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A beginner question, and introduction

Please post all introductions in this forum. Tell us how you found the philosophy forums, what interests you about philosophy, and a little about you, such as your age, where you live, what you do for a living, etc.
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TheoDoesBurg
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A beginner question, and introduction

Post by TheoDoesBurg » January 8th, 2019, 10:43 am

Dear philosophers,

Are there any philosophical readings that you would recommend that deals with/discusses the topics of lost faith, disillusionment, and/or despair?
And how about ones that deals in the concepts and motivations of selfishness and selflessness?


A little background about myself if any of you are interested:

I was once a deeply religious person. I would go to Church a lot, and I would ask many questions to the priests there about the Bible.
About what would happen if a baby dies if it had never accepted Jesus (since they say all humans are born with sin), and what would happen if a pious person died after that person had just committed a sin, and hadn't had the time to ask for forgiveness yet.
As the days grew by, I began to notice, that they didn't always have an answer that satisfies me. And with how the Church itself being splintered in their teachings, I began to question whether they even know where they're going themselves.

Long story short, I found myself now to be a non-religious person. And while I do not despise people with a religion/regard them as fools, I find myself unable to bring myself to believe in a religion (or in a mythical God) again.
I do believe that every person has their own "God" inside them, which is their personal principles and morals.
And I notice some resemblance in what I once read in the Bible, that "God" is within us, it always watches us and chastises us when we betray it (guilt).

This revelation didn't come without a cost though, as it costed me my one and only source for optimism. I am now left a pessimist.
I would look at any new idea, or opportunity with a critical lens (perhaps overly so).
This has also exaggerated the problem of my selfishness.


Please forgive me if this is not the right place to ask about this, (this is the first time I've ever posted anything on any serious forum) and thank you in advance for answering.

Also, a few additional info on myself:
I found this forum through Google,
I am a web/UI designer who doubles as a web developer as well, and I like to listen to podcasts/videos on various topics, from gaming to philosophical lectures on the side while working.
I am of age 30, Male, and I am currently living in Indonesia.


Sincerely, Theo

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Arjen
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Re: A beginner question, and introduction

Post by Arjen » January 26th, 2019, 5:14 am

TheoDoesBurg wrote:
January 8th, 2019, 10:43 am
Dear philosophers,

Are there any philosophical readings that you would recommend that deals with/discusses the topics of lost faith, disillusionment, and/or despair?
And how about ones that deals in the concepts and motivations of selfishness and selflessness?
I am thinking maybe you should read Tractatus Theologico-Politicus. Spinoza didn't dare publish it before his death. So he gave a number of copies to his friends that all had it published after his death. I found it hard to read due to the many religious quotes and references in it. But, the thought he puts forward is compelling.

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TheoDoesBurg
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Re: A beginner question, and introduction

Post by TheoDoesBurg » January 28th, 2019, 9:35 am

Hi Arjen, thank you for your reply and recommendation. The reading you recommended does sound very interesting from what little I've looked up about it. I'll surely read it.

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Arjen
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Re: A beginner question, and introduction

Post by Arjen » January 28th, 2019, 9:29 pm

You are welcome. Given your introduction, it seems to fit. I can recommend Kierkegaard as well. But he is much less disappointed in religion.

Are you Dutch, or is only your name Dutch?

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Burning ghost
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Re: A beginner question, and introduction

Post by Burning ghost » January 28th, 2019, 11:14 pm

Nietzsche is worth a look too. The Birth of Tragedy is a good one to look at because it forces you to read works by Aristotle and Plato, and generally get to grips with ancient Greek views, in order to understand his thoughts. For easier access I’d recommend Beyond Good and Evil, but I’d suggest steering clear of Thus Spake ... because I personally feel the context of this work is entirely lost on the reader if they haven’t bothered to tackle his earlier works.

Jung, whilst not strictly a philosopher, is helpful for framing changing opinions and views on the elements that combine to create what I’ll loosely term as “religiosity”. The process of “individuation” is particularly interesting.

Kierkegaard is someone I really want to read. I’ve actually been looking for a copy of his Either/Or and hope to buy it today if I find one :)
AKA badgerjelly

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LuckyR
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Re: A beginner question, and introduction

Post by LuckyR » January 29th, 2019, 3:48 am

TheoDoesBurg wrote:
January 8th, 2019, 10:43 am
Dear philosophers,

Are there any philosophical readings that you would recommend that deals with/discusses the topics of lost faith, disillusionment, and/or despair?
And how about ones that deals in the concepts and motivations of selfishness and selflessness?


