Philosophical Rant I

Discussion in 'Soap Box' started by Zurkhardo, Mar 27, 2009.

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  1. Zurkhardo

    Zurkhardo Well-Known Member

    “It turns out that an eerie type of chaos can lurk just behind a facade of order - and yet, deep inside the chaos lurks an even eerier type of order.”
    -Douglas Hostadter

    Would our lives have any meaning if we were immortal or did not know death? Would we appreciate love I we never knew loneliness or value security if we never knew fear? What would happiness mean to us if it weren't for sadness and despair. Everything is effectively defined—and given significance—through its opposite and counterpart. If it wasn’t for the horrors of war, we would never appreciate the importance of peace. Poverty needs wealth, freedom needs oppression, and light needs darkness. These things, which are all opposed, are also mutually dependent on each other. This is the paradox in which things that are conflicting are also inextricably tied to one another.

    How do you explain death without life to compare to? Is not darkness merely the absence of light and wealth the absence of poverty? Without their opposing force, these concepts and beliefs would be worthless, indefinable, and incomplete. Without this system of disparate forces, we wouldn’t innovate, change, invent, adapt, create…these things, all the beauty and advancements we’re responsible for, are all breed through—and because of—conflict.

    Through adversity we survive. Without a challenge, we stagnate and decay.

    Life (and human existence in general) is nothing but constant struggle, a struggle that we need in order to define ourselves and give us purpose. If we didn’t have conflict, what would we have? What would drive us and occupy our time? Does not every story and narrative—fiction and fact alike—have a central conflict of sorts? It’s not merely something so metaphysical and grant: it could be as simple as wanting to graduate, getting a promotion, or losing weight…it could be as cosmic as good versus evil, chaos versus order, destruction versus creation.

    In poorer countries, the concern is survival, modernization, wealth and job creation, etc. In rich countries, where such problems are largely solved, the concern becomes more philosophical: we start questioning the purpose of our lives, going through existential crises, engaging in ultimately petty pursuits. Devoid of any real conflict, we engage in subconsciously fabricating them. Or perhaps they were just always there, for we always need some obstacle or challenge of some kind. Even if we reach utopia, we would find our paradise somehow flawed and troublesome in and of itself (boredom would likely be the issue)…ambition and perseverance, this desire to always strive for something and overcome something else, is as much a human trait as inquisitiveness.

    Everything is in constant conflict with everything else. We live in a system—globally, naturally, and universally—that is in constant flux and change and chaos and disagreement. And it is this natural state of divergences and clashes that is so dynamic, so beautiful inspite of its absurdity.
  2. Ziggy

    Ziggy Antiquitie's Friend

    I'm know I'm going to die but life still has no meaning. I know what loneliness is but I still don't appreciate love. If I find either love or meaning in my life I don't think it will be for these reasons. I don't even think that I need something to make me appreciate something else. I can appreciate a tree, why? Is it because I've experienced a lack of trees in my life? Do we need ugliness to appreciate beauty? Can't we just simply appreciate beauty? Maybe we just fail to see that what we call ugly is in fact beautiful?

    It's really nice that lots of people are dying in wars so that I can appreciate the peace in my life. :unsure:

    Erm... progress?
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 27, 2009
  3. Issaccs

    Issaccs Well-Known Member

    Life has no meaning now.
  4. Zurkhardo

    Zurkhardo Well-Known Member

    Never said any of this was a universal truth or fact (not like any concept really is). This is all merely musing and postulation.

    Thanks for your input!
  5. Hae-Gi

    Hae-Gi Banned Member

    I completely agree with everything you said. This is something I realized many years ago. Of course, that doesn't stop me from hating so many of the things that are necessary to give definition. However, some of the badness holds the capability to offer something to compare with that is beyond beautiful, such as (all under true love) BDSM, play rape and having a Master/slave relationship. If these things didn't exist in their evil counterparts, or, hypothetically, weren't known to once have existed, they would mean nothing. Doesn't in any way stop me from utterly hating their evil counterparts, of course. Quite the contrary, in fact. The fact that I embrace some pseudo-evil means that I understand their terror much better than most people by far.

    It makes me curious when intelligent and in the end happy and lucky people fail to see this connection, however... although I do understand when those who have been exposed to the badness and been doomed from it don't. Realizing that your misfortune may have helped in giving a definition to someone, and thus given that person some meaning, cannot be easy to conclude.

    It is my knowledge that this is what heaven partially means. Not even heaven could be excepted from this rule. It is, to a big degree, like the ancient Egyptians once believed... like this world except better.
  6. sudut

    sudut Well-Known Member

    interesting point.
  7. Zurkhardo

    Zurkhardo Well-Known Member

    Well Ziggy, you raise a good retort but I beleive you've misinterpreted. With regards to needing opposities to describe one another, I was speaking (or intended to speak) about humanity as a whole, not we as individuals. We humans know what we know because, ultimately, we have some counterpart to assist in explaining it.

    When we're taught good morals, we're often given a dualistic comparison between what is good and what is bad. It is this sense--by knowing the conflicting value--that we make the distinction. If everyone were a good person, and there was no crime or vice or evil, how would we define what a good act is? There would be know comparative distinction because there is nothing else to prove it. I guess I misused the word appreciate, which I meant in terms of understanding and valuing something through acknowledgement rather than positive preference.

    As for conflict and progress, the former was meant to refer to any objective: a conflict against disease, poverty, vice, etc, not necessarily just war or the like. Progress is defined as moving forward, and you need something keeping you back--some conflicting challenge--to move forward. What is progress if we have nothing to progress from?
  8. Summer.Rain

    Summer.Rain Well-Known Member

    Ehh.... all you said i can summery it in 3 words
    Ying and Yang

    without darkness there is no light
    without life there is no death
    without hatrate there is no love
    and so on...
  9. Zurkhardo

    Zurkhardo Well-Known Member

    Precisely. Taosim is one of the first to have noted this, though nearly all other religions and philosophical schools (even the most ancient ones) noted this for centuries.
  10. Ziggy

    Ziggy Antiquitie's Friend

    not sure if this is relevant, it's just a thought...

    As a young child I appreciated a peaceful existence, I didn't know what war was and I didn't understand what peace was. I could enjoy being happy but I didn't really know much about sorrow, I could experience a love between myself and my family without understanding what love, lonliness or heartbreak were. Is it really worth having war, sorrow and lonliness then? Is it worth having them in order to help us define the world we live in? I can't see how. The world would be better off without them, but it isn't so we just make sense of them as best we can.

    Thing is it's still hard to define what is 'good' (ie. is eating meat or having an abortion?) but we can still appreciate goodness, so I think if we didn't know what 'good' was, but there was no crime, vice or evil, then that would be a lot better.

    (A rather strange thought... if we need to have evil, then having evil is a good thing. So both good and evil are good anyway)
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 30, 2009
  11. Ziggy

    Ziggy Antiquitie's Friend

    I can see that eliminating disease and poverty is progress but again it would be a lot better if these things didn't exist.

    Progress is also made through curiosity of the world around us, and through education. Now if all the money that went into eliminating poverty and disease in the third world could go into increasing their levels of education instead, then wouldn't more progress be made?
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 30, 2009
  12. Zurkhardo

    Zurkhardo Well-Known Member

    Well of course it'd be better that they wouldn't exist, but I was merely pointing out conditions as they are in real life, where they do exist. If you're referring to my anecdote about how utopias would crumble or still deal with conflicts/obstacles, than that was merely to point out that, in place of all that we once knew as issues, new ones would have to emerge to give as something to fight on for...hence why many developed societies deal strongly with existential and philosophical crisis, in place of greater issues of survival (for example).

    And yes, progress is made through curiosity, which I believe I pointed out briefly. However, since it wasn't part of the context of my discussion I didn't give it much mention.
  13. sudut

    sudut Well-Known Member

    wow. you should remind me of this daily.
  14. Zurkhardo

    Zurkhardo Well-Known Member

    Gladly :) I'm happy you've taken an interest in those ideas, though they are largely subjective more than anything concrete.
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