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Absurdity of existence/blog?

Discussion in 'The Coffee House' started by Feared.Desire, Oct 10, 2010.

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  1. Feared.Desire

    Feared.Desire Well-Known Member

    Well, okay. I was thinking of starting a blog as a way to organize my many never ending confusing thoughts. So, I will start by asking if anyone knows of any good ones? It would be totally new to the concept to me, and I don't know anything about them really. Now, one of the main reasons is I'm uncomfortable (usually) with people reading my things, so for my first confused philosophical rant, I shall post it here. I've been confused over some things for a while, and need to put them down somewhere in a (likely failed attempt) to help analyze my own ideas. If nobody answers that's fine, but two minds + are always better than one confused one.

    Now, my friend has been stuck on the absurdity of existence for awhile, and it is a concept I cannot will myself to look past.

    There is no way of knowing whether or not something is fact, for nothing is infallible. While I may think that terrorism is wrong, another will feel the opposite, and there is nothing out there that can prove whether or not one of us is more right than the other. One could argue that most people would agree with me, though, majority does not ensure correctness. It may, in some cases, imply a probability, alas, that lays far from any sort of certainty. At any rate, this line of reasoning has left me in a paradox. One of the only things I can accurately deduct without making any bold assumptions, is that I know nothing. But then, if I know nothing, I cannot know that I do not know anything, and in order to free myself from this paradox, I must know something, for I cannot know that I know nothing, or else I would know something, and that is that I do know anything. Therefore, I must know something. The question then becomes, what is that something?

    Well, perhaps this would land me in the lap of Rene Descartes, and I would have to accept that the only thing I can fully know is that I am a thing thinking somewhere in some form ("I think therefore I am.") Though, I would also argue that I also know I perceive. I don't know factually whether what I am perceiving is real, though I know that I am perceiving it. However, one could also point out that a perception could be interpreted to be a form of thought, which lands us back at Rene Descartes famous quote. But as we will discuss, I cannot trust the assumptions of others to be true without fully analyzing them myself, and that will perhaps be done during our discussion.

    Not only can I not trust any information I think I know, nor any information anyone else thinks they know, I cannot even truly trust the line of reasoning I use to reach this conclusion. Having very briefly studied psychology for only a few short weeks now in one class I can see my previous faith placed in hard determinism may be accurate - though, as we have established, I have no way of verifying it, leaving me still completely unsure. Everything we think, feel, and do, is very dependent on external forces. There is also no way of knowing whether my logic is truly objective, or rather if it is at the mercy of some other force, which it inevitably, to some extent, is. Merely by being part of a group, which we all are to some extent or another (as dictated by the 'in-group out-group concept/theory) our thoughts are influenced in a certain manner. There is no certainty that my logic has been infected by these influences. Perchance, they are guiding me towards superior logic, but alas, there is no way of verifying this, and if decisions are made merely on chance or probability, it is therefore a mathematical guarantee that so long as we base one probable decision on another, we must eventually be wrong. And building a foundation of knowledge based off of past mistakes is only going to build a structure manufactured on the principles of an impending failure.
    This would lead me to question traditions, something which the earliest philosophers were skeptical of. Since we are born we are instructed how to do certain things, and certain ways which are appropriate to act - but are they? And to what extent are these thoughts buried into my own subconscious? The only way to ensure that my own knowledge has not been based off of some flawed structure is to begin by doubting everything, but then the old problem already experienced by others emerges from the depths of logic's inescapable paradoxes. If I doubt everything, then I must also doubt that I am in fact doubting everything. I must also pursue the chance that I am only thinking this in the first place because of influences - but this brings us back to an issue we have already touched upon.

    I posed a question to my friend today. I asked him that based on how teleportation works, is the photon, or particle, or whatever the case may be, the same object that was initially used? (To put it simply, to my understanding the teleportation issue brings to light an old philosophical problem. The philosophical story goes as follows. There is a teleportation machine, but when it teleports you all the matter you consisted of is destroyed. However, all the information that was you, being all your memories, feelings, emotions, scars, thoughts, everything, is teleported to another place, and then essentially, put into a body which would look identical to you, down to the very last particle. The question then is, is that new thing you?) In short, my friend replied with an answer which said that its existence is absurd, and therefore irrelevant, which I'm sure we all will acknowledge is no legitimate response. The particle is still either it, or it is not, it being irrelevant does not make it any less so. And therein lies the problem. Just because things may not be relevant, does not make them any less than what they are, yet, I find myself incapable of decisively knowing what anything is, though they must be something.

