a cry towards the absurd

The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.Camus
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Re: social pyramid namedropping

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Posted by Spratley on Tuesday, December 10, 2002 at 12:23:05 :

In Reply to: social pyramid namedropping posted by shane on Tuesday, December 10, 2002 at 07:26:08 :

: in these posts i notice alot of references to one great thinker or another... i understand the role these people have played in opening up possibilities...but at the end of the day ..do we not all have individual psychology and situation that leaves the answers in one place only..within ourselves. i often feel that it is a setback in self discovery to homogenize our ideas to great common denominators(insert name here) .after all is read, said and experienced..do we not still have to connect the dots within our own psyche? i sometimes wonder if it only procrastinates self discovery to study what the "jones' " have concluded. for example, the "observer dependent" perceptions of nuclear physics. i feel that jung only unraveled jung a bit. and that freud only discovered himself. to me, the "great thinkers" greatest service to humanity had more to do with the social acceptance of self-exploration than the essays / text they left behind.

: then again, i view our society as a pyramid scheme of convincibility ...the most convincing on top. what is the popular opinion?

I agree that the goal is to connect the dots within ourselves and think for ourselves etc.

But the great thinkers or other people's ideas serve pretty well as the dots. There is definite value in studying other people's processes of self discovery. For one, it can assist in identifying kinds of ideas and thought patterns. In college I learned all about the empiricists. They spent their professional lives talking about how the image of a tree gets ito our minds and how intelect is different from imagination is differnt from reflection. I don't hold those kinds of ideas close to my own mental processes, but learning those ideas helped my own process of self discovery. Just as a person has to learn algebra to be able to do calculations at the supermarket (3 for $1.99= 1 for X), one can get great use out of other people's ideas for their own ideas.

Studying the ground othe people have covered also helps one to understand how that ground gets covered. Like a mountain climber follows other's paths. Studying other's philosophical investigations is like studying how ideas behave, what links they form easily and what links they form less easily. You can learn others mistakes and try not to make those mistakes.

Having said this, some people do, at different times, insert other people's ideas as their own. And this is not necesarily beneficial (even though it can be). The trick is to balance, to understand exactly how valuable anotherperson's idea is.

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