I’m Philosophical About It

Bias And Presupposition

Like the student who was asked by his English teacher if he would begin stacking firewood in the middle of a pile, many people, (especially Christian Apologists) who believe that they are deep thinkers, unwittingly start in the middle of an argument.

A young writer who considered himself to be a (at least developing) philosopher, posed the following questions.  While innocent-enough looking, they are fraught with assumptions and beliefs.
What is the nature of the universe?

What is man’s place in the universe?
What is good and what is evil?
What is the nature of God?
What is fate and what is free will?
What is soul and what is immorality?
What is the order of man and state?
What is education?
What is mind and matter?
What is ideas and what is thinking?

What Is The Nature Of The Universe?

The Universe has no “Nature!”  It is a brute fact which each of us must endure in our own ways.  It is supremely indifferent and insensible to the wants and needs of any person, in the same way that we are unaware and uncaring of a red blood cell in our veins – more so, because we at least can become aware of a drop of blood, while the Universe sails serenely on, completely unaffected and unaltered, despite our actions.  There is no intrinsic purpose or meaning to the Universe.  Any ‘meaning’ is only one which each of us imbues it with.

All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players!

What is Man’s Place in the Universe?

Here is the first place where the presuppositions become obvious.  There is no Cosmic airline hostess to escort us to our preordained seat, from which we may not move.  People who ask questions like this often assume that our place will be in First Class, when in fact, we are lucky to get a spot in coach, and not be stuck in the Baggage compartment.

‘My place’ in the Universe is in front of my computer, trying to understand people’s thoughts and actions.  Your ‘place’ will probably be somewhere else.  Each (wo)man’s place, and each group of (wo)men’s place, is wherever we strive and succeed in making it.

What is good, and what is evil?

Good and evil are imaginary concepts, dreamed up by people who want to feel good about themselves, their lifestyle and their choices.  What they do is good – what you do is evil.  I have even had self-righteous folks who admit that “you” did good things, but you did them for the wrong reasons.

Good is what is beneficial to me, and evil is anything which causes me loss or pain.  This definition applies to everyone, so there are countless definitions of “Good” and “Evil.”  The only commonality is when evolution-caused empathy makes it apply to larger and larger groups of people.

Hitler did not think that he was doing evil when he invaded Poland, or executed Jews and Gypsies.  He was trying to improve the standard of living for him, and his German people.  The victors write the History.  Aside from becoming psychopathic about it, his main problem was that his field of empathy was not wide enough.

What is the nature of God?

This is another assumption, like the one above, of the nature of the Universe.  At least the Universe can be observed.  First, prove that God is real, then we’ll discuss/argue His nature.  Either He does not exist, or He is the winner of the longest game of Hide And Seek ever.  The Old Testament portrays Him as a vicious, vengeful, spiteful, capricious, contradictory, ill-focused, incoherent, destructive old man, while the New Testament shows Him as a petulant child.

What is Fate, and what is free will?

Fate is the delusional excuse that ‘believers’ of all stripes give to the evidence that the Universe is supremely indifferent to them.  It is almost always applied negatively.  If they win a lottery, it’s egotistic entitlement.  If they lose – “I guess it’s just Fate.”  Call it fate, luck, karma, God, Satan – they all operate at the exact frequency as blind, random chance.

If God exists, free will is another delusion that does not, and cannot exist.  God knows the future, and there is no deviation from His perfect plan.  If God does not exist, free will looks a lot like this.

What is the soul, and what is immorality?

The soul is another imaginary assumption.  There have been a number of, both scientific and non-scientific, studies searching for it, and the results have been universally negative.  If it is anything different from ‘consciousness’ (which is another big, not-completely-understood phenomenon), no-one has been able to demonstrate it.

Like ‘Good’ and ‘Evil’ above, morality/immorality are subjective, man-made concepts, invented by power-hungry religious leaders, anxious to have and hold control over their obedient followers.  What is moral now, was not moral then.  What is moral here, is not moral there.

