Up@dawn 2.0

Monday, April 30, 2018

part 1
coment 1
coment 2

I do not disagree that our ability to pass on knowledge and "...culture, education, specific instruction, ideas..." is one of the things that defines what it means to be human. I do think that another part of the essence of what it means to be human is to have the ability to wonder what it is to exist or to be question why we are here or even look for meaning in our life when there are no answers. The animals or the world, as far as we can know, do not question the face that they are alive. All they do is grow up without trying anything new. Humans have developed an interesting and complex society then has more or less forced us to interact with each other. There is a quote the perfectly captured the meaning of this, and that is: 

We all as individuals find meaning and fell validated through others and only when they are told that we are important or special do we feel like we are. Some people find it in having a lot of money, or through the recognition of the masses. To them it must feel wonderful to have the adoration and attention of hundreds of millions of people and through that they feel like their life had meaning. Others find it by being a doctor or therapist and changing other people's lives in a desperate bid to fuel their need to continue with their own life's. 

There is no universal definition to the question what does it mean to be human, because it is what the individual finds meaning in that creates their meaningful live and a live worth living. Some examples include: DaVinci found meaning in life by expanding his knowledge in every field possible in his time and as a result he became one of the most knowledgeable men of his era. Charles Monet found meaning in being an artist. Of course, there are a plethora of other examples, but the key point is that every single individual has their own path to tread in the world and there is no single right way or one answer to that question.  

There is a game the hits on this very point through a speech made at the end of the game. This was spoken by the main character Ezio Auditore. "SilenzioSilenzio. Twenty-two years ago, I stood where I stand now – and watched my loved ones die, betrayed by those I had called friends. Vengeance clouded my mind. It would have consumed me, were it not for the wisdom of a few strangers, who taught me to look past my instincts. They never preached answers, but guided me to learn from myself. We don't need anyone to tell us what to do; not Savonarola, not the Medici. We are free to follow our own path. There are those who will take that freedom from us, and too many of you gladly give it. But it is our ability to choose – whatever you think is true – that makes us human... There is no book or teacher to give you the answers, to show you the path. Choose your own way! Do not follow me, or anyone else."

#3 Part two of the final report of why utopias can’t exist

In the first part I talked about why I believe utopias and dystopias can't exist. In this last part I want to be talking about why a utopia not necessarily good. Your utopia maybe different from someone else's definition but in the end you end up with “perfect society.” Usually someone's utopia is a place with no war, no starvation, no racism. The one thing that people don't pay attention to is that a utopia would just destroy the need for certain things. The need to write down history would just be destroyed. History is conflict, it maybe be in the form of war or maybe conflict between classes (Karl Marx). What is the need to write down conflict if there is no conflict in the world. Science would also come to a screeching halt. New inventions and discoveries are meant to make our lives easier. What is the need for new inventions make our lives easier if they are already perfect. It is also the same story for science if you have everything to make our lives perfect what is a need for it. Next comes philosophy,  if we live in a perfect society was the need for creative thinking. The death of many fields of study will come if a utopia is established just simply because there is no need for it. No new inventions ,no philosophy, no history these could be interpreted as elements of a dystopia. A world with no higher thinkers and the technological advancement is stagnant, does that sound like a utopia? On the contrary that sounds like the basic plot to the Mad Max movies. This leads into my original argument that a utopia is a dystopia. As soon as a “ utopia” is formed it will immediately be transformed into a dystopia. This will lead to a vicious cycle of working ourselves up to a utopia only to fall back down and then restart the process. Every time we try to get to the top (utopia status) we would always fall before then. You can see this through history the ancient romans rising up to create the perfect empire then falling in on itself. The Soviets trying to accomplish their communistic utopia is another example. I'm not saying that we should stop trying to make our society better I'm saying that we can't make it perfect. There always be a flaw in a society and if you do make a flawless society it will fall in on itself because it would kill off science, philosophy ,history. My opinion was heavily influenced by Karl Marx “The End of History” essay. Looking back on it I can see that most of my ideas are really pessimistic about society but it's better to see the world with cold calculating point of view than ignorant one


Jeffrey Emmons #003

Stoics see the world not as it could be, but as it is. Stoics understand the nature of the world, and work around it to improve themselves. The main tool stoics hold for improving themselves is the Cardinal Virtues: Wisdom, Temperance, Justice, and Courage. A stoic must properly engage in all four of these to become better for the world, for the world will not become better for him.

Wisdom is "the ability to navigate complex situations in a logical, informed, and calm manner". Without wisdom, there is no proper understanding of the world. Change is inevitable, and with change comes situations that you likely have never experienced before. Wisdom allows you to push through new challenges, and to gain from the experience. Gaining wisdom can be done simply through broadening your experiences, and putting the work in to truly understand your actions, your failures, and the situations you find yourself placed in.

