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"I Can Afford To Be Philosophical!"

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cripes
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cripes
Posted 05/30/12 - 8:04 AM:
Subject: "I Can Afford To Be Philosophical!"
A monetarily wealthy person once said that to me after I had told him that I thought he had said something interesting. The subject of our discussion may have been related to money.

What do you think?
Thinker13
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Posted 05/30/12 - 8:17 AM:

cripes wrote:
A monetarily wealthy person once said that to me after I had told him that I thought he had said something interesting. The subject of our discussion may have been related to money.

What do you think?


I think it might have been relevant to talk about bucks in your bank account and your Philosophy in an age, but I am of opinion that some people are just born Philosophers.

henry quirk
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Posted 05/30/12 - 8:24 AM:

What exactly does it mean to be a philosopher, or, to be philosophical?
cripes
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cripes
Posted 05/30/12 - 12:25 PM:

henry quirk wrote:
What exactly does it mean to be a philosopher, or, to be philosophical?
I don't think I asked him that question.
However, a good definition I've heard elsewhere is: meaning junkie.
cripes
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cripes
Posted 05/30/12 - 12:28 PM:

Thinker13 wrote:


I think it might have been relevant to talk about bucks in your bank account and your Philosophy in an age, but I am of opinion that some people are just born Philosophers.

I haven't a clue who is born what.
Thinker13
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Posted 05/30/12 - 12:42 PM:

cripes wrote:
I haven't a clue who is born what.



* End of the discussion *
cripes
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cripes
Posted 05/30/12 - 12:51 PM:

Thinker13 wrote:



* End of the discussion *
I hope I haven't offended you, that wasn't my intent. I'm just saying I don't know whether or not this person was born a Philosopher.

I think almost anyone is capable of being philosophical on a given subject.
Thinker13
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Posted 05/30/12 - 1:04 PM:

cripes wrote:
I hope I haven't offended you, that wasn't my intent. I'm just saying I don't know whether or not this person was born a Philosopher.

I think almost anyone is capable of being philosophical on a given subject.



No, you haven't; however, your intent was clearly not to suggest that you had no idea about "this" person only. Your statement seemed 'general' to me.smiling face

I also think that anyone is capable of being anything. My suggestion is more about propensity, about inclinations, rather than being about 'potential' of subjects.

Some people are drawn more to certain fields than others and this is true despite having almost same surroundings for subjects in question.

Those who use 'reincarnation' as a theory to explain certain things; and I belong to those people, suggest that subtle impressions from your former lives, as remnants of your work and as very refined Karmic vectors drive you naturally to certain fields, which means, if you had studied Mathematics, in your earlier incarnations and loved the subject, you're very likely to be inclined to Mathematics right from your childhood.

This is just a theory. I don't suggest that anyone is any less or more capable than anyone else if you look at the 'whole', but certainly if you take at any given moment, a Leibniz or an Aristotle, you cannot compare him with a common man who is not driven to search for Truth.

thedoc
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Posted 05/30/12 - 6:23 PM:

Thinker13 wrote:

Some people are drawn more to certain fields than others and this is true despite having almost same surroundings for subjects in question.



I have receintly come to the relization that all fields of knowledge could, in the end, lead to the same concept. In a thread on another forum the discussion was on Quantum Theory and it was stated that teh curent idea was that everything came from a singularity, another word for unity or non-dualism. Einstein, who helped create Quantum Theory, was looking for a 'Unified Field Theory' that would encompass all physical phenomena. So the universe started in unity, erupted into dualism, and the quest is to discover unity.

In the Biblical story of Genesis Man in the garden of Eden was Man in a natural state, Unity with God. Eating the apple was symbolic of Mans awareness of himself, becoming conscious of his mortality and the world of duality, which was the expulsion from the garden. In Christian terms duality is seperation from God, God is there and Man is here. The purpose of religion is unity with God, in christian terms a relationship with God. God's creation started in Unity, transgressed into dualism, and the goal is Unity.

I believe many other forms of knowing express a similar idea in different terms. It is surprising how the Bible and other Mythology has expressed the ideas that modern science is discovering now.
Samvega
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Posted 05/31/12 - 5:19 PM:

That's an interesting comment. Your friend seems to be saying that the ease and comfort that money can buy provide us with the leisure to loaf around and ponder abstract thoughts; the implication is that those without sufficient money and leisure are too consumed with survival to waste much time on abstract thought; they are too busy wondering about where their next meal is coming from. Looking at the history of "philosophy" as a discipline in the West, we can note that the Athenian philosophers of old were able to pursue their inquiries largely because of a large slave labor population. There's definitely some truth to this observation.

