What she’s always looked like, in my heart

Wednesday, October 17, 2018.
[Selah’s physical death]
And here is me and “my Selah”, together on our planet where everything is just right…

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What are the most important characteristics of a society?

Monday, October 15, 2018.
[68 days until the GRE]
Ultimately, I argue that we cannot say which particular set of characteristics of a society are objectively the most important because characteristics by themselves do not hold inherent value or importance separate from the person for whom the characteristic can have value or importance. Hence, it is fallacious to suppose that only a particular category of characteristics of a society is objectively the most important to every type of inquirer. Furthermore, without having first identified what particular characteristic(s) we wish to know about, we cannot determine whether the best means of obtaining the desired information about a society is by studying a major city or a minor one (or perhaps, several minor ones). In conclusion, I think that before we can conclusively say that the best means for gaining an understanding of the most important characteristics of a society is necessarily to study its major cities, we must first ask: who wants to know, and why?

Irony

Friday, October 12, 2018.
Maybe… maybe the gods (and by gods, I mean… the whole of nature which has made me, by default, a truth-seeker) sent me to Harvard in the first place so that I can see the irony in the discrepancy between the meaning of the institution’s name versus what it is in reality. For instance, it has the motto “truth” (ie, veritas), but it lacks a certain kind of integrity; their lack of self-awareness makes them behave in ways that are (as I believe it to be) self-contradictory, ultimately making them hypocrites.

What is “thinking”?

Thursday, October 11, 2018.
[72 days until GRE]
In 1637, the French philosopher Descartes famously wrote, “I think, therefore I exist.” This simple phrase implies that Descartes identified his thinking activity as the principal cause of his existence as a person. Drawing from this inference, we can say that thinking must be more than a set of merely mechanical motions such as the performing of mathematical calculations or the programmatic processing of data. In fact, we can say that thinking is the most original creative act. For the purposes of this essay, I will define thinking as the act of creating meaning and order in a random universe. Sometimes this is accomplished by means of establishing new connections between otherwise disjointed pieces of data. At other times, this is accomplished by coherently organizing existing meaning into a newly formed whole. But however it is accomplished, the fundamental property that ultimately defines the essence of all thinking is that it is a creative act.

Having the right to live

Wednesday, October 3, 2018.
In short, I cannot live unless, first, I exist.
In some sense, it is a matter of survival. But it is also a matter of having the right to live. I don’t think that I can truly have the right to live, until a lebensraum (a heavenly lebensraum, of the mind, of course) has been sufficiently established for a person such as me. And I don’t want to just live any life. I want to have a right to live, and to live what is genuinely and authentically my life — by, first of all, existing!
And this task is not only for the sake of taking that first step of the soul, but doing this academic philosophy now is precisely how I can become a part of something greater than my own self and my own particular life.

Learning without a teacher

Tuesday, October 2, 2018.
It is that last line which marks the key difference between Socrates and Aristotle. Socrates was quite principled, while Aristotle was much more “democratic”. For Socrates, something is either right or wrong in the same way that the answer to a math problem can be right or wrong, and not because it’s what the majority wants.
But so many people seem to have the wrong idea about Socrates. For instance, they think that he was a “Stoic”. But this is untrue. While early Stoics were inspired by Socrates, I doubt that Socrates ever intended to lead or teach them. And so, just because the Stoics lay claim to the figure of Socrates for themselves, it’s not necessarily the case that Socrates would condone the message of the Stoics. It’s possible to learn from Nature, without it necessarily being the case that Nature intended to teach.

So wonderful

Thursday, September 20, 2018.
Michael, Michael.
You are so wonderful and beautiful, to me…

A Genealogy of the Gods

Tuesday, August 28, 2018.
The “thing in itself” is chaos, but chaos is itself made of the following ingredients: nameless matter stuff (gaia), energy (eros), void (tartaros), absence of light (erebos), and “the opposite” or anti-matter type (nyx).

The duty of being true to one’s self

Friday, August 10, 2018.
Which means that, for Kant, a certain minimal level of intelligence is required to be someone capable of producing actions with moral worth — since, a person must be capable of thinking up a universal maxim of some sort under which her being true to herself would be considered a duty. (Perhaps my own maxim that what is worse ought never to rule over what is better.)

