The Meaning of Life
Lecture 2: The Painter

1. To Be or Not to Be
2. The Painter
3. Symposium
4. Anthem

March 9, 2012

And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
Genesis 2:7


Greetings and welcome to lecture two on the meaning of life. Last lecture we introduced the topics that we will be covering over this course. And what I am going to do now is get right into it as we don't really need to review what we spoke of previously because we will be talking about these subjects now and the future lectures.

To begin with we will speak of birth, childhood, youth, growing up into adulthood, life, and then death. We are all brought into a society, a culture, a particular culture. So a time and place within that culture. So we live over a certain period of time and we have no say about that and we are brought into a place and we have no say about that. And this affects our entire lives, for we can move on to a different place but the places that we were in our past will condition where we go in our future.

So we are born and then brought up into a culture and we are taught the normalities and traditions of this culture as well as the "truths" that these cultures hold as valuable. We are handed down a preconception of what a life should be. And in most capitalistic cultures this is preparation for employment. We learn how to walk. We learn that feet go on the ground and hat goes on the head. We develop ourselves and learn speech to communicate because we become frustrated not being able to communicate and that causes us to cry. Once we learn from observation and immersion the language of our culture we then start to learn its values and believe those values to also be our own. We grow up and get educated within this culture as to how we should live our lives and we follow the path of this culture unless we break apart from it.

We all have rose tinted glasses. We see around and see straight but these rose tented glasses block our peripheral vision. And it is the philosopher's job to pry these glasses off so that they can see what truly is. And that is the goal of the philosopher. And as the philosopher learns how to do this then they are in a better situation to control their own lives.

This lecture called The Painter is to help and prepare you to read and understand the text that will be provided in this course. Not only that to be able understand expression on a higher level. And that is not only text but any type of expression for example this transcript that I am typing right now is a type of expression. And hopefully after this lecture, you will be able to make better decisions from understandings brought from the lecture about what it is that people are trying to say. So this is not only limited to the text that you will be encountering in this course but expands to life and everything within human communication. We can then learn to look at speech and language from an overview.

It is the expressionist' role to express themselves in a manner that is receptive to the audience. And the audience depends on the expressionist. For me the audience is people that are looking for meaning, people that have not found meaning but are searching. The future philosophers is the people that my heart is put out to. A philosopher can be many things but that is your path, or the philosophers path.

But that is their role to articulate their abstract in a way that is receptive. This is no easy task at all. I have been doing this my entire life and most people have not been receptive at all to me. So I tweak and manipulate my words and my structure of whatever medium I use to express myself in order to convey my meaning and be heard by others. So that is the role of the painter, for they are painting a picture of what it is that they are trying to say. And this picture is in attempts to convey the meaning that they have to express.

I am going to get right into a debate or an argument and that goes into Socrates and Hermogones and they were speaking about names. Let's say we call all horses men and then we call all men horses, so now a man is a horse and a horse is a man. Is a man really a horse then and is a horse really a man, or we just postulating something that is not true? And language is meant for the user of the language, so if we assert our language into an object or an understanding, how can we say that that understanding is true? Or is it true or we just completely screwing up our own language.

A very difficult and interesting article that I struggled with greatly with a few years ago was Wittgenstein's private use of language. Wittgenstein takes this discourse of Socrates and Hermogones a step further and questions whether private language can exist, for language is a communal activity, and for one person to say that something is something else then is that possible or not. So if I claim this stick to be a dog and for the future this stick to me is a dog, can this stick be a dog. In a round about what Wittgenstein is coming to grips with or bringing our minds to question is whether language at all can exist or be valid, for all language in a certain perspective is a private use of language. For there is colloquially and we all have different types of verbiage that we utilise. The argument is much more detailed than that but this is an introductory course and I do not want to confuse anybody, but that is basically the way the argument goes.

So we are questioning language here and we need to start thinking about this method that we use to convey meaning in order to understand the painter. And this method in many cases is language. And not only language, if another method is used then it carries the same ramifications. So let's keep that in mind. When I say that it is hot and being hot comes to your mind, I feel that it is probable that my hot is burning to you. As well as cold. I am sure that my cold is freezing to you. And this is because I have trained. And I have trained in the intense heat and I have put myself through rigorous extremes in order to no longer worry about those extremes. So to escape suffering I went through suffering, which we will be speaking about next lecture.

If you go to a doctors office and you have a boo boo and the doctor says, "How much does this boo boo hurt? Your scale is 1-10. Now tell me , is it like a two or a three or is it a seven or is it a nine? How are we able to articulate an abstract such as labeling our pains to a number? So this is impossible. Yet we do it every day. Yet we go to the doctor and we tell them and not just the doctor, we have other scenarios in our day to day lives that these situations come up. So we need to start thinking about the use of language and being able to say what you mean.