On the other hand, I think this statement is problematic. There are many wealthy people who do not think about much more than getting a hold of more money, or on spending the money they already have. And historically many philosophers - from Diogenes to the Sramanas onward - have both embraced and extolled the virtue of voluntary poverty. It's not popular in an era of mass consumption, but it's always been a powerful current of thought that appears in all eras.

I would say that, like it or not, we are all philosophers, and we are philosophizing all of the time, insofar as we turn the constant stream of perceptions into concepts around which we order our lives. All human beings have a worldview, and insofar as they have one, they philosophize. Our choice is not between whether or not to philosophize, but whether we philosophize well - by which I mean, deeply, consciously, care-fully and sincerely - or poorly. This is a task faced by all, rich and poor.

And notably, when the poor do begin to consciously philosophize, this is often followed by organization and revolution. Small wonder the rich would like to monopolize thought, along with everything else they can get their hands on.
thedoc
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Posted 05/31/12 - 11:15 PM:

Many years ago I had and read a book 'The Theory of the Leisure Class'. The premise seemed to be what you are refering to in that once a society is affluent enough there can be individuals with enough free time to devote to various areas of thought, Science, Philosophy, and the Arts. Only a highly developed and organized society can afford some individuals the opportunity for such pursuits.
Samvega
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Posted 06/01/12 - 12:45 PM:

Hey Doc,

thedoc wrote:
Many years ago I had and read a book 'The Theory of the Leisure Class'. The premise seemed to be what you are refering to in that once a society is affluent enough there can be individuals with enough free time to devote to various areas of thought, Science, Philosophy, and the Arts. Only a highly developed and organized society can afford some individuals the opportunity for such pursuits.


I was taught this theory in school, but I no longer buy it...anthropological research suggests that non-hierarchical, egalitarian societies, such as the ones our 'primitive' hunter gatherer ancestors lived in, provided the greatest amount of leisure time to all. Some estimates suggest that only around four hours of "work" per day was required for members of these societies. The rest of the time could be devoted to whatever pursuits one desired. This way of life has been described as the "original affluent society".

Highly organized, hierarchical societies such as ancient Athens or our own present day society provide a small number of people with leisure time, but this is bought and paid for by the slavery of others. In such an arrangement, it is only one class of people who get to enjoy leisure.
libertygrl
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Posted 06/01/12 - 4:29 PM:

I would suggest that most commonly, perhaps, people philosophize in different ways or on different topics the more affluent they get. In other words, a "poor" person may still philosophize when he becomes "rich" but his values may have shifted somewhat and the immediate concerns will obviously have shifted as well. On the other hand, as Sam pointed out earlier, some wealthy people may have no inclination to philosophize regardless of how much wealth they have.

The way the person views philosophy will obviously have a bearing. Do they see it as a path to a solution to their problems? I'm sure it's not uncommon that some view philosophy as an impractical pursuit - perhaps because doing it feels like work to them! Of course there are others who, rich or poor, can't help but philosophize all the time about everything.
thedoc
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Posted 06/01/12 - 9:31 PM:

The seeming contradiction is that ancient 'Hunter Gatherers' do not appear to have created the quantities of art that have been created in societies that supposidly do not have as much Leisure time. It is known that many artists are supported by a 'patron', a wealthy person who recognizes talent but may lack it themselves. The creation of art was limited in ancient cultures sugesting that creativity was expressed in other ways that did not survive, or perhaps it did as Mythology. Also much of the 'art' from the ancient societies was applied to ornament practical implements as opposed to creating works of art for art itself. The early highly organized societies did create an outpouring of art that has survived, and later cultures have produced even more. This seeming contradiction would suggest that earlier cultures did not have as much leisure as thought and later cultures provided leisure time for those who did have the creative ability.

It is also possable that the paper 'Original Affluent Socioty' is an example of academic 'Publish or Perish' where a scholor is expected to be a "Man of Letters' or someone who has published works no matter what the content or validity.
Thinker13
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Posted 06/02/12 - 10:41 AM:

Samvega wrote:
Hey Doc,



I was taught this theory in school, but I no longer buy it...anthropological research suggests that non-hierarchical, egalitarian societies, such as the ones our 'primitive' hunter gatherer ancestors lived in, provided the greatest amount of leisure time to all. Some estimates suggest that only around four hours of "work" per day was required for members of these societies. The rest of the time could be devoted to whatever pursuits one desired. This way of life has been described as the "original affluent society".

