Tag Archives: philosophy

Not So Deep Thoughts From the Void

English: English version of Brain in a vat. Fa...
English: English version of Brain in a vat. Famous thought experiment in philosophy of mind 日本語: 水槽の中の脳。英語版。 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I missed answering the promptless prompt last week about retrocausality  (“can the future affect the present, and can the present affect the past?”) because, frankly, it confused the hell out of me.  I took one set of philosophy classes in my life where everyone sat around a table and argued themselves in bewildering circles, and that was enough with the thought experiments for this poor befuddled little brain.  I passed the course, by the way.  I found out I could say any bizarre thing I wanted and the rest of them (including I guess the professor marking the final exam) would be properly astounded by my deep thoughts.

Well, my thoughts aren’t that deep anymore.  Sometimes I believe we think entirely too long and hard about things and that’s why we get headaches and are all crazy as loons.

Which brings me to the promptless prompt for this week –  L’appel du vide is French and translates to “Call of the Void”.  It is the unexplainable urge to jump when standing on the edge of a cliff, or tall height.  It can be considered a form of self-destructive ideation, or a protective instinct to let the brain play out what the body should not.  It’s definition has been expanded to describe responding mentally to the call of the siren song– whether that means the desire to reach into a fire, drive into a wall, or walk into the eye of the storm.

See?  Bat shit crazy.  With death wishes.  Not a great combination for the survival of our species, is it?

I am going to be alive (although perhaps just barely) in the year 2040. (A psychic told me this, if you’re wondering how I came up with it.)  I believe the reason for my longevity will revolve around the fact that I am a gutless wimp.  I have never in my life experienced the urge to jump off a cliff.  I do not reach into fires.  I crawl under my bed when there’s a storm.

Okay, I made that last bit up, but I certainly don’t go out for a stroll during a tornado watch or drive my car at breakneck speeds like all the other lunatics out there.  Or jump out of airplanes. Or engage in any activity that has the potential to cause physical pain.  Like hot yoga or housework.

Even in my head or my dreams I never do anything even vaguely adventurous.  I do not understand extreme sports like mountain climbing, or taking unnecessary risks or the mindset behind any of that stuff. I think roller coasters are stupid.  I had an adrenaline rush once, but it was from a cortisone injection in the bottom of my foot and completely by accident on my part. I thought I might be having a heart attack but the doctor said it was a normal reaction to the shot, and kind of rolled his eyes when I suggested he might have warned me.  I never went back to him.

I don’t even answer the doorbell or the phone if I’m not expecting a visitor or a call.  So the void can call me all it wants – it will get no response from this chicken-hearted scaredy-cat with a brain that can’t fathom the worst case scenario and has little desire to try.

Big K Little k, What begins with K?

There are several sweet and brilliant “K” people in my life, but if I get started talking about them I will never shut up.  So I’ll just say a few things about Kismet and Karma instead.

karma koma
karma koma (Photo credit: PixLjUicE23)

To me they don’t mean the same thing at all, but feel free to correct me if I’ve got this all wrong.  Just letting you know that even if you do confuse me with the facts, it’s still unlikely you’ll change my mind about any of this.  Ha.  Yes, I am one of those obstinate and opinionated people today.  Which makes this day not unlike every other one I’ve ever lived, but that’s another topic entirely.

Kismet to me is synonymous with the word fate – a predetermined or unavoidable destiny.  We are born, we live and we die.  You can’t really argue with that because it is pretty much an unavoidable process for being involved in dwelling on this earth.  To us as mere mortal humans, our fates are unknown and unknowable beyond the very basic and obvious.  We know death will come but we don’t know when.  It’s kind of funny how it totally surprises all of us when you think about it.  But that would be because we mostly try so very hard to never think about it at all.

Karma as action and reaction: if we sow goodne...
Karma as action and reaction: if we sow goodness, we will reap goodness. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In between arriving and departing, we have free will.   We believe we are directing our own destiny.  If we didn’t believe this, there would be no point in trying to make something of our lives.  We would all just sit around waiting to see what happens next.  Sometimes others are very influential in pointing us in a certain direction and we may not be aware of it, or simply not care enough to stop them. Then when things turn out not to our liking we tend to blame someone else for seriously messing with our fate.

The truth is, everything that happens in our lifetimes between birth and death is Karma, or cause and effect.  Karma is what we do, and Karma is what comes back to us as a result of the decisions we made on what to do.  Life is kind of like a circle, or a looping spiral, or a meandering line going from point A to point B.  We get to choose our path.  We are in the drivers seat.  I could go on and on with these similes, but I choose to stop now.  You’re welcome.

“Karma is simply the law of cause and effect. If you plant an apple seed, you don’t a get a mango tree. If we practice hatred or greed, it becomes our way and the world responds accordingly. If we practice awareness or loving-kindness, it becomes our way and the world responds accordingly.  We are heirs to the results of our actions, to the intentions we bring to every moment we initiate. We make ripples upon the ocean of the universe through our very presence.”  – Christina Feldman Jack Kornfield, Stories of the Spirit, Stories of the Heart, Parables of the Spiritual Path from Around the World.

