“You’re over-thinking it”
You’re under thinking it.
Many university students can tell you that philosophy based courses are the most daunting. This isn’t because of the facts, it’s due to the lack thereof. Philosophy is “the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence,” which are all aspects of life VERY up to interpretation. Even so, philosophers have distinguished various schools of thought that allow us to talk about what we know, where we are & how we exist.
As a means to simplify what philosophy has complicated, I will group related schools of thought.
- Optimism & Pessimism – The former is an attitude relying on good faith and desired outcomes for any given situation. The ladder is an attitude relying on disappointment and undesired outcomes for any situation. While many associate these attitudes with emotional disposition optimists are not always ecstatic & pessimists are not always miserable.
- Realism & Idealism – The former is a pragmatic view of the world, asserting everything exists without us needing to. The ladder is a visionary view of the world, assuming everything exists how it should. Often times, pessimists are realists & optimists are idealists.
- Actualism & Possibilism – The former acknowledges everything that is is actual. The ladder acknowledges everything that is & everything that could be actual. In reality, many leaders need to be effective actualists to discern what is actually the case and possiblists to decipher what could’ve been or can be the case.
- Nihilism, Existentialism & Absurdism – The first is the belief that nothing in the world has meaning & to create our own would be pointless. The next is the belief that while the world has no meaning, through free will, personal responsibility & self awareness you may develop your own. The last is the philosophical clash of the first two, describing the eternal conflict between searching for meaning that the world intrinsically lacks, but that this conflict may even be the meaning.
- Opportunism & Moralism – The former is the active self entitled practice of taking advantage of all your circumstances have to offer without regard to external consequence. The ladder is the secular practice of taking utmost morality into account before making personal decisions.
- Atheism, Agnosticism, Theism – The first, the total absence in the belief of deities & rejection of religion / religious explanation. The next, the belief that the existence of divine being is unknown & unknowable, but possible. The last, the broadest term referring to the belief of divine being(s).
- Altruism & Egoism – The former is the principle & practice of concern for happiness of others; selflessness. The ladder is the principle & practice of concern for primarily, or only, one’s own self interests; selfishness.
- Determinism, Metaphysical Libertarianism & Compatibilism – The first, the belief that all events, actions & behaviors are fully predetermined. The next, the belief that free will & self circumstance solely determines destiny. The last, the concept that determinism & free will coexist in the sense that we may make our own decisions, but in the long run we’ll always end up where we were intended to be.
- Feminism – The belief in total political, economic, personal and social equality of the sexes. (Yup, that’s it.)
- Preconceived Notion, Prejudice, Discrimination, -Ism & Activism – The first, one’s understanding based on life experience. The second, a feeling one has towards an entire group of people based on the actions / words of a few, often unreasonable. The third, the deliberate poor treatment or exclusion of a person / people based on prejudice. The fourth will require a bit more unpacking. The -isms I’m referring to are ones such as racism & sexism. It is at this point, discrimination becomes systematic, considered a societal norm by some, and possibly even enforced by government policy. It is at this point when violence is expected & intervention is necessary. Finally, the last, consists of the efforts to achieve societal change through economic, educational, environmental, political & social reform.
If critical thinking & analysis isn’t your thing, then that was a lot. Even as I was writing this, I was learning new ideas & correcting my own misunderstandings of these complex concepts. Philosophic thinking is just a means of organizing the chaos that is life. That being said, we can’t ignore facts of life & society. It’s also important to note that regardless of the definitions, there is no right way to be. Having a different perspective on things doesn’t necessarily make you wrong. (Discrimination of any kind is unacceptable. #EducateDontHate)
Above, I’ve only used a small sampling of philosophies. Click here is review the comprehensive list of philosophies, where I began this journey.
This isn’t a post for people to pity me, it’s a challenge for all of us to just at least acknowledge all the bad things we say to ourselves every day. With that acknowledgement, maybe we can make a change. -Rosie
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