Musings

If life is truly the greatest teacher, then one must honor the evidence, even if it’s incredibly unpleasant.  Life may call upon someone to renounce their guru, to kill another, to engage in austere disciplines day after day…or it can do the exact opposite. 

To me, the definition of fluidity and detachment is if one can walk away from something they’re deeply invested in, or, conversely, dive into an activity 100%.

As long as they honor the clues presented by life.

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20 thoughts on “Musings

    • I take the defense of poetic license, haha! Just like Harry Potter, the Matrix, and Star Wars could be reduced to: “Ordinary person develops extraordinary abilities and saves the world,” my musing could be reduced to: “Subjective definitions of ‘extreme,’ ‘fluidity,’ and ‘detachment’ can all be honored and/or effectively channeled by grounding action in evidence.” But thanks for your input, Richibi. 🙂

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      • you’ve left me flummoxed with that one too, Kent, “[s]ubjective definitions” need to be made clear, indeed grounded, if anyone’s going to make sense of them – cheers, R ! chard

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      • I would argue that it’s contextual. The idea behind transcendent poetry and art is to arrange labels and meanings so that they open one’s awareness to something beyond labels and meanings. They are not necessarily “clear,” “grounded,” or “specific.
        Also, over time, the flexible, unspecific thematic nature of parables and stories allows an individual to contemplate how timeless lessons can be made contextually relevant. If everything in older texts were to be bound by specificity, then their ability to be iterated over time by an astute individual would be lost.

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      • “The idea behind transcendent poetry and art is to arrange labels and meanings so that they open one’s awareness to something beyond labels and meanings” – right there, Kent, you have phenomenology, “labels and meanings” after Wittgenstein became what you wanted them to be, everything is in the eye of the beholder, even God/dess – otherwise we are merely robots – cheers, however grimly, R ! chard

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      • I’m curious about your opinion on this: do you believe we aren’t robots? I’m not decided as of yet. I believe there’s no definitive evidence that we have free will, but until it’s definitively disproven, I feel that the soundest stance is to assume we have it, because even if it’s very limited and minuscule, it would be a waste not to use it if it exists. However, it seems that much of our behavior and expression is subject to environment, chemicals, genetics, and a host of other factors. This is why nutrition and optimization interests me—I’d like to explore the causative factors behind my actions and mind state so that if I do have free will, I can exercise it with greater effectiveness over my own being.

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      • one morning, Kent, in Toronto, Ontario, where I was visiting a friend, it’s minus twenty out there, I said, what are we going to do, let’s go out and look for beautiful things, he replied, which we did, and turned an otherwise challenging day into a wonderland, I don’t think robots can do that – later, when I began to need them, I started looking for miracles, and haven’t at all been disappointed since – cheers, R ! chard – psst: it’s all, I think, in one’s vocabulary, one’s choice of words, concepts

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      • My intention is not to be pedantic or nitpicky, in my next statement, but to play devil’s advocate and attempt to reach a deeper level of understanding: couldn’t a sufficiently advanced robot possibly be programmed to detect and quantify measures of beauty, that could offset and exceed measures of discomfort? As I understand it, in the movie industry, there are certain story elements big-time producers plug into children’s movies so that they will ensure moviegoers to give up a certain amount of money and time and garner a return. According to the podcasts I have listened to (admittedly not a rigorous source of data) these producers have enough experience to make their approach formulaic: “Insert [x] elements and we will have [y] interest.” As far as miracles, I have come to see all of existence as a miracle, as platitudinal as that sounds. Billions of years ago, according to what is currently scientifically sound, a Big Expansion occurred (I don’t think they’ve satisfied the scientific burden of proof for a Big Bang yet), instantiating the constructs of time, space, and possibly causality (time is required to have a cause: condition a requires time to iterate into interaction b, which requires time to iterate into result, or new condition, c). Through this chain of exploding/contracting matter and light, Earth and life were formed, and all things around me, even something as mundane as McDonald’s, came into existence. Is the sunset and the Redwood forest miraculous? Undeniably. But lately, and I am not trying to force my view on anyone, I have come to see that through the most reliable lens we have, the scientific one (I am not wedded to science, it just seems to be the most rigorous model, when it comes to accounting for causal relationships), I have come to view everything as miraculous. I also realize that this “God’s-eye view” is not practical, unless it’s used to let go of human concerns when they keep me up at night, or keep me fixated on a useless conflict, so I bound my actions with my personal biases: my own personal code of ethics, then effectiveness.

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      • after a long and thoughtful reply to your latest statement, Kent, I pressed “POST COMMENT” and everything was erased, all that insight gone in an instant, I’ll try to summarize what I wrote, and will copy anything from now on, as I used diligently to do before sending, but about which I’ve become less careful, unwisely, lately – about robots, we either are robots already, without free will, in which case who, or what, is the originating Robot, otherwise we are the Robot of modern robots, who could supplant us eventually, possibly, by making us servants at their command, but isn’t that what kids do to their parents already, and isn’t that we did to our reptilian ancestors – about miracles, if you include the word in your vocabulary, you’ll find them in your corroborating reality, if not, not, take your pick, that’s the work, incidentally, of a true Robot – about the “Big Expansion”, it isn’t ended yet, nor in the near future, if you believe in a cosmic future, where Time actually performs a function, that said, I believe the “Big Expansion” is the God/dess, it is the process, not just the initial “Big Bang”, or whatever the first shove might’ve been, that way we are all part of the unfolding evolution of the Divine, each and everyone of us, all playing, consciously, or not, our indispensable parts – cheers, R ! chard

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      • Those are good assumptions to make, for I feel that when iterated rigorously, they lead to a way of life that can be framed as moral and functional. For whatever reason, (genetics life experience or the design of a higher power), I am inclined to engage life from the opposite end, and focus on being functional and ethical (according to my own personal code), and then leaving those assumptions open-ended. I suspect that they’re correct, but if they aren’t, I’m not concerned, for personally, I find that when I engage life in a way that emphasizes results bounded by my personal ethics, I experience a deep feeling of peace, contentment, and confidence. And I also seem to glimpse inklings of a possible greater truth, which feeds my suspicions that the greater truth at the core religions and philosophy does indeed exist, but I guess it’s just my personal preference to leave it be, because my approach propagates my sense of balance and peace with or without the assumption of a benevolent order underlying existence. I know it may not be appropriate for everyone, but it definitely works for me. 🙂

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      • you took the words right out of my mouth, Kent, though I don’t see how I’m “engag[ing] life from the opposite end” – cheers, R ! chard

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      • I guess I was being presumptive. I’m presuming that you accept the premise that there is a higher benevolence ordering the universe, where I am open to it, but I am also open to the alternative that there is none.

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      • I accept no premise, Kent, unless it is determined – no premise has been categorically determined but “I”, see Descartes, and even that has become contentious, see Sartre – in other words, everything is in the eye of the beholder, nothing, finally, is absolutely defined, your guess, in other words, is as good as mine – cheers, R ! chard

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      • Sounds good, as a definitive truth that defines existence has yet to be agreed upon. I actually believe that attitude is the key to humility. Now the question is what is the next action? I’d say the clues we are provided through limitations and capabilities are ones to follow. I live where I can breathe and eat. I employ greater levels of functionality so that I can harmonize with the environment, and then I try and use this harmony to help others out, which grants me a sense of internal harmony along with the external. I believe this is in rough accordance with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

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      • who’s Maslow, what’s his “hierarchy of needs”, meanwhile your goal of “harmoniz[ing] with the environment, and then … try[ing to] use this harmony to help others out” is highly commendable, even admirable, bravo – and cheers, R ! chard

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      • Maslow was a psychologist who attempted to simplify human motivation. His hierarchy of needs proposes a rough prioritization of human behavior. It goes: Physiological, safety, love/belonging, esteem, self-actualization. I’ve found that by and large, it’s a fairly reliable model for explaining behavior, although it’s really fascinating where upbringing or other factors can create exceptions to it. sometimes people misinterpret one level for another, and sometimes they defy the hierarchy altogether. Really interesting stuff.

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