“People are a strange sort of creature,” someone said

Friday, August 18, 2017.
If so, then Kant’s “freedom” is a freedom from pleasure, hope, imagination and passion. It is a freedom that blindly and mechanistically follows the way of psychic fate to arrive at its logical conclusion.
But I am interested in getting at the truth. And is that where truth lives? Is truth always in every logical conclusion? Somehow, I doubt it. I cannot imagine a truth without pleasure, hope, imagination, beauty and passion…
“People are a strange sort of creature,” someone said to me once. Yes, people are I think. Quite strange indeed.

Irrationality enables irony, self-knowledge, and humor

Thursday, August 17, 2017.
Our irrationality enables irony, and leads to self-knowledge (and even things like humor). If irrationality is an innate skill/ability and thus a virtue, what good does it to do deny it? Why not embrace it, and cultivate this capability so that it may perform its function even better? If it leads to self-knowledge, is not good for us?

I am the Possibility and the Way

Wednesday, August 16, 2017.🌊
In short, the question of morality is essentially this question: do I tolerate the greatest beauty of all, truth, to go around “niggardly endowed”? If I cannot tolerate it, then I am compelled to attempt to be that agent who makes the way for this great beauty, truth — for I, being also a physical being, am the possibility (δυνατόν) and the way (ὁδόν) for truth in a physical world.

An immodest proposal

Tuesday, August 15, 2017.
“From the protection of different and unequal faculties of acquiring property, the possession of different degrees and kinds of property immediately results: and from the influence of these on the sentiments and views of the respective proprietors, ensues a division of the society into different interests and parties…” (Madison, The Federalist, No. 10)

Ohana means family

Monday, August 14, 2017. 🌜
Here is Cicero, making a move to draw out the truth from its dark hiding places. This declaration sounds like a summation of what the last election had accomplished in America.
I suppose it means that the country was strong enough to handle the truth, since the electoral college decided to elect Trump. Perhaps it was the popular votes that gave the college the confidence it needed to choose to tackle a difficult truth at this moment. Perhaps it was the right time for this particular truth to now be confronted, so that the issues can be worked out and this nation can finally move forward, together, as a family.

A way of perceiving the world without prejudice

Sunday, August 13, 2017.🌞
According to Parmenides, it is the ideas and images in our mind-caves that “come-to-be” and “pass-away.” But these are illusions, and it only appears to us as if something were “coming-to-be” or “passing-away.” Nothing is really “coming-to-be” and “passing-away” out there in the world

Against Aristotle

Saturday, August 12, 2017.
Why is it clearly acceptable for Aristotle to plagiarize, slander, and purposely distort and have everyone affirm and reward that behavior by continuing to study his works and to defer to him? Why is it acceptable and admirable for him to have done this, while other scholars are considered discredited if they do as Aristotle has done and plagiarize, slander, and deliberately misinterpret?

An Earth-born hero

Friday, August 11, 2017. 🏆
People who proclaim any book to be greater than the Iliad misunderstand the nature of the epic. There can be no story greater than the human story, and that is what it is. It is the story of an Earth-born who ultimately transcends the artificial divisions created by the mortal coil. It is a story about the tragedy of difficult friendships. It is a story that incites humans to seek and establish true justice in the world — to create a world in which we love one another, despite what the gods may have in store for us. Nothing could be greater than the Iliad.

A sacred duty to prefer the truth to one’s friends…

Thursday, August 10, 2017.
“Let some allowance be made for youth, some freedom given to the young. Let pleasure be not always denied, and true and unbending reason not always prevail. Let desire and pleasure sometimes triumph over reason…” (Cicero, Pro Caelio)

How to make Achilles furious

Wednesday, August 9, 2017. 🌊
It’s quite simple. One need only look to Homer’s Iliad, to the scene at lines 552-570 in Book 24, where Achilles warns Priam not to anger him by attempting to make bargains with him or to otherwise attempt to bribe him into doing what is just.

The benefit in having a well-functioning soul

Tuesday August 8, 2017. 🔥
Unlike Aristotle, I never say that it is the person who “functions” well. It is the soul that benefits the person precisely because it is the soul that is something with a function in relation to the person. People don’t have functions — except, maybe, to be someone to whom all functions could exist in relation.

“Happiness” really does feel good

Sunday, August 6, 2017. 🌞
I don’t know what Aristotle would say, but my hunch is Socratic, and I think that everyone can live in the most genuine and authentic way as possible, and that in fact, everyone does want to live in the most genuine and authentic way as possible, and finally, that it’s realistic to think that we could and should build a world in which all people can and do live in the most genuine and authentic way as possible.

The Hero’s Journey

Thursday, August 3, 2017. 🌲
I think that the activity of the soul more chiefly has to do with the “motive-forming” ability. That is, satisfaction of a motive can only happen once a motive has been consciously formed. In other words, there can be no story without a hero and her background to provide a plot-seed with which to compel the story towards its conclusion.

“Objective Essences,” Function of a Man, and other Absurdities

Wednesday, August 2, 2017.
Plato knows that he can’t bring the real stuff into the cave. You can only try to lead the person to the outside of the cave. In an example, Socrates/Plato makes a distinction between the image-of-the-sun vs. the real and unnameable thing-itself which is outside of the cave. But since the thing-itself that’s outside of the cave can’t be named or spoken of (only experienced), it’s hard to help the people inside of the cave understand what you’ve seen — except by turning some of that experience into words. And this is how “cave-talk” (ie, ideas/images) are created. And in “cave-talk,” the thing-itself that the person has experienced outside of the cave is called “the sun,” and this word is itself an image of the thing-itself in the real world.

Overcoming apparent differences

Tuesday, August 1, 2017.
I can see how an activity can be measured according to some standard or purpose, but I don’t see how a person is herself this activity. And if the person isn’t herself this activity but is rather someone who on occasion chooses to engage in certain activities, then I don’t see how the person can herself be measured according to a standard, even if the performance of her actions can be measured according to a standard (of course, a standard that depends on what she thinks that she’s doing). And so, I still don’t see how the person herself is the function, since she herself isn’t the activity which she engages in — is she? My conclusion is still that the person herself cannot be a function, though we might still say that a person has functions.

Cultivating innate sensitivities vs. Habituation to convention

Monday, July 31, 2017. 🌜
Cultivating one’s innate sensitivities is quite different from being habituated to certain customary behaviors that are deemed “respectable” by society. The former is Socratic, while the latter is Aristotelian. Furthermore, having to habituate oneself to “moral” behavior, rather than cultivating what’s intrinsically natural implies another troubling view that Aristotle holds: that there is no true morality grounded in nature. But I think that there is a true morality, and that it’s grounded in something innate and also given to all, and I also think that it has a proper domain — the self.

Know Thyself! (And don’t listen to Aristotle)

Sunday, July 30, 2017. 🌞
Habituation can quickly turn into a case of popular deference to convention. And popular convention tends to be quite hostile and brutal to that tender thing I call truth.
It can’t be mere convention that makes something truly virtuous. Truth comes from self-discovery through sensitivity to pleasures and pains, freedom, and encounters with nature; not by a positive habituation to what is artificial and arbitrary.

The Intrinsic Pleasure in Seeing and Being Seen

Saturday, July 29, 2017. 🌎
“For instance, friendships with cats only take me out of my isolation to a degree. Sharing an understanding with cats is fine, but perhaps I also need friendships with philosophers as well, since there’s parts of me and things that I can see which can only be seen by fellow philosophers but perhaps not by cats, or even mothers for that matter.”