Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Explanatory Synthesis Notes

What am I explaining?

In the explainer I am writing, I am talking about Marcus Aurelius and his impact on Stoic philosophy. The reasoning for doing this is because often wisdom that was once unique and unheard insight, eventually becomes assimilated into everyday thinking, and eventually vanishes from wisdom as the original context is lost, thus the wisdom is thrown out. Another scenario is that there is wisdom that becomes everyday common fact and people end up forgetting where it comes from and what it really means. By digging back into history and finding where these insights come from, it is possible to expand the context of the wisdom and gain a fuller understanding of what is being said, than simply knowing the general jist of the idea at surface level. My goal is to explain the wisdom of Marcus Aurelius and his impact on stoic philosophy, which in turn impacted society.

The first sources is the book that Marcus Aurelius wrote, which is Meditations. Meditations is a collected or short, pieces of wisdom and insight from his life. Usually from 1 line in length to generally no more than a page long. His book is a book of aphorisms. This will be the sources from where I will draw examples the original pieces of wisdom.

Another source will be the a biography of the life of Marcus Aurelius. By knowing his life I can explain who Marcus exactly was and what made him so good as an emperor and how his philsophy might of influences his rule and why it brought him so much praise, to the point where he was often considered the "ideal" roman emperor. 

I am also considering using Epictetus's book Discourses, as he was the most important Stoic philosopher from Marcus Aurelius's time. Marcus considered him only a humble student of philosophy so it is expected that he was deeply influences by Epictetus's work.

Finally my last source will be some kind of video on either stoic philosophy or Marcus Aurelius's life. Currently I am not sure which one I will be doing yet, however I have collected a few videos that I could use.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Teleological Vs Deontological Ethics

Two very important concepts that are used throughout modern common knowledge are the ideas of teleological and deontological ethics. Long complex words that form the concepts of what most people know intuitively, such is the ancient wisdom that has become assimilated into everyday knowledge.

Statically speaking most people of the world follow a form of ethics that falls under the category of denotological ethics. Deon coming from the greek word for duty, and ological, meaning modality of something, is ethics where the end goal is not the total sum of the argument but in reaching that goal, the methods used are dictated by some authority. The reason why denotological ethics falls under the category of what most people follow is because judao-christian religions follow deonotolgical ethics. People do not live for an end goal but they have duty in how they live there lives. There is some form of authority that judge how they live.

On the other hand telelogical ethics or ethics with end, are focused soley on the end result. An example of teleogical ethics would be egoism which is the belief that happiness is the goal of human existence and it doesn't matter what it takes for you to reach that goal of happiness. If you achieve happiness, then it is good. Another example would be utilitarianism which is the belief that whatever benefits the sum of humanity is good, and it is good irregardless of what path it takes to get there.

These two classes of ethics makes up the a large portion of the creeds and ideologies we follow today in some way or another. Personally I find myself falling into the camp of teleological ethics. Teleological ethics I believe is a belief system that allows more freedom for the individual and it takes out a lot of the heem and hawing of trying to figure out if something is good. Along the lines of what the roman emperor and philosopher Marcus Arulius once said. "Stop arguing about what is good and do it." Essentially it is better to simply be what you personally believe is good, instead of trying to argue semantics. If more people were to follow in teleological ethics I think that it would relief alot of people of the anguish they find themselves dealing with. A few examples would be a gay christian trying to reconcile his homosexuality with this religion, or a scientist coming to a conclusion that refutes what his religion teaches. If they followed a teleogical ethical process then it cuts alot of the intrepeting and get to the real meat of doing what is good. What you personally believe is good.

What does it mean when I say freedom?
Freedom to me is something that is very important to living a fulfilling life, however there is a certain clause that affects this joy of freedom. I believe it was Soren Kierkegaard who made this statement, "The vertigo of freedom". Freedom is something that should be looked for in a personal understanding of the world. When someone chooses a belief system it should be a system that allows the person to be the best that they can be and to reach the highest degree of their potential. Another quote that pertains to this would be what Ernst Becker said, something of a paraphrase of this is "Our beliefs are only an illusion as the truth is too hard to comprehend. So what is the best illusion to choose? actual quote (I think the whole question would be answered in terms of how much freedom, dignity, and hope a given illusion provides). The most detrimental thing a belief system can do to you I believe is deny you of using your life to live the way you want to live. To purposely stifle your wills and desires simply to conform to a creed. A major example of this would be Christianity. As what the existentialist philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once said "Christian morality is a life denying morality" and even more than that he said "There are two great (toxins) of Europe, the first is alcohol, the second is Christianity." A reason for this sentiment is that Christianity lulls one into a false sense of thinking that everything is ok. Everything is good when really things are not ok and because they have this false sense of security they will never see the situation they are trapped in. Mental slavery in a way. Another way of saying how this is a life denying morality is the fact that Christianity follows a slave morality. What is desired but too hard to obtain is condemned and what is possessed but not necessary wanted is praised.