For the sake of Duty

Monday, August 6, 2018.
So far so good, but I think that the action is still not one that was performed out of “duty”, even if it was performed for the sake of the good will. For the action to be “dutiful”, there is one more step that’s required.
In order for the action to be considered done “for the sake of duty”, the person must realize that if she does not act, then the “good will” would remain niggardly endowed. Only when this thought compels the person into action can the action be considered one performed “for the sake of duty” rather than being motivated directly for the sake of realizing some particular goodness.

A Theoretical Sandwich

Friday, July 27, 2018.
Q: What do philosophers have when they get hungry?
A: A TB and J sandwich. (ie, a “theoretical” sandwich)

The mother who is merely the soil in a pot

Tuesday, July 24, 2018.
It turns out that she had been only pretending to be dead.

Tending to the affairs of that good man, Plato

Monday, July 23, 2018.
Admittedly, I myself am not moved by the “gloriousness” or “nobleness” of Plato’s vision itself, though I am moved by him. More properly, I think that I am moved by his love for Socrates—and that always seems to move me. But from that original movement, I am moved to attempt to realize and defend all of the beautiful things which Plato believed — such as his belief that the gods do not neglect the affairs of a good man, even after he dies. And I believe that Plato was himself a good man. And so, I am compelled by the gods, insofar as they are in me and work through me, to tend to the affairs of that good man, Plato — just as he tended to the affairs of the good man Socrates.

A morality of self-love

Sunday, July 22, 2018.
I will jump right to the conclusion of such a system of morality, and at the risk of sounding quite cheesy or perhaps cliché, I will say that briefly put, it all amounts to a morality of self-love. And, I would emphasize “love” here. To some Kantians, Eros gets no respect; it’s always either Gaia or Erebos or Zeus. But what about Eros? (And even Tartaros?)

Freedom from the Past

Saturday, July 21, 2018.
But the idea of freedom from natural necessity (and from past experience) is a mere hypothesis —for which we can never have proof. And yet, even without proof, we hold onto the belief that freedom is at least possible because the idea of “freedom from natural necessity” is what ultimately enables the mind to be a metaphysical cause of a physical world.

Pure Imagination

Friday, July 20, 2018.
That said, I think that I can understand Ayer’s motivation for wanting to eliminate what he calls “spooky metaphysics” (ie, figments of the imagination). And I think that the way to do this is by acknowledging that the law of non-contradiction is just as heterogenous to the processes of the mind as are the laws that govern “nature”. Once we do that, we can see that the mind is indeed it’s own thing as well, distinct from “nature” and also distinct from “mathematical rules”. And then, perhaps we can allow the mind some occasion to be as free as it wants to be. After all, it is phenomenal.

“Imagination is more important than Knowledge.”

Thursday, July 19, 2018.
One other thing worth noting before I continue is in regards to what it is that a person was presupposed as possessing when Kant permitted the person to be given the benefit of that doubt. Recall from the beginning of paragraph 6 that a human being is said to possess a mind that has “independence of reason from merely subjectively determining causes” (underline added). And I think that this capability of the mind is really just very simply, “having an imagination”. It’s not really anything quite more than that. What’s more, it’s obvious, I think, that we all do possess it — even if we each use it in varying degrees.

Traverse the infinite in a single bound

Wednesday, July 18, 2018.
Another way — the way of “an intelligence endowed with a will” (ie, a mind with agency) — is to start at the top of the pyramid, and to “spread” (trickle?) downwards. That is, the person is to start by immediately being self-actualized (or, perhaps, by being presumed to be so) — and then to “create” morals and laws, political structures, social etiquettes, “person-images” even (eg, “businesswoman”) — and then ever more downwards to “create” policies and services that serve and protect human life, and finally affecting physical matter in their conception and design with the effect of producing all manner of beautiful and good material objects (eg, buildings, chairs, but I hesitate to include living beings in the category of “material objects”). But what’s to be noted is where the content of the “morals” likely comes in on Kant’s order of things. After all, the whole point of the groundwork was to lay a foundation for a system of morals.