Tag Archive | philosophy

Book Review: A Mistborn Novel Book #3 – The Hero of Ages

“It is said that a picture can say a thousand words. Well, so can a thousand words. They are the keys by which we can unlock new and amazing worlds, some of which ascend beyond the imagination, and it all begins on the first page.” – BookNerd

“It is said that a picture can say a thousand words. Well, so can a thousand words. They are the keys by which we can unlock new and amazing worlds, some of which ascend beyond the imagination, and it all begins on the first page.”BookNerd

Greetings Fellow BookNerds,

I just want to start by saying that I have never experienced such a thought provoking and emotionally overwhelming from reading books before. I mean, sure, a tear or two may have squeezed their way out after reading each of the later harry potter books – you know, the ones where somebody dies in each one – but those were a reaction to isolated events. Reading Mistborn was entirely different: you felt every emotion they felt, you experienced their every pain, and when faced with a life altering decision, you were damn near convinced that it could have an impact on your reality as well. That’s the kind of writer Sanderson is: he doesn’t just pull you into the book, he pulls your entire world into it, a rare talent that I heartily applaud.

**WARNING: POSSIBLE SPOILERS BELOW. I WILL TRY MY BEST TO AVOID THEM, BUT JUST IN CASE, CONSIDER YOURSELF WARNED!** 

The Hero of AgesThe Hero of Ages: A Mistborn Novel by Brandon Sanderson

5-stars

The world is ending. It is a terrible truth that many citizens still refuse to believe, but the signs are there: the ground is nearly invisible beneath the sea of ash, buildings are falling victim to the quaking of the earth, people are growing ever more fearful of the mists, and there last hope to fix it all turned out to be the worst mistake they could have possibly made.

Elend, king turned emperor, is doing his best to bring as many people as he can under Luthadel’s protection, but resources are already being stretched thin, and there are new dangers lurking on the horizon. However, since their visit to the Well of Ascension, Elend feels a renewed confidence that he can do so much more, not to mention no longer having to rely on Vin to play the role of bodyguard.

Vin is still doing what she does best; following her instincts to decide the best course of action, but even she is beginning to doubt herself; after all, in her attempt to save the world, she inadvertently did the one thing that could lead it to its inevitable doom. Self doubt and hopelessness seem to be going around quite a bit in this point in the story, especially for dear old Sazed, who seems to have lost all faith in the religions he had striven so hard to commit to memory for future generations to benefit from, as he continues to reel from the aftermath of the battle against the Kolloss.

The Hero of Ages is where it all ends, but of course just like every Sanderson book, the question of what will ultimately befall our beloved characters remains unanswered until the very last page. It almost feels like the purpose of the books is to try and see if you can figure out what’s going to happen before they figure it out, which has proven next to impossible for me. This time, I was actually able to figure out one of the key plot points before it was revealed, for which I felt rather proud of myself when faced with Sanderson’s writing genius.

I must confess, I almost didn’t finish the series. After what happened to Kelsier in the first novel, I just didn’t think it would be worth my time to continue through the other two. I mean, Kel was my favourite character, and then he had to have THAT happen to him. But in the end, Kelsier’s fate served a very important purpose to the overall story, and I am incredibly thankful that I was able to carry on. After all, by the second book, I had fallen in love with a number of other characters, most notably Breeze.

Every book needs at least some comedic relief, and in this series, it comes in the form of Breeze. I feel like he is one of the few characters who remains at least somewhat optimistic throughout the entire series, ignoring that one moment of paralyzing fear he experiences during the Kolloss battle in the second book. Other than that, he’s always been the one to make others problems his business, offering encouragement in the form of his characteristic witty remarks.

Another one of my favourite characters was Tensoon. I think the only issue I had with him was trying to figure out what his voice should sound like whenever I read his dialogue, because one moment he would have the growly voice of a wolf hound, and then the next moment he’s supposed to have a more human voice, but seeing as he never had a human form before becoming a dog, I had no idea what his human voice was supposed to be. Really, though, I absolutely loved Tensoon, and I can assure you that it has nothing to do with my love for furry, four legged canines 🙂

I could easily go through every single character and the hundreds of reasons why they’re awesome, but for those of you who haven’t read the books yet, I shouldn’t deny you the fun of discovering them for yourselves. Going back to the novel at hand, however, I would just like to say that I LOVED the ending. I won’t say whether it was happy or sad, but I will say that everything was tied up so well in the end, leaving little if any loose ends. Usually, when I get to the end of a series, I wish they would write another book so that the story wouldn’t end so soon. With Mistborn, I had no such thoughts. The ending was damn near perfect, that anything more would feel unnecessary.

