Positional Relevance

“Just because the moon and the sun looks the same size from where you stand does not mean that they are of the same size.”

This “thing-in-itself” and “thing-as-they-appear” is not so new and has been quite thoroughly explored by Kant and then further “improved” by Schopenhauer, as he would have liked to believe. Anyways, it will be a very long post if we delve into this topic, even if we are just to discuss about Kant’s idea of thing-in-itself versus Schopenhauer’s so-called critique. It suffice here to say that in Kant’s idea, the “thing-in-itself” is transcendental and cannot be known while Schopenhauer thought that the “Will” is the “thing-in-itself” which is not separate from the things that appear to be (phenomena).

Anyways, nowadays I lean towards what is said in the Heart Sutra, that everything is empty of itself, i.e. there is no distinction between things in itself and things that they appear to be (which one feels like what Schopenhauer is saying although not exactly but this is no surprise as he is very much into Oriental philosophy).

Well, let’s get back to the subject of this post. Actually what I wanted to say here is really simple, i.e. it is important to be aware and realize our own point of view because just because we happen to be standing here and looking at something and interpreting them as they are, this does not mean that other people standing somewhere else cannot have a different interpretation. At the end, they are both talking about the same object but just describing them from their own perspective, their own point of view.

This is really basic and very simple to understand but inevitably, somehow this gets lost somewhere and mankind lose their rational mind and unreasonable emotion gets in the way. It is of course impossible to “take away” emotions which I personally believe is impossible. An emotionless rationality makes no sense because mankind is an emotional animal and to take away that aspect by pure force of logic does not stand against the test of time. But what I am really saying is to regulate such emotion and use the rational mind, together with a regulated emotional state and make sensible and reasonable decisions.

Emotion without reason is as deadly as reason without emotion.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Positional Relevance

  1. idazuwaika

    Emotion is just a signal that rationality needs to validate.
    Both have their own importance.

    Anyway Ho, isn’t philosophy common sense? How do you justify spending time for it? I seriously mean no disrespect towards your interest, I’m only wondering.

  2. fallingstones

    Haha, indeed at he most basic level it is but as I have read somewhere, “after all the explorations, one ends up in the same place but it is not the same” or as Socrates famously said, “An unexamined life is not worth living”, the whole exercise is to get to think deeply about it and challenging all preconceived ideas or conventional wisdom or conventional common sense and see if it really is common sense or not. I think through this exercise, over the many, many years of human history, I believe mankind has improved a little.

    Although philosophy comes from “love of wisdom”, I do feel that it is not much different from science, i.e. to try to make some sense of the universe that we live in and more importantly, to make sense of ourselves as human beings and how we relate to the “big picture”.

    I am myself not really into philosophy but just a passing interest and just happen to read a few of them many years ago (and that’s why I am still only talking about Kant, Schopenhauer while those really into philosophy will think that they are just so outdated… lol).

    But to come back to the point of whether philosophy= common sense, I don’t really think so although I would think that common sense is a subset of philosophy.

    Just an example from this post, is this world really consist of just the duality of “noumenon” and “phenomenon” or is it that both of them are just the same thing, two different sides of the same coin? Of course, I don’t know but perhaps common sense dictate that they are actually two sides of the same coin but what is the proof that they are both sides of the same coin? And if they are not, then what is the distinction?

    Perhaps this is of no interest to most of the people, well who really cares about whether the moon that we are seeing now is really the full representation of the moon or not because all one cares is how beautiful the moon is and how sweet that little lady that is sitting beside us looking at the moon together with us.

    But to some people, it seems that it is quite an intriguing idea and therefore they start to think about it and all these hundreds of years of philosophizing is perhaps, again, all about trying to make sense of the universe we live in and to make sense of ourselves.

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