Over Thanksgiving weekend, come Saturday evening, as I finally recovered from the flu, my brothers and I gathered round the dining room table for our little working class Algonquin Round Table. Conversation ranged over a breadth of topics - physics & math from my younger brother 'S', military experience & the wars from next oldest 'C', pseudo-philosophy from all.
I say pseudo because only my youngest brother's friend 'Y', just from an intro to philosophy class, really had any aptitude to reference actual philosophers and he seemed pretty much limited to Plato & Aristotle it being first half of first term. I have heard that everything is just commentary on Plato. Running with that, throwing in modern math/physics and considering all parties' postmodern experiences (& after reading some online philosophical commentary) I feel confident we had a strong layman's base.
First issue at hand was to establish our base of discussion. We arrive at the comforting conclusion that all language is approximate, including math. My brother answers my longstanding question about the nature of the ten based system - clarifying that it is really a one based system and one is the only number that might actually occur naturally anywhere at all. Everything else (but really also 1) is a statement of relativity or an artificial approximate of measurement. This all has the suspicious air of a physicist's obsession with singularities. He also showed me a marvelous trick using the distributive property and the number one that shows you can arrive at something from nothing - on paper.
That language is approximate is comforting to us because we lack the philosophical nomenclature to more specifically discuss what we are aiming at. It also lowers the pedestal of math & science.
The nature of reality is the next item of discussion, mind there is no outline. I'm just reporting. This begins with the so called least reliable evidence - personal epiphany or transcendence. I would mention that the nature of transcendence leads to it being extra-lingual & extra-rational and so is obviously beyond the evidenciary realm of science and more dogmatic philosophies. What is most interesting, we agree, is that personal transcendence is not so rare as Buddha on the fucking mountain top. We all had approximate experiences to share - whether drug, meditation, mental health or otherwise induced and I doubt that makes us all that special. What might make us a little more rare is our desire for understanding. Transcendence for most folks is not a continual state, it is quite human to very quickly forget what is learned or to slide back to comfortable perspectives. What is transcendence that we can approximate it with our language? Saying different things but really the same, we agree that transcendence is the gift of experiencing a further perspective. Some potential results are: universal love of man, or of all living creatures or of everything that vibrates with existence (everything); an acceptance of the futility of action; acceptance of lack of meaning;
I need to finish this story.ReplyDelete