Time to Stop Talking

It is wise to talk, to philosophise with friends and antagonists, to chart your way through the maze of thinking that is human history. The ideas that work, that don’t work, that work in a particular culture, ideas that may change the world, others that leave it the same but feeling different; all this talking is vital.

But when the coffee is put away and the alcohol stops flowing should there then be a time to act on all the talking? In a society where people are scared of being laughed at, of being seen as doing something wrong they did not think was wrong, where people do not own the standards they demand, can one just simply talk?

And if one is to act, how, with whom and when?

Fearing Banality

I think the universe is far more interesting than we are. It is also true to say that, as far as we are aware, the Earth has the only self-aware animals that exist. If the Universe is self aware in some form we have yet to discover how or in what manner. Though in all honesty, we don’t have  a very clear description of self-awareness anyway.

That said we have tried with religion, nationhood, philosophy and time keeping to gain a foothold on who we are and as far as I can tell, we have utterly failed. The foundation stones are all set incorrectly. Just as we can understand more of the universe by investigating ourselves and restricting all theories to those that result in life, so, too, by only looking at ourselves we will never get the better picture.

Religious people suppose that a universe without a god is impersonal and indifferent. Their gods are banal and impossible but they blind themselves to this fact. However, we don’t know for sure what the universe is, so why assume?

The variety of possibilities is exhilarating.

Keeping Fit

I am not sure people realise that healthiness (one’s fitness regime) is intimately tied up with one’s philosophy of life. Maybe people don’t actually think they have a philosophy of life, but we all do. This is why many Eastern religions (and we may perhaps say all religions are basically philosophies or comments upon life) have a deep regard for how we look after our bodies. The whole martial arts scene started in India started as a series of religious exercises meant to prepare the mind and body for religious duties.

They seem to me to come together very closely in a method of exercise called ‘Standing Still, Keeping Fit’.  A way of standing which pits the muscles of one’s body against gravity. A method which means the longer you can keep your poise the stronger your muscles have to be. But there is more yet to these exercises which are bound up with how one lives, because actually to keep fit in the main merely means you should eat to your personal requirements. We are very bound up with several meals a day in the West but for sedentary lifestyles one meal a day is adequate.

But just as exercises are all to do with how we think so too is eating. We get it right for ourselves when we get our philosophies right.

Surprise Surprise

I was contacted out of the blue yesterday by a friend who studied physics at my university and with whom I have only intermittently kept in contact. I knew he married and has two lovely children and lives in New York but yesterday we chatted for a while and we discussed briefly modern philosophers and some nineteenth century authors.

It took me back to the time when I was surrounded by young minds better than my own, from all over the world, and no subject was off limits and there was always someone who knew a good deal about something. They told me then that I would never again be surrounded by so much intellectual energy (though they didn’t know my mother!) and in many ways they are right. When you are taught to simply think about existence and analyse the world around you it is a habit you never lose.

So I found myself catching up on Schopenhauer and remembering Ayer and discussing Spinoza in a way I have not done for many years.  And I realise that the world of mind is a different place to every-day life. Every day life is a place where we make a dozen assumption to get through the day, but in the world of mind there is often just one assumption made to start one off thinking, and even that is looked down upon.

Far better to assume nothing and see where that leads. Thinking is a thing in itself, after all.

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February 2019
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