Philosophy is as Slow as Lance Armstrong is Stupid

Posted: January 20, 2013 in Philosophy

Guaranteed to interest very few, a blog on philosophy reminds people of their worst headache.

Why didn’t Lance Armstrong think.

Oh sure, easy to condemn a man who told a few lies. Let’s condemn him instead because he didn’t think.

It takes time to think. Philosophy is thinking. Philosophy is slow. That isn’t why it gives people a headache. Thinking is difficult! It requires practice.

People who like to think; (people who like philosophy), practice a lot. Philosophy isn’t slow then; it is a way of life.

If stupidity is the barometer for normalcy, then being normal isn’t a desired state of mind.

Think about this: for all the claptrap, mainstream, media news you were exposed to last week, what good did it do you? Did you learn something — anything — that made your head hurt? Were you challenged to review a basic belief, or did you screen out the information that took too long to understand?

What exactly is the meaning of life?

If the Republicans are wrong, and the liberals are wrong, is there a version of truth out there that is eluding everyone who thinks they know?

Q: Why do people who like philosophy study questions that do not have answers?

A: Because you develop thinking skills that make it easier to learn the answers that can be known.

What is the purpose of life? vs. Should I use enhancement drugs to improve my performance? The second question seems easier to answer. Not so much for Lance though, was it?

The purpose of life. Let’s give this question a whirl. Let’s separate what we know for certain, and what we think we know.

Good thinking takes time. Pace yourself.

 

We exist. (I do at least; not so sure about you.) Okay, I exist. There, that is philosophy. I just exposed a flaw in my thinking, and I corrected it. I know I exist because I think. I cannot know that you exist using the same evidence. In fact, I have no evidence at all that you exist. I assume you exist. I believe you exist. But I do not need to rely on assumptions or belief to know that I exist. Apples and oranges.

If you are normal, you will think this is stupid. What is stupidity? Better check that. It might not be stupid at all.  Stupidity is maladaptive learning. We alter new information to conform to a preexisting belief. That is what Lance Armstrong did. New Information: “We think you used drugs.” Lance believed no one would find out. Now this new information comes along and he has to  account for it. Options: 1. Confess, 2. Alter the information to conform to a preexisting belief. The preexisting belief was “I won’t get caught.”

Lance didn’t think. He didn’t tell the truth. He was stupid. He made assumptions and acted on a set of beliefs. Rather than adjust his thinking based on the falsity of his notions, he altered the truth of the matter and persisted in a false reality.

Armstrong fooled himself. But we first thought the statement “we exist” is true, so we both need to be careful. Best to think things through. If stupidity is the barometer for normalcy, then being normal isn’t a desired state of mind. We can do better.

We might both exist. From my perspective, it is only highly probable that you exist.  I know I exist because I am experiencing my existence. I am not experiencing your existence, so I must rely on some other criteria to make my determination. The probability that you exist is high, but I cannot know for sure.  High probability still accounts for the possibility that you might not exist. From your perspective, you cannot say with certainty that I exist. This blog entry may have been generated by a computer program, or another author.

And so it goes. Philosophy is as slow as Lance Armstrong is stupid.

If you find yourself in a difficulty – if you need to think through some things that are tough, know that it takes time to find the right answer. Work on your philosophy every day, a little at a time. Don’t rush your thinking. Good thinking takes time. Pace yourself. The answers that come quickly often aren’t the right ones.

Most often we find the wrong answer because we asked the wrong question. Ask the question a different way.

Why is there war in the world? That is a tough one. No good answer to that. Ask instead, “Am I safe?”

I hope you are. I hope that Lance Armstrong’s story is nothing more than entertainment for you. I hope there is no war where you are. I hope the trivial nonsense that passes for “news” today is not keeping you from enjoying this life.

I believe you exist, but if information to the contrary emerges, I am reserving the option of changing my mind. I would be stupid not to.

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