Posted by Sophie | Posted in 'Philosophy' | Posted on 30-01-2010
Philosophers must have some high-spec hiking gear. Every time I feel like I’m close to fully developing a new thought, I lose my footing (rabbit hairs aren’t so sturdy after all). I think the skill/gift (delete as applicable) is to be able to grasp multiple hairs at the same time in order to hoist yourself up. Back to the brain gym I go.
Posted by Sophie | Posted in 'Philosophy', Being INFP | Posted on 29-01-2010
If you were picked up by aliens one day and dropped on another planet, would you remain the same person? The same question is valid in slightly less extreme situations too… If your job relocated you from London to Liverpool, would you keep the same principles and tastes, the same vegan tendencies and inexplicable love for Bjork? Is there some part of every being that remains intact no matter where a being physically finds itself? I think a few blog posts ago I believed the answer was ‘yes’ (Jan 19, ‘You Say Nature and I Say Nurture‘: ‘people don’t fundamentally change, just their priorities’). If the answer is ‘yes’, I think that part is what they call the soul. And I think Plato and co* probably got there before I did with their thoughts on dualism.
*['Plato and co'... definitely going on my 'ideas for café names' list. I could even put copies of books from a series I just discovered, including Coffee with Plato, on every table... Ooh, I love it when a fantasy business plan comes together.]
I’ve been wondering to what extent your habitat, daily lifestyle and personal relationships define who you are as a person. People talk endlessly about retreating to deep dark corners of the globe to discover ‘who they really are’. But can we ever divorce ‘who we really are’ from who we’ve become as influenced by our surroundings? If you lived a sheltered childhood existence in a minimalist magnolia-painted room and were fed a diet of mostly rice cakes and water, would you grow up to be as interesting and interested as a rice cake itself? Or could you be the happiest of bunnies with an enviable clarity of thought?
Perhaps a trip to Ikea is overdue.
Posted by Sophie | Posted in 'Philosophy', Religion | Posted on 27-01-2010
I was reminded in my music theory class today of the rabbit-duck illusion (naturally).
At first I thought I’d give my brain a mini-break by just posting this picture and leaving it as a nice decorative addition to my blog, but then it got me thinking (dangerous). Here’s one of my (contrived?) Photoshop-provoked thoughts…
Perhaps we’re ‘on the same page’ as more people than we first think. The ways in which others function, however, don’t allow us to relate to them. In bunny-related words, rather than climbing the hairs of an enormous rabbit others are, at the same pace and altitude, scaling the feathers of an equally huge duck. Surely this is at the root of religious conflict; we all have similar if not the same general aims, but people don’t recognise that there are different ways of approaching and actively achieving them within different personal and cultural contexts… Same carrot, different animal. One man’s rabbit is another man’s duck… You get the picture (literally).
Posted by Sophie | Posted in 'Philosophy', Religion | Posted on 26-01-2010
Have you ever noticed how life gets in the way of ‘life’?
Plato had his ‘ideal’ and visual realms and, to illustrate, he used not rabbits but horses, i.e. he distinguished between the fixed idea or form of a horse and its physical manifestations in our material world of change. For more on these two realms, see the new little animated clay version of Plato’s allegory of the cave here.
I worry that too often we feel inadequate for letting our ‘imperfect’ and dynamic real lives get in the way of our attempts at living our static concepts of an ‘ideal’ life, something which is not just unattainable but non-existent. The Christian pressure on us to live in the image of God (in fact, pressure to live a certain way in society in general) doesn’t exactly help us on this one. Of course I’m not saying it’s a bad thing to strive for excellence, but surely it’s perpetually guilt-inducing and plain wrong to believe that there is one perfect life-path which can be followed. After all, we’re only ‘shadows’ of the ideal human living in the ‘cave’ that is our own world. [Thanks to amazing company, food and wine in Brighton, NY for fuelling this post and others.]
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us – Joseph Campbell
P.S. I somehow just found the above t-shirt online – Plato’s cave- and bunny-related… my ideal t-shirt, so to speak.
Posted by Sophie | Posted in 'Philosophy' | Posted on 24-01-2010
To continue the extended bunny metaphor, today is one of those days when I feel like a rabbit in the headlights. Life is one huge car which has just rounded a corner and stunned me with light, i.e. too many undeveloped thoughts, not enough brainpower to process them into something bloggable. Philosophers must be those hardy (GM?) rabbits who are able to filter light rather than just freeze in all its overwhelmingness.
More soon when my eyes have adjusted.
Posted by Sophie | Posted in 'Philosophy' | Posted on 21-01-2010
Notes I probably shouldn’t be taking in class:
1. The relative importance of delivery over content is alarming.
2. ‘Wisest is he who knows he does not know’ should be pinned to every blackboard/forehead (thanks Socrates).
3. Wisest is he who also doesn’t state the bleeding obvious as if it’s going to revolutionise humankind.
Although… Is it ultimately wisest to recognise that nothing is obvious? Hmm.
Posted by Sophie | Posted in 'Philosophy' | Posted on 20-01-2010
Moving from Harpenden/Cambridge, England to Rochester, NY can’t help but change your perspective (for better or for worse), but it made me think… Can we ever have true perspective? Does such a thing exist?
per·spec·tive n. true understanding of the relative importance of things
Surely every place we escape to is just another bubble on one scale or another? In which bubble should we trust that we’re making the ‘right’ decisions? What’s to say that one decision in one bubble is right in the context of another?
Rabbit fur-climbing, global bubble-popping… one and the same thing really.
Posted by Sophie | Posted in 'Philosophy' | Posted on 19-01-2010
People don’t fundamentally change, just their priorities.
Was that possibly one of my most broad, unjustified thoughts yet? That’s the beauty of blogging, folks. And did I just do my usual ‘paraphrase-to-fein-originality’ trick? I may as well have written ‘I came up with some vague response to that nature vs nurture issue today’. And that brings up another question… How much ‘original’ thought is, in fact, mostly or all recycled? Perhaps more on inspiration vs imitation coming soon to a blog near you.
Posted by Sophie | Posted in Music | Posted on 16-01-2010
Listening to my whole itunes library on shuffle, this thought popped into my head… If Mozart was alive today, would he love Jason Mraz? I hope so. Because I love them both, and I’d hate for them not to get on.
And that question, as ever, raises more questions… How would artistic tastes from two or three hundred years ago transfer to today’s world? Would a twenty-first century Mozart fill up his ipod with Haydn symphonies? Or would he have a burning desire to collaborate with Lady Gaga? The postmodernists would have a field day.
Posted by Sophie | Posted in 'Philosophy' | Posted on 08-01-2010
What is a philosopher? According to Jostein Gaarder, as we’ve seen, it’s simply somebody who retains the ‘faculty of wonder’ with which they were born, somebody who never becomes willing to sit back and accept the world at face value. I was thinking today… There are obviously very few people who are officially, by occupation, ‘philosophers’. What is it that turns a tiny percentage of Gaarder’s philosophers into the philosophers that we read about and discuss today? I hate to say it, but the answer may well include the word ego. Imagine if every wonderful, humble, perceptive, progressive, unique philosophical thought that ever came into being magically made it into print for all to ponder. The world could be so much more wise, diverse, depressed, elated, angry, tolerant, confused…
Wow, this sounds like one of those anti-abortion ‘you could be killing another Beethoven/Descartes’ arguments (i.e. don’t kill anyone’s freedom of speech because you don’t know what you might miss). It’s not. That really is another egg to be fertilised another day.