I have found over the past month that philosophy and the study thereof is a lot like vacuuming. The slower you pass over it, the more you tend to suck up. In a pinch, however, in a fury of cleaning and rapid movement, the ability to comprehend and suck up every little detail is lost. You’ll find yourself revisiting that same spot over and over again knowing that there are little pieces still needing to be taken up from their place and put in the proper location. I’ve been reading Kant, he isn’t staying in my vacuum bag, if you get my drift.
Although he’s right up the line of what I like as far as philosophers go (he’s grumpy and from the Austria/Germany area), he was a little bit more, well, fluffy as far as I was concerned. He was a little bit too structured as far as the concepts of decision making was concerned, and he wanted me to focus on reason for Pete’s sake. Reason!?!? Theoretically we all use reason for every single motion and emotion we make. I made a motion to sit here on my ass and write this tripe. I also used my emotion to fuel my desire to complain about modern day life and how it relates to old time philosophy.
Why, though? What is there to be said about a philosopher that died over 200 years ago? What about one that died a little over 100 years ago? What do these philosophers do to impact our modern day lives, and why is the acknowledgement of the wisdom they purveyed important, you may ask. Simple, as a society we’re lost. Emotionally we’re lost, lacking direction, we’re a generation of depressed, emotional beings that lack some sort of guidance. A constant struggle is waged ranging from uncomfortable living conditions due to lack of wealth, uncomfortable body image due to lack of personal upkeep, uncomfortable ego because of lack of developing a healthy one, and even uncomfortable relationships because we’re afraid of the lack thereof.
In the modern day we’re constantly bombarded with distractions, be it social media, interactive outlets, booze, drugs (both legal and not), sex, drugs, rock and roll, you name it. There are always things to be done to chase an invisible carrot infront of our noses, that goal that doesn’t exist, happiness. The rationalism behind existence of man is gone, modern day man is incapable of making his own decisions – the world around him influences action/reaction and all of a sudden the ability to use rationality of self is gone.
“Thoughts without content are empty, intuitions without concepts are blind.”
― Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason
I am the first to admit I think way too much, it’s the existentialist in me, and maybe just a touch of the wild child that wants to adventure for a living. Constantly I think about how I can make an adventure out of something, how can I make this more exciting, how can I make this what other people want me to make it? The pressure of finding the perfect adventure, or even the perfect answer to a thought pattern is absurd and nine times out of ten my only reaction is no action at all. I rationalize everything to the extent of nullification and find myself getting nowhere mentally, physically or spiritually. I reason myself out of most things, although my gut tells me its the thing to do. The power of the gut, or intuition if you please, is more powerful than any sort of peer pressure or social media out there. The innate existence of intuition in you is tortured by constant distraction which lead you to ignore what your gut is telling you.
My gut told me I shouldn’t have been driving before I crashed my car, my intuition knew it was a bad idea. I did it anyway. My car was crashed, my life was changed forever, and my intuition sat there with its hands on its hips saying “I told you so, but you didn’t listen, you were too busy living in some other world.” My intution was wise enough to know that the decisions that I was making was wrong, but only because there was a concept of wrong in the first place. This is where the ability to live outside of a box and absorb culture is important. Without having a sense of right or wrong in the first place, all intuitions will be misplaced and any sort of malfeasance on your part will be your fault. Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to intuition.
Let’s go back to the vacuum analogy for a moment. You know that if you take a couple of slow passes over a dirty carpet you’re likely to get the job done, but you might reason otherwise. You’re too busy, you don’t feel like it, you don’t want to in the first place and are only doing it under duress. All of these excuses are going to tell your intuition to can it, however, your power of concept is stronger than that. Those are just thoughts, which can be altered, you attitude can be changed, your gut feeling, however, is very hard to sway. The concept behind doing it right the first time was instilled in us as small children. When we did something wrong, we were reprimanded and told to do it right the first time. If we weren’t we’d never learn our alphabet, we’d never learn simple arithmetic, and we’d never get potty trained. The concept was instilled in us what is right behavior and what is wrong. Those that chose to ignore these are just trying to wage war with themselves.
“If I wished to shake this tree with my hands, I should not be able to do so.
But the wind, which we see not, troubleth and bendeth it as it listeth. We are sorest bent and troubled by invisible hands.”
-The Tree on the Hill from Thus Spoke Zarathustra – Friedrich Nietzsche
So why, do I and so many others let this invisible force that is modern day living shake us so? Just like Zarathustra had the ability to place his hands upon something that was able to be moved by a greater force, he was unable to replicate the force. His intuition told him it was impossible, his gut knew it wasn’t going to happen, and there was no use it even trying. Although he cannot explain exactly what the wind is, nor point to it, its there. A great invisible force, almost like modern day attitudes towards life and living. We’re guided and bent into uncomfortable positions by these great invisible hands that are the media and society without paying any regard to our own intuitions. We’re to pliable and allow ourselves to be bend. Like saplings in a cyclone we bend.
And some of us snap. Take a moment to look at any sort of crime television show or newspaper. There are people, who in some cases (those of psychosis are exempt) just snap. It’s hard for most people to say exactly why, almost as if this invisible force just infested their powers of reason and allowed them to behave in unethical manners. It’s more of an ignorance of a different invisible being, the ever innate power of intuition. Knowing that something is wrong, using rational skills before reacting, and adjusting actions accordingly. Allowing your brain to pass over a scenario slowly, just like you’d want to take the time to pass over the carpet with the vacuum slowly, will give better outcome. Why can’t we slow down and listen to our guts? Why can’t we just mellow out for a moment and reassess the situation?
I did the opposite of my normal self just this morning. After listening to Thus Spoke Zarathustra while working out at a gym full of people that looked miserable, I had the gut feeling that I should be miserable too. Everybody around me seemed unhappy with life, they were unhappy because they had to work out, they were unhappy to be awake so early, they were just plain miserable with life. I went into the locker room to shower and change, and there was a woman who took great strides to conceal herself from the rest of the locker room. She was miserable with herself, and ashamed.
I wanted to grab her by the shoulders and say “There is nothing wrong with you!”
Then I stopped, it was me. I listened to my intuition, and for once it was screaming at me. Call it an adrenaline based epiphany or what have you, but it was wonderful. I felt peace. I thought back to the very last sentence I remembered from the book that I was listening to while hanging out with the miserable looking people in the gym…
“Ye tell me, “Life is hard to bear.” But for what purpose should ye have your pride in the morning and your resignation in the evening?” -Reading And Writing – Thus Spoke Zarathustra
Let’s work on having pride when we open our eyes in the morning and resign from the day at peace at night.