The Alpha Primitive

Film reviews, essays, commentary and sundry writings

Filtering by Category: Philosophy

Dreams

A while ago, I wrote two back to back articles on the nature of perception and memory, and how we interact with the physical world. Some believe that the world is entirely beholden to our perceptions, other believe the world is static and independent of our presence or input, and (shockingly) some believe true reality to consist of various degrees of both concepts mixed together to form a unifying theory. One aspect I neglected to take into account in those initial articles is the dream state, and how what it represents may alter or impress itself on the argument as a whole.

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The Fearless Life Inventory

As an aside, the title for this article comes from a well regarded Magic: The Gathering strategy article by Sam Stoddard (host of the In Contention podcast) entitled “Creating a Fearless Magical Inventory,” wherein he talks about frankly discussing the weak points of your game, the things you do wrong that lead to losses, and making them public to give yourself a blueprint for improvement. It’s a great Magic article, but it also has its role as a strong thought experiment when applied to other aspects of life.

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Creation. Expression. Frustration. Art

The apogee of rationality is creation. Our greatest gift as a human race is the ability to imagine. It’s is one of the most concrete aspects that separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom. Look at this website. This is a heavenly shrine to creation. As I live and breathe, I devour the creation of others with voracious appetite, be it music, film, comics, the written word, anything. I write my reactions, some tempered, some impulsive, expressing on expressions. I care about the creative work of others more than anything else. It keeps me going. For I am human. And I must escape the prison of my rationality.

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Misconceptions

There is a strong chance that Friedrich Nietzsche might be one of the most misunderstood thinkers we’ve seen in the philosophical enterprise. What’s interesting about it is the fact that these misconceptions are almost entirely not his fault. This is not an example of vague or overly complex prose leading to a misread of a text (I’m thinking along the lines of Hegel here, whose prose is so dense that he’s easily misunderstood due to confusion more than anything). Far from it. Nietzsche’s text is clear. Some would say too clear in certain situations, bordering on polemic (or, in the case of On the Genealogy of Morals, it’s actually subtitled as “A polemic”). Even Thus Spoke Zarathustra and some of the aphorisms from The Gay Science that are designed to be parables (or parodies of parables, which might be a better fit) still have a clear topic of focus and are easy to understand philosophically.

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Nietzschian Metaphysics

I'm currently taking a class about Heidegger's unique understanding of history as it relates to his later philosophical writings. One of the texts we are reading is Volume 4 of his Nietzsche lectures, entitled European Nihilism. I began this little thing as some free form notes about some of the things Heidegger brings up in the first 70 or so pages of the work (specifically that the will to power is a metaphysical concept that arises after nihilism wreaks its havoc) combined with my own personal knowledge of Nietzsche's life, times and philosophy. It morphed into something altogether different. There is a good chance I will write my term paper for the class on something relating to the topic, but I don't think I could really use any of this considering its persuasive and not at all cited nature. It was a good thought experiment and a way of attempting to understand what Heidegger was saying. Unfortunately, it's a little heavy on Nietzsche and light on Heidegger. This, too, shall pass.

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Existential Angst

I’ve been reading a lot lately. I’ve always read, and especially since I picked up the comics hobby I read constantly. That’s somewhat necessary, since I get a twice monthly shipment of comics from Discount Comic Book Service that usually ranges from about 14 to 19 books, and those things have to be read because more of those suckers will be coming in fourteen days. But beyond the comics, I’ve been reading a lot of novels recently as well. I’m on a Neil Gaiman kick at the moment; I recently read all of his Sandman comic series, as well as Neverwhere and American Gods.

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Memory

After finishing my last essay (well, and a few others; I finished this one after I wrote a couple other entries), I was at a loss for what to write next. I wanted to keep it going; I’m thoroughly enjoying writing these little philosophical flights of fancy, but I just couldn’t think of where to go next. Then, I decided to watch a few movies (once again, this was about three weeks to a month ago). I don’t think I necessarily did this purposefully looking for inspiration, but I just wanted to watch a few films with a philosophical bent. The first one on the docket was I Heart Huckabees, a wonderful little flick from David O Russell that represents a torrent of philosophical beliefs, from Spinoza’s views on what makes the world to existential nihilism and so on.

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Perception

In continuing my look at what shapes both my life and the world, I thought I would tackle one of the most fascinating (in my mind, at least) ambivalences of my personality. There seems to be a constant state of friction between a sort of scientific naturalism or rationalism and emotionally founded instictualism. They are warring ideologies in many ways, but they both profoundly affect the way I think and approach situations. It is possible for these two foundations of thinking to be reconciled in any meaningful way? What does this tell me about the way I think? Should I actually try to fundamentally change by outlook on life to avoid the dreaded hypocrite brand? Is it even possible to do that at this stage of my mental development? How many questions can I throw out here to make this introductory paragraph seem longer than it is? Well, that’s probably a sign I should get moving.

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Why Philosophy?

It’s a question that is asked to me often. Especially in my current (well, current for one more day) environment of a super corporate big finance Fortune 500 company. Most people around me are very confused when they found out that I actually picked a major in college with no tangible monetary benefit other than the base line of “I went to college for four years and survived” to get past those job qualifications of at least having some college degree. So why would I basically waste close to four years of my life to get a degree only to not use it at all in the past three years working for the company that I work for?

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