Thursday, May 19, 2005

Pilosophy 301

Ok, maybe I think to highly of myself with the '3' part of the title, after all these questions and answers are a few thousand years old.

And before I go on 2 items.
1. Congrats Andrea on your masters degree in HR, your 'new housemaid' that you got mad at me over last nite because I wouldnt tell you what it is will arrive tomorrow. (she needed a vaccum and I'm a geek so...) (gift inspired by Cara, link at right)
2. I GOT AN A IN JAPANESE 3! I swear my teacher cant do math, theres no way I deserved an A, but I'll take it. This gives me my 1st ever 4.0 semester, yay.

The other day I realized something about some ultra religious people, although it definately doesnt apply only to them, they just helped me realize it. (btw the people that unknowingly helped me realize this DID NOT fall into this category, and thus had me wondering why.)

It's how you see the world. If you see the world as generally evil, and yourself good, then you're just an egotist when it comes down to it. The other group of people who could see the world as evil would do so to excuse their evilness, also not good.

Targen (link at right, get it yourself) was quick to point out this is rather old philosophy, dividing the world into Self, other, and general. I had heard that before but I guess somehow forgot it, so this was still a revelation to me.

Anyway it inspired some rare inteligent chat in the chanel I hang out in. ( I came to some other realizations thru it.

For a long time I have tried to think of what the world would be like if it was 'perfect.' After all, its pretty damned perfect as it is. Sure theres war, famine and other assorted stuff, but I think those things are needed to keep a balance. But there is something everyone spends their whole life looking for, usually without knowing. It's why Bill Gates gets up every morning and fights his heart out, (lol I can hear flames) why people become drug addicts, why people will do anything to get laid, even why we build families and go to church.

It is something only the most successful human beings can hold on to for even a short time.

It is, simply, Joy.

It's beyond happiness, or love, or any other simple (ha!) emotion. Joy is just when everything feels right with the world, and you can accept it for all its faults and lackings. In fact, the lackings are PART of the joy, it helps one see what IS there.

So the new question is, what would the world be like if everyone had a sense of joy? This is a hard one. It's easy to say 'there would be no war, no dissagreements, and everyone would always be happy and play nice.' Would they? Would there not always be something to fight for and against? Would a sense of joy mean everyone had the same opinion, or that different opinions never contradicted eachother? I'm not so sure.

So thats youre homework. If youre actually reading this then comment below on your thoughts or blog about it yourself. But think about it. The easy answers are usually worhtless.

Links of the day!

na, lets stay philisophical


Manuel Gómez said...

According to the book I'm reading at the moment (The Birth and Death of Meaning, by Ernest becker; absolutely recommended; quite possibly the best book I've ever read) it's all about self-esteem. Not self-esteem in the silly way self-help books and family shows like to talk about, but a much deeper concept that is more central to the development of just about everyone.

When you're a baby, you're absolutely dependent of others; you haven't even formed the concept of the self yet, and only know yourself through others: mostly your mother. You eventually begin developing a sense of yourself as you develop the ability to communicate and exist socially (also not in the pop culture sense, but in the very basic sense of simply interacting with others in any way). Around this point you begin to understand some very simple social concepts; you're initially at a happy kind of standby state, but then something disturbs you (hunger, thirst, need of attention (which is not in the slightest way less important than food and drink), whatever) and you cry. This summons an all-powerful adult, and they satisfy your needs; this is the first thing any human being learns, and it's extremely important because it sets the base for the definition of the self.

Interaction with adults and the beginnings of social development first let you learn about others, and about the world, but only later do you begin learning about yourself. You don't develop the cute little thing that makes us human, self-awareness, very early on. But the most important part of this whole process comes later; when you're already self-aware, and start to actually -think-.

Once you're actually capable of conscious action and control of your body, you immediately start developing the duality of the inner and outer selves; the inner one is always plotting, figuring out what to do; the outer one isn't actually a part of your mind, but is defined in terms of the reactions observed from others to yourself. And this is where self-esteem is absolutely essential, just as food for us all, and attention for newborns.

Anyways, once you're conscious, you begin adapting, shaping yourself into the world you're growing up into. This happens through blocking of action exclusively. Babies, once conscious, are basically little bags full of curiosity, and they'll do just about anything just to see what happens; both materially ("Let's put this toy in my mouth and see what it tastes like!") and socially ("Let's make some weird noise with my mouth and see what these big dudes do!"). And when you do something inappropriate ("Let's smear poop all over these walls and see what these guys think!"), your action is somehow reprimended, blocked; and preserving self-esteem is as important as preserving life (sometimes more; think martyrs), so you'll modify your behavoir in order to avoid being told you're bad, or you shouldn't do this or that, or whatever.

Self-esteem is essential to any and all social interaction; status (also not the ridiculous snobby concept of status) and role are derived from self-esteem, and without them social interaction would be absolute chaos.

Psychoanalists (read: Freud) know this process as the avoidance of situations that bring anxiety in order to protect the self from it; in order to keep self-esteem undamaged. You'll avoid fire just as much as you'll avoid rejection if your percieved status and role tell you rejection is a problem for you, and it causes anxiety. The whole premise of psychoanalytic therapy is having the patient realize there isn't any real danger in the things so feared by means of understanding the process that makes one fear them. But it rarely accomplishes, and doesn't even pretend, to eliminate whatever stimulus is in question from the list of things that cause anxiety; it only tries to make the Adult in the person, the rational thinking part of their mind, kick in whenever such stimulus is met, and take control of the situation by overriding emotion with preconcieved and planned behavoir. You might eventually get used to it and no longer be anxious because you know reason will kick in and save you; only then will (this kind of) therapy be successful.

Anyways, it -is- essentially joy, and no, it's not selfish because it's self-esteem. Remember, it's not that silly kind of self-esteem we're talking about. When nothing threatens the self and it can explore the world freely like a baby does just as it's beginning to realize its own existence and doesn't have any awful yet essential blocking rules in its mind.

Most people get to feel like this every once in a while, and yes, it's basically the ultimate goal of all action. There's lots of ways of speeding up the process, too; alcohol, for example, is pretty much the most common way of cheating to get joy. Another common method is doing something that would please your parents, and this would be one of the fundamental theorem of psychology if psychology had fundamental theorems. Yet another nice way would be to invent something and become rich enough to stop worrying about most of the annoying things about life.

Anyways, enough ranting. Check out this and perhaps this (although I haven't actually read that last one yet) for some great insight about all this shiz. And don't forget the first book I recommended on top; it's an absolutely-must-necessarily-omfg-read, imho.

Now let's hope Blogger doesn't eat my comment.

Anonymous said...

how about we stop being emo on our blogs and instead talk about cheesecake.

mm... cheesecake.

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