Draft 7 Oct 2014
Summary reminder about this guide.
Our world view is simultaneously shaped by and reflected in our use of symbols. The human ego can easily generate very subtle and sophisticated rationales for any use of a symbol. This guide employs deep psychoanalysis founded in the profound wisdom of the principles of physics. It enables us to use that wisdom to transcend the ingenious deceits and trickery of the ego so that our use of symbols sustains us.
True hope resides in symbol use that embraces change/stewardship.
Delusive hope resides in symbol use that denies change/stewardship.
Many of us graduate from our education system very unclear of the nature of philosophy. We graduate knowing that it is something to do with a person’s belief system and the meaning of life. At the same time we feel uncertain that philosophy has anything to do with our daily lives. How does this dissonance arise?
A probable answer is that our education system inculcates in us the belief that philosophy is a rarefied discipline, the exclusive domain of a few people who are very clever with words and ideas and who are paid to argue about “how many angels can dance on the head of a pin”.
(Note: our education system inculcates us in similar way that “science” and “art” are the domain of similar small elites.)
We are each our symbol and we are exquisitely tuned to each others actions. Thus the lifestyle of a self-described “philosopher” ultimately reveals his or her notion of philosophy. We find the lives of “philosophy experts” vary greatly. Some are conservatives of the flows and balances that sustain humanity. Others are non-conservatives.
Often we observe how in one moment they may argue with exquisite logic and meticulous detail for a belief and then in the next moment they may perform an action that completely contradicts that belief. They may be completely oblivious to the dissonance created.
Such deceit and confusion indicates our contemporary notion of philosophy is strongly influenced by the ego with its tendency to deny change/stewardship. We are caught in the paradox that even as philosophy is about meaning we do not know the meaning of philosophy. Fortunately we can employ physics of true hope to transcend the limitations of the ego, thought and paradox. When we embrace the great principles of energy we are better able to enjoy true hope in philosophy.
Reiteration: The Sustainability Principle of Energy
True hope resides in symbol use that embraces change/stewardship.
Delusive hope resides in symbol use that denies change/stewardship.
In brief the Conservation Principle of Energy reminds us that energy is so bounteous it can usefully be described as a constant and that it continuously transforms. In other words, all is change and change is a constant. The human ego, which arises in the division of the psyche with the advent of self-awareness, tends to deny the universality of change with its intimations of our mortality. It can create all manner of ingenious deceits and false hopes in this denial. We can identify these deceits by exploring the evolution of our behaviour and associated use of symbols.
philosophy (n.) c.1300, “knowledge, body of knowledge,” from Old French filosofie “philosophy, knowledge” (12c., Modern French philosophie) and directly from Latin philosophia and from Greek philosophia “love of knowledge, pursuit of wisdom; systematic investigation,” from philo- “loving” (see philo-) + sophia “knowledge, wisdom,” from sophis “wise, learned;” of unknown origin.
Meaning “system a person forms for conduct of life” is attested from 1771.
empiricism (n.) 1650s, in the medical sense, from empiric + -ism. Later in a general sense of “reliance on direct observation rather than theory,” especially an undue reliance on mere individual experience; in reference to a philosophical doctrine which regards experience as the only source of knowledge from 1796.
- empiric (adj.)
- c.1600, empirical, from Latin empiricus (n.) “a physician guided by experience,” from Greek empeirikos “experienced,” from empeiria “experience; mere experience or practice without knowledge,” especially in medicine, from empeiros “experienced (in a thing), proven by use,” from assimilated form of en “in” (see en- (2)) + peira “trial, experiment,” from PIE *per- (3) “to try, risk” (see fear (n.)). Originally a school of ancient physicians who based their practice on experience rather than theory. Earlier as a noun (1540s) in reference to the sect, and earliest (1520s) in a sense “quack doctor” which was in frequent use 16c.-19c.
- The Online Etymology Dictionary discussion of the philosophy symbol includes this intriguing quote:
[Philosophical problems] are, of course, not empirical problems; but they are solved through an insight into the workings of our language, and that in such a way that these workings are recognized — despite an urge to misunderstand them. The problems are solved, not through the contribution of new knowledge, rather through the arrangement of things long familiar. Philosophy is a struggle against the bewitchment (Verhexung) of our understanding by the resources of our language. [Ludwig Wittgenstein, “Philosophical Investigations,” 1953]
A prime message of this website is that we are better able to transcend both the ingenious trickery of the ego and the limitations of thought and paradox when we embrace the pivotal role of the ego in our lives and employ the great principles of physics as our guide in language use.