Temperance is "the exercise of self-restraint and moderation in all aspects of life". Without temperance one could easily fall into addiction, or place themselves into situations that they are unable to handle due to their lack of foresight and risk-assessment. In modern life temperance is most found in "willpower" and "self-control". These aspects are most commonly brought up when dealing with addictive substances such as alcoholism, or in gluttonous consumption. Temperance can be increased simply by understanding yourself, and understanding what about addictive substances holds power over you. By understanding your weaknesses you can strengthen yourself.

Justice is "treating others with fairness, even when they have done wrong". Without justice you are alone in the world, but the world continues without you. Justice is understanding that human beings make mistakes, and though many mistakes can be prevented through self-improvement, mistakes happening is an inevitability. Justice is an act of understanding, and to gain a better understanding of justice, you must gain a better understanding of human beings. The most important is to recognize your mistakes and wrong-doings, and realize that when others go through these same mistakes, or wrong you in the same way, they are no different from you.

Courage is "facing daily challenges with clarity and integrity". Courage is being able to retrieve yourself from hardship, and to push on through challenge. To place yourself before your circumstances. Gaining courage is not easy, but it is done always. Every action you do is an act of courage, simply because in doing so, you have not given up. Courage is the heart that everyone holds, and the light that shines in the face of adventure.

By bettering these four aspects of humanity inside of you, the world will become open. Though the world stands stagnant by itself, the actions of many will change the few, and the betterment of one may change humanity itself. Through the use of these four Cardinal Virtues: Wisdom, Temperance, Justice, and Courage, a stoic gains true understanding of the world, and of himself. Stoics see the world not as it could be, but as it is, but there is no need to see yourself that way. Change yourself as you see fit.

Raised By God

                                                     Image result for christian meme on measure

          How is something measured? In order to measure something you must ascertain the size, amount, or degree of (something) by using an instrument or device marked in standard units or by comparing it with an object of known size. In short you must first have something that has a known value before you can gauge anything else. So that you are able to articulate to others somethings size, weight or greatness. This applies to buildings and math as well as it does to people. 
         I am getting to my point, just bare with me. In order to measure ones morals or way of thinking to be right, first you must make a clear distinction on what is good. What is right. Who gave you this understanding? Your parents? Colleagues? Society? And how can you be sure that they are right? Documentation? How far you can trace it back through history?Good feelings when you see it? Do you just know? I received mine from God, who taught my parents and when I was old enough to understand and willing to listen, He taught me directly. I can hear your eyebrows raising from here. But if you look at religion as merely a calming set of motions or routine, you missed it. It's not about what you do or what you say or how you live in front of people. Truly being a follower of Christ means having a relationship with him. Likened to a father son relationship. You want to do better and you want to make him proud because of who He is to you. Not just some clock maker or distant spaghetti monster.  But because of the foundation of the Christian faith, love. 
          I am aware that my title sounds delusional to some, hard to swallow by others, and some who understand what I mean. Previously I wrote about my parents who made great strides to invest in me and teach me how to become a man. But that was only part of the story.You could say that its like Proverbs 22:6 "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." but its more than just what I was taught as a child. When I became old enough to challenge my parents and the Bible, I did. And I tried to find my place in the world without God. 
Here is what I found. The standards that I was taught on just morals, excluding faith, made me hold others and myself to a higher standard that no one kept. As a teenager it is incredibly disheartening to see that society is not good. It is merely existing.  As an adult my despair grew worse. There were no higher aspirations. No drive that has a true momentum to last longer than the emotions one feels scrolling through Facebook. Flashes of concern with no heart. No weeping. No joy. No consideration. So I tried to use a thought process of "If it benefits me then...." Throw all caution to the wind with morals and reasoning. If it benefits me then I'll do it. Traveled the world and looked into other religions. But nothing made me feel wanted. There was acceptance but only skin deep. There was.... pick an emotion, and it felt shallow to the point of painful. So I decided to just exist. No gods or God
          But this desire to be better and to be understood brought me back to God. I wanted hope. I needed purpose. That there is more to life than just endless masquerades. I wanted substance. I craved pure love. Not this watered down crap you see on tv. Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." 

The video above is quite long but Ravi Zacharias is quite possibly the most intelligent man I have ever had the good fortune of hearing. 

          I have looked all over the world and have seen and heard what others claim to be true but I could not accept it as truth. Because the fruit of their teaching was not good(Luke 7:43-45)  It wasn't pure. The ruler or moral compass if you will, that I received from God was so complete that I know matter where I looked, I could not find any other way to consolidate this into something shorter. Matthew 22:37-340 "Jesus said to him, 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself'. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets." Many people miss what Jesus just said. That loving your neighbor is JUST as important as loving God. And that if you can disprove this or find something greater, that the whole Bible is false. By this direction, love, is the driving force and the measurement for which  I can not find any other reason to live my life.

