Re:

Can philosophers help resolve the real problems that people have in their lives?

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Gary Childress
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Re:

Post by Gary Childress » Fri Apr 29, 2016 4:35 pm

I hate getting older. The older I get, the more I feel like I should know something. When I was younger, at least I could say, "I haven't learned that yet." Excuses become harder and harder to come by when I get older. And of course I also tend to forget more things as I get older. I used to be pretty good at mathematics but I've forgotten many mathematical things I used to know how to do because I haven't continually practiced them. It's very depressing.

Sometimes I feel like I really should be dumped off at a roadside in some desolate place somewhere to perish rather than continue to be a burden on society. Or maybe I should "tune in" more to God and become a "prophet" or something. Then at least I could give people something called "salvation" in return for goods and services, maybe?

In any case, thought I'd save Henry some trouble in deleting subject lines. :)

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Lacewing
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Re: Re:

Post by Lacewing » Fri Apr 29, 2016 6:05 pm

Sweet post. You're a good soul, Gary.

Sorry I can't say anything more thoughtful... but I'm taking a break.

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Post by henry quirk » Fri Apr 29, 2016 8:04 pm

"Sometimes I feel like I really should be dumped off at a roadside in some desolate place somewhere to perish rather than continue to be a burden on society."

If you're really all that useless (to yourself) you can always take yourself out (instead being taken out).

Me: I think you ought to hang around a while...interesting times are just 'round the corner.

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Re: Re:

Post by Harbal » Fri Apr 29, 2016 9:51 pm

I find the worst thing about getting/being old is having to put up with being consantly undermined by my body. It used to be so cooperative but know it just seems to resent being told what to do?

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Re: Re: old age how I view its challenges

Post by hajrafradi » Fri Apr 29, 2016 10:43 pm

Just the other day I wrote an autobiographical essay about getting old. Here it is:

“Is this what it is?” This phrase used to cause me a passing, five-minute depression. Yeah, yah, we all know this is what it is, better go sell your misery somewhere else, buddy. Then you take a deep gulp of fresh air, and you’re back to normal.

That was then. But this is now. Now I’m 62, and this phrase seems to have taken on a nature of permanence. I know I can’t get the girl now, form 40 years ago; I can’t get the other girl, and that third one, either. So I won’t get the Nobel Prize I so much clamoured, and I can’t even get the job back I really liked. I can’t get the girl back, that girl, the one I had but slipped away, and if I did, I wouldn’t know what to do with her anyway.

Money. Money? I even stopped buying lottery tickets. What’s the use? Old people are never searched for smuggling drugs at airports. Smuggling drugs is the second fastest, much riskier, but for sure more lucrative way of getting rich, second only to lottery winnings. Old peeps don’t smuggle drugs. That is so telling.

Success? I was one of those fools, social misfits, really, who constantly sought attention, approval, acceptance, only to crush it and destroy it once they got it. Overly shy, incredibly strong guilt complexes, under a veneer of coming on strong, provocatively dishing out hard times, before my audience had a chance to say as much as “brlpmphtk.” Success is like a drink or a drug for those who are not used to it: intoxicating, but comes at a price of a bad hangover or a drunk driving charge. You get beaten sobriety into you before you could start to enjoy the high.

Then again, we, old folks, who hate life, don’t pull people and cats from fire, either. At least I don’t. Are you kidding? I can’t even pull an armchair across a room. Plus, fiery death is painful. I want to go like my father, I used to say at parties, quietly, in my sleep, not kicking and screaming, like his passengers.

Yes, going is on my mind all the time. Death. You can’t prepare for the afterlife, no matter what anyone tells you. You can enlist a religious ideology to help you, but if you open your eyes, religions tell you nothing what to do now to secure a safe, cushy, cozy spot in the afterlife – they tell you instead, what to do now for them, for the other religious. Plus there are too many restrictions in lifestyle expressions imposed by any religion. I must stop coveting my neighbour’s ass, at best, and at worst I will burn in hellfire for ever and ever, merely because I’ve had some impure thoughts. To the heck with that. I am proud, or rather, used to be proud of being a human, an achiever independent of divine intervention. A son of the nation of Prometheus, who outfoxed and stole fire from the gods, or of Icarus, who burnt himself flying to the sun. Or the young guy who killed the Minotaur, but got damned because he did not send any postcards back to his parents on his field trip to the Labyrinths of Crete.

So... religions don’t do much for someone with a keen insight into philosophy, because the theories of theoretical theism are flawed beyond ridiculous.

What then?


Old age is like watching a movie (provided you live the safe, cushy, comfy world of retirement in a western-style, socialized industrial economy): no involvement.