An epic adventure, which delves into questions of love, destiny, faith, religion, politics, philosophy, and the greatest question of all: how would you face the ending of the world?

I would love to hear what you guys have to say about the book, and the entire series for that matter, so feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below or on my blogs facebook page. I hope you liked this weeks review, and until next time, keep on reading!

Cheers,

BookNerd   

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Book Review: Mistborn

nerdfighters rules Hello Fellow BookNerds!

I know it has been a while, but that’s what happens when every single one of your professors thinks it’s a good idea to have all of their projects due in March. For once, I actually can’t wait until April, so that all I have to worry about is studying for exams 🙂

So, as promised, today’s post is going to be my own personal review of the book Mistborn, the first installment of the Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson. I still have a little ways to go until the end, but it is just so amazing that I can’t wait. This is literally a book like no other, with memorable characters, a strong female hero, unexpected twists and turns at every corner, garish creatures from your worst nightmares, and thought provoking philosophic discussions that would make you question even your most devout beliefs about human nature. There really is no book out there like it, at least not among all the ones I’ve read so far.

Mistborn Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

stars-5

This is the story of a man by the name of Kelsier who, after nearly dying in the Pits of Hathsin, has vowed to overthrow the Lord Ruler and the empire he has built upon the backs of the beaten, bloodied and impoverished Skaa. His ambition causes his path to cross with that of a young girl by the name of Vin, who possesses a power she is barely aware of, and who may be the key in mounting the biggest rebellion the Empire has ever seen. Although reluctant at first, Vin eventually agrees to join Kelsier’s crew, although more out of curiosity than anything else. He teaches her the ways of the Mistborn, those who can use different types of metals by means of Allomancy towards different ends, whether it is to increase ones physical strength, to sharpen ones senses, or even to use the metals as a weapon by pushing and pulling on them. If one is lucky enough to find the eleventh metal, they can even predict the movements of another before they happen, which has inspired and motivated to join Kelsier and his cause. However, now that things have been set in motion, what will be the final outcome?

This is one of those books where, no matter how insignificant a character may seem, or how briefly they appear in the story, they are still very memorable. It’s hard to say if it’s thanks to Sanderson’s writing skills or his ability to design realistic and charming characters, but if this were to ever be made into a movie, it would be difficult to replicate their personalities. This is not to say that I wouldn’t want to see it if it were ever to make it onto the big screen. I just keep thinking about this one character, a member of the army Kelsier was putting together, who only said a few words but still managed to make me laugh my butt off. I think it has to do with how Sanderson has the main characters interacting with the less noticeable ones, bringing out personality traits that would have otherwise gone unnoticed.

Another thing I love about this book is that even though it’s a fictional story, it really gets you to question things about humanity that you most likely never would have thought about on your own. Ham, who works closely with Kelsier, is always bringing up ethical and philosophical debates, even though it bugs the heck out of Kelsier every time he does. My first reaction is to laugh at what he says, because it just seems like a really dumb question with an obvious answer, like whether the Lord Ruler, or just the members of royalty in general, were born physically and psychologically different than the Skaa (this is basically their version of slaves). Of course, I would instinctively say no, believing that people are born the same but then grow up differently through social interactions and unique environmental factors. But then he brings up the issue of Allomancy, and how only those of a royal bloodline are born with it. That definitely threw me for a bit of a spin!

Lastly, I want to talk about Vin. Now, I have a read a lot of books with female protagonists, and I’d say there’s about a 5o/5o split between those I did like and those I didn’t. Too many of those female characters were just much too typical; they are either too feminine and rely on a man to save them from imminent danger, or they are too masculine and barely resemble a female character anymore. What I like about Vin is that she is cunning, smart, a bit of a wise-ass, wary of those around her, doing whatever it takes to survive, and above all else, she has a genuine charm. I think the only other female character I might appreciate as much as Vin is Hermione from Harry Potter, and that’s only because she is the real yet unrecognized heroine of the series 🙂

I could write about this book for hours, but I feel like I might let slip too many spoilers if I do. If you have nothing else planned to read this Summer, I would definitely recommend this book. If you have read it already, and would like to share what you think, post your thoughts in the comments. Even if you didn’t like the book, feel free to share why, for even I am rational enough to know that no book exists in the world which is universally liked. That’s all for today, so until next time, happy reading!