Wittgenstein is fundamentally correct that “our problems… are solved through the the arrangement of things long familiar”. That is why this website places great importance on identifying contemporary flawed uses of our prime symbols and reminding us in their ancient wise use.
This ancient wisdom is evident in the inherent acceptance of change/stewardship ( i.e. our mortality) in the symbol use.
The lack of wisdom in our contemporary use is manifest in an English language that generates global waste, pollution and mass misery.
However his framing statement “[Philosophical problems] are, of course, not empirical problems; but they are solved through an insight into the workings of our language…” is perhaps unhelpful because it reflects the general malaise that arose with 16th Century dualism. Mind and body came to be understood as two separate entities rather than as integral to each other. This division denies the essential change of the human condition and the greater wisdom of the total being of the human psyche.
It perhaps more helpful to frame our situation thus, “[Philosophical problems] include empirical problems and they are solved through an insight into the workings of our language…”
In brief, true hope resides in our mindfulness that our every action, including our use of language, is a rigorous experiment with living in harmony with the flows and balances that sustain humanity. True hope also resides in knowing that information is physical, it is inherent in all things and knowledge is information livened by sentience. Thus experience and knowledge cannot be divorced in reality. Such divorce denies the universal change we are part of and disrupts the sustainable learning process. We become vulnerable to the deceits of the ego and trapped in the paradox of knowledge. As a consequence, our behaviour tends to become delusive.
True hope Philosophy is our way of being i.e. we philosophy.
Comment: Philosophy is an active state of being. It is a verb. All human beings philosophy and so it is meaningless to describe any human being as a philosopher because this denies our common condition.
However existence is paradox and it is helpful to speak of philosophy of true hope and philosophy of delusive hope with these two states co-existing and co-evolving together. It is helpful because we exist in this finite form as elements of the continuous universal change and the survival of humankind depends on our constant evaluation of our actions in the cosmos.
Action and hope are both paradox.
A sustaining action in one moment may become non-sustaining in the next and vice versa. See the “energy efficiency” symbol.
Similarly true hope and delusive hope are of each other even as they are different.
The truer our philosophy; the greater our awareness of our delusions.
We can transcend all these paradox by enjoying compassion and embracing the physics of hope.
Footnote re the etymology of philosophy: “love of knowledge, pursuit of wisdom; systematic investigation,” from philo- “loving” (see philo-) + sophia “knowledge, wisdom,” from sophis “wise, learned;”
Philosophy is the active process of learning with our every action. True philosophy resides in “loving knowledge, pursuing wisdom; systematic investigating,” which is in accord with the ancient wisdom of the symbol.
Delusive hope: Philosophy is “knowledge, a body of knowledge,” and a “system a person forms for conduct of life”.
Comment: This recent use of the “philosophy” symbol transforms it in a noun i..e. philosophy is a thing rather than a state of being. This redefinition is convenient for the ego because it strips the symbol of its associations with compassion and denies the essential change of the sustainable learning process.
This redefinition is a common trick of the ego and it performs it with such sublime deceit that we may be completely unaware that we invert the meaning of a symbol. Observe how this trick of language denies our roles as stewards by asserting that philosophy is a body of knowledge or a system somehow separate from our active state of being. Philosophy is no longer experienced as the vital informing of our every action. Consequently knowledge ceases to be a moral force in our daily affairs, which is very convenient for the ego.
In other words, we believe we can use knowledge as we please regardless of the principles of physics. The advent of this ethos of self-deceit and denial enables the commodification of knowledge in general, as we see with the simultaneous arise of copyright in Britain in the 16th Century, the associated conversion of universities into debt-generating devices and the vast demeaning of the English language.
True hope Symbol not used
Comment: Philosophy expresses a state of being or the action of the psyche i.e. it is a verb. To make a verb of a verb makes nonsense.
False hope Humans philosophize.
Comment: This verb arose in the 1590s and is associated with the denial of philosophy as a process of change or action. It is a consequence of the redefining of philosophy as a thing or body of knowledge i.e. as a noun.
A great trick of the ego is to confuse the action with that which is acted upon. Verb is conflated with noun so the essential action (change) is no longer expressed.
Similar examples include the conflation of power (the measure or rate of change) with the change being measured and energy with the forms it may take. This trick conveniently denies the essential universal change in all manner of ways.
Symbol Philosophy (Science)
True hope: True philosophy occurs with science.
