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Plato's Rock
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Hello

Post by Plato's Rock » Sat Nov 18, 2017 4:09 am

Hi,
I've been doing "lay" philosophy for a couple of years, and am now looking to hone my edge further. One of the thoughts I've been entertaining lately is the idea that Plato's Cave Allegory falls apart in a relativistic situation, but I'm not sure if it's relevant anymore.

I also think Nihilism is self-contradictory (semi-irrational) because it is a meaning that annihilates meaning (whatever position held), and thus annihilates it's own meaning over time. Thus it is a useful tool, but not meant to be a permanent mindset.

Impenitent
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Re: Hello

Post by Impenitent » Sun Nov 19, 2017 1:29 am

don't say that to a Buddhist ...

-Imp

EchoesOfTheHorizon
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Re: Hello

Post by EchoesOfTheHorizon » Sun Nov 19, 2017 3:37 am

You can say it to Buddhists, Imp's position only applies to ignorant 19th Century Prussians who know nothing of Buddhism.

Plato's Rock
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Re: Hello

Post by Plato's Rock » Sun Nov 19, 2017 4:07 am

What that nihilism is a self-contradiction? Is that potentially troubling to Buddhists? I don't see how that'd apply to a whole class of people (maybe a few), so.... *shrug*.

Regarding the ignorance of Prussians, I've been reading lately that a lot of "Western" philosophy overlooks a lot of the world outside Europe/America. Is there any recommendations in this area (non-western philosophy) as to read?

surreptitious57
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Re: Hello

Post by surreptitious57 » Sun Nov 19, 2017 4:51 am

I think of myself as a nihilist where nihilism is defined as a lack of objective meaning to life but I more accurately
describe myself as an absurdist where subjective meanings are the only ones that actually exist. I am not however
an existentialist because I see nothing fundamentally confusing or despairing about life though it is full of mystery

EchoesOfTheHorizon
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Re: Hello

Post by EchoesOfTheHorizon » Sun Nov 19, 2017 4:58 am

Are you kidding? Pick a country and a Era, be easier for me to narrow it down.

If I had to point at anything, given your focus on Nihilism, thus like I said, 19th Century Prussian thought (always in a battle to defeat the foreign creeping in of a concept that is of their own creation)....

I would start with Dara Shikoh. He was a Moghul Emperor, in Pakistan, translated the Indian Upanishads (here is a absurdly priced translation: https://www.amazon.com/Introduction-Sir ... Upanishads ) as well as wrote works on a synthesis between Sufi Islam and Hindu theology. His Upanishads made it to the west, Schopenhauer made use of them. He (Dara) was a early modern pioneer of the concepts of Non-Dualism (Monism) in the west.

I would recommend looking into the many great ebooks by Paul Smith on Amazon.com, including on Dara Shikoh, they are affordable, and well written. It will give you a relative spring board to leap off into the east with, into a era not too distant, with philosophies that went on to influence your own thinkers you work off of.

Or, dig farther in the past, hit Sextus Empericus, who pretty much taught a Buddhist form of skepticism (some good books exist out there asserting the phyrrhonist school was a Indian Buddhist import active in Antioch, it was the western most reach of the school). He touches up on what we would today call nihilists.

And not all of us accept the concept of Nihilism to begin with. I don't care to get into a debate over whether something of that silly nature exists or not, but these two paths of inquiry will lead you back to two very different eras of Indian philosophy. If you want something from elsewhere, state the sort of thing you are looking for, and I can probably find it if I haven't already read it.

Just recommend keeping a cosmopolitan mindset, don't make it Ancient or Foreign in your mindset, just a different philosopher or a different school. Try to give justice to them as a school and thinker. Too many rush to write other countries philosophy off, so they can rush back into the embrace of Gadamer or Heidegger. This isn't very good for a philosopher seeking knowledge and truth, the foundations of nature. You gotta search far and wide.

