Questions - signs of wisdom or disconnection

This is the main board for discussing philosophy - formal, informal and in between.

Questions - signs of wisdom or disconnection

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Mon Sep 07, 2020 9:55 am

I thought this discussion could have its own thread. It is based on an exchange between Peter K. and Phyllo....

K: there are many, many here who don't have a clue that there is even such a thing
as a philosophical problem and that problem requires some sort of solution....

what is the question that drives you? what are you seeking to answer?
do you even have enough sense to at least ask questions about
what does existence mean to you? or do you just float along with life
like 99.9% of all people......those people never ask themselves the vital
questions of existence..... "what am I do to?" "what values should I hold?"
"what should I hope for?" and what has turned into my question,
"what is the point of existence?" the why of being.... we exists,
but why? "does life have meaning?" which is another way of saying,
"do I have meaning?" .....

is my life meaning found in that old Kantian answer?
God, freedom and immortality.....

I reject god and immortality, so all is left that's left for me is freedom....

In the end all I have, all I have is questions.... what is the point of existence,
mine, yours, ours........

Phyllo:]A person who has no need to ask those questions may be wiser than any philosopher.

K: I disagree with this statement, "a person who has no need to ask those questions
may be wiser than any philosopher"
a person who lacks the wisdom to ask questions means they aren't curious at all...
and one of the traits of every great human beings has been curiosity....
show me someone who isn't curious and that person is dumber then a rock....
intelligence is tied up in how curious a person is....
someone who has absolutely no curiosity is IQ45... and he is dumber then a rock...

Phyllo: What does curiosity have to do with it?
Those questions show a disconnection between the person asking and life, the universe and everything.
If you are connected, then the questions don't even arise.
You wouldn't look for 'meaning' if you had it already.

Some thoughts: many people do not ask questions I think they should. IOW they are speaking without knowing, or are not critical of the statements (orders, demands, explanations) of others. So here, it is a gain to go from the non-questioning state (on this issue or in general) to a questioning one. IOW I am supporting Peter here, so far, though not necessarily contradicting Phyllo, depending much on that word 'may' he used in his original assertion.

Then my sense is we all should be asking some kinds of questions regarding something in our lives, given what we know and don't know. IOW perhaps some ideal finished person who has all the knowledge they need, need not ask any questions or better put, asking questions will not benefit that person. But I don't know any one like that and so far as I know have never met anyone like that. The wisest people I know seem to have questions they feel in need of answer. They may have answers to questions I do not and/or to more questions than I have, but they still have things they want to know. And they are aware that for some things their own answers are not pat. IOW they are not sure about some of their answers, though they use these as working answers, open to revision. IOW I am supporting Peter here, though not necessarily contradicting Phyllo, depending much on that word 'may' he used in his original assertion.

Often when I read debates, especially, but not limited to political ones, I see people running tight ships. Critics of Trump will in general never admit some good position he has (or acknowledge that his position is the same one held by people they like (Clinton and Obama were also pro-wall, though quieter about it, for example) or weakness in 'their candidate'. This is also true of the other side. Everything is made binary. It comes off as if they cannot question the answer they have, the candidate they have, the position they have (on free will say). I think more questioning rather than team/position cheerleading would be better. So, that's a kind of support for Peter's position, with the same proviso.

I think Phyllo can be right also. You can certainly have people who ask questions who are morons. The fact that some people need to ask questions in certain situations can be a sign they weren't listening, they didn't try, they think the responsibility is always other people's, or even, simply and neutrally, their questions mean they don't know something. If two people are working in a lab one experienced the other not. The inexperienced person is in need of knowledge the other has and may very well ask more questions. This does not mean the silent experienced scientists has less wisdom. Phyllo's point is pretty clearly true in many situations. In many situations. Of course, it is wise of the less experienced person to have and use questions.

