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Philosophy Psychology Science

Becoming an Idea/ Ideal.

Radical Islamic Terrorists, French Foreign Legionnaires, Samurai, Crusaders and Japanese World War 2 kamikazes all seem to be very different on the outside and are separated by vast oceans of time but when you look past that, they appear to be fundamentally one and the same.
When I was talking to one of my Facebook friends, Cody Funk, I learned from him that people who dedicate themselves to an Idea/ Ideal destroy their Ego and become more than they really are. That got me thinking, when they undergo the transformation of the Ego destruction to embody an Idea/ Ideal, they tend to override all sense of self-preservation and cannot be swayed so easily with money, Power or other worldly things and instead devote themselves to achieving this new purpose they made which exists as Symbols in the realm of their Minds.

I read from a post on www.psychologytoday.com about “The Power of Symbolism: Why burning the Quran Is Disturbing” and it presented an interesting idea that Symbols are our way, as humans, of coping with our frailty and finite lives and meeting our need of wanting to be part of something larger. It is when those symbols are desecrated e.g. burning a country’s flag, attacking a country, burning a Bible/ Quran/ cross, football team banners, mocking a God etc that we feel insecure , destroys the idea of us wanting to be part of something larger and reminds us of our mortality.

The Symbols that are ingrained in our Minds start to take a life of their own and we begin to feel and express love for it as we do for a lover or family member according to “The Brain Sell” by Dr. David Lewis which explains why most people are fooled to buy branded items like Gucci, Armani, Rolex etc.

It is this love for Symbols that makes us do anything to achieve what these symbols suggest or represent like spending excessive amounts of money on the branded items or maybe even killing other people who don’t represent or support that Symbol. Soldiers and Kamikaze fighters say they die for their country, which in their minds is the flag symbol, when in actual fact, they will kill as a way to express their love for that flag Symbol. The same goes for Radical terrorists who do disgusting things as a way to express their love for their idea of God.

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Philosophy Psychology Science

Words, Names and their power on us.

Words and names are really sounds we make from our vocal chords and the movement of our tongues. Doesn’t sound amazing but it is those same words and names that have a significant effect on our minds assuming we do let them affect us.

The name of a place, person, thing etc. conjures up memories in our minds of that person/ place/ thing or anything approximately associated to that utterance from our current schema.

Words can anger or injure another person.

Words can put someone at ease or become happy.

Names can cause people to feel afraid or be happy depending on the memories they have of that name.

Names can cause people to temporarily ignore the present and retrace the residue of the past imprinted in their memories, in effect going back in Time according to their interpretation of the past.

Names sharpen your intent and effort.

Words allow you, to some degree, to get people to do what you want them to do depending on how willing they are to obey you.

Words can be used to bend our Reality and the Reality of others through lies or Truths although the consequences and damage done will be irrevocable.

Since words and names can change our Reality, words and names have Power.

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Philosophy Psychology Science

Prometheus

Prometheus was a godlike being (Titan) who stole the gift of fire from the Greek Gods and gave it to humanity so they could progress. In a way, we are gifted with that “fire” in the form of knowledge and a rare few people are able to use that fire to invent extraordinary things. In a way, we have become the Gods of old and new in that we have found the components to fabricate Reality (in the form of Quarks and leptons), we wield weapons that can level entire cities like the Nuclear bomb, we are trying to harness the power of the Sun on a macro level in the form of Fusion reactors and we can cure most diseases which were at one time incurable and fatal. These are but a few examples of what the “fire” of knowledge imbues us with. One day we may become more than humans, transcending our limits, becoming part-machine, part-human, a new renaissance in the form of the Post-Human. Even as I speak, we are progressing to that point where the Creator (human) and the Created (machines) are becoming one in the form of mechanical hearts, synthetic limbs, artificial nanoparticle “blue blood”, stem cells being used to replace tissues and organs which we normally wouldn’t be able to regenerate like the heart, eyes, arms etc. In the old times, whenever we came to a phenomena we had limited knowledge of, we would tend to say it was “God’s will” or the “Gods were punishing us with earthquakes, volcanic eruptions etc because we have sinned”. As time went on and our knowledge expanded, we would no longer turn to Supernatural causes and turn more to Science. The God or the Gods became “God/ Gods of the Gaps” because we would always push that idea to phenomena which Science couldn’t explain.

Why should we be restricted to an idea of Gods or a God creating us and seeming to not care at all about our affairs? Surely the point of the Singularity or “the Big Bang” ,which is the starting point of creation, is sufficient enough and that is how thing are, no metaphysical creator or creators needed. I am open to the idea of there being no Gods or God but it is not something I completely follow blindly. Gods or God could interpreted to be just ideas in our Minds which represent something like how the old Greek Gods represented a facet about human affairs/ emotions.

