User:Manning Bartlett/Drawbacks of Philosophical Understandings

Original author: Bryan Mayo

The problem with using philosophy as a basis for understanding anything is that any answer(s) you arrive at can't be uniformly applied to reality (that is, the relativity of a situation screws up everything any given philosophy tries to solve or explain), no matter how well it is thought out or the purity of its intent. Reality is, for all intents and purposes, black and white. An action simply is. You can try to determine the motivation behind an event, but for the most part there really isn't one (at least no obvious one). The simplicity of our everyday world starts to turn gray when our eventual understanding of reality inevitably leaves us with more questions than answers. You become consumed with the question of why.

Look at it another way: life, death, war, peace, and generally anything that we like or dislike for our various reasons happens because it does. That's it. You could say that we are here on this planet for a reason, but that isn't necessarily true. We could be here completely by accident with no real purpose except to reproduce. Who knows what purpose, if any, we are here to accomplish. No one was here when we came to be to help us clarify this issue and so we are left to guess. This guess will conform to how we see the world as well as how we would like to see the world. Americans, for example, are seen as evil to some people because of the society we have created, while others revere us for the very same reason. Who is correct? Neither? Both? This is where any attempt to conceptually understand the world around us fails. No one is unbiased enough, or enlightened enough, to arrive at any kind of real and accurate conclusion to the way things are or are supposed to be. Any attempt to see the pattern in the noise would be nothing more than a best guess.

If anything, philosophy should be used to simply demonstrate to you that there is more than one way to look at something. When you start to step back and allow yourself to view the world as a whole you will start to see that there are benefits and drawbacks to every way of doing anything. There is no universal good or evil because good intentions can produce very negative results and serendipity can turn misfortune into a windfall. You just never know. There is no roadmap to success or failure. There are no guarantees either way. But within this understanding you should realize that your possibilities are limited only by your situation or yourself.

An answer by: 16:40 7 Jul 2003 (UTC)

As far as I can see, you have the same issue as I've: a certain lack of humility. With this article you are knocking facts on the wall with nails too fragile to bear the weight of your opinions. As me, you don't have the required methodical and logical skills to begin to pronounce your comprehension of reality.

In addition I'd like you to look up existentialism on the 'net or in a dictionary, and you'd see that just this point of view has it's own class in what we know of as philosophy. I'd also recommend you to read some of the works by Norwegian philosopher and writer Peter Wessel Zappfe (1899-1990), especially his philosophical treatise Om det tragiske (en. About the tragical) or the short version (only 14 pages!) Den sidste Messias (en. The last Messiah). As an introduction, check out my article on wikipedia:

Thank you and good luck! You will, as I've, face hardship if you don't play by the rules, but by doing this you will also reach out to many, many more. Benjamin Franklin wrote a set of principles, and commenting humility he wrote this: "Imitate Jesus and Socrates."