Tag Archive: Russell_Wisdom of the West

Botched interpretations of Plato

Friday, March 9, 2018. 🦉
But one shouldn’t take Aristotle’s botched interpretations of Plato to be the authoritative source for telling us quite accurately what Plato himself actually thought. That would be like thinking that the Alexandrian conquest was a manifestation of some Greek design, just because an ambitious and ruthless Macedonian decided to use the Greeks and their history as an excuse to invade Persia.


The gods delight in being seen

Thursday, March 8, 2018.
“In truth, the gods honor virtue most highly when it belongs to Love. They are more impressed and delighted, however, and are more generous with a loved one who cherishes his lover, than with a lover who cherishes the boy he loves. A lover is more godlike than his boy, you see, since he is inspired by the god.” (Symposium, 180b)
The gods are delighted with the boy, because when the boy cherishes his lover, it is because he can see something of the lover’s love. And so what the boy cherishes is the Love itself that exists between the lover and the boy, and the gods delight in being seen.

How to engage with Christians, when you are not Christian yourself

Tuesday, March 6, 2018.
Being Christian (or Catholic), they’ll do unto others as they would wish to have done unto them (since this is their golden rule). And so, if I wanted to know how they wanted to be treated, then I should just look to how they treat me, and then I will know what they think is “good” treatment. (On the other hand, I am not Christian, and I believe in treating others as they would like to be treated, to the best of my ability. And if I must live amongst them, they must be habituated or educated so that we have the same values — otherwise, their ignorant and self-righteous good-will will be incredibly intolerable to live with.)

In Service to Humanity

Thursday, March 1, 2018.
This is why I think that I can argue that the numbers can and do matter, despite agreeing with Taurek that in some sense, they also don’t. As it is said in the Euthyphro, there are two parts to justice: the part of justice that is in service to the gods (that which is called “piety”) and the rest of justice that is in service to humanity.
Now, insofar as we are speaking of the part of justice that is in service to the gods, the actual numbers don’t matter. But insofar as we are speaking of the part of justice that is in service to humanity, the numbers do matter. However, the fact that numbers do matter doesn’t always lead to the conclusion that the greater quantity of some “good” is always the best conclusion. Sometimes the lesser quantity (even of a “good”) is what the objective requires. The numbers matter because they are useful in determining the “correct” quantity, rather than because more is always better.

The Sensitivity of a Man

Monday, February 19, 2018.
For Plato, the issue is resolved by taking serious consideration of the virtue of ‘sensitivity’ — which many philosophers either ignore or are confused about. That fact is evidenced by their calling sophrosune “self-control.” They are not so different from the oi-polloi, which Socrates describes as thinking precisely this way in ‘Republic’. The virtue of sensitivity is about making apt, tactful, responsive decisions regarding the who-what-when-where-why-and-how to speak and to act. It is about being able to move fluidly through every context; and it is not about forcing oneself to behave rigidly according to some script.
Achilles had this virtue. It’s what makes him so attractive as a man, and so effective at being a human being.

i, Matter

Sunday, February 18, 2018.
But I do not agree with him that “matter is simply some metaphysical carrier of qualities which latter alone gave rise to experiences that are mental contents” because I don’t think that “matter” is “metaphysical.” It is the mind that is metaphysical, while matter is what is physical. And so, I disagree also that “bare matter as such cannot be experienced and is therefore an otiose abstraction.” (p.221) That is, I can agree that we cannot know the “bare matter” as itself, but I do think that we can experience it in the distinct way that we do. Even if it isn’t a perfectly accurate experience, still, my point is that it is some experience.
As long as we acknowledge that our experience isn’t the thing itself, then I think that it is fine to build on the appearances (so long as the appearances are both consistent and un-coerced) and to continue to do our science with the experiences that we are capable of having — limited as it may be.

Paint with all the Colors of the Wind

Saturday, February 17, 2018.
Language is not only rules and grammar, but it is also learning the unspeakable meaning of the words so that one can “paint with all the colors of the wind.”

The gods want to be seen

Tuesday, January 30, 2018.
Most people consider “maths” to be something quite special — And it is! But, it is still a way of “clear and distinct” thinking. And as such, it’s a product of the mind. But nature is not something to be limited by the mind, nor can it consist only in what can be discovered, recognized, or known by the mind.

The One Who Knows

Monday, January 29, 2018.
I think that this means that we can only know perfectly the things that we intend; only the one with the intention can know the situation perfectly.
This, then, must be “the one who knows,” the one that Socrates was talking about pleasing.

A snapshot of the Universe

Tuesday, January 23, 2018.
I can see how each monad mirrors the entire universe. I might suppose that each individual is herself like a “snapshot” of the whole universe — but, taken from a particular perspective.

