Why We, ILP and Philosophy Fails.

Is the philosophy of the written word:

  • Futile.
  • Workable only as monologue.
  • Something to do when there’s nothing on telly.
0 voters

“The unexamined life is not worth living” we smugly say and yet it is lived in abundance, it is the examiners who are the abberation, not the herd.

I’ve been at ILP now for aproximately the same time it takes a new mind to come into the world, from conception to birth. And in that time, I have learned nothing, seen nothing, gained nothing of practical value to my life. Don’t get me wrong - it’s been fun, pretending to have a clue along with all of you. But we have failed. We have always failed. Plato failed. Descartes failed. Spinoza failed. Hume, Russell, Heidedder,Wittgenstein and Popper failed.

Failed to answer the basic questions, those applicable to anyone and everyone, whatever creed, colour or condition:

Why does anything exist…?
How is the world composed…?
What are we in the scheme of things…?
Are we free…?
How should we live…?

We must have. If we had succeeded - the whole of humanity would have known it. The answer would have been so clear, so right, so instantly recognizable, that anyone who saw it would snap their fingers, slap their foreheads and exclaim “Doh !!! Of course !!!”. The sheeple would rise up onto two legs, allow the grass to drop from their jaws, and cast the scales form their eyes. And yet they have not. So we have failed. Is this where the philosopher’s loathing of the herd arises from…? - Not the sheeple’s ignorance, but their ignore-ence of our Byzantine philosophies…? This constant remminder that whatever we say, and however well we say it… We do not speak to them. We fail to communicate to the masses. We fail.

Why…?

Are we stupid…? No. Philosophers are some of the greatest minds ever coughed up out of the gene-pool. Some may have written more eloquently than others, but all were masters of thought and word.

I am a teacher. More specifically an Engish teacher, more specifically still - a teacher of the written word. And like any workman who fails to get the job done…

…I will blame my tools.

Look at us here, typing away in isolation from eachother, pretending community when no such thing occurs. We type. We attempt to explain an idea. Someone posts X. We attempt to clarify - they didn’t understand what we meant, we become concise, precise, expert in vocabulary, metaphor and modal. And we wonder why they now seem to understand us even less well than before.

There comes a point beyond which it is impossible to get across what you mean with the written word.

Look at the levels of communication we have available:

Our bodies are wisest. They speak to themselves in the language of dreams. They speak in colour, touch, taste, sight and smell - They speak holisticly, in symbols of direct experience, dipping from a pool of reference specific and unique to themselves. A language even their own conscious mind has little grasp of, and interprets badly. If it attempts to speak it at all- it does so instinctively without words - in music and paint and captured forms.

Then we have face to face vocal communication. Words supply the information, body language and tonality, the context. Which is more important for communication of meaning…? If you say the words - then ask yourself why we feel the urge to put :wink: , or :unamused: , or perhaps :imp: after our sentences. You do not say the words “I am happy” without smiling.

Then we have the voice alone. Now think of an atonal voice, think of the silky tones of an advertizer, think of the husky singer, punctuating with drums and bass. Who do you prefer, who do you listen to, who do you believe…?

And finally we have the written word. Bereft of personality, impoverished in feeling, depleted in contextual bandwidth. And with this we try to explain some of the deepest and most important and most visceral of imagery, with this we try to wrench out and isolate parts of our souls and expect others to have any chance of understanding us completely…? I cannot find the words to convey how futile a pursuit this is - but I can find… :unamused:

I remember when I first came to Turkey, and went to the grocers. I needed, amongst other things, some carrots. Unfortunately, though my vocabulary was semi-decent, I didn’t know the word. I could always point, so I thought nothing of it. But there were none in view, the day was hot, I was tired, so I tried to explain. “They’re orange” I said - I got oranges. “They are long” I said - I got leeks. “They are orange and long and have green bits on top.” I said - I got a scratched head. “Rabbits eat them” I said. “Bugs Bunny” I said. I mimicked a rabbit gnawing on a carrot, with appropriate sound effects. I got laughter, and smiles, but still no carrots.

