Monday, April 12, 2010

Update and Whatnot

Alright, so academia is still stomping a mudhole in my face, but I felt compelled to post a new blog on here since I'm still fond of the idea of having my own blog site. Here are the updates. I ran the Brew-to-Brew 44-mile relay on Sunday (yesterday), and I couldn't be more pleased in my teammates performances. They all took on more than they originally thought they would, and they did amazingly. Well done, all (if any of them actually read this blog). We had a runner drop out due to a pulled hamstring two days before the race was scheduled, so we were fortunate enough to have a generous friend who volunteered to take her place at the last minute.

Other than that, not much is worth mentioning. I can't imagine that my daily activities are so important that everyone on teh omg intarwebz wants to hear about it. So, on that premise, I'll move on to more pithy comments of human nature. Hard to go wrong there.

1. Sexual Bimorphism. What is up with the stark contrast between men and women? I know I'm speaking on averages, but nonetheless, that's a significant difference. For example, I show the average male a movie of heroic adventure, and he generally responds positively. Women are somewhat ambivalent towards the same film. How much of that is hormones and genetics (nature) and how much of that is social prescriptions (e.g. familial expectations, peer pressure, and observational behaviorism)? Just an interesting question I hope to come up with an answer to soon.

2. Demonization of Higher Thought. Why do some people demonize the idea of philosophy? Philosophy is based on simply the recognition that the human mind has a certain calculable capacity for error. Philosophy makes only the claim to improve that error dramatically to a more sustainable and reliable probability of success in reasoning. What is the downfall of making less errors when you think?

3. Friendship. Something I find amazingly intriguing is the dynamic of friendship. Some people adhere to other individuals with a tenacity that is uncharacteristic or, at the very least, abnormal to the personality in question. This phenomenon is my quick definition of friendship. Why and how do we choose who we are friends with? Furthermore, how and why do we choose to sustain these relationships? I want to know for pragmatic reasons just as much as philosophical reasons...

That's pretty much it. These aren't rhetorical questions. I really want an answer if you've got an opinion. Anyone?


  1. Demonization of higher thought? I'd say it has a lot to do with stone throwing. Often, people who are afraid of higher thought have been what they considered attacked on a level of thought that they haven't actually come prepared to counter. Which leaves them feeling afraid of their next encounter with someone who has spent their time contemplating an issue that the one approached has not.

    Also, as C.S. Lewis states in "The Abolition of Man":
    “If you ‘see through’ everything then everything is transparent. But a wholly transparent world is an invisible world. To ‘see through’ things is the same as not to see.”

    Which is where my particular brand of apprehension towards philosophy comes in. I've seen someone I care about get so lost in their answer-less questions that they have floated about for years with no rest and no satisfaction. Because philosophy seems to assume that there is an answer that can be known by us of every question. So, where do you end when you come across a questions whose answer can't be known?
    And frankly, endless conversations of if A then B so obviously C must be true which leads us to D.
    In that I think you'll find more weight to add to question number 1.
    Even writing an answer to you I feel stupid and very aware that if I've misspoken anything you'll pick it apart. It's kind of exhausting.

  2. 1. And what's the deal with toilet seats? Am I right?

    Seriously though, learned behavior and nature. What if there's a third component too? Spiritual predisposition? If you believe in a life before birth, do you believe that gender is an eternal characteristic? If that is the case, could some of those elements of personality be eternal?

    2. Higher thought isn't democratic, and will always be demonized in a democratic society, the same as wealth or any other thing that raises somebody over the mean. Also, like Tracy said, it can be pretty exhausting. Sometimes a game of Smash Bros hits the spot more than a game of chess.

    3. I just got done reading a chapter specifically about Friendship in C.S. Lewis's book "The Four Loves". I can't really do it justice but I'll try to summarize the answers to your questions.

    In this kind of love, as Emerson said, "Do you love me"?" means "Do you see the same truth?" - or at least, "Do you care _about_ the same truth?" The man who agrees with us that some question, little regarded by others, is of great importance, can be our Friend. He need not agree with us about the answer. -C.S. Lewis

    You should really get your hands on that book, if only to read that chapter (though so far the whole book has been very interesting).

  3. Wow, was getting tired by the time I wrote this. The whole sentence is "And frankly, endless conversations of 'if A then B, so obviously C must be true which leads us to D' are tiring."

    But in hind sight, I realize that like that out of touch friend on facebook, maybe this post isn't meant for me.

  4. Tracy:
    Hmmm, good thoughts here. I appreciate the input. I've always defined philosophy as a procedure to eliminate or at least significantly reduce error in the human mind. The mind has a certain habit of making errors of thought that I saw as an obstacle to finding truth in any given situation. I had never considered this to be a bad thing. I see your point, though, that it has caused many people to feel ostracized from the conversation due to its thick jargon and off-putting confrontational approach. You helped me remember that discussing philosophy demands that people be willing to separate a person's ideas from their identity, which is SO hard to do. It can cause awkward situations, and it can even genuinely piss off even the most amazing person. Good thoughts here. Thanks!

    You mentioned that people have a difficult time coming to an answer to a difficult problem in philosophy. I totally agree that this is a frustrating time in philosophy. I try to keep that door open that says what you've probably discovered: Sometimes, God doesn't leave us a path to discover this particular truth. I've always admired the supreme intelligence of God, so I try to admire him by admiring the complexity of our reality. I do believe that God rewards earnest searching of his nature, though, and I feel like this includes an intellectual approach. What do you think?

    1. You know what? I had seriously never thought about gender and the concept of the eternal soul. I know it seems a bit odd considering how much time I've put into the search for metaphysical arguments (especially considering my similar belief in a probable pre-existence). That's a good thought. Is that a Talmadge philosophy there? I'm mostly asking so I can read up on some thoughts in this area.
    2. I have nothing to say here, except that I agree with what you said. Cerebrates and whatnot...
    3. Bring this book with you to the States! I'd love to peer into it. It seems like it has cool thoughts about human interaction that could provide a lot of really great insight.

  5. Regarding gender as an eternal characteristic:

    Not sure if Talmage goes into it or not but it is part of Mormon doctrine. Read the Family: A Proclamation to the World,4945,161-1-11-1,00.html

    Talks about that as well as tackles things like the roles of fathers vs mothers, etc. Since you're a family guy now..

    Specifically : "Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose."