Breath


Breath is an essential part of life. We do it from the day we’re born, until the day we die. We inhale and exhale over and over. In meditation, practioners often focus on breath, which seems to have calming or grounding effect. It seems that everything we do is interconnected with breath.

We do other things, of course, we refuel, and we excrete waste. We eat. Our body breaks down the food. What the body doesn’t use up is pushed out the other end. It seems that breathing and producing waste is what people do most of the time.

Now, here some argue that we think, socialize, and the like, but honestly, myself included, most of what people think isn’t of much use. By this, I mean it isn’t original, or it isn’t useful. Maybe, for example, a person doesn’t like Trump. This is, hardly, original.  They decide to form a group and protest. Will the protest result in a new president? Most likely the answer is a resounding no.

To sum things up, people are breathing excreting machines. There’s nothing, essentially, wrong with that. It’s just what people are most of the time. Human being are very sensitive creatures. If their breath or their ability to refuel is taken from them, then they perish. People can learn to make better use of their time. That’s why it’s important to keep in mind that us people are alive for a very limited amount of time. We take a very limited amount of breaths. Use them wisely.

Advertisements

The Truth Part II


Objective truth is an interesting notion. Us finite creatures like to think of it as both existing and accessible, and perhaps, most importantly, capable of informing our morality. I would, however, like to point out that morality and truth-seeking can only really matter to the “developed.” Those starving can only truly care about staving off their hunger and, perhaps, their loved one’s hunger. I, suppose, that might be tipping my hat to Maslow. Still, if one doesn’t think this true, one only has to look at the looting that takes place after a natural disaster.

Furthermore, even in a culture that is developed, one has to ask if objective truth can truly be found. It is quite popular today for people to think that science and philosophical debate can shine a light on objective truth. Unfortunately, people are not rational humans at heart, and as Nietzsche pointed out time and time again in Beyond Good and Evil often a philosopher’s  argument says more about the philosopher than the truth.

The problem, at base level, with trying to use logical methods to carve out objective truth is that human beings are not inherently rational beings. Thus, this begs the question of whether or not human beings even have the ability to discover objective truth. It is as if we can only see through a people through a windshield of car, while driving through a snow storm. We are prone to error, and these errors can be dangerous.

This is to to say, a little knowledge, without enough knowledge, can be dangerous. First year med students are known to want to over diagnosis themselves and their families with horrible illnesses, it is for this reason medical schools don’t give them prescription pads. Nevertheless, we give philosophers and clergy free reign over what constitutes objective truth.

On the other hand, objective truth may be out there, but can humans grasp it? I would argue that this is not clear, and this why much of the time we need to operate in probabilistic and pragmatic truth. It matters that Janet isn’t lying when she says John raped her. It matters that the engineer who worked on the bridge did his math correct, so I can be sure my car can go over it safely. It matters that the underlying mathematical system is sound. I can be reasonably sure, that everything shown on the Ancient Aliens program is horse shit.

Finally, some want to argue that we need to have one undefined axiom and rely on that for system of truths. They, conveniently, want to add God as this axiom. The problem, however, is that the really is no sufficient reason to think that such an entity exists, and its existence raises more problems than it solves. Even if it did exist, this beingm almost by definition, be incomprehensible to us finite creatures, but this isn’t the way most monotheistic traditions see God. Instead, the Western traditions are absolutist and ingrained with either “believe in our God and in our way.” The being the believe is defined with omni properties, acts a certain way, etc. Without these notions, the whole structure of their truth and morality falls apart. I would argue the falling apart of the absolutism of the monotheistic Western God is partially responsible for the chaos and culture wars we see today in the West.

The Truth As a Woman


“Supposing truth is a woman–what then? Are there not grounds for the suspicion that all philosophers, insofar as they were dogmatists, have been very inexpert about women?” Nietzsche

What makes forming any type of workable ethical system up hard is that there are a lot of moving parts. For examples, ethics is very tied up with morality, and what is morality tied up with? Truth. What is the truth tied up? The definition of truth. As you can imagine, there are many subcategories I could list, as well as general categories not mentioned.

Nevertheless, here at the bottom rung of truth, there is still an intensive amount of work to be done. For one, there is the issue basic definition. Although, most people go about their lives, as if this isn’t the issue. If a person hasn’t seemed to run into any problems, they don’t see why this can lead this to a meltdown. They are one of the lucky ones! Then there is the question of how we can obtain truth. Then, there of what to do with the truth, once we have found it. Is it better to hide certain devesting truths? Once again, I could go on. And on. And on. Well, you get the point.

It is as if, throughout the ages, people have prized the truth as a pure virginal woman. If she was not protected, she could be harmed, murdered, or worse have her “purity” tainted. People were executed for her. People fought wars over her. Families disowned each other over her.