For if I point to the moon it is not the moon. What I am pointing at is the moon. The conveyance of pointing at the moon is not the moon. If you have two friends that come over and you ask them if they would like some coffee and the first one says, "Yes, I would like some coffee" and the second one says, "A coffee would be magnificent". Who is expressing more meaning there? The first friend advised you specifically, "Yes, I would like some coffee". The second friend did not give you an answer, yet somehow they did. So these are things that we need to think about within language and expression.

Salvador Dali and the painting of the melting clock is my favourite painting of all time. When we look that painting we are not thinking that Salvador Dali wanted to say that clocks melt. We are looking deeper into the painting. And if you have never seen that painting, which I am sure everyone has, but go and look at it if you have not and if you have not looked at it for long I would recommend you to just observe it for a while and see what comes about there. He is attempting to convey a message and that message is up for interpretation.

Friedrich Nietzsche is the most quoted philosopher of all time but at the same time he is the most misunderstood. Not only that is that he utilised his paintbrush in an interesting manner. He went and started attacking different ideas and concepts in order to express deeper meaning. So most people who read Nietzsche will be greatly offended by what he says, but when you learn to step back and try and look at what image he is attempting to convey, then we come to the point where we are looking at the clock again. The meaning that he conveys through his controversial topics, through his bold statements that will get you upset. But he is preparing a road and if you look at what he says then that road becomes open for you to follow and observe the surroundings.

So can we say what we mean? I have had a debate about this with somebody, it was a very short debate. Through this debate we had some problems {the results of being homeless during this course} and it ended up falling out, not on my part but the other part. But they were not appreciative at all that I could not say what I meant. I said to them "I mean everything that I say but I can never say what I mean" and they were greatly offended by this and said that they did not wish to have a friend that was like that. It was a short debate, a few minutes, because they did not have ears to hear and they did not want to hear the meaning that I was attempting to convey. And that is what we need to learn to do is unplug our ears so we can understand what message our fellow human is attempting to convey. So from intolerance such as close mindedness we end up with diversity where there was none. And we end up hurting our fellow humans.

For each of us are equipped with a paintbrush. Some go out and look for other paintbrushes to also utilise. And we can have different types of paint brushes. We can have thick ones and small ones and not only that the painter has a style and they can paint wide strokes or small strokes. And what it is that the philosopher does is paint in a way that can convey meaning regardless of the content of some of their words. So you might notice with me that I might be very aggressive towards humnankind in certain situations. And this is very true, and I am to a large degree. But behind these strokes of my paintbrush is deeper meaning. And if you learn to pull off your rose tinted glasses, then maybe you might see something that you did not see previously.

So we come back to the painter that paints the sun. Are they painting the sun or they merely painting a representation of the sun. To point at the moon is not the moon. And the artist can only point. We can only act as signs to guide the audience towards the direction of the insight that we see. Wisdom must be learned through understanding and experience, and suffering, and can not be taught. You are not going to gain anything from these lectures until you learn how to practically apply this information. You have the resources now from this course to gain these tools but you do not have the wisdom: by me doing this course is not passing on wisdom but only tools to achieve your own personal wisdom. Your own personal divinity.

So we come now to the philosopher and the philosophy. And what so many people do, especially people that are beginning with philosophy, is read the philosophy. So they will go through and read Kierkegaard, or Descartes, or Plato, Aristotle, Nietzsche, etc... And they will learn their content, they will learn the philosophy of the philosopher. But they will not understand. They might think they understand but they will not. And I will tell you why is because behind the philosophy is the philosopher, and this is an important point. And there is a theme that is beginning here , even began in last lecture, but I hope you pick up on it. But to understand the philosophy you must understand the philosopher. Because that philosophy was built by philosopher and that philosopher built that philosophy from the happenings, understandings , occurrences and experience of his or her own life. So in order to understand the philosophy in the best and most efficient manner possible, we need to understand what is behind that philosophy and that is the philosopher.

We need to then analyse the medium that this philosopher or artist, painter, whatever we are talking about here. We need to look at the medium that they are using to convey their message. Are they using paper like most, I mean are they writing or painting or they making a demonstration or they making a video? How are they conveying what they wish to convey? Once we look at that then we can say well why did they use that medium?. A lot of the medium that survived in our past was writing and now we have something called technology, the Internet, the Internet is such a wonderful thing and I am taking it and I am making it my own. I am starting philosophy online for all. I am making it free for everyone. And the medium that I use many mediums. Many of you might notice that I do artwork that scrams and I write and I do lectures now and I also read aloud and record my articles. I have photographs with text. There is many things that I use to convey messages. And always in attempts to figure out how to best express myself.

