Posts Tagged ‘Logic’

I just came across this quote and it gave me a mild thinkgasim. I consider myself a theologian and I am shocked I have never explored this concept as it pertains to the divine. I asked myself if I were God would I want to take credit for this world and the perpetuating evil conducted by the “men made in his likeness” I would say fuck that blame it on the intern and live to corrupt another day. 

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I enjoy philosophical riddles, and I spend far too less time working on them. The reasons do not matter. I am confronted with one riddle in particular day in and day out… Why have I not or cannot kill myself?

I have gone through my fair share of suffering, and for most of my life battled with the will and desire to no longer be alive. I have many times and still want to die. I do not want to exist. So why at this moment with how I feel and have felt I must ask myself. Why am I breathing and writing this?

This has been a philosophical puzzle that has plagued and tortured me. I have come up with many theories, reasons, and excuses for why I have not.

No point in running the list. What I came up with and I feel so blind for not figuring this out. Its our primal directive to survive. Its ingrained within us and drives everything. This directive is so powerful that I cannot overcome or find the courage to end my suffering.

To me logic and reason would dictate that ending suffering is the only thing that makes sense. Every other theory I have ever had about why I am still alive stems from this roadblock.

How can this override clear logic and reason of not wanting to suffer? How can this seed allow us to self deceive ourselves against the logical course of action. How and at what point can this will be broken down?

My intended focus this week was to break down, analyze, and apply my methodology to three single events with the intended outcome of making the correct choice. Do I stay or do I go? I have repeatedly replayed the same haunting moment of seeing my son still and quiet on his bike as he watched me get in the car to go to work. In that moment I could see in his eyes the internal conflict between acceptance and denial that his dad is slipping away. I could see and understand all too well the sadness he was trying so bravely to hide.

It is difficult for me to release my sadness and sorrow through the shedding of tears. The only time the outside world can see what I try so hard to hide, is when I cannot hold back my tears. At that moment, just as in this moment writing about it I cannot stop the tears. Many people say that crying is supposed to be this wonderful release of pent up emotions. It’s not like that for me. Tears feel like razor blades running down my face, slicing through self-denial and exposing my weakness and vulnerability. Regardless of how many times I have been told I am selfish and only think of myself, at the end of the day my meaning in life, and my purpose is to not break his heart. I am well aware I will never win the father of the year award. To be honest with you I don’t even know if I’m a good father. Despite what I am told I know I have always tried to be the best dad I could be.

After the series of events that took place yesterday, or would it be considered today? I haven’t slept for days so time holds no logical meaning. After said events the only answer to my opening question; is to go. There are only so many pieces someone can be broken into before they are unable to be put back together. I now need to come to terms with the sobering reality that I will become in my own eyes everything I ever swore I wouldn’t. I will become my fathers son. I am desperately seeking, yet fear I will be unable to live with the guilt, or forgive myself.

Children are not stone, nor are they steel. They are dirt and clay, molded by the hands of experience. There is no way to reconcile the loss of my son’s happiness and hope due to the harsh reality of my life, which I have viciously infected upon my family. Despite my frequent mental transformations I made the decision to get married and have children; in that single moment I destroyed their lives. I suppose I was caught up in the perceived human need for significance, by my own sense of insecurity. Here is where I cannot deny my selfishness. Broken dolls are meant to walk alone.

In moments like this I want to hide within the minds of Soren Kierkegaard and Albert Camus covering myself in the blanket of Absurdism. Believing all struggles for life is for nothing. There is only birth and death, and everything in between is our feeble attempt to find meaning and purpose. This concept is wonderful, but in the back of my mind I’m burdened with this question. What if birth and death were only two points, that they were inconsequential compared to what happens between them?

I am currently burdened with this increasingly ticking clock looming over my head. I hear it every second of every day; sometimes it’s as soft as a pin drop, other times it’s so deafening it impedes on my ability to function. Loud or soft there is no escape it’s always there tick, tock, tick, tock. This metaphorical clock terrorizing my mind is the count down leading to the single most important decision I have had to make thus far in my life. Do I stay or do I go?