Cheers,

BookNerd

Reflections on Life: Historical Philosophy

nerdfighters rules Hello Fellow BookNerds!

In light of my upcoming philosophy exam, I thought it might be fun to see how well I myself understand the material by sharing it with all of your lovely minds. The content is not overly heavy or indulgent; simply the perspectives of a select few philosophers from before our time, and the ways in which they dealt with the issue of morals and ethics and their application in daily life. I hope you are able to find some level of interest in what I shall present to you, but I understand that philosophy is not everyone’s cup of tea. What I personally find to be fascinating about this field of study is how it develops the human ability to understand the world on a deeper level than one would normally perceive it, opening up a realm of possibilities and rational explanations regarding the ways of the world. 

So prepare to have your mind expanded, and as I am not an expert in the field, I encourage you to clarify anything I may misinterpreted, or any crucial details I may have missed. Otherwise, enjoy ^_^

Philosophical Perspective of Ethics and Morals

wrong or right ethical question

Aristotle: The Ultimate End

Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics placed an emphasis on the concept of “virtues” when dealing with the moral and ethical thinking of the rational being, in this case being ‘humans’. You will find that most, if not all philosophers regard humans as being uniquely rational, in that they are able to access their higher faculties and engage in activities which animals and other organisms cannot.

Aristotle defines ‘virtues’ as being “rational activity which is in accordance with rational principles“. In other words, our virtues are a sign of our rationality. Every act we do, therefore, is based on a rational decision, and in most cases it is to fulfill a specific need. When we feel hunger, we consume food because that is the rational course of action. This would not be considered an ultimate end, however; acts such as these are merely a means to an end. They are not desired for their own sake, but for the sake of something else.

Aristotle views the ultimate goal of human beings as that of happiness, that which we desire for its own sake, which makes it the ‘natural good for all men’. The only way to achieve this happiness, unfortunately, is to have at least some idea of what it is. For Aristotle, happiness is when you ‘live according to rationality by exercising our most valuable faculties’. The most prominent of those faculties, of course, is our ability to use reason. Fulfilling our physical needs is not the happiness which humans should desire, as it is just as easily attainable by animals. This does not make the fulfillment of those needs unnecessary, but they are not in and of themselves the way to obtain happiness.

Finally, the happy person is the one who can be considered a ‘good citizen’, in that they wish to do good not just for their own sake but for the sake of others. A social dimension is an integral part of becoming a virtuous person, as well as a formal education, a proper upbringing, and a basic understanding of moral philosophy. Also, even though he emphasized the importance of rationality and reason, he does not dismiss the importance of the individual’s enjoyment of their virtuous action, which is much to the dismay of David Hume.

David Hume: Humans Feeling Morality

Hume’s theory contradicts that of Aristotle in that emphasis is placed on human sentiment and sympathy as opposed to Aristotle’s reason and rationality. In short, he believed that what we felt after an action was completed dictates whether is was good or bad. Although Hume believed that reason could be helpful in deciding how we can get what it is we seek, it cannot tell us what it is we ultimately want, which is happiness. To know whether we have obtained happiness or not, we must be able to tell the difference between pleasure and pain, which requires sentimental judgement based on our experience with ‘feelings’.

These feelings can be divided into two categories:
1. Natural Feelings: Human brains are built to conclude the existence  of a causality (ie. an action leads to something good or bad)

2. Artificial Feelings: People are made or conditioned to feel a certain way about something base don education or personal experience.

We may all possess the same internal values at the beginning, but our experiences and increase in knowledge may cause those values an feelings to change. However, we all have the ability to feel when something is morally right or morally wrong, which can also be referred to as internal taste/feeling. We have an inner sense of what good and bad is, and we are able to distinguish between the two by how it tastes. This is not a physical taste, of course, but that natural intuition that all humans experience when faced with a moral dilemma. Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s theory leaned a little more towards that natural feeling when addressing human morality and trying to argue that human beings are naturally inclined to be good.

Rousseau: Good to the Core

Rousseau did not completely shrug off Aristotle’s notion of reason, but he did indeed stress the importance of sentiment in relation to our morality. He was a firm believer in natural reason, which is a result of the conscience, since that is where our moral reasoning and feelings originate from. In essence, we are born with a natural inclination to be good, which dismisses the religious notion of humans being born evil due to ‘original sin’, and that they have to do good in order to become good. Instead, by Rousseau’s account, we are born good and it is through our life choices and experience which determines whether we shall continue to be good, or become wicked.

