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Thread: Anyone else find philosophy cringe?

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    Default Anyone else find philosophy cringe?

    Who else feels this? Lemme clarify that philosophy in itself isn't cringy to me. I'm not advocating anyone to not be inquisitive and ask questions and seek greater understandings. Such is a neat part of the human experience. My issue is what being overly reliant on philosophy consequentially becomes, or in a way, a "culture" that produces due to it. It's not uncommon to see a bunch of young men (myself pretty much included) seek a bunch of big name philosophers and parrot quotes from their books somehow thinking it elevates them above being a religious zealot. But really though, I have more respect for a zealout. A zealout is content with the true purpose of asking an existential question - to purpose their life. But philosophy geeks don't take this step but instead settle for non committal debates on what good ol' socrates meant.

    Of course nothing I'm said is absolute, but you can't tell this is not a phenomenon.
    Last edited by Dazu; 10-05-2021 at 03:06 AM. Reason: Words n such

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    Academic philosophy is largely a waste of time, and it’s one of these things that most people feel but are afraid to admit, not only because group-thinking is powerful enough to override the private thought of every single member of the group, but because the middle-class midwits who are interested in philosophy jump down the throat of anyone who questions its value, and no one wants to feel stupid.

    I think the "culture" you're talking about/the way philosophy is practiced has come about because of the intellectual strangehold Christianity used to hold on thought. It was not permitted to ask whether a certain way of thinking or living served human interests or goals (or whose interests they served); you had to admit certain abstract theological principles which couldn't be questioned, and develop your thought thence, and since orthodox dogma isn't really internally logically consistent, this process eventually did wind up freeing Europe's intellect from Christianity's grip. But as theological explanations became less acceptable there was a need for this system of thought -- what had become academic philosophy -- to find new principles to test were it to continue.

    As anyone can tell, despite the efforts of philosophers to find truth, truth still hasn't been found! Philosophers can't agree on very much. And the reason for this is that it's probably not possible to find "truth" in this way -- reality is so complex that even if humans were able to comprehend it, we would still struggle reducing it to a few simple principles. But the real root of the problem is that our understanding of the world is too limited to be able to say we know much about it in the first place, let alone explain it -- at best, we have some assumptions and theories. We still don't understand even our own thoughts; remember that the existence of the unconscious wasn't clearly expressed until the 19th century, and two centuries later, though its existence is generally acknowledged, we still know very little about how it functions and its relation with the conscious mind (I don't think we even have a clear understanding of consciousness, actually).

    There's nothing wrong with asking existential questions or trying to answer them; IMO people should. But certain limitations should also be acknowledged. Fundamentally you can't justify everything rationally because A) your understanding is limited and B) what understanding you do have is only partly rational. And because you don't understand your own perception, you can't claim with certainty to understand others', and your understanding of what's good or true for other people is even darker than your impression of what might be good or true for yourself. You're grasping in darkness; you should do what you can, but you have to understand your limitations if you're to have any hope of finding anything.

    "Postmodernism"'s come about incidentally because the inadequacy of philosophy to the task it's set itself has become increasingly obvious. Unfortunately despite piercing other philosophers' theories 'postmodernists' rarely have anything useful to contribute to human understanding themselves.
    Last edited by FreelancePoliceman; 10-05-2021 at 03:10 AM.

