Critique My Philosophy of Life?

Philosofer123
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Re: Critique My Philosophy of Life?

Post by Philosofer123 » Sat Mar 08, 2014 4:37 am

FBM wrote: No sweat. I find it very interesting. Since you mentioned meditation, I'm wondering what sort you either practice or recommend. There are various practices and objects of meditation. I've found meditating on the inevitability of death to be very helpful, for example.
Yes, I have found meditating on death (my own as well as everyone I know) to be helpful as well (and it is mentioned on page 8, under "Recognition of triviality"). I also sometimes practice the Stoic meditation technique of gradually broadening my point of view to that of the view above my house, then my neighborhood, then city, then country, then the planet, all the way to the universe. This type of meditation is discussed in The Philosophy of CBT, by Donald Robertson. I also meditate upon those things for which I feel fortunate, and I meditate on the psychological techniques for promoting peace of mind that are discussed in the document (particularly "elimination of judgments" (p. 7)).

I have not yet learned formal techniques of meditation (such as those practiced by Buddhists), but I plan to take my own advice and do so. This is the only significant piece of my own advice that I have not yet implemented personally.
FBM wrote:I'm not sure how you could read Outlines of Skepticism and come away with the idea that Pyrrhonism claims to know that knowledge is impossible. That's one of the main issues that they would criticize the dogmatic Skeptics about. :dunno: I gathered quite clearly that the hypothetical Pyrrhonist would suspend judgment on this point in particular.
Good point, FBM. It has been a while since I studied Skepticism, and my comment confused the dogmatic Skeptics with the Pyrrhonists. That said, the "five modes" offered by Sextus--if one finds them persuasive--effectively eliminate the possibility of knowledge. And Sextus does claim that "every object of investigation can be referred to these modes" (Outlines of Skepticism, p. 41). So, while Sextus does not explicitly make the claim that "knowledge is impossible", he clearly implies it.

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Re: Critique My Philosophy of Life?

Post by FBM » Sat Mar 08, 2014 4:57 am

Philosofer123 wrote:I have not yet learned formal techniques of meditation (such as those practiced by Buddhists), but I plan to take my own advice and do so. This is the only significant piece of my own advice that I have not yet implemented personally.
Ah. I should tell you that FBM stands for "Former Buddhist Monk." Not that I'm an expert at anything. I can anecdotally report that metta (compassion, loving-kindness) meditation helped me attenuate many of the counter-productive behavioral habits that I was conditioned with in early life. The technique is similar to how you describe the Stoic mediation. You start with the easy ones, focusing the feeling of metta on those already dear to you, then gradually extend it to strangers and finally to your "enemies." Before, I was very critical and judgmental towards anyone I got to know well. Combined with the epoché of Pyrrhonism, I was able to recognize the flaws of my behavior (thought behavior, mostly) and let it dissipate.
Good point, FBM. It has been a while since I studied Skepticism, and my comment confused the dogmatic Skeptics with the Pyrrhonists. That said, the "five modes" offered by Sextus--if one finds them persuasive--effectively eliminate the possibility of knowledge. And Sextus does claim that "every object of investigation can be referred to these modes" (Outlines of Skepticism, p. 41). So, while Sextus does not explicitly make the claim that "knowledge is impossible", he clearly implies it.
Yes, but early on he issues a disclaimer saying that, while he may take up one side of an argument, he does so only for the purpose of demonstrating the equipollence of the contrary claims. I have a strong (but fallible) recollection that he also argues elsewhere against the dogmatic claim that "knowledge is impossible." I have a very good book by Kuzminski on this, but it's in storage at the moment as I move to another apartment.

My approach to Pyrrhonist ideas is not so different from my approach to Buddhism, ie, that it's an interesting area for self-experimentation. I'm not near a conclusion, but then again, I'm not sure a conclusion is what I'm after.
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Re: Critique My Philosophy of Life?

Post by mistermack » Sat Mar 08, 2014 6:09 pm

What I find missing, ( as criticism is invited ) is the realisation that none of it matters.
You're born. You die. You might just as well have never existed.

It doesn't matter if you believe in Allah or Jesus, or child sex, or mass murder.

All those people will soon be dead and none of it will matter.

That's not to criticise any attempt to understand the universe, or treat others well.
I'm as interested as anyone.

But at the end of the day, it all means fuck-all. I know everybody knows that, but sometimes we lose sight of it a bit.

If I was going to put my philosophy down on paper, that would have to be at the very top.


By the way, you can select text, if you download the file, and open it in a pdf reader.
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Re: Critique My Philosophy of Life?

Post by Rum » Sat Mar 08, 2014 6:23 pm

I find this a pointless exercise. You'll be dead at some point in the next few years or decades and it won't make a bit of difference what you believe then mate.

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Re: Critique My Philosophy of Life?

Post by mistermack » Sat Mar 08, 2014 6:31 pm

Rum wrote:I find this a pointless exercise. You'll be dead at some point in the next few years or decades and it won't make a bit of difference what you believe then mate.
Agreed. That's assuming that there is no afterlife, to be fair, which he does go into a bit.

I just view it as so unlikely, it's not worth the effort. If there was some evidence, I might give it my attention.
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Re: Critique My Philosophy of Life?

Post by Rum » Sat Mar 08, 2014 6:32 pm

As would I. it is actually a pleasant idea, especially if it was cool, fun and wonderful. But there's not a shred of evidence is there.

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Re: Critique My Philosophy of Life?

Post by Tero » Sat Mar 08, 2014 6:33 pm

FBM wrote:
Tero wrote:What meaning does "I believe" have to anyone but you?
Well, that's the problem of other minds. I can only infer from repeated patterns of syntax that another mind might mean something similar to what I mean when I use the words. But, of course, I can't be sure of that. I think Sextus Empiricus (last known Pyrrhonist) addressed that question directly, leaving it unanswered except for an elaboration of the dilemma.
Smart dude, Sextus.
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Re: Critique My Philosophy of Life?

