Philosphical thoughts for the day

This is a thread for posting thoughtful ideas that I have come across from time to time. They are things that make me stop to think for a second or two. You are welcome to add thoughts of your own.

78 thoughts on “Philosphical thoughts for the day

  1. fig7 Post author

    ” The truth is never in anyone’s best interests “
    ” The truth will set you free ”
    from Babylon 5 & Crusade

    ” …but the truth always matters ”
    from Star Trek Continues

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  2. fig7 Post author

    ” We do judging all the time. What would culture be without judgment? Seperation at points are necessary for order. “
    Robert L. Saucy

    ” There’s no time in life to judge. Only time enough for love. “
    Heather Nova

    Perhaps we should compromise and judge others only when it is necessary?

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  3. fig7 Post author

    We are taught that energy cannot be created or destroyed. It is an axiom of physics. But is the same true of information? It seems to me that the universe is always creating new information (and destroying it too).

    As Joni Mitchell said ” Well something’s lost, but something’s gained in living every day “

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  4. fig7 Post author

    ” Survival of the fittest ” ?

    When I was growing up the idea of “the fittest” was always taught as basically meaning “most effective killer”. i.e. nature is ruthless and cruel, it’s a dog eat dog world out there.

    However, it doesn’t mean that at all. Fittest in this context means “best able to provide what is needed to survive”. When you look at it like that the theory of evolution by natural selection looks very different. In other words, although ruthlessness is likely to be an effective strategy it is not the only strategy. I particularly like the way Richard Dawkins puts it:

    ” Natural selection works because it is a cumulative one-way street to improvement ”
    from The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins (2006)

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  5. fig7 Post author

    I’m working my way through “The God Delusion” by Richard Dawkins. I’ve been reading the section that discusses “Morality thought experiments” (in chapter 6). The experiments were all about giving people a choice in a difficult situation. People tend to make the same decisions, whether they are religious or not, supporting Richard’s argument that morality does not need (and does not come from) religion. Some of those decisions made me think that perhaps the reason for this is that “Do no harm” is the basic principle on which the decisions were based. It is a more fundamental idea and something that life figured out a very long time ago.

    Richard also mentions guilt at one point, which reminds me of another idea concerning the origin of religion: ” I’ve got enough guilt to start my own religion ” Tori Amos (from Crucify)

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  6. fig7 Post author

    Continuing through “The God Delusion”, I’ve now read the section that deals with the “The moral Zeitgeist”. I’m curious about a couple of things. 1. Richard doesn’t see any connection with religion, and yet he sees the “moral Zeitgeist” as mysterious. I thought it was common knowledge that “God works in mysterious ways”. The word Zeitgeist means “Spirit of the times”. The Bible has the Holy Spirit, which is also an eternal spirit. 2. I’m not sure why the conclusion isn’t simply that the “moral Zeitgeist” is natural selection. Not biological natural selection obviously, but natural selection just the same. I wonder why Richard didn’t say that. Perhaps it is because with biological evolution the evidence for natural selection is overwhelming. Perhaps the evidence isn’t quite so clear cut for questions of human nature? Fortunately, if you write philosophy instead of science you can get away with a bit more and you can then come to the conclusion that it is the same thing. Have a look at my book here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00NC2G6T2

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  7. fig7 Post author

    So I have finished reading The God Delusion. I noticed that in the concluding section Richard mentions the Human Spirit. Is that simiar to the Holy Spirit I wonder? Or “The Spirit of Man” perhaps (from Jeff Wayne’s The War of the Worlds), or the previously mentioned “Spirit of the Times”. No, I am not religious. I just like picking out these similarities, mainly because I think we are all the same: believers or non-believers, there is no difference! Richard finishes the book with what you might call a proud statement of hope. We think the same way, so I can thoroughly recommend The God Delusion. Of course, I’m also inclined to recommend The Universal Dream. Please read that too!

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  8. fig7 Post author

    ” The only truth you can really know is the truth about yourself ”

    But that’s not to say we should ever stop learning, exploring, and expanding our knowledge. The truth is also a journey of discovery. We don’t know where it will take us…

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  9. fig7 Post author

    Dr. Philip Weber: ” You don’t know everything House! ”

    Dr. Gregory House: ” The universe always settles the score. ”
    Dr. Lisa Cuddy: ” Does it? ”
    Dr. Gregory House: ” No, but it should. ”

    House, (from the episode Distractions)

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  10. fig7 Post author

    Margaret: ” Drinking that entire bottle of Scotch is not going to solve your problems. ”
    Becker: ” I know that. That’s why I have another bottle in my office. “

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  11. Stuart Fisher

    House: It would be meaningless.
    Cuddy: Then find some meaning… and do something.

    From House, season 5, ep1.

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  12. fig7 Post author

    I found this quote on a YouTube video for the track “One Night in Space” by Tangerine Dream:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5TDz-C3wlI RIP Edgar Froese

    “Mankind’s journey into space, like
    every great voyage of discovery, will
    become part of our unending journey
    of liberation. In the limitless reaches
    of space, we will find liberation from
    tyranny, from scarcity, from
    ignorance and from war.

    We will find the means to protect this
    Earth and to nurture every human life,
    and to explore the universe…
    This is our mission, this is our destiny.”

    Ronald Reagan

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  13. fig7 Post author

    “All I need is being right. No gravity.” from Galaxies by Laura Viers

    I’ve heard atheists argue that God (and religion) hold us back. A bit like gravity perhaps? But gravity is also something that challenges us. If we are ever to leave this planet and take our place amongst the stars we will have to overcome it. Something to think about…

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  14. fig7 Post author

    ” Energy is quantum noise. Mass is quantum silence. ”

    Just a crazy interpretation I came up with while attending the New Scientist Quantum World event at the weekend.

