View Full Version : A Philosophy Discussion

03-10-2005, 12:44 PM
I don't know if this will go anywhere, but here's my weak attempt at starting a discussion...

As some of you know, I am living in France right now where I am going to high school (I've already graduated and don't do any of the work, I go to learn french) and taking a philosophy class. Now, I don't speak French very well yet, and I get only a few words every once in awhile, but despite this, I still find the class interesting. Every day, there's an interesting lesson that really makes me want to understand more of what is being said. Today for example, the teacher (who speaks a little English, but not enough to be taken seriously) translated the main topic of the lesson for me:

A man with intelligence misses out on an imagination. He cannot see the world, or what's beyond the horizon.

Well, this got me thinking. If this is true, what is more valuable? Which would I rather have? What do I have? Why does one need the imagination to see the world? It's right here! But then, what is imagination? Wouldn't it take imagination to not see the world - to see the world as a place where "Hands Across the Middle East" is being organized and Africa has the highest obesity rate?

I can agree that it's very possible that someone's intelligence can hinder their imagination. "What?! Children can't fly! It's physically impossible for a little boy to stay young forevor. The migratory patterns of a crocodile contradict those of J.M. Barrie's Hook-hungry Croc!"

Is it best to see what is really there, or what could be there? What's the difference between "imagination" and "dreams?" What is the difference between "to imagine" and "to dream?"

The French students impress me. Every student comes to class with their pencil kits filled with anything they might need; they take notes word for word, they highlight, underline, color code... It's incredible how focused they are. When I asked what it was they are all studying they said: journalist, teaching, literature, international business, german literature. No aspiring writers, actors, musicians. A few days ago, we (we being the family I'm living with) were watching Star Acadamy, a kind of American/Pop Idol thing for those of you who aren't familiar. Anastasia, the nine year old, loves this show. As Ginie (the mother) was explaining to me the concept of the show, she added that she doesn't like her girls to watch this too often because then they want to be stars, instead of working hard in life, and those are not realistic dreams. Now, I'm sure most people here who know me at all, know that I do not agree with this. But Ginie is an extremely intelligent person.

Is this what makes America so amazing - the ability to dream? (I use America only because it's my country and the country I am most familiar with. I'm sure you can dream in Iceland too, but just go with it. Feel free to use any other country in your response if applicable). Have we been successful because we can dream, and imagine things?

I don't know where I'm going with this, the topic just got me thinking. I think I have an imagination, but I don't want that to mean that I am stupid. I love the world, I love everything it has to offer, so with what am I viewing it, and what is that effect?

The lesson ended with:
When a man questions, there are many answers. It is the argument that matters

I wish I knew more French to better understand how one gets from point A to point B. I think I may have gone from Point A to Point K, so if anyone understands a little about what I'm saying and has something to add, please do.

03-10-2005, 01:05 PM
So... these focused French students wanted to be those "ordinary" jobs. Doesn't mean they don't have dreams. Maybe they aren't the same as yours, but they're dreams nonetheless. More achievable, more ordinary, but dreams... yes. Some people aren't imaginative, it isn't a fault necessarily, it's just how they are... Meh.

03-10-2005, 01:59 PM
I used the french school as an example, because I'm writing what I know. Look past that. I did not express my opinions, only presented arguments for both sides.

