Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
Greetings and welcome to lecture nine on the meaning of life. This lecture is, "What life should I live?". We have come such a far way and we have covered a lot of material so we are towards the end of our road, we just have some things to speak about first. And these are quite important issues. Last lecture we questioned, "Why act morally?" and we went into systems and the way that our current society employs these systems.
Within health we need to be careful about what we are dealing with because the Western health system looks at one aspect and ignores the rest and this is not necessarily a healthy thing as we have talked about before. We can not say that there are no black swans because a black swan might exist. So the closed sightedness of science and the ramifications of science on our health care system and our health leads us to compartmentalise what we do not understand into something that we can claim to understand and it might be right or wrong. And we see this a lot in our mental health system. The health system of Western culture is terrible. They label conscious activity as faulty instead of looking back at what caused that faulty conscious activity. And that was from experience that was obtained through the life of the subject. There is a lot of things that need to change within our health care system because when we are helping someone just because we have to, we don't end up helping them. But when we do it out of our compassion and our passion towards that compassion then we are in a much better position to help these people.
Looking at what life we live we need to look at what necessitates a human. What makes a human exist? What needs does a human have? When we look at a human we can see that they have reasons for everything that they do and they make judgements on those reasons that result in their new experience, which is their consciousness and reactions towards actions of previous time. Every human individual takes actions for some type of gain. Man is for the betterment of man. So we get these desires towards something or another and then we feel that we must fulfil these desires.
This is where we get Epicurus and I told you that I would talk about him in a previous lecture and that is what we are doing now. So Epicurus says that we need to look at what the right needs are. Happiness and desires are good because it makes us feel good; it makes us continue in a positive manner. But we need to look at what these things that we are satisfying our needs with to see if they are ultimately causing positive results. And that is where we get a lot of vices that might be desirable but when we look at their results we find that they are ultimately not good for us. So when we come to terms with this then we are able to make small manipulations in our psychology to overcome the needs that were not necessarily healthy needs. So we need to reorientate our needs towards healthy mediums to achieve our ends through means of healthy actions that we then implement into our lives to eradicate negative actions.
We need to do this for each particular psychology that we are dealing with. So even though we can get an image of a man and the nature of a man through looking at the whole of man, we need to look at the individual man and their psychology so that we can then alter that psychology to overcome the problems that exist within that psychology. And through this action then we build a collective understanding of the whole through this individual. And if we all do this then we are going to build a large collective knowledge and it would be easy for anybody to achieve what desires that they feel as their highest good.
Then we have consciousness. Consciousness has better alternatives. The consciousness that we exist in right now is not necessarily the best, so if we are to make moral decisions regarding our consciousness because we have now opened up our eyes to be able to take it back, then why are we not choosing the better perceptions of consciousness which we can achieve through modification of one's psychology.
When we look at our needs. What does someone need? Someone needs food. Let's look at what type of food that person needs. And when we look at it, a person is perfectly healthy on a vegetarian diet which does not harm any sentience, that is the living consciousness that we have come to understand and then assert to other creatures within our environment. And we can see that these creatures suffer. And because they suffer, we can identify with that suffering. Therefore we should not eat meat because we know it is wrong and because we are conscious of it being wrong because of that suffering then we are then responsible to make the right decisions in regards to the topic that we are dealing with: eating meat.
At the end of the day we must learn control. And control with anything. We should control what we eat and how much we eat and the amount that we can live on and still be healthy from our perception of what healthy is. This is where fasting comes in. Fasting is a great method to think out a difficult subject as well as become closer to the environment that you are within. I have fasted for thirteen days before and hopefully I will end up fasting for twenty-eight days, that is my goal, I want to fast for twenty-eight days one time. But what we find with fasting is once we get beyond the innate desires that we have built into ourselves for this food, then we can overcome the need for food because when we have a desire for something, we are indulged within that desire. And when we abstain from that desire then we no longer have that desire. So we are reorientating our desires to be the most virtuous desires that we can find.