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    i kinda feel like culture is actually starved of philosophy and that's what is creating this phenomenon of "empty" philosophy and poor use of it. like i certainly wouldn't be for getting rid of the philosophy department in university. and no i wasn't a middle class college student and am have a bit of a class chip on my shoulder that wasn't triggered by a single philosophy course i took. i just liked thinking and feeding my Ti HA. i would say the classes i took felt a little sterile though... but anyway to me philosophy isn't a waste of time, it's actually an area where one can guide their existence towards meaning/purpose free of dogma, if it's honored and if the work is put in... and it has a role in society in questioning all the assumptions and worldviews, all the implicit belief systems and ways of thinking... like if used well it will unravel dogma, not create it. and it's part of who we are... i kinda feel like without any guiding light of meaning, without a personal philosophy of how to live, it's harder to live well? and i feel i am too unwise. anyway people using philosophy in this dogmatic i'm smarter than you way is probably just reflecting a need for more philosophy (a restoration of something lost)... it's like a starving kitten eating rocks, it knows it needs to fill itself with... something... i guess i'm not really bothered though by people trying to prove how smart they are and using whichever academic field to do it. it's ego not the field. and my ego is terrible so i get it. butttt it is annoying i suppose... but i feel like philosophy doesn't top the list of fields used pretentiously... i saw more of that in science classes.

    it's also that i feel like so much in the US at least is "processed." the food is processed, the thought is processed... any you get something sterile with no nourishment... so philosophy too has been sterilized...
    Last edited by marooned; 10-05-2021 at 03:34 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by inumbra View Post
    i kinda feel like culture is actually starved of philosophy and that's what is creating this phenomenon of "empty" philosophy and poor use of it. like i certainly wouldn't be for getting rid of the philosophy department in university. and no i wasn't a middle class college student and am have a bit of a class chip on my shoulder that wasn't triggered by a single philosophy course i took. i just liked thinking and feeding my Ti HA. i would say the classes i took felt a little sterile though... but anyway to me philosophy isn't a waste of time, it's actually an area where one can guide their existence towards meaning/purpose free of dogma, if it's honored and if the work is put in... and it has a role in society in questioning all the assumptions and worldviews, all the implicit belief systems and ways of thinking... like if used well it will unravel dogma, not create it. and it's part of who we are... i kinda feel like without any guiding light of meaning, without a personal philosophy of how to live, it's harder to live well? and i feel i am too unwise. anyway people using philosophy in this dogmatic i'm smarter than you way is probably just reflecting a need for more philosophy (a restoration of something lost)... it's like a starving kitten eating rocks, it knows it needs to fill itself with... something... i guess i'm not really bothered though by people trying to prove how smart they are and using whichever academic field to do it. it's ego not the field. and my ego is terrible so i get it. butttt it is annoying i suppose... but i feel like philosophy doesn't top the list of fields used pretentiously... i saw more of that in science classes.

    it's also that i feel like so much in the US at least is "processed." the food is processed, the thought is processed... any you get something sterile with no nourishment... so philosophy too has been sterilized...
    I agree, with looking for existence to bloom and brighten by camping out on the mountaintop to understand the highest liberating and redeeming reason is always noteworthy and divine.
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    There's a balance...a nice sweet spot, which is able to be found via pros and cons.


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    My mind is philosophical and quite metaphysical. I leave it at that.

    As per guidance I would never choose an orientation to define myself. It is rather peculiar that after reading Spinoza I find him as someone who has written down my unfinished thoughts.
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    The humanities are for people who are too stupid to do science and engineering. Hurr hurr hurr.

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    They are prob going through a stage and are using the names/ideas of these people to support their image they’ve got conceived. I don’t find philosophy particularly cringe. It just is. I do know sitting around thinking about philosophical concepts or reading/dabbling in it excessively tends to worsen my depression issues, so anymore I don’t think about it as much. But these are def questions that need asked, that people should.. But keeping open minded about it all is the best philosophy imo
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    Philosophy and religion seek for me fundamentally different things: philosophy(more NT) looks for knowledge and wisdom, while religion(more NF) looks for meaning, faith and morals. Neither seem cringe to me, but people who overcommit to one dogma because they are lazy to think or see multiple viewpoints or those who use philosophy/religious principles to appear superior do. I've been guilty of both.

