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Critique My Philosophy of Life?

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Philosofer123
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Posted 02/19/14 - 10:47 PM:
Subject: Critique My Philosophy of Life?
Over the past few years, I have formulated my philosophy of life, a 13-page document that may be found at either of the following links:

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0Byh6JnTg3RMecHhxV0pYeklqV0U/edit?usp=sharing

http://www.scribd.com/doc/183418623/My-Philosophy-of-Life

In the first half of the document, I present and defend the following positions: atheism, afterlife skepticism, free will impossibilism, moral skepticism, existential skepticism and negative hedonism. The second half of the document is devoted to ways to achieve and maintain peace of mind.

I have found the entire exercise to be very beneficial personally, and I hope that you will benefit from reading the document.

I am posting my philosophy to solicit feedback so that it may be improved. I welcome any constructive criticism that you may have.

Enjoy!
henry quirk
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Posted 02/21/14 - 10:09 AM:

Not slogging through thirteen pages of anything without sumthin' offered to pique my interest first

Why not give us an abstract of your document?

Dangle a carrot if you want the donkey to follow.
KinNaoko90
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Posted 02/21/14 - 10:19 PM:

henry quirk wrote:

Dangle a carrot if you want the donkey to follow.


Mr Quirk... sometimes I feel you are the only one capable of reducing me to helpless fits of laughter. laughing

- Kin
henry quirk
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Posted 02/28/14 - 10:08 AM:

My pleasure, Kin.
Wentworth
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Posted 03/01/14 - 3:21 AM:

My, my, I have finally been graced to read a post by the infamous poster, named Henry Quirk. Surveying a large number of your "posts," plus a plethora of reaction from other members, you certainly are one of a kind. Anger, hate, and insults are the tools of your trade. Certainly you have not enamored yourself to most anyone, but that doesn't matter to you, does it? You are on a mission, of which you may be cognizant, or have subliminal antecedents which empower you. At any rate, enough said. Again, thank you for the opportunity to read your most recent post. Take care, Wentworth
thedoc
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Posted 03/01/14 - 10:42 AM:

Not that I need to defend Henry, he is quite capable of doing that himself, if he so chooses, but I do think you are misinterpreting him. I don't see it as anger or hate, but I agree that his straight forward manner can appear to be a bit insulting at times, and when confronted with a poorly thought out post he can be genuinely insulting. From my own encounters on several forums I can say that his position and manner have been quite consistent, and I, for one, like it.
henry quirk
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Posted 03/01/14 - 12:01 PM:

Ww,

Yeah, I'm a *jackass...so what?

Since none of my jackassery is directed toward you, why the hell do you care (enough to comment)?

Seems to me, if 'you' find 'me' distasteful: ignore me.

*shrug*









*and, aren't we all?
henry quirk
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Posted 03/01/14 - 12:02 PM:

"I, for one, like it"

Thanks, Doc... thumb up
Wentworth
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Posted 03/02/14 - 4:52 AM:

Henry, I stand by my post, and do not feel I need to defend it. Sincerely, Wentworth
henry quirk
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Posted 03/03/14 - 9:48 AM:

Didn't ask you to defend jack.

The meaning (intent) of 'my' post is pretty clear.

*shrug*

Anyway: I do believe -- insofar as 'you' are concerned -- I'll take my own advice.
Wentworth
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Posted 03/04/14 - 3:10 AM:

Dear Henry, yes, you are entitled to your own advice, and no, you do not need to defend anything. Certainly not to me! What you thrive on, I do not thrive on. Why? Because we are very different, in more ways than you realize. What you may you ask, is that, per chance? Well, first off, we are vindicated, in how we react, in two different ways. Secondly, I accentuate the positive. Thirdly, I give at least a modicum of respect to those with whom I disagree. (Now, don't get carried away and call me a hypocrite). Fourthly, I respect every one's opinion, because all of us are, in one way or another, a product of our past, and current belief systems. In life there is lot that makes all of different, for many, many different reasons. So who am I to judge you? (P.S Edit: My post is not to placate you, or to back track. It is in fact, an effort to try to understand you.) Sincerely, Wentworth.

