Saturday, 22 November 2008

The Consolation of Philosophy - indeed

So it doesn't make sense to me when people say they're not interested in Philosophy.

Or that it is pointless.

How could you not be interested in the big questions? In the final analysis, the only ones that actually matter. The classic ones; freedom of will, existence or non-existence of God (or Gods), the existence or non-existence of the soul (and its corollary - permanence or impermanence thereof), the nature of the origin of the universe, etc. These are the "pop" questions of Philosophy, and the very asking of any of these questions automatically presupposes a whole set of associated conditions. For ultimately Philosophy is concerned with universals, that which is unconditioned to which everything else is ultimately subservient.

But anyway - you see my point. Everyone simply must have at least some interest, even if they don't intellectually recognise this fact.

The second, often connected attitude of the pointlessness of it all carries with an unacceptable attitude of defeatism and apathy. For the lack of any certainty to such questions should not be considered the end of such speculation, but rather the start. To paraphrase Kant (and no doubt many others).

There is no natural delineation from where Philosophy ends and Theology begins. The Philosopher must always remain neutral, however, and seek wherever possible to subject everything to the utmost ratiocinative powers at their disposal. Whilst such an attitude is advisable for the Theologian, it is not necessarily required, as they are more willing to adopt a greater range of unknowables as given true as articles of faith. Theosophy is the natural synthesis of the two, and integrates the wider spectrum of occult and esoteric learnings into the canon.

Of course such distinctions are rather artificial and somewhat coloured by the over-specialisation and over dependence on modern empirical Science. Lo, those who would try to bring Philosophy as a specialisation of empirical, materialistic, Science. It is a move so absurd that it scarcely merits conversation. After all, originally, Philosophy was called Natural Science. So to subject this to an involution of primacy is merely a reflection of a lack of understanding of the proper architectonic upon which the nature of appropriate generalisation and specialisation, the proper order of subjects, belongs.

No, Philosophy is always the ultimate root parent subject to all others. Or rather, all others are ultimately subject to a Philsophy.

So anyway, life is frustrating. We all make our errors of judgement. I went to University and studied Computer Science, only to realise half-way through that I'd picked the wrong degree as it progressively bored the hell out me, and I felt a yearning to study ultimately more fundamental matters - i.e. Philosophy. Of course had been someone of the pragmatic and sensible type, I would have just finished it, continuing on from my excellent results in the second year... and probably could have some well paid job now, albeit unsatisfying.

But such a pragmatism is out of character for me, I am ultimately driven by more impulsive undercurrents, despite perhaps appearances to contrary in terms of my outward seemingly sensible, almost staid, navigation of life's challenges.

So I find myself in murky waters of discontent. A feeling of not having actually come close to fulfilling my potential in any respect. Almost a sense of being inauthentic towards myself.

So I could do an external Philosophy degree now. But guess what. Yeah, money. It'll have to wait until I'm out of debt, as it isn't cheap. It is tiresome waiting. But Philosophy, I suppose, is one of those powers of mind that merely improves with age. Philosophy should be rushed. In fact, the slower the better. A 100 brilliant words can contain more coherency than a 10000 garbled pages.

Zen masters intuitively comprehended this truth.

The sense of discontent would be eased if I more people in day to day life to share this stuff with. I mean, I have one particular person the other side of the globe who I randomly converse with over Facebook, then in my day to day life maybe one or two people.

Patrick is one of them. He has a PhD in Mathematics so invariably our discussions revolve around perplexing mathematical abstractions and in-jokes about Wittenstein. Kant talked rather penetratingly about mathematics. Mathematics won't ultimately help you with the deep Philosophical problems, but as a tool for the construction of concepts, and as a tool for exploring the universal in the particular, in concreto, as it were, it has an efficacy no other subject has. It also encourages a rigour and clarity of thought and method like no other.

I was far too lazy in school with Mathematics. I had plenty of ability but lack of application, so never it took it that far beyond GCSE. I should probably go back and correct that. But I'd start from a different standpoint. It all starts to become a lot more powerful when one approaches it from the Mystery perspective, the Pythagorean school. Rather than assuming them as abstract concepts in itself, it instead relates the abstractions as analogues of deep philosophical observations, and builds them up there. So instead of a mere structure "for the sake of" it is a structure that reflects instead a certain something. The great Pythagorean Tetraclys is the profound example of this.

Anyway, its a beautiful winter's day outside. Cold, frostly, crisp and sunny. My favourite type of weather in many respects. A fine day to wander, sit and have a coffee, and consider things anew.

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