I didn’t know Rabbits are scarce in Turkey, I didn’t know Bugs Bunny had yet to cross the border. I did not know we didn’t share a commonality of referrence.

This is the same problem we face on a both larger and more minute scale here. We do not share exact meaning. And the ironic thing is, the more words you use, the greater care you take with your words, the more precise and ‘rare’ words you use to nail down what you mean and get it across to others - the greater your failure. By default we exclude those that cannot speak our language. By levels we exclude more and more people as our language grows more intricate, until finally, we are happy - we sit back and think “Yes - this is exactly what I want to get across” believing that that ‘want’ implies success, and forgetting that all we have really succeeded in is excluding everyone save ourselves from ever grasping that which we have written. Exact meaning from a personal POV - is meaningless from any other.

How do I teach my son the sound that we associate with ‘rough’…? Or ‘smooth’…? Do I sit down and chunter on at length about physical properties, adherence, friction…? No - I take his little hand in mine and scrape it over the day-old stubble on my cheek, and chant ‘rough-rough-rough’. Then I pass his hand over his mother’s cheek and chant ‘smooth-smooth-smooth’… And so he learns. Meaning from direct experience. Rough becomes linked with man, father, touch, my voice, my smell, face. Later that sound will become linked with other things, ad-infinitum. His ‘rough’ will change. Superficially it will retain it’s shape as a unit of speech - but beneath it will warp and weave a whole tapestry of unique associations.

Stone-pebble-pebbles-flintstones-cartoon-laughter-childhood-home-
heart-valve-car-freedom-braveheart-slaughter-daughter-IronMaiden
-guitar-music-elevator-lift-pickup-stone.

Can you say that your associative chain could ever be the same…?

You can use words to ask what time it is. You can use words to ask how much something is, as long as you’re talking about money. But you cannot use words to convey the meaning of life as you see it.

The meaning of ‘life’ is simple: To live. But the meaning of ‘your life’ is something altogether different - unique and referenced ultimately only to yourself -

But I am not you. Your truth cannot be my truth. I cannot tell you how to live in a way you would understand, or could acknowledge intuitively as right.

And so we fail.

Tab.

Tabula,

If you have a good library nearby, I suggest you find Augustine’s On the Teacher (a short dialogue). I think it addresses your question, and while I forget the argument, I remember the conclusion.

Aquinas takes this up in his On the Teacher as well.

Language is a miracle, but experience shows it works (once you have the same abstraction in mind). If your grocer knew what a carrot was, he might, in a flash of insight, get the same idea of it as you, I think. You probably have a good idea what I mean by these words as well.

(I think we don’t come to conclusions on this board because we all have different starting assumptions – even whether language conveys meaning.)

my real name

nice post tab,

sure, the excuse that language is metaphysical (beyond physics) describing that which is physical and the incompatability of the two is old hat as well…

yes, the task is, on its face, impossible…

but think again… what is it that one must do in order to affix language to events? examine the events?

but here’s the kicker… it never said all must examine life the same way (ok, some priests do, but they are full of puff and nonsense as well), nor can it, for as you have discovered, this is impossible…

-Imp

I notice that many people here, even the brightest, will attempt to make their language “precise” by making it esoteric: using words and phrases in ways not commonly used, and failing to link those uncommon usages with common ones. Of course no one will know what you’re talking about if you do that.

If you want to bring philosophy to the common people, use common words and common imagery. Be “precise” if you must, but always point back to everyday experience. Mortimer Adler, perhaps the only bestselling philosopher of the 20th century, is the model to follow here.

If you can’t explain what you “mean” to others, I doubt that you really know what you mean yourself.

It failed because you failed.

Failed to contribute the very thing you wished to receive.

Dunamis

There is a certain irony in the amount of time it took for me to articulate a response here. You and I seem fairly far away in our manner of thinking, yet other people are closer, and it is easier for me to communicate with them. What I propose is that I leave my private playground for the moment, and attempt to get into a mindset which is a little closer to what I imagine yours to be.