Rousseau believed that in our natural state, we are unable to use our reason to figure out how to act, which is evident when you look at a child; they have a limited understanding of the world, and do not yet have the level of reasoning required to base their actions on rationality alone. Through their feelings, however, they are able to tell the difference between right and wrong. Reason is not among our natural states. There are two states of being which do come naturally to us, though, which are those of Self-Love and Selfishness.

Self-Love: Securing your own needs without inflicting harm or pain upon others.

Selfishness (Vain Love): An artificially created love guided by reason.

According to Rousseau, we can never experience true joy or happiness when we put our needs before anyone else. Our feelings are evidence of that, since we feel bad when others experience pain while we experience pleasure. Rousseau believes that this kind of innate morality can also be universally applied, since it is a part of human nature. But just like every philosophical theory, another one is eventually formed which contradicts it.

Kant: Reason & Duty

Immanuel Kant created a philosophy based on the human’s innate sense of duty, our need to do what is right and good for the sake of the act itself, and not because we feel we have to. His most famous theory is known as the Categorical Imperative, which is “an action which we deem to be necessary without considering the end result“. Why should we obey the commands of the categorical imperative? Kant argued that, as human beings, we are an end in and of ourselves, a common notion associated with all rational beings.

In this sense, human beings are their own law, deciding for themselves what they should or should not do based on their own morals. This sense of duty is unconditional, and once again, it was a theory he believed could be universally applied. In other words, if you decide that something should be done, then you are essentially agreeing that anyone within the same situation should also abide by that decision. I came across an example which represents the application of this theory quite accurately:

If a pregnant woman decided that she wanted to get an abortion, for instance, then that woman would intentionally or unintentionally be saying that every pregnant woman should get an abortion. This is because the decision we make, as humans, become a universally applied moral, so it becomes morally right to get an abortion.

This is not to say that this theory is by any means ‘rational’, but this is how Kant perceived human morality. 

Mills: The Greatest Happiness

John Stewart Mills was a big supporter of the greatest happiness principles, where pleasure and happiness are the ultimate end which we all should seek. Happiness comes in more than one form, though, which is why Mills makes a clear distinction between the higher pleasures and the lower pleasures. Lower pleasures, for instance, provides us with the satisfaction which comes from fulfilling our physical needs, such as eating or sexual gratification. Higher pleasures, on the other hand, require the application of our higher faculties, like creativity and reason, to fulfill the needs of our mind and spirit. We may be capable of achieving both, but what we should strive for are those higher pleasures which are unique to rational beings.

Here, Mills brings up an interesting argument: “It is better to be human dissatisfied, than a pig satisfied“. In other words, Mills is saying that although we can experience satisfaction from both levels of pleasure, striving to achieve the higher pleasures is what separates us from lesser animals, like the pig. A pig is perfectly content with just eating or rolling around in the mud. Humans, however, should work toward achieving greater heights, as we have the capacity to do so. By cultivating our higher pleasures, we are able to better ourselves as human beings. It is much more stressful, of course, and they may suffer many disappointments and ‘dissatisfaction’s’, it is much better than the degrading life of an animal.

Mills is a firm believer in the search for happiness. The human conception of happiness is on a different level than that of animal happiness, and is essential for Mills’ Utilitarian Theory. Utilitarianism is the promotion of happiness based on our actions and whether or not they will benefit human kind. Giving into our base desires does not benefit human kind, therefore it does not promote the happiness that all humans should seek.

And this concludes today’s philosophy lesson. I do hope you found it be insightful, or at least experienced a hint of fascination after getting a glimpse into the minds of those who dared to delve beneath the artificial exterior of human existence. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments, and as always, happy reading!

Cheers,

BookNerd

References Sources

What Would Kant Say About Abortion?

Introducing Philosophy for Canadians

 

I Have Returned, Bearing Gifts from Sartre!

nerdfighters rules Hello Fellow BookNerds!

