Slashdot has the skinny on Google Code Search which Google just released. Here's a direct link to the cnet story.
posted by dharh 8:44 AM Oct 5th, 2006 via idt
There you have it, the Daily Show is as substantive as the "real" news.
posted by dharh 9:44 PM Oct 4th, 2006 via idt
WORKING DRAFTMy philosophy is a working draft. No really, that's a major point of my philosophy. Life is a working draft, we hardly believe the same things or act the same way our entire lives. So, I'm continually evolving, growing, adapting to my environment as time goes on. Thus, this page is also working draft and as such has holes that have yet to be filled in and perhaps areas that need refinement or rethinking.
The Whole of ThingsOften as individuals and evidently as societies we find ourself limited in our view. We are often thinking about now rather than the past or the future. Another major point in my philosophy is the looking at the Whole of Things, or as someone put it a long time about, looking at the Long Now. Not to be entirely confused with the Church of the Long Now nor exactly the Long Now Foundation.
Particular questions to ask or things to keep in mind when looking at the Whole of Things:
The Pragmatic WarriorThis is blatantly stolen from a friend of mine.
"I don't believe, but I've got a good idea." - Bethany Sloane in Dogma
There are no intentions here, it is not my place to tell people how to live and what to think, this is just an exploration of my own ideas.
Life is both simple and complicated. To explain each part with enough detail, to get the entire picture while not loosing the specifics can be a hard thing to do. As with evolution of the species, throughout these billions of years, people change over time.
A person's philosophy in life, or lack of it, can grow and change over the years. The things that have happened in a persons life and their reactions to them shape who they are. Though people can remain at the core the same person throughout their life they are not entirely the same now as they were many years ago. People adapt, evolve, and grow into the person they are now and will continue to change over time. All the pain and pleasures, all the experiences of the different aspects of life become part of a whole person.
There are four main facets to my philosophy. Reason, Logic, Emotion, and Compassion. All of these are then focused around a fifth. That focus is concerned with what I call attitudes. The fundamental things which cause us to act certain ways and believe certain things are our attitudes towards the things around us. In taking a look at them we can better understand (and control?) them.
To make it a complete philosophy it has one major thesis that surrounds everything. While life and the universe are very complex they are derived and function from very simple rules and concepts. There are ways to see, understand, and generalize them which can simplify even the most confounding things. This is how we have dealt with a great deal of things, we just don't always apply it further.
Our emotions tell us who we really are. Regardless of what ethics or beliefs we think we have, these are the signs that show us our true selves.
Though I haven't fully explored each part yet, my philosophy has five main attitudes. Water, Earth, Fire, Wind, and Void. These five attitudes constitute each good and bad aspects of life, they are the colors of life. It may seem very mystical but these are symbolic ways to represent real emotions and actions. They are metaphorical but they have powerful connotations attached to them to help explain the different aspects to being human.
Air is a flowing force, it ebbs and flows, can change what it comes in contact with over vast amounts of time. The attitude of air is about going with the flow of life, letting things pass or passing away, and soaring in the clouds. The reciprocal however of the attitude of air is indecision, listlessness or floundering, and inattentiveness. Air can be confused with water in that water flows as well.
Earth is a solid force. Earth brings thoughts of being down to earth, being consistent, steadfast, and strong. Sometimes we think of earth as being a load stone, or things in which change happens upon but not to directly. On the other hand the attitude of earth is also about stubbornness, unmoving, unchanging, and staying behind. The interesting thing about earth however is that its greatest connection is with water. Through water and air it slowly, but surely changes.
Fire is a consuming force. It is the passion of life. For both good and bad, it consumes life. The attitude of fire is energy, renewal, and love as well as wasteful, destruction, and hate. It is the quickest to change.
Water is a running force. It pushes and pulls. The attitude of water is refreshing, bringing life, and clarity. However it can be overwhelming or drowning, deceptive, and cold. Like air it brings about change over long periods of time. It shapes great things in the rocks of the earth.
Void is not really a force, but a place. By far the most opposite of fire. It is an attitude of objectiveness, observing, and calm. The reciprocal is shallowness, devoid, uncaring or emotionless, and remote.
Life is not necessarily about being just one of these things at one time. Balance comes with being all or parts of each thing at a time. Love, from fire, is not just passion, lust, or consuming, it can be with earth or void and wind, calmly fulfilling and steady.
