Knowledge, Wisdom, and Philosophy

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by Cino, May 24, 2019.

  1. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic)

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    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad. Philosophy is wondering whether that means ketchup is a smoothie.

    (Should probably go into the jokes section, but maybe we can spin off a discussion about philosophical smoothies here)
     
  2. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Cucumber tomatoes and jalapeño is an excellent fruit salad! And smoothie...add vodka and wala, we can get all philosophical!
     
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  3. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    We can add an avocado fruit to that salad too!
     
  4. StevePame

    StevePame Administrator Staff Member

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    We’ll give it a bit here to see if there’s such a spin off:)
     
  5. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic)

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    In presocratic Greece, there seems to have been a fad for a drink made of wine, oil, herbs, and cheese - stretching the smoothie analogy a bit - which is the subject of one of the (few) fragments of Heraclitus that were preserved (B125 "Even the posset separates if it is not stirred.")

    Heraclitus made a point about movement and standstill, with respect to this cocktail smoothie salad drink separating into its constituent parts.

    Edited to add: years ago I listened to a history of philosophy podcast episode with two philosophers discussing Heraclitus and mentioning this delicacy. I managed to dig it up:

    https://historyofphilosophy.net/mccabe-on-heraclitus

    The bit where they mention posset is towards the end, starting around 17:35
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2019
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  6. Gatekeeper

    Gatekeeper Shades of Reason

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    I like the humor ... and I guess you're right ... I guess. I don't know. I do know I found the post funny. Is there a reason for the way you presented this? I mean a point you're making. The difference between knowledge and wisdom? O.k. ... Live and learn right?
     
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  7. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    LOL

    I've heard it said over the years that Einstein, who we all know was a brilliant man, would forget to tie his shoes or comb his hair.

    Not sure how to tell my story without coming across like I'm bragging, I was a pretty smart kid...but if you were to ask my Dad, I wasn't very savvy...yeah, that's it, savvy. :rolleyes: After reading the Bible through (well, most of it) as a young man, I came away wanting to seek wisdom, I was particularly impressed by the books of Solomon...still am. Philosophy came about years later, after some hard knocks in life. Finally got a chance to go back to school as a non-traditional student (and showed all those whippersnappers just how it should be done!), got a 4 year degree in 3, Summa Cum Laude and member of the Alpha Beta Kappa Honor Society, Kappa Iota chapter (class of 2004). That is where I was exposed to philosophy.

    Philosophy has its merits, but like religion it has to be applied, and also like religion there are branches or styles that are...how best can I put it?...meaningless. Philosophy for the sake of philosophy, self referential circles that form a feedback loop that stunts growth.

    Don't get me wrong; Kant, Mills' Utilitarianism...well, those are two that stand out in my mind, they have a value but they are not "be all and end all" within themselves. Then I discovered Ayn Rand...and I was impressed, but there was still something lacking, something not quite written, something that falls just a bit short.

    I come away thinking all of these can become like a religion, and to me religion is essentially the same as philosophy, these can perform similar functions...indeed, religion instills a kind of philosophy into a mind and soul.

    But people are people, and people seldom live up to that instilled philosophy, or religion, whichever is your preference.

    So the value of philosophy, or knowledge or wisdom for that matter, is in how it is used...how well is it applied in a person's life.

    I guess I don't really think about it anymore. I still use wisdom as the roadmarkers...if my religion, philosophy or knowledge doesn't measure up, I count it as unwise. Maybe I've got it backwards, but it works for me.

    :)
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2019
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  8. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic)

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    Live and learn, the wisdom of experience, all that goodness, yes.

    I am a fan of philosophy, but never trained in it formally.

    (I had no ulterior motive posting this, I came across it on social media and found it funny enough to post it here as a discussion starter).
     
  9. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    I don't think he forgot, he considered a waste if time to follow some societal norms
     
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  10. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic)

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    Ayn Rand - I read "The Fountainhead" as an adolescent. It's been a while, I remember being excited by the uncompromising individualism at the time, and intrigued by modernist, brutalist views on architecture, but nowadays I don't remember much else... where do you find her work to fall short? I know it is popular with some, unpopular with others, and that this preference aligns roughly with U.S. political affiliations, but let's leave politics out of this thread. I'm interested in your take!
     