I have been thinking a little about this since the last time we talked, and I think that what is important is the status of the ‘particular’, the ‘individual’, the ‘wholly singular’ etc. Your understanding, as it appears to me, hinges on the idea that the language which is communicable is, in its very potential for communicability, limited in the level of specificity it can accommodate. The more specific the language becomes, the smaller the number of people who can understand it. Eventually there is just one person remaining, who talks only to himself and has no friends.* :frowning:

*[size=84]And another voice says;“The most experienced is the one who is most open to new experience. This is counter-intuitive, perhaps. I do not think that we simply receive passively our experiences. Experience is a temporal relation; the future and the past are both included in the signification of the present. My position, I guess, is that there is no raw experience, as such. Experience is always meaningful, and meaning always requires context. There is no particular without the general.” [/size]

Now I don’t really think that this is possible on the level of spoken or written language. All you will succeed in doing is creating a new language.
Perhaps you would profit from reading this;

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/private-language/

When you feel like you cannot express yourself, and someone asks you what you want to say, you can respond by saying six or seven things and then asking that they be thought at the same time. What this involves can be understood as a sort of crude reproduction of the ‘high bandwidth’ languages you use in your head. What is possible, say, in a work of philosophy, is that a whole lot of information is laid out in this way, and then you can ‘unpack’ it in your cranial laboratory. If it takes you ten minutes to convey the sense of a feeling or idea which you have, then once you have drawn the connections for the other person, they can perform a sort of ‘reconstruction’ of the way in which you experience the idea for yourself - i.e. in their heads. Then what you laid out so laboriously can be thought ‘instantaneously’ or ‘all at once’.
So whilst you might not be able to convey directly the original idea in the medium of spoken language, you can give it a kind of ‘meta-description’ which functions as a translator to facilitate deeper levels of understanding between two people.

I think that this happens implicitly, because although an idea must be set out in linear fashion on paper or in conversation, in your head you are not necessarily restricted to this more or less ‘one thing after the other’ format.

When I think, I don’t simply use word-concepts in the sense that they are used in a book, or an everyday conversation. I tend to think with a heavy visual element, using spatial tools, shapes, temporal notions, and several simultaneous narrative voices. This is how I understood your description of ‘bandwidth’, btw. I have more bandwidth upstairs, and it is quite correct that there are things which I think, that I have not successfully been able to ‘translate’ into a communicable equivalent, as of yet.

However I still feel inclined to disagree with some of what you have written. (Actually I disagree with most of the implicit premises.) For instance;

It must always be remembered that a ‘question’ is more than just a kind of rhetorical or grammatical form. What appears to be a question, may not actually achieve ‘question status’. In asking questions, we have been trained to think in a certain manner. It is; ‘A question has an answer’, not; ‘the question is an answer’, already. Questions only make sense on a background of implicit concerns and implicit understanding.

In any case, I do not think that this is always true;

I actually find that using a ‘rare’ word amounts to using an abbreviation of what I might say using a few other, more common words. Sometimes the abbreviation is such that a paragraph or even a page is necessary to translate the rare word in question. Perhaps even more. The point is that using more words is often a process of approximation.

[edit - condensing in this manner also reorients you towards the language, as such, and allows you to ‘see’ ‘further’ or at least ‘differently’ than you would otherwise have been able to. That is one reason why technical language is not ipso facto merely masturbation and obscurantism.]

That we fail to achieve the perfect translation I think is not a matter of the irreducible particularity of personal experience, necessarily. If I were a proper ‘deconstructionist’, then this would be the part where I say that even the ‘general’ suffers from the effects of these continuously shifting sands of reference.

What I will say, instead, is that ‘the philosophers’, far from ‘failing’, have played a significant part in crafting my own conceptual language and understanding. I do occasionally ask myself though; what would I pinpoint as the major forces that led me to my current location? It seems inescapable that I would be in a different place if I had not taken up philosophy.