Perhaps the idea of God/ Gods is really not for explaining phenomena but a need which humans have to sate. As the French philosopher Voltaire put it, “if God didn’t exist, it would be necessary to invent him.”

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Philosophy Politics Psychology

Virtue ethics and its applications.

Socrates once said, “know thyself.” Aristotle further expanded on this quote by developing a system of Morality called Virtue ethics, which as the title suggests, is to aim to develop virtues for each and everyone of us in order to achieve a much happier and successful life.  Virtues and their vices are really just labels applied to a set pattern of mental, emotional and physical reactions we have towards certain situations like dealing with people, in a stressful environment etc. Virtue ethics is basically applied Psychology. For instance, focus on the feeling/ idea of anger; too much anger and we become irascible, make people scared to interact with us and lose all sense of reason. This is very important with regards to Business because a business can’t afford to lose customers if its employees and/ or CEO are rude and irritable to its customers or if the company is unable to stay calm towards an unsatisfied customer. Furthermore, quickness to anger shows you are not in control of the situation you are weak. Too little expression of anger and we become passive/ passive aggressive and people will take advantage of us in our everyday life, making us become bitter of the past which drains us of our mental resources rather than focusing on the present which is what matters. Being passive/ passive-aggressive and being very irritable are examples of Vices with respect to the application and expression of anger which we feel in certain situations. The “Golden Mean”/ the Virtue/ the True Path of expressing anger is to neither be too angry or too passive but to be patient, to bear the anger, acknowledge it and express your feelings towards the person/ situation in a controlled and calm way. The feeling of anger and how we respond to it, whether being irascible, passive/ passive-aggressive or patient is also important in Politics because Diplomats know they must treat their counterparts and foreign Government officials with respect to not provoke them into wars and to get cooperation.

Similarly, for the feeling/ concept of self-worth, too much overconfidence in oneself and its physical expression borders/ becomes arrogance which leads to the path of destruction as we become blind to our egos, we become like Narcissus which makes us weak, powerless and easily manipulated. There are numerous times when an army that seemed far superior technologically was brought to its knees because the General of that army was too arrogant to think that the opposing army was ever match to his army. Just look at the examples in Afghanistan, Iraq, Vietnam and the American Revolution where the British, American, Russian and Greek Empires suffered horrific casualties at the hands of a smaller, poorer army. An abnormally small amount of confidence leads to shyness which could lead to arrogance because the very shy person tries to compensate for their lack of social interaction by excelling in Academic studies, thereby feeling superior than everyone else. If that is not case, then the person will likely not get very far in life because you need to form connections with people, market yourself etc. Image and reputation counts and it is the key to power. Thus the Virtue of the concept/ feeling of self-worth is confidence where you feel you are strong enough to deal with a person/ situation while making the required preparations and not underestimating the opponent/ challenge.

 

However, although what Aristotle says is true and wise, there are times when despite achieving/ trying to achieve Virtues in our lifetimes, situations and life do not go according to how we want them which makes the whole attempt to achieve Virtues pointless.

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Philosophy Psychology

Narcissus, Arrogance and Vanity.

Narcissus was a character in Greek Mythology who was so proud and egotistical that he fell in love with his own image reflected by a nearby river. Narcissus eventually died because he was so obsessed with his own self-image and wanted to make love to it.

The Ancient Greeks were truly a wise and insightful people, much of Western Civilisation is influenced by their ideas. In particular, this myth of Narcissus yields an underlying, universal Truth about human nature and its flaws. As a side note, if you read the Swiss Psychologist Carl Jung’s work on the Archetypes, he also gains insights into the meanings underlying many of our Myths. Narcissus is very similar to arrogant and vain people, people that you surely have met in your daily lives, yes? These types of people are to be avoided at all costs or if you have the misfortune to share your moments in life with them, they are merely to be tolerated with until an opportunity arises to leave them permanently.