    If one were to reason down to the very last possible point, then one could always find themselves developing a nihilistic view that everything is nothing - nothing matters in the end. And while things may not matter, they still are in some form. Also, that would lead the individual to acknowledge that they cannot know nothing, because that in itself is acknowledging that there was or is something, even if that something was the entity of nothing.
    So alas, thus far I have come to only one conclusion, and that is that I know something - what it is I know is still up for debate. My current life philosophy (or the most prominent relevant one to this conversation) relies upon the fact that nothing matters, and acknowledging that fact makes it easier to come to terms with everything. No matter my situation, what I do not have, what I have, and what I loose, is not relevant. For if nothing matters, which in the end it inevitably does not, then there is no reason to care for it. Humans typically speaking have a plateau happiness level. However, in order to have dark, you must have light, and similarly, in order to have happiness, you must know and experience sadness. (This is my first obvious assumption made, and therefore the beginning of my self contradiction) Then, in order to save yourself from such unavoidable instances, my idea is that so long as you remain completely apathetic you are safe. The catch is, one must be content about being apathetic, but of course, that in itself serves as an obvious paradox, but how to find a more reasonable option is still being mentally debated.

    However, my life philosophy also disobeys my most recent mental predicament, and that is that I cannot know anything for certain. Therefore, even if nothing can be verified, as we have covered, we know that that does not make it any less so.

    Well, there it is. Any comments, or blatant flaws in my reasoning? I know there are. Find them, and discuss them with me? :)
  2. Ziggy

    Ziggy Antiquitie's Friend

    Ah facts, we think they're so important.
    Reality is that which we agree upon, I say a ten pound note is worth ten pounds and you can either agree with me or not. Other cultures may argue that their lumps of stone have the same worth as my paper. We can agree or not. Facts have nowt to do with it.

    I can think your life matters, it doesn't have to be truthful or factual, maybe it becomes 'real' if we simply agree on it.
  3. Feared.Desire

    Feared.Desire Well-Known Member

    Perhaps, though I would argue a group of people agreeing on something doesn't make anything less or more so than previously thought.
    Hypothetical situation: Joe is a perfectly normal guy. One day, Joe gets divorced, and shortly thereafter he moves away. His wife stayed in his home town, and convinced everyone that Joe is actually insane. A few years later Joe moves back to his home town, except now everyone now thinks Joe is insane. Is Joe insane?

    Well, Joe did not change. The fact many individuals perceive him a certain way, does not change him. In the search for truth, whatever that may be, people all thinking and/or feeling a certain way does not make anything more or less so, just the same way as my friend saying something is irrelevant doesn't make it any less or more than what it is.

    I appreciate your post :)
  4. Ziggy

    Ziggy Antiquitie's Friend

    If everyone thinks Joe is insane, and Joe agrees with them and declares himself insane, then it doesn't matter if he is sane, because nobody thinks he is. (Joe may accept certain 'facts' like bits of paper have worth attached to them, and he may reject other 'facts' such as his insanity. His reality is based on 'facts' he accepts and rejects, and is not based on things being true).

    Personally I think that I have to try and go beyond what is true or real in my life, and simply create a better reality for myself (for example I could tell myself truthfully that my cat is just a cat like millions of others, or I could believe she was in some way more special and important than the other cats. You shouldn't let little things like truth or facts ruin your life)
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 10, 2010
  5. Feared.Desire

    Feared.Desire Well-Known Member

    So then, his perceptions of self are more important than other peoples perceptions of himself? What is it exactly that makes his more important? I suppose I have failed to qualify my terms, what is it to be insane? Though, for my metaphor I am not entirely sure if that is relevant.
    Let me deal with another example. Everyone thinks the world is flat. This way, self-reflection is not an option. The fact the majority of people believe it is so, does not change fact, or rather, in this case, truth. The truth of the matter remains the same, regardless of the opinions everybody posses. Thoughts do not alter reality. The issue I find myself preoccupied with is how to find truth through the fog of uncertainty.

    (I am enjoying this conversation :))

    I find your interpretation of self in regards to your last statement interesting. I shall make an effort to comment on it later on.
  6. Ziggy

    Ziggy Antiquitie's Friend

    Yes... and no.
    Ok let's take me, my life's not that important, so what I think, say, and do doesn't really matter much. However, I can't really do much about what others think, say and do, so my own actions are only important in that I have some degree of control over them.

    As to the world being flat, if everyone believes it, then it doesn't matter whether it is or not. Even those who say it's round don't really matter. It's only when somebody actually tries to sail round it that it makes a difference. They either fall off the edge or discover new worlds, actions have good or bad consequences, and it's our view of reality that guides our actions. I mean Columbus had a totally incorrect map of the world, it wasn't factual or true, but at the end of the day did it matter that much?

    (unfortunately as much as I'd like to stay up and continue this conversation I suppose I should go to sleep at some point anyway I shall see what tomorrow brings. Catch you later then.)
  7. Feared.Desire

    Feared.Desire Well-Known Member

    Sorry, I've been busy with school/training, but now I shall reply.
    (Btw, on a totally unrelated note I think it's awesome/hilarious that they have an emoticon of Sasuke)

    "As to the world being flat, if everyone believes it, then it doesn't matter whether it is or not."