Regards,

James

p.s. I refuse to vote in your poll unless you include a fourth option; ‘Not as pointless as Tab thinks’ :smiley:

Hi Tab,

There isn’t anything wrong with language per se; it’s our pervasive environment, and we use it as best we can even if imperfectly. If there is failure, it is allowing language to go beyond description and explanation. When I use words to ‘approximate’ my reality, it is just that: an approximation. The failure comes when I forget and allow the words to be reality. When the venue, or modality is limited to nothing but words, it becomes much easier to lose sight of this, and the more accomplished we are with words, the easier it is to get lost. At some point, we cease to be any more than words. Our reality is words.

Language is our very best tool if we use it as a way to describe our reality, but it is a the most powerful form of self-seduction when words become the reality. Whether ILP, the internet, or in any other form of communication in our everyday lives, use words. They are about life, but they aren’t life itself.

Do we fail? Yes. But if our intent is to show our humaness, some will see and forgive our failures - or maybe not…

JT

Why does anything exist…?
How is the world composed…?
What are we in the scheme of things…?
Are we free…?
How should we live…?

Everything that happened while talking directly about this nonsense is the real answer. See what I mean?

Language is imprecise because one word say
“love” means different things to different people.
My wife and I have a little “couple” game we play.
She says, “I love you” I say “I love you” and then
she says “I love you more” My usual response is
“You can’t prove it” But inherent in these sentences
is first, the idea that we have the same idea of love.
That we “love” the same way. Language fails here because
it doesn’t and can’t express what “love” means to each of us.
At best, language can only show others an approximation,
of what a word means to us. Millions examples exist about
this. Love, hate, fear, thought, and conscience are among the
words we can never really relate to another person, for each
word means something different to everyone.
Even words like “evil”, sentence like “Adolph Hitler was evil”
What does this mean? Evil compared to…
And to some people he was not evil, only misguided or perhaps
to some he was a visionary and to some he was a Messiah.
My daughter dated some fool who truly believed that Hitler
simply did not go far enough in wiping out the Jews.
Language does not show us, tell us what is evil, only within
our thinking about it, tell us what is evil. We use whatever means
available to us, to understand a word, evil, but then we cannot
explain to someone else, our usage of the word, evil. Unless
we take the time, a great deal of time, to explain to people
what every single word we say means. “The sky was blue”
Then we would have to take the time to explain to someone
what that sentence meant, the sky is this, was is this, blue is this,
We must assume that evil and blue and love and hate
mean the same thing to you as it does to me but clearly it does
not. And so we are left with a imprecise and inaccurate
idea of what people are talking about. And this is not a complete
picture of what happens in language, as tab pointed out.
I personally think it is a miracle that any communication ever
really happens between two or more people.

Kropotkin

PK, your argument is wholly contradictory.

If ‘love’ means different things to different people then how can we know it means different things to different people? If all meaning is individual and singular then communication would be completely impossible.

I think you’ve not given this the slightest thought and just trotted out another individualist, relativist cliche without considering the implications of that cliche for your own claim.

It would be more accurate (not that you’d ever take advice from me because of your fear of people younger than you) to say ‘we cannot know whether another person has the same meaning or a different one’.

When we love, the expression of our love is obvious. We cannot express the love without first loving. We can have an idea about love, we can understand it intellectually, but until we love…

A

It failed to deliver you the power to conceive, to know, to realise and to possess, life. That’s most likely because that you are a down to earth man, not a man like Plato who got off by travelling through his metaphysical fairyland. You are fundamentally not interested in the Platonic delight. Not many are, but most philosophers by proffession are, the only reason that they are nut about what they do is because that they get satisfaction from the thinking business. It gives them the “pleasure” and “honour”, that is really nothing but the same old power. Don’t anticipate too much things helpful in practise from them, people, those “brainy”, “wise” guys are playing children on the shore of the sea of creative knowledge. Seek your own sea, find your own shore. Create for yourself and yourself only, for that’s the only way to completely satisfy yourself. There is no universal patho perfecto for all. Searching for it is a doomed business, wrong way, imagined destiny.

someoneisatthedoor “PK, your argument is wholly contradictory”

K: We shall see.