I noticed some time ago, not too long ago, that life’s sections are divided into one of two possible categories: interesting but cruel and painful, or else comfortable but extremely boring.

There is a brief period in your early twenties, when you are bustling and hustling, and happy, and it’s all good. Unless, of course, you develop psychosis in your mid-teens, culminating in a horrible emotional-mental breakdown at around twenty.

Old age, on the other hand, seems to combine pain with boredom, while diminishing the intensity of neither.

In old age you are bored, but you also tackle the task of creating mechanisms to escape from new pains that develop every new day. You see less well, you hear worse, you don’t feel the touch, but what’s worse: you stop having new experiences. Not new experiences of the kind you already have had, but experiences that are brand new. This is new, at age 55, and you gradually sink into a watching, observing role. You don’t crave company; you talk to yourself, so you don’t need to rely on others for self-expression. You go with your fantasies, because the cute and sweet-smelling dental assistant will never actually give you the time of day, never mind how cute and friendly and brilliant and innocent-appearing she is. And you know that very well, too. Too well. It’s not just one “well” but two well. “Well” behaves actually very much like a quantum energy quantity; more of it is less, less of it is more. This becomes immediately obvious to anyone who reaches and passes sixty years of age. Well, well, well.

You basically have no involvement, you stop having joy, because everything becomes old hat. You talk to yourself, you lose control of your bowel movement, you give up the need to feeling the legs of that blonde, yes, ma’m, I’m talking about your legs, right there.

You are not pissed off, you are not angry; you are bored. You don’t want to die, not just yet anyway, but you don’t want to live either, if this is what it is. And you don’t want to live even the life of a Dr. Faust; hope’s springs are not eternal, a faith in a bright future is no longer any of your concern, therefore you won’t sell your soul for everlasting youth, because it’s not the physical strength, beauty and health of youth that you want, it is the newness of experiences that you miss and the lack of which you can’t get over. Experience, any experience, such as it is, is stale, no matter how strong or healthy you are, when you’ve had enough of it.

And at sixty-two, I, basically, have had enough of it.

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Re: Re:

Post by duszek » Mon May 02, 2016 4:20 pm

Everybody gets older and thus more experienced.

I for one have the impression that I have learned from a whole lot of mistakes and that I am still learning like hell.

Even on this forum.

I know better what to say and what not to say and whom it is better (to pretend) to ignore.

We are getting better every day at spotting the good stuff and the good posters, aren´t we ? :D

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Gary Childress
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Re: Re:

Post by Gary Childress » Mon May 02, 2016 6:55 pm

duszek wrote:Everybody gets older and thus more experienced.

I for one have the impression that I have learned from a whole lot of mistakes and that I am still learning like hell.

Even on this forum.

I know better what to say and what not to say and whom it is better (to pretend) to ignore.

We are getting better every day at spotting the good stuff and the good posters, aren´t we ? :D
Well, for what it's worth, it sounds like you have wisdom. Wish I could say the same for myself but I don't seem to be learning much. I seem to repeat the same mistakes over and over, like Sisyphus futilely rolling his boulder.

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Harbal
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Re: Re:

Post by Harbal » Mon May 02, 2016 7:10 pm

Gary Childress wrote: Well, for what it's worth, it sounds like you have wisdom. Wish I could say the same for myself but I don't seem to be learning much. I seem to repeat the same mistakes over and over, like Sisyphus futilely rolling his boulder.
You're not doing yourself justice, Gary. I've never heard of this Sisyphus bloke so you know more than me and I'm older than you.

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Re: Re:

Post by HexHammer » Mon May 02, 2016 7:16 pm

Oh ..midlife crisis ..yearh, getting to that in a decade..

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Gary Childress
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Re: Re:

Post by Gary Childress » Mon May 02, 2016 7:30 pm

Harbal wrote:
Gary Childress wrote: Well, for what it's worth, it sounds like you have wisdom. Wish I could say the same for myself but I don't seem to be learning much. I seem to repeat the same mistakes over and over, like Sisyphus futilely rolling his boulder.
You're not doing yourself justice, Gary. I've never heard of this Sisyphus bloke so you know more than me and I'm older than you.
Thank you, Harbal, for the kind sentiment. Maybe I'm beating myself up unjustly. I don't know. I was trying to read David Chalmers' book, The Conscious Mind a few days back and I just couldn't comprehend parts of it that I was reading. It wasn't like equations or anything astoundingly difficult. I reread the passages a couple times as carefully as I could and I still couldn't follow what he was saying. What's worse, I couldn't remember things I had just read.