I have managed to catch up, for the most part, with my workload, which means that I can make time to post for you all without feeling guilty ^_^ Not that we should ever fell guilty about doing the things we enjoy, but there is a time and place for it – usually when I’m not in the middle of finishing a major paper. With this in mind, I have been struck by the inspiration to kill two birds with one stone – don’t worry, no birds were injured – by combining this post with the lecture I need to study for my exam tomorrow. So once again, prepare to have your mind blown, for you are about to witness a view of the world that may cause you to question your very existence *suspenseful music plays*!

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One of my previous posts outlined the different philosophical theorists who sought to understand the nature of human existence, in terms of our consciousness and how we determine what is, in fact, real. The philosophers ranged from Descartes to John Locke, and each theory proposed a different way of explaining out interactions within our environment, as well as within ourselves. This week, we will be looking at Sartre and the debate of whether or self identity is something we choose, or something which was decided for us at birth.

Jean-Paul Sartre There are two main components to his theory: “Factility” and “Transcendence”. ‘Factility’ is the set of facts which are easily identifiable, and what you have been, objectively, up until the present (ie. body, born, male/female). These facts are not something we get to choose; they simply are what they are. “Transcendence”, on the other hand, goes beyond these basic facts and focuses more on the individuals aspirations, wishes, goals, fantasies, and most importantly, ‘purpose’. The reason why ‘purpose’ is emphasized here is because most people live with the idea that they need to fulfill a purpose in order for their life to be worthwhile.

For those who believe in God, they trust that He has given them a purpose, and it is that purpose which defines who they are. However, for those who do not believe in God, where does this purpose come from? In class, we used the example of a man who wanted to eat a steak, but he had no way to eat it. He knew he needed something, so he created the knife; “essence preceeds existence”. In other words, the purpose or ‘need’ comes before the actually creation of the thing which will fulfill that purpose/need. This makes perfect sense, but if there are suddenly no more people on the earth to use the knife, then can it still be considered a knife? According to Sartre, without a purpose, a knife is no longer a knife, but merely an object.

As humans, we do not want to fall into the trap of being viewed as nothing more than an ‘object’, which is why we seek out a purpose for our existence. We are ‘action – oriented’ beings who crave to overcome what we are in order to become something better. The biggest obstacle in the way of this, however, is when we try to overcome out ‘facts’ without acknowledging those facts in the first place. This self-denial falls into 2 categories: ‘Denying the Facts’ and ‘Denying our Freedom’. When we are denying the facts, we are essentially denying a part of ourselves, refusing to accept the truth. For example, some girls will wear high heel shoes so that they look taller, refusing to accept the fact that they are short. When we are denying our freedom, we are giving up the hope of becoming anything more than what we already are, claiming that ‘this is all I will ever be’.

Transcendence can only be achieved if we accept our own facts, and then strive to overcome them based on what it is we truly want. In the end, it is our reaction to our individual ‘facts’ which determines how much importance we place on them, and whether we will accept them as they are our seek a higher purpose.

————-

Out of all the theories we have discussed in my philosophy class, I find this one to be the easiest to grasp, and it also has an undeniable logic to it. He definitely stands apart from other theorists, that’s for sure, but more importantly, I hope I can contain all of this information within my mind long enough to write my test tomorrow ^_^

That’s all for today. Enjoy the coming of Spring everyone, and as always, happy reading!

Cheers,

BookNerd

Dr. Ehsani’s Talk: Scientific Insights into the Reality of Man (Part 2)

nerdfighters rules Hello Fellow BookNerds!

As promised, here is the second half of Dr. Ehsani’s talk. This part focused a little less on the scientific perspective, and a little more on the philosophical and spiritual side of our existence. Just like before, this overview of what was discussed will be presented in point form, and it might not make complete sense. Leave your comments or questions below if you require any clarification. Otherwise, enjoy ^_^

—————–

Scientific Approach to Consciousness

  • We are not conscious in the past or future, only in the present

“The future does not exist until it is manifested in the present”

  • It’s all about controlling the “future ego”, which obsesses with what could or might happen, to avoid missing the present moment

“There is nothing material about the material world”

  • The material world in which we immerse ourselves is but a feature of the reality in which we exist.

Alfred Whitehead…

  • Familiar things happen to us on a daily basis, but for the most part we don’t bother to notice them.
  • We crave complexity and difficulty in our lives, grasping at things that are out of our reach.

Spiritual Approach to Consciousness

  • Becoming aware of our consciousness is the purpose of our creation

From “Faith” to “Certitude”

  • Faith is close to doubt, but it is also the first step away from doubt
  • Certitude is when you can see it! There is no doubt.