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  15. Stuart Fisher

    On the recent SpaceX landing attempts:
    Two of the attempts have been very close. It seems to me that the software on the rocket would have known that the landing wasn’t going to be successful, and it could therefore have been programmed to perform an abort and retry: fire up the engine again, fly back up to a suitable altitude and then try the landing manoeuvre again. This might have worked in both of the recent failures, assuming there was enough fuel left to do it (I imagine there would be, at least for one more attempt). In the first instance the throttle issue might not have been as big a problem on the second attempt. In the second instance, retracting and then lowering the landing legs again might have been enough to fix the dodgy leg and enable the second attempt at landing to be successful.

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  16. Stuart Fisher

    I have two things to say about the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica (2004-2009)

    I really don’t like the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica because it’s bonkers.
    I really like the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica because it’s bonkers.

    I’ll leave it as an exercise for the reader to elaborate on the point…

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  17. Stuart Fisher

    “Ambassador I have traveled far and seen much, and what I’ve seen tells me that all sentient beings are best defined by their capacity and their need for love.”
    Shaal Mayan, Minbari poet

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  18. Stuart Fisher

    “It’s going to take a lot more than 100 years to evolve a better human.”
    Dr. Stephen Franklin, Babylon 5

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  19. Stuart Fisher

    “Better the illusions that exalt us than 10,000 truths.”
    Marcus Cole, Babylon 5 (also Aleksandr Pushkin)

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  20. Stuart Fisher

    I was thinking about the Babylon 5 questions posed by the Vorlons and Shadows. There should logically be a third question. Perhaps “What can you do?” might fulfill that role.

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  21. Stuart Fisher

    “Well if you don’t matter, nothing matters” Captain Sheridan, explaining why comedians matter.

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  22. Stuart Fisher

    “Prayer comes before power.”
    Rached Ghannouchi, Head of Conservative Islamist Party, Tunisia
    (from Michael Moore’s Where to Invade Next.)

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  23. Stuart Fisher

    My short take on the origin of life, the universe, and everything:
    In the modern world, we have worked out that God is “trial and error repeated indefinitely”. This is the intelligent design that is life, it is a relentless energy that never gives up and never surrenders. The only question that remains is whether this existence of ours is an accident or a design?

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  24. Stuart Fisher

    It has been said that we should fight fire with fire. It is a perfectly valid strategy, of course, but it would perhaps be wise to use as much water as you can get hold of too…

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  25. Stuart Fisher

    Thought from yesterday:

    I read today that Donald Trump said: “A nation without borders is not a nation.”

    No, it’s not, a nation without borders is an Empire (or in the modern world, a Union). Expanding your nation’s borders is what makes a country great.

    I guess the logic behind nationalistic thinking is a practical logic and not a visionary one. But Donald Trump was elected based on a vision of making America great again, so he will need to deliver on that visionary promise too.

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  26. Stuart Fisher

    ” Life is an adventure to be explored, and without adventure, what’s the point? ”
    Gabrielle, from Xena, Warrior Princess (The path not taken)

    Presumably Gabrielle would like Steppenwolf then ;-)

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  27. Stuart Fisher

    Xena: ” I’m fighting for a better world.”
    Ares: “My dear Xena, you were always fighting for a better world.”
    from Xena, Warrior Princess (The Reckoning)

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  28. Stuart Fisher

    From Armour & Sword by Rush:

    ” A refuge for the coming night
    A future of eternal light
    No one gets to their heaven without a fight ”

    Describes Babylon 5 too, IMO.

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  29. Stuart Fisher

    There are three things you need in life:
    Air – because you need the space to breathe
    Food – to give you the energy to do what you want to do
    Love – because without love… (life is like a tree without fruit (attributed to Khalil Gibran))

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  30. Stuart Fisher

    In response to Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Science in America clip (posted on Facebook):

    It does seem to me that we are living in more polarized times. I had a couple of thoughts about Neil’s video, but there is one that I feel quite strongly about. One of things I think that divides us is that we don’t fully understand each other as well as we should. For example, I suspect that many religious people would object to the use of the word truth in Neil’s video. If you are religious you’ll be more inclined to have your own ideas about truth (coming from your faith). Consequently I think perhaps we have to stress that scientific truth is not the same as “the truth”. When scientists use the word truth (and like Neil I also consider myself a scientist) we always mean what I like to call demonstrable truth. The point is that we are always talking about things we can verify by observation and experiments. We can demonstrate that what we are saying is true. I wonder if making this point to people who are in denial of science would help to win them over. I think that a religious person puts religious truth before scientific truth because he, or she, thinks they are comparing the same thing. They’re just not the same thing at all. You can have faith in a religious truth AND understand and accept scientific (demonstrable) truth. I think that is the message we need to get across somehow. Of course, we also have to deal with the other prevailing thinking of our times, which is that the truth doesn’t matter; just say and do whatever gets you what you want. Donald Trump has shown us how effective that strategy can be :-(

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  31. Stuart Fisher

    “Who am I?
    Who I am is not important.
    What you need to know is that I’m here to chew bubble gum and kick ass, and I’m all out of bubble gum.”

    Inspired by Babylon 5 and They Live.

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  32. Stuart Fisher

    “Remind me why we’re doing this again.
    Because we’re the only ones who can…

    You know, we, we could just abandon this ill-fated quest.
    Go live up by the sea. A nice warm sun. I could, I could fish, and you could do the washing…

    Have little quarter-elf babies, with ever so slightly pointed ears.
    What do you say?

    Sounds lovely, but it’s not me. ”

    from Mythica: The Godslayer

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