This is done through a process of suffering without those desires in order to obtain the necessary means in order to no longer have those desires; or be able to go beyond those desires. And when this is done when you then eat or drink you are eating or drinking something grand and you are really appreciative of the content that is entering your body. We find this in all things. When we abstain from the activity then we become really appreciative of the activity when it does come into our lives. So we appreciate the natural resources that the Earth has blessed us with instead of arrogantly and ignorantly looking at it.
In the end then we die. Our life is a preparation for death. We do not have to be afraid of this but this is the fact of human life; it is the absurdity of human life. In order to get beyond death we need to again analyse our psychology and see why we are afraid of death. And then we need to make the necessary arrangements to overcome that because life is not needed when it is not desired and that desire for more than you already have is what causes our suffering.
We then do this through a mode of being self-sufficient because when we look at our resources we see that most of these resources are controlled by people. And people are greedy in our current world; this is something that we need to fix, something that we need to work on. Everybody is out to get something from someone else. We are all wanting what is in the other person's wallet or wanting the other person not to want what is in our wallet. And this is a faulty mode of perceiving the world and our environment within it that has been encouraged through capitalism.
Through becoming self sufficient: so no longer relying on anybody else but yourself, then you gain a sense of security within who you are and what you are doing. You then go beyond the suffering that is involved with relying on other people. And when you rely on other people you can never trust it because people will let you down. This security is not only in oneself: it starts out within oneself and it comes to the world and environment around. By becoming secure in ourselves we become secure in our surroundings and then we are able to place ourselves in the best possible environment that we can find for our particular psychology.
What we are doing here is analysing articulation. When we analyse articulation what we have to do is step back and look how it is that we articulate. So the content of the articulation, which is this video medium and my articles and whatever else you might come to read, and not just me but every other medium that has been distributed to you that conveys some message is the a posteriori, which means after the fact. These ideas came in after the fact of speaking. So what is a priori to articulation? So I am articulating myself right now. What is before this articulation?
And that is that my mind is going through a train of thought and each movement is bringing a new selection of terminology for me to most effectively commit myself and articulate my meaning into words. And then these words come out of my mouth. And because of this process of development it starts out terrible and we can not articulate ourselves very well at all. And I struggle with it within speech and sometimes I end up with a mind blank (lose my train of thought) and I have to rethink my line of thought so that I can then arrive back at what I was speaking about. But in saying this it is all a developmental process and we are always getting better at it. So we are always getting better at articulating the abstract that we have to convey. And it is these categories that we are going through in our minds to arrive at the particular method of articulation that we do arrive at. That is what is a priori (before the fact) of articulation, is the process of going though massive amounts of information and then creating a solid foundation to represent the message is being conveyed.
In doing all of this we are then forming a type of correct thinking. So we are manipulating our psychological development and actions, as a result of the development, in a manner that is forming ourselves to ourselves becoming a more correct way of going about things. That allows us to become creative and through that we can open up different parts of our subconscious and unconscious and sometimes it might feel like the material produced was not done by us: these ideas were just so great that you could not have done it, but it was the unconscious and subconscious of the self that has been tapped into to find these results. So they still come from you and all of the effort that your conscious seconds are directed towards. They then get filed in a particular manner that is unique to your own psychology. And from that filing and the efficiency of that filing all depends about how you can then come to understand and improve the process of articulation.
We got to ask "What is it that I am doing to myself?". So when we watch T.V. and when we eat meat and when we allow things to occur that should not occur and when participate in small talk and gossip, we have to ask what is it that we are doing to ourselves. It is each second that we have to ask these questions. Remember the keyhole with Sartre, we need to become conscious of our actions so our actions will be utilised for and towards their potential.
So from the internal (What am I doing with myself?) we build into "What am I doing to my environment?" and we need to be careful about how we treat our environment because we will suffer the consequences of what we do to it. Just as we will suffer the consequences from what we do to our psyche. So we develop an image of the "me" and then that "me" has deeper meaning for the species. It paints an image or a shadow of both you and then helps fill in gaps for the entire whole.