A little background about myself if any of you are interested:

I was once a deeply religious person. I would go to Church a lot, and I would ask many questions to the priests there about the Bible.
About what would happen if a baby dies if it had never accepted Jesus (since they say all humans are born with sin), and what would happen if a pious person died after that person had just committed a sin, and hadn't had the time to ask for forgiveness yet.
As the days grew by, I began to notice, that they didn't always have an answer that satisfies me. And with how the Church itself being splintered in their teachings, I began to question whether they even know where they're going themselves.

Long story short, I found myself now to be a non-religious person. And while I do not despise people with a religion/regard them as fools, I find myself unable to bring myself to believe in a religion (or in a mythical God) again.
I do believe that every person has their own "God" inside them, which is their personal principles and morals.
And I notice some resemblance in what I once read in the Bible, that "God" is within us, it always watches us and chastises us when we betray it (guilt).

This revelation didn't come without a cost though, as it costed me my one and only source for optimism. I am now left a pessimist.
I would look at any new idea, or opportunity with a critical lens (perhaps overly so).
This has also exaggerated the problem of my selfishness.


Please forgive me if this is not the right place to ask about this, (this is the first time I've ever posted anything on any serious forum) and thank you in advance for answering.

Also, a few additional info on myself:
I found this forum through Google,
I am a web/UI designer who doubles as a web developer as well, and I like to listen to podcasts/videos on various topics, from gaming to philosophical lectures on the side while working.
I am of age 30, Male, and I am currently living in Indonesia.


Sincerely, Theo
I understand why you ended up pessimistic, though another way of looking at your progression is that you never really possessed (because it never existed) what you feel you lost when you came to your realization about the nature of religion. No loss, no need to feel pessimistic.
"As usual... it depends."

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TheoDoesBurg
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Re: A beginner question, and introduction

Post by TheoDoesBurg » January 29th, 2019, 1:54 pm

Arjen, it does fit from what I've read.

While I believe that my current self who can see the flaws, the 'humanness' of religion is a better person than I was, I also find myself tending towards nihilism.
And I know nihilism is not really a good view if you want to achieve anything in the world. So I'm trying to fight my way away from that.
I'm hoping that by reading the thoughts of people who went down a similar path I might gain some insight on how to do that.

P.S. My mother said she probably had about 1/8 of Dutch blood but that's it. My mother got that name from the Bible. It's actually Theophilus (Ironic, I know). I just like the sound of DoesBurg and it is also the name of my favorite artist. Are you Dutch by the way?


Thank you Burning ghost, haha I think I made the grave mistake of starting Nietzsche with Zarathustra then.
I somehow got the wrong idea that it is going to be formatted as a telling of the life story of Nietzsche's Zarathustra and his struggles.
Any suggestion on a good starting point for Carl Jung?


LuckyR thank you but while I agree that by being freed from a blind faith in religious dogmas is a good thing, I am still in doubt about whether or not I have "thrown the baby out with the bathwater" in some way.
That there are some things that came from that believe in a religion, or a God, that are actually valuable/useful in some way.
And one of them is probably blind faith, that good things will come no matter how bad the situation is. As Gandalf puts it in the Lord of the Rings: "Just a fool's hope".
And maybe faith is just that. Even if you know it's foolish to hope, but you believe nonetheless and keeps moving.

And probably the loss of that faith is what prevents me from having the bravery to dream again.
Or maybe it's what they mean by religion being "the opiate of the masses"? Hahahaha.
But then they also say "there are no atheists in foxholes". Faith could be a useful thing in hopeless situations.

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Arjen
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Re: A beginner question, and introduction

Post by Arjen » January 29th, 2019, 4:28 pm

TheoDoesBurg wrote:
January 29th, 2019, 1:54 pm
While I believe that my current self who can see the flaws, the 'humanness' of religion is a better person than I was, I also find myself tending towards nihilism.
And I know nihilism is not really a good view if you want to achieve anything in the world. So I'm trying to fight my way away from that.
I'm hoping that by reading the thoughts of people who went down a similar path I might gain some insight on how to do that.
Not at all, at times the most healthy thing a person can do is break down what he or she previously thought and start building up again after that. It can be a great relief. Just make sure to build it more to your liking the second time. :)
P.S. My mother said she probably had about 1/8 of Dutch blood but that's it. My mother got that name from the Bible. It's actually Theophilus (Ironic, I know). I just like the sound of DoesBurg and it is also the name of my favorite artist. Are you Dutch by the way?
I am Dutch. Since the name is Dutch, I thought maybe you were as well. But nowadays that just isn't a guarantee anymore.