Plato's Rock
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Re: Hello

Post by Plato's Rock » Sun Nov 19, 2017 5:30 am

surreptitious57 wrote:
Sun Nov 19, 2017 4:51 am
I think of myself as a nihilist where nihilism is defined as a lack of objective meaning to life but I more accurately
describe myself as an absurdist where subjective meanings are the only ones that actually exist. I am not however
an existentialist because I see nothing fundamentally confusing or despairing about life though it is full of mystery
I think that's a sentiment I can agree with on varying levels.
EchoesOfTheHorizon wrote:
Sun Nov 19, 2017 4:58 am

And not all of us accept the concept of Nihilism to begin with. I don't care to get into a debate over whether something of that silly nature exists or not, but these two paths of inquiry will lead you back to two very different eras of Indian philosophy. If you want something from elsewhere, state the sort of thing you are looking for, and I can probably find it if I haven't already read it.

Just recommend keeping a cosmopolitan mindset, don't make it Ancient or Foreign in your mindset, just a different philosopher or a different school. Try to give justice to them as a school and thinker. Too many rush to write other countries philosophy off, so they can rush back into the embrace of Gadamer or Heidegger. This isn't very good for a philosopher seeking knowledge and truth, the foundations of nature. You gotta search far and wide.
That's good to hear, that not everyone accepts the concept of Nihilism, I found myself struggling with it in my early years of college. I should mention the philosopher's I have read so as to provide some context into what I'm familiar with; Plato - Republic, Aristotle - Nicomachean Ethics, Descartes - First Meditation on First Philosophy, Kant - Critique of Pure Reason (Still working on), Marcus Aurelius - Meditations, Voltiare (can't remember the book), Kierkegaard - Essential Collection, Nietzsche - Beyond Good & Evil, Thus Spake Zarathustra, and The Portable Collection, Machiavelli - The Prince and the Discourses...(I'm sure there's more but they're eluding me).

One of the paths I've been stumbling along is the notion of "Alchemy". I was a chemistry major in college, so it's interesting looking back at the "ol stuff". Namely reading that Newton was a practitioner to a notable degree. There's a formula of his that I'd like to try down the line because the book I've just finished mentioned that he had some sort of success in the field with making a "living metal", and dissolving gold with mercury. And that he, and Boyle decided to withhold some of their work from the "public" for fear of "Damaging the World".

A working hypothesis of mine is that the world constructs itself differently depending upon the knowledge base the observer has. Hence I'd be interested in "Eastern Alchemy", or "Eastern Science" (if that makes some sense). So if one believes in God, they see God's immanence everywhere. If one endorses a Nihilism (of any sort), they see it manifest in their point of view. If one operates with the notion of a combined/synergized "world alchemy" what happens? Aristotle put forth the four classical elements, Arabic philosophers offered seven metals which was incorporated, and I've heard that there's also "Wood/Metal" as basic elements in other variations. I just wonder what would happen to a person's worldview if they massed them all together?

EchoesOfTheHorizon
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Re: Hello

Post by EchoesOfTheHorizon » Sun Nov 19, 2017 5:53 am

Nothing happens. It has been tried a lot, and it leads nowhere. See The Kybalion https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=UvV8vLON-nY

Or better yet, go back to the early works on logic by Ramon Llull, he used to build little logic machines in the Middle Ages, that could compute stuff much as you likely did in elementary school with folded paper games, with words written on the inner flaps, moving them back and forth.

Why I say the Kybalion.... nobody who focuses on that sort of stuff, saying "As Above, so Below" are actually saying anything, tends to be a bunch of brain dead hippies, starring at fractals on the internet. They can if they are clever look at small scale actions of ants and see it in the play of armies, or the clashing of the clouds.... as a kind of physics inherent in the universe, but are they empirically observing and isolating the phenomena in concepts that can be mathematically processed as discrete, falseable units, or are they just forts perceiving patterns, saying it seems it sorta exists over here too, and sorta here too, but can't name a kind of cloud like Theophrastus could? Could such a hippy make sense of a high and low pressure system, know what to expect in the coming days? Unlikely. Just enough for them to chant it, and learn over to you in philosophy groups whispering it with raised eyebrows like they know what is going on.

