Musings

If there is an underlying order to all phenomena, it seems that purporting to know it invites wars, discord, and ideal-borne failures.    

What seems to work is presuming NOT to know, and giving it sufficient space to reside as Mystery; to refer to it indirectly through poetry, paradox, and to constantly give it fresh life through evidence-based assessment and ethics-bounded results.

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18 thoughts on “Musings

  1. “purporting to know” the “underlying order to all phenomena”, Kent, has been, for me, the fatal flaw of all philosophers since Socrates, who, incidentally, had argued against taking on such a position, I found respite finally in Marcel Proust, who, in his investigation of Time, “A Recollection of Things Past”, observed rather than dictated his findings, Aristotle could’ve sent us on this path, but the Catholics got in the way, inserted, upon pain of heresy, their Platonic Deity, what we got was the Middle Ages, all that insightful polytheism lost – cheers, R ! chard

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    • Man, all that’s fascinating stuff to me. I’m not much of a historian, but as I become increasingly interested in human nature, it’s very interesting to see how certain patterns of behavior reliably iterate over time and cultures. If there is a beauty to war, I believe you have touched upon it: to me, the military paradigm seems to encourage the continual assessment of environment, and continual development of tactics. While it is a well-known cliche that “each war is fought like the last,” the pain of death and suffering motivates soldiers to try and utilize evidence-based perception and sound logic to seek out a victory. Jocko Wilink reflects this perspective when he says the most important quality in a leader is humility, and Dick Winters when he says the most important quality in a leader is honesty. I believe they are both highlighting the importance of clear perception, without the anchors of personal biases or preconceptions.

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      • “If there is a beauty to war,”, Kent, how “have [I] touched upon it”, not that I don’t see it’s significance, all I had to do for that was read “Iliad”, the resounding Fitzgerald version, war is inextricably part of our nature – “humility” according to Jocko Wilink, “honesty” according to Dick Winters, wow, we’re in dangerously short supply of that at present, wouldn’t you think – cheers, R ! chard

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      • Not to be condescending, but I think that it helps to do more than read, for I think that drawing deductive conclusions from another’s work does not necessarily guarantee that one can embody these principles under stress (not that I’m saying that’s what you’re doing, and I’m not saying that we have to go to war to be able to do this either; I’m simply saying that the embodiment of war-time principles must be demonstrated through sound correlation to past instances, as well as sound correlation to favorable outcomes where one actively applies these principles). I do think we’re in dangerously short supply of humility and honesty at the present. I also suspect that this has been the norm throughout recorded history, as it seems that the emphasis for such qualities pop up again and again throughout anecdotes and examples, both fictional and nonfictional. 🙂

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      • that is condescending, Kent, you’re supposing that I haven’t had a life, that I’ve gone to my mentors for answers, as opposed to guidance, or even just acknowledgment – my experience has been that living role models, friends, family, acquaintances, have been generally unhelpful in resolving major human, both physical and moral, dilemmas, solace, and even loyalty, have been hard to find apart from in the words, ideas, reflections, of these wise people, they have been not my answers, but my true, and constant, friends, – cheers, R ! chard

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      • My apologies if it was, I was simply taking the remark “all I had to do” at face value. Now I don’t mean to condescend, but simply assert my belief that it is useful to read such storied works, but in order to ensure that the knowledge has been embodied, one must use it to construct a causal framework in their head that not only accounts for past actions, but also enables them to achieve positive future outcomes. If one can’t demonstrate how their knowledge iterates into positive outcomes through personal action, then to me, the knowledge isn’t fully integrated. If there was an officer who was able to recite chapter and verse, every technical field manual in the military, along with Clausewitz, Rommel, Patton, or whoever, but wasn’t able to command a company of soldiers, I would say that his knowledge was not complete, and that even though he presented the outward appearance of having learned the lessons (through a verbal display), he hadn’t learned them to the point where he could employ those lessons in a real-world context. I think this is an important part of learning; it is fine to speak of humility and honesty, but when it is most important to use them is in the heat of an argument where anger is high, or when I least want to bow down to another’s point.

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      • every day, Kent, I perform a kind action, today, I helped an artist friend carry her artworks, in her little artworks wagon, to the nearby park where she could set all of it up for sale, later, I helped her cart what remained of her offerings back home – I also make a point of taking in a wise person every day, a poet, a composer, or an artist, to consider what lessons they have to convey, for I believe an artwork a day keeps the doctor away as well as an apple – cheers, R ! chard

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      • There’s some scientific evidence to support your last statement; “flow state” has been correlated with beneficial health markers. It is good to know that you embody your philosophy of kindness. I try to do so as well, and regularly give to the needy. But specifically when I reference the lessons of war, I am referencing mindsets and principles which allow for an individual to increase capability and propagate harmony at greater scales of chaos, or bring about harmony in greater levels of adversity.

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      • it’s important, I think, to exercise one’s principles on a daily basis, no matter how inconsequential they might appear to be in the moment, in order to function well “at greater scales of chaos”, as you state it – mindsets are not necessarily indicative of corroborating actions, though they’re, admittedly, an excellent start – I believe it’s best to protect your family, before you tackle defending your country, for instance – cheers, R ! chard

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      • A valid point. I don’t think I would have been motivated to join the service if there were no emergency services available to tend to my family in time of need. It’s actually why I consider infrastructure and maintenance workers to be vital, and why I’m angling to set up some financial stability for my family so I can switch my career from finance into emergency medicine.

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      • the difficulty of such a moral position is surely one of the benefits of so fraught an exercise as joining one’s nation’s military, especially, Kent, for a philosopher, I think, it is, to my mind, the initiation that all cultures have exacted of their young men, immemorially, in order to assure the survival of their community, much has changed, however, since, and the dynamics are now beyond simple community, though the fundamental terms still apply – but I prefer the humanity, the humility, of a Roméo Dallaire, for instance, to the braggadocio of, say, a Patton, maybe because I’m French Canadian and a product of my own cultural “context”, for better or for worse – cheers, R ! chard

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      • Patton’s a bit of a cautionary tale—he’s not the best example of an exemplary commander, much like Steve Jobs isn’t the best example of a business leader. I’d rather go with Dick Winters.

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      • Excellent! I hope it doesn’t linger too much on the military glory, and instead focuses on the essentials of human nature which unite us all, military and nonmilitary alike. I read it many years ago, and I remember liking it, but I don’t have the same view of life right now as I did back then, so I’m not sure what I would think of it reading it today.

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      • my model of probity remains, for better or for worse, Gary Cooper in “High Noon”, you might want to check it out – cheers, R ! chard

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      • I’ll try…but i’m so freakin’ busy trying to get Echo 4 ready for publication, and I’ve got like ten books ready in my head busting at the seams trying to get out, PLUS setting up the podcast and recording it. All I know about “High Noon” was that there were some boundary-pushing gunfights. 🙂

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      • hey, Kent, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do, and I wish you at it all the best, but remember to here and there stop to smell the roses – cheers, R ! chard

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