and not based on previous works and opinions. JUST ONE.
Even Einstein’s Theory of Relativity was inspired by the work and opinions of previous physicists and philosophers.
Relativity strikes me curiously akin to Hreraclitean viewpoints.
Every creative act is a combination of, a sum of, the previous.

Furthermore, precious, I would challenge you to tell us how my ideas are not my own or not due to my own evaluations but derivatives of someone else’s.
I picked up my first philosophy book until the age of 30; too busy trying to survive.

Do you suppose that two minds can come to similar conclusions, especially given that reality is accessible to all, from different vantage points?

You trying to ‘put me in my place’ exposes your own motives and we can only guess why your admiration, in the beginning, has now soured. Maybe it was because I told you a truth you didn’t want to believe or because I was too honest with my positions.
How easy it could have been to keep my mouth shut, tell you what you want to beleive and manipulate that feminine mind of yours.
But why bother?

I think, deary, that you confuse your book-bought drivel and your new-age, liberal naiveté with actual thinking.
Kacszynski described the American liberal exactly. All smoke and mirrors.

Now I suppose I can understand your animosity, towards me, given that I put a hole in all that feminism bullshit you’ve been carrying around in your head as a means of pretending that you know what the hell you are talking about or as a way of excusing your biological heritage but I suggest you reread the quotations by first taking your head outside your ass.

I know I’m quoting another mind, and that’s where the contradiction comes from, but for minds like yours authority figures, fame and fortune is mistaken for reliability and so I provide a mind which not coincidentally had some very honest and insightful opinions about women, as well.

Perhaps he too had little understanding about Buddhism and this somehow disproved his opinions on females…or did he?

Like all weak minds you grab onto the first hint of weakness. In this case it was my honest admission that i hadn’t read Buddhism much. You grab onto it because you fail to challenge me in any other area and you now run with it, trying to milk it for all its got.

Besides all that, my conflict with you was in how you used Buddhism to argue that we all are equal and that gender was somehow irrelevant, because, well because we are all emptiness to the core and all physicality is an illusion, therefore everything is false and we are all the same in the Oneness of emptiness.

It’s because you are special, dear. It’s rare to find such a naive specimen that is also sure of itself and willing to challenge me.

I value you to no end, for this reason.

And yet your dualism still escapes you, doesn’t it dear?
Here you are all ‘emptiness this and illusion that’ and you still don’t see the duality in that.
You still hold onto that differentiation between appearances and essence and I’m the dualistic thinker?

My entire thesis is based on mind/body tautology and that all appearances are manifestations of the flux, and I’m the dualistic thinker?
I say every attribute, every characteristic, every detail says soemthing about the phenomenon’s nature, and I’m the dualistic thinker?

You’re the one presenting this religious view that there is some kind of hidden beyondness, a thing-in-itself, a secret core of absoluteness which this world provides a cover for, and I’m the dualistic thinker?
You are the one denying the connection between appearance and essence, calling it an illusion and I’m the dualistic thinker?

As for those that agree with me, I suspect it is because I say soemthing that they agree with and they admire the style with which I express it.

Don’t flatter yourself, Bubbles.

You, my dear, are the worse kind of hypocrite. You are a hypocrite to your self.
There’s nothing more vicious than a woman scorned…or is that another unoriginal and prejudiced idea.

Oh, but wait!!!
There is no self.

wow…man I just gotta say…that is a very impressive way of telling someone off. …

As far as an original thought…I have a very good idea I never had one…yet to me, at the time, they were new, clever, and sooo original…and in the real world (mine) what else matters?

I am one of those American guys drawn to oriental thought…maybe cause when I was over there treating them like shit in their own country they had a quiet strength and grace I couldn’t quite understand.

Course I didn’t care then, but in later years I started thinking about it and read some on the Tao…and on some level it resonated with me.

So Taoism, just like my original thought, can be run of the mill bull shit, but to me it’s real…and in the real world, (mine) what else matters?

jj - It’s a specialty of Satyr’s. But you haven’t seen his best work. And in the old days, on a board site long ago and far away - I remember having eliminative options myself at times.

Did I know you by another name?

Which do you consider my “best work”?
I’m just curious.


Exactly. And that someone else said it long before you did or thought it long before you lived, doesn’t mean that it isn’t yours if you thought it up yourself.

maybe this quiet passivity isn’t soemthing to emulate.
Maybe them putting a bullet in your head would have been a far more noble practice than waiting for you, a single one, to become awakened to their ways.
Maybe when you and your family get spit at, daily, by these stupid foreigners with a chip no their shoulders it isn’t a sign of ‘graciousness’ to smile, knowingly taking their insolence as your burden waiting for the day they will find their way.
Maybe cutting their necks and smiling as their blood drains from them, is another option.

Maybe this level of passivity is more a product of cultural fatigue and abandonment as well as a product of population pressures.

Oh, no. I was confusing you with another person. Sorry - the homegrown is in, in Maine. Never mind.

Perhaps Ingenium should reread this part


Oh, and your best work was always with Dunamis. I can recall more than one thread. Great stuff.