Burning ghost wrote:
January 28th, 2019, 11:14 pm
Nietzsche is worth a look too. The Birth of Tragedy is a good one to look at because it forces you to read works by Aristotle and Plato, and generally get to grips with ancient Greek views, in order to understand his thoughts. For easier access I’d recommend Beyond Good and Evil, but I’d suggest steering clear of Thus Spake ... because I personally feel the context of this work is entirely lost on the reader if they haven’t bothered to tackle his earlier works.
I second Beyond Good and Evil and I would add On the Genealogy of Morality. Both great reads. They lead up to Thus Spake, but if you already read that, why not just open these two. :)
Kierkegaard is someone I really want to read. I’ve actually been looking for a copy of his Either/Or and hope to buy it today if I find one :)
Good luck. Maybe you can start a topic on it when you read it. I would enjoy it.

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Burning ghost
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Re: A beginner question, and introduction

Post by Burning ghost » January 29th, 2019, 10:50 pm

Arjen -

Out of stock. Maybe they’ll have it in 3 months.
AKA badgerjelly

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LuckyR
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Re: A beginner question, and introduction

Post by LuckyR » January 30th, 2019, 3:22 am

TheoDoesBurg wrote:
January 29th, 2019, 1:54 pm
LuckyR thank you but while I agree that by being freed from a blind faith in religious dogmas is a good thing, I am still in doubt about whether or not I have "thrown the baby out with the bathwater" in some way.
That there are some things that came from that believe in a religion, or a God, that are actually valuable/useful in some way.
And one of them is probably blind faith, that good things will come no matter how bad the situation is. As Gandalf puts it in the Lord of the Rings: "Just a fool's hope".
And maybe faith is just that. Even if you know it's foolish to hope, but you believe nonetheless and keeps moving.

And probably the loss of that faith is what prevents me from having the bravery to dream again.
Or maybe it's what they mean by religion being "the opiate of the masses"? Hahahaha.
But then they also say "there are no atheists in foxholes". Faith could be a useful thing in hopeless situations.
Ah, you have (legitimately) changed the subject from logic to psychology. There is nothing wrong with going to a church, say with family, for the social and cultural benefits, without believing in religious dogma. Just as it is completely logical to read your children stories about Santa Claus. There is more to life than "truth".
"As usual... it depends."

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Burning ghost
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Re: A beginner question, and introduction

Post by Burning ghost » January 30th, 2019, 3:40 am

Thank you Burning ghost, haha I think I made the grave mistake of starting Nietzsche with Zarathustra then.
I somehow got the wrong idea that it is going to be formatted as a telling of the life story of Nietzsche's Zarathustra and his struggles.
Any suggestion on a good starting point for Carl Jung?
The first thing I read was a book made for general public consumption, it was “Man and his Symbols”. I think his memoirs are the most widely read, but I’ve not gotten roudn to them yet. I went straight for “Archetypes and The Collective Unconscious,” “ Individuation,” “The Red Book” and then “Aion”. You cannot go wrong with Man and His Symbols. His body of work is not for everyone and some people find it difficult to read - depends on your prejudices imo.

I’d also recommend something I studied quite intensely last year, Eliade’s “The Sacred and The Profane” - easily the most readable of his work I’ve read to date, being both thought provoking and reasonably succinct given the subject matter. Eliade is a well recognised anthropologist of religion and religious thought btw.

