For a philosophy to be serious it has to be lived.
None of us live in an objective world, but instead in a subjective world that we personally have, and continue to give meaning to. The world others see is different from the one we see individually, and it’s impossible to share your actual worldview with anyone else.
All men and women are potential philosophers, although for some reason, the task and subsequent title has fallen to men more than to women. The first task of philosophers is to ask questions, the questions that we all have inside but never seem to ask. The second task is to try to find the answers to these questions. However, since the answers are only partial and they seem to raise yet more questions, philosophy both attracts and annoys us. The third task is to encourage all others to ask questions and seek answers for themselves. It is my hope that this blog and my books will seek out the inner philosopher in all of us, encouraging original thought and creativity.
The great mind Michel Foucault considers writing about yourself to be what he terms a technology of the self. Writing is used as a tool to say and discover something about yourself in such a way that you could become different. Forms of personal and private writing bring us closer to a type of knowledge that transforms us. Through personal writings about ourselves, we produce new ways of being. Through the writing, we practise a freedom to be a different self. This freedom transforms us and grants us power to pronounce truths about ourselves that may lead others to transform themselves. I write, and will continue to write, in order to reinforce new beliefs and to become different. By becoming different, I practise a transformative freedom, which I hope will lead others to find freedom and also change, be it a little or a lot. I guess you could say that I agree with Michel Foucault, a great mind, who for me has hit the nail on the head.
It is my hope that within my ramblings a person will find at least one nugget (hopefully more!) that will help give more meaning to his or her world, meaning at the level at which most of us live, on the ground, in the real world, and not with our heads in the clouds. In this blog and my books I will discuss how I try to live my Flexarian philosophy from day to day. I am not entirely sure what my philosophy is, and I am changing daily. This is the beauty of Flexarianism. I never really succeed 100 per cent in my aims, but I am mindful of much that I had never even been aware of previously in my life. The structure will be quite random, as that is how life and thoughts arrive with me, how I reflect on them and thus develop my reflections. I have yet to learn how to think in nice, ordered chapters. We often pretend that there is more meaning to what we think and do but in reality we live first and explain what the heck we are doing in retrospect.
You may think it self-indulgent to talk about oneself in a blog, but I hope the following two arguments will help state my case. I can only view the world from my unique perspective; attempting anything else would be foolhardy. Not to mention impossible. I have enough of a problem sorting through my own often randomly constructed left brain interpretations of the world without second-guessing others. It can often appear to be a game with rules that change constantly just to keep us searching for answers and meaning where none may exist.
Existentialist philosophy argues that when you ask about the meaning of life or existence, you are really asking about the nature of active, participatory existence. You want to know what the significance is of your way of existing that is different from others’. You have no way to detach from your own participation with existence, so you should approach and understand your existence through an analysis of how living itself happens or what it is like to be an active participator.
Nietzsche rejects the notion of a right way to
see things. He sees no objective truth in the world to be discovered. Instead, he thinks you must understand the world through your perspective, one that always reflects your own specific interests. He thinks there are no facts, just interpretations. His view is called perspectivism, the view that all descriptions of the world are given from a biased or self-interested point of view. Furthermore, although you hold at any given moment a given perspective, you’re never reducible to that perspective. Your identity is never fixed; new perspectives are always possible for you.
When we are busy doing life we assume others are sharing the same identical experience as they are doing life. It would be fantastic to split screen our experiences and compare it to a close friend’s supposedly identical experience – having the gift to see ourselves and all of life through another mind as well as our own.
Do you think others that are with you as you are experiencing life are sharing identical moments?
If we drive 1 mile every day from A to B for our whole life that experience will never be the same. There are an infinite number of variables such as personality tendencies, time, space, emotional state, other road users, the weather, our physical state – the list goes on. This life experience is filtered through the lens of each unique individual and even our own repeated experiences are different every time.
I recall many years ago I worked from a base in the UK and travelled the world as did others. Eventually we would all come together in the UK after our trips and there would be much banter about our trips. On one occasion I recall a quite high ranking guy narrating an event that happened on a job we were on together in Washington. I was a little distracted but realised the central figure was myself and that I was actually an integral part of his tale. And he was looking to me for confirmation of events. Initially, I barely recognised the story and I guess at that time I must have thought he was making the most of artistic license to make his tale more humorous. Only lately have I realised that he wasn’t lying but merely interpreting the moment via his left brain (ego) so it had meaning for him and his audience. We all do it. That is how we make sense of our world. Through left brain interpretation “after the fact.”
Of the billions of Humans Beings on this planet not one of us is experiencing the exact same world. We are doing life uniquely or attempting unsuccessfully to mimic how others do it.
So it would seem that the name of this game called life is to play it, accept it and finally interpret it the way we feel gives it the most meaning – even though it is random happenings driven by our subconscious drives that we are constantly trying to make sense of.