Edited by Wentworth on 03/04/14 - 6:07 AM. Reason: Post, explanation, invitation
thedoc
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Posted 03/04/14 - 5:49 PM:

Wentworth wrote:
Dear Henry, Secondly, I accentuate the positive. Thirdly, I give at least a modicum of respect to those with whom I disagree. (Now, don't get carried away and call me a hypocrite). Fourthly, I respect every one's opinion, because all of us are, in one way or another, a product of our past, and current belief systems. In life there is lot that makes all of different, for many, many different reasons. So who am I to judge you? (P.S Edit: My post is not to placate you, or to back track. It is in fact, an effort to try to understand you.) Sincerely, Wentworth.



WentWorth, since you are such a positive person, what nice things can you make up to say about Henry? You've already tried to spoil my reputation as a grumpa with my grandchildren, (I'm just glad they don't read these threads). So have at it, let's see you embrace your inner Pollyanna.
henry quirk
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Posted 03/05/14 - 10:29 AM:

"what nice things can you make up to say about Henry?

HA!
Wentworth
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Posted 03/09/14 - 4:49 AM:

Vindicated. It is not the content of my post re: Henry that was of interest, but rather the reaction to it. The post was a mixture of psycho-dynamics on my part to try to understand Henry better. Do I understand him better, yes. Is he vindicated, yes! No, I am not on The Couch to play mind games, Doc. Telling me that I have a Pollyanna approach, or state of mind, is humorous, if not ludicrous. Saying that I want to come between you and your grandchildren, is also ludicrous. The only comment I ever made to you, regarding them, was that you enjoy them. How you can, extrapolate from that, that my intent was different, is beyond me? The Couch Forum, just as it did in 2007 proves to be as unique, interesting, and as enigmatic as it ever was. That's why I like it so much. So to you Doc, and Henry, I look forward to your future Topics and Posts; and as for me, I will be less defensive, judgmental, and throw away the psychology books. Life goes on, peace! Sincerely, Wentworth
thedoc
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Posted 03/09/14 - 12:30 PM:

Wentworth wrote:
Vindicated. It is not the content of my post re: Henry that was of interest, but rather the reaction to it. The post was a mixture of psycho-dynamics on my part to try to understand Henry better. Do I understand him better, yes. Is he vindicated, yes! No, I am not on The Couch to play mind games, Doc. Telling me that I have a Pollyanna approach, or state of mind, is humorous, if not ludicrous. Saying that I want to come between you and your grandchildren, is also ludicrous. The only comment I ever made to you, regarding them, was that you enjoy them. How you can, extrapolate from that, that my intent was different, is beyond me? The Couch Forum, just as it did in 2007 proves to be as unique, interesting, and as enigmatic as it ever was. That's why I like it so much. So to you Doc, and Henry, I look forward to your future Topics and Posts; and as for me, I will be less defensive, judgmental, and throw away the psychology books. Life goes on, peace! Sincerely, Wentworth


Well WentWorth, I'm not sure where you got that. Why don't you just post what you find interesting. FYI, I'm not here to fight about anything, besides Henry is better at it than I am. I also don't think the humor is working as intended.
SUNLIGHT
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Posted 03/11/14 - 10:25 AM:

Not here to fight about anything doc . Do my ears deceive me I wriite this with a big smile on my face. zen
AKG
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Posted 03/19/14 - 9:30 PM:

So... The OP. Did anyone try reading it? I'm considering it.
Philosofer123
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Posted 03/19/14 - 9:58 PM:

Yes, AKG, it would be nice if someone would actually read and comment on the document.

I look forward to your feedback, should you choose to provide it.
AKG
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Posted 03/20/14 - 1:57 AM:

Welcome to The Couch, Philosofer123. Sorry your first thread was hijacked by some stupid flame war/trolling digression.

I did take the time to read your document.

It's cute. You've condensed out arguably the best parts of Epicureanism and Buddhism and combined those with a helping of good ideas from other thinkers.

