Wednesday, August 02, 2006

There is a saying much usurped of late...

...that wisdom is acquired not by reading books, but of men."
~Hobbes' Leviathan

So why look at moral and political philosophy to find meaning to life? It's just one of the many places to start a soul search and a questioning of ones self. So first I turn to a text I read many many moons ago in good ol' Freshman Year Touey. That is of course, Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan.

This is a cumbersome text, but it will be the beginning of point 3 on this on going series of self discovery. So here is point three.

3. Reality is relative.

Ok. So by this, I mean that what denotes what is real, what is reality and what is the "real world"? I hate the term real world. The only thing real about the world is the fact that it is here (refer to point 1.) Other than the sheer existence of our world, what makes it a world? What makes it Earth and not just a rock that got lucky to have the amount of water it has and the big, fat gas giant to protect it from space dust, comets and meteors? Well, one thing that Hobbes talks about is the meaning of things. Here is one exceprt.

"Though by men's actions we do discover their design sometimes; yet to do it without comparing them to our own, and distinguishing all circumstances, by which the case may come to be altered, is to decypher without a key, and be for the most part deceived; as he that reads, is himself a good or evil man."

What do we then gain from knowing the actions of others? This is an interesting point to an extent. We base our reality on the realities of others. So then no reality is actually based on anything. If I base my learning and understanding in other people, and they are inversely basing their understanding of things on me and others, where does it all lead? Hobbes continues:

"He that is to govern a whole nation, must read in himself, not this or that particular man, but mankind: which though it be hard to do, harder than to learn any language or science; yet when I shall have set down my own reading orderly, and perspicuously, the pains left another, will be only to consider, if he also find not the same in himself."

Alright. That's a bit clearer. It's not specific people but humanity in general. If we study what humanity is all about, maybe then we can get a broader understanding. I think maybe I should have been into anthropology.

I like how Hobbes points out that the study of man is harder than science or language. It sure as hell is.

Another thing that Hobbes points out about reality is the fact that what we think about, or as he says our "mental discourse" that we only have two ways of thinking. This goes into our learning to some extent. The first way he calls it unguided or "without design." Basically, most of my blogs are like this. No passion of thought and not based in any ends. Unlike past blogs, I now have direction and am thinking in the school of regulated by some desire thoughts.

So my final take on the parts of the Leviathan that I have read?

We base are reality upon others. Those other people are basing their reality upon ours. No reality is real. It is a relative subject. We perceive things differently. This is why men and women have horrible communication breakdowns at times. This is why countries and races have wars. Communication on reality is based upon nothing.

This isn't to say there is nothing to look forward to in life. As said by a great modern day philosopher: "Even if we find out that life is meaningless, we can still enjoy waffles and ice cream." ~ Drew Lazor

Point 4 will probably be based on Epictetus, Kierkegaard and death. Also, point 5 which will be called "On Women" is in the opening stages of development. Can't wait for you feminists to read that. My take on the female species. Grrrrrr. FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!

Until then...

1 comment:

Drew said...

I'd just like to clarify that Dan Touey, not me, owns that quote. Pretty much the only thing I remember from my philosophy classes at La Salle.