T Nation

Philosophy

I have no idea if this will spark a flame or simply be lost in the archives, I guess it depends on the subtle diversity of the users here and their unique interests.

Lately I’ve taken an intrigue to varying philosophies, much more so than I ever have before, and I’d like to question different demographics as to the different ideas and theories they entertain. T-Nation’s Weight-lifting (Including Body-building, Power-lifting etc.) demographic being one of them.

My question is of course going to be somewhat vague and all-encompassing, but nonetheless centred on what you may, not necessarily agree upon (There is by no means a need to be partisan), but also philosophies that interest you.

Whether this be of the more popular groupings of thought such as Existentialism, Nihilism and Absurdism. Or of the lesser pondered, such as Solipsism, Fallibilism and Stoicism. Or even a general questioning of nature and society at a base level.

If any few philosophers stand out to you by means of their personality or works, please feel free to mention them and why they had an impact.

Any and all responses would be welcomed and I thank you in advance, to expand on an idea or a connection to any one area of questioning would be greatly appreciated indeed.

Neoplatonism.

Jesus and Nietzsche.

“The point of philosophy is to start with something so simple as not to seem worth stating, and to end with something so paradoxical that no one will believe it.” -Bertrand Russell

I always found awakening or liberation more real then philiosphy, arguing and dissecting viewpoints and beliefs but they are just ideas in the mind and seemingly pretty useless and conflicting lol

So, what is this thread about?

[quote]Big Kahuna wrote:
I have no idea if this will spark a flame or simply be lost in the archives, I guess it depends on the subtle diversity of the users here and their unique interests.

Lately I’ve taken an intrigue to varying philosophies, much more so than I ever have before, and I’d like to question different demographics as to the different ideas and theories they entertain. T-Nation’s Weight-lifting (Including Body-building, Power-lifting etc.) demographic being one of them.

My question is of course going to be somewhat vague and all-encompassing, but nonetheless centred on what you may, not necessarily agree upon (There is by no means a need to be partisan), but also philosophies that interest you.

Whether this be of the more popular groupings of thought such as Existentialism, Nihilism and Absurdism. Or of the lesser pondered, such as Solipsism, Fallibilism and Stoicism. Or even a general questioning of nature and society at a base level.

If any few philosophers stand out to you by means of their personality or works, please feel free to mention them and why they had an impact.

Any and all responses would be welcomed and I thank you in advance, to expand on an idea or a connection to any one area of questioning would be greatly appreciated indeed. [/quote]

You really should smoke less pot.

I can’t say I ever really studied it with enough depth to follow a particular ‘ism’, but back when I read a bit of philosophy I found I connected with Nietzsche, Emerson and Marcus Aurelius. The appreciation may have been on a poetic level more than anything, as those three were really all quite different. Nietzsche appealed to the depressive, cynical misanthrope in me, and was by far the most entertaining writer, if a little mad. Aurelius and Emerson gave you more of a framework to lead a positive and contemplative life, and were an inspiring read when I was having a hard time of things.

Beyond that, it’s been a few years, so I probably couldn’t go into much detail. I read a bit of Julius Evola when I was interested in right-wing ideology. Read some Plato, Schopenhauer and a couple of others too, but probably not in enough depth to converse on their work.

Hope that post wasn’t entirely useless.

[quote]Cimmerian wrote:
I can’t say I ever really studied it with enough depth to follow a particular ‘ism’, but back when I read a bit of philosophy I found I connected with Nietzsche, Emerson and Marcus Aurelius. The appreciation may have been on a poetic level more than anything, as those three were really all quite different. Nietzsche appealed to the depressive, cynical misanthrope in me, and was by far the most entertaining writer, if a little mad. Aurelius and Emerson gave you more of a framework to lead a positive and contemplative life, and were an inspiring read when I was having a hard time of things.

Beyond that, it’s been a few years, so I probably couldn’t go into much detail. I read a bit of Julius Evola when I was interested in right-wing ideology. Read some Plato, Schopenhauer and a couple of others too, but probably not in enough depth to converse on their work.

Hope that post wasn’t entirely useless.

