Up@dawn 2.0

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Second Intallment (h3)

In my previous entry I thoroughly discussed my initial reaction to philosophy, both as a class and as a concept. Then I went on to describe how it has positively affected my life. For this entry, however, I would like to focus on how my other classes, my friends, and my college experiences and how they have given me a new outlook on life. First of all, I would desire to focus on how my college experiences have shaped me in both a positive and negative way. I am a freshman and I’m actually a rather independent freshman at that. When I lived back home with my parents they would try and coddle me sometimes, and while in some ways I still engage in allowing this treatment, I generally prefer to do things myself. Thus the transition from home life to college was not very difficult for me as far as self-motivation and self-care were concerned. Rather the transition caused difficulties for me socially and spiritually. I always knew it would be difficult for me to leave my friends, my boyfriend, and my family back home but I never knew how hard it would be. The internal pain and struggle was in some ways unreal to me and it thus caused me to consider why I felt so badly for not being around these people anymore. It wasn’t as if they owed me anything or even that we had such an incredible and unforgettable time together (although, with most of my friends this was the case). It wasn’t until I had the first month under my belt that I began to understand why I cared for these people I called my friends who I never saw anymore. These people who I cared about, lived a portion of my life with, and talked to had shifting and varying opinions on things. I forgot how many deep discussions we had had altogether and how their views of life actually in turn shaped my own. When I would overhear, for instance, a friend’s conversation about something that I was ignorant on I would seek out the truth of the matter. I would run ideas past them and we would partake in a philosophical discussion of sorts on all types of topics: why certain films were worth watching, why we pursued in such far-fetched goals that we rarely thought we could achieve, why and how we were friends, and so on. These conversations and sometimes heated debates that we had only motivated me to question my own beliefs on little things, like what film really was the greatest and why, to the big things, like if we believe those who commit suicide will go to Heaven or Hell. Honestly, my friends out of anyone else have challenged me the most in my life to question my beliefs. And the greatest part about it is that a large majority of the time, the challenging was unintentional. It was as if they had peaked my interest just enough to make me believe differently than I once had, but not enough to make me realize I was doubting myself. It was wonderful and I only hope to find more such friends on campus who challenge my beliefs in a similar way. Continuing on with my college experiences and friends theme of discussion, I feel inclined to give some personal examples of ways in which specifically my college friends and my experiences have challenged my beliefs. I once wrote an entry on this site about one of my close girl friends who wasn’t sure why people cared about her even though she seemed to treat them badly. She was in a state of self-loathing it seemed as though she didn’t understand the concept of unfailing love. As a Christian I have this belief that God is the only one who can truly provide unfailing and unconditional love, but our friends, family, and those who do care about us can provide our own version of that. While, yes, your family will let you down on some occasions, for the most part they are always there for you. Also, yes, your friends may now and then decide that they don’t have time for you crap, but overall, they generally genuinely care for you and would be willing to do almost anything for you. But in her head she had this philosophy that if she acted like crap towards others, they would treat her like crap in return. In some cases, her philosophy rings true, but with her dear friends and her family members she didn’t account for this characteristic of unfailing love. This challenged me to reconsider how I treated my friends and what my own concepts about love were. In another case, my ideas about friendship, love and trust were challenged all at once. In fact, I would say that even my happiness was challenged to some extent. I have an underlying belief that God will provide for me, that people are in my life for a reason, and that everything that happens is meant to challenge me in a positive way and thus shape me as a person. I also believe that God can use bad situations for good and that He does wants me to be happy and is never trying to cause strife, frustration, or anxiety within me. The reason I specify these things is because all of these concepts I hold to were recently challenged when a near and dear friend of mine admitted to having a crush on me. You may ask yourself why this was such a big issue, well if you will please recall that I earlier mentioned that I have a boyfriend. And a long-distance boyfriend at that, so my friend admitting he had feelings for me made things quite difficult. When he admitted he feelings towards me, I was so upset at God for doing this to me. You see, I thought to myself that God wouldn’t put me in a such a difficult place in my life. I thought that he would provide for me and that he wouldn’t cause potential strife between my friend, my boyfriend, and I. It was a long time before I could rightly reclaim these beliefs that God wasn’t in fact out to hurt me, but rather that this situation was meant to occur for a reason. The reason being to challenge me and my perceptions of his unfailing love. And as the situation only grew worse and more problems continued to pile on to my feelings of distrust and disbelief that God would allow something to occur like this. Yet, when I allowed myself the equal opportunity to change my set of beliefs about God, who he is and if he even existed, I chose not to. I realized that I wasn’t wrong about what I believed, it’s just I needed to actually apply what I believed to some sort of situation like that one, in order to fully believe it and act out my beliefs. I don’t know if any of this has made sense to you guys, but all of these experiences have truly only encouraged me to deeply examine my beliefs and either reinforce them or discount them. I have been utterly surprised by how much college, this class, and my new friends have made a difference in my life. Well I have reached the end of my discussion concerning my philosophical and theological changes and now it seems only fitting to leave my readers with a question: Who or what shaped your beliefs, and did philosophy play a big part in that change much like with my own?

First installment: http://cophilosophy.blogspot.com/2016/11/this-i-believe-part-1-of-final-essay.html

Comments: https://cophilosophy.blogspot.com/2016/11/martha-nussbaum-h3.html?showComment=1480632052412#c1486738895210762730



  1. Lydia, you posted your 1st installment so early that it slipped under my radar. Sorry! But if it's not too late I'd still like to comment on something you wrote there:

    "Would you be willing to put your beliefs on the back burner in order to open up your mind to other philosophical ideas? I have a minor rub with that concept. In some ways, I of course believe that you shouldn’t shut your mind off from the possibility that you are incorrect, but simultaneously I feel as though it is impossible." Well... it's not at all impossible, I can assure you. I've seen it happen countless times in my classes, and have heard from students whose hearts and minds have been significantly and positively altered by what they read and heard in philosophy class. It sounds like you've walled off the God question, at this point, but it also sounds like your conversations and reflections in and out of class have begun to change you. Embrace the change, and continue to ponder Rebecca Goldstein's platonic wisdom that we must never think we have nothing more to learn - even, or especially, with respect to our deepest convictions. "Sapere aude," trust yourself to think.

    I do think I recall that, back on Day 1, we noted Russell's view that philosophy and science stand in important relation to theology, but differ as well in their openness to new evidence and fresh perspectives. I think you'd benefit from more exposure to my discipline, if you really do want "to deeply examine my beliefs and either reinforce them or discount them." I think you'd especially benefit from, and contribute constructively to, the give-and-take of my Atheism & Philosophy course next Spring.

    I'm delighted that you warmed to the peripatetic approach, and found yourself thinking thoughts that wouldn't have broken through the traditional sedentary classroom style of learning. Keep on walking, talking, and thinking!

  2. It's incredible how much your views can change in so little time. The people around you have a great impact on who you are and what you believe in. I like how you deliberated your background to where you can understand for yourself what you were thinking and questioning at the time. A lot of people look at the bad things in life as God’s wrongdoing to you where, in fact, He is just guiding you in the right direction and giving you a chance to see clearer and reconcile your core beliefs. It is important for you to know that you can utilize your beliefs in the process to actually seek the truth and find where you belong. Knowing that everything happens for a reason is also a profound way to live and continue on with life without grieving or worrying too much. I also find it interesting how you found a way to keep an open mind and let a philosophical perspective play a role in your current beliefs. It was nice to see how you tied it all together. I appreciate your openness and honesty in this essay. :)