Comment: Science is a profound moral way or process of being that arises with the experience of compassion. This state of being enables the development of sustainable learning processes and philosophy of true hope to prevail.
Science is the active sustainable learning process and philosophy is the loving of this experience
Delusive hope: Philosophy and science are two distinct, parallel bodies of thought (knowledge).
Comment: The delusion arises from the denial of the essential human condition amidst the continuous universal change.
To reiterate, our condition is characterized by the schism in our psyche that arises with self-awareness and the ego’s tendency to be divisive and to deny our mortality. The relegation of the “philosophy” and “science” symbols to nouns rends them morally impotent and confounds the learning process. This demeaning of these vital symbols enables the profound denial of stewardship.
Symbol Philosophy (Reason)
True hope Philosophy includes the action of reasoning.
Comment: Our psyche consists of a vast sentience, of which self-awareness is a trace element. This trace element is the domain of thought and reason is one of the processes by which we connect thoughts. It involves the self-aware connecting of ideas in a process of inquiry, experimentation and reflection. This reasoning process has two major limitations:
(1) The thought process is incapable of fully embracing paradox.
(2) The thought process is very vulnerable to the incredible, ingenious deceits of the active interface of the self and non-self awareness (the ego).
Thus while cognitive activities such as intellectualizing, thinking and reasoning are necessary processes of human beings, they are not sufficient to sustain us. Philosophy of true hope involves engaging the greater wisdom of the full psyche by the active experience of compassion so the state of science can prevail. We are opened to the bounty our greater potential when the reasoning process is founded in humility and informed by its own limitations.
Delusive hope Philosophy is reason (or is similar to reason)
Comment See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reason
Reason is the capacity for consciously making sense of things, applying logic, for establishing and verifying facts, and changing or justifying practices, institutions, and beliefs based on new or existing information. It is closely associated with such characteristically human activities as philosophy, science, language, mathematics, and art, and is normally considered to be a definitive characteristic of human nature. The concept of reason is sometimes referred to as rationality and sometimes as discursive reason, in opposition to intuitive reason.
Such statements confound philosophy of true hope and generate delusive hope. They are an exemplar of the ego’s propensities for divisiveness and denial of change.
True hope resides in the experience of compassion, which enables the experience of the state of science, which in turn enables the development of all manner of sustaining arts (skills) including sustaining language and civics. In this active state we understand that rationality or “discursive reason” and “intuitive reason” are complementary activities, not contradictory activities. We philosophy i.e. we enjoy pursuing the truth.
Delusive hope resides most fundamentally in the lack of compassion so that reason confuses rather than elucidates our situation. Both philosophy and science are deemed to be amoral ways of thinking and an exclusive bodies of knowledge. Art (skill) in general is conflated with few few specific skills that exclude the essential skill of language while mathematics is excluded from language.
Symbol Philosophy (Religion)
True hope Philosophy is loving open inquiry of existence with its associated sensations of humility, stewardship, wonder, awe and transcendence.
Comment: Philosophy cannot be equated with our contemporary use of the “religion” symbol because philosophy is a verb and religion is a noun. To the extent a person experiences philosophy of true hope they can be described as being religious and as experiencing religiousness. Their lives are characterized by reflection (relegere), mindfulness (religare) and caring (religiens) of the flows and balances that sustain humanity. See etymology in next paragraph.
Delusive hope A philosophy is/is not a religion.
Comment These seeming contrary hopes are actually the same in that both express the belief that philosophy is a body of knowledge rather than an active state of being.
The etymology of the “religion” symbol is unclear. It is interesting to note that Online Etymology records various possible origins of the “religion” symbol and all involve active states of being:
– relegere “go through again” (in reading or in thought), from re- “again” (see re-) + legere “read” (see lecture (n.)).
– religare “to bind fast” (see rely)
– religiens “careful,” opposite of negligens.
Again we an observe the fascinating phenomenon whereby “In English, meaning “particular system of faith” is recorded from c.1300; sense of “recognition of and allegiance in manner of life (perceived as justly due) to a higher, unseen power or powers” is from 1530s.”
This is fascinating because the evolution of the symbol mirrors that of other prime symbols in the English language in that there is an escalating denial of change/stewardship.
This is typical of the ego’s trickery. Associations of the essential change are removed by transforming verbs and adverts into nouns. The symbol is associated with reverence for a higher entity (god) rather than with the experience of transcendence. Stewardship is delegated to a god or gods with the modern god being an entity called “The Market”. Thus planned obsolescence (diseconomy), waste and pollution prevail.