“There is so much about my fate that I cannot control, but other things do fall under the jurisdiction. I can decide how I spend my time, whom I interact with, whom I share my body and life and money and energy with. I can select what I can read and eat and study. I can choose how  I’m going to regard unfortunate circumstances in my life – whether I will see them as curses or opportunities. I can choose my words and the tone of voice in which I speak to others. And most of all, I can choose my thoughts.” ―    Elizabeth Gilbert

So what kind of ripples on the ocean of the universe do you want to make?  I used to think I was pretty much completely inconsequential in the grand scheme of things.  Now I’m not so sure.  And don’t try to talk me out of this comforting little notion I’ve got, because I quite like believing that what I say and do might actually matter

I can’t change my Kismet, or my ultimate fate.  But I can make some good Karma on the way to wherever I’m headed  I can take the bad things that happen and turn them around and head off in a different, new, even better direction.  I can be optimistic to the point where I appear to be blowing smoke up my own ass.  Sorry if that little metaphor offends, but I figured if I snuck it in here right at the end a large percentage of readers would miss it because they’re already bored to death with this whole Kismet/Karma diatribe.

Just make some good ripples today, okay?  Or some big waves.  Whatever floats your boat.  And doesn’t sink someone elses.

Ask Me No Questions, I’ll Tell You No Lies

Wine Tasting
Wine Tasting (Photo credit: Andrew Albertson)

What new hobby would you like to try out?  Wine tasting sounds like fun. And also Astral Projection, where your astral body separates from your physical body to travel in an astral plane.  I think I could probably combine those two with a bit of practice.

What annoying word or phrase are you tired of hearing?  First and foremost, in any way, shape, or form, last time I checked, think outside the box.  It is what it is.  Just sayin’.  Nuff said.

Name the most expensive personal item you’ve ever purchased. My second family ring.  I don’t have two families, just two rings.  Because the family got bigger and I needed more stones.  The sad thing is, I don’t wear it, because of all the hand washing I have to do at work and all the lotion I have to apply, and it gets in the way when I’m adjusting and repairing glasses and I don’t want it to get damaged or lost.  I don’t wear my wedding ring either for the same reasons.  So my rings are in really pristine condition.  Wherever they are.  Somewhere safe.

Radiohead
Radiohead (Photo credit: basietrane)

If you eventually break up with someone, was it ever true love?   Sounds to me like an annoying brain teaser on a philosophy final.  You would first have to properly define what true love is, and then what breaking up with someone means.  A simple Yes or No is not going to get you top marks on this one even though it’s tempting to just pick one and move on.  I googled it and found out True love is a moment in time that lasts forever.  Cole Porter says there’s a guardian angel on high with nothing to do, but to give to me and to give to you, love forever true.  So it’s perfectly acceptable to say the angels made you do it.  Radiohead puts an even better twist on things –  “true love waits in haunted attics and true love lives on lollipops and crisps.”  So I’m going to conclude that true love is all in your head.  Or in the collective heads of the true lovers.  What you do with it is up to you.  But if, by definition, it’s supposed to last forever, breaking up is not an option. True love means loving each other even when you’re both being idiots. Through good times and bad.  Until one of you strangles the other one in his sleep   death do us part.

Have you ever broken a bone? Only those Y shaped wishbones from chickens when we were kids and wished for miraculous things like hulahoops and boyfriends.

Do you remember your favourite book from childhood?  I remember my dad reading to us, even when we were old enough to read on our own.  What he read didn’t matter as much as the sound of his voice, and having him spend that time with us, and being able to close our eyes and see the story in our heads.  Those are memories that will stay with me forever.  Once when I was sick he sat down and read a couple of chapters of “Honey Bunch” to me.  I expect he thought it was complete drivel, but that’s what I wanted to hear, so that’s what he read.  My love of books began with him.

What energizes you?  A good night’s sleep. Coffee. Repeat.

Describe the last time you got really lost.  What’s the difference between lost and really lost?  Obviously I’ve never been so lost that I never got found, or I wouldn’t be here to tell you about it.  My I-Phone gets me un-lost when I take wrong turns.  Street signs are wonderful things.  As are landmarks.  If I’ve gone west to the big city, all I have to do is head east to get home.  Eventually something will look familiar.  I’m a good navigator.  I like maps, and rarely leave home without one.  Lost in thought is an entirely different story.  Every time I pick up a book and start to read I’m lost.

List your top five strengths.  That sounds like a work related question.  I work well on my own.  I work well with others. I like to learn new things.  I adapt well to change.  Some days I’m so organized it will drive you insane.

Where do you hope to be in five years?  Right here, doing this.  My ambition knows no bounds.  There’s only a couple more years to go until I’m finally smart enough to retire, I hope.  Four tops.  Even then it may be a semi retirement kind of thing, unless I’ve become totally incompetent and senile.  In which case I hope someone will point that out to me and I’ll not be so far gone that I don’t believe it.  Or off on some astral projection trip and out of hearing range.  Or passed out from wine tasting.  Who can predict anything that far into the future?  Who knows what might happen tomorrow?  Today is what I have.  I’ll live for that.