Arrogant people get angry when their wishes are unfulfilled, they believe they are always right, they act very rudely towards others, they will not accept most people’s ideas that are contrary to their own etc.  Arrogant people hold this belief that they are far greater than everyone, are flawless and they are trapped in this grand delusion which they are not aware. Their mind and its thought do not align properly to the Reality that occurs before them; their interpretation is skewed and incorrect. This idea of perceived superiority expresses itself in their rude, brash and brazen behaviour towards others they consider lower in status than themselves. They lower or devalue people so they can feel better and elevate themselves which is a parasitic and weak thing to do. There is no point disagreeing with them because of that deeply fixated belief in themselves. The best thing to do is “agree” with them which works wonders and lowers their guard. When you “agree” with them, they will no longer be hostile to you because you appear to mirror them and their attitudes when you agree with them. Hence they see a mental reflection of themselves in you as you defer to them and fall in love with that mental projection which is similar to how Narcissus loved his own image. Thus, this prolongs the cycle of their arrogant thoughts and behaviour. When you mirror their behaviour and thoughts, you camouflage yourself from them. They think they are superior but in fact this idea of theirs opens them to attack where they can be controlled just like with the mirroring technique. In their belief that they are perfect, they are in a state of self-denial and are wilfully CHOOSING to be ignorant. That is stupidity defined clearly. We see forms of arrogance everywhere like when the old colonial Western Powers would roam outside Europe, doing as they pleased, taking other countries’ resources, subjugating native populations etc. It is through the process of Colonisation that they project their own self-image to the countries they conquer which is reflected back at them, fuelling their arrogance and feelings of superiority.

Vain people, like arrogant people, tend to be obsessed with fashion, they put a lot of attention to their appearance, they get angry if you make a mocking comment on their appearance etc. They want to derive pleasure from being visually and aesthetically “perfect” and when they come across someone who does not reflect their thoughts back at them, they respond with anger and frustration; their minds doesn’t align with the Reality that they observe before them.

Much of what I have written on arrogance and the self-love gained from mirroring the arrogant/ vain person’s attitudes and beliefs originated from an author called Robert Greene.

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Philosophy Psychology

Ideas and abstract things, their indestructibility and effects.

Ideas are indestructible. You can’t kill them. No matter the span of time between two points, age does not hinder or corrode ideas e.g. ideas like Democracy and Nazism are still alive and in people’s minds, believers and non- believers alike, despite the origins of the respective ideologies being in the order of decades/ millenia.

Ancient Rome wiped out the empire of Carthage at the conclusion of the Punic wars and so great was Rome’s hatred of Carthage that it decided its soldiers should level all of Carthage’s structures and place salt on the ruins of the former empire in order for no life to grow there. In assuming ascendancy of the known world at the time and despite its efforts to wipe out its enemy completely, Rome failed because the idea of Carthage remains in our minds as well as the minds of its destroyers. We still remember ancient Carthage and the great Hannibal who destroyed Rome’s armies many times.

The same can be said for Adolf Hitler and Nazism. Despite Hitler’s armies being beaten and Germany being occupied by the allies, the concept of Nazism was never destroyed and it has been reformed in the form of Neo-Nazism. The idea of Neo-Nazism still endures in the countries of the Western world that opposed Hitler and it grows stronger in times of crisis like in the case of Greece’s and its mounting debt due to the Recession. Greece’s extremist party “Golden Dawn” is modelled exactly like Nazism, even its party symbol resembles the Nazi swastika.

By going against the very ideas we oppose, we become a part of it unwittingly; it defines us. As what the great German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche said in his book Beyond good and evil, “He who fights monsters should see to it that he himself does not become a monster.” Sometimes the idea that we hate so much becomes a part of our personality, infecting us like a virus e.g. killing someone who has caused atrocities makes you no better than that person, you become like him. Even Leonardo DiCaprio’s character states that ideas are like viruses in the film Inception.

 Ancient Rome persecuted the early Christians and killed a considerable number of them. Likewise, the ancient Catholic church massacred “heretics” and free thinkers who didn’t believe in their ideas. The more Ancient Rome/ ancient Catholic Church tried to wipe out its dissenters, the more Christians/ Atheists thrived and multiplied in number.

Symbols are ideas in material form yet they are almost substantial; they are blots of think, pieces of fabric, paper etc. Were I to burn a flag of the UK on live television, a lot of people would get angry and want to kill me. The same can be said if I desecrated religious icons and money. When we look at the icons and symbols of corporate companies, we instantly know what type of company it represents and its products because the idea and symbol of the company is repeatedly shoved in our faces in the form of adverts. The symbols invade our minds. The ideas behind the country flags, religious icons, money, corporate logos etc affects us greatly depending on what viewpoint we have of the symbol, whether its favourable or unfavourable. Ideas and Symbols are Power assuming the symbols meaning is already established in the mind of the beholder.

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Philosophy Physics Psychology Science

Selfishness, selflessness and other random thoughts.