[/quote]

By no means should you feel it necessary to align yourself with a school of thought, your response was pleasantly meaningful.

I echo Nietzsche’s writings, I know it’s cliche but Thus Spake Zarathustra is one of my favourites. And after all, what really is mad? :slight_smile:

I personally cannot find solace in Emerson’s views on Transcendentalism and the innate goodness of people, but his interpretation of the individual and his values is commendable. My line of thinking on that comes more with that of Thomas Hobbes, his book Leviathan is a great read if you ever happen to have time.

I like Aurelius’ ideology regarding Stoicism to some extent, but I still feel as if the concept has some inherent flaws. Since we can have no perfectly righteous and all-knowing entity of our species, it is and likely will remain conjecture as to whether or not the thought process would hold true. In saying that, philosophy does not have to be about the factual for the idea to be meaningful, and I am grateful the perspective is there. Aurelius’ Meditations was very helpful, probably my greatest resource as is regarding Stoicism.

By no means useless, the human brain can make something out of anything. :]

[quote]SkyzykS wrote:
So, what is this thread about?
[/quote]

Essentially, if you were to have a thought about something. Anything. Which historical thinker would likely share that thought and hold a similar conclusion?

By what school of thought would you be most inclined to agree and why would you think that way?

If you think the human race is a flawed and grandly imperfect specimen, Nietzsche may be of interest. If you think largely opposed to that, Emerson might be your man.

Really it’s just recognising a thought and how you deal with said thought, then finding out who did the same thing you did, long before you did.

[quote]NAUn wrote:
You really should smoke less pot.
[/quote]

If you’re looking for a drug that brings forth abstract thought and an indefinite pondering of the Universe, Nature, and the Human Race…cannabis is the least of your worries.

[quote]

If you think the human race is a flawed and grandly imperfect specimen, Nietzsche may be of interest. If you think largely opposed to that, Emerson might be your man.

.[/quote]

I never got that from Nietzsche. I always thought the over all message was far more positive. I know he’s highly critical of everything, but don’t you feel this is simply his method of thought and hyperbole, jumping from thought to thought never creating a wholly distinct philosophical approach? I’d also argue despite everything Zarathustra is completely over shadowed by Beyond Good and Evil.

For what it’s worth, Nietzsche turned me onto philosophy through his rhetoric and urgency- like the first band that got you into music, it holds a special place in the heart despite all it’s flaws, but Camus is where it’s at. Comes from the same place as Nietzsche but is more practical and productive, The Myth of Sisyphus is a fantastic book.

Do any of you have any formal training/education in philosophy, it’s would be interesting to see how it differs between us all? For instance, Marx is still quite highly regard this side of the water, but I always get the feeling he’s dismissed on principle in Yankee-land without really being understood.

[quote]KvonBabbage wrote:

I guess my views of Nietzsche’s cynicism concerning the Human Species are based largely on the idea of an “Ubermensch”. A being that would transcend where we are at now as a race, re-affirming newer and more resolute values as opposed to Christian doctrine and it’s fading integration to life’s purpose. That for right now at the very least we are torn between our values and our vices and we do not convey expressly that which would liberate us from the shackles we are currently bound by.

Beyond Good And Evil of course is a masterpiece in critical literature, and it’s expansion to the previous Zarathustra may indeed contain a more pristine and polished affirmation of Nietzsche’s mentality. It is not my place to say that either work is inherently better or worse than the other, but I surround myself with the ideas of Zarathustra more so than that of Good And Evil. At least for right now, as I return to both works at a different time of my life that may indeed radically change and lead me to question pre-conceived morals and the vague exclamation of “Good” and “Evil” respectively.

Camus largely remains one of my favourites, especially on a personal level. I find myself in accordance with his views on the Absurd and the futility of man’s search for meaning. The Myth Of Sisyphus is the reason I began lifting weights, and through that, part of my reasoning to join the military. That the end point be an inevitable conclusion and to embrace it as so. He taught me to find solace in the struggle and to create for myself a sense of worth relative to the things I do, even though they may be largely futile and absurd, the importance of continuity in the face of such a situation is what matters.

