PDA

View Full Version : The Philosopher's Bug


Zero Seven
April 19th, 2008, 09:04 PM
So many people dread the "Ph" word, connotating it with the dry works written by those ancient Greek and Roman dudes like Plato and Cicero and Aristotle. The more educated person might associate the word with the dry works of Kant or Hume or Descartes or even Aquinas.

Shoving aside for a moment the fact that not all philosophy is dry (Sartre's Nausea is a novel about a man who's horrified at the idea of his own existence—quite a fun read), why are people so afraid of ideas? It seems like people would rather listen to politicians use smooth rhetoric to make nothing sound like something rather than read up on Socrates so they realize this. They'd rather read some hyped up crap like The Da Vinci Code than read about Da Vinci himself or Catholic theology.

Is it because people are stupid? Shallow? Selfish? I say all three. Most people don't have the intelligence or patience to wrap their heads around purely abstract concepts that conflict with the mores and concepts implanted into their minds as they grew up. Most people care more about watching American Idol or some other silly TV show than enriching themselves. They don't care about something if it doesn't directly benefit them or bring them pleasure. It's easier to be spoonfed political philosophy about our "democracy" by president Bush or senator Murkowski than it is to read the Federalist Papers and find out that we do not, in fact, live in a democracy (or to read up on Greek history to find out why democracy doesn't work).

I wish I could be like many politicians and proclaim that we just need to revert back to some idealized and wholly fictional past where things were better, but I'm afraid it's always been like this, and it probably always will.

It's their loss. You're never bored when you can think like a philosopher—one could conceivably think themselves out of a maze. Wrap your head around that one.

Midnight Beat
April 19th, 2008, 09:58 PM
Why are people so afraid of ideas? It seems like people would rather listen to politicians use smooth rhetoric to make nothing sound like something rather than read up on Socrates so they realize this.
It's not quite as complicated as your making it. You claim that the masses are "Stupid, shallow, and selfish". But I think it just goes as deep as stupid, but not by their own accord. There are so many people in America today, from so many different backgrounds, that most of them are going to end up ignorant to philosophical ideals. So, politicians have to use basic ideas coated in rhetoric in order to capture the attention and support of the masses. It is a shame, but at this point in time, it's the only thing that still works.

They'd rather read some hyped up crap like The Da Vinci Code
I rather like that book. It was more about how they tied the theories into the plot, than the theories themselves. No one is going to read that book and then start to criticize the religion as a whole. I bet 65% of the people who read that book still have no idea that it's based off real theories.

The movie butchered it though.

Most people care more about watching American Idol or some other silly TV show than enriching themselves.

I agree with you on that point, but you can't dismiss entertainment as a whole. In the world today, we have grown accustom to taking on more stress than are bodies are meant to handle. Activities that don't require excessive thought are a way for people to unwind. Unfortunately, some people get to used to unwinding that they waste away into nothing.

I wish I could be like many politicians and proclaim that we just need to revert back to some idealized and wholly fictional past where things were better, but I'm afraid it's always been like this, and it probably always will.
I know historic ideals may seem appealing, but there's a reason they're not around any more, they stopped working. The ideas had a more ethical base with concepts surrounding the individual. But, back then society was a little more level headed, they didn't act so much on their emotions as we, as a society, do.

You make some very good points.

Zero Seven
April 19th, 2008, 11:30 PM
It's not quite as complicated as your making it. You claim that the masses are "Stupid, shallow, and selfish". But I think it just goes as deep as stupid, but not by their own accord. There are so many people in America today, from so many different backgrounds, that most of them are going to end up ignorant to philosophical ideals. So, politicians have to use basic ideas coated in rhetoric in order to capture the attention and support of the masses. It is a shame, but at this point in time, it's the only thing that still works.

I guess you could say socialization isn't necessarily their fault. However, the selfishness comes in when that is used as an excuse to continue living a shallow life of stupidity because the politicians "told them so".

It's like saying a poor kid who comes from a poor family is going to grow up to be poor. That's not always the case. Whatever background someone is from they have a choice to remain silent or to speak up.

I rather like that book. It was more about how they tied the theories into the plot, than the theories themselves. No one is going to read that book and then start to criticize the religion as a whole. I bet 65% of the people who read that book still have no idea that it's based off real theories.

The movie butchered it though.

There's a Leonardo da Vinci religion? Hm, I wasn't aware of that. ^____~

Also, remember a theory not being fake doesn't make it any more reality.

I agree with you on that point, but you can't dismiss entertainment as a whole.

I didn't dismiss entertainment as a whole. =]

But I'm glad you agreed.

I know historic ideals may seem appealing, but there's a reason they're not around any more, they stopped working. The ideas had a more ethical base with concepts surrounding the individual. But, back then society was a little more level headed, they didn't act so much on their emotions as we, as a society, do.

