Friday, April 25, 2014

"These stories, I realized, were lost. Nobody was going to know that part of the city but as a place where a bomb went off. The bomb was going to become the story of this city. That's how we lose the city - that's how our knowledge of what the world is is taken away from us - when what we know is blasted into rubble and what is created in its place bears no resemblance to what there was and we are left strangers in a place we knew, in a place we ought to have known."

Bilal Tanweer, The Scatter Here is Too Great

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Morality, it appears to me, springs fundamentally from emotions - moral emotions, such as compassion, sympathy, empathy etc - and not from reason, although reason definitely plays an vital role in its development. Much of philosophical discussion of morality, on the other hand, seems to be centered on the rational agent. We ponder and ponder over how a rational agent ought to behave in so and so circumstances, but is a rational agent equivalent to a moral agent? I suspect the hope of reducing morality down to reason is doomed to failure. What is left of morality if you take out compassion and empathy out of it? Individuals in a population of rational agents driven only by individual self-interest may act in ways that appear to be moral, but I am inclined to think that such behavior only mimics morality.

At the same time, there is little doubt in my mind that much of moral development of humanity has been the result of increase in rationality rather than increase in moral emotions. Reason allows us to recognize and resolve the inconsistencies in our emotions and resulting behavior. It is reason that breaks through the limitations that we have placed on our moral emotions by excluding certain groups from it, such as individuals of other gender, race, sexuality and even species. 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

"The result is that much reading robs the mind of all elasticity, as the continual pressure of a weight does a spring, and that the surest way of never having any thoughts of your own is to pick up a book every time you have a free moment."

Arthur Schopenhauer, Essays and Aphorisms
(Translated from Parerga and Paralipomena by R. J. Hollingdale)

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Thrasymachus: To sum up, what shall I be after my death? Be clear and precise!
Philalethes: Everything and nothing.

Arthur Schopenhauer, Essays and Aphorisms
(Translated from Parerga and Paralipomena by R. J. Hollingdale)

Friday, April 18, 2014

"They are insecure and as parents emotionally dependent on their children. This is how emotions become destructive and self-fulfilling: Your parents are afraid of abandonment. They want to hold on to their children desperately. Yet, in that desperation they hold too tight, suffocating the children, riddling them with emotional guilt of a crime yet uncommitted. This naturally only serves to alienate the children. The desperation and fear of abandonment leads precisely to that. They push away through folly what they so desire to keep close. That is the hallmark of neurotic relationships."

Almost surprising that the pessimistic philosophy of Schopenhauer entails such a morality:

"... the appropriate form of address between man and man ought to be, not monsieur, sir but fellow sufferer, compagnon de misères. However strange this may sound it corresponds to the nature of the case, makes us see other men in a true light and reminds us of what are the most necessary of all things: tolerance, patience, forbearance and charity, which each of us needs and which each of us therefore owes."

Arthur Schopenhauer, Essays and Aphorisms
(Translated from Parerga and Paralipomena by R. J. Hollingdale)

 

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