Most of the attitudes have to do with emotions. Emotions are a way to tell what we really think deep down, even if on the surface we act differently. Understanding our emotions and thus our attitudes can help us understand who we are.
In many cultures good and evil have been classified as black and white. Observed as yin and yang.
(The Gift, The White Album)
The Myth of Pure Good.
The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.
The needs of the few outweigh the needs of the many.
And the needs of the one outweigh the needs of the many.
Heavy star trek references I know.
(The Curse, The Black Album)
The Myth of Pure Evil.
People will undoubtedly have examples of what they consider pure evil. Often religion has its own examples. I would discard these and shoot the heart of the matter. I don't believe there is a person or being that is pure evil.
(Life, The Grey Album)
Together The Gift and The Curse balance to make the grey. It can take a lifetime to fully realize this.
Life: If the beauty in life is that it is short, then the joy is the experience. Life is both The Gift and The Curse. The Gift and The Curse: Life is a gift and a curse. The Gift: To love. The Curse: To Hate. White, Black, Grey: Yet just so it is both. First comes The White Album and The Black Album but the reality is The Grey Album. Life is black and white and grey and every other color. There's hate and love and much in the middle, just as life can be the worst horror and evil, it can be the greatest beauty and splendor. We must strive to do the good, to overcome the bad, in the face of it's eternal existence, to keep the balance, for the sake of it.
Reality: It is balanced, it moves forward, it loses, it wins. It evolves and ultimately conquers.
Music has a message, from the author, from the listener, the message to and from either and both. The beauty of it, like life, is that it can convey the truth. As a medium of expression, like prose, like speech, like stories, like pictures, it is.
Who do you think I am? Believe in me that believes in you.
Old DraftIn all philosophies there is ( or should be... ) a foundation that supports it, something that holds it up logically. This foundation is what will define and dominate all that results after, all the ideals and concepts in which the philosophy revolves around. This foundation for me revolves around four main points. The first and foremost concept is thought. It is important to think rationally and logically with common sense, to make rational decisions and logical conclusions, only then can one begin to understand anything. The second concept is simple: I exist. Using the first concept, it is easy to surmise that if I didn't exist I couldn't think, since I can, I exist. The third concept also simple: Existence exists. On the same lines as the first concept helps derive the second concept, the second concept helps derive the third concept. Existence must exist ( be possible ) for me to exist. Finally the fourth concept pertains to second and third concepts: Existence can exist independent of me. If I were to cease to exist, existence could continue existing.
To better explain these four concepts it is perhaps best to apply them and see how they expand to the other areas of my philosophy and they interrelate.
Obviously the first concept relates to everything. How do I come up with an ideal or concept? I think. How do I make decisions or conclusions? I think. The process of thinking and how I do it helps me make thoughts and actions which make sense. How I think, is with logic and reason, but also the most important is with common sense. Even though common sense can be thought of in many ways, it is truly meant to be a guiding hand for logic and reason. One can reach a conclusion with logic and reasoning, seemingly flawlessly, but the conclusion makes no sense. Common sense tells us we need to double check ourselves, to perhaps expand our information, to not to give into the arrogance that we are perfect in our logic and reason.
The statement "I think therefore I am." is a concept most philosophers will run into at one point or another in their studies.
My first question when I heard that was, why do I exist because I think? The problem with the phrase is that it does not greatly explain that actual concept behind the idea. In reality one can exist without the ability to think. It is our consciousness, our ability to think, that lets us recognize our existence. You can exist and not think, or so many inanimate objects tell me (kidding). Evidence to explain my existence is truly subjective in the utmost extreme, if not for the human mind one would not need to in fact prove it. Having not seen me, smelled me, touched me, heard me, or tasted me (if you are cannibalistically inclined), can you truly say that I exist? In defending myself I come upon the solution, to do so I must first exist. This is where the heart of the matter lays. The rock that has no cognition does not need to prove it exist because it cannot doubt its own existence. In doubting my existence and asking myself if I do indeed exist I have automatically answered my question. The term earlier mentioned, "I think therefore I am." does in fact simply prove existence.
To think, you must first exist. Thus, while existing does not prove you think, thinking proves that you do exist.
