Monthly Archives: July 2017

selfish

a person who hoards the money he or she makes from selling a lot of fish. (origin – sell fish)

Verifiability and Falsifiability

There are some things which are neither verifiable nor falsifiable, like God. If God is unchanging, permanent and all-pervasive then nothing we can do will ever give us a place where it is absent and therefore observable. So it is quite pointless to even talk of its unverifiable/unfalsifiable existence.

But there are things which are verifiable but have yet to be falsified, like gravity or the speed of light. What we have is a physical world that can be tested shown to work in a certain order to be able to call it a law. But there is no reason why it cannot be falsified, only that it has not been falsified.

From experience then we can say the world works in a certain way, the way it works holds true in most, if not all places. The chance that it might not hold true in some place we have yet to discover is not as important as the fact that it holds true in every place we have seen it. That, in itself, is our only judgement of the world.

We may make deductions (conclusions from general truth to a specific one) and inductions (conclusions from specific truth to a general one) but really they are all abductions, conclusions from probable observed outcomes of general and/or specific truths.

Reincarnation in Buddhism

Reincarnation or rebirth, contrary to popular Western belief, is a negative term in Buddhism. The goal of Buddhism is to end reincarnation, not perpetuate it. 

How this misconception arose is various. It could have been from a generalisation from another Eastern religion – Hinduism – in which it sees rebirth as a positive term, where being reborn means to improve to higher states of being until Oneness with God, or moksha. In contrast Buddhism does not aim for oneness but “release”. 

To be “reborn” in English also seems to suggest to return anew. This image can be seen in the term “Born-Again Christian”. Whereas no such concept exists at all in Buddhism. 

Thoughts on the Mind

To me, there is no doubt that the mind is product of the physical brain that is of the physical world. Without the physical world there is no mind. By extension all concepts are therefore a product of the physical world by way of the physical brain. Once every living sentient thing disappears (if that is at all possible) from the physical universe then all concepts disappear. What remains is a physical universe without sentient being. That is quite possible because there is no law that says there must be sentient beings. In fact at the very beginning after the Big Bang it was quite possible that the universe did not contain a single sentient entity whatsoever. This being the case then it is possible that there can be a time in the future without sentient beings as well.

The faces of Foucault

Not many people know it but Michel Foucault had (at least) a public and private face. I will not elaborate. But perhaps it is only important to remember that we are protean in nature.  Everyday we play many roles. Most are chosen. Some are not. Many, you may see. Others are unnoticed, camouflaged or outright hidden from you. 

The Existential problem

I am happy with the concept though not with the term of the absurd. The definition that everything is meaningless is perhaps better rephrased as “without intrinsic meaning”. This is better captured in the term “without essence”. There is only existence. At first glance this sentence seems to indicate that existentialists are a kind of realist, materialist or physicalist. But the concerns of existentialists are how to live with freedom of choice. In other words, existentialists are concerned more with the mind than the real. The so-called freedom of choice, then, is seemingly complete freedom. Existentialists ignore the physical limitations that we are bound to, opting to place priority to the mind.

coffee bean

en(capsul)ates
the past
painful histories
the not so
dark (roast)
secrets of man

each little bean
can represent a soul
the soil and toil
that had been lost
for the present

or it can re-present
a now and future
that we aspire to

to wake
or awaken us
rejuvenate

invigorate
temporarily
and get us ready
for another day

Religion, philosophy and science have the same aim

Looking beyond the surface of religion, philosophy and science they essentially have the same aim – to explain what the world is and how we should live in it. For this reason I find it does not matter what religion or belief you have as long as you are trying to be the best person possible you are heading in the right direction. But once you try to impose your own values on others then we lose our way and we lose respect for other people to have their beliefs.

Stasis of form

The physical stasis of the form of the word creates the illusion of the stasis of the thing.

Conceptual Stasis

The problem with concepts are that they create illusions of stasis when none are there. Plato fell into the trap, as did Aristotle. This way of thinking held sway until the 19 century. Even Peter Abelard had lost out (probably due to his love for his Heloise). Would we have the novel (and more widely, literature) if it were not for the understanding of the fictive mind?

Stasis or Kinesis

“The world is in a state of flux,” said Heraclitus. His contemporary Parmenides said the exact opposite – “everything is unitary and static”.

While it is easy to show that something that looks stable is in fact changing it is hard to show that it is not. One can say that both are illusions, only that one eventually does show itself to be the case (kinesis). Over time an object in rest gradually changes its form. What Parmenides was arguing for was that this was all an illusion and that really everything is the same. In other words, he was a kind of rationalist.

In some ways Christians are rationalists, that sense empirical data is imperfect and should be ignored.

Priority and preference is given to the thinking mind rather than to the physical reality. Rationalists will argue that all that is necessary is the mind and its reason.

But if that is the case why have we not evolved to be rid of sensory faculties. Clearly, the senses do matter, and it is to sense the changes in the environment, not its staticity. Stasis is a controlled look at all things. There is something abstract about stasis, it’s removal of movement of reality, like a photographic still or a painting of a scene.

One Consciousness 

There is a belief that as long as there is one consciousness that exists in the world that the world will exist. So even if all corporeal life disappears from the universe there is still God to watch over it all. 

I am not so sure. 

To me, that amounts to cheating. It is not only deception but more importantly self-deception. The problem with self-deception, though, is that it is so good at it that you do not even notice that you are being deceived. And the concept of God does not help either. It only perpetuates and “substantiates” the self-deception. 

Human/Animal

The advantage of being human is that we can group things easily by convenience of language. Take the word “human” for example. The term means us the single species of animal that is contrasted with all other animals. The opposite of human is “animal”. It also denotes us as different (when we are not) from other animals by putting everything into the container of “animal”.

This is how anthropocentric we are.

We must, at all times, be careful with and be aware of the nature of language. To think that language is natural and error-free is to not understand its nature. For it is wholly artificial, reliant upon the tools, the limited mechanics, we call the “body” that is available to us.

Karate #haiku

Parents trade gossip
In the stiffling gym heat
As children trade punches