    I really enjoyed that line. I have considered that, and while half of me (as I am evidently indecisive on every issue) does agree, I feel compelled to question it. The fact of the matter is that truth is relevant whether or not people acknowledge it. For instance, though they may not accept that the world is round, the fact that it is round dictates the very way their entire world functions. The weather, seasons, day and night. Everything is dependent upon the fact, and those facts still remain regardless of their perceptions. I suppose then, a slight tweak in terms is necessary. Perhaps everyone being misled is not relevant in their own mind, or isolated community, however it is of consequence to them and everyone else.

    "Ok let's take me, my life's not that important, so what I think, say, and do doesn't really matter much. However, I can't really do much about what others think, say and do, so my own actions are only important in that I have some degree of control over them. "

    Okay, on a global scale ones own personal perceptions may not have enormous repercussions, however I will (as always for the sake of discussion) debate your statement. From what I understand, your point is that thoughts mean little, though actions have the potential to change perceptions. Now, I would argue that in order to commit an action one must first have the intention, or rather, the idea, or a conceptualized idea. My suggestion is, perhaps that you have the cause and effect backwards. If I think I know truth and then go out to prove it, and some how end up doing so, then my thoughts have had, in turn, a great impact. Potentially, I was even able to alter the minds of some others towards that truth (but then the question would arise, what is truth, and is there a universal truth? Well, for the sake of this argument, and given our current metaphorical situation, I think it is safe to say that we are, for now, assuming there is 'a' truth.) Now, an argument to my own point could be that if one did not have the intention, but still inadvertently carried out the action which revealed the truth, then the same end has been accomplished, while conversely, if one thought he knew the truth but failed to act upon it, then he has in actual fact accomplished nothing. I suppose one counter-counter argument could be that while his intentions did not guide him to the truth, his actions would have still been dictated by the thought or intention to do something, meaning that the cause and effect would still be in the order of thought then action, making thought still a mandatory factor in the equation. Though, if you have a way to explain or argue or contradict any of these points, please do.

    As well, I think you were saying that ones actions are more important than ones perceptions of him because he can control them, but what is it to control? Is something given more value simply because one has control of it? Or is its value not inherently the same, regardless of whether or not one has the capabilities to dictate its course or situation. Alas, there is a possibility I am misunderstanding you on that last point. If so, please elaborate :)
  8. Ziggy

    Ziggy Antiquitie's Friend

    Hi, I'm not sure how much of this answers your questions I can be a bit random :biggrin: hopefully some of this will be related to the posts above. Anyway...

    Well yes and no (that's pretty much my answer to everything). Here's a good story about an isolated community.

    "Once a man stumbled into the Land Of Fools where the people were fleeing from a monster in a field. He saw that it was just a water melon, and explained that it was food. When he cut it up and began to eat it the people became terrified of him and drove him away saying "He will kill us next!"... A while later another man came in and saw the same situation, he agreed that it did indeed look terrifying and crept away from it. He gained their confidence and little by little got them to overcome their fear."

    So I guess in a way I don't want to look at life and say this is what is true or false, or determine if life has meaning or no meaning, maybe I can live my life like the fool and simply overcome my fear of the monster in the field. Maybe that has more worth.

    Let's suppose that I learn loads of facts from Wikipedia, now there may be an outcome, people may think I'm clever or I may win an argument, or learn what is true but so what? That knowledge should bring about changes in me, such as a deeper appreciation of life. If I learn about photosynthesis but don't appreciate the trees more it seems a bit of a waste of time. What is important is that I go "Wow it's a tree!" when others say "So it's just a tree". The facts matter because they help me justify my viewpoint, and even errornous facts can do that. (hey we are talking about Wikipedia here) but what is most important is the actions that arise from my viewpoint. If I appreciate nature then my action should be to take care of it and it's great if that action is based on fact rather than just thinking how nice it all is, but although facts greatly enhance life, they shouldn't dictate it as maybe the consequences of the resulting actions are more important.

    Take a figure like Don Quixote, he believes he's a hero (a knight in shining armour) but everyone else thinks he's mad. So let's say he undertakes a chivalrous quest, if he succeeds people will remember him as a hero, if he fails they will remember him as a nutter. The outcomes of his actions determines what is real, not than the other way around. (although we could argue about cause and effect, the effect does then itself become a cause, so it's probably not worth it)

    Anyway at the end of all that you could rightly ask, "Ziggy do you really believe what you've written here or are you talking shite?". Well, yes, no and don't know. But simply writing it and thinking about it will bring about consequences which may enable me to answer that question one day.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 15, 2010
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