  11. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Oh gosh, its been years.

    She usually gets trotted out by capitalists in response to socialism. As I recall, and its been a LONG time now, she was essentially about the worth of the individual being greater than the "collective" (my term). She was all about self responsibility, and she scorned - pretty vehemently - over reaching government. Where I remember thinking it wasn't complete, is that she never got around to why we value our dead. As with all novelists, she focused on those in power (wealthy, self-made entrepreneurs, nobody wants to read about Joe Average down at the pub), she only gave a passing nod at one point in one of the novels, I read both, to the "little guy." I found the stories overall encouraging, they certainly stimulated a sense of "can do" attitude. I have seen where some took umbrage with a rape fantasy she wrote in the beginning of one of the novels, but I couldn't help but think that was a desperate reach because the detractor couldn't find another more convincing argument...that's how it came across to me. I also think at the time the novels were written, publishers tended to push writers to include sex scenes in order to sell books, and I think that may have been her motivation to do so - like, "if you insist, OK - I'm including this not because I want to but because I have to in order to get published." It was a sarcastic poke in the nose that detractors have used since to chip away at her writing and her philosophy.

    She was about the worth of the individual, and contrasted that with how the individual gets lost in the collective of socialism. I've watched some of her "individual degradation" (my term) scenarios play out in real life, so her work isn't entirely fantasy.

    Atlas Shrugged is the other novel, I don't recall which is which. I think the Fountainhead was about the architect, and Atlas Shrugged was about "Who is John Galt?"
     
  12. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic)

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    I remember (what little I do) the story to be all about the living, yes - the successful ones, in terms of assertiveness, in terms of (self-)control.

    Speculating about the point you made: The dead lack assertiveness, and death can be understood as the ultimate failure in terms of self-control. Thus, they are not interesting to her, not admirable?

    Speculating again, the "little guy" is restricted in terms of asserting his individuality, controlled by his superiors, by his circumstances, too little wiggle room to maneuver and jockey for position - again, not admirable or interesting to her.

    I'd be interested in the case studies (so to speak), if you wish to provide them.
     
  13. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    No, I don't think that's it. Oh gawd….I'm trying to remember and I probably have a mental block because I couldn't reconcile. Something to do with a funeral maybe, just toss the ashes to the wind kind of thing, or maybe it was use the ashes for fertilizer or some dumb thing, and that's really my mind going in all sorts of disjointed ways I don't want to incorrectly attribute to her. But it struck me as a point at which her philosophy broke down when I read the books and assessed the content. Overall I find a good bit of agreement, but there was something about reverencing the dead that came off to me as dismissive, and I couldn't reconcile that with the rest of my "education."

    I have to remember that she was writing a novel, hiding her philosophy in fiction. Nothing new, that kind of thing is done all the time, and novel craft requires certain structure, or publishers won't print. They have their formula and if it doesn't fit they want adjustments, and if you won't it doesn't get printed.

    So there wasn't focus on the little guy beyond him being an up and coming entrepreneur, that he had the potential within to do the same as the lead players. And that's about as much as could be inferred by the cameo appearance.

    Volunteer burnout. Good hearted well meaning souls who enter adult life full of ambition and conviction, wanting to change the world by solving all the problems that come their way...only to find a burned out shell of a person years later, overworked, overwrought, underpaid, disillusioned, jaded, burnt out, a miserable shadow of their former self.

    Aside, have you ever read George Orwell's Animal Farm?
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2019
  14. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    There's probably a good bit of truth to that as well.

    I've read Madame Curie only had one black dress, the same she wore on her wedding day and used throughout her life.

    Maybe it is an indicator of brilliance, that of thumbing one's nose at social conventions. Hard to say. That's rarified air I don't get to travel in.
     
  15. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic)

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    I see, thanks. Do you think it was the volunteer work, an overdose of altruism in a sense?

    I'm asking because I have seen people go the individualistic route in their lives only to end up miserable and burnt-out, terrified of personal failure, overworked... I believe that there must be deeper psychological mechanisms or issues at play.

    No, only "1984".
     
  16. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    I'll probably be burned at the stake for alluding to supply and demand, but nearest I can describe is there is never enough supply, that there is always more demand than can possibly be met.