If this helps anyone:
<Jet> Does this in any way relevant to your thread at all
<Jet> So... these focused French students wanted to be those "ordinary" jobs. Doesn't mean they don't have dreams. Maybe they aren't the same as yours, but they're dreams nonetheless. More achievable, more ordinary, but dreams... yes. Some people aren't imaginative, it isn't a fault necessarily, it's just how they are... Meh.
<Kelsey> one minute
<Jet> o
<Jet> *k
<Kelsey> no i'm saying...is it better that they're focused and they are like...i mean, the teacher...right, that person is going to be teacher and he knows hes going to be successful
<Kelsey> i'm not doubting that he has dreams
<Kelsey> i'm wondering what the difference is in the way we view the world and possibilities
<Kelsey> i don't know..i think i'm deleting the thread.
<Jet> let me post my ramble first hmmm interesting topic
<Jet> i reckon you should wait for the... haz's and cliff's... only because they like to prove their brains in such areas
<Kelsey> yeah, haz'll find some way to argue with me, even though i'm not really giving my opinions...I'm simply asking...i showed examples of both sides
<Kelsey> maybe not clearly, but they're ther
<Jet> their side isn't as clear but it's there probably yeah
<Kelsey> i'm wondering if its better to have more realistic dreams
<Kelsey> like these people i've met
<Jet> What's a... unrealistic dream?
<Jet> Is it just what you put, writer, actor, musicians?
<Kelsey> eyah, i mean whats "safer"? writer or doctor?
<Jet> Is it safer because you can study extremely hard for one, while the other you need a... well nutured, maybe genetically given imagination abiliy?
<Kelsey> yeah..i guess its just the differences in the way we are brought up. in france, school is important, where as in america, if you want to be an astronaught, and the president and a ballet dancer, you're encouraged
<Jet> No you aren't... depends on your parents...
<Jet> Example, there's some parents that send their children to as many children pagents as possible, others where they'll just want them to study books...
<Kelsey> encouraged by general society...we have hollywood, we are hounded with the person who came from nothing and has achieved fame and riches every single day
<Kelsey> france doesn't have that equivalent because they know a lot of american stars...they can't relate
<Kelsey> stardom of course isn't the only example
<Jet> Is it a good thing they are lured into stardom? Sure, some can achieve it...
<Kelsey> its not even about the specific thing that they dream about...its the ability to dream? are you a dreamer, or are you more realistic about your future?
<Jet> I occasionally dream about playing keyboard with my mate and hopefully touring the world
<Jet> But then I've got more realistic ones about... doctor and uni
<Jet> But i'm bad at improv so that narrows me down
<Jet> You just... balance...
<Jet> You either focus on a realistic or the unrealistic one, it isn't just about dreaming
<Jet> It's not, focusing with highlighters and pencils, but you still have to focus.. to be an actress writer or muscian... I think anyway
<Kelsey> i think so too...but theres gonna be one that outweighs the other...thats what i'm asking...does it really effect how you view the world?
<Jet> How so... like do I admire muscians? Some of them, greatly
<Jet> Is that what you mean?
<Kelsey> does that affect the energy you put into striving for your goals?
<Jet> As in... if I go for the "realistic" goal, I put in less effort?
<Princess_Kelsey> i don't know, do you?
<Princess_Kelsey> because its right there
<Princess_Kelsey> its reachable for sure
<Jet> I would've thought I'd be slacker going the muso way
<Princess_Kelsey> the world isn't so big and scary when you know exactly what hard work will get you
<Jet> Not bother studying as much, just relaxing at home trying to learn how to improv, jam together, try and get gigs
<Jet> What's your dream, realistic and so called unrealistic?
<Princess_Kelsey> what, mine personally/
<Jet> yes
<Princess_Kelsey> i dont have any "realistic" dreams...if I don't achieve my unrealistic dreams, then I'm fucked
<Princess_Kelsey> I don't want a realistic dream because subconciously, I want to know that I can't fail
<Jet> Overstatement... what's your unrealistic dream?
<Princess_Kelsey> Have my own film production company...I want four of the five Acadamy Award best picture nominees to be my film, I want my tv shows to make up most of a network schedule, I want an office with an aquarium and a schedule that's booked until next month
<Jet> What do you want before that. In... a year or two
<Princess_Kelsey> to do that...I want to work for Laura Prepon (which is in the works) for her production company and learn everything I can, so that in ten years I can be ready to go off and start my own company
<Jet> In the works?
<Princess_Kelsey> yeah, I've already discussed with her working for her when i get back from france
<Jet> So your dreams are pretty realistic
<Jet> It's just... different perceptives
<Princess_Kelsey> yes
<Princess_Kelsey> exactly, i think thats what i'm trying to get at
<Princess_Kelsey> they're realistic to me...but not to the woman I'm living with who believes success comes with good grades
<Jet> Is it dreaming or imagination necessary to have the different perceptive?
<Princess_Kelsey> whats the difference?
<Princess_Kelsey> imagination was in the quote, i threw dreaming in just because
<Jet> .. ok, is imagination needed to have that different perception?
<Princess_Kelsey> says the quote
<Princess_Kelsey> the quote says you can have one or the other
<Princess_Kelsey> without one you can't have the luxuries of the other, in this case, if you want intelligence, you can't "see over the horizon"
<Jet> But you're not unintelligent, you just see your path as more realistic
<Princess_Kelsey> whats the horizon? reality?
<Jet> Horizon is other people's view...
<Jet> As in... the lady thinks intelligent and she can't see your side as realistic...
<Princess_Kelsey> that makes sense