The Revision Process

Revision is something I struggle with but am slowly becoming better at. Revision was always a hassle for me as I am a person who loves the idea of the spontaneous prose, often when I write my brain turns off and I simply write which allows the subconscious to emerge and often times the writing is very creative and forms a unique insight that not many people would expect. After I'm done writing I don't want to go back and clean it up because that would mean that I have to alter what is essentially the transcription of my thoughts, however not all writing is suited for that kind of approach. Often work done in that method shouldn't even be done outside of person journaling as the grammar, spelling, and sentence structure typically lacks (fragment city).

When revising now, I try to revise by going through and reading the paper 3 times before I even have someone else look at my paper. I'll go through the first time looking for spelling and grammar first usually, making sure my paper sounds like it wasn't written by a first grader. The next time I'll go through and make sure that this is what I really want my paper to say. Am I presenting the right ideas to my readers? Is the message on the paper the same one I have in my head? Finally I'll go through the third time which is the time I check for everything I did in the last two read through, however I read the paper thoroughly to make sure that all the error I can notice are gone. Once my 3 reads are done I'll call that a first draft then take the draft to someone else to read to see if they can help me improve the paper further.

One revision method I tried experimenting with was writing my first rough draft in pen. I figured that having to write via pen and paper would cause me to slow down my writing and think a bit more about my word choice. What I soon found however was that my writing slowed down too much. Each sentence was like an island unto itself and the paper didn't flow well. My explanations also tended to be sort as the hand written copy would take so long I assumed my explanation last alot longer than it really did reading it. Finally I found that it is harder to rearrange what you want to say as your writing the paper. One of the big advantages I found when writing and revising on the computer is that I can clearly see all the words written out before me and I can change and rearrange them on the fly so I can get my message right the first time, or at least a clearer way. In the future I want to experiment with writing a rough draft with pen and paper. There is something about the old ways of writing seems appealing to me. (my collection of fountain pens would indicate this interest).

Overall the revision process is something that requires times and diligence. Even though it may be the least exciting part of writing, it is the part that separates okay writing to great writing. It is during the revision process where the real message of the writing comes on the page and where you find the gem within the page.  

Synthesis Essay Reflection

Overall, I think my essay turned out the way I hope it did. While the essay does not really reflect my initial design plan, it does in essence captures a synthesis between two ideas, which helped me make a fundamental shift in my thinking. If there were a process I could have improved upon it would have to be the initial design and outlining stage. Those are the parts of writing I hate the most, even more than editing and revision because I am stuck to whatever I plans prior. In terms of making the final draft and revisions, those I feel were the easiest parts. The idea was already laid out on the page. The only thing that remained was to polish those ideas so they could be presented clearly to anyone who reads the paper. I am very happy with the way the paper turned out and I think it would be a nice edition to my writing portfolio. The reason why I liked this paper so much was that this assignment allowed me to shift the focus to something I wanted to talk about. As a whole, I am happy with the work I produced and cannot wait to see what comes of it. Moving onto what I do next, I hope to do better with my design plan. For this synthesis essay I felt that a design plan wasn’t imperative to the paper was only two outside sources were used and it is hard to go astray when comparing to the structure and organizing required in the upcoming research and analysis papers. Those papers I am excited to write as research and analysis are my favorite genre of writing because I get to tear into ideas, break the apart and find out what they are worth. Moving on from here I think I am in a good place to improve my writing abilities.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Responsibility of Bloggers

In Snider's opinion there is a sense of community and connection between those who read each others blogs. A person may simply stumbled upon a blog thread and find themselves becoming deeply connected to the person on the other side of the transaction. The person reading has a window into the authors life and acts as a "fly on the wall". The fact that there can be an audience to someones life has a unique position that is rare to find in life, outside of the famous which I can imagine alot of people  find appealing. Overall Snider held the idea that there is a genuine connection between people across a theoretically infinite amount of space. The possibles are fantastic knowing that interpersonal connections are no longer confined to locality.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Blog Purpose

It finally occurred to me that maybe I should begin to actually write this blog of mine. After-all I do need the grade and me continuing to put this off isn't going to help anyone. Before starting however, I think it is necessary to sent out a purpose of what this blog is going to be. Having a unified subject matter or at-least theme for the blog would allow some unity.

The purpose of this blog is to act as an idea journal. A journal were I'll discuss unfinished ideas and what I consider to be "a work in progress" as well as anything I find through my day to be worthwhile of further analysis and prodding. The a recount of my day and the analysis of what happened perhaps. Ultimately this journal/blog to me is going to be a place of reflection and analysis which I hope will reward me with some more insight into my life. If you care to come along then feel free to do so. Hopefully you'll gain to insight into your own life and we might be able to help one another.