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Introduction to Philosophical Inquiry

To think, or Not to think -Iris

If you were offered a reset button to your life, would you take it? If such a thing existed, would you believe it to be real, or believe it to be a twisted experiment created by a creature manipulative and heartless in nature? Or perhaps you would wonder if this second chance, this escape route was an opportunity bestowed uniquely to you? And would you press it, if all you friends, all of society took this road?

Over the past week in our Philosophy class, we have questioned and answered and discussed and debated various ideas that revolve around the idea of human nature and human perspective. Up till now, we have all presented our own take on “What is Philosophy?” and now continue to shape our personal philosophies. I had written a story to briefly begin my idea of what philosophy was at the start. As the week progressed, we reached the question of “Why is learning hard?”, which soon led to much more. “Is it considered learning if it has no value?” “Why do we want to learn?” “What is it that we can learn?” “Do we have the answers to all our questions, or does it gravitate on a whole other unreachable level?”

Ignorance is bliss. The amount of truth that rests within that short phrase is enough to make me wonder whether all this questioning is worth it or not. It seems so endless; one statement is easily proved false by another, which is then just as quickly doubted. Why do we continue to search for an answer? Born from unease that grows into change, humans look for the unattainable, constantly placing ourselves in a state of dissatisfaction and discomfort. This constant search counters our undeniable desire for happiness. Our self-driven mission to be content is ever-present, and brings out the best and worst of humans. So it brings about this paradox – as humans, we continue to attempt to solve unanswerable questions, bringing about more pain and discontent unto ourselves, while desperately trying to be happy. And do we choose this? I think so.

But perhaps it has nothing to do with us. We are mere beings of the human species, created to carry on the genetic code, nothing more than highly developed nervous shocks that react to our surroundings. Perhaps we share a common essence that in itself may be good or evil, altruistic or egotistic. Our existence is easy to question; if there is no truth in the world then how can anything be real? Our eyes, ears, and physical bodies only tell us so much, and can be so easily fooled. It is even easier to question whether we truly have any power over our futures, or whether free will actually exists. And yet, if the reset button is slid once again before you, what do you think about? You can press the button for yourself, to give yourself a second chance. You can press others, to forfeit a future that may have been tragic. You can take is give it to someone else, out of love, or out of vengeance. The truth of human kind can be boiled down to this one moment.

So it is a choice. Whether we trust our reality as how we sense it, or believe it to be something else entirely, it is but an individual choice that drives our paths into the future. Philosophy is simply a choice: to think, or not to think.

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Discussion

4 thoughts on “To think, or Not to think -Iris

  1. Philosophy makes you unhappy? I’ve never been upset by not knowing, or even never knowing. Having your ideas immediately shut down by another, equally viable idea may be frustrating, but each possibility gives a new outlook on the question. We’re never (in my opinion) going to find a truth, so I give value to the half truths. Any idea is a small success.

    If we did find an answer, where would that put us? Would we be better off if we knew our meaning or nature?The information as it is, unknown, might be more valuable to us than something we can see.

    Posted by torendarby | September 23, 2012, 5:56 am
  2. I like how you brought up this point: Humans look for the unattainable, constantly placing ourselves in a state of dissatisfaction and discomfort. This constant search counters our undeniable desire for happiness.

    Just look at the world around us, if the researchers, scientists, or inventors weren’t determined enough to seek out their answers, how else would we have such advanced technologies and breakthrough discoveries today! Yes, perhaps the process of discovering our happiness is difficult and frustrating. But I believe that the product at the end of our search is the most rewarding. It’s that continuous search for the unknown that drives the human race forward, not necessarily finding the answer.

    Posted by Stephanie L. | September 26, 2012, 4:17 am
  3. Hello Stephanie and Toren,

    I agree with the two of you in, as Toren says, “Any idea is a small success.” As I said in my above post, I believe that humans choose to embark on the never-ending pursuit of knowledge, whether it brings us happiness or not. And this happiness we desire is more complex than simply feeling content. As humans, we are willing to lose, as long as our eventual benefit is greater. When we learn, when we attempt to take on a new perspective, we willingly give up some of our current contentedness for well-earned happiness in the future.

    Toren – To answer your second question (I’m just going to casually skip the first because I think it ties into the second), perhaps it is impossible to define our meaning or nature, simply because we are so rooted in our human perspective. Perhaps there is a truth our there, but whether it is true or not, it is the relevance to us that really matters. To answer it as you asked – perhaps we would be better off. Like you said, “Any idea is a small success”. A whole, capital T Truth, would be a larger piece to the puzzle, or even maybe just another layer to the never-ending game of shadow-puppets on a cave wall.
    I realize that my answer is somewhat sketchy, so I extend it to you. How can something be half-true, if there is no truth? And where would that put us?

    Posted by Iris Hung | September 26, 2012, 5:11 am
  4. You can think of truth as “the right answer” which may or may not exist, or I’ve been thinking of it as the only acceptable answer, as I mentioned in my own post a while ago. I’m going to refer to that as “accepted truth” from now on so I stop confusing things. When I said half truths I meant possibilities, but nothing that could every be entirely accepted or verified. Lastly I think if there was some final truth, and if it were somehow proved, while it might enlighten us it might also crush most of our direction. There wouldn’t be philosophy if the answers were at the back of the book.

    Posted by torendarby | September 26, 2012, 4:50 pm

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