Highly organized, hierarchical societies such as ancient Athens or our own present day society provide a small number of people with leisure time, but this is bought and paid for by the slavery of others. In such an arrangement, it is only one class of people who get to enjoy leisure.



Very valuable point Samvega.In the heydays of Greek renaissance, this theory of 'Aristocratic Philosophy' became most popular, but if I am not wrong, Socrates was not a royal person, still he is regarded as the father of the western Philosophy.

If you consider eastern Philosophy, rich and poor alike have contributed in it, but unlike western Philosophy it had more to do with "search for truth" and "how to live better."

Greatest western philosophers like Kant, Hegel, Heidegger, Nietzsche and Leibniz; none of them was a royal person, only Leibniz and Heidegger had some royal associations methinks.
henry quirk
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Posted 06/04/12 - 8:48 AM:

"meaning junkie"

If so: I'm anti-philosophical.
Samvega
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Posted 06/04/12 - 2:00 PM:

thedoc wrote:
The seeming contradiction is that ancient 'Hunter Gatherers' do not appear to have created the quantities of art that have been created in societies that supposidly do not have as much Leisure time.


I don't think this is true at all.

First of all, there is a wealth of art that has come down to us from those periods. The cave paintings at Lascaux are a very well known example, but there are many other examples as well. Native American art, the art of the various peoples of Oceania, etc, are also examples of relatively recent societies that lived a hunter gatherer lifestyle and produced art.

Secondly, not all forms of art are readily transmissible across space and time. As an example, consider the fact that hunter gatherer societies were often oral cultures. This means that a fair amount of "art" was preserved through non-written storytelling, singing, performances, etc. Unfortunately, since the contact with "civilized" societies has often been violent, many of these art forms have been lost.

So overall I don't think there's much evidence for your claim that primitive societies produced less art.

thedoc wrote:

It is also possable that the paper 'Original Affluent Socioty' is an example of academic 'Publish or Perish' where a scholor is expected to be a "Man of Letters' or someone who has published works no matter what the content or validity.


This comment doesn't add anything to the discussion, since you are basically attacking a source without offering any proof to back up your assertions. I could just as easily turn around and say:

It is also possible that the book 'The Theory of the Leisure Class' is an example of academic 'Publish or Perish' where a scholar is expected to be a "Man of Letters" or someone who has published works no matter what the content or validity. When such books confirm already pre-existing biases against groups like hunter-gatherers and so-called "primitive" peoples, they are even more easily accepted and lauded.

In fact the thesis behind 'Original Affluent Society' is well established today and is taught in basic anthropology 101 courses at the university level. Of course, it's certainly possibly that the science is wrong about this, but without evidence this becomes little more than he-said she-said mudslinging. Having said that, I did provide a link to my source of information, which in turn sites both its academic sources and ethnographic research.
Samvega
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Posted 06/04/12 - 2:06 PM:

Thinker13 wrote:



Very valuable point Samvega.In the heydays of Greek renaissance, this theory of 'Aristocratic Philosophy' became most popular, but if I am not wrong, Socrates was not a royal person, still he is regarded as the father of the western Philosophy.

If you consider eastern Philosophy, rich and poor alike have contributed in it, but unlike western Philosophy it had more to do with "search for truth" and "how to live better."


Yes, I agree Thinker. Diogenes and many of the Stoics (Emperor Aurelius notwithstanding) in the West also lived quite plainly and considered this as a virtue. One of the things that always attracted me to Indian and East Asian philosophy was that despite all of the many different philosophical schools, they all seemed to keep the question of 'the good life' front and central. For a long time now much philosophy in the West has retreated to more abstract, theoretical and linguistic "problems", which often seem to have little bearing on how we relate to the world around us.
thedoc
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Posted 06/04/12 - 4:49 PM:

Samvega wrote:

I don't think this is true at all.



Thats OK, and since you only seem to be interested in a hostile argument, you'll need to look elsewhere, I'm not interested.
Samvega
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Posted 06/04/12 - 5:00 PM:

thedoc wrote:



Thats OK, and since you only seem to be interested in a hostile argument, you'll need to look elsewhere, I'm not interested.


Doc, I apologize if my post came off as hostile. Please keep in mind that we are engaging in disembodied communication over the internet and subtleties of tone, body language, etc, are not part of the communication process as they would be face to face. I had no intention of coming off as hostile.