Regardless of how hard I try not to have this internal battle; I would question my humanity if I didn’t. I have spent 15 years of my life with this person, and raised three children with her. I would delusional to think, after 15 years there would be only happy times; that our relationship would be void of heartaches. I figure the best way to analyze this problem is through a Utilitarian view point. Which decisions creates the most happiness while simultaneously creating the least amount of sorrow. I have quickly learned that making a decision as a utilitarian when there are so many people involved is damn near impossible. What I have been doing is treating each situation as a single event. I observe how I feel inside; I try to imagine how those involved feel inside. I then proceed to estimate how many times such an event has happened in the past, and then apply the probability of this event happening in the future. This is the method I have been using to try and silence the ticking clock by making my final decision. Will this methodology sentence me to a life filled with tormenting regret, or will it be the key to unlock these shackles of hopelessness I have been chained to most of my life.

This week I plan on taking some of these single events; breaking them down as I have described above with the hope of discovering the answer to my question. Do I stay or do I go?

Utilitarianism is a moral theory devised to help the individual make the proper moral decisions in life. This is sometimes called “The Greatest Happiness Principle.” Utilitarianism defines happiness as pleasure and the absence of pain. It states that actions are right in percentage as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness. It has been awhile since I took this class, but it is my understanding in utilitarian decision making the person making the decision needs to stop and look at what his decision will do to himself and all those involved. Each person is assigned a determined point value by the individual making the decision and the pluses and minuses are weighed on an imaginary scale. If happiness prevails then the decision is morally right, if unhappiness overrules then the decision is morally wrong. Is this moral theory a valid one in making the correct moral decision? This has been the fence that divides many of the moral philosophers throughout time. In the various different moral theories I must say this is the one I tend to lean on most of the time. Although I feel this is the best option it still has a few flaws.

Lets use the example of suicide to show how utilitarianism is perfect yet flawed at the same time. There is a man named Joe who is down on his luck. He has lost his job swimming in debt and has been dealing with a crippling depression. Joe has a wife, three beautiful children, an extensive family, and a large network of friends. Joe has decided he can no longer live because he is so depressed it hurts. He sits back and decides he is going to weigh this out utilitarian style. He brings to his mind everyone he can think of in his life, as well as himself. In looking at himself he scores happiness as being very high to himself because he would no longer be in pain. He then adds up all those who would be in pain from his decision to kill himself and comes to the conclusion that living promotes the highest percentage of happiness. His decision is to live.

Same example as above except this time Joe assigns a higher point value on his happiness then he does to his loved ones. Perhaps he assigns his decision to kill himself as a fifty while he assigns those who love him as only a half a point each. Perhaps even he is so deep in his depression he assigns happiness points to those who love him because he feels they would be better off without him. He adds all these up and comes to the conclusion that suicide will create the greatest amount of happiness.

Here you have two exactly the same examples, yet they produce two completely different results. Utilitarianism gives no concrete moral directive. There is no real moral guideline, just what is the impulse of the moment. One of the proponents of utilitarianism is Immanuel Kant. Kant proposes that making a moral decision should go much deeper than just the pursuit of happiness and pleasures. Kant says the foundation of morality should be based on a principle that we consistently want to see adopted on a universal basis. Kant would ask Joe “would it be morally right for your wife to kill herself?” Joes answer would surly be no, therefore we must view suicide as universally bad, resulting in the choice to live. I am not a huge fan of Kantianism, because acting on principle without the regard for the consequences does not always seem right.

To illustrate these two separate moral doctrines I would like to use the following example. Lets say a child comes running in your garage in a frenzied panic asking to hide, because he is being chased by a crazed kidnapper. You decide it is best to hide him in your home. Moments later this kidnapper knocks at your door looking for this boy. He directly asks you if this frightened boy is hiding out in your house. The utilitarian would quickly assess the situation and realize the only one to experience happiness here would be the kidnapper, everyone else would experience pain if the kidnapper would take the boy. The greater happiness guides us to lie, as to save the boy. The Kantian would answer yes to this question because lying is viewed as universally wrong, therefore you must not lie to him no matter what the consequences.

