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Tag: philosophy

The Way of Zen

Excerpts I found interesting from Alan Watt’s The Way of Zen, grouped by vibes: Definition Convention Feel Growing Spontaneity Pointing Ego Interference Present Negation Liberation Za-zen Widespread Art Definition Zen Buddhism is a way and a view of life which does not belong to any of the formal categories of modern Western thought. As will soon be obvious, a way of liberation can have no positive definition. It has to be suggested by saying what it is not, somewhat as a sculptor reveals an image by the act of removing pieces of stone from a block.

Uninformed Or Misinformed?

Is it better to have no facts about a topic and thus no opinion, or have access to a few “out of context” facts and thus a misinformed opinion? TL;DR: Either start learning about issues you care about, or stop caring about them so much. It’s more honest, less mental effort, and is less likely to ruin Thanksgiving. You can’t be well-informed on every topic; It’s just not possible. That’s why world leaders have advisers.

Soft Rules

Not all rules are made equal. Some rules, like the speed limit, are broken by everyone and their mother, and are enforced (mostly) when people are breaking them to a dangerous point. Other rules, like “don’t murder people”, are enforced far more. Why is that? Different Rules, Different Tools Some rules are in place to assign blame to someone with bad judgement. There’s nothing morally wrong with jaywalking when there are no cars coming, but you are at fault if you walk into oncoming traffic.

Critical Thinking

The more I learn about the world, the less certain I become about it. There are so many conflicting views and information taken out of context that it’s hard to discern fact from truth. Below are some notes I keep to help navigate the sea of information that is modern society. TL;DR: Don’t get fooled by facts if they have no context, don’t discount an opinion because it’s biased, and hear out crazy ideas.

Happiness

Some thoughts on Happiness: Happiness doesn’t come from wealth. Otherwise, therapists and anti-depressants would have to be much cheaper. If happiness came from consumption of goods and services, it would therefore follow that once those goods and services are reduced or cut off, one would no longer be as happy. If you can cut off happiness, it’s more akin to a drug than an emotion. “Close relationships, more than money or fame, are what keep people happy throughout their lives.

Forgiveness

Forgiveness has a negative connotation these days. We see forgiving each other as weak — as not standing by one’s values, as giving up one’s pride. This view is incredibly counter-productive and, in my opinion, the cause of many problems in today’s society. Here is the actual definition of forgiveness: forgive (verb) to cease to feel resentment against (an offender) Source: Merriam Webster This definition is all that forgiveness has to be — not pardoning or excusing someone for their actions, but instead letting go of anger towards them.

Balance

Choosing sides is fun. Be it politics or pop culture, nothing validates an opinion better than classifying opposing opinions as wrong. Sometimes, as seen by Holocaust deniers or the anti-vaccine movement, it’s possible people can be completely and utterly wrong. However, in the general case, both sides have merits and both sides have pitfalls. When trying to gain a perspective of the bigger picture, it’s best to position oneself somewhere in the middle.