What is the order of man and state?

What is the meaning of this question?  These deep, ‘philosophical’ concepts are deteriorating into chaos and confusion.

Man came first, and when groups of men became numerous enough, they invented the concept of ‘state.’  Is he asking if the individual man should be more important than the state?  Clear, concise communication should be the first order of business.

What is education?

Why does he ask?  Did he not receive enough to know?  Does this person, who wishes to discuss philosophy, not have a good enough grasp of language to do so?

The act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgment, and generally of preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life.  Modern usage generally assumes the transmission (or guidance of transmission) of knowledge from one person to another, but there are those who ‘educate’ themselves – known as autodidactics.

What is mind and matter?

If you don’t mind, then it doesn’t matter.

The mind is a delusion of self.  It is the mostly non-physical, bio-electrical, neurological process of the physical brain.

Matter is also an illusion, and a delusion.  While it looks and feels solid and strong, it is really 99.999% empty space.  Infinitesimal particles group together to form, what used to be called, The Basic Building Blocks – protons, electrons and neutrons.  Different numbers of protons dance around each other to form atomic nuclei.  Different numbers of electrons orbit around these nuclei at relative distances that make the Sun and Pluto look like close friends.

Despite the apparent distance, the electrons whirl around the center so fast that, no matter what side other atoms approach from, the electrons are ‘always there,’ shunting them away.  Various atoms get together to form molecules, but even there, they are none too cosy, leaving a lot more empty space.

Different numbers and arrangements of particles and atoms give different pieces of matter different feels, looks, and properties – but they are all made up of the same basic little bits.  What are these basic bits made up of, you ask?  Tune in to the TED Talk next week, when the smartest scientist in the world says, “Beats the Hell outta me!  We’re still trying to figure that out.”

What are ideas, and what is thinking?

I have no idea, and I was thinking that someone should have checked with a dictionary, which says that IDEAS are:

any conception existing in the mind as a result of mental understanding, awareness, or activity.
a thought, conception, or notion
an impression
an opinion, view, or belief

Thinking is:

Having a conscious mind, to some extent of reasoning, remembering experiences, making rational decisions, etc.
Employing one’s mind rationally and objectively in evaluating or dealing with a given situation

Ideas are formed in the mind by the process of thinking, which is the action of electrons running around in the brain’s neurons, and leaping the synapses between them.  Serious, professional scientists are still studying the brain and the mind, but despite considerable investigation, are still not entirely sure how it all works.

If our amateur philosopher wanted to credit a God for this, or any part of the above, no indication, much less proof, has ever been found.  If he wanted deeper or broader information, his communication skills appear lacking.  He seems to have ended up right where he started – in the middle, and in a muddle.

Flash Fiction #222

Vindication

PHOTO PROMPT © Ceayr

PRIDE OF PLACE

His fifty years of work history – half in factories, half in offices – was proudly productive, but not boastworthy. Finally, here in this little park, in his retirement, he was vindicated.

It began innocently. A young mother watching a child, wondered what ladies were like in the last century. Another day, a young boy asked if he’d driven any cars like the ones in the Cruise Night parade.

He waxed eloquent, weaving tales of similarities and differences. Soon, he had a small audience whenever he came here to sit – stories of this, remembrances of that. He had become the tribal elder.

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

Friday Fictioneers

It takes a village to raise a child, but sometimes it takes the village idiot to entertain one. 😉 😆

She Blinded Me With Science

Scalpel

I just hired a guy to stab me in the eye!  😯

It all started so innocently.  I visited my Optometrist for my yearly checkup.  I rather like it when a good-looking woman stares deeply into my eyes…. just not when she uses a quarter of a million dollars worth of equipment that looks like it escaped from a nuclear power station.

I have developed a film over both retinas, like a crinkly sheet of Saran, which blurs my vision a bit.  Worse, it contracts, and lifts the retina, changing the focus depth, especially at the fovea – the most sensitive part.  It’s only going to slowly get worse.