For a philosophy to live your life by, you've done fairly well and could certainly do a lot worse. If you live in a modern first world country, it will probably work out just fine for you. I just wasn't moved by it.

Still, it's a great exercise to codify one's personal philosophy and affirm that in which you believe.

As I have limited time, I'll only give my snarky take on your philosophical positions tonight but you can easily find critiques by far greater philosophers than I for all of your positions if you really want them.

Atheism - Obvious

Afterlife skepticism - Obvious

Free will impossibilism - Irrelevant for atheists

Moral skepticism - Only if you allow religionists to define morals.

Existential skepticism - The purpose of life is to perpetuate itself, primarily through reproduction. It's a fundamentally extropian force. Grow. Expand. Evolve. Conquer the Universe!

Belief that death is usually harmful for the one who dies, but is not something to be feared - Death is best avoided.

Negative hedonism - I personally don't find peace of mind so rewarding and I think you give the "negative" emotions short shrift. Give in to rage and hate. Seek disproportionate revenge. Crush your enemies and listen to the lamentations of their women. It's more fulfilling than you think.

Political hedonism - In the 20th century, far more people were killed by their own governments than foreign armies. I've seen estimates of over a quarter billion. Politics should never be avoided no matter how much it might unsettle your peace of mind and you should always be ready to assassinate the bastards.

And with that, I've said my piece. But if you'd like me to elaborate on any of this in particular, I will.
Philosofer123
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Posted 03/20/14 - 8:02 PM:

AKG, thank you for reading and commenting, and for some kind words.

AKG wrote:

It's cute. You've condensed out arguably the best parts of Epicureanism and Buddhism and combined those with a helping of good ideas from other thinkers.


Yes, that is a fair characterization. I also borrow from Stoicism.

AKG wrote:
For a philosophy to live your life by, you've done fairly well and could certainly do a lot worse. If you live in a modern first world country, it will probably work out just fine for you. I just wasn't moved by it.


Why would my philosophy not work outside of a "modern first world country"?

AKG wrote:
Free will impossibilism - Irrelevant for atheists


Not at all. As discussed on page 6, free will impossibilism renders irrational a number of negative emotions, thereby strongly conducing to peace of mind.

AKG wrote:
Moral skepticism - Only if you allow religionists to define morals.


My moral skepticism supports my negative hedonism--see page 5.

AKG wrote:

Negative hedonism - I personally don't find peace of mind so rewarding and I think you give the "negative" emotions short shrift. Give in to rage and hate. Seek disproportionate revenge. Crush your enemies and listen to the lamentations of their women. It's more fulfilling than you think.


If you are serious, then you and I have radically different psychological constitutions.

AKG wrote:
Political hedonism - In the 20th century, far more people were killed by their own governments than foreign armies. I've seen estimates of over a quarter billion. Politics should never be avoided no matter how much it might unsettle your peace of mind and you should always be ready to assassinate the bastards.


Remember that my philosophy is designed to be optimal for the individual, not for society as a whole. If I wanted my philosophy to produce optimal results for society as a whole, I would probably have to mislead the individual.


Edited by Philosofer123 on 03/20/14 - 8:17 PM
AKG
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Posted 03/21/14 - 12:58 AM:

Philosofer123 wrote:

Why would my philosophy not work outside of a "modern first world country"?


I guess I could have phrased that part better. I only meant that philosophies like yours work best when you rarely have to make the truly hard choices. I tend to think philosophy, like mathematics and physics, is most interesting and meaningful at the limits. If it serves you as well at the extremes as it does in the mundane, you are probably on to something. Sure your philosophy could work outside of a modern first world country but how well would it really serve you in a sampling of the darkest chapters of human history or in the dark chapters yet to come?


Philosofer123 wrote:

Not at all. As discussed on page 6, free will impossibilism renders irrational a number of negative emotions, thereby strongly conducing to peace of mind.


There is something that feels intellectually dishonest to me about using this position in this manner. All of the arguments regarding free will I've encountered are either in the explicit context of Christianity and sin or are in other spheres (e.g. western views of crime and punishment) where the thinkers have been heavily influenced by that context.