It has only been maybe a few years that people have started to listen to me or be frightened, more so frightened, but all through childhood and youth and much of my adulthood I was confused about a lot of things. I misunderstood the world in front of me. And I was screaming for help for understanding and nobody was answering, so I went to philosophy. And I looked for mentors as well and nobody was interested and I was just a child to everybody. I started to learn and learn and learn philosophy. And eventually my arguments became solid. And instead of people arguing against and claiming me as "froth on the beer", I became to be frightened of, there was no point in arguing with me about anything because the arguments that I had were forming into solid arguments. And that is not to say that doesn't happen, like there are some people sometimes that I can have good debates with. But it is few and far between.

So now instead of people condescending me I have people running from me. I think that is better than people condescending me but... You see my point is that I had a message but I did not know what it was and I was striving to look for it. And I was screaming out to the world for help and the world was not answering, so I would utilise different methods to convey my message. Music as well. There is a lot of different methods that I did utilise and still utilise, and I am always growing; my palette is always getting more colours. This then allows me to increase my audience, and it does, it definitely does. And then some people either unplug their ears or they have already somewhat been awaken or even halfway awake. Somnambulance: sleepwalkers, I live in a world of sleepwalkers. And I was always wanting to get out of that world. And even my philosophy professors, they were not interested in helping me. I was just a kid and for my youth I get looked down upon. And when I open my mouth people then run because, "hey there is this kid who is speaking frightening things". And what I preach isn't appreciate by the majority of people. And this is obvious because what I preach is not your personal comforts in society but something different.

My audience still remains these people. And I am constantly looking for ways to express meaning and wake up the world to themselves, but I run into the deaf. Those who have no ears to listen. And it is these people that I want to help the most for my heart screams out to them because they suffer and they suffer and they suffer for the sake of suffering. I suffer to overcome. The Superman is why I suffer. They suffer to suffer and it makes me sad and I see it, being homeless, I travel from place to place to place to place, to family to family to friends to friends, to families, to everywhere. I mean I am constantly meeting new people. And I see the world for the people that are in it. And a lot of their unhealthy traits that they utilise and have no concern to overcome makes me sad because those unhealthy traits cause them suffer. And it is that suffering that I strive to overcome and it is suffering that humanity strives to overcome. And this is my gift to humanity, is to help it overcome suffering.

If we only learn to take our hands away from our ears, to pry off our rose tinted glasses, and suffering for the sake of overcoming; of transcending, instead of suffering for the sake of suffering, then we can live in a much better world. And not only that but a much more compassionate world. And it all aligns, for when you find the root cause of something then everything else aligns. So if you suffer in one area and you find out why you suffer in that area and then you take care of that problem, the rest sorts itself out. If your car has a problem, you need to figure out what that problem is in order to fix it. And then you can fix the problem and have a working functioning car again. If you leave that problem alone or rig it up so it works for a little bit longer other things are going to start to get affected. But we will speak about that in the next lecture on suffering.

The deaf is my audience. And if you are reading this and you are awake or awakening then I want to talk to you. But in saying that you are not my target audience. But also in saying that you are the ones that I want by my side. So in a way you are, I want you to come to me. And I want us to talk about the future of the world. But as far as why I do this is for compassion for those who are sleepwalking.

We were looking at the painter and his picture but now we need to look at you as the painter and your own picture. So when you use language what type of language do you use and why? When you express something why do you express it the way that you do? How are you articulating the abstract? Are you saying what you mean? For you can't say what you mean and even if you think you can you can't but you can mean what you say. And if you do mean what you say then how meaningful is what you say? What can you do to involve more meaning within your expression?

This is an important topic in order to review the world that you live in and yourself within that world. How people communicate is everything. For when you walk into a shop and when you walk by someone or when you are talking with someone, you are right there in this subject that we are speaking of right now. So how you communicate, how you paint your strokes, is going to affect how others interpret you. And I would like you to think about that. This isn't something that you just think about once. This is a process that will continue on your entire life.

So we went to the beginning of adulthood if you remember the beginning of this lecture, and we now come to a point where we have been educated and we are then thrown out into the world, and they make you think that this is the world, and you become employed. So the world of employment IS the world. It is not but maybe you think that or not, most people do so I am speaking to those most people. You are now employed. Somehow you manage to wake yourself up and sleepwalk through the day and then you come home and your beer or you relax and sit on your lazy boy or turn on the TV and spend the night away on the TV. Or you begin to get set in your life and over time this will eventually bring about the fact that your life is meaningless. And it is meaningless because of what you made it. And when you understand this or when you think about this a little bit, because you get stuck in it, you get stuck in what you are doing. And when you think about this it makes you sad.

