Tag Archive | philosophy

Have a Taste of the Big Picture

With a moment of peace, a person can learn to reflect solely on the world, the events of the present, and the emotions around each incident.  If each of us took a step back to observe this exercise on a daily basis, it may lead us to understand a little more of the world and our place in the big picture.

This big picture can cause confusion in a person if they are not used to it or have never encountered it. We each are often left in the small, subjective corner of the world for so long that we forget that we are part of something bigger and broader.  A taste of the macrocosm can often give us a larger understanding, but it can overwhelm the senses during the first few times. Normal conditioning leads the average person to accept their place in the large machine and never look beyond the immediate area.  It is our territory and it is all that matters.

Such thinking can stunt the experiences of the individual and hamper the community.  As stated many times before, the liberality and cognizance of minds is crucial, and it is very important to remember that stepping to the side to observe the bigger picture widens the eyes.  From that small step, we grow as individuals in many ways.  Not just the break from the routine and stable life, learning creates the bridge to wisdom from experience.  It is easy to sit back and second-guess another’s decisions, but it is a true source of wisdom to speak from one who has learned through experience.

What is the true reason to understanding through the objectivity of our society’s big picture?  It is a simple act that we are greater when we move has a single entity. A nation focused on the problems can quickly shape the future with results.  In the 1950s, Eisenhower proposed an interstate highway system for the U.S.  It was mostly due to his experiences as a military leader when he learned that moving troops across the country was slowed by the lack of infrastructure.  As President, he gave the country one of the greatest infrastructure project and it was a key factor to the growth of the country at the time.

The nation moved as a community and shoved all the politics to the side.  We began to grow out of our ignorance and intolerance.  Our eyes were on the horizon and we eagerly wanted to shape the future to our liking. The sixties shaped our civil discourse in such a way that we soon begged to have more and more to do.  We lifted our eyes even higher and planted a flag on the moon’s surface.  We were unstoppable.

However, current feel of the country has lost that simple view of the world. It leaves most with their eyes lowered back to the sidewalk.  No horizon is seen.  The moon and beyond are all but forgotten.  The hint that we are on the edge of Armageddon occupies our minds.  Some even suggest that we would be better off with a global event leaving us without the things we have accomplished.  The philosophy has been created to forget fixing the problems or stopping other issues in favor of plan for the end of the world.  Neglect is the result of those that expect to see the end.  To these, there is no method or drive to fixing the world; there is no understanding in the macrocosm of the national and global scene.

For some, the question is why fix or clean it up because the end will come soon?  Why waste time, energy, and money fixing or preventing the problems?  So, if that is the thinking, then why waste time, energy, and money wiping your backside?  It will only be dirty again soon. No, it is time to take a few steps to return our minds to the gifts and resources that this world has provide rather than idly waiting for this world to be destroyed.  There is no reason to leave this world as a trash heap.  Be proud of it and make it better for those to follow.

crudus animus

Matters of the Logical Mind

The logical mind searches for answers that can grant an understanding.  The further this method flows into a problem; it seeks the connections between two points of understanding.  With a grouping of these understandings, a logical mind can begin to established a set of philosophies or principles that direct the mind in the decision making process.  The cognitive mind learns in this most elementary way.  In its infancy, the mind does not have the skills to collect more than the most basic stimuli, but once this foundation is created, the mind is ready to find the answers.

Therefore, if a thought about a topic is presented, then the natural reaction is for a person to bring that thought into this structure.  The thought or point of an argument finds connection with other points in the mind’s principles.  It is decided whether this information can be accepted or rejected.  Either way, it becomes the basis of a statute on that point or thought.

This also applies to the idea of using evidence to support an argument.  A mind comes to a conclusion about a situation or puzzle, so it must find a way to the answer.  However, the answer will not just be a simple response to a single question.  This leads to the formation of an argument, which requires a hypothesis and a method for solving it.  Thus, when a hypothesis is presented, evidence is gathered to support or reject this hypothesis.  If this hypothesis hardens with several successful tests of evidence, then it solidifies into pillar of principle in the mind.  The entire structure of the mind can be formed from these pillars.

At its most basic form, this is how the mind initiates the process of assembling its degree of cognizance and liberality.  The strength of the principles can become the walls that protect the mind while shutting it away from the world.  That same world supplies it the elements of its makeup and creates a symbiotic relationship. The environment that provided the elements is the very context within which the mind came into being.  The decisions made in the context of a situation or time period can explain the mind behind those decisions.

It is expected that one might wonder what this very discussion is leading to.  Simply, it is an opportunity to explain the idea of historical context and how it applies to the evidence found within it.  This idea constructs a deeper understanding of events, decisions, people, and social situations that existed to create the evidence.  One can come to understand that the historical context is the frame that holds the picture of that moment in time.  The past influences this picture, yet it is like the oxygen to a fire.  The fire is the event or decision while the fuel is the past feeding that fire.

One should also examine the very word context to have a greater perception of its part in this exploration.  Context has a couple of meaning according to Merriam-Webster.  These include: “1: the parts of a discourse that surround a word or passage and can throw light on its meaning” and “2: the interrelated conditions in which something exists or occurs: environment, setting <the historical context of the war>.” It is the second meaning that applies to this discussion.

With that established as the boundaries of this discussion, it is a strong desire for one to take a single piece of historical or archaeological evidence and use it to prove the truth of an event.  A single piece alone might be enough for the simple puzzle, but there is no way that one piece can stand up to the larger debates.  If one walked into a court room with the hope of solving a crime with a single piece of evidence, it would fail quickly to support the argument. A lawyer must build a case based on a series of evidence to support an argument.  A scientist must gather samples of evidence to prove a hypothesis. A historian collects artifacts and texts to solidify them into the recorded history of our world.

Given this, I reject anyone’s claim that a single piece of evidence can claim to have all the answers to an argument.  That piece of evidence is collected and placed where it belongs in the historical context and is tested with the other elements that are contemporary.  An artifact reveals only so much in the same manner that a text can only reveal so much.  Both become subject to the intentions of those that created each and kept each in their time.  In other words, expect that evidence can be influence by the historical context and those people in it.

So, remember if someone claims an outside force or entity created something, it is also possible that the Flying Spaghetti Monster created it.  There is as much evidence to support either theory.

crudus animus

The Realist

First, I would like to offer birthday wishes to my eldest daughter.  She turns seventeen today.  She is the focus of my future and the bright spot in my life.  Now, here is an essay that I wrote a few years ago.  Enjoy.

We all have moments of tribulation that decry the negative instead of the positive.  These can draw the ire that may be introduced by rational thought or incessant rant that grieves for the loss of consistent justice.  Yet, it is not the negative aspect of the world that I feel needs a voice.  Instead, we need the ever-conflicting philosophy that must bring a certain balance to the world.  It asks for a stage upon which its message has the chance to be heard.  As the ancient Greeks practiced in their democracy, it behooves every citizen to listen to the underlying meaning of the statements by exploring the contexts of the declarations.  The idea of civic duty arises from this tradition.

I would not seek to create that stage out of some desire to claim fame or fortune.  I would not attempt it for some shallow reason to simply rationalize the inner pressures of my psyche.  However, I would endeavor to have an alternate point of view to escape the ecumenical politics.  The gesture would be for me to have a chance to review this wider analysis of the context.

This brings to mind a few solid questions on the method of my theory and how it relates to this indistinct term, realism.  These questions ask for definition, parameters, and its own context in the society around us.  For example, in Plato’s Republic, he presents the allegory of the cave which gives his explanation of the universals.  The explanation allows us to understand that the reality and its objects are mere reflects of the true, perfect form of those objects.  It is the philosopher that can see this true form while the rest are left with shadows or reflections.  It is an enterprise that I wish to explore and discover the truths without falling into a senseless twist of rhetoric.

According to Merriam-Webster, realism is defined in these ways:
1. concern for fact or reality and rejection of the impractical and visionary
2.     a : a doctrine that universals exist outside the mind; specifically : the conception that an abstract term names an independent and unitary reality
b : a theory that objects of sense perception or cognition exist independently of the mind — compare nominalism
3. the theory or practice of fidelity in art and literature to nature or to real life and to accurate representation without idealization.

I would like to look at the 2b definition.  The “objects of sense perception or cognition” are able to detach themselves and view the situation from an objective point.  It is similar to the act of creating a satellite to orbit the planet for a higher perspective.  One might elect a surrogate to separate from the moment in order to collect more data for a clearer window into the situation.  Hence, the original issue that created the conflict can be arbitrated from a point that has no bias to either party.

To separate from the conflict in order to absorb the entire context becomes the ultimate mindset of the realist.  It is the state of enlightenment that the true follower of the philosophy seeks to reach.  As with most philosophies that our ancestors brought to light, it is a pinnacle that one continues to strive toward and never stops to enjoy the view.

As this neutral voyeur comes to rest, it is the conflict and its context that draws the intellect’s gaze.  The independence of this mind has the will to gather all the facts of the case in addition to opinions from inside and outside of the conflict.  A fresh idea or thought can be interjected but the focus should remain on the case that is revealed before this judge of the realism.

This ideal thought creates the goal of the believer, which even the realist will find to be difficult to do because, in essence, to have someone completely without bias would be a near impossible feat.

Consider the idea that the Form from Plato can only be viewed by the philosopher as his perceptions can see past the shadows.  The realist becomes that philosopher as he is able to see past all the shadows and reflections that are cast by the minds that are involved in the conflict.

crudus animus

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