Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Realize that Some Debates Just Cannot Be Resolved
Part I (of 3 planned parts)
Descartes both gave us a gift and a curse. I think, therefore I am ... but to think 100% of my capability, which I first must realize I cannot do, I must first realize that my thoughts are subjective. I must, however, be as objective as possible, to get the most from my environment*. I think subjectively, therefore I am flawed (or at least, that is the prison in which I sit).
To be objective, it is often a good idea to participate in debates, which are purposefully fuelled by our subjective sides. By looking at a number of points of views and positions, hopefully we can remove the parts of our ideology which aren't truly objective. And fill in the parts which are missing.
If two people begin to fiercely debate, it is no longer a debate, but a pissing contest between its two participants (another side effect of that subjective human nature). The debate gets nowhere. A person will lie, creating arguments to confuse the other, to shock the other, to do nothing but get them the win.
Further, the more one debates, the more carved in stone my beliefs become. I desire my beliefs to be objective, and therefore consider them to be so, on some subconscious, entirely subjective level. Debates cause me to think and determine the validity of any number of sub-arguments pertaining to a larger arguments. Thus, I'm filling in the gaps with my own subjective arguments!
And at any one time, these same events could be happening to more than 6 billion people***.
Gun control, abortion, war, taxes, and so on ... Human nature tends to take one side. Higher, more intellectual persons will tend to another. Even higher, more intellectual persons tend towards the other side, realizing the futility of higher, intellectual thinking (I'm not one of these latter). Another branch of these high, intellectual persons are those who see the human nature side and manipulate it to their own advantage (Nor one of these). There are some, lower, simpler persons who side with these last two groups, as it works with their instincts. Or, all of my thoughts on this could be entirely subjective and wrong. Or, it all could be culture (probably so), and not human nature at all. Or, one could argue that all of these things are human nature, and the cycle would continue on forever.
Guns Don't Kill People, I Like Mayonnaise
* And one mode of thought suggests that I am not only my brain and mind but am also largely my environment! Thusly, I must not only think objectively to be a fulfilled individual, but I also must use this thinking to dissect** my environment before I can truly realize myself and think objectively.
** And another mode of thought suggests that dissection destroys truth. My fate seems to be a twinkie with no cream filling; but I'll leave that one alone.
*** Not likely, but possible.
Note: The following two sections were reserved for parts II and III of the article above. They outlineed a simply pattern for me to follow, and various curcuitous arguments which would, I had hoped, lead on into an endless void of intellectual mush. I plan on continuing this node into the originally planned 3 parts ... but in a different direction than I originally foresaw.
Part II: Guns Kill People, and I Dream of Descartes; Or: How I Began Worrying Again coming soon.
Part III: Guns Kill People, Tuna On Rye; Or: How I Stopped Worrying One Last Time After I Noticed the Philosopher Buzzword in my Last Title coming soon.
Part II (of 3 planned parts)
It has been a while since I updated this node. I have been touching it, gently, for the past few months, but the time never seemed quite right for a full-fledged update. My thoughts have been gestating for some time, and I feel prepared to reopen this bag of tigers.
About three months after its creation, I noticed that soft linked to it was the node entitled "Your radical ideas about philosophy have already occurred to others". This impressed me immensely, for it pointed right to my cold, black, facade of a heart. So affected by it was I, I took it on as a name for this article's second part. And now, let it lead us onward.
Why did this comment in a soft link affect me so? The first part discusses the fact that my ideas aren't original at all; they are largely worthless in the grand scheme of things. In a bludgeon-like form of irony, I was simultaneously spouting off about nothingness. Still, naively unironic, I was trying to make a point and be, get this, clever*.
I could spiral ever downward now into self-criticism and analysis, but I won't. Rather, I will begin my further argument by putting up a quote from a novel, not directly about philosophy, but still related, and pertaining to the discussion at hand:
Here was a man who had said, with his wan smile, that once he realized that he would never be a protagonist, he decided to become, instead, an intelligent spectator, for there was no point in writing without serious motivation ... Belbo found in the machine a kind of LSD and ran his fingers over the keyboard as if inventing variations on "The Happy Farmer" on the piano at home, without fear of being judged. Not that he was being creative: terrified as he was of writing, he knew that this was not writing but only the testing of an electronic skill. A gymnastic exercise ... His natural pessimism, his reluctant acceptance of his own past were somehow dissolved in this dialog with a memory that was inorganic, objective, obedient, nonmoral, transistorized, and so humanly inhuman that it enabled him to forget his chronic nervousness about life.
- Umberto Eco, Foucault's Pendulum
While the character here is a rugged intellectual veteran, and I myself a lowely neophyte, I nonetheless feel that this somehow applies to my situation. We all are in a gigantic push of intellectual ideas; they come together, clash and rub, and, likely, my ideas have occurred to countless others; all of this creates some sort of Intellectual Strong Nuclear Force. I suppose that all we can all hope to do is hope that the forces of all of our collective shoves result in us ending up somewhere interesting.
Should ever the reader be so inclined, please give this one any deserved shove that might come along.
** . . . damn, I tried to do it again . . . damn, I tried to do it again . . . damn, I tried to do it again . . . d a m n i t r i . e . . d . . . . .