Philosophy – BigTalk

Posted: 16/03/2018 by zandtao in Insight
Tags: , ,

Simon Critchley is talking with Russell about philosophy – it is not a talk I recommend. This talk to me typifies the worst aspect of Russell’s involvement with academia.

Simon began by saying that the questions they are asking are the same as the time of Socrates. This tells me philosophy is a waste of time yet genuinely there is nothing better than enquiry. We cannot accept what we are told, we cannot accept our conditioning, we must ask what is conditioning, how are we conditioned, we must have genuine enquiry.

This is enquiry with a purpose not discussion for the sake of it.

In Buddhist terms I classify discussion for the sake of it as sankhara – verbalising mental proliferations. It is normal human interaction to have conversation for conversation’s sake but that is not learning – not enquiry.

Why is it that understanding has not developed through centuries of asking questions? Has the answer for truth or justice changed over the years? There is a temporal component but primarily truth is permanent. It is known when people speak the truth through insight. Understanding could have developed but there are factors working against a greater understanding.

Primarily it is because philosophy is part of academia which is part of a system that is not looking for truth justice or any of the usual concepts of philosophical understanding. In a 1% system where are they looking for justice? Such justice would have to be critical of the 1%. Enquiring after the source of human problems, we have to answer in part the source of injustice is the 1%. In the same way as not all conditioning is the 1%-system, some human suffering stems from human conditioning that would exist in a non-1%-system. Is it just to have any suffering because of a 1%-system? If philosophy cannot answer yes to this, it is not seeking answers – it is not enquiring.

Is there a path, a way of going beyond conditioning? Anyone who has gone beyond conditioning – transcended, says yes. Intellectuals stuck in conditioning and sankhara says there isn’t a path. Because there are more of those intellectuals and they want the academic system (for jobs etc.), it becomes a consensus, and academia does not accept there is a path.

In the same way all those who go beyond conditioning say there is insight. Intellectuals stuck in the conditioning of sankhara do not have insight so it is not accepted.

All people who have experienced compassion by transcending see compassion as the essence of humanity, intellectuals stuck in sankhara have not experienced that compassion so are unable to draw appropriate conclusions.

Genuine creative people have transcended, their relationship with the muse has taken them beyond. Intellectuals stuck in sankhara cannot know what creativity is – they just talk about it. So academia talks about creativity, and is not creative.

When people sit still and look inside their heads their minds are swirling. When meditators look inside their heads their minds are not swirling. As philosophy is concerned with mind, does it accept this? No because intellectuals in academia do not meditate. This swirling is an observable representation of sankhara – mental proliferations. Sankhara can be observed by all, intellectuals and the state of mind of meditators before meditation. In view of this, should intellectuals stuck in sankhara be making judgements of states of mind they have not experienced?

These are all examples of philosophical questioning, questioning that benefits from not having answers for intellectuals who keep jobs by not having answers.

There are plenty of things that the path does not have answers for. There is much that needs to be learnt about humanity, transcending, going beyond conditioning, how to go beyond, etc. All of these are important philosophical questionings but such enquiry cannot exist because the 1% and the intellectuals have not gone beyond questioning. With what they do to humanity, the 1% cannot go beyond – cannot transcend.

All of the above is usually rejected by academic philosophy because it is vague – path muse is not defined. Words like insight creativity have a meaning beyond the rational yet there is an unwritten academic assumption that there is nothing beyond the rational. Perhaps they can discuss that of course. Genuine enquiry, Campbell’s quest?, gets buried in words and circular arguments. What if I had a stake up my arse would I or perhaps I wouldn’t maybe as if I suppose.

“Death is in the mouth” reminded me of Castaneda’s “death is always over the left shoulder”. If death as a constant presence provides motivation and determination it is useful. Death is, why discuss it? Death gives motivation and determination, why discuss it? What happens after death, do we know? Why discuss it?

During the interview they had a conversation about football – personal, and a conversation about humour – professional. Personal and professional conversations must happen, when a teacher I just rabbited on – only of interest to teachers – and then only some. Philosophy needs to be about learning and wisdom ie the path and not conversations. But as explained above it won’t happen. Philosophy is just professional discussion for philosophers.

Russell can have interviews about philosophy, but it has very little to do with learning at any level. This interview with Simon to me demonstrates all that is wrong with philosophy. A significant proportion was spent discussing football “in a philosophical way”, and at the end they only just touched love. Russell was into the diversion as much as Simon. Maybe Simon has more to him than this, but as a philosophy prof he could be just a conquistadore of sankhara.

Russell, intellectualism is an addiction – addiction to the self of sankhara. Intellectualism is not learning, it is circulating around mental proliferations. Learning is the path scything through these proliferations and coming up with internalised truth. There is a case for studying the intellectual ideals so that you have the tools with which to discourse, but remember that discourse without purpose – without internalising – is simply verbalising the proliferations.

Russell, you have a huge advantage over most intellectuals. Through the 12 steps you connected with the path – with the power that helped you fight through your addiction. Intellectualism per se does not know this power, in fact conditionality (which includes the intellectual) is afraid of that power, of the truth that scythes through meandering rationales. Remember the path, do not get sucked back into the world of intellectual addiction because you respect “profs”.

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