I exist, therefore I think

Thursday, January 18, 2018.
Furthermore, it’s possible that he thinks that “God” is something other than mind — for, it doesn’t make sense that he wouldn’t attempt to prove the existence of the same thing twice. The only way for Descartes to be in agreement with Aristotle/Augustine in supposing “God” to be mind is to think that Descartes’ “God” is the concept of the Mind (ie, “Mind” with a capital-M), while I am the instance of one (ie, “mind” with a lowercase-m).
For the most part, I could agree with the Aristotelians here, except that I would say that the so-called “instance” (if we want to call it that) is actually prior to the concept. And the instance isn’t a clear and distinct thing at all; the instance is chaotic, and a great many things all at once — everything all at once. Being a mind, a thinker, is just one way of existing. Whether I am aware or not of my own processes, the objective fact is that I do exist — as a whole, and as a self. In fact, it is because I exist, that it is also imperative that I do think — and not the other way around.

Indubitable proof of my existence

Friday, January 12, 2018. 🌌
But here is the peculiarity– Though I myself may have indubitable proof of my own existence as a mind and as a thinker, I cannot provide the same indubitable proof to someone else! For, from the outside, I may appear to be no more than mere “automata” — an animal devoid of soul and of mind.
And the only way to break the illusion of my being an animal or some mere automata is to speak!
But, what if I cannot speak? What if I am not permitted to speak? What if I have no voice? What if I lack the precise words to express my mind and my thoughts? Or, what if I do speak but cannot be heard or understood? Do these things prove to them that I lack a mind and a soul?

The artificial man

Wednesday, January 10, 2018.
Presumably, the “reason” that he speaks of is a finished/polished “product,” and not merely the undeveloped raw ability. (This is the only way that I can make sense of what Descartes thinks here.) But if so, then “reason” isn’t something objective like something mathematical. Rather, it means something quite closer to a concept like “socialization” — which is something idiosyncratic (ie, not universal) and something quite artificial and not natural. In other words, one’s so-called “reason” — as well as one’s reasoning-processes — are basically socio-culturally determined things.

To exist

Wednesday, January 3, 2018. 🌩️
I am invisible to them — and being seen is a big deal too. It works in tandem with the seeing, since being seen makes me “real,” just as a world that is seen is also made “real” simply in virtue of being seen. And when I am seen, not only am I not alone as when I am in the company of others who can see the world that I myself can see, I myself exist and am real in the same way that the way that gods and God also exist and are real by being seen. I am not saying that I am “the God.” But I am Kendi, and I want to be seen and to exist and to be real…
To see is only a part of being complete and happy. Being seen is the other half.
It is very much like loving and being loved in return.

My gong-fu

Wednesday, December 20, 2017. 💎
Finally, when “功” is paired with “夫,” the word would literally mean to have respect for, or to be attendant to, the “excellence in a skill” — whatever this may be. Thus, it seems to me that the word “功夫” embodies the spirit of pursuing excellence. It implies great dedication and effort. It also implies a sincere and profound respect for the object of one’s pursuit.
So this is what “功夫,” gong-fu, is to me. And I think that this is the work that I am engaged in when I do philosophy, and when I say that I am “studying.” My gong-fu is philosophy; it is my work, my craft, and I am in pursuit of excellence in it.

A Ghost in the Shell

Monday, December 18, 2017.
I think that it is the human body, and not the brain, that is the “strongest” attribute of being human — not the brain. And in fact, the human brain is not much more than a product of the body; the body comes first, then the brain. The brain is just simply a tool for governing and organizing a complex body, as a whole; it’s existence is not more than the necessary product of the existence of the kind of complex body that we happen to have.

Beyond metaphysics

Friday, December 15, 2017 🥇 🏆
It is also distinctly anti-Platonic. According to Plato, the truth can only be known by seeing the world outside of the Mind-cave. Even if one somehow begins inside of the Mind-cave, the goal isn’t to simply remain there. At least, this is what I take to be Plato’s intended message when he makes the analogy of the cave in Republic.
But, Aristotelians like Augustine seem to be content with remaining inside of the Mind-cave. And so, despite the so-called European “enlightenment,” the so-called philosophers like Descartes and Kant did not lead their flock outside of the Mind-cave as all good philosophers were supposed to have been doing (according to Plato’s plan, anyways). And it wasn’t until Nietzsche came along that those who were able and willing to follow him were finally able to be free of Aristotelian metaphysics. (That said, Nietzsche is a gnarly and twisted character, and he speaks in metaphors and he is a master-trickster whose skill over the illusory power of mirrors has caused some of his more naive followers to lose their way; Hitler is one such example of a naive follower. One would do well to remember that Nietzsche’s anti-Semitic or misogynistic comments are mirrors revealing the truth of one’s own painful and “ugly” scars, as a German Christian and as a male. But the übermensch eventually plows himself, his scars, and his pain under — and when he ceases to be “anti” anything, then he finally becomes free to just be his own beautiful self.)

A reminder

Wednesday, December 13, 2017. ✍️
I think that the most important thing about this space, is that it reminds me of my Uncle’s love for me. It is a real and concrete reminder of his love. In this space, I was able to spend doing what I love doing the most in this life — studying philosophy. And that is love; to let me have the freedom to find and be my truest and best self.