Sunday, 27 November 2011

Experimental Philosophy of Everyday Life

Experimental Philosophy of Everyday Life
Following closely the real life adventures in Thought Experiments of my dear friend MC-a mixture of self-realization, applied psychology and Philosophy-I wanted to delve more into the realm of Philosophy in everyday life.
Two prominent findings stood out:
1. Most of the personal conflicts are self-made or man-made and the person confirms it by their self-made or imagined justifications.
2. Most people do not wish to do anything about it, find reasons not do so or follow charlatan advice that reinforces their reluctance, at times adding an exotic note.
The story of a man who was walking with a stone in his shoes all his life, as explained by the Philosopher Counsellor Dr Lou Merinoff is a good illustration of the latter finding and the former finding is contrary to many of the Mental Health professional’s idea of why personal conflicts rise.
A good woman friend of mine, who lives in Teheran, Iran, sent me a link to an Iranian website where educated men posed nude in their blogs, as a protest in a country where women are subjected to extreme violence regarding the exhibition of their bodies, also to demonstrate that the beauty of something being exhibited is not in the object itself but in your thoughts, how you interpret it.
Without context, things have no meaning, I thought to myself. Having lived in countries known for its freedom: Australia, Sweden, UK and USA with forays into the closed political systems of Cuba and Burma, the photographs did not appear to be beautiful to me, appeared somewhat rude. Whereas photos of young women being hoarded into police vans by stern looking head to toe covered policewomen appeared very violent.
This is where the Experimental Philosophy or its use as a counselling tool comes in handy.
The photos themselves are not inherently bad, but my interpretation attaches values to them. Sounds very yogic as well, this western idea of experimental philosophy.
So what we call our “core values” can be seen to be influenced by context: time, distance, lack of awareness, ignorance among others.

Something to think about on this Sunday morning under grey skies in Paris but not an unpleasant day expected.
Regarding the man who has a stone in his shoes, IF he requests your help, if he is ready to accept your help, you should ask him to take the stone out of his shoes!
Those who are interested in reading about Knobe effect, please refer to ScientificAmerican/nov2011/knobe