Objective subjects

It shouldn’t surprise us to discover that we are good at being psychologists, seeing that we are our own subject matter.

But experts tell us that we need to be less subjective and more objective – to make objectivity the objective of subjectivity, so we can really surprise ourselves as we look upon ourselves as objects of the looking, thereby to get to know ourselves better.

However, there can be no objectivity without a subjective base to work from and return to with knowledge won – objectivity being a state of mind – whilst the fact of knowledge has no bearing in reality without a subjective reality to hold it in place, though we like to think it is otherwise, as if knowledge comes from the objects known.

Mike Laidler

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Presuming to know

Philosophical discourse is not as it seems to the onlooker. Outwardly it appears to revolve around versions of belief; but in reality the whole point is to get beyond belief, which is why beliefs are seen to feature so prominently.

In fact it is impossible to progress philosophically until belief is examined by tackling the presumptions underlying what we think and know, ultimately by facing up to the extent of our presumptions behind everything – thereby to discover something paradoxical – that we can know nothing about the world that does not depend on making presumptions, but that we prefer to think otherwise, to believe in certainties for the sake of ‘making progress’.

Meanwhile, for those who believe that knowing is a matter of what they know, the unexamined life, or the version examined by others, remains their preferred choice.

Mike Laidler

Diets of persuasion

Rhetoric is a concoction of processed persuasions and artificial additives – a dubious philosophical sandwich – stuffed with beguiling logical-isms sitting between a premise (assumption) and conclusion, then served up to the gullible who are meant to swallow it whole.

But the worst of it is that, at its best, the reasoning ingested with the ‘conclusion’ is meant to be digested as if it gives nourishment to the premise.

Mike Laidler

What next?

The past may be seen to predict the future for all solid-state elements in a mechanistic universe. This excludes the sub-elements of the quantum universe and the supra-elements of the sentient universe.

However, what is known of the quantum universe, in the context of the everyday physical reality that is ‘more real’ to us, is that the peculiarities of the former support, but don’t resemble the nature of the latter, which can be seen to exist in addition, ‘on top’ – in a supra-reality that now includes the fact of the seeing.

Only it seems that we have yet to learn this lesson with respect to the sentient universe regarding itself, a lesson that can only begin by recognising it as a reality known to be peculiar to the nature of itself – a reality as real as the peculiar nature of solid rock, which we also know is really not solid in a different reality.

Perhaps the difference is due to the diverging nature of reality, whereby what is and what ‘is next’ simultaneously occupy different realities. And as we learn that there is more to existence than either quantum or Newtonian physics can explain, we know that we can know it because of our first-hand experience of a peculiar reality of a different order – of knowing, learning and explanation in a reality that simultaneously occupies the physical universe, yet is not peculiar to it.

Mike Laidler

The problem of happiness

The problem of happiness is that we have made it into a problem. Children are born with happiness in their being, which they systematically unlearn in learning to be happy.

There is no thing in the world that encapsulates happiness, apart from the things in the world said to make us happy. Thus ‘being happy’ is a construct that is conditional upon finding out how to be happy, which usually depends upon finding the things that make us happy – as if happiness is a thing to be found in the world.

Ironically, the quest to be happy can undermine our well-being on the premise there is something to be found that we do not have, as if it might flood into our lives to fill a vacuum – as if happiness is the experience of that it.

Unfortunately there is much sadness to behold in this quest for happiness – for those who need happiness to be defined for them will never find it on those terms.

Mike Laidler.

Rules without rules

Morality is not as it seems. It is wrongly portrayed as the following of rules, because that’s as it seems. In fact true morality is the antithesis of rules.

Following rules for moral reasons does not moralise the rule, since in morality it is not the rule that takes the lead. Robots may be said to follow rules and abide by moral rules for non-moral reasons, but people can do so only by moral neglect, which neither releases nor absolves them of a moral obligation. Meanwhile, the creation of moral rules is but the moral diversion of those who think they can think for others.

Morality is more of a matter of what can be done than what has to be done. Morally ‘neutral’ reasons for what needs to be done always flow from a moral decision, and it can’t be someone else’s decision, otherwise we turn ourselves into the slaves of the rationalists, pragmatists, moralists and rule makers. But still we don’t escape our personal involvement in matters of morality, because morality is the condition for being human, the condition made human, the human condition that overrules the need to follow and obey.

Moral dilemmas are meant to be dilemmas. They are not meant to be solved and forgotten about. ‘Moral solutions’ are debased in the belief that they have been taken care of, or that they can be looked after by others, or that we can spread moral responsibility through shared moral decisions – that the majority knows the right thing to do, therefore it is right to abide by the consensus as a moral duty owed, as if a social conscience amounts to and accounts for morality.

However, no one else can make a moral decision on your behalf, in all conscience, even if it is with your consent, because conscience is not a thing that can or should be delegated in a moral society, especially for pragmatic reasons. For a moral sensibility is the only thing that can put pragmatism and reason in its place. It is the only thing in which you can truly find yourself.

Mike Laidler