This cognition gives me the ability to better grasp my environment then perhaps I could without it. Proving that in order to think I must exist I can go one step up that ladder and say that in order to exist, the possibility of existence must exist. Existence by definition means that which exists, but taking it a step further it implies the possibility of existence. Not, however, the definite must that something does in fact exist, as is the same nature between existing and thinking. The Universe and Reality are both means of existence, environments in which to exist in, though they are in fact separate terms of the same thing. This then brings up the fourth and final concept of the inner square, that which separates me, to an extent, from existence. While perhaps I can influence the Universe in some way, I only validate that the Universe exists and in turn the Universe validates that I can exist, but I am not responsible for the Universe or Reality existing. When I die existence will go on, and so will it go on if someone else dies. The evidence of this has been observed throughout the ages as many generations of people have lived and died without, seemingly, the Universe even taking notice.
There it is, the inner square of my philosophy. By no means all that my philosophy covers, but it is to me the most important, defining my existence. And thus having defined my existence I can move on to the outer square. In the same fashion as the inner square the outer square has four main points. Truly the real meat behind my philosophy, I have come by these concepts through my observations of life and the many books I have read. In no particular real definite order these concepts, however, are more or less stand alone concepts to define my understanding and view of existence (reality), the environment in which I live. The first concept, something I picked up mostly from my studies of Objectivism is that I should try to be objective in my observations. The second concept, by in large also from my studies of Objectivism is to use rational and logical thought. The third concept, is the ideal of taking into account the Whole of things, not just its parts. This brings up the fourth concept, applying the third concept to the first and second, of also understanding the subjective nature about life, so that I can understand and use things like my emotions, not block them out. Being mostly separate concepts, it would be better to explain the background of each, how I came to the idea of them, and why I think they are important to live by. However, I am concluding at this point, I think I have revealed enough that will give at least an understanding of how important I think Philosophy is and how I have employed some of my philosophical ideas. The other things, such as what might come after the foundation is really not important. You can see the results, if you are so inclined, by my actions and other things I write. There is nothing else to it, all I have to do keep an open but solid mind.
posted by dharh 4:53 PM Oct 4th, 2006 via idt
An intro to the topic of Philosophy.
What It IsPhilosophy is most often concidered a field of study in areas of reality, cause and effect, and principles underlying being and thinking. The study of philosophy usualy deals with the collective works of historic and current philosophers. In simpler definitions philosophy has been termed the study or 'love of wisdom.' A philosophy usualy means a certain philosophers approach to life or existence. An answer to some of the questions and/or a methedology for answering others. The field of Philosophy, though some might say has a methodology itself, is about asking the questions. To be curious about life is to be in the realm of philosophy. In the past much of what we concider the modern sciences has its root in philosophy leaving philosophy to mostly deal with the sort of questions which are foundational and abrstract in nature, questions not necessarily amenable to experimental process.
Modern philosophy is the study of the fundamental nature of existence, of man, and of man's relationship to existence. Thus where philosophy deals with all aspects of the Universe that exist, the special Sciences - biology, physics, ect. - deal only with particular aspects of the Universe that exist in which their field focuses. So it can be thought of as such that the special sciences are the children from which grew out of philosophy. Philosophy strives to answer questions of existence such that we can understand its nature. Philosophy also tries to answers those questions of the nature of man or more importantly man's consciousness and character, thus giving rise to the study of man's mind, again more specifically knowledge and how we gain it. Further philosophy takes this understanding of reality - existence - and man and applies them to the studying of man's relationship with existence. To tie them together there are three main questions that respectively each would try to answer: What is existence?, How do I know it?, What do I do?. To a certain extent a Religion is a philosophy because religion tries to answer some of those questions. But where every religion is a philosophy not every philosophy is a religion. Religion's main aspect is not in asking questions but the laws to answers of Metaphysics and Ethics. Philosophy deals in a broader scope with Metaphysics, Epistemology, Ethics, Politics, and Esthetics.
However, philosophy does not tell us the answers to our questions, it gives use the means to finding them. Philosophy's role is to provide us the means to get a comprehensive view of existence in which a person can base their actions. Metaphysics, the basis of theoretical philosophy, deals with the study of existence, thereby learning the nature of the Universe. Epistemology, the second half of theoretical philosophy, is the theory of knowledge, which is the study of man's means of cognition, asking the questions about the nature of man and how we know what we know. Where metaphysics and epistemology deal with all that exists, ethics applies only to man's life. Ethics defines the standards for which to guide man's choices and actions therefore defining man's character. The next branch depends heavily upon ethics, for it is ethics that determines how man treats man. Politics uses ethics to define the principles of a social system where people can come together and make agreed ethics common law. Esthetics, the last branch, is the study of fine arts that deal with the nature and expression of beauty in any shape or form, which is based on the other areas of philosophy.
