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 BeForum AfterForum Thoughts

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PostSubject: BeForum AfterForum Thoughts   Thu Mar 24, 2011 7:22 am

As a group that provides and encourages creativity, Imagine! does it again. MangamanX provided an event that was a philosophy lecture. The main topic of the lecture was “What is truth?”. Was it an always changing law or a fixed one? This led to specific areas such as gravity, space, faith, beliefs, medicine and of course science. Everyone in the group was encouraged to join and explain what they thought about each area.
The entire group brought in their ideas and making everyone think. Just when one though they had the answer, someone would as a question and we were all back to square one. This got the whole group together and made the noggins start thinking and questioning some more. MangnamanX which is better known as X, was excellent at this. He kept everyone going and thinking and joining in. Before we knew it time flew by. We all had fun and learned how to search deeper for answers and question the ones we (thought) we knew.
I personally am looking forward to more of these and Imagine will be holding them monthly. I wonder what the next discussion is going to be.
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PostSubject: Re: BeForum AfterForum Thoughts   Thu Mar 24, 2011 5:15 pm

For the sake of contribution and responsible accountability, allow me to elaborate:
The night began with a long and rather rambling speech about what philosophy was, and or means to me, in way of introduction without confrontation or being too educational. That is to say, the art of questioning “Why?” Lightly touching on Math as a universal language, and mentioning how language itself was none factual fabrication by humans used to express, explore, experiment and understand the universe around them. I mentioned how though language is often viewed as a trap, because it is just words made up by a people to understand and quantify something in their own terms and thus in itself immeasurable because words themselves have no real meaning and etcetera. It was still basically all we had. As the common person, the less read, or in terms of humanity the less gifted, could together with the opposite spectrum, find common ground in which to ask, “Why?” After I felt I had thoroughly under whelmed peoples’ expectations and removed all hopes and excitement for some deep soul searching answer finding discussion about what was to happen that night, I dropped the first question.

A favorite of Socrates, “What is Truth?” and for those novice philosophers, I elaborated with an additive from the musical Jesus Christ Super Star, “Is truth a changing law? We both have truths, are mine the same as yours?” For the first part of the question I asked what everyone’s thoughts were on the matter of Truth; what they thought truth was, or if they had any immediate answers to the question. This led at first to some general confusion and people stating their thoughts uncertainly- already you could see people were worrying about offending or being judged. There was half hearted opinion, but no real way to lead into a discussion, thus, I cited the example of gravity as a “Universal Law” yet something which lessens of strengthens by entering or exiting the atmosphere. This then led to the question of whether Gravity was “true”.

The general consensus was, yes and no, because in the definition of true (most people think of) is a notion of reality that is unchangeable and constant, in which case gravity here by changing simply because of position in space led to the question of it’s truth. In which most agreed that yes, it still followed a set pattern of measurable constants and therefore could still be called truth; I then challenged: What if then, gravity changed tomorrow? Inverted. This of course would make gravity untrue or false, wouldn’t it? It was then generally agreed that even if Gravity changed tomorrow, it still existed, in a measurable constant way it merely meant our definition of gravity would need to change, our understanding, and therefore there was a general agreement that Truth in fact could be a changing law.

Thus the next swing in conversation was my oppositional challenge; and what if thought gravity was not real, what if I said we were all held upon this earth by willpower alone? In which case the discussion turned to the inevitable end of as of yet immeasurable topics which rested squarely on faith. Where everyone seemed to dance around religion like it was some kind of viper in the room with only the truly bold snake charmers even mentioning the word god. In which case I tried to direct the conversation into the idea of tools of measurement for our reality –in which we use words- and how beliefs may vary, or change, (as a changing law) and therefore much like gravity such things could exist, even if we did not have the tools to measure them. (yet.) In which case it became an argument that such things we did not have the tools to measure did not matter. Which sprung a great deal of conversation about death (and some directly pointed to an idea of afterlife) in which the topic of death as a medical analysis came about.