    I need to caution though, I'm not in any way suggesting altruism and volunteering are not necessary or valued, at least from my point of view. But even the Bible tells us "the poor you have with you always." It's not that you don't want to help, but a person is only capable of so much.

    I always come back to the story I read of the man walking along the beach picking up starfish and throwing them back in the sea. Seems this part of the beach stranded starfish, and when the tide went out the starfish would die. One day the man's friend joined him and saw his friend throwing starfish back in the sea and said to him, "Why do you bother? There's so many you can't make a difference."

    As the man threw a starfish he looked at his friend and said, "It made a difference to that one."

    So I have to balance a tendency to want to be jaded into dismissing the role of altruism, without being overcome by it. That's my take.

    Give a man a fish, he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime.


    Orwell was an amazingly insightful sociologist, and had a way of presenting his points in easily seen vignettes. Where 1984 was future projection / prediction (astoundingly accurate I might add, as long as you don't take it literal), Animal Farm was more symbolic and contemporary, and not too far ahead of Rand. This is the first I've thought to put them together, but Animal Farm would serve nicely as a not quite prequel, but laying a bit of foundation to see somewhat better what Rand was pointing at. You would have to already decipher Orwell, not hard to do, but does require a bit of effort.

    All animals are created equal, some are more equal than others.
     
  17. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic)

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    "Burned at the stake" does sound like a particularly nasty form of burn-out. "... than can possibly be met" - yeah, those impossibly high standards can get to you, can't they? I wonder if it isn't this (usually internal) accusing voice which is doing a lot of the damage. Always having to function, or else... And this (not so small and still) voice can find fault with both altruistic volunteer work and individualistic careers. My observation, at least.

    I think volunteer work and service to others is valuable, too.

    Again, killing oneself because of that nagging feeling of not measuring up, of being weighed and found lacking... the Roarks of this world also have to contend with that, I think.

    I like that story a lot.

    Can't teach a starving person, though. In some acute situations, handing out fish and bread, possibly beyond any measure one thought to be possible, may be necessary first, before people will be able to listen to any teaching about how to become fishers and make their own miraculous catch of fish.

    I think so much of the book has been quoted to me over the years, that I may just as well claim to have read it myself ;)

    So getting back to Rand, is Howard Roark one of the equal ones, or one of the more equal ones? From his own perspective...?
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2019
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  18. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Burned at the stake was me being facetious, implying non-capitalists around here would circle me with pitchforks and torches... ;)

    When people set themselves (or anybody else - hero worship) up with impossibly high standards, they will fall. It is human nature.

    I think that's a psychological thing. I can point to famous people at the crest of their fame committing suicide...why would they be so depressed when they have it so much better than 99.95% of the world population? I have seen people with nothing give the last they have to someone who needed it even more and these people emanate a spirit about them that is undeniably powerful. Some people are good with life, some are not, some have broken or imbalanced brains. Why someone would throw away their precious life is a mystery to me. The only qualifier I can add is someone terminally ill who has already faced a lifetime of challenges and pain. This is how I choose to look at it, the only life my opinion applies to is my own.

    Ah! Perhaps I was unclear... If I recall, Roark is the protagonist of the Fountainhead, yes? If not, correct me because what comes next would not apply.

    Orwell's Animal Farm painted, symbolically, the situation Rand was set in opposition to. Animal Farm was actually based on real events, and Orwell disguised the characters. I can think of a few reasons why, but nevertheless, he was more focused on the events and what was created out of them than he was the people involved, although the attitudes of the people involved do play a significant role as well.

    Rand picks up from there, as though Animal Farm was a foregone conclusion, which it was. So to answer your question more directly, it would not apply to Roark because Roark was set in opposition to that entire mindset.
     
  19. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic)

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    And yet, your choice of words went nicely with the burnout theme.

    Well, the pigs set up a nice binary. Either you're part of the unwashed masses, or you're elite, nothing in-between, right?

    The Fountainhead also paints a binary picture, those who live the Objectivist dream, and those who don't... so do these two binaries line up, is my question really?
     
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  20. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Do they both exist? Sure. I have no doubt alternates exist to both of these as well.

    Can they coexist? That to me is the question, and what I've always presumed this site was about.
     

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