So how can you fix that? Well the best way to fix that would then be to get married. You get married and you combine your life and your life is now a bit different and you are going along and it happens again and you feel, "oh where is the meaning in my life" so you have children. And then you raise those children and you think this is meaning, this is real meaning raising these children and you continue the process and paint on the rose tinted glasses onto your children. But this time in your own way because you found a few different things out that are relevant to you and you think it should be done this way instead. So you are making minor adjustments and you are raising your children. Your children grow up and then they move out and then you go, "okay, well what do I do now? I've spent all of this time on the children and now my life is again meaningless". So this is when a lot of people go through their mid-life crisis. After the mid-life crisis they learn to be content because they have seen a lot of things and experienced a lot of things. Being content within their miserable life becomes what they strive for everyday. Because they feel like most of their life has passed them by and they are coming to the end and then we put these people in old folks homes when they get to the point where they can no longer take care of themselves.

All the employment that went through the life, you learn how to deal with it. And then after it all means nothing. There was nothing that could be said for your employment but "you did a good job", you might get a watch or something like that, a few pats on the back. And then you grow old and you whither away and you get sick often and you reflect on the life that you wasted or you then occupy your mind with hobbies. And over time you deteriorate and eventually you die. And this is all considering that and accident didn't occur during your lifetime to kill you. What I say is that is that we should invest ourselves into ourselves. We will be talking about throughout the lectures. And I want to ask you a question. The life that I depicted is the life of most people. Do you think this is a meaningful life. I want to leave you with that question for this lecture but before we finish I want to speak about the relevant readings.

To begin with I want to speak about an author that has a warm place in my heart, and this is Ayn Rand and we are going to be reading a section of her novella called Anthem. The reason why this author has such a place in my heart is because she is the one who introduced me to Western philosophy and some the ramifications that it spoke of. After I read The Fountainhead which was a really good book (Atlas Shrugged was really good as well), but after I read that I turned my life around. And everything started being invested in philosophy. And over time I was able to pry my rose tinted glasses off. And I am very harsh on people and I say, "pry off your rose tinted glasses" and they go, "how do you know I got rose tinted glasses one?" and it is like, "well look, I have been spending my entire life prying away my glasses and there is still some days that I have to question what it is that I do and why it is that I do it.

So it is not an easy process. Have you spent the time to pry your glasses off, that is my question, have you done that. I am going to be harsh on you. I am going to be harsh on every single person because it is not a flick of the fingers. It was like eight years ago that I read Ayn Rand and she opened my heart into Western philosophy (I was into Eastern philosophy because I did martial arts). But Western philosophy opened a huge, everything for me, it opened up my life. And it brought much suffering too but that is a different story and we will talk about that in the next lecture. But Anthem, back to the relevant reading (we are getting off topic again) but the relevant reading is Anthem and this is a world where the "I" has been taken away. So We no longer say "I" We say We, so how are We today, what are We doing? It is a very interesting read and while reading it I want you to think about how she utilises her words and how she paints her picture.

Similarly, I want you to do the same thing with our next relevant reading which is another book that is dear to my heart, probably in the top ten list of my favourite books of all time. And not necessarily for its structure because there is parts of that book that I find boring but there are a lot of gems within it. And this book is called The Symposium by Plato. A symposium is where everybody gets together and speaks about a subject, and in this case they were speaking about love, and what love is and Socrates was there and his friends. They were drinking a little bit and when Alcibiades, I think they started drinking more but he was drunk, but we won't be reading that section and if we do it will only be a small portion of it. But the section we are going to be reading is when Socrates is speaking about Diatoma and what she conceives love as, her perceptions on love, and I want you to notice and think about these because these are part of the theme. So whenever Socrates goes into the words or the understanding of Diatoma, I want your ears to be very perceptive. And I want you to relate this material with everything we are talking about. And look at the picture that is being painted.

As far as The Symposium as well, I want you to understand that this event was told to Plato by his friend, I don't remember who it was, but I think it was thirty or thirty five after the event took place. And then Socrates is speaking about a lesson that he learned from Diatoma and I think that was like five or ten years prior. So we are getting second hands of second hands. We are lost as far as interpretation. And this is where the painting comes in because we have multiple paintings that are built upon one another. So perceive this and realise what is happening and I think you will enjoy the readings a great deal.

That's all for this lecture and I hope you were interested and enjoyed it. And next lecture is going to be an interesting one on pain and suffering. So hopefully we can have a little bit of fun with our own pain and suffering instead of suffering through the lecture. Stay safe.