03-10-2005, 02:28 PM
This question speaks to the American spirit. Anyone who's ever been to Disney (land...world...whatever) can see this right away. Imagining a better life has brought countless immigrants to these shores for centuries. Imagining a better life drove Americans west. Imagining what was possible drove us into the sky and to the moon.
Imagination is a powerful fuel source, but it's like a can of gasoline. If you don't put it into some sort of machine, it doesn't do anything. And, like the can of gasoline, if it's not handled properly, it can burn you. Too many people do nothing but dream about a better life. They don't put forth any effort to achieve it. They spend money every week on the lottery and fantasize about some big prize that never materializes. They've listened to Walt Disney talk about dreams, but never stopped to think about the incredible amount of work he put into creating what he did.
Too often, imagination is confused with pure fantasy. People in business tend to view imagination as the thing that keeps people from working, when, in reality, imagination is the driving force behind every successful business. Do you think the Apple MacIntosh or Windows based PC could have been envisioned without imagination? Not to mention the internet. Look at the automobile industry. Twenty years ago, the SUV didn't exist. We called station wagons with big tires Jeeps and left it at that. Now, the SUV dominates the market. It took imagination to see families piling into a vehicle that, at the time, was viewed as a truck.
The trick with imagination is to harness it. I think there is a harm in the "American Idol" types of shows, simply because they appeal to the lottery win mindset. I'd rather see shows that focus on the endless hours of practice and rehearsal that is required to make it in the entertainment industry.
I knew kids in high school who were convinced they were going to play professional football. Two of them were right. They trained hard, practiced and studied film. They worked on running routes and catching passes. One played several years as a tight end for the Washington Redskins and the other as a wide receiver for the New Orleans Saints. The third had it all mapped out. He was going to go to West Virgina University and then on to the NFL as a linebacker. Problem was, he never even made the starting line up in high school. He didn't work on becoming faster. He didn't lift the weight to get stronger. All he did was imagine what he would do, if he only got the opportunity. The first two examples, put the gasoline of imagination into the engine of hard work and got where they wanted to go. The third, simply got burned.

03-10-2005, 02:42 PM
I think Hasselbrad summed up my thoughts exactly. Well said.

I hope I'm doing something other than just dreaming about what it is I want...

Thanks for posting, that's exactly what I was trying to convince myself of through all my rambling.

03-10-2005, 02:45 PM
I think Hasselbrad summed up my thoughts exactly. Well said.

I hope I'm doing something other than just dreaming about what it is I want...

Thanks for posting, that's exactly what I was trying to convince myself of through all my rambling.

Speaking of "doing", rather than just dreaming, you'll soon have mail.

03-10-2005, 03:10 PM
Oooh, super. I'm excited.

03-10-2005, 09:06 PM
Damn, Hassel stole all my points.

Imagination needs intelligence to channel it. But without the former the latter's all but useless and innovation would never occur.

04-10-2005, 04:21 AM
Lets not beat around the bush. Philosophy is boring.

I had to take it as a first year elective (better that than electrical engineering. Or so I thought) and am qualified to tell everyone that is as boring as bat shit.

04-10-2005, 04:40 AM
I Heart Huckabee's made is entertaining at least for those 2 1/2 hours or however long it was.

04-10-2005, 06:08 AM
Lets not beat around the bush. Philosophy is boring.

Depends on whether you're a thinker or a doer. I had to study philosophy too and it was my favourite part of my degree. You're a more practical man, you like to use your hands and work out how things work, which I do too, but then I'm also in tune with the ideas part of my brain, possibly more so than the practical side.

Some aspects of philosophy can be dull, but others are fascinating. This topic, for example, is intriguing, but I think relatively simple. Much more interesting topics include; Are good and evil merely human constructs, born in the brain, subjective and without any objective basis whatsoever? Or does the fact that there's a consensus on certain things (murder for example) suggest otherwise? Another interesting topic would be whether a man who steals a loaf of bread to feed his hungry and starving family during a time of immense poverty for his country, where he's struggled to find work, no matter how hard he tries, deserves the same punishment as a man who steals a Mercedes because he likes the look of it and wants it?