S: "If ‘love’ means different things to different people then how can we know it means different things to different people?

K: My, what a interesting sentence that is, ummmm
we don’t know, which is the point. WE don’t know.
I say love and I can only assume you view love the same
way I do, but I don’t know.

S: If all meaning is individual and singular then communication would be completely impossible"

K: I think that is one of the unstated issues in the world.
Communication is really just best guess.
I guess you mean this, so my response is this, hoping that
you understand in a vague way what I mean.
communication is possible only because people assume that
a word means the same thing for them as it does for
the listener.

S: I think you’ve not given this the slightest thought and just trotted out another individualist, relativist cliche without considering the implications of that cliche for your own claim.

K: As a profoundly deaf person, communication and language exist
for me, in a very real way. I struggle with it every single day I am
alive and in fact, with every single conversation I have.
I cannot take language for granted, and indeed cannot take words
for granted. So I have dealt with this my entire life, it is not some
short term deal we have here.

S: It would be more accurate (not that you’d ever take advice from me because of your fear of people younger than you) to say ‘we cannot know whether another person has the same meaning or a different one’

K: Which is to say with other words, what I said.
The key point here is the understanding that language, the very
words we use, only mean something when we have actually
thought about them in regards to what the word means to us.
Evil means… only by comparing or relating evil to something or
someone else can we come up with a vague idea of what
the word evil means and that meaning is specific to our thinking only.
How do I relate that meaning to you?
By comparison and relating the word
“evil” to something else which you or may not understand.

Kropotkin

You said that we did know. You said that words DO mean different things to different people, not that we don’t know either way. That’s the point, you made a positive affirmation out of your relativism. Dogmatic relativism, like dogmatic scepticism, is self-contradictory.

I’ve told you this time and again, back at KDH and here, but you just don’t get it, do you?

This isn’t what you said before. Before you positively claimed that it means something different to each person. You’ve backtracked, as per usual…

Your being deaf doesn’t excuse your being self-contradictory…

No it isn’t you idiot! There’s a massive difference between your claim
‘suzie and ken interpret different things from the word ‘biscuit’’
and my claim
‘we don’t know whether or not suzie and ken interpret different things or the same from the word ‘biscuit’’

That you cannot see this demonstrates your ignorance of logic, epistemology and language itself (theory or no theory)…

As I said, this isn’t what you claimed before. Your position is totally self-contradictory. Unless you can produce an argument that doesn’t contradict itself I’d thank you to keep shtum.

[quote="Tabula RasaWhy does anything exist…?
How is the world composed…?
What are we in the scheme of things…?
Are we free…?
How should we live…?

[/quote]

It is a pity you did not ask me to begin with. You could have saved yourself so much trouble and heartache:

Why does anything exist…?

What else should exist? And, think of it in this way; if nothing existed wouldn’t you be complaining anyway?

How is the world composed…?

In E-Flat

What are we in the scheme of things…?

Part of it.

Are we free…?

To do what?

How should we live…?

As well as possible, and that means refraining from asking questions which make no sense.

I’m not one to take liberties with language. Not nearly as creative as those who use “abbreviations” to speak volumes, or remove themselves by volumes. But this conversation has made me see the profound nature of the following text…give it a chance folks.

There ain’t no danger we can go too far
We start believin’ now that we can be who we are - grease is the word

They think our love is just a growin’ pain
Why don’t they understand? It’s just a cryin’ shame
Their lips are lyin’, only real is real
We stop the fight right now, we got to be what we feel - grease is the word

Chorus:
(Grease is the word, is the word that you heard)
It’s got a groove, it’s got a meaning
Grease is the time, is the place, is the motion
Grease is the way we are feeling

We take the pressure, and we throw away conventionality, belongs to yesterday
There is a chance that we can make it so far
We start believin’ now that we can be who we are - grease is the word

chorus

This is a life of illusion, a life of control
Mixed with confusion - what’re we doin’ here?