Post by Philosofer123 » Sat Mar 08, 2014 6:40 pm

FBM wrote:
Philosofer123 wrote:I have not yet learned formal techniques of meditation (such as those practiced by Buddhists), but I plan to take my own advice and do so. This is the only significant piece of my own advice that I have not yet implemented personally.
Ah. I should tell you that FBM stands for "Former Buddhist Monk." Not that I'm an expert at anything. I can anecdotally report that metta (compassion, loving-kindness) meditation helped me attenuate many of the counter-productive behavioral habits that I was conditioned with in early life. The technique is similar to how you describe the Stoic mediation. You start with the easy ones, focusing the feeling of metta on those already dear to you, then gradually extend it to strangers and finally to your "enemies." Before, I was very critical and judgmental towards anyone I got to know well. Combined with the epoché of Pyrrhonism, I was able to recognize the flaws of my behavior (thought behavior, mostly) and let it dissipate.
Good point, FBM. It has been a while since I studied Skepticism, and my comment confused the dogmatic Skeptics with the Pyrrhonists. That said, the "five modes" offered by Sextus--if one finds them persuasive--effectively eliminate the possibility of knowledge. And Sextus does claim that "every object of investigation can be referred to these modes" (Outlines of Skepticism, p. 41). So, while Sextus does not explicitly make the claim that "knowledge is impossible", he clearly implies it.
Yes, but early on he issues a disclaimer saying that, while he may take up one side of an argument, he does so only for the purpose of demonstrating the equipollence of the contrary claims. I have a strong (but fallible) recollection that he also argues elsewhere against the dogmatic claim that "knowledge is impossible." I have a very good book by Kuzminski on this, but it's in storage at the moment as I move to another apartment.

My approach to Pyrrhonist ideas is not so different from my approach to Buddhism, ie, that it's an interesting area for self-experimentation. I'm not near a conclusion, but then again, I'm not sure a conclusion is what I'm after.
Thank you for elaborating, FBM.

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Re: Critique My Philosophy of Life?

Post by Philosofer123 » Sat Mar 08, 2014 6:46 pm

mistermack wrote:What I find missing, ( as criticism is invited ) is the realisation that none of it matters.
You're born. You die. You might just as well have never existed.
See "Afterlife skepticism" (page 2), "Existential skepticism" (page 4), "Realization that change is the only constant" (pages 7-8), and "Recognition of triviality" (page 8).

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Re: Critique My Philosophy of Life?

Post by mistermack » Sat Mar 08, 2014 9:52 pm

Philosofer123 wrote:
mistermack wrote:What I find missing, ( as criticism is invited ) is the realisation that none of it matters.
You're born. You die. You might just as well have never existed.
See "Afterlife skepticism" (page 2), "Existential skepticism" (page 4), "Realization that change is the only constant" (pages 7-8), and "Recognition of triviality" (page 8).
I thought it would probably be in there. I only skimmed bits. I see nothing wrong with any of it, from what I did read.
Except, as I said, I would put ''nothing matters'' at the very top myself. And once you do that, it sort of dissolves the point of the rest, a bit.

I would only need a philosophy of life, if something actually mattered.
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Re: Critique My Philosophy of Life?

Post by JimC » Sat Mar 08, 2014 10:28 pm

mistermack wrote:
Philosofer123 wrote:
mistermack wrote:What I find missing, ( as criticism is invited ) is the realisation that none of it matters.
You're born. You die. You might just as well have never existed.
See "Afterlife skepticism" (page 2), "Existential skepticism" (page 4), "Realization that change is the only constant" (pages 7-8), and "Recognition of triviality" (page 8).
I thought it would probably be in there. I only skimmed bits. I see nothing wrong with any of it, from what I did read.
Except, as I said, I would put ''nothing matters'' at the very top myself. And once you do that, it sort of dissolves the point of the rest, a bit.

I would only need a philosophy of life, if something actually mattered.
When life is going relatively swimmingly, perhaps one does not...

But when the shit hits the fan, perhaps it might be something to cling to in the chaos...
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Re: Critique My Philosophy of Life?

Post by Hermit » Sat Mar 08, 2014 11:32 pm

mistermack wrote:What I find missing, ( as criticism is invited ) is the realisation that none of it matters.
You're born. You die. You might just as well have never existed.
Granted, our existence as individuals is not even a drop in the ocean. Our insignificance is further highlighted by contemplating the likely fate of the universe, its dissolution through entropy.

Nevertheless, a world view, or philosophy as Philosofer prefers to call it, matters to me for two reasons. Firstly, it matters because I live among other humans. I'd have to be a lot more callous, antisocial, nihilistic and lacking in empathy than I am not to care how my attitudes affect others. My philosophy matters because and while I am alive.

Secondly, it matters beyond my life. What I do now, affects those around me and those effects reverberate through following generations. While not wanting to sound mystical, each of us is a link of the great chain of being. I do like the apocryphal Luther quote (apparently it did not appear in written form until 1944) "Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree."

Disclaimer: I wish I wasn't so much a shining example of "Do as I say, not as I do", though.
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Re: Critique My Philosophy of Life?

Post by mistermack » Tue Mar 11, 2014 5:51 pm

I don't think you need anything written down, or even to think about it, to have a code about how you treat others.
I've assimilated mine over the years, without any conclusions about what is ideal.
Because what's right for me, might not work for others.

I'm happy to go at it one question at a time, and I'm sure that my ideas wouldn't work for everyone.
Most questions have to be solved with a compromise anyway, which a lot of people don't like.
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