The Ninth of February, 2015
There are many different topics within Philosophy, and one that has been stumping many philosophers and many over the years, oftentimes through a journey of self-discovery, is the perception of the world and how they see it. This week, we looked at Descartes and Plato. To me, while their questions and doubts of what they perceived to be true or not was quite interesting to read about, it was relative to me. Does it matter if what I perceive to be true is not true? If it makes me happy, then that is my perception of that truth. This topic in itself is far too broad for any one person to discuss without centuries or even a few millennia passing by. Life is so short already, so why waste time pondering over it? In the same vein, if you spent all your time keeping your house spotless and clean, then what time do you have to enjoy the benefits of it being clean? You would just continue to spend more and more of your time with its upkeep and not seeing what you already have.
Something that struck out to me was Descartes' belief that the only thing he could believe in was his own existence, and that everything he thought was implanted within him from a greater, cosmic being. If that were the case, why would that being implant within him the doubt he needed to question it? Many people, especially within his era, devoutly believed in a God, so what cause would there be for such a God to implant such a concept to him when God was already known? For self-awareness? That was what Socrates had already believed in. To me, it doesn't make sense for him to question his existence in such a way unless he was a bit of a masochist.
Of course, I also identify myself as a rational man, but accept some, if not many, of my beliefs and idealism is a combination of both society's doing and my own brain. For example, the concept of Innate Ideas; Leibniz believed that it is a predetermined shape and form in our own minds. While I can't refute this concept, I propose that it's a combination of reasoning and instinct, and given shape and form from society.
Later on, Plato talks about the concepts we have and what shape they are given, such as Justice, Beauty, and Goodness. How then does he know what Knowledge is? You can't go into this debate without then questioning the meaning of life. To me, I believe there is no meaning; we were all brought here by a mere chance. Look at all the other different universes in the galaxy, and how many planets there are. Pure chance. And borne from that chance was us humans. Everything we have is artificially created; we don't have the means to survive naturally in this environment, so we subjugate other animals to our will, including our own. We can argue forever on semantics about reality, our perception of it, and our ideologies, but then we would be stuck in that mindset and unable to enjoy what we have.
Do we have a purpose on this planet? No. But we've given ourselves a purpose. While Socrates can go on questioning others for the sake of knowledge, to me, a peasant who lives a quiet and happy existence with his family and friends, with all the warm bearings and cruel truths the world has to give him, is enough. Knowledge can be something that you strive to attain for the rest of your life because you've acknowledged you don't have it, or it can be as simple as living out a quiet existence.
Objectivity in the eye of the beholder.