I haven't done a lot of heavy reading in a long time so I'm trying to blow some of the dust off my mind and it's difficult and frustrating. I guess I need to be more patient and persevere. I just hope the "dust" hasn't permanently settled. :oops:

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Re: Re:

Post by Hobbes' Choice » Mon May 02, 2016 8:56 pm

Gary Childress wrote:I hate getting older. The older I get, the more I feel like I should know something. When I was younger, at least I could say, "I haven't learned that yet." Excuses become harder and harder to come by when I get older. And of course I also tend to forget more things as I get older. I used to be pretty good at mathematics but I've forgotten many mathematical things I used to know how to do because I haven't continually practiced them. It's very depressing.

Sometimes I feel like I really should be dumped off at a roadside in some desolate place somewhere to perish rather than continue to be a burden on society. Or maybe I should "tune in" more to God and become a "prophet" or something. Then at least I could give people something called "salvation" in return for goods and services, maybe?

In any case, thought I'd save Henry some trouble in deleting subject lines. :)
Getting older is about getting along with your limits. And realising that you can know more and more, but this is not ultimately satisfying. I have a bizarre and extensive knowledge about stuff you'd not believe, but all that I have realised is that most of the really big questions are not really questions at all. Not just because no one has, or will answer them satisfactorily, but because they are all based on the apparently false assumption that those questions could have answers.
I still find great joy in life, and that is due to doing something new every few years, and doing those things everyday (health permitting). When I die I shall be the most skilful man on the planet, a jack of many trades and arts but probably a master of none. Fame is not a goal, thankfully.

Everyone is a burden on society and on the resources of the planet. It's not your fault - you were not asked to be born. But since you are here using up all the oxygen you owe it to the world to do something interesting with your life.
So stop moaning and enjoy the sky.

As for Chalmers - he's only using a list of metaphors to describe what he thinks about the "Mind" - its not really new, nor is it a special theory. Is it useful? Or are we all going to still have experiences regardless of whether or not his description is any better than anyone else's?? Yes. The world continues to turn and you are not having enough fun.
No time to waste.

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Re: Re:

Post by thedoc » Mon May 02, 2016 9:50 pm

I find that as I get older I find easier ways to do things, instead of just heaving with brute force, I employ levers and ramps to move heavy objects. A few years ago I had to build a stone retaining wall next to the house and some of the stones I would drag close to where I wanted them with my pickup truck and chains. Someone asked me how I drug the rocks, and I said it was easy, they were already "stoned". My pickup truck is my heavy duty "weed" puller, I use it with a length of chain to pull small trees out, that are growing up where we don't want them, it's easier than digging them out with a pick and shovel.

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Re: Re: old age how I view its challenges

Post by marjoram_blues » Mon May 02, 2016 11:25 pm

hajrafradi wrote:Just the other day I wrote an autobiographical essay about getting old. Here it is:

“Is this what it is?” This phrase used to cause me a passing, five-minute depression. Yeah, yah, we all know this is what it is, better go sell your misery somewhere else, buddy. Then you take a deep gulp of fresh air, and you’re back to normal.

That was then. But this is now. Now I’m 62, and this phrase seems to have taken on a nature of permanence. I know I can’t get the girl now, form 40 years ago; I can’t get the other girl, and that third one, either. So I won’t get the Nobel Prize I so much clamoured, and I can’t even get the job back I really liked. I can’t get the girl back, that girl, the one I had but slipped away, and if I did, I wouldn’t know what to do with her anyway.

Money. Money? I even stopped buying lottery tickets. What’s the use? Old people are never searched for smuggling drugs at airports. Smuggling drugs is the second fastest, much riskier, but for sure more lucrative way of getting rich, second only to lottery winnings. Old peeps don’t smuggle drugs. That is so telling.

Success? I was one of those fools, social misfits, really, who constantly sought attention, approval, acceptance, only to crush it and destroy it once they got it. Overly shy, incredibly strong guilt complexes, under a veneer of coming on strong, provocatively dishing out hard times, before my audience had a chance to say as much as “brlpmphtk.” Success is like a drink or a drug for those who are not used to it: intoxicating, but comes at a price of a bad hangover or a drunk driving charge. You get beaten sobriety into you before you could start to enjoy the high.

Then again, we, old folks, who hate life, don’t pull people and cats from fire, either. At least I don’t. Are you kidding? I can’t even pull an armchair across a room. Plus, fiery death is painful. I want to go like my father, I used to say at parties, quietly, in my sleep, not kicking and screaming, like his passengers.