More advanced versions of this approach are inherent in philosophy East and West, like the Pythagorean Tables, of the qualitative structure of metaphysics in Buddhist and later Vedanta works (my favorite is the Udhava Gita's listing, only is one chapter of the work).

When you do this, you just end up simplifying things, processed axiomatically, with classes of all phenomena falling within these short lists. Only reason we can do this is because perception seems to run off of this (you can see small and big, higher and lower, inside and outside). You can see and navigate it.

But humans usually don't have need to develop a large intellectual corpus of this. Largest I've found is in military writings, usually paired up either under categories then tactics, with a doctrine exploring universal ideas, or as a list of dualities starting around 50, but often going ever higher, as a means to express a understanding of everything.

A text that does this would be 100 Unorhodox Strategies, a medieval Chinese work that isolated 50 dualisms that could be built upon in chained formulas to express any strategic configuration expressible in the main 7 Chinese military classics.

This has caused me a lot of headache processing it through the raven's paradox. Our theory of identity isn't currently strong enough to hold up to it. However, it is a simple thing to calculate once you learn the basic definitions and math involved in the old text (most anyone can). Just isn't explainable why we can explain all phenomena in such a manner, and not identify how we are doing so. I have it easier in that I studies western works too, as well as from India and the Arab world, as well as a general background in philosophy, but it breaks my ass off half the time explaining how I'm thinking it. Happens fast, quick.

That's the direction you would look towards for our more advanced works, but more modern of course, I stick to old works just cause I like to. Most modern works aren't no so easy to slide into it though.

https://www.amazon.com/One-Hundred-Unor ... 0813328616

https://www.amazon.com/Uddhava-Gita-Fin ... dpSrc=srch

EchoesOfTheHorizon
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Re: Hello

Post by EchoesOfTheHorizon » Sun Nov 19, 2017 5:54 am

As to eastern alchemy, which do you mean? Taoist? Byzantine? Western medieval? Arab? Are you aware of the traditions of the liberal and mechanical arts?

S

surreptitious57
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Re: Hello

Post by surreptitious57 » Sun Nov 19, 2017 3:02 pm

surreptitious57 wrote:
I think of myself as a nihilist where nihilism is defined as a lack of objective meaning to life but I more accurately
describe myself as an absurdist where subjective meanings are the only ones that actually exist. I am not however
an existentialist because I see nothing fundamentally confusing or despairing about life though it is full of mystery
I see nothing confusing or despairing about life as I accept extinction is a natural process
And so I do not see it in negative terms since death is the inevitable consequence of life

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Immanuel Can
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Re: Hello

Post by Immanuel Can » Sun Nov 19, 2017 3:37 pm

Impenitent wrote:
Sun Nov 19, 2017 1:29 am
don't say that to a Buddhist ...

-Imp
That's pretty funny. :D

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Immanuel Can
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Re: Hello

Post by Immanuel Can » Sun Nov 19, 2017 3:42 pm

Plato's Rock wrote:
Sun Nov 19, 2017 4:07 am
What that nihilism is a self-contradiction? Is that potentially troubling to Buddhists? I don't see how that'd apply to a whole class of people (maybe a few), so.... *shrug*.
He's quipping about Nirvana, Plato's Rock.

It's defined as the cessation of samsara (essentially, of suffering) through the cessation of being. Westerners imagine it's a kind of Buddhist "heaven," but actually, it's nothingness.

Their goal is nothingness...hence, Nihilism.

Welcome to the madhouse. :wink:

Plato's Rock
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Re: Hello

Post by Plato's Rock » Sun Nov 19, 2017 6:18 pm

EchoesOfTheHorizon wrote:
Sun Nov 19, 2017 5:54 am
As to eastern alchemy, which do you mean? Taoist? Byzantine? Western medieval? Arab? Are you aware of the traditions of the liberal and mechanical arts?
Not quite certain at the moment as to which one I'd be looking for, and/or at. Just more familiar with modern chemistry, and I'm curious where some of the foundational thoughts for it came from. I'm slightly aware of the difference between liberal, and mechanical. Mechanical would seem to be similar to Newton's work. In that there was the belief that it was all predicated upon "mechanistic" concepts that are "external",..., but I'm probably stumbling in the dark more than I need to. Thus I guess, I'll say not really.
EchoesOfTheHorizon wrote:
Sun Nov 19, 2017 5:53 am
This has caused me a lot of headache processing it through the raven's paradox. Our theory of identity isn't currently strong enough to hold up to it. However, it is a simple thing to calculate once you learn the basic definitions and math involved in the old text (most anyone can). Just isn't explainable why we can explain all phenomena in such a manner, and not identify how we are doing so. I have it easier in that I studies western works too, as well as from India and the Arab world, as well as a general background in philosophy, but it breaks my ass off half the time explaining how I'm thinking it. Happens fast, quick.

That's the direction you would look towards for our more advanced works, but more modern of course, I stick to old works just cause I like to. Most modern works aren't no so easy to slide into it though.
You sort of lost me at this part, and I had to look up the Raven's Paradox. Just some quick thoughts on the Raven's paradox though, from the way I understand it, it is like having two classes of objects, but they're not related. And inferences are made. Like all raven's are black because apples are green. It doesn't seem like there's much correlation to that thought process, but let's step aside for an instance.

You said earlier that it's like seeing patterns in Reality (Which is open for debate as to what it is), and then deducing/inducing a larger pattern from it. Is this not like the Google "dream bot" (I think it's called Deepdream) which looks for patterns, and emphasizes them in order to process what they are logically? Human sight, as far as I know, works by processing "edges", so if there is no "concrete edges in reality". They're really just platonic forms in our mind as to what certain things should, and shouldn't look like. Let's say that the universe is a cloud of energy/mass, and that there's atoms everywhere! (This is how a chemist is taught to see "reality"). That a solid table, is mostly empty space, because the atomic content of it is so small compared to the volume that it physically takes up.

Running with this, let's assume that the entire universe is a quintessential "ooze/cloud/medium", and that we're but amalgams of various parts of that "ooze". What we call matter/energy...etc. Is still part of the ooze, it's just different based upon our perceptions/forms we've used.

Couldn't there be a possible explanation, for "this" by simply stating/demarcating that the boundaries of our "information spheres" are dependent upon ourselves? Kinda like, if you're cognitive bubble is only so big, and every time you expand it. You integrate some thoughts from someone else, but when you do so. It's like plasmids being exchanged by bacteria, or like overlapping venn diagrams? You don't get the full picture, only the parts that you can understand, and what they can condense/share.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Nov 19, 2017 3:42 pm
Plato's Rock wrote:
Sun Nov 19, 2017 4:07 am
What that nihilism is a self-contradiction? Is that potentially troubling to Buddhists? I don't see how that'd apply to a whole class of people (maybe a few), so.... *shrug*.
He's quipping about Nirvana, Plato's Rock.

It's defined as the cessation of samsara (essentially, of suffering) through the cessation of being. Westerners imagine it's a kind of Buddhist "heaven," but actually, it's nothingness.

Their goal is nothingness...hence, Nihilism.

Welcome to the madhouse. :wink:
Ah, okay. I think it's dependent upon one's definition of what Nirvana is, and what cessation of Samsara is. To me, I thought nirvana was the cessation of the internal conflict with self between parts of the psyche. To achieve a state of internal calm/bliss that isn't so discordant, and easily perturbed. And, I thought Nihilism was a western interpretation of Buddhism, so in a sort of "lay thought". It would seem like putting the "cart before the horse". Ie; Buddhists can't be Nihilist because they're precursors to the Nihilist thought process. To me nihilism is a construct of the Western World built upon Christianity, and interpretations of Buddhism.