One of my neighbors put up a Book Drop in my neighborhood recently.  For those that dont know, a book drop is a box where anyone can take a book, or leave a book.  No rentals, just trust.  So, if you bought the hard copies for your class and dont think you will need them again, look for a book drop and donate them.  I am seeing these things all over.  You wont get much selling them back to the university and you will get a lot more out of knowing your helping others.  Just a thought.  Good luck with exams everyone.

Image result for little free library

“The person who does not read has no advantage over one who cannot read.” Mark Twain

"Good luck"

It could be their head isn't screwed on just right It could be their shoes are a little too tight But I think that the most likely reason of all Must be that their hearts are 3 sizes too small.

Friday, April 27, 2018

David Hume

I know that this is late, but I did have an issue with the invitation and actually being able to post this, but here goes nothing. I decided to do my report on a philosopher named David Hume. I chose David Hume has an interesting story that when choosing who I would write about really stood out to me. David Hume was a Scottish philosopher, historian, economist, and essayist, who is best known today for his system of philosophical empiricism, skepticism, and naturalism. He has been compared to fellow philosophers such as John LockeFrancis Bacon and Thomas Hobbes due to his empiricist approach to philosophy. He was born on 26 April 1711 in a tenement on the north side of the Lawnmarket in Edinburgh. Hume's father died when Hume was a child, just after his second birthday, and he was raised by his mother, who never remarried. He changed the spelling of his name in 1734, because of the fact that his surname Home, pronounced Hume, was not known in England. Throughout his life Hume, who never married, spent time occasionally at his family home at Ninewells in Berwickshire, which had belonged to his family since the sixteenth century. Hume attended the University of Edinburgh at the unusually early age of twelve at a time when fourteen was normal. At first, because of his family, he considered a career in law, but came to have, in his words, "an insurmountable aversion to everything but the pursuits of Philosophy and general Learning; and while [my family] fancied I was poring over Voet and Vinnius, Cicero and Virgil were the Authors which I was secretly devouring.” He had little respect for his professors at the University at this time, telling a friend in 1735 that "there is nothing to be learnt from a Professor, which is not to be met with in Books.” Hume did not graduate from the university. At around the age of 18, he made a philosophical discovery that opened up to him "a new Scene of Thought", which inspired him "to throw up every other Pleasure or Business to apply entirely to it.” He did not directly say what this discovery was, but a popular interpretation of this is  that the new "scene of thought" was Hume's realization that Francis Hutcheson's "moral sense" theory of morality could be applied to the understanding as well. Because of this new inspiration, Hume set out to spend a minimum of ten years reading and writing.  He soon came to the verge of a mental breakdown, suffering from what a doctor diagnosed as the "Disease of the Learned". Hume wrote that it started with a coldness, which he attributed to a "Laziness of Temper” that lasted about nine months. Later, some scurvy spots broke out on his fingers. This was what persuaded Hume's physician to make his diagnosis. Hume wrote that he "went under a Course of Bitters and Anti-Hysteric Pills", taken along with a pint of claret every day. Hume also decided to have a more active life to better continue his learning.

Glenn Scarborough
Part 2

Well this is embarrassing, My old brain got the movie and the tv series crossed up.  I watched the movie last night to refresh my memory and realized they dont interact with anyone but one old man they meet in the ruins of Washington, DC.  In the TV series they have a lot of interactions with people outside the domed city.  This movie was actually based on a book and I may read it over break.
So Logan and his mate escape the city looking for sanctuary.  During there escape they learn of the old ways people used to raise animals for food.  I think this stood out to me from reading a fellow students post on co-philosophy. ritas post.  Back in the 70's people were not as concerned with being a vegetarian and I don't believe Veganism was even a word.  Logan's mate, Jessica 6, made the comment about how barbaric people must have been back then (our time). When they escape the city they meet the sun questioning, "What is it?"

 As they progress looking for sanctuary they run across a grave yard and have no idea what the headstones are.  In there society the dead are immediately vaporized, no funeral and no grieving.  When they get into the old city they meet the old man and learn about death and burial.  They were amazed that he was born in his mother and raised by his parents.  They also met cats, apparently they have no pets in the domed city.  Trying not to review the movie here so fast forward to the end of it, Logan and Jessica take the old man to the city where they question where the water that pours into the city comes from.  They had no idea what weather was or how the environment worked. They quickly destroy the city by overloading the computer that runs the city by using Logan's memories of what lies outside the city.  The computer couldn't handle the truth. The citizens escape the city and are amazed at the outside and meet the old man.  The end. (of the movie).