Note: I watched Brian Cox recently interviewed again on Joe Rogan show. Two and a half hours long, but felt like an hour to me! Really good to see Cox “softening” as he put it regarding his previous antagonism toward those not educated in the physics of nature. Anyway, have fun and jump into some discussions the forum if you have time :)
AKA badgerjelly

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Arjen
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Re: A beginner question, and introduction

Post by Arjen » January 30th, 2019, 3:58 am

Burning ghost wrote:
January 29th, 2019, 10:50 pm
Arjen -

Out of stock. Maybe they’ll have it in 3 months.
Book just aren't popular anymore.
They don't print so many.
:(

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TheoDoesBurg
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Re: A beginner question, and introduction

Post by TheoDoesBurg » January 30th, 2019, 2:10 pm

Arjen wrote:
January 29th, 2019, 4:28 pm
Not at all, at times the most healthy thing a person can do is break down what he or she previously thought and start building up again after that. It can be a great relief. Just make sure to build it more to your liking the second time. :)
Thanks that's an encouraging thought, hopefully I don't end up rebuilding it as nihilism :D
(can a person even continue to live by believing in nihilism? Now that I think about it I can imagine there probably is one out there, someone who is either crazy, or creative and smart enough to figure out some answer on why even a nihilist should try to live hahaha)
I second Beyond Good and Evil and I would add On the Genealogy of Morality. Both great reads. They lead up to Thus Spake, but if you already read that, why not just open these two.
Yup, "Beyond Good and Evil" definitely on my list. I've seen some videos on the story of Nietzsche's life, and how he always felt like no one around him understands him, and how Zarathustra in "Thus Spake" is in some way a reflection of that aspect. Quite an intriguing person.

LuckyR wrote:
January 30th, 2019, 3:22 am
Ah, you have (legitimately) changed the subject from logic to psychology. There is nothing wrong with going to a church, say with family, for the social and cultural benefits, without believing in religious dogma. Just as it is completely logical to read your children stories about Santa Claus. There is more to life than "truth".
Agreed! Even though blind faith can arguably be called a foolish thing, it does not mean that it has no utility in some cases. Although I do think some forms of blind faith like superstitions are generally not a good thing for a grown-up person. And I have a feeling that "Faith in face of adversity" is not even the same thing as belief in superstitions, although I can't clearly define the differences yet.

Burning ghost wrote:
January 30th, 2019, 3:40 am
The first thing I read was a book made for general public consumption, it was “Man and his Symbols”. I think his memoirs are the most widely read, but I’ve not gotten roudn to them yet. I went straight for “Archetypes and The Collective Unconscious,” “ Individuation,” “The Red Book” and then “Aion”. You cannot go wrong with Man and His Symbols. His body of work is not for everyone and some people find it difficult to read - depends on your prejudices imo.
I’d also recommend something I studied quite intensely last year, Eliade’s “The Sacred and The Profane” - easily the most readable of his work I’ve read to date, being both thought provoking and reasonably succinct given the subject matter. Eliade is a well recognised anthropologist of religion and religious thought btw.
Thanks Burning ghost. "Man and his Symbols" does sound interesting.
I wonder if "The Sacred and The Profane" relates to the concept of disgust that Jonathan Haidt was talking about.
Note: I watched Brian Cox recently interviewed again on Joe Rogan show. Two and a half hours long, but felt like an hour to me! Really good to see Cox “softening” as he put it regarding his previous antagonism toward those not educated in the physics of nature.
I recently found out about his podcasts, they are amazing. Many of them are just so interesting to listen to, and filled with many different ideas. I really like the one where he interviewed Steven Pinker, and was really disappointed that there was only one, haha. Many of his other guests are also interesting like Elon Musk, Jordan Peterson, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, and Sir Roger Penrose.
Anyway, have fun and jump into some discussions the forum if you have time :)
Thanks, I plan to do that one day, but I do think I should at least read some of the books first because I really am very new to this. I've never finished a book for quite some time, and most of what I know about philosophy are from YouTube podcasts and lectures.

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Burning ghost
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Re: A beginner question, and introduction

Post by Burning ghost » January 31st, 2019, 2:30 am

If you don’t know what philosophy book to read then just scout around for the general idea you like and pick someone who sounds interesting to you. Be it the philosophy of consciousness, ethical issues, political/social structures, etc.,. It would be a good idea to jump into topics here that interest you. Imo that is the best way to get feedback and found out how your ideas relate to what is already out there - often enough people have said to me “you seem to agree with what x says” when I’ve no idea who they are. In that way you’ll find work that helps you to develop your own ideas and express yourself in a manner others can relate to.

Just jump in!
AKA badgerjelly

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Arjen
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Re: A beginner question, and introduction

Post by Arjen » January 31st, 2019, 3:40 am

The water's nice.
:)

Also: It is really true that often enough you think to understand what a person is saying, but that really, it all depends WHY someone is saying it. Anyway, I always like ethics. It is all about doing for a whole society what psychoogy wants to do for an individual (according to Freud).

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