Philosophy has had a very important impact in our History. This pursuit of answers has shaped our past to the very foundation of who we are today. The philosophers throughout the times have had a great influence in the societies they lived, great wars resulted from disagreements in philosophical and religious ideas, and indeed great discoveries were made because of philosophy. People such as Aristotle, Plato, Heraclitus, and Socrates have shaped our past. It is these people who asked questions and came up with answers that we perhaps take for granted in our daily lives. The wars throughout our history are perhaps the easiest to see as having influenced the world. Wars like World War I, World War II, and even the regional Crusades were caused because of religions or philosophical contentions. Though power was at the forefront of the World Wars and other wars, behind them were philosophical and religious ideas that drew those people to fight. But not all philosophy is bloody, there have been great advancements in our understanding of the Universe and the sciences that govern it. Philosophy having given us the means of understanding the Universe also gives us the means to apply this knowledge in the sciences. It is this that without philosophy science as we know it today would not have resulted simply because we would not have the tools to understand the way things work.
You may say, and indeed many other people do as well, that you have no need of philosophy, that you don't need to think in such abstract terms as philosophy does. You have real life concrete problems to deal with in your life. But you do need philosophy, you cannot even escape it, so that you can deal with real life concrete problems. Abstract ideas are conceptual integrations of concrete meanings from which we can explain an innumerable amount of individual concretes into one abstract idea. In other words we use abstracts to simplify very complex things. Without abstracts it would be as if every object that came your way would be as a new phenomenon, you would be unable to compare similar objects and integrate them together into a single conceptual idea. So long as you are a living, thinking person you have no choice in integrating your observations, experiences, and knowledge into abstract ideas. These abstract ideas are your principles, and your only choice is what these principles end up being. The whole of these principles, what you use to govern your life, is integrated by the use of philosophy. Man's philosophy is the integration of principles that form a fundamental view of life. This is very important, for a man's view of life determines his values and emotions.
Up above I said that philosophy does not tell us the answers to our questions. This is true, yet there are philosophies that do just that. The subject of philosophy gives you the tools to create a philosophy, and these philosophies in some respect are like religions. However, religions are widely known to deal with specifically an aspect of the creation of reality; our existence. Most religions, if not all, have at least one deity for which the religion revolves around. A philosophy does not necessarily have anything to do with a deity. A philosophy will have some answers to those questions that we have asked. While all this is well and good, why study philosophy? More importantly, first, you should ask why you should study your philosophy? The answer: To gain an understanding of the values you hold. By understanding our values we understand why we have the emotions we do. Emotions are a constant report of our reaction to our surroundings based on the values we hold. Having such a big impact in our lives it is important to understand them. Next, to study a philosophy that is not even our own gives us safeguards from which to protect ourselves against them and also reflect against our own philosophical ideas. You cannot defend your own philosophy or refute another philosophy if you do not know them, and to not know your own philosophy is to leave yourself open to blatantly false philosophical ideas. If nothing else, you reaffirm your beliefs so that you can be secure in them and their affect on you. While it is stressed in this essay the importance of philosophy and why we all must study it at one point in our lives, it is not my goal to show people how to think. I will make a recommendation that it is good to remember that one of your first choices is whether to define your philosophy by your own rational thought or someone else's irrational thought.
posted by dharh 4:31 PM Oct 4th, 2006 via idt
My material comes from a wide variety of sources. Anywhere from George Carlin, Albert Einstein, to Dan Simmons, or Stephen R. Donaldson.
Philosophy - What It Is
An address Ayn Rand gave to the graduating class of the United States Military Academy at West Point on March 6, 1974.
Rand, Ayn. Philosophy: Who needs it. New York: New American Library, 1984.
posted by dharh 4:29 PM Oct 4th, 2006 via idt
Vinod Khosla believes that the road to energy independence starts in a cornfield in Nebraska. Wired has the article here.
posted by dharh 7:37 AM Oct 3rd, 2006 via idt
Last Updated 2009-08-14
posted by dharh 11:50 PM Oct 2nd, 2006 via idt
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