Yes, going is on my mind all the time. Death. You can’t prepare for the afterlife, no matter what anyone tells you. You can enlist a religious ideology to help you, but if you open your eyes, religions tell you nothing what to do now to secure a safe, cushy, cozy spot in the afterlife – they tell you instead, what to do now for them, for the other religious. Plus there are too many restrictions in lifestyle expressions imposed by any religion. I must stop coveting my neighbour’s ass, at best, and at worst I will burn in hellfire for ever and ever, merely because I’ve had some impure thoughts. To the heck with that. I am proud, or rather, used to be proud of being a human, an achiever independent of divine intervention. A son of the nation of Prometheus, who outfoxed and stole fire from the gods, or of Icarus, who burnt himself flying to the sun. Or the young guy who killed the Minotaur, but got damned because he did not send any postcards back to his parents on his field trip to the Labyrinths of Crete.

So... religions don’t do much for someone with a keen insight into philosophy, because the theories of theoretical theism are flawed beyond ridiculous.

What then?


Old age is like watching a movie (provided you live the safe, cushy, comfy world of retirement in a western-style, socialized industrial economy): no involvement.

I noticed some time ago, not too long ago, that life’s sections are divided into one of two possible categories: interesting but cruel and painful, or else comfortable but extremely boring.

There is a brief period in your early twenties, when you are bustling and hustling, and happy, and it’s all good. Unless, of course, you develop psychosis in your mid-teens, culminating in a horrible emotional-mental breakdown at around twenty.

Old age, on the other hand, seems to combine pain with boredom, while diminishing the intensity of neither.

In old age you are bored, but you also tackle the task of creating mechanisms to escape from new pains that develop every new day. You see less well, you hear worse, you don’t feel the touch, but what’s worse: you stop having new experiences. Not new experiences of the kind you already have had, but experiences that are brand new. This is new, at age 55, and you gradually sink into a watching, observing role. You don’t crave company; you talk to yourself, so you don’t need to rely on others for self-expression. You go with your fantasies, because the cute and sweet-smelling dental assistant will never actually give you the time of day, never mind how cute and friendly and brilliant and innocent-appearing she is. And you know that very well, too. Too well. It’s not just one “well” but two well. “Well” behaves actually very much like a quantum energy quantity; more of it is less, less of it is more. This becomes immediately obvious to anyone who reaches and passes sixty years of age. Well, well, well.

You basically have no involvement, you stop having joy, because everything becomes old hat. You talk to yourself, you lose control of your bowel movement, you give up the need to feeling the legs of that blonde, yes, ma’m, I’m talking about your legs, right there.

You are not pissed off, you are not angry; you are bored. You don’t want to die, not just yet anyway, but you don’t want to live either, if this is what it is. And you don’t want to live even the life of a Dr. Faust; hope’s springs are not eternal, a faith in a bright future is no longer any of your concern, therefore you won’t sell your soul for everlasting youth, because it’s not the physical strength, beauty and health of youth that you want, it is the newness of experiences that you miss and the lack of which you can’t get over. Experience, any experience, such as it is, is stale, no matter how strong or healthy you are, when you’ve had enough of it.

And at sixty-two, I, basically, have had enough of it.
It's just another phase you are going through. It's the pre-old stage. Like the pre-teens...but different.

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Re: Re:

Post by marjoram_blues » Tue May 03, 2016 10:06 am

Hobbes' Choice wrote:
Gary Childress wrote:I hate getting older. The older I get, the more I feel like I should know something. When I was younger, at least I could say, "I haven't learned that yet." Excuses become harder and harder to come by when I get older. And of course I also tend to forget more things as I get older. I used to be pretty good at mathematics but I've forgotten many mathematical things I used to know how to do because I haven't continually practiced them. It's very depressing.

Sometimes I feel like I really should be dumped off at a roadside in some desolate place somewhere to perish rather than continue to be a burden on society. Or maybe I should "tune in" more to God and become a "prophet" or something. Then at least I could give people something called "salvation" in return for goods and services, maybe?

In any case, thought I'd save Henry some trouble in deleting subject lines. :)
Getting older is about getting along with your limits. And realising that you can know more and more, but this is not ultimately satisfying. I have a bizarre and extensive knowledge about stuff you'd not believe, but all that I have realised is that most of the really big questions are not really questions at all. Not just because no one has, or will answer them satisfactorily, but because they are all based on the apparently false assumption that those questions could have answers.
I still find great joy in life, and that is due to doing something new every few years, and doing those things everyday (health permitting). When I die I shall be the most skilful man on the planet, a jack of many trades and arts but probably a master of none. Fame is not a goal, thankfully.