That said, if you make assertions in a discussion, particularly a philosophical discussion, you should be prepared to back them up, either with reasoned argument or citation of sources. If you are not prepared to back them up, then we are no longer having a philosophical discussion; we are simply stating opinions, i.e. "I like broccoli", "I dislike broccoli", etc. Where opinions differ, then we shall simply have to disagree, and the discussion comes to a halt. That seems to be where we are.
thedoc
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Posted 06/04/12 - 6:20 PM:

Samvega wrote:


Doc, I apologize if my post came off as hostile. Please keep in mind that we are engaging in disembodied communication over the internet and subtleties of tone, body language, etc, are not part of the communication process as they would be face to face. I had no intention of coming off as hostile.

That said, if you make assertions in a discussion, particularly a philosophical discussion, you should be prepared to back them up, either with reasoned argument or citation of sources. If you are not prepared to back them up, then we are no longer having a philosophical discussion; we are simply stating opinions, i.e. "I like broccoli", "I dislike broccoli", etc. Where opinions differ, then we shall simply have to disagree, and the discussion comes to a halt. That seems to be where we are.



OK, I'm sorry if I reacted too quickly but I am on other forums where anything I say is attacked, and I guess I see it where it isn't intended. As far as sources, some of what I state is a distilation of material I've read or heard many years ago, so the exact sources are not avalable. Other things are from books that I have read over the years, but those are no longer avaliable to me as they were in the old house that burned down, so most I cannot look up anymore. As far as opinions, much of what people believe they know is opinion based on things they have read or heard years ago but no longer have access to. Are you suggesting that everything you post is backed up by sources that you have at your fingertips, that would be a very nice library. I do not have that kind of access to data, mostly I go on memory. Many times I remember a quote or an incident that is relavent but without any specific recollection of the date, time, or exact circumstances. I don't ask for exact references but I trust that the statement is an honest statement of what you know, whether from memory or a source that you have had direct access to.
thedoc
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Posted 06/04/12 - 6:43 PM:

As far as art from different times the art that has come from the last 3,000 years or more is somewhat well preserved and can be documented, so the amount or art per year can be estimated. The art from prehistoric times is much more problematical as there may be a lot of it but there is also a lot more time for it to have been producecd. Agreed the oral history of the art of storytelling, song, and poetry, is extremely difficult to quantify and measure but we have the bulk of Mythology that probably originated in prehistoric times. Leisure and Affluence are areas of study that have a lot of room for intrepretation in history.

As an aside, I remember the idea that early man was the 'Killer Ape' based on the research of a respected archaeologist who based his theory on the fact that hunamoid bones were found mixxed with the bones of other animals. Later research found that a predator, that took both human and other animals, had the habbit of taking the 'Kill' up into a tree for later feeding and the bones of all the prey would be found jumbled together under the tree, thus disproving the idea of the 'Killer Ape'. When dealing with prehistoric times and events, much is up to intrepretation.
thedoc
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Posted 06/04/12 - 6:58 PM:

I must appologize if I seem a bit short fusesd at times, but I take care of my 6 1/2 year old grandson most days of the week. And I also take care of my 2 1/2 year old grandaughter who seems 'Hell Bent' on proving beyond any doubt the idea of "Terrible Two's". She is just about as 'Ornery, and Defiant' as a 2 year old can be, it's a good thing I'm bigger and stronger than she is, but she still wears me out in a day. I take care of them so their mother can work and go to school, pretty much a full time job. I really need a nap.
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Posted 06/06/12 - 3:43 PM:

He simply meant that he possesses the resources to aford spending time philosophizing.
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Posted 06/06/12 - 4:39 PM:

thedoc wrote:
I must appologize if I seem a bit short fusesd at times, but I take care of my 6 1/2 year old grandson most days of the week. And I also take care of my 2 1/2 year old grandaughter who seems 'Hell Bent' on proving beyond any doubt the idea of "Terrible Two's". She is just about as 'Ornery, and Defiant' as a 2 year old can be, it's a good thing I'm bigger and stronger than she is, but she still wears me out in a day. I take care of them so their mother can work and go to school, pretty much a full time job. I really need a nap.



I agree. It might seem like a good idea to play with cute babies from a distance for a while, but when you're supposed to take their responsibility for a very long time, it becomes onerous at times.

From your previous post in this regard, I might have mistaken the notion of your 'burden' and suggested that your pain is worth your enjoyment.

I hope you get more energy and kids behave. thumb uppeace
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