We take the pressure, and we throw away conventionality, belongs to yesterday
There is a chance that we can make it so far
We start believin’ now that we can be who we are - grease is the word

Kevin

HI, Tab, good post and relevant questions:

I have read the responses and I have to say they’re all good, some went straight to my heart. The thing you say above I disagree. No, we have not failed. There is no such thing as failure in philosophy. It is as if to say, there is this finality that we are trying to achieve but did not. [Ponder the juxtaposition of the “currently happening” and the past tense] How do we make this judgement that “We have failed” first of all but to philosophize on it. It is a claim that is very difficult to support, not to mention to swallow (but this last is irrelevant for there are many things we know that are very difficult given our empirical limitations).

Philosophy is an inquiry—with whatever tools we may have. That we have imperfect tools, i.e. language (if you can even call this imperfect, I will not say it is imperfect) and imperfect “senses” and passions and emotions that get in the way of “objective finding out” is not a reason to be discouraged and declare defeat. Far from it.

Trying is something that should be comforting to us. We try. We try to do what we can, with what little we are allowed: time, ways to communicate, patience, the depth that our senses can go.

I’d ask you to withhold saying “We failed”. Too early to make pronouncements like this.

Philosophy does not dictate, it explains (logically), it puts together a framework, a framework that allows us to make sense of what’s around us. We can discard this framework, we can walk away from it, no strings attached. We can opt out unscathed and retreat to our pre-philosophical world. It does not promise us answers to the question you listed–what it promises us is a way to inquire, a guide.

Imp

I will marry you someday for saying this. Comforting.

And this from Dunamis

A very good, eye-opening advice. Good things come in little quips.

Ar.

…advice. Good things come in little quips

Unfortunately, it wasn’t advice nor a quip. It was a condemnation…Tabula let philosophy and ILP down, philosophy didn’t fail him.

Dunamis

S: "If ‘love’ means different things to different people then how can we know it means different things to different people?

K: My, what a interesting sentence that is, ummmm
we don’t know, which is the point. WE don’t know.
I say love and I can only assume you view love the same
way I do, but I don’t know".

S: You said that we did know. You said that words DO mean different things to different people, not that we don’t know either way. That’s the point, you made a positive affirmation out of your relativism. Dogmatic relativism, like dogmatic scepticism, is self-contradictory.

K: ah, I see, you are attempting to find a contradiction where none
exist. As per my example, can I know my wife loves me the
same way I love her? Along with that comes the basic point which
is words, the very basis of which we are communicating with right now,
the words themselves are learned by different people in different way.
For example, you I assume grew up in england, I grew up in the U.S.
A word like truth. A simple word, yet you in england and I in the U.S.
how do you you know we have the same definition for the word “truth”.
Or at home, we use it the same way. By our very difference in
our upbringing, we use (understand) words differently.
Again my wife who did grow
up in the U.S. understands words differently then I do.
To assume that we all share the same understanding of
any given word (love) must be false because we all learned
any given word (love) differently. So I am working with two (2)
different points. One is we cannot possible understand
words the same way because we learned words differently.
That is point one. And point two is we do not know if the other
person understand love the same way we do. “I love you”
and the word love is understood by one person differently then
another person. Upon further reflection, the two points actually
reinforced each other.

S: I’ve told you this time and again, back at KDH and here, but you just don’t get it, do you?

K: of course the thought that we use (understand) words differently
thus the confusion between your thought and my thought has never
occurred to you. This very argument suggest I am closer to the truth,
then you are".

S: If all meaning is individual and singular then communication would be completely impossible"

K: I think that is one of the unstated issues in the world.
Communication is really just best guess.
I guess you mean this, so my response is this, hoping that
you understand in a vague way what I mean.
communication is possible only because people assume that
a word means the same thing for them as it does for
the listener"

S: This isn’t what you said before. Before you positively claimed that it means something different to each person. You’ve backtracked, as per usual…

K: clarified. Now one may make the argument
I backtracked, but again you say tomato and I say tamato.

