Philosophy is for Everyone

«In his book, “A Preface to Philosophy,” author Mark Woodhouse provides some very helpful suggestions for anyone who is interested in philosophy but is unsure where to start. He offers four basic traits for a good foundation:

1. The courage to examine one’s cherished beliefs critically – This is one of the biggest stumbling blocks for some people to overcome. We seldom challenge our beliefs on our own, but rather only when challenged by someone else. By initiating the examination on our own, we avoid becoming defensive or feeling criticized.

2. The willingness to advance or assume a tentative hypothesis and react to a philosophical claim no matter how foolish that reaction might seem – In order to appreciate and understand a philosophical argument, it is sometimes necessary to suppose that a particular claim were true. Then, ask yourself some questions and consider the consequences as if it were factual.

3. A desire to place the search for truth above the winning of a debate – The goal of any philosophic discussion should always be, above all, a search for the truth, not a competition among the participants to see who can demolish the arguments of the others.

4. The ability to separate one’s personality from the discussion content – Philosophic statements and discussion can sometimes cause emotional reactions due to the nature of the subjects that arise in conversation. If you can stick to the subject and judge statements on their merit alone, discussion will be more productive.»

John's Consciousness

Have you ever found yourself wondering why the world is the way it is, or why you sometimes feel completely at ease with your life and, at other times, completely confused about everything? Have you ever marveled at a spectacular sunset or felt exuberant for no particular reason and wondered why? These and other similar questions could very well have resulted with an unintended brush with philosophy.

Although the very mention of the word can be intimidating for some, (from the Greek philos-loving + sophos— wise — love of wisdom or knowledge) we all have had thoughts, ideas, and questions that are directly probed by philosophy. Should we be content and never wonder? Should we merely accept our lives and our world just as they are? Should we simply abandon the search for knowledge if it requires speculative thought?

The question of what matters in our lives…

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«Love is a Mode of Knowledge»

«Regardless of whatever cultural or spiritual influences we are exposed to during our lifetime, even if the subject of a spiritual component to life never comes up at all in our education, at some point, there will be an experience of unbridled joy or terror, a traumatic event, a brush with death, a profound and lasting impression from any number of joyful or sorrowful experiences, and depending on our level of intuitive inclinations, we begin to suspect that there may be something more to life than just what our senses and brains reveal to us.»

John's Consciousness

«We can only love what we know, and we can never know completely what we do not love. Love is a mode of knowledge…» Aldous Huxley

The Secret Bench of Knowledge — A sculpture by Czech-born Canadian sculptor Lea Vivot — image from Vlastula’s photo-stream on Flickr

The image above caught my eye and my heart as I contemplated the subject of the title of this post. It is a sculpture of two young people who appear to be seated in front of the National Library of Canada building in Ottawa, who seem very much to have a love interest of some sort, and the young man is holding an apple, suggesting a reference to the original apple from the tree of knowledge in the Garden of Eden. Huxley’s claim that we can only love what we know, resonated for me personally, as I recently began to contemplate just why…

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Wisdom also a form of Ignorance

