A Dialogue of Deception

“All warfare is based on deception” – Sun Tzu

But with whom are you at war?

Those who have deceived me.

But if you’re deceived by them how can you defeat them?

I was deceived, but through truth, I have become the deceiver while they still believe themselves to be.

Well, who are these that you speak of who have previously deceived you?

You would know – if you were not one of the deceived.

How would I be so sure I wasn’t just paranoid?

Because once you have peered behind the screen of the magician, you realize there was never magic at all, but instead simply the appearance of it orchestrated by a feeble puppet master. . . once the trick is exposed, one can never go back into the submissive role of being the deceived, but instead becomes the deceiver.

But, if he becomes the deceiver, isn’t he just as bad as the original deceiver?

He could be – if he chooses self – but if he chooses others and views them as himself, then he will not fail.

“If you know your enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.” – Sun Tzu




If I were a King?

When I think of being a king, I think of ruling.

But that is where I have made my first mistake.

A king should not rule.

In actuality, if I were asked to make my first rule. I would automatically say, “that there are no rules.”

If this is the case, then nothing and no limitations can be put on anything after the fact because it would violate the first rule of no rules.

And what is something that has no limitations or restraints?

That is freedom and by definition it can have neither because if it does then it would not be free.

What is Philosophy?

This may be the epitome of philosophy: questioning itself. But if you really look at the origins of philosophy, you find the answer is quite beautiful.

Unlike other disciplines like business or marketing that are concrete and tangible, philosophy is abstract. Philosophy started with wondering about life and the human condition.

But that’s not the beautiful part. The beautiful part is the goal of philosophy: to help each individual answer questions about self, life, religion, etc., for themselves! Instead, of merely being clones that rote memorize and recite what the world has told us philosophy helps us get our unique perceptive into the mix.

I mean after all there is no one that is you other than you; therefore, you are entitled to your perspective on what these difficult and abstract concepts mean to you in your life.

We may learn about famous people and their philosophical theories, but those theories are the product of philosophy. Philosophy is the activity that requires one to question all the assumptions they make about life, the world and themselves.

Philosophy is about the journey not the product that is brought back. Though tremendous insight can be found by reflecting and pondering the works of great philosophers before us, but there is always something lost in translation. They knew what they were trying to describe better than anyone else and even better than they could write it because words are limiting.

Words are what limits us from really describing what we truly mean precisely and the goal of philosophy is freedom.

But, one should not get caught up with comparing themselves and their philosophies to other people’s theories of the past or trying to convince people of your philosophies in the present.

Philosophy is not about other people (as selfish as that sounds) it is about discovering the views that most reflect your true self and are your own. Of course, by doing so and questioning yourself and being open to new ideas and different opinions, this will undoubtedly help you apply your philosophies to others, to help others, to understand and respect others for their unique perspective and life experience.

The goal of philosophy should never be to fight with others about how wrong they are but to look for truth: both truths that are true to you  and those that are true to the world as a whole.

No one can find THE truth, but you can find tiny truths along the way.

Truth Proposition: Decisions

  1. Time is always experienced as if it is the ‘now’
  2. Yet, time is changing
  3. Therefore, our perception of ‘now’ is changing
  4. In ‘now’ moments are where we make decisions
  5. Our decisions at time ‘now’ are based on past experiences and future expectations

I need help on breaking down my last two assertions on line 5: past experiences and future expectations. Are these general enough? Or are they excluding other criteria that would be in a broader category or a separate category entirely.

Knowing versus Perceiving Thyself?

People often say they know themselves. Others, are more skeptical to jump to such conclusions. But, what does it mean to know yourself?

Knowing yourself would involve knowing the mechanisms behind your behavior; it would be about the workings of the mind, the internal world, the body and whatever else is associated with our ideas of self.

This might be crudely possible. There are always parts of the mind though that really can’t be put into words, but regardless, what about perception?

If I stare at my dog and my dog stares back at me, what is truly going on? Well, for one and interaction is going on. We each are having an effect on one another. He is watching, or perceiving, me, and I him.

But, neither one of us are perceiving ourselves.

We go around the world observing, our eyes stare out at the world and at ourselves, or at least the parts we can see. My hands primarily are of great importance and usually highly involved in my field of vision, but so are my arms, torso, legs and feet.

But, let us pretend there are no mirrors of reflective surfaces in the world I live in, then what about the rest of my body? I am left to know them solely by touch and their motion.

Our world is becoming increasingly visual, but perception is not just about sight. It is our primary sense we use, but does that mean the others are less worthy of our respect. Moreover, what other worlds or mental, neural representations do these other senses map for us?

So, I guess my question of if we can perceive ourselves can be answered with the most famous answer in psychology, “Well, it depends.” If our definition of perception is visual then, no, we can never truly perceive ourselves. Mirrors don’t really reflect how you actually look and neither do videos, or pictures. There is always something missing from those forms and the forms of you viewed from the eyes of another person.