You make some very good points.

I think you misunderstood me here. The issue isn't that historical ideology isn't used, it's that the politicians continue to use it.

Thanks for replying.

sims796
April 20th, 2008, 12:59 AM
So many people dread the "Ph" word, connotating it with the dry works written by those ancient Greek and Roman dudes like Plato and Cicero and Aristotle. The more educated person might associate the word with the dry works of Kant or Hume or Descartes or even Aquinas.

Shoving aside for a moment the fact that not all philosophy is dry (Sartre's Nausea is a novel about a man who's horrified at the idea of his own existence—quite a fun read), why are people so afraid of ideas? It seems like people would rather listen to politicians use smooth rhetoric to make nothing sound like something rather than read up on Socrates so they realize this. They'd rather read some hyped up crap like The Da Vinci Code than read about Da Vinci himself or Catholic theology.

Is it because people are stupid? Shallow? Selfish? I say all three. Most people don't have the intelligence or patience to wrap their heads around purely abstract concepts that conflict with the mores and concepts implanted into their minds as they grew up. Most people care more about watching American Idol or some other silly TV show than enriching themselves. They don't care about something if it doesn't directly benefit them or bring them pleasure. It's easier to be spoonfed political philosophy about our "democracy" by president Bush or senator Murkowski than it is to read the Federalist Papers and find out that we do not, in fact, live in a democracy (or to read up on Greek history to find out why democracy doesn't work).

I wish I could be like many politicians and proclaim that we just need to revert back to some idealized and wholly fictional past where things were better, but I'm afraid it's always been like this, and it probably always will.

It's their loss. You're never bored when you can think like a philosopher—one could conceivably think themselves out of a maze. Wrap your head around that one.

Well, in all honesty, that is a pretty shallow thing to say. It kind of stems down to "why aren't people thinking this way! They are stupid if they don't!". Some people would indeed rather watch American Idol. That isn't fair to anyone to say that they shouldn't and that they should adapt the philosopher's--or your--type of lifestyle.

I see where you are going. America has gotten stupid. All the brainless TV has rotted our brains. No argument there. But, that is in human nature. Not everybody's a thinker. They would rather go out and watch a movie that makes no sense at all. They find enjoyment in that. Don't get too upset that not everyone wants to expand their minds. That is boring for some, and not the lifestyle they would like to live.

However, I will say that we need to turn off the tube and pick up a book every now & then.

I do agree wholeheartedly with that rant about politics. It's gone from really caring about the issues, and presenting their cases of why they most deserve the posistion, to straight up bashing of each other, and saying pretty words. I only watch the commercials if I need a confidence boost (I swear, Hillary called me "hansome" in one ad).

But that last sentence is what got to me. If they were never bored, they would think like philosophers. It is glamorous to you, but that wouldn't fly too much with me. I'd have more fun stumbling around in the maze until I get out.

Jaimes
April 20th, 2008, 04:09 AM
After reading these posts, I have been enlightened by, in my opinion, a jem of knowledge:
OMGWTFBBQ theres been a new series of American Idol??? why did I not know this sooner? O_O





That said. I agree with sims, people aren't going to find studying as enjoyable as bad singers or the next Dan Brown novel.
Because someone doesn't share your philosophical interests doesn't make them any more selfish, superficial or less intelligent to you (and ironically it would be quite ignorant to assume so).


Besides 'philosophy' is vague term and a massively broad subject, with many contradicting and pseudo-intellectual concepts (and quite few financial benefits). Even if someone did claim to study it, it would likely only be of ideas that appeal to them.

Luphinid Silnaek
April 20th, 2008, 09:43 AM
It's their loss. You're never bored when you can think like a philosopher—one could conceivably think themselves out of a maze. Wrap your head around that one.
Indeed. By accepting the doctrine of solipsism he can bend reality to suddenly exit the maze.

Being a philosopher, I would think consistency would be one of your first concerns. Yet, you're already expressing two contradictory views in the same post: you feel indignant at the philosophical poverty of the world, but then claim indifference to it and say it's their loss. To be objective, there are other ways of happiness than philosophy, however I might enjoy it, and some arguably not far more shallow. For those who live on animal, unoncerted impulses, I have a little contempt, and I can support you there. But really--'LOVE THE THINGS I LOVE OR GO TO HELL'? That sounds almost fundamentalist.

Regarding general intellectual degradation: I'm sure school has played some heinous part in it. Some textbooks I've seen have a remarkable way of hardening the most inquisitive and freash minds. I suppose it's a matter of providing value--a storybook will be far more appealing than a timeline of its events, and those who haven't already learnt to find value in (say) a table of statistics will only be repulsed by it, and hate it forever if they are forced to stare at it for long hours, as in school.

Now, Dresden Codak, on the other hand...