Bruce Lee Teachings and Commentary- The Seeker Post#10

«The man who wanted to be known as a teacher, not movie star or kung fu hero, but artist who wanted to show the world what the body was capable of when one put “emotional content” behind it.
…Bruce Lee’s Life Quotes
“Don’t get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water. Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. » …
…“Great freedom= Great Sensitivity…There is no freedom if you are enclosed by 1) Self-Interest or 2) Walls of Discipline.” …It cannot be true freedom if actions are not freely made and taken. But great sensitivity and having the interest of others in mind creates good actions.
…Freedom starts in the mind, it’s about how we think about life, and what we are doing to really change ourselves…
“There is intelligence when you are not afraid. …” Intelligence is defined as “the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills.”
However, there are two types of knowledge; that of the “empirical” sort and that which is absolute “truth.”
Empirical knowledge is defined as “sense experience, the knowledge or source of knowledge acquired by means of the senses, particularly by observation and experimentation.”
True knowledge must be absolute, single, infinite, whole, undivided, non-dual, immediate and self-conscious.
True knowledge is the knowledge you get when you have that “ah-ha” moment. …To apply knowledge of the senses is to act according to your environment, which is a physical state of existence, and forever changing, which, if u cannot change, life will be harsh.
To apply true knowledge, one must seek the true knowledge first, and everything else comes after. If true knowledge is what we get from going “inside” then one must really “know thyself.” Once one “knows themselves” all fear vanishes, and they become free to act.
“The poorer we are inwardly, the more we try to enrich ourselves outwardly.” …. …
“A struggle of any nature can never be settled satisfactorily until the absolute fact is touched–where neither opponent can affect the other Not neutrality, not indifference, but transcendence is the thing needed.” …We disagree because we live in a state of “self-interest.”
…“To be on alert is to be deadly serious. To be deadly serious means to be sincere to oneself, and it is sincerity that leads one to the Way.” …The Way doesn’t need explained, it’s something we all know and recognize within. We reason our way away from The Way, because it’s easier to be self-interested, than to do the actual work that comes with acknowledging the existence of The Way. To be on alert because one is constantly absorbed in living every moment in TRUTH, which is the fullest way to live in every moment, means that one is extremely serious about their existence.
“The great mistake is to anticipate the outcome of the engagement; you ought not be thinking of whether it ends in victory or in defeat. Just let nature take its course and your tools will strike at the right moment.” This is what some call chance or luck, but it’s more undercover name is opportunity. We create our destiny, it’s what leads us to our fate, and throughout the journey opportunity appears, It becomes our role to be ready to seize and capitalize on opportunity as it presents itself. …every time I have focused on winning itself, I have lost. The key is to do everything possible in your power that could lead to victory, and leave the rest up to nature, or, what will naturally happen as a result of your actions.
“Discipline in conformity with nature.” The only discipline that we should follow is discipline that is in alignment with and conforms to the natural state of things. …nature, or what happens naturally, cannot be controlled. Our actions leading up to what will naturally happen is that magic that makes dreams come true. Therefore, our discipline, or the training we give ourselves that allows us to perform our actions better, must be in alignment with the natural state of things, and in that is the flowing like, or being like, water.
“To bring the mind into sharp focus and to make it alert so that it can immediately intuit truth, which is everywhere, the mind must be emancipated from old habits, prejudices, restrictive thought process, and even ordinary thought itself.” True freedom is the only thing that can bring about this state. Eliminate all fear, focus inward in the maturation process(“the process of maturing does not mean to become a captive of conceptualization. It is to come to the realization of what lies in our innermost selves.”) …again admonishing us of the omnipresence of the truth, which we must look for(The Way), which can only be found in freedom(discarding all old thought processes), which comes from being focused and alert(deadly serious, or sincere).»

Bruce Lee
While many may not come into the full understanding of what it means to be truly free, sincere in every moment, adhering to The Way, and tossing aside all self-interest, the few that do will always change the world, because transformation of the inner man/woman, will always lead to a change in one’s entire world, which affects everyone that comes in contact with that person.»


The Seeker #10-Mentor Series

We all have different versions in our mind of the immortal legend, the dragon whose name was Bruce Lee. The myth, the man, the teacher/philosopher movie star who died too early, but left a mark so strong.

The man who wanted to be known as a teacher, not movie star or kung fu hero, but artist who wanted to show the world what the body was capable of when one put «emotional content» behind it. We have since made some discoveries of the meaning of what Bruce Lee meant when he gave us the clues on being like water, as Lee made it less about his Jeet Kune Do, and more about the philosophy of life.

Bruce Lee

One of my more contemporary mentors, reading Bruce Lee’s books was like reading a minefield of gold that would burst on every quote, as my internal mind understood…

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The Seeker #9-Lao Tzu, The «Old Sage»

«On war: “The wise hold steady on the passive yin path, and those who are aggressive prefer the active yang. … Peace is our natural state of being. …” War is a state of stress, produced by our lack of seeking peace within.
… “What is overexpanded becomes diminished. What is too strong becomes weakened. …It is in the nature of the process that in the final stages, those who are overextended, overarmed and overprivileged, shall be overcome. ….”
…everything is connected, and the connection starts within.
…Distinguishing the Highest from the Lowest Morality: “You can readily recognize the highest virtuousness because it never places itself on display. You can readily recognize the lowest virtuousness because it is always announcing itself. The highest virtue quietly serves universal needs. The lowest virtue actively strives for personal success. The highest morality serves common needs. The lowest morality is self-serving. True benevolence acts without intention. But when rituals go unheeded, they are enforced with rolled-up sleeves. Failing the Great Integrity, we resort to virtuousness. Failing virtuousness, we resort to moralizing. Failing moralizing, we resort to dogma, the most superficial form of faith and loyalty, and the nourishment for confusion. Natural persons are attracted to substance rather than form….”
…No need to shout or proclaim if you are confident, that will be seen. No need to announce if one is secure. If you know, you know, and if you don’t know, one typically tries to act as though they do. We fake it till we make it, never BEING what we should, but doing just the opposite.»


Mentor Series Piece

Sage: A person attaining the wisdom that a philosopher normally seeks. Lao Tzu is considered the father or founder of Daoism, or Taoism as we know it, «The Way,» the path that leads us all to truth and understanding. He was a Chinese philosopher that was said to have also been the «librarian» for the imperial records, a writer credited with authoring the great book «Tao Te Ching.»

As a person that I consider my mentor, or, at least the book «Tao Te Ching,» I found the concepts presented were too pure not to add into my life. I know, it’s so cliche of me to «add value to my life» from a book I’ve read, when so many people are looking for motivation and inspiration. However, my life path has been about transforming my «self» into a new being, one not needing motivation and inspiration to…

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