I recommend The Myth Of Sisyphus to anyone who may not know of it, and also of Camus himself and the rest of his works.

[quote]Big Kahuna wrote:

[quote]SkyzykS wrote:
So, what is this thread about?
[/quote]

Essentially, if you were to have a thought about something. Anything. Which historical thinker would likely share that thought and hold a similar conclusion?

By what school of thought would you be most inclined to agree and why would you think that way?

If you think the human race is a flawed and grandly imperfect specimen, Nietzsche may be of interest. If you think largely opposed to that, Emerson might be your man.

Really it’s just recognising a thought and how you deal with said thought, then finding out who did the same thing you did, long before you did.[/quote]

I’m pretty sure it was a philosophically existential question with a dash of tongue-in-cheek neo-comedicism

[quote]Big Kahuna wrote:

[quote]KvonBabbage wrote:

I guess my views of Nietzsche’s cynicism concerning the Human Species are based largely on the idea of an “Ubermensch”. A being that would transcend where we are at now as a race, re-affirming newer and more resolute values as opposed to Christian doctrine and it’s fading integration to life’s purpose. That for right now at the very least we are torn between our values and our vices and we do not convey expressly that which would liberate us from the shackles we are currently bound by.

Beyond Good And Evil of course is a masterpiece in critical literature, and it’s expansion to the previous Zarathustra may indeed contain a more pristine and polished affirmation of Nietzsche’s mentality. It is not my place to say that either work is inherently better or worse than the other, but I surround myself with the ideas of Zarathustra more so than that of Good And Evil. At least for right now, as I return to both works at a different time of my life that may indeed radically change and lead me to question pre-conceived morals and the vague exclamation of “Good” and “Evil” respectively.

Camus largely remains one of my favourites, especially on a personal level. I find myself in accordance with his views on the Absurd and the futility of man’s search for meaning. The Myth Of Sisyphus is the reason I began lifting weights, and through that, part of my reasoning to join the military. That the end point be an inevitable conclusion and to embrace it as so. He taught me to find solace in the struggle and to create for myself a sense of worth relative to the things I do, even though they may be largely futile and absurd, the importance of continuity in the face of such a situation is what matters.

I recommend The Myth Of Sisyphus to anyone who may not know of it, and also of Camus himself and the rest of his works.[/quote]

That’s very interesting. My reading always left me feeling the UberMensch (UM) was more a theoretical destination rather than an acheivable end. Much like I don’t believe that the Eternal Return is anything other than a hypothetical, thought experiment. While I’m sure we can agree the Nazi misappropriation was inaccurate at best, don’t you feel that the possibility Nietzsche’s (NZ) UM could be misused in such a way tarnishes their…how would you say…‘validity’. Or perhaps, simply how ‘viable’ the UM are as a concept? I’ve always felt the UM, master-Slave classes etc. had much in common with Plato’s thought in Republic, despite NZ’s best attempts.

How would you feel about the suggestion the UM aren’t a concept of Nietzsche, but of Zarathustra, and as such, an extension of hyperbole and ‘fiction’? Zarathustra never really resonated with me. BGE however, was completely different. The use of aphorism and maxim felt very new and strange to me. The idea that ‘thoughts’ don’t have to be part of a larger system and can be mutually-exclusive and interconnected feels very ‘human’ to me.

Where do you stand on Foucault? Along with Camus, and to a lesser extent Sartre, Heidegger, Rorty etc. I feel they picked up where Nietzsche left off, albeit in a more subtle manner.

Can I presume you’re an atheist? Ever dipped into any theological study?

I’m a Philosophy major, so this thread is of interest to me.

I’m really boring and am basically Aristotelian in a lot of my thoughts.

My other favorite philosophers though are Abelard, Aquinas, Hume, Husserl, Plato…

[quote]KvonBabbage wrote:

[quote]Big Kahuna wrote:
I guess my views of Nietzsche’s cynicism concerning the Human Species are based largely on the idea of an “Ubermensch”. A being that would transcend where we are at now as a race, re-affirming newer and more resolute values as opposed to Christian doctrine and it’s fading integration to life’s purpose. That for right now at the very least we are torn between our values and our vices and we do not convey expressly that which would liberate us from the shackles we are currently bound by.