I don't mean to spark off a discussion about these topics here, as Kelsey has her own topic for this thread, just that I think philosophy is as interesting as you want to make it. The key is to apply it to your area of passion (like mine were both about morality and legality, and I did Law) and see how that works out for you.

This topic SHOULD be of topic to a man such as yourself, as you're an aviator and an IT boffin and both those forms of technology required imagination AND intelligence to be invented. :p

04-10-2005, 06:58 AM
Thats the key. I dont want to make it interesting :p

I find philosophy classes are generally full of mindless automatons who dont think, dont formulate their own view, and who sit there and waste oxygen. They simply take the accepted norm in society, take the inverse, and assume they have solved the meaning of life and found the solution to all the worlds problems. Way to go, Einstein.

I sat through 2 semesters listening to boring men in cardigans preach about existentialism, morality, the religious condition, and countless other topics, and again, the automaton complex kicked in. 90% of the class took the opposite view to the lecturer, as if they were out to prove a point. The other 10% were the lazy fucks like me who didnt bother thinking at all.

The catch is that I *am* a thinking person. Whenever I see something new, I start asking myself how and why does it work, thinking how a given system could be improved, something along those lines. I suppose the difference is that I devote my majority of my thinking time to, as you said, practical things.

I find a use for practical things. I find no use in pondering whether or not trees falling in the forest make a sound if nobody sees it fall.

04-10-2005, 08:46 AM
The way I was brought up, imagination and innovation is secondary to hard work. Due to Korea's history, due to this work ethic, Korea has ascended from 3rd world poverty (due to the aftermath of Japanese occupation) and is now in the top 10 economies in the world. Which goes to show what collective hard work, commitment and sacrifice will achieve.
The Korean education system is similar to the American one with a real emphasis on the grades, more so than America. The top students battling it out for percentages between 98-100% in their exams, high suicide rates when they realise they will never be as capable as they thought they were... its a cutthroat education system.

Everyone wants to become a doctor, lawyer, executive in some big company, or an accountant. The emphasis has switched from hard manual work, to stable, well paying jobs which are secure. Parents want to give their children a 'happy' wealthy future.

Thats getting a little bit off topic, but needless to say, my parents retain the same mentality, blocking my efforts to do things like drama and art, because being able to draw and act will not help me become a doctor. Under a close strict eye, I achieved silly high results in everything I did before I was 14.
Around this time, I got rebellious, which is the western way, and stop doing work. Started actually experiencing the outside world. Started talking to people who originally though I was a bookworm antisocial prick (watch it), and developing a sense of humour. Upon which time I realised I was a thinker, and wasn't using that properly. The only thing I was doing was learning things, and repeating things. Thats not intelligence, thats practiced recall.

Again, I've no idea where I'm going here, just that I know I have the ability, mentally or creatively to do almost anything I put my mind to, I just need to regain the ability to work hard, which I lost in the transition from a Korean upbringing to English life. I think I may have burnt out too... although if I was in korea, I wouldn't have had time to burn out, working too hard for that.

My practical side has gone on vacation, while my idealist side things I'll breeze through uni with no work. Its just about worked, but I'd like it back, so that I can pass easily, than hover over marks which I'm not sure whether to smile or cry about.

04-10-2005, 06:46 PM
I find no use in pondering whether or not trees falling in the forest make a sound if nobody sees it fall.

Oh not that old chestnut! You and I both know philosophy's more than just that :p

That said, as I said, it's a case of whether you're into theories or practice, and you're a practical man.

As for Cliff's point, that equally interesting. I'd definitely agree that it's a case of perspiration before inspiration, and imagination before intelligence, so that hard work is always the best way to achieve ANY result (and I agree with that, no matter how stupid or lacking in imagination you are, if you work your fucking nuts off, you'll get to the same end goal eventually), but imagination comes a close second (as you find ways to take shortcuts and avoid so much work ;)) and intelligent (where again, less hard work is required. A prime example being that I've always been a lazy cunt and yet my grades have always been exceptional. Now I'm out in the real world my lazy cunt ways are just not cutting it anymore :p)

And Cliff...you're NOT a bookworm antisocial prick?! :icon_surp