S: I think you’ve not given this the slightest thought and just trotted out another individualist, relativist cliche without considering the implications of that cliche for your own claim.

K: As a profoundly deaf person, communication and language exist
for me, in a very real way. I struggle with it every single day I am
alive and in fact, with every single conversation I have.
I cannot take language for granted, and indeed cannot take words
for granted. So I have dealt with this my entire life, it is not some
short term deal we have here".

S: Your being deaf doesn’t excuse your being self-contradictory…

K: you fail to see that contradictions are not a vice, but a virtue.
and lifelong deafness means I have been dealing with these issues
long before you were born.

S: It would be more accurate (not that you’d ever take advice from me because of your fear of people younger than you) to say ‘we cannot know whether another person has the same meaning or a different one’

K: “Which is to say with other words, what I said”

S: No it isn’t you idiot! There’s a massive difference between your claim
‘suzie and ken interpret different things from the word ‘biscuit’’
and my claim
‘we don’t know whether or not suzie and ken interpret different things or the same from the word ‘biscuit’’

K: ummm, the retreat into insults again. Of course suzie and ken
interpret the word biscuit different, they grew up with different teachers
different family situations and had different life experiences.
but the next part is also true, that we make statements all the time
example “Hitler is evil” we can only guess (assume) that
the word “evil” is understood by both sides in sort of the same way.
“Evil” may mean to suzie evil as in Stalin, but ken may think
evil in terms of Napoleon, we could make the argument Napoleon,
was a great man. Evil and greatness, synonymous in ken’s mind.
but who knows. Not me.

S:That you cannot see this demonstrates your ignorance of logic, epistemology and language itself (theory or no theory)…

K:The key point here is the understanding that language, the very
words we use, only mean something when we have actually
thought about them in regards to what the word means to us.
Evil means… only by comparing or relating evil to something or
someone else can we come up with a vague idea of what
the word evil means and that meaning is specific to our thinking only.
How do I relate that meaning to you?
By comparison and relating the word
“evil” to something else which you or may not understand.

S: As I said, this isn’t what you claimed before. Your position is totally self-contradictory. Unless you can produce an argument that doesn’t contradict itself I’d thank you to keep shtum.

K: I made a couple of claims. You focus on one, whereas I understand
both to be relevant. Although I must admit your usage of the word,
shtum, is quite reveling. AS for being quiet, only when drinking
Guinness am I ever really quiet.

Kropotkin

Hi people, it’s saturday night and 1:03am - so, add “drunk as fuck” to “disillusioned”.

To MrN, Hi MRN, I like you, but did you read my post…? - I spend a couple of hundred words explaining how I no longer believe complex ideas can be communicated meaningfully via the medium of the written word… And you tell me to go and read a book…? :laughing: Further yet… A book on philosophy…?

To Imp, thanks for the ‘nice post’, but regarding the old-hat, this is what I mean - as far as I’m concerned it’s not old hat, I haven’t read all the books you have, as far as I’m concerened - it’s hot off the press. Sorry if I bored you.

To Aporia, seems like we’re on the same page, but I disagree that you don’t know what you are saying if you can’t put it into a format that seems meaningful to others - a lock may not understand the key that opens it, but it still opens. There is a place for instinctive, none-rational understanding, even if it is unfashionable in the current climate.

To the artisté formally known as Dunamis, you either think I have the knives out for you, or percieve me as some kind of threat to your, of recent, unstable representation here on ILP… You are wrong. Yes - your recent behaviour put the last nail into the coffin of philosophy as a rewarding way to pass my time, and yes, I think less of you than I did previously. But - Sorry - this new caring, sharing, mundane Dunamis lacks the impact of the old. Do the world a favour, corral the horses of your intellect, drive them all in one direction, and actually make a fucking difference. I failed to contribute that which I wished to recieve because I am not clever enough to do it. You are. Stop being such an asshole.

