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May 12, 2022


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This should be good. Looking forward to your account of the parts where Rovelli actually gets to speed on his specialization and his actual theme for the book

Meanwhile, about Democritus:

Brilliant, sure. These are the giants on whose shoulders we sit today, sure. But this kind of philosophy, sans actual empiricism, is little more than wanking, little more than a monkey throwing darts, that sometimes by happenstance come within the ballpark of the bullseye, as here. Like you said about religion, philosophy-sans-empiricism lacks the feedback mechanism necessary for self-correction. That is why it is hit and miss, monkey throwing darts.

When reality is what you're after, what you want is science. Philosophy just won't do.

But philosophy can be fun. Like wanking can be fun. And let's not forget: wanking can lead to actually doing the deed. What I'm saying is, let's not forget, it is philosophy that birthed science. So there's that.

(Pardon the sprinkling of French! I'm not particularly fluent in French, and don't normally slip into it, but it seemed apposite here.)

Yes, what an enlightening difference between the interpretation of Dante's vision of Earth being the centre of the cosmos, of fear of God, fear of death; little attention to nature etc. and how Lucretius spoke of reality:- “ . . . no fear of the gods; no ends or purposes in the world; no cosmic hierarchy; no distinction between Earth and heavens. There is a deep love of nature, a serene immersion within it; a recognition that we are profoundly part of it; that men, women, animals, plants, and clouds are organic threads of a marvelous whole, without hierarchies.” And: - "To a wise man, the whole earth is one.”

Its very interesting that not only are these ideas pretty much in line with today's viewpoint of life and the universe, they also reflect the Zen and Taoist views. I often wonder if people arrived at such similar revelations in countries as far apart as Greece, China and India etc. separately or whether there was an interchange of knowledge via trade routes or invading armies and such?

Hi Ron E.

There is a caste system in the creation. Not all creatures have the same power over their destiny. Not all creatures experience the exact same levels of awareness, certainly not the same proportion of peace and happiness. One child is born with Silver Spoon in its mouth. Another child is born without a mouth. And some are never born.

There is a hierarchy on most dimensions. Some have power over others, and there are those with power over them. And there are those with no power, at the very bottom. And science has answered many of the questions of how.

But the question of why, the most important question, is unanswerable.

From any philosophical standpoint, for every wonderful right there is a terrible wrong. And the proportions are never the same for any two creatures.

To acknowldge and accept reality as it is simply raises more questions.

Because the mind open to such things seeks understanding, seeks to elevate their consciousness.

The mind that is closed seeks to dismiss possibility outside their comfortable, closed system. They want complete knowledge, for some reason. Like wanting to own knowledge as if it were property.

Acknowldgement and acceptance of reality is acceptance of a journey of continuous learning and seeking to learn. Because our understanding, our ethics changes as we understand more.

Not a closed system. Not a finite philosophy we can own or master or teach.

We can only become better students, encourage each other and our individual journeys, and enjoy the process, share our journeys with each other with respect.

Spence. Not quite sure how your comment(s) fit in with this post or with my comment. Generally the philosophy put forward by Lucretius is quite reasonable and reflects much of the thinking of the eastern religions/philosophies, which are generally philosophies of unity or oneness.

One could add that the only divisions that exist are those that derive form a dualistic mind, a mind that is conditioned by its culture and through its consciousness to divide things up into this and that – me and not me. Fine for everyday dealings, for naming and classifying though ineffectual for embracing reality.

The question 'why' is one that only arises in the human mind, it obviously has no relevance in reality. 'How' though is another matter. How implies watching, planning, learning etc. which all creatures employ in various degrees - and humans have excelled in.

Of course there are differences and what we perceive as inequalities among the natural world, that is how nature works. Interestingly, the same inequalities exist among we humans even though we have the knowledge to reverse that, our basic natures undermine this.

The processes of life and the universe, as described by the above Greek thinkers and by some eastern thinkers, although not offering a way out of our dilemmas, can only humbly invite us to enquire into the 'me', our 'self' structures that – they say – is ultimately the architect of most of our troubles.

Hi Ron E.
To think differently is, unfortunately, not the same as to know differently, to be aware of what we were not aware of before. To raise our consciousness should be the basis for any helpful philosophy.

I don't like the idea of complacency. It serves no one. So the notion that what we see around us is natural, and therefore best, is simply lazy thinking. It makes excuses for the horrible conditions of the many, and excuses for the cruel abuse of power among the powerful.

Zen eithout compassion, the Western Atheist version, seems to me to be useless at best and harmful in its acceptance of suffering.

Going back to Greek philosophy adds zero credibility.

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