Everyone is a burden on society and on the resources of the planet. It's not your fault - you were not asked to be born. But since you are here using up all the oxygen you owe it to the world to do something interesting with your life.
So stop moaning and enjoy the sky.

As for Chalmers - he's only using a list of metaphors to describe what he thinks about the "Mind" - its not really new, nor is it a special theory. Is it useful? Or are we all going to still have experiences regardless of whether or not his description is any better than anyone else's?? Yes. The world continues to turn and you are not having enough fun.
No time to waste.
I think that this kind of writing is good for the 'soul' and others reading it. To find something in life that can bring you joy through the challenges and learning processes that suit you i.e. being or doing what fits you at whatever stage you are at. Perhaps even revisiting stuff you never quite managed to get to grips with earlier, for whatever reason. The slowing down can be valuable - to understand a particular book or philosopher better and in greater depth. For example, I am returning to Kierkegaard's 'Either/Or'. And yes, perhaps my eyes or brain will start to droop a little - but hey, it's not the end of the world.

I don't agree that we owe anything to the world to do something with our lives. We might just owe it to ourselves - to be kind to self, first and foremost. And to readjust the picture at times. I've just read a bit of Kierkegaard - he is full of misery, seemingly, but he still writes reflectively and for others.

I wonder if he includes himself, his writing, his reality when he says:
' What the philosophers say about reality is often as deceptive as when you see a sign in a second-hand store that reads: Pressing Done Here. If you went in with your clothes to have them pressed you would be fooled; the sign is for sale.' (p50 Either/Or)

Earlier, K wrote: ' ...Being a perfect human being is after all the highest goal. Now I have corns, that's always a help. [...]
I had to laugh - made me think of Clive James...

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Re: Re:

Post by artisticsolution » Tue May 03, 2016 1:10 pm

Hi M!

Couldn't sleep so I finally just gave up and decided to start my day, and what a pleasant surprise to find your post! You know I'm K's girl...lol. He just cracks me up. I think the thing that helps me get through life is the aesthetic entertainment value of a world that you are pretty much damned if you do and damned if you don't.

The thing I love about Either/Or and most of the books I have read by K, is that I felt like we had a connection...sort of like my sister and I have...were we have a secret language that we share that no one else gets. We crack each other up and everyone always says they don't get out humor...but we know what we mean by that certain look or body language thing we do...lol.

I have noticed that people say that there was a hierarchy if you will...(I am having trouble using my words today...lol) in either/or and many of K's book where he suggests that the aesthetic way of life is somehow lesser than the ethical way of life. Arguing that the hedonistic aesthetic is shallow entertainment value and that ethical i.e.devoting oneself to another out of duty , or some other socially acceptable "good" is somehow a more profound. right, lofty way to live.

I did not read K that way at all. The way I read K is that it's all shallow...aesthetic...so called 'ethical'...and that when people believe themselves to be ethical (like the judge) they are missing the point...or they aren't being honest with themselves...a huge tragedy to be so unaware and never to become acquainted with a deeper understanding of oneself.

And that in a sense, perhaps the ethical is the highest goal one can achieve but that it's so rare to achieve it that to most of us it would appear absurd...and perhaps might even be absurd...to the point of to achieve that particular state of being would be impossible as once you got there you would be classified insane. As it would be impossible to exist perfectly in an imperfect world...and none of us would even begin to understand what a "perfect" state of being would entail....it's just impossible.

I just remember reading, how the aesthetic was so shallow...and the when the judge (the ethical) started to speak...how shallow he sounded as well...the only difference was that at least the aesthetic was being honest about his shallowness...whereas the judge had no idea how shallow he was. In part because society accepted his behavior as ethical.

K wrote in Fear and Trembling:

"But whenever they fall down they are not able at once to assume the posture, they vacillate an instant, and this vacillation shows that after all they are strangers in the world."

To me this sentiment is echoed in either/or too. People don't understand themselves almost as bad as a stranger would not understand them. K said if you watch them closely they will reveal this from time to time if you pay attention. This is apparent in so much of what the Judge has to say in Either/Or. The judge makes me laugh, because he can't see it...and what's more, society can't see that the judge is just as shallow and the aesthetic.

Pure genius. I'm loving me some K!

Anyway, for me, part of living an authentic life, is to laugh at myself. I must admit...I am more like the aesthetic in K's book. I do find humor and entertainment in others...but I am not laughing at them and using them as the butt of my joke/folly. I am laughing because I see myself in them (the judge included)...in a sort of been there done that way. I don't see them as a means to an end...I see them as another human being, like myself, sharing space on this earth for the time being. Damned if we use each other for comfort (love, sex, friendship, entertainment, etc.), and damned if we don't.

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