But I see that in your philosophy, this is actually the intellectually honest thing to do. You posit peace of mind as your primary goal and so this makes sense in your value system. It is only because I do not share your value system that I denigrate this usage. Having seen this, I cede the point to you.



Philosofer123 wrote:

My moral skepticism supports my negative hedonism--see page 5.


I think my statements above likewise apply here.

Philosofer123 wrote:

If you are serious, then you and I have radically different psychological constitutions.


laughing That's a polite way of putting it.

Philosofer123 wrote:

Remember that my philosophy is designed to be optimal for the individual, not for society as a whole. If I wanted my philosophy to produce optimal results for society as a whole, I would probably have to mislead the individual.


A serious question: Is being murdered by your own government an optimal result for the individual?

A more serious question: Is it logically impossible for any philosophy to optimize results for both the individual and society as a whole? Is a society not comprised of individuals?

I hope you don't think I'm toying with you, I am taking this as seriously as I can, given our "radically different psychological constitutions."
Philosofer123
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Posted 03/21/14 - 2:11 PM:

AKG wrote:

Sure your philosophy could work outside of a modern first world country but how well would it really serve you in a sampling of the darkest chapters of human history or in the dark chapters yet to come?


Why would my philosophy not serve me well in such circumstances?

AKG wrote:
A serious question: Is being murdered by your own government an optimal result for the individual?


Irrelevant. If an individual can avoid being murdered, then he should do so. This contradicts nothing in my philosophy.

AKG wrote:
A more serious question: Is it logically impossible for any philosophy to optimize results for both the individual and society as a whole? Is a society not comprised of individuals?


In a world in which a tri-omni God and/or objective moral facts exist, then I believe that such a philosophy would be possible. However, for reasons discussed in the document, I believe that we do not live in such a world.

If you believe that such a philosophy is possible in our world--without misleading the individual--then please feel free to provide it.
SUNLIGHT
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Posted 03/23/14 - 8:22 AM:

There is only one sure philosophy for person to buile their life on and that is the teachings o:f jesus. Al other philosophies must fail. The bible says. The wisdom of this woorld is foolishness in the eyes of the lord and you can't build your life successfuly on foolishness

Edited by SUNLIGHT on 03/23/14 - 8:32 AM
KinNaoko90
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Posted 03/25/14 - 7:21 AM:

If Christianity is all that people should build their lives off of and all other philosophies and theories are irrelevant, then Sun could you do me the favor of proving that the theory of gravity is irrelevant. There are plenty of tall buildings in the UK. Bring a camera and post the video when you are done. Even though seeing doesn't necessarily mean believing for me, it certainly gives me more reason to consider other options. Your God will save you, right? After all, you'd be doing so in His name for the sake of hoping to save another of His people from the depths of doubt.

Philosofer123, on principle, I typically do not read works from other people if they don't make the time to post their works here themselves. If you are the author of the original writing, then you could have at least taken the time to copy and past important parts to let us decide if we were interested or not when it came to reading the actual document.

I haven't read your document yet, but there was one thing I wanted to comment on.

Regarding free will (or whatever you wish to call it), some atheists and agnostics are more likely to believe in having the ability of making choices of their own. Others are more likely to see things as a logical series of causes and effects that likely have no end. I tend to be one of the latter, though I dabble in the former occasionally (mainly to see if the latter still seems logical to me).

Currently, it does. I don't think have sentient life present in the universe makes any difference to the outcome. It seems to me that, at most, it added a few extra things to consider when you factor it into the equation of life. Human beings, thankfully, do not have access to this equation. I don't think any being does. It seems to be a naturally occurring phenomenon.

I apologize if I veered in different directions from the ones your initial document concerned, but I may or may not get to reading that later.

- Kin <3
Philosofer123
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Posted 08/11/14 - 10:14 PM:

The Google Docs link in the OP is now inactive. My philosophy is now available at:

http://philosofer123.wordpress.com
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