Beyond Good And Evil of course is a masterpiece in critical literature, and it’s expansion to the previous Zarathustra may indeed contain a more pristine and polished affirmation of Nietzsche’s mentality. It is not my place to say that either work is inherently better or worse than the other, but I surround myself with the ideas of Zarathustra more so than that of Good And Evil. At least for right now, as I return to both works at a different time of my life that may indeed radically change and lead me to question pre-conceived morals and the vague exclamation of “Good” and “Evil” respectively.

Camus largely remains one of my favourites, especially on a personal level. I find myself in accordance with his views on the Absurd and the futility of man’s search for meaning. The Myth Of Sisyphus is the reason I began lifting weights, and through that, part of my reasoning to join the military. That the end point be an inevitable conclusion and to embrace it as so. He taught me to find solace in the struggle and to create for myself a sense of worth relative to the things I do, even though they may be largely futile and absurd, the importance of continuity in the face of such a situation is what matters.

I recommend The Myth Of Sisyphus to anyone who may not know of it, and also of Camus himself and the rest of his works.[/quote]

That’s very interesting. My reading always left me feeling the UberMensch (UM) was more a theoretical destination rather than an acheivable end. Much like I don’t believe that the Eternal Return is anything other than a hypothetical, thought experiment. While I’m sure we can agree the Nazi misappropriation was inaccurate at best, don’t you feel that the possibility Nietzsche’s (NZ) UM could be misused in such a way tarnishes their…how would you say…‘validity’. Or perhaps, simply how ‘viable’ the UM are as a concept? I’ve always felt the UM, master-Slave classes etc. had much in common with Plato’s thought in Republic, despite NZ’s best attempts.

How would you feel about the suggestion the UM aren’t a concept of Nietzsche, but of Zarathustra, and as such, an extension of hyperbole and ‘fiction’? Zarathustra never really resonated with me. BGE however, was completely different. The use of aphorism and maxim felt very new and strange to me. The idea that ‘thoughts’ don’t have to be part of a larger system and can be mutually-exclusive and interconnected feels very ‘human’ to me.

Where do you stand on Foucault? Along with Camus, and to a lesser extent Sartre, Heidegger, Rorty etc. I feel they picked up where Nietzsche left off, albeit in a more subtle manner.

Can I presume you’re an atheist? Ever dipped into any theological study? [/quote]

I expect Nietzsche felt much the same way as you did about the Ubermensch in it not being so much an obtainable perfected (dare I say) evolution. And I assure myself in the same time with the same knowledge and wisdom I too would feel that way. However with the advancements of technology and the incredible rate at which it’s progressing my previous theories have been thrown into flux. Not that I’m going to go into some other vast school of philosophy as Singularitarianism, however it’s left me pondering what could really be possible relative to the idea of a superhuman. I fully expect an integration with biology and technology in the future, maybe even the near future (within the century.), but I would still need time to think and interpret what that may entail. A superhuman by physical and mental standards may be probable, even readily programmable, but is that really still a human? Sometimes I think about how Nietzsche would respond to this had he been alive in modern times and how his thoughts on the subject may have changed given a sense of technological availability as opposed to simply metaphorical conjecture. If we could program the mind of a supercomputer and all of it’s logistical probabilities into the enhanced biology of a man and expect the result to be as predicted or radically different altogether.

I do not doubt that Nietzsche would view the Ubermensch as theory alone, but as our reality is ever changing so too must our thoughts and reasoning.

It would be wrong of me to try to speak with any significant knowledge on the ideas of Foucault, I’ve never particularly given time to study him in depth and so I am largely unacquainted with his methods of reason. All I’ve really done is cross-referenced his work with Machiavelli’s “The Prince” and how both sides of the argument concerning social power and societal ruling differ, and how each side’s morals affect their ideas. I plan to study more of that in the future once I’m more knowledgeable about his individual work. But as far as I know for now, I am much more in favour with the stance Foucault takes than I am with that of Machiavelli, morally at least.