Suddenly, I had a referral to an Optical Surgeon in the Eye Clinic of St. Joseph’s Hospital portion of the University of London (Ontario), a 90 minute drive away.  There is a local surgeon who does this operation here, at St. Mary’s Hospital, but both my Optometrist, and my Ophthalmologist swear that the London facility, and my ‘new guy’, are the best in Canada.

We drove down for an examination and consultation – and I have seen the light – in all intensities, and from all angles.  It is important that I maintain my sight as long as possible.  The wife retains her driver’s licence, just in case, but her vision is worse than mine.  The Optometrist says that she is still a way from having it suspended for vision – and that scares the Hell out of me.  There are people out there, still driving, with vision worse than the wife’s??!  It may explain the plethora of accident-strewn intersections in this town.

An afternoon’s worth of tests revealed that this condition in my left eye is actually worse than the right, but, in the right, there is deterioration of the light receptor cells near the fovea, therefore I would get more benefit from having the right eye operated on first.

Facing having someone cut into your body creates enough mental trauma, even when it’s necessary.  I do have a bionic shoulder, and more recently, a hernia patch support.  Thinking about somebody cutting into your eye takes a bit more getting used to.

My lady pharmacist said that I sounded very matter-of-fact, when I told her how the surgeon would open the side of the eye, carefully remove the optical gel, strip off this befuddling film, and put the little 3D puzzle all back together.

Once the decision has been made, I have to accept it.  It’s not something that I look forward to, but I plan on living another 20 years.  I don’t want to have to spend any portion of it unable to read or blog, or housebound because I can’t drive.

Besides, I’ll be unconscious while it’s all happening…. 😯  And then the surgeon casually remarked that, “It’ll be done under local anesthetic.”  SCREECH!  BANG!  WHAT??!  What if I twitch?  They’ll tape and eye-patch the left eye closed, and inject something to immobilize the optical muscles.  They’re going to use one of those things from the movie, A Clockwork Orange, to hold the eye open.

eyes-2

Simulation only.  I probably won’t look anywhere near this calm.

What if my head moves?  They stick it in a padded vice.  Also, I’ll be given a strong sedative, beforehand.  Ahhh, good.  Me and drugs get along real well.  If this is anything like the time they stuck a periscope up my ass, I’ll probably sleep through it all, peacefully.

This is all tentatively scheduled for some time in the New Year.  I’ll keep the less queasy of you informed, while I can still see to type.  If the first one works out as well as we all hope and expect, they’ll do the other side 6 to 8 weeks later.  You can wish me luck if you’d like, but please don’t pray for me.  😀

Click to hear Thomas Dolby tell how it all happened.

White Cane

Flash Fiction # 24

Patio

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Loss Of Innocence

“It was a long drive, all the way from the prairies, down here to Ottawa. On the last nice day of autumn, it’s nice to be able to sit at an outdoor patio, having a coffee, right across the street from the Parliament Buildings.”

“I wonder what all those Mounties are doing??!”

“They’re chasing that guy!”

“Looks like he’s got a rifle!”

“Don’t be silly. This is Canada – people don’t run around with rifles!”

“DAMN! They’re shooting!  Quick, get inside!”

“Must be a foreign tourist! How would a tourist get a gun?”

“I’m going back to Calgary, where it’s safe!”

 

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site, and use her weekly photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

 

Flash Fiction – Part 3

If you want to try this, go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple blog, look at the weekly picture, and write a 100 word story about it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tentacles

I awoke with the sun in my eyes and covered in blood. I quickly rose and stared into the little woodlot.

Even with the gnarled stumps and trunks, it looked innocent, friendly, even inviting, so unlike last night when we had laughingly decided to take a shortcut to the party through Corpse Copse.

After what had seemed like – must have been – hours of tripping roots and grasping, slashing branches, I stumbled out, exhausted, and fell to the ground. What had happened to Bobbie?! Had she made it? What would I tell her parents? Worse, what would I tell the Police?