Fooloso4 wrote: ↑
November 21st, 2018, 11:31 am
The question of 'How can I change the world?' is likely to be met here with great skepticism and perhaps outright contempt, as it seems flawed. It includes the idea that one could change the world, when one of the cornerstones of many philosophies is that one can not.
This may be a cornerstone of Stoicism but see Descartes provisional moral code in the Discourse on Method:
My third maxim was to try always to master myself rather than fortune, and to change my desires rather than the order of the world….
This was a provisional stance. In the Meditations he talks about the Archimedean point from which he could move the world. With the advance of method one no longer has to accept the world as it is. Modern science has changed the world.
I do not think it was just the modern thinkers who changed the world. Plato and Aristotle were influential in changing the world as well, although not the physical world. Alexander, however, did.
There are a long list of technological advances that have changed the world.
I was not able to confirm Mr. Rouse’s claim that:
I’ve assembled a large team, spanned across the globe, and established powerful connections
But there will be people who will make technological breakthroughs and people who will amass wealth. People who have the power and desire to do good. Mr. Rouse may be a bit over ambitious, but sometimes the young do things that those who are older do not because they have not yet been convinced that they cannot.
Descartes' quote is simply a restatement of the stoic position that you have little to no power to affect the outside world, but you control your attitudes, opinions, desires, and aversions. Thus, you control your experience in the world by being able to align your desires and aversions to reality, rather than the other way around. Expect things to happen as they do, and you have no need to be surprised, shocked, angered or sad. Reality may remain the same, but your experience of it can be better, not by lying to yourself, but by learning to appraise reality more correctly.
I thought the Archimedian point was the frame of reference of "I think therefore I am, and that's all I know for sure." Isn't it the reasonable starting point of the journey of discovery? I know Archimedes said he could move the world with a big enough lever, but can you expend on what Descartes said about changing the world? Either way, I think it is fair to say philosophy often reminds us that we have little effect on the world.
The changes in the world in a hundred or a thousand generations are not earth-shattering, and arguably not material to the experience of being human. We can extend life expectancy and comfort for some, but many important things remain much the same, with new actors on a new stage performing essentially the same play. People still love and hate, dare and fear, and sacrifice and steal. We still have injustice and war and murder and suicide and poetry and music and art and dogs. I don't have the quote at hand but Marcus Aurelius said basically this in "The Meditations".
None of that should be seen as discouraging people from attempting to do great work. But, they should enter it with the necessary humility, rationally, without fear of things going wrong, or notions of how things must necessarily proceed.
On a related note, I believe things quickly went wrong for Achievable here because he is missing out on that stoic outlook. He perhaps entered with an idea of how the thread should evolve, and quickly attached motives to others when the responses were not as expected:
Achievable wrote: ↑
November 20th, 2018, 8:35 am
I'd consider it downright insulting, rude, and disgusting behavior, personally...
The response here has provided nothing but mirth. I expected high-level, calculated responses. I got a bunch of children mouthing off instead, who are likely double my age....
If someone wants to respond with some dignity, I'm happy to respond. Had any of you done some basic research, I think you'd be taking me a bit more seriously...
I'm glad you all think this is a joke. I take this topic extremely
seriously. Maybe I was wrong in thinking this was a serious audience.
I'm actually disgusted.
Actually, none of the responses struck me as mean or lacking seriousness, and remained mild even as people were accused of not being serious enough. This is where you could alter your experience for the better, by being ready to take events as they come, and not making them into something they are not.
'If a person gave your body to any stranger he met on his way, you would certainly be angry. And do you feel no shame in handing over your own mind to be confused and mystified by anyone who happens to verbally attack you?' Epictetus
If I was looking for trolling, or upset because events were not unfolding according to my plan, I could have also found reasons to be offended. I try hard instead to assume that others are giving their best, and to assume that I have something to learn from all of them. Instead of being upset that they did not get my point, I should perhaps consider that I did not get theirs.
Maybe some of you can recall the Twilight Zone episode called "Walking Distance". The man goes back in time to encounter his younger self, and desperately wants to warn him to stop and enjoy the journey and not chase material things. Yet, the harder he tries to get the message to his younger self, the worse things go.
"Martin, I only wanted to tell you that this is the wonderful time of life--now, here. That's all I wanted to tell you, God help me..."
This is how I felt reading the OP's message. I can see myself making similar statements at that age, and being immune to learning as a result, even in a place ripe for learning such as this one. I was seeking validation from others, and seeking happiness from the outside, and thought if I became wealthy I would be better able to show the world what a good person I was on the inside. But, I found much later that this strategy is tragically flawed, and you must begin on the inside, and build the pyramid from the bottom up, not top down. Doing so removes all the stress and drama and gives you a better chance to achieve great things in the long run, or at least to be satisfied with what you are able to achieve.
"If determinism holds, then past events have conspired to cause me to hold this view--it is out of my control. Either I am right about free will, or it is not my fault that I am wrong."