Wednesday, March 20, 2013

How to Read This Blog ...

(3/20/13) ... Can anyone write a 'meaning of life' blog that does not try to sell a particular point of view?

I doubt it ... but I am going to try.

That may strike you as a surprising claim. After all Ideas Are Physical suggests some kind of initial point of view. Yes?  Especially if there are only two contradictory choices for ideas: physical and non-physical. But there may be more than two choices. Or, there may be a host of qualifications on exactly what physical and non-physical might mean.

That sounds like hedging.  Maybe.  But let me ask you:  did it strike you as a surprising claim, that I might be able to write a 'meaning of life' blog without trying to sell a particular view?  If so, what struck you?  If you answer: the idea of maintaining neutrality or lack of bias, then can I not assert to you that you were just struck by an idea? In other words, did you not just agree that, in some sense, ideas are indeed physical?

Perhaps that was just some kind of metaphorical or rhetorical trick. Maybe so. Maybe not. Maybe it didn't work. But we do use phrases like 'hit upon', 'hit by', 'came across', 'found', 'wrote down', 'cooked up', 'sent you', and even 'tore apart' when referring to and talking about ideas.  Trust me, I realize these colloquial expressions don't come close to proving ideas are actually physical. It's hard to lay an idea out on the kitchen table, to look at and feel ... even though we know, for sure ... some ideas just plain stink, and ought to be dumped out with the cat litter.

What's the point? Well, for one, there is more to these things we call 'ideas' than meets the eye. And, I assert, this is also true of those bundles of ideas we tie together into neat packages and then call Scientific Theory A, Theological Concept B, and Philosophical Notion C. Yet, as my wife suggested in the previous post, we live by such bundles of ideas, even when we aren't always aware of it. Things we wouldn't put in our mouths, we put right into our brains.

Which leads me to the title of this Post:  How to read this blog?

The simple answer is --> Openly.

And after reading a post openly:  Express Yourself.

- - -
Yes, express your views in the comment section at the bottom of each post. Don't take my word for anything. Investigate, inquire and express yourself. It's your philosophy at stake, not mine. It's your meaning of life at stake, not mine. So express yourself.

The Comment period for each post will never close, at least not as long as the blog itself continues. So if you are reading a post a year or two after it is written, comment anyway. No one is going to solve the issues raised in this blog overnight. Just be courteous; that's the only rule.

One other point here:  use the 'My Index' tab to locate blog Posts that seem interesting. Regardless of when they are written, they will be organized there into a Table of Contents for easy reference. Dates of any Updates or Addenda to a Post will be listed there. Yes, I might change the shape, or structure, of any idea expressed in a Post based on the progress of my own thinking or based on the logic presented by your posts in the Comment sections.

So ... just throw some of those sweet-smelling ideas at me, would ya?


The song 'Express Yourself':
- original lyrics (1970) by Charles Wright
and the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band

- newer lyrics (1988) by N.W.A.
- even newer lyrics (2012) by Labrinth:
Ain't got the X-factor,
I'm not what they expect (listen)
But it won't be long before
my turn is next, to express
now with all due respect
Express yourself
A second song 'Express Yourself':
- original lyrics (1989) by Madonna
Additional credits to any of my readers who decide ... to express themselves.



Paige said...

If ideas are physical as in "let's get physical", let's move and shape and change the way we look... then, yes, I believe ideas are physical.

Anna Maria said...

I can't quite wrap my mind around the idea that ideas are "physical" since I have so many that never see the light of day and will never leave my mind... just private and personal thoughts for my own amusement.

I also doubt anyone can write a "meaning of life" blog without it being the writer's personal point of view...but I'm always willing to give anyone the benefit of the doubt.

I have no problem with expressing what I feel and that is sometimes a problem for someone else. I will keep visiting your "meaning of life" blog to see if I'm yet again inspired to express myself...:D

c emerson said...

Thanks P, and Thanks A.M., for checking this weblog. Yes, A.M., the idea that ideas have some kind of hard, knock-on-the-table-top, aspect to them is hard at first to 'wrap a mind around' --- hmm ... now you just used a concept of physical-ness ('wrap around') to describe what you 'do' to (rather than 'think about') some thing which supposedly is 'not physical'. And P., the 'idea' of 'getting physical' itself has, well, an almost immediate 'impact' on each of us who read that line (unless we were asleep at the wheel). We should all get "in shape" both physically and mentally. Hmmm .... now here we go again .... how do we give 'shape' to something that is just mental? Cheers.

Anna Maria said...

O.K....if I had said I was going to wrap my arms around my boyfriend, that I would consider physical. When I refer to wrapping my mind around an idea I can't see or feel or smell or touch trying to reason it out...I can't accept anything physical happens other than I'm controlling my brain cells more than usual without any physical effort I can detect.

I see no benefit in giving shape to something that is mental, unless it is worth repeating or writing about...then it becomes physical. But if you think it's important that ideas in the mind be considered physical, perhaps it is, but I'm not going to lose any sleep over it. I lose enough trying to turn my mind off when it wants to keep thinking about nonsense.

c emerson said...

Yes, well put. I definitely know that mind off, mind on, kind of thing. I have at least three old songs that I must force out of my mind immediately, or they stay for hours. Ha. Do ... a deer ... a female deer ... Re ... a drop of golden sun --- arghh! Have a great day.

Alan said...

To transpose, once again, from the Other (EF in this case) – because our minds evolved specifically to enhance our survival in this material world, absorbing the physical into the mental is the most natural thing for it to do. Equally natural to then project it back out.

Anonymous said...

A pinch is physical, right? And when I get pinched, I usually react to it. The reaction is typically physical (quickly pull my arm back), and verbal (hey! don't do that!). Can it also be mental (hmmm.. i'll pinch that person back someday)? So, if someone spits out an idea, can't i react in similar ways? To me, that means ideas can be physical.

Anna Maria said...

I think it's more accurate to say ideas can evoke a physical response rather than to say they are a physical act. You can think about responding to an idea someone has "spit" out but as long as you don't do anything but think...nothing physical happens...not in my mind.

Jon said...

I went to Edward Feser's "Ferguson on Nagel" commentaries, and your comments, and side with you.

I spent quite a bit of time reading Edward Feser's posts on Brain/Mind relations, and he really does a good job of articulating the various points of view. He really writes well. It made me curious to give a sympathetic reading to Aristotle and Aquinas who he seems to champion (or at least urge us not to poo poo to quickly).

But listening to an audio-link he provides of his interview with a Catholic radio station, I understand that he has come to the conclusion that the medieval philosophical arguments supporting God's existence (and somehow Catholicism in particular) are correct - and that God is necessary in order to maintain our very existence from one moment to the next. I have to admit, it's hard for me to read the argumentation of someone who's come to this conclusion on philosophical grounds. (If it were a personal revelation, that would be a different story). It kind of dampened my enthusiasm. If I have it right, Feser even seems OK with Aristotle's idea that a stone falls to the ground, in part, because that's its goal.

c emerson said...

Thanks for the thoughtful post. I just got back from camping in the Mojave (Death Valley) - good place to clear one's brain. Add some sensations, easy enough; but also work intentionally on some conceptual constructs - ah, there's the rub. I'm not a fan of logical proofs of the existence of God, because there always seems to be a point in the arguments at which you have to define rather than distinguish the starting point as something, which can just as well be the laws of physics, God, or even a more intelligent super-entity in a regressive line of super-entities - 'tis a puzzle to be explored further on this blog. Please comment anytime.