As concerning the other philosophers mentioned, the only one I’ve put considerable time into as of yet is Jean-Paul Sartre. I am largely a fan of Sartre’s philosophies, of course given my leaning interest to Nietzsche and Camus, and I’m especially intrigued by his views on Marxism, as I am with Marxism itself, Das Kapital is an incredibly enlightening read, somewhat heavy-handed for my clunking steamboat brain, but nonetheless I will continue in my attempt to understand it.

I am a De-facto Atheist in that I live my life with the assumption that there exists no God, or all-powerful supernatural entity, and base my individuality around such assumptions. I would never say for sure that there is no existing God, because I dislike the thought of being an absolute partisan and it does not conform with my nature. Logically I cannot connect with the thought of a celestial entity and so my theories are largely atheistic in nature.

I also however, do not like to discount possibility, and so I have taken it upon myself to acknowledge the thoughts and teachings of religious text. My first stop of course had been The Holy Bible, I entertain some of the ideas but I do believe in it’s inherent and recurring flaws. I find myself in line with some of the given morals and ethics, but I refuse to dogmatically follow any pre-conceived set of morals unwaveringly, I hold in high regard my individuality. I have also read very small parts of the Mahabharata, in particular the Bhagavad Gita. I have yet to read any of the Ramayana, though I expect the Damayanti to suffice for now.

Without going in to too much depth and transforming this thread from Philosophy to Religious debate, I plan to also read the Qur’an, maybe once I revisit the Bible so I can keep a linear understanding of it. And possibly some Buddhist scriptures as well.

I have no formal study of any of these texts and I by no means expect my opinions on them to be of any real significance relative to people who have put more time into the doctrine. My philosophical education is still firmly in it’s infantile stages and I should like to be set in my place should any of my ramblings have outstanding flaws that would inhibit my mentality.

A long response, largely unexpected to drag on as long as it has, I hope this is of some insight into my reasoning and not too boresome.

[quote]Spidey22 wrote:
I’m a Philosophy major, so this thread is of interest to me.

I’m really boring and am basically Aristotelian in a lot of my thoughts.

My other favorite philosophers though are Abelard, Aquinas, Hume, Husserl, Plato…

[/quote]

That’s brilliant! If you have any subject you’re studying and you’d like to gather the perspectives of others please feel free to leave it here, at the very least it might save you some book reading.

What are your opinions as to the works of Locke, Hobbes, and Kant? And maybe even also William Of Ockham.

And your thoughts on the differences between Plato and Aristotle? I’ve always been intrigued by the way Aristotle branched away from Plato’s core philosophies.

[quote]polo77j wrote:

[quote]Big Kahuna wrote:

[quote]SkyzykS wrote:
So, what is this thread about?
[/quote]

Essentially, if you were to have a thought about something. Anything. Which historical thinker would likely share that thought and hold a similar conclusion?

By what school of thought would you be most inclined to agree and why would you think that way?

If you think the human race is a flawed and grandly imperfect specimen, Nietzsche may be of interest. If you think largely opposed to that, Emerson might be your man.

Really it’s just recognising a thought and how you deal with said thought, then finding out who did the same thing you did, long before you did.[/quote]

I’m pretty sure it was a philosophically existential question with a dash of tongue-in-cheek neo-comedicism[/quote]

That is correct.

[quote]SkyzykS wrote:

[quote]polo77j wrote:

[quote]Big Kahuna wrote:

[quote]SkyzykS wrote:
So, what is this thread about?
[/quote]

Essentially, if you were to have a thought about something. Anything. Which historical thinker would likely share that thought and hold a similar conclusion?

By what school of thought would you be most inclined to agree and why would you think that way?

If you think the human race is a flawed and grandly imperfect specimen, Nietzsche may be of interest. If you think largely opposed to that, Emerson might be your man.

Really it’s just recognising a thought and how you deal with said thought, then finding out who did the same thing you did, long before you did.[/quote]

I’m pretty sure it was a philosophically existential question with a dash of tongue-in-cheek neo-comedicism[/quote]

That is correct.

[/quote]

Neo-comedicism is my favourite philosophy.