What I have to say to nihilistic New Age types

by phil on Friday May 8, 2009 3:51 PM

Tony Soprano is recovering in the hospital and is seeking some condolence from an older, fellow patient. Tony brings up a conversation about life after death and mentions "heaven" and "hell." The old man replies, "Well, that presupposes a duality of Good & Evil. That gets us back to the idea of separate opposing entities." And then old man shines a broad smile.

My response to the old man is, "but your smile is evidence that that thought is "good," right?"

When Buddhists and other New Age types sort of wax nihilistic by saying something like, "We're all connected, nothing and everything matters." I just want to throw it back to them and say, "But that sentence matters. It gives you peace!"

There's got to be a school of philosophy that urges all statements of philosophy be put into the context of the basic human needs of the speaker. Any philosophy, whether it's Deconstruction or Existentialism, should also be investigated for what they do for the psyches of their supporters.

Most people carry, probably, an average of 2.2 philosophies throughout their adulthood. Nobody who is 36 believes the same thing that they did when they were 18. Even Sartre evolved from Exisentialism is a Humanism. We should consider all philosophies as transitional thoughts we cling to because of evolved biological propensities.

Even this post should be analyzed in this light. Am I writing this to be the smartest smart alec on the block? Do I just have an overly self-involved, agnostic, and non-committal attitude about everything? Or am I doing what every egotistical philosopher has done, which is infuse a philosophy with seductive words in an attempt to immortalize their ego.


Rahul said on May 10, 2009 9:33 AM:

"all statements of philosophy be put into the context of the basic human needs of the speaker"

...on a temporal scale too. Not just the time scale of an individual's life, but generally over time. What one says in terms of a philosophical statement needs to be understood in the context of how far the human social race has matured and evolved as well. It can aid one to understand, for example, whether one is claiming nihilism because it is a new idea, an old idea, a good idea, a popular idea, or the truth. (All of these descriptors assume dualities - an utter failure on the part of language to allow us to communicate about the truth without an assumed non-true option). /rd

Philip Dhingra said on May 10, 2009 9:44 AM:

That's a good point. I almost like how philosophy was taught to me in High School and in Sophie's World, where the treatment was more like a study of history of culture. Every major philosophical movement had its corresponding artistic movement. i.e. Post-modernism had Derrida and post-modern Art.

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