If we are looking at a person as a whole, I suppose I would tend to respect people who are curious and not finished with all that knowledge seeking stuff. Why? Well, I don't see people who have down pat what I would like down pat. Often they are part of the problem as far as I can see. Though some Zen monk utterly content with his gardening, with nary a question in the world is not someone I care to disturb.
Karpel Tunnel
Posts: 3258
Joined: Wed Jan 10, 2018 12:26 pm

Re: Questions - signs of wisdom or disconnection

Postby surreptitious75 » Mon Sep 07, 2020 2:41 pm

Not everyone has the time to ask questions about the meaning of life
But not everyone is interested in questions about the meaning of life

Human beings generally dont like anything that questions or contradicts their world view
Therefore to be truly curious about reality one must avoid having a dogmatic philosophy

It is better to be detached than open minded because detachment unlike open mindedness has no limitations

Human beings very often engage in binary thinking but there is rarely if ever a right side and a wrong side
Instead there are usually very many shades of grey in between so it is a spectrum that exists and not sides
But understanding the nuance of spectra is too demanding for many so they reduce it to the polar opposites
Such tribalism has always been dominant within human civilisation and ideally it should not exist but it does

There are absolutely no stupid questions [ when genuinely asked ] only stupid answers
For a question is merely a request for knowledge that the questioner does not possess
Posts: 1490
Joined: Sun Aug 27, 2017 5:48 pm

Re: Questions - signs of wisdom or disconnection

Postby WendyDarling » Mon Sep 07, 2020 7:01 pm

Phyllo wrote
You wouldn't look for 'meaning' if you had it already.

Is it meaning that folks are looking for or perfection that folks are looking for? Do people not have meaning in their lives or are they looking for some other meaning that is not actually a part of their reality?

I live my philosophy, it's personal to me and people who engage where I live establish an unspoken dynamic, a relationship of sorts, with me and my philosophy.

Cutting folks for sport is a reality for the poor in spirit. I myself only cut the poor in spirit on Tues., Thurs., and every other Sat.
User avatar
Posts: 7659
Joined: Sat Sep 11, 2010 8:52 am
Location: Hades

Re: Questions - signs of wisdom or disconnection

Postby Meno_ » Mon Sep 07, 2020 7:13 pm

ILP Legend
Posts: 7119
Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2015 2:39 am
Location: Mysterium Tremendum

Re: Questions - signs of wisdom or disconnection

Postby Peter Kropotkin » Tue Sep 08, 2020 11:45 am

As I am mentioned here, I may as well offer up my two cents....

the reason, well to be honest one of the reasons, I am so fixed about
the use of questions is because most people, well to be accurate, 99% of
everyone do not question their lives...they live out their lives
in the assumptions they have inherited from the family, the state,
the media, the church, schooling...assumptions like the one the
assumption that capitalism is the best economic system....
it isn't.... but how many challenge this assumption? few to none....

I use questions as a means of challenging people to think about
their assumptions.. this morning, millions of people will wake up
and go to school and go to work and buy things and how many
of those millions can tell you why, why? why do we engage
within such rote behavior without any thought as to why?

the use of questions is a means to wake people up to their existence
and the need to become aware of what it means to be human....

the vast majority of people simple sleepwalk through their lives without
any thought as to why they are doing what they are doing.....

you will wake up this morning and go to work...


what is the point of working? well, it puts food on my table.....

those historians who study such things have noted that we work
twice as hard as those who live in the middle ages.... and why?

well one might argue that we have the comforts of life
and they had jack shit... but must we really account for our
existence economically.. by the toys we can buy, the cars and
boats and TV sets and second or for some, a third house...

I have heard it said before....

"For what profits a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?"

now strip this statement of its religious context and see it as a
commentary on the economic and political world we have built today....

we might have gained the whole world in riches and in fame
and in titles but have you really gained anything worth having?

I don't think so....I would rather be the poorest man in the world
and seek the truth, then be the wealthiest man in the world
and live without asking myself, why? why does collecting,
specifically wealth, but why does collecting anything really matter?

if it causes me to lose sight of what is really important, the question of,
who am I and what does existence mean to me?

Who am I and why?

questions.. questions and then more questions... all I have are questions....

and all because I don't want my life or yours for that matter...
to live out our life based upon assumptions that we never had
the courage to challenge....

that we should never sleepwalk again through our existence....
we should become alive to our possibilities and do everything
we can do to reach our possibilities....and that means
discarding any and all assumptions that stand between us
and understanding what it really means to seek our
possibilities .....

"Those who sacrifice liberty for security
wind up with neither."
"Ben Franklin"
Peter Kropotkin
ILP Legend
Posts: 8322
Joined: Thu Apr 07, 2005 1:47 am
Location: blue state

Return to Philosophy

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users