The conundrum and rigid guidelines of Kantianism does not allow one to think beyond just the concept that lying is morally wrong. The Kantian needs to look at what the result would be if he didn’t lie. The crazed kidnapper would surly harm and possibly murder the boy. If the Kantian views lying as morally wrong, then they surly would view murder as morally incorrect, but this theory leaves very little room for this type of thinking. I think with these two different schools of thought could probably learn a thing or two from each other. Perhaps the answer lies in combining these two moral theories. Most of us can agree that lying is morally wrong. We can surly hold onto these morals but we should also have the free will to weigh out all the options especially when the result would be murder. I know very little about these different schools of thought but I wonder what would come from the goal of combing these two. Perhaps I should do some research and write a few papers on “Utlilkantism.”

Logic is about reality, facts, and truth. This statement seems logical, but contains flaws on a philosophical level. If you can define pure logic by reality; it raises a confusing question. Who’s reality is logical reality? If you can define pure logic by facts; you will run into issues finding a fact as being a logical fact. If the goal of logic is to find the truth; you will run into trouble if the truth is wrapped in lies.

I think “reality” and “facts” criss-cross one another. You need to know the facts to determine the reality.  If reality is subjective to the individual, how can one find true reality? We live our lives under two “logical” existences; the objective and subjective. Objective facts are places, persons, or things. One can find objective facts by seeing these examples with their own eyes. If the objective fact is based in the past, we can only rely on historical documents, or the people who lived through it and seen this event with their own eyes.

The Statue of Liberty is a good example of an objective fact, which leads to reality. We can not deny the existence of the Statue of Liberty, many people have seen it, and there is photographic evidence of its existence. If we look at this question, and ask a philosophical question the lines of facts and reality become tricky. If someone will only believe in the existence of the Statue of Liberty exists only if they have seen it in person, can their reality be accepted as reality? If someone believes Big Foot is real, despite concrete proof, can their reality be tossed aside?

What about religion? No one has ever seen heaven, nor have they seen God. A believer can argue the existence of God, by the Bible. To this person this historical document is the objective proof of the existence of God. The issue with this and any historical document, is there is no such thing as absolute historical facts. No one was around during this time, no one saw the burning bush, or the miracles Jesus performed. If we take logic for what it is; then religion has no base in logic. To the many Christians, the Bible is the word of God. The reality they live in is their reality. How can one deny them their reality no matter how absurd the concept is?

How can we find real historical facts? In this day and age our history books are altered, and our Government has many secrets. The media can not be trusted, so how do we find facts? If you look at the JFK assassination; history states he was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald, as a result Oswald was assassinated. There are so many “theory’s” on this topic. The facts, and reality behind this subject is shrouded by secrecy and lies. This causes reality to be unknown.

Lies also hide the truth, facts, and reality. If we look at subjective facts we can only rely on what the individual is telling us. The subjective individual is the only one who is feeling, or experienced the situation. If this person is under a delusion or straight out lying and relay their lies or reality, then the listener can only ascertain what they are hearing is truth. Two things have happened in this situation. 1. The individual who is under a delusion has created a reality. 2. The listener is now in the speakers reality. We now have two people who share the same reality, even though it consists of delusion and lies.

Writing this today, has given me a headache. I am determined to find and fully understand logic. I look at most things in a philosophical manner, and with philosophy there is no one reality. There is no one truth. If the goal of logic is to find reality and truth, yet these goals can not be defined as absolute truth to every person in the world. If this is true to me; then I can not believe in logic, and therefore logic does not exist. Oh my head is spinning.

I have decided I am going to learn Latin.

I saw this comment “why can’t logic and emotion play together nicely” posted on Facebook last week. I chuckled at the oxymoronic nature of such a statement. Logic is the study of reasoning, and emotion is void of reasoning; therefore these two things can never go hand and hand. It is impossible to make a logical decision when you have any emotional feelings towards the decision you are trying to make, without fail your emotional feelings will lead you astray.