Things to think about…

  1. What is the most essential, most profound thing about you?
  2. Is it your wealth, power, education, or accomplishments?
  3. Is it your life, friends, family, your loved ones?
  4. If you lose everything, then what do you have left?

“I am still here”

  • When you are on the verge of dying, you don’t have anything else
  • That is the moment where you are free from everything, with nothing led to lose
  • In the end, there is only you and what you really are
  • Time stops, replace with timelessness
  • You achieve true clarity — the truth

“Intentional Suffering”

  • There are some religions, cultures and beliefs that encourage the idea that we are required to suffer in order to achieve enlightenment.
  • There is no rational need for us to need to suffer.
  • It is our ego that affects our perception, making us seek difficulties and trials.
  • “Free will” is the will to give up our suffering and to simply be aware of our own consciousness

“The world has a lot to teach us if we shut up and stop talking about ourselves”

There are many different attributes to our consciousness:

  • Joy (not happy/unhappy) – the ability to be thankful for everything, good or bad, without being selective
  • In touch with reality (can clearly see what is and is not possible) – giving the possible your all
  • Anchored in the here and now
  • Sense of timelessness and eternity
  • Practical, efficient, effective (free from illusions)
  • Creativity (selflessness)

– The ego is what prevents us from achieving these attributes… not that the ego is only a bad thing. It is what motivates us to achieve greater things, to strive towards higher goals.

  • Humans have a lot more intelligence than is required for the basic things they need to do
  • The ego is not only what makes us crave more intelligence, but it is also an emergent property of the mend, created and developed by that excess intelligence.

—————

I never though of myself as having a big ego, but when I consider some of the things I have striven towards, and the intention with which I would do things, I suppose I cannot deny having overfed my own ego a little bit. It’s only natural, though. We all want to become better than who we are, to stand out of a crowd and have other recognize what we have done. It’s only a bad thing if that becomes all that we are fixated on. Working towards a better future is a noble endeavor, but if we only exist within the present, then perhaps we need to let our ego’s rest a little while we enjoy what is available for us now.

That’s all for today. I hope this was able to suffice for those of you who were unable to come out to the talk. I found it to be a rather illuminating experience, giving me a whole new outlook on life. Feel free to leave your own opinions in the comments, and as always, happy reading!

Cheers,

BookNerd

 

 

 

Dr. Ehsnai’s Talk: Scientific Insights into the Reality of Man (Part 1)

nerdfighters rules Hello Fellow BookNerds!

WARNING: The following is a perspective on the state of reality, both from a scientific and spiritual perspective. I do not wish to force these ideas or beliefs upon anyone, and they are by no means finite responses to the worlds biggest question: why and how do we exist.  Also, this is my interpretation of Dr. Ehsani’s views, and therefore may not be entirely accurate, and possibly altered to suit any personal biases. Keep this in mind while reading or commenting. Thank you.

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As promised yesterday, here is an overview of the key things that were discussed during Dr. Mehrdad Ehsani’s talk, and what I was able to extrapolate from them. There are some pretty heavy topics, and there is a lot that even I do not entirely understand, but it definitely provokes a whole new outlook on life. Hopefully the notes I took are clear enough to give you at least a general idea of concepts discussed. If you need any kind of clarification, do not hesitate to ask, and I will do my best to deliver. This is just my way of showing you how everything we are can be reduced to the written word, although even that does not do this talk absolute justice…

Dr. Mehrdad Ehsani’s talk on the Reality of Man

“Man’s Station in the Universe”

Absolute Nothingness…

“The perception of one’ nothingness will lead to a deep spiritual transformation that will change the self and everything”

–          True reality lies within the simple things that we neglect to notice

“Does a fish understand the ocean?”

  • Our science used to be guided by pre-conceptions and beliefs, which led to near total misunderstandings of our world…
  • For instance, we used to believe that the earth was flat, or that it was possible to fall of the edge of the earth. Thanks to scientific investigations, we now know that the earth is, in fact, a more or less spherical shape, and gravity prevents us from falling off its surface

“I’m interested in the way science is pointing” – Ehsani

  • when we see a sign, we do not think about the sign itself but the direction in which it is pointing…
  • Science led us to the discovery of many a phenomenon, the most miraculous of which was the Black Hole.