To James No 2, Hi Jimmy, here to hamstring me again…? :wink: You again encourage me to read:unamused:

You are right about my believing words abbreviate shared concepts of experience, and abridge pages of description into simple sylables - but don’t you also see that this very compaction of ‘experience-clusters’ into single words must by default squeeze them dry of yet more meaning…? Think of pictures on the net - would you rather stare at the compressed code of a zip-file, or the actual picture it ‘describes’ - Big words are lazy short-cuts, and presume too much of the reader. A process of aproximation is the fairest way to bridge the gap between me and you.

The processes of thinking involved in philosophy are beneficial, a boot-camp for the mind, but the actual product remains self-referential and incomplete, you cannot speak about life definitively without experiencing all of it… ie: Death. ie: Ouija-boards.

Which General…? DeGaulle…?

On the ferryboat across the bay I thought of what Dunamis/others would say, and thought what I would post in return:

"In order to get across the entire and exact meaning of the complexities I think/hold within, I would have to turn myself inside-out, and create for you, in a way that you could directly experience without mediation on my part, the representation of the referential set of experiences that has led me to think the way I think. I would have to create a whole world.

And in doing so, creating so, I would become as God must be. A long time ago, as the ILP clock ticks, you wrote “God is a principle of coherrence” I now give you my own: “God is adequate meaning”. People look to God for meaning, but God is meaning itself. Nietzche proclaimed God dead, and God tittered from inside Nietzche. All of us have worlds within, distinct and perfect. If you wish to find God - look in the mirror and pray."

It may have sounded better when I was sober… :laughing:

Hi Tentative: You know how we stand my friend, words freeze something that was never meant to be frozen, and by the time we have lifted something out of time and transformation, turned and twirled it in the strobe-light of our intellect until it fits some prescribed concept of our understanding, that which we wished to describe has moved on.

Hi Adler, the whole point of what I am saying is that I can never see exactly what you mean. Because I am not you. We do not share a sufficiently common set of experience to refer to, to facillitate the absolute understanding that the answers to such questions would require.

To Peter, I agree, Love is a much abused word. I loved my Dog, I love my wife. Go figure. :astonished:

Hi Uni, I didn’t quite follow the entirity - but agree whole-heartedly that the only way of being is the one you find for yourself.

To Kennethamy, 1) You fucked up your quote. 2) The questions are not mine - they are those posed and answered by Spinoza. Go dig him up and call him a dickhead if you have the balls.

To Rage m3, Things were simpler in the 50’s.

Hi Arendt, To think it only took me another 1000 posts to attract the flame of your intellect toward my thought once more… :evilfun:

Would you waste your time attempting to discern the exact nature of the sun by contemplating only the shadow it burned upon your retina…? Would you describe your findings to others by wiggling your fingers in front of a torch in the darkness…?

This very framework is such that it cuts out and isolates only a fragment of that which we wish to describe from the natural ongoing process that encompasses its existance, and by the time we have commited our ideas to the consensual myth of communication - even this fragment has already progressed and changed beyond all recognition.

Think of the difference between the conscious and the subconscious… Flick a little water onto the face of a dreamer, and wake them a few minutes later, they will tell you they drempt of tall ships and sea-spray, flick a little water into the face of one wakeful and they will imediately swivel their necks to seek the cause. Whereas the dreamer accepts the experience without looking for causality, and fits it seamlessly into an ongoing narrative, the conscious cannot help but ignore the experience in the present, and look only for causitives in the past to react to in the future. The consciousness cannot help but to take itself out and away from concurrent reality - it exists only in the acts of deduction and speculation.

And to D. again. So easy to condemn, so hard to redeem. Push your way through the trees, and help us see the wood. Or piss off completely. Associate a few more words why don’t you…? You’re very good at that of late.

If I have let down philosophy… :laughing: What have you done…?

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