But, you can perceive yourself through sense of touch, which I would say is our second most used sense.

I’m curious for feedback on ranking our senses. My list would be:

  1. Sight
  2. Touch
  3. Hearing
  4. Taste
  5. Smell

Of course, each person’s answer should vary and there is no right or wrong answer.More interestingly, I am interested if there is some other abilities one might consider a sense, type of sense, or subset of a sense.

Thank you for reading.

A Short Reflection on Substance

“Really, the fundamental, ultimate mystery – the only thing you need to know to understand the deepest metaphysical secrets – is this: that for every outside there is an inside and for every inside there is an outside, and although they are different, they go together.”

                                                                                                                                -Alan Watt

This form of thinking falls under the category known as dialectical monism. Monism is the belief that everything is made up of one fundamental substance. In contrast, dualism is the idea that mind and body are fundamentally different things that interact with each other.

Dialectical monism sort of blends the two in a way. While it believes everything is one substance, it believes this substance to be expressed in two ways such as male and female or in the quote by Alan Watt, “an inside for every outside.”

This is a fundamental question for philosophy and psychology. Moreover, it is an important question for whoever is reading this.

An Undivided Attention Read

Our brains are biologically programmed. This much we know. We have always seemed to have this innate idea of time. But is time nothing more than a  function that we perceive our own thoughts?

People in life-threatening situations usually report that time was altered in some way. It slowed down or speeds up depending on physiological functions.

But it is all in relation to the most principle thing to our being: thoughts.

But science shows we cannot truly mutlitask, such as processing, simultaneously, attention rich stimuli. Instead, we process sequentially. Sort of like how computers execute one line of code at a time. We attend to one thought at a time. And when there is a cluster, we are focused, paralyzed even. We need a focus to channel our thinking capabilities.

But without a focus, we are merely ‘lost in the infinite’ as the philosopher Soren Kierkegaard would put it. Yet, how true do these words resonant?

Our thoughts are overwhelmed on a daily basis and we are processing simultaneously so much information rich data and trying to sift through what is important and what to throw out.

The hardest part when you do have a focus is determining what information or sources are the best. The problem then becomes when do you stop searching for the best, because, sure, it could be the best right now and it may well be forever, but how am I supposed to know unless I exhaust all the other possible avenues.

We may eventually find ourselves running these circles with no end game in sight; a code with no termination function.

The Perception Illusion

What if life was truly an illusion? And when you die, you simply wake up from it? It would still be true that you experienced pain, or love, or whatever feeling; but can you not also experience those in dreams? Yet, when you wake up, you do not lament the fear that you felt in the dream, or have PTSD from the pain that you felt from being stabbed. No, it simply is forgotten because it wasn’t real.

Could this be a solution to the problem of evil? If life is truly just one grand illusion that we are very committed too, then is the evil we experience, the same evil that would be perceived from the consciousness of God?

I mean isn’t evil truly a human invention in a way? We say hurting and killing another person is evil, but a lion eating a gazelle is not. Of course, we may justify one and not the other; the lion was trying to survive and the human wasn’t. But what if they felt they needed to kill for their very survival. What if they were a paranoid schizophrenic and believed them killing this other person was the only way for the world not to end.

The point is, it depends on which perspective you look at it from and the values of the interpreter to determine what is evil and what isn’t.

Maybe it is evil to shock rats for insights in psychology. We justify it because it is bettering our understanding of the main and will, hopefully, help people.

It may appear like torture someone amputating another person’s leg during the civil war; but, of course, the act is somehow different because of the intention of the doer — trying to save them from infection.

But back the idea of the world being an illusion and the implications of such a notion on the problem of evil. If this is an illusion, what about the role of memory? Bad dreams would be much worse if the effects produced could be felt and remembered as vividly has having that experience actually happen to you. But somehow there is something different from the experience. If I get stabbed in my dream and it hurts me, but then I wake up and I am perfectly healthy, then no harm no foul — right? I am not too upset about the dream.

But what if you lived in a futuristic society where they could heal any injury. Someone stabs you. It hurts you. Then you are healed. Is  that person who stabbed you evil? If so, are they more or less evil than the person who stabs you in the absence of the futuristic technology?

I guess my ultimate point, and one I am still pondering while writing this post, is if this world we live is some hologram, some fake existence that we perceive and feel to be real, would that change how we viewed evil?

Better yet, would it get God off the hook? Say we have a soul and this part of ourself cannot die and cannot be hurt by the material world but will pass beyond. Then would it be justified if this would was a training simulation where our perception of evil was necessary for our appropriate spiritual growth?

I truly do not, but these are thoughts to ponder.