Herein lies the paradox. Consider the Golden Rule made by the great Sage Confucius. Confucius stated, “Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself” and that is a very nice rule indeed, a rule that I generally live by and which mostly in others is lacking much to my annoyance. When you read that Law, take note on the latter part “you would not choose for yourself” and see that despite trying to be selfless and good by treating others well, you first have to think about yourself and the actions done to yourself before you can begin to treat others ethically. Hence by being good and helping others, you in fact are helping or thinking about yourself in the first instance. When you were born, you weren’t born because you chose to be born, that decision was made because your parents wanted you to be born so they could feel good about themselves and because of the continuation of Mankind; at once, the needs of the community and the needs of the individuals are met, much like a legal contract. When person “A” goes to do a charity event to “feel good about himself” and help the charity in question, he has himself aimed to get a reward which is the release of endorphins and other substances released in the neurons which triggers the feeling of happiness despite helping the charity. Happiness is like a painkiller to help make us at ease with our existence which can be very scary sometimes; the thought that you or I can die at any moment despite the low chances of it happening is still a possibility, the slow but steady progress of the days into months, Seasons and years and how routine your life can be makes you wonder where you are headed in life if there is ever a purpose.

Just thinking about colossal black holes at the Galactic centre in our Universe and possible Multiverses made me feel like my mind wanted to escape my skull, like a feeling of giddiness. With that in mind, it makes you wonder that you are an insignificant germ within the grand scheme of things yet we easily forget that fact because of what’s in front of us which is life, the traffic, going to work, going to school etc. Much like reality in general i.e. my body thinks the furniture around me and the house I live in is solid but it actually isn’t because it’s actually energy with very little disorder or entropy. My eyes don’t see that but Science says it is.

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Philosophy Psychology

Time and the Meaning of Life

I am choosing to be decisive, not “having to be decisive”. Time is also always fading into the future (like the sands of time according to Socrates or Plato), this Summer is disappearing steadily much like the previous Summer. September will be upon us soon. The days go by seamlessly like a faded dream, a day of routine, of familiar faces, places and road. Find the meaning of life, the middle part in the time sequence that separates the moment you were brought into this world to the time when you will die or in probability terms, P(chance of dying) = 1, out of a scale of 0 -1. The meaning of life is to self-realise, to have the most impact/ influence you can generate to as many people you know, that which you derive your pleasure and happiness within reason and the Law. Make alliances, break alliances, choose your friends wisely as long as their motivations and actions are aligned to your goal in life. Your surroundings and the people you are with have such an effect that it can change your behaviour, for good or for ill. That is a factor that is within your control to seek self-realisation. What is beyond your control to find your meaning of life is the countless circumstances and possibilities; ignore it, it only saps your mental strength. Once you control the people you are with and put the required amount of hard work, you will find your mark and target in your life. Be like the arrow drawn from a very skillful and determined archer, single minded in purpose, uncaring for what happens around it, only concerned with the target that lays before it. Time streams forward but the resolute arrow does not care.

Be relentless and implacable, like a tank or horseman who surges ahead, crushing anything and anyone that stands in their way.Take note here that you have to be ruthless at times but only if it is within the Law, reason and done so in an honourable way.
Resting/ relaxation are only a means to an end and not the most important thing. Use it as a way to recharge your energy reserves like how scattered soldiers rally to one point before charging off again, their strength renewed. That is purity in purpose and deed.

On a side note, my facebook friend offers another interpretation of the archer and arrow metaphor where instead of you being the arrow, the arrow represents your Will and you are the strong and resolute archer directing yourself at your targets in life.

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Philosophy Physics Psychology Science

‘If a tree falls in the forest and no conscious sentience is there to “hear” it fall, does it make a sound?’

If there is no sentient being with the 5 senses nearby to perceive such sound waves, how can it be “Truth”.

A mad/ delusional person may hear and see things within his/ her 5 senses that may be very different to what you or I perceive with the 5 senses, so that is the mad person’s Truth as far as what his/ her sense tell him/ her.

We can only know Truth that is immediately within our 5 senses in our immediate environment, not something far away as a tree making a sound.

Does my perception of the colour “red” equate to your view of “red” or could my view of “red” be your “blue” from your perspective? We don’t know what happens after death because the brain is destroyed and it is the essential component to sense Truth in our immediate surroundings because it computes signals from the 5 senses. For all we know, we could be living in this dream-world (which me and my perception of you are living in) and then when we die, we don’t wake up from that dream-world because there is no functional brain to process the 5 senses we have for our immediate surroundings.

To sum it up, we only “exist” because we think we exist, all because of our brain processing the 5 senses and interpreting our existence as Truth based on what our 5 senses are telling us.

Being aware of our own Truth through our 5 senses makes us conscious and in doing so builds up our Reality or what we think of Reality.

Therefore, the tree, the forest and the sound made when the tree falls does not exist because there was no sentient beings like ourselves to perceive it to exist or to be “true”.

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Philosophy Politics Psychology

Sword of Damocles

Macbeth may have hallucinated whether there was an actual dagger before him prior to him killing King Duncan, but those self-aware know and feel the sword of Damocles placed above their heads. Don’t you feel the weight and keenly shaped tip of the sword of Damocles above your head?