The truth, however, is not in need of protection. If for example, Big Brother style, every book, every website, every media, and every outlet of every kind was changed from past to present to future to say that Abraham Lincoln was a slave owner, and over time people learned “the new history” and the rest of us died off would that change anything? What if no one ever, even up to human extinction ever figured out that Abraham Lincoln did not own slaves? Does that change anything? Well, the actual truth doesn’t change. The only difference is human ignorance. Martyrs aren’t dying for the truth. Their dying for the spread of the knowledge of what they believe to be true. Their beliefs may or may not be truth. No one can taint what is true.

Now this, is of course, works for certain definitions of truth. Most us, I’m assuming, use the word truth in “objective” way. In other ways, something it something corresponds. Now the problem, is that definition is not always good, and some for example, prefer pragmatic definitions, but that is a post for another day.

Objectivity vs Subjectivity


It is very easy for those of us with some kind of STEM background to appreciate objectivity. In the sciences and mathematics, subjectivity, generally, has no place. Things need to be objective, if we are to get at the truth of the natural world. Thus, many times in discussions subjective details are left out and seen as unimportant. However, subjective experiences are part of being human. Thus, I would argue that people should not see subjective experiences as irrelevant or unimportant in all areas of life.

Now, this is not to say we need to add subjective thinking into the STEM fields. That would be an extreme mistake. However, what I am saying is that humans are not robots, and there is a time and place for understanding people’s subjective experience and not simply pushing those experiences aside.

To say that a conservative’s subjective views on abortion doesn’t matter, would be a grave mistake. The conservative might know people that regretted having an abortion. Certainly, there could be objective studies showing how most women tend to feel about their abortions, whether it be positive or negative. This is where people in the conversation tend to want to point out studies and use other scientific tools, as this conservative doesn’t have a large sample size of women who  had abortions. However, how the conservative feels certainly does matter and so does the women who regretted having the abortion. Their feelings and experiences do matter whether or not they speak with the strength of a study.

In this case, the conversation is about social standards, morality, and the effects abortions have on women. Even if most women don’t regret abortion, it is certainly worth noting that some women do. Additionally, what is a good social standard and what our morality should be should be up for debate, and while, objective science can help one cannot forget the subjective experiences of all the people effected by this debate. A philosophy that cannot be practiced in the real world is useless, even if some like the particular arguments of the philosophy.

Note: I’m not trying to answer the pro-life/pro-choice debate.

As always, let me know what you think!

Personal Update: Graduation and Hospitalizations


Hi everyone, I’m sorry for my lengthy disappearance from this blog. Life has been crazy for me. For starters, I spent the week before finals in the medical hospital due to one of my organs acting up.  It wasn’t fun, and it was quite painful, but I made it through the semester both graduating  with my degree and earning a spot on the Dean’s list.

Then, things got even crazier. I had to spend the better part of the month in psychiatric hospital due to some instability on my part. I am, of course, out now; however, it was really hard not to leave against medical advice. This particular hospital had a lot of violence between patients, but it did slow down after the first week I was there. I did manage to complete the program.

Nevertheless, I now see life through a clearer lens. I am very optimistic that I have solved my problems. Now, all I have to do is decide where I want to move to and what kind of career I want. I my struggles as old news, and I am now ready to move on with my new beginning.

To all my comrades going through mental health struggles, know when to get help and don’t be ashamed.

I Really Want to Know…


This is going to be a simple post. I want to know why minors, say 14 of age, can’t consent to sex with adults, but they can be charged as “adults” for crimes. It seems that we all know, when thinking about our past, that our decisions regarding sex were immature as younger teenagers. Most of us would claim that a 4o something having sex with a 14 year old is molestation, but yet, we can AND do charge 14 year olds as adults.

Yes, we want justice for things like murder and burglary. I’m not saying teenagers shouldn’t be punished for crimes, but they are NOT adults. We will prosecute adults for having sex with someone under, usually, around 16, even if  the child says “yes.” Why? Because, they are not adults. They do not have adult brains, and they are not finished maturing and developing. Thus, they cannot give consent to an ADULT sexual experience. I agree with this sentiment whole heartedly.  What sense does it, then, make to treat them as adults in ANY other circumstances?

The media certainly doesn’t help in certain criminal cases involving minors. They like to show the shocking cases of particularly brutal murders by young teenagers, and we are tempted to call them monsters. There is an immediate gut reaction to want to punish as much as possible. There is a reaction in us that wants to make an exception to the idea of the immaturity and underdevelopment of minors in these cases.

This is my questions to my readers: if we can’t trust young teenagers with such a simple thing as deciding on adult sexual encounters, how then, can we trust their decision making process, in the realm of ADULT crime?

 

Please, I want to know your thinking. Please feel free to comment.