    There are no simple answers to how and why I (should) live or what life or truth is, and repeating everything some old dudes said won't help, I'm afraid. Maybe the problem rather is one of humility and faith in one's own ability to find guidance within oneself, and not so much one of philosophy or religion.
    Last edited by lkdhf qkb; 10-05-2021 at 05:38 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by one View Post
    I wonder if my brain would break if I read him. Maybe I should put one of his books on my reading list.
    It is like reading Euclid's elements without possibility to use a compass and make constructs.
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    No, I don't find philosophy cringey. To hold this judgment I'd need to have a more sophisticated or academic understanding of it or be certain that I know better.

    I find it mystifying, in doses. A bit like logging into this website and then logging out when it gets too much.

    What I struggle with most is attempting to reason with someone's thought when it is very abstracted from my reality, and their thoughts being elusive - running through my fingers. "That's not really what I was saying; it's not that definitive", is what they might say. And just like that, the abstract thought becomes inaccessible to me. We are two people together, but alone... it is a scary place to be.

    Apply some of these ideas to a real life crisis and they would not stand up, because in a crisis you need something that is more communicable between average people. Philosophical thought can look like legalese.

    Philosophical ideas can shake you out of a learned routine or muscle memory. Reinvention can be uplifting, but if you begin to question everything that surrounds you, that seems like a step towards becoming uninvolved and isolated. Why co-exist? Why live at all?

    I like the points @one raised, which are well articulated.

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    i kinda feel philosophy does have application in that it comes in response to a problem with existence. for instance stoicism, and how it proposes to address not having external freedom. it's like every "existential crisis" is kinda an internal orientation problem where the internal orientation and the external world and interacting together to create something mentally torturous in one's head... and so a "philosophy" is like a way to solve the crisis.

    like one of the purposes is how to live: https://www.openculture.com/2015/12/...good-life.html

    because humans just don't have it all written in instinct. it's not enough to physically survive. a big fat brain like ours needs to understand how to live, and why to live. (not that i have answered these questions aaaaaah)

    even something like this: http://decentfilms.com/articles/cthd-article ... the philosophies these characters live by interact in the film... i have my own shallow interpretation which is that Mu Bai and Shu Lien did waste their lives, they are in love and they have the kind of bond/connection that so few people can ever find, but they have their philosophies about how to interact in the society with all its norms and moral rules, so they end in unnecessary tragedy (the philosophy they live by matters and it affects their outcome). in contrast, Jen chooses the faithful heart. she tried to live true to it all along, but her actions contributed to this tragedy and she knows it. but one wonders had everyone lived by her philosophy could it have all been avoided.

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    Philosophy is a pretty meaningless term when you consider that philosophers themselves don't even know what the term memes, but I'd say if you really want to take it seriously separately from academics, a philosophy is just a structure within which thoughts and ideas can be processed. In that sense, philosophy is actually an extremely interesting thing to consider and talk about, since it lets people understand how certain conclusions are reached by certain groups or people. Everyone operates using some kind of philosophy, it's impossible act without one, and by identifying and analyzing the way these philosophies work would be a very interesting field of study. But the problem with this, is that while it can be useful, it almost never is because there's never any kind of overarching goal(dare I say a philosophy) to philosophical studies. People want a philosophy which they can trust in as much as they can trust in any scientific knowledge, so by actively refusing to definitely answer any questions or even identify philosophies as clearly backward or wrong, academic philosophy fails people.

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    I remember when I just got out of college without a job, I had no idea what my future was going to be like, and I felt a ton of powerful dread. Going to these people that seemed to have their shit together and could introduce me to ways to be in the world so that I could have success was hugely important to my development in my early 20s. It's not that I took everything at face value or thought they were gods, but they said "here is a signpost. You can climb up here or not." They were also people who thought very highly of their own opinion, and considered themselves philosophers. It's debatable whether they actually were.

    I think sometimes people are just honestly fucking clueless and need something (anything) to orient themselves by. I haven't been around the people you're talking about, and it could just be a social game they are playing, but I'm sure some of them also just have no fucking idea what they're doing and just want to talk about it.

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