That a Buddhist is striving for non-attachment, kinda like a stoic, but then we get into a potential argument about what it means to be "being".

Also, I don't think "Nothingness" always correlates to "Nihilism". One can find extreme meaning, and value in notions of "Nothingness". It's like saying that "Nothing has meaning", First case (and the often assumed one) is; There's no inherent value to this system. Second case of, "Nothing has meaning"; literally, Nothing has a meaning. That of being a void, a negation,...a "no-thing". Ex; How easy would it be to do math if there was no concept of "zero"? You have to remember that concept too was invented/constructed over time. There is no innate knowledge of "Zero" as far as I know.

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Immanuel Can
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Re: Hello

Post by Immanuel Can » Sun Nov 19, 2017 7:29 pm

Plato's Rock wrote:
Sun Nov 19, 2017 6:18 pm
=
Ah, okay. I think it's dependent upon one's definition of what Nirvana is, and what cessation of Samsara is. To me, I thought nirvana was the cessation of the internal conflict with self between parts of the psyche.
That's a Western take on it. In the West, we like our Buddhism tame. We like it to affirm the individual, not issue in his/her absorption into eternal cosmic oneness. We like it to give us, as individuals, some kind of spiritual "peace," but never to challenge our individuality.
Also, I don't think "Nothingness" always correlates to "Nihilism".
Etymologically, it does, of course. "Nihil" is, in fact, the Latin word for "nothing." So if we take it literally, it's "Nothing-ism."

But I agree that people have sometimes tried to pull it back from that position by asserting some positive proportions that they liked, and denying a bunch more they did not. Nietzsche, for example, gets called a Nihilist; and in some ways (e.g. the moral realm) there might be a case for that. But in point of fact, he made many gratuitous affirmations about "übermensch," "courage," "history," "will to power," and other values that he wanted to retain. It seems he had a view of what was "moral" after all. He just didn't call it that all the time.

Plato's Rock
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Re: Hello

Post by Plato's Rock » Sun Nov 19, 2017 8:12 pm

Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Nov 19, 2017 7:29 pm

That's a Western take on it. In the West, we like our Buddhism tame. We like it to affirm the individual, not issue in his/her absorption into eternal cosmic oneness. We like it to give us, as individuals, some kind of spiritual "peace," but never to challenge our individuality.
..., so would a western take on Samsara be equivalent to "plato's cave allegory"? If so, I'll reference the thought I alluded to in my first post now; If being in the cave is meant to represent a lower state of awareness, and being on the outside is meant to represent a higher state. Does it make sense that the "outside cave" is still a box (read as a cave)? We just simply constrain ourselves to a bigger cave now called the Universe with multiple fires (suns) within it.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Nov 19, 2017 7:29 pm
Etymologically, it does, of course. "Nihil" is, in fact, the Latin word for "nothing." So if we take it literally, it's "Nothing-ism."

But I agree that people have sometimes tried to pull it back from that position by asserting some positive proportions that they liked, and denying a bunch more they did not. Nietzsche, for example, gets called a Nihilist; and in some ways (e.g. the moral realm) there might be a case for that. But in point of fact, he made many gratuitous affirmations about "übermensch," "courage," "history," "will to power," and other values that he wanted to retain. It seems he had a view of what was "moral" after all. He just didn't call it that all the time.
True about etymological origins, but "nothing" also doesn't exist in Nature. As far as I know, Nature abhors a vacuum, and fills it with anything/everything. Is this state of "nothingness" merely a logical error for our minds? Or something like a "Trashbin"? I mean at the most basic level, the only question/reality is, "Do you wish to Exist, or not?". And even Buddhists die/commit suicide for a cause external to them.

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