experimental – philosophical post

This is a philosophical post. Explanation for this sudden change of language and orientation can be found in the bottom of the post.

Choosing a life of thinking – philosophical thinking, that is – is not really a choice. I find myself envious of people who say they knew what they wanted from young age, and just worked hard to get there. It seems to me much easier that way. But I don't have it that easy. It is not like becoming an actor, a physicist, a physician or even a writer or musician. These are all very well defined occupations. The course to get there – what you need, where you go to achieve it etc – is quite clear, and if you start early enough, or have enough talent, you can achieve what you opt for pretty quickly, and maybe even succeed.

But what is success? Fame, glory, fortunes? Even if what you seek is that vague thing we sometimes call "truth", it still matters – inherently – whether or not it is recognized. And that matter of recognition is "fame and glory". The only difference is the size and kind of audience.

Most people live their lives without any kind of public recognition. Actually, most people on this planet live their lives only to suffer and finally die. It is quite incredible, the amount of suffering this world of mankind manages to produce. And also the amount of irrationality. People suffer and die in the millions, and other people choke on fat, alcohol, metals that move and glittering rocks. The human existence, the rationale of it all – is total absurdity. And not in the exsistential sense. Just plain absurdity.

No reason at all can explain the world we live in. Our culture, morality, ethics, religion, societal norms – are all so fragile. There is actually no reason, no order, no governing rationality. The "world in itself" is empty of meaning. Only full of noise. It takes human minds to hear them, listen and decipher – actually – compose – certain noises into melodies – soundtracks – stories. In a way, our perception of time is not that different from the idea of music. Music is indeed the answer – fluid, fleeting, existing only when you perform it – in actuality, not in theory. It is also everchanging, even when it in itself stays exactly the same.

But the sense of hearing needs cultivation, that is – it is spontaneous, but can also be changed by education, practice, experience. The education can be, and even must be – theoretical. But the theory is absolutely useless without the experience – the actual experience – of the student. It is a kind of theoretical knowledge that derives its significance, meaning and content from direct experience with the material. The material itself is abstract. You cannot capture it, make it static, in any way. Not by writing it down, not even by recording it. You can't touch it, but it definitely can touch you, affect you and even transform you. Just think about the recommendation to play Mozart to babies in the womb.

But that also means that we can learn to ignore music, to lessen its affect on us. We can learn how to harness it to our non musical needs – even the violent ones, as can be demonstrated by marches and hymns. We can destroy the natural musical thinking to overrationalize our world into total irrationality. And in the process we lose our capacity to imagine – the essential and necessary element of all sorts and kinds of change. And hope. There can be no real hope – as a force – without the capacity to imagine. And to listen.

Listen real hard. The world of no rationality, sense or meaning – sings. In its song we find everything that makes us human.

Inhumanity is not listening.



As promised – explanation

My political writings are in Hebrew, and will probably continue to be in Hebrew, for they are intended to be a part of an inter-Israeli debate. However, I find myself wanting to try again taking on the kind of writing I intended to write when I started my first blog in israblog, somewhen in 2006, before life took over. And this time I want to do it in English, so the debate, if there ever will be one, can be more open. The triggers are very random. Yesterday, in the process of my pathological obsession with David Tennant, I watched Einstein and Eddington. And it triggered some thoughts, that may have been there for a long time (Actually, they have been there for a long time. When I attempted to start my phd 3 years ago the subject of musical thinking was my first idea). I put those thoughts in writing, as I usually do – in a notebook, using a pen. But unlike every other time such a thing happened, this time it felt lacking. So I said to myself – why not try something else, such as publishing it in my own virtual salon? And so it came to be.

8 thoughts on “experimental – philosophical post

  1. In my subjective experience, I usually base my perception of the world by using rationality. but after that, I leave a little room for irrationality. this way, I can feel the world quiet good. I know what is the rationality and motives behind human behavior (sex, ego, desires), but I let my irrationality feel them (with irrationality one can feel the love, confusion). This together, let me have a very nice picture of people.

  2. thanks.
    I don't think that. I think rationality and non rationality are together in the same mind – this is the given. As for them working together nicely – this is where the contingent comes in…

  3. You touch many ideas that I believe in.

    That over rationality is as bad as irationality

    That much of our learning is experience that can't be written, recorded (and therefore, communicated)

    That education changes the pure experience: rationality alters irrationality (one can be trained to read and enjoy poetry)

    That rational life is an absurd (rationality says that you suffer and then die)

    That success to most people mean recognition (and therefore, anyone can be succesful for 15 minutes and suffer all the rest)

    (The last is a core reason for our collective unhappiness: I wish we identified success with happiness)

  4. אצלי זה עובד מצוין, יש לי קטגוריות שונות וחוץ מכמה הערות ביניים של כל מיני קוראים, זה עובד טוב.
    הפואנטה שלי היתה יותר לכיוון השפה, אבל זו כמובן החלטה שלך.

  5. זה ניסיון להבחין בין שני תחומי דיון מבלי לתחזק עוד בלוג. יוחאי עושה משהו כזה, ונראה לי שזה עובד לו לא רע, אז גם אני מנסה. במקרה שזה לא יצא להיט, נפתח עוד בלוג.

  6. לא שדעתי תשנה לך בכלל, אבל בכל זאת.. מה הפואנטה באנגלית? כדי שאחרים לא ישראלים יקראו? אוקיי, אבל אז אם מישהו יכתוב דברים מעניינים בטוקבק בעברית, הלא-ישראלים יפספסו אותה ולא יוכלו להגיב לה. יש גם כאלו שיודעים לקרוא אנגלית מצוין אבל רמת כתיבת האנגלית שלהם.. איך לאמר בעדינות, מזכירה אנגלית בכיתה ח', ויכול להיות שהם יתביישו להגיב באנגלית.

    סתם נקודות למחשבה.

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