Black Whole”: a collapse of matter in on itself

  • There exists a black hole at the center of our galaxy. At the center of the black hole, there exists an “event horizon”, which is the point of no return – where time literally stops.
  • The stopping of time, or something that does not require the existence  of time, is what science regards as ‘eternity’.

We exist within a realm of nothingness, an empty space which contains everything which is necessary for us to live. The things is contains can be warped and manipulated by us and by nature.

“Emergent Properties”

  • This is when 2 elementory things combine in a certain way, and reveal traits/properties that are not inherent to either of one.

Example: B+E = Be

  • In essence, life itself is an emergent property of the elements. It is a very complex one, of course, one which requires a constant energy source in order to be maintained. In fact, animals and humans are the biggest consumers of energy:
  • Sun: 0.00019 W/kg
  • Planets: 0.00088 W/kg
  • Animals: 1.3 W/kg
  • Human Brain: 16 W/kg

Based on this, if there were to be other such complex creatures existing elsewhere within the galaxy, then they would be subject to the second law of thermodynamics, which is that in order to maintain entropy, there must be a maximum efficiency placed on the allocation of energy and resources. In other words, there is not enough for life to be supported elsewhere, unless we give up something.

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This concludes my notes from the first talk. I elaborated on some points, to make sure that they read more clearly, and I only included that which I deemed to be the most important and fascinating. Tomorrow, I will post the notes from the second half of the talk.

I hope you found this to be every bit as interesting as I did. There is no conclusive answer as to our existence and whether it actually means something, but the theories and methods that people have devised in order to try and answer them shows that there really is not limit to the intellect, nor its imagination, which is also something that will be covered tomorrow.

That’s all for today. Once again, the Ottawa weather has switched from one extreme to the next. If it wasn’t for all the snow, I would be outside waltzing around without a coat on. Stay up to date with the weather so you don’t make a wardrobe mistake, and as always, happy reading!

Cheers,

BookNerd

 

 

 

The Philosophical Perspective

Hello All!

Have you ever wondered why certain thoughts exist? Why certain ideas will manifest themselves within our minds? Why we sometimes doubt or deny some things, and yet are quick to accept others?

What I enjoy most about my Philosophy class is that it addresses certain questions that people don’t normally tend to ask themselves. It’s also interesting to compare and contrast the answers that certain philosophers have come up with in order to explain why certain things are the way they are.

Rene Descartes Rene Descartes, for instance, believed that humans are born with innate ideas that were given to them by God, and those ideas are the only pieces of ‘certain knowledge’. Everything else, especially the human senses, are not to be trusted because he believed that they were capable of deceiving our minds. “I think, therefore I am”, was a philosophical principle coined by this philosopher, which is not entirely false, but also is not entirely true.

John Locke John Locke, another philosopher, discouraged Descartes idea of humans needing to doubt their own senses. He held great trust in the senses, believing that “there is nothing in the intellect which does not first come from the senses”. He rejected most, although not all, of what Descartes theorized about the nature of human existence. Most people recognize him for his idea that human beings are born as an ’empty slate’, known in Latin as ‘Tabula Rasa’ (one of my favorite episodes of Stargate Atlantis).

democritus Aristotle_Altemps_Inv8575 Aristotle, who came before both of them, believed in the idea that the soul and the physical body were, in fact, one and the same. This train of thought led him to the idea that the soul was not, in fact, immortal, but was limited to the lifespan of the human body. He also followed the theory of ‘causation’, where everything could be explained based off of a model of 4 levels: material cause (the object), efficient cause (creator of the object), formal cause (idea/makeup of the object), final cause (purpose of the object).

We all know that we exist, but as for why and how, that remains a mystery. Thousands of philosophers have tried to answer those questions, but in the end, their answers are entirely theoretical and their truth or falsehood may never be proven. Still, so long as our curiosity remains, we will never stop searching for answers.

This is why most people turn to religion. It may not give the kind of concrete answers you would expect from science or mathematics, but it provides a comfort in knowing that our existence has more of a purpose than just living, and then dying. Faith breeds hope, which isn’t such a bad thing to have in this day and age.

I hope you enjoyed this little bit of philosophical insight for the day. I found this to be most helpful for my midterm studying; the act of explaining things to others forces you to organize the information in a way that is also more understandable for yourself. It shows you just how much you know the topic, and where your weaknesses are. This is a useful study tip that I have found to be most helpful.

That’s all for today. Keep your mind open to the possibilities of the universe, and as always, happy reading!

Cheers 🙂