So was the domed city really a Utopia?  The people were happy and healthy, seemed to have no worries.  If they wanted sex, they just pushed a button and someone was transported to there home. Tinder of the future.

 They didn't have to worry about paying bills or where there next meal was coming from.  They depended on the city to provide for them.  If they wanted a new face or body they could have one in minutes.  But even though they were happy, were they really?  I thin back to all the good times and bad times in my life.  Of course non of us want to experience bad times but we learn from them and I believe they help us understand the realities of life.  I don't believe the people under the dome actually understood what life really is.  Its  like a cat that I had, never bothered me for human food because I never gave her any.  One day my best friend gave here a french fry before I could stop him.  After that i couldn't eat fries around her without her begging.  LOL, I love that cat.
so, would we consider the domed city a dystopia?  fortunately for me, another student in our class did my work for me in his post on Co-Philosophy. Nicholas's post.  He covers this subject very well and I really cant explain it better than he did.  Good job.
My belief is that Utopia does exist, but only in our own minds, in our spirit and our beliefs.  Life is what we make it.  If we keep a negative attitude we will always live in a dystopia.  If we keep a positive attitude we will always live in Utopia.  When the government provides for all and tells us how to live we miss out on a lot of experience and we fail to be an individual with our own thoughts and beliefs.  How can this be a Utopia?  Without the human essence how can we truly be human?  Thoughts to ponder.

 This is a very interesting interview with the writer of the movie and several other sci-phi movies.

 The old man in the old city talks about his cats and there names.   Logan and Jessica learn a lot from his philosophical way of thinking and talking.  They finally learn what life truly is about.

 and to wrap this up, we were instructed to make this fun so here is a little family guy.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Morals, by Brendan McGee #8

John Locke made several different interesting inquiries throughout his life. But my personal favorite, and his most memorable is his critique on Nativism: the argument that all knowledge is innate and, in a way, “pre-learned”, along with his introduction to Empiricism: the argument that all knowledge is learned from outside sources, and that even self-reflection is a reaction to knowledge learned from outside sources.

In his argument against Nativism, Locke argues against one of the main ideas of Nativism: the belief that God planted certain ideas into the minds of all people. A decent example of this would be the morals of each individual. Locke cites the “do unto others as you would have done to you” as an example. Personally, I think that this is a fair argument because in general the public’s morals are practically all in line with each other. However, John argues against this, by stating that the morals of Europeans are not the same as the morals of Americans, each cultural group has slightly different social and moral standards. And with this argument he runs with his theory that God did not plant these ideas into each individual’s head.  
I think it’s interesting to view morals as “internal”. For me my morals were taught to me by my parents and by the Christian School I went to as a child. I viewed things almost black and white during my childhood days. Things were either good to do, or bad to do. I once flipped my classmate off because another classmate had told me it was a nice thing to do in China. The whole class lost it. I meant kindness by it, but it was treated hostile because of the social negativity associated with that gesture. I never did it again and placed it under the “bad things to do” file in my mind. And the things that were bad to do, such as flipping the middle finger, eventually became my morals.

You cannot found reason from reason, what axioms of knowledge would have any advantage over any other if you had not first observed facts in the world?”

Therefore, I fully grasp why John believed that the morals of the public weren’t an acceptable example of Nativism. To me it’s a perfect example of Empiricism. It depends on the culture you’re raised in, and the family you’re raised in. Morals are something that are studied by watching others, then copied by what society, family, and piers view as right or wrong. It’s not something that is automatically there like an instinct, and the studies that Locke and many others have done prove this.

Personal Note:
I had a wonderful time learning and writing about this topic, and also sharing my beliefs with others. I also had a wonderful time opening my mind to the ideas of others in my Philosophy Class. I will miss you all and am grateful for the debates and studies we were able create during our time together.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

#8 First Installment - A Socratic Machiavelli

I always found the concepts of Machiavellianism interesting. Of course I’ve always considered Niccolo Machiavelli a philosopher as well as a political and military strategist, but according to this article, portraying Niccolo Machiavelli as a philosopher is controversial. https://doi.org/10.1080/10457097.2017.1385358 
According to Strauss, it would be “imprudent to assume that his knowledge of the things in the world is limited to things political and military in the narrow sense.” I already feel like Strauss and I are on the same page. Niccolo was part of a very wealthy Italian family, and he took on diplomatic roles after the expulsion of the Medici family.
Niccolo wasn’t just knowledgeable in strategy, he was very well educated in all manners of academics given his privileged birth.  However, this isn't what makes him a Socratic philosopher. Niccolo, being a member of privileged society, was able to personally witness what made politicians fail, or succeed. This is the main reason why I think he displays Socratic thinking, and thus can be labelled a proper philosopher, as well as a politician and military strategist.