This led me to ponder on how often we use logic in our daily decision making. I wondered why our schools do not teach logic or critical thinking courses in school. I think logical thinking is like common sense in that it is not common. My knowledge on logical thinking is not all that vast, but I do understand the general concept. I look back on my past decision making and I can see where my lack of logical thinking has caused me to make really shitty decisions.

The hard thing with making logical decisions is the ability to set aside your own personal feelings on the subject and look at a problem or decision based solely on the facts. I also think people make snap decisions and ride the disaster train of emotions. This train does not lead us to positive places. The problem with this the majority of people are unable to think without emotion. Because we are not taught this at a young age, we are incapable of reaching the Zen existence of Mr. Spock.

I am interested to see if I am capable of making all my decisions based on logic instead of emotion. I have a logic book at my house somewhere, what I am going to do is add this book to my daily Tao Te Ching readings and see where pure logic can take me. Since I was never taught logic, is it possible at 30 to learn it? I do not think we are born with logic, I think it is something that is learned, and so we will see if I can learn this skill and apply it to my daily life. I will chronicle my adventure into the womb of pure logic. I am excited to go on this journey.

The Yin Yang is a symbol of duality. Verse two of the Tao Te Ching says “we can only know beauty because there is ugliness. All can know good as good only because there is evil.” Looking at a Yin Yang symbol we see white within the black, and black within the white. This is telling us within one thing lies the other. In darkness we see light, and vice verses. Taoist know there is no such thing as ugly, or beautiful. These are man-made concepts, and to view the world in such a judgmental way keeps us from living a good life. This also applies to good and evil. We only know one because there is the other, and these definitions are defined by man.

In order to explain this I need you to take a step back, clear your mind of any societal induced versions of what is deemed good and what is deemed evil. You also need to put aside any personal view points on what is moral and the concept of a conscience.

We are born into this world as a clean slate. The only concepts we have in our mind is our primal urges. These are things that are bred into any creature on this earth. Holding onto this concept of a clean slate, we learn how to crawl, walk, and speak. These are actions we knew nothing of, until we were taught. As you grow, you begin to learn what behaviors are acceptable and which ones are not. You were not born knowing the difference between the two. Are you born knowing to not touch a hot stove? No, you are either told, or you touched a hot stove and burned yourself. This is all learned, you are not born with this knowledge. As you grow older this concept becomes more complex.

When you are born do you know the concept of beauty, or is it defined to you? The media, family, and peers define this concept. When we are born do we know of God? This is taught through our parents and religious establishments. This could be elaborated on over and over; point is everything we know we are taught.

I was debating with my wife on this concept yesterday, and she brought up morals, and the individuals self conscience. She was saying that all humans are born with a conscience and know right from wrong. The same applies to the concept of morality. When we are born, do we know it is morally wrong to steal? No, our parents, schools, peers, religions, the media, and our society’s laws teach us this concept. The question then is where does our conscience come into play. The answer is simple; we are told through all these different channels that stealing is bad. Your conscience is reinforcing what it was taught, which was stealing is bad.

If you are still thinking I am wrong, look at suicide bombers, or feuding ethnic groups in Africa. The follower is taught that by blowing himself up and killing infidels, he will be greeted in heaven and awarded 72 virgins. It is taught that the greatest way to please God is to become a martyr. To the believer the act of killing is righteous. In Africa you are taught to hate rival tribes. It is considered noble to kill your enemy, in fact they see no problem with genocide.

It is hard for us to believe that we are rewarded in heaven if we kill non believers. It is even harder to imagine committing genocide. We view these actions as immoral, and evil, they view these actions as just and righteous. The difference between is how we are raised.

The concept of good and evil is man-made. Morality and ethics are subjective to the individual. Insanity and sane is defined only by our society, night and day are just man-made concepts to define the differences between the two.