However, this deviated from the original topic and I again had to swing it back on track from things we could measure but didn’t believe it, such as the example of pink elephants with polka dots and the question of which was more true or real, pink elephants with polka dots born that way as a skin condition or elephants simply painted pink with polka dots. This caused some confusion, and the idea of Unicorns as animals born that way or medically altered with horns, did or did not exist as ‘unicorns’. In which case there was again general slipping into faith alone could answer and the topic tried to die at that unquestionable dead end. The general agreement was truth had to have some measurement of faith or something believed in, whereby the question was; then how do we believe anything? Whereby the general consensus was measurable, judgmental, Likelyhoods from observations or rather the use of the tools we had. This then prompted the challenge then became, If one must believe in the tools of questioning, to experiment, explore and express, to be real or truthful for the answer to be equally real or truthful, then as something which requires faith to continuate, is science a religion?

This then became the persuasion that, no, it was not because even those tools were measurable by other tools which could eliminate the need for credibility, and/or believability. Anyone could measure and come up with these conclusions, and though initially we have faith in credibility, it was not required for science to function and thus, not a religion. This then led to my beautiful lunge in discourse to make the sharp point; well do we believe something because the tools of the majority tell us something, why do we not believe something given to us by those with tools the majority did not have? And by way of example, Psychics claim they have tools most do not, tools which they use to explore, express and experiment with the universe around them. How then can we say they are not true simply because we lack their tools? In which case it became a question of tool availability. Going back to gravity we discussed whether or not it was true because we know it to be measurably true by today’s tools, whereby did that mean it was not true when we lacked those tools of measurement? In which we found no, danced with relativity and Newton, but to keep the terms as laymen friendly as possible –and because it began to deviate- we switched to questioning if the world was flat, round, or ovular.

In which belief in such changed drastically once the tools to measure it became more available. Therefore then, if the tools to measure psychic phenomenon became more readily available in the future (just like gravity possibly changing) would that then make it true? In which the conversation took another dead run at ending because No, that was immeasurable and didn’t matter and yes, it is possible, but all things are possible; none seemed to dance with the speculative because they felt it did not arrive at any concrete answers. However, I then was allowed to drop the bomb that- psychics have been proven to exist. By government testing no less. Citing examples of card tests, which anyone could google, and another cited Men Who Stare At Goats, as such there seemed to be –on the whole- scientific evidence that psychics existed in a measurable way. However, do to my lack of through research it was pointed out that those tests were since disproven by later tests. In which the whole delicious argument of “tools of today being undone by tools of tomorrow” was beautifully proven a definite. However, somewhere along the line of such revelations, the argument of credibility came back in.

Do we believe these tests results given to us by the government, regardless of scientific use, or conversely, do we then believe these later tests which disprove earlier tests given to us by government use. In which the credibility of the government on whole was placed on questionable ground, but for those common people then who did not have the resources to test as the government tested- again- how could we believe anything? What is to be taught then to our children as real? Through all of this, how can we judge reality, how can we understand the truth of the universe? …in which case it sadly became something of a pie fight between inetrsocial groupings and what one said was real or not. Dictatorships and so on and so forth. Political squabbling aside, I then decided (after the two hour mark) we had done well this first try. In establishing many things and much thought about conversation. Thought we had not, per say, established “What is Truth.” (neither did Socrates) we did generally agree it was held as a changing law.

And inadvertently, we found that yes we both have truths, and no, they are not the same as yours. Which was only to be expected in the long run, in reference to experience and belief, nature/nurture, and so on. But. Such things were a topic for another time as many could not stay up all hours of the night discussing, unlike those first philosophers. All were thanked and much praise flew about the rooms for joining, contributing, listening, and generally having a good time. Finally however, to find some measure of closure, the last topic of group discussion to cap and wrap the entirety of our two hour exercise was the revelation of the basic question of it all and the purpose of it which was revealed to be, “What is a man? …what has he got, if not himself, then he has not, to say the things he truly feels, and not the words, of one who knees-” also “A miserable pile of secrets.”

So ends the first BeForum Afterum and my lengthily role of Featured Speaker. Which, somehow, somewhere, in the long endless possibilities of credibility, truth, and those existential blues, became the BeForum After Forum Guest Speaker…

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