Then we go to Darwinism and we see it. It is survival of the fittest. Every species is not going to survive: it is only the ones that are able go beyond themselves that are able to survive. They can only do that with the traits that they have been given. And if they desire more traits then it is a process of suffering and development to obtain those traits. Through this we need to think about a public forum. If we are to survive then through our speech and our methods of expression we then need to learn how to convey the meaning in which we are attempting to convey in the most articulate method possible. And this goes into every day conversation. So these topics that we are speaking now need to be integrated into our everyday conversation so that we as a species can develop to our full potential. But unfortunately, every day conversation has no meaning to do with anything in most cases. But we will either go beyond that or suffer the consequences of our inability to go beyond that.
So what we are doing here is just sifting through rubbish. And we put the rubbish there. But we were unaware and ignorant of how the rubbish would affect the ecosystem and habitat of our own development. And this is seen in language: you see people swearing profanities that are a part of their normal everyday communication. And this is not an attractive feature of man and it is something that is easily bred out of him. And I understand why they do it, for example I might go, "uhh" or "uhmm" or whatever if I am trying to connect my sentences and give myself a little bit of time to thing, but at the same time I also know that to be bad practice and try to work that out of me. It is better just to not speak than to speak without meaning. And once we can come to understand this then we will be able to modify our speech and our communications to no longer include the profanities and other ridiculous methods of employment that serve absolutely no purpose at all.
In the end, we are in an amphitheatre. We are subjects, you see this is the amphitheatre, and we are the stars. We are the characters of concern. We have a choice of how we are going to play the part. We were given the part and we had no choice about the part we could play but we do have a choice on how we are going to play that part. And in this amphitheatre of life we are going to have a lot of people watching us. As we can see right now, it is empty, it is entirely empty. But I will tell you that these seats will begin to fill up as we better come to understand our own consciousness and psychology and be able to overcome the suffering and the vices that man has place on it as an encouragement towards overcoming it. And next lecture you will be able to read some material about that.
Our relevant readings... We have some good articles so you will enjoy. Everything is coming together and what we are doing now with these articles is stamping the themes that were discussed throughout this course. And these are some really well moulded stamps that I would like to get into your mind so that you can understand what we are going on about here. And I know that you probably understand very well about some of these topics but we need to learn how to study the individual specifics before we can come to understand the whole. So there is a lot of work for you to do: it is not something that is just handed to you.
But our first one is Kant. We read Kant before and it's "What is Enlightenment?". He speaks about his perception of what enlightenment for mankind entails. Unfortunately his project failed, but in the end I do not think it will. It has only failed so far and the ideal still remain strong. So when we look at what it is that he is conveying, I can see it happening. It is just going to take individuals to also become conscious of this fact and to do something about it to bring about enlightenment. And there is a lot of different conceptions of enlightenment but that "light bulb" moment is the perfect moment. That realisation, that is the drug that I have used throughout my life. Right when the little bubble goes above my head and I see that light then everything makes sense and my soul can rest in the area that I was struggling with and then move on to a more advanced area that will have more of a developmental impact. So we are in this constant struggle to become.
But Kant says that we need to break free from our "self-incurred tutelage" he calls it. This article talks about how we are going to break our chains and what sort of necessary characteristics need to be honed in on in order to change characteristics so that we can develop as a species. The next one is a really special reading. It is Kierkegaard and it is on the "Dedication to that Single Individual". And that single individual is you and Kierkegaard wrote this for you so I want you to enjoy this and appreciate what work that is going on here.
I also want you to think back about all of the things that we have been reading and we have been reading things from all over time. A lot of people think now, "it is a different time and culture", saying that people are entirely different and then we can create hostility towards another because of our differences. But with all of these articles that we have been reading, have you noticed that our thinking is very similar throughout? Our ideals have grown and become more refined for philosophy is always sharpening its blade. But the way one thinks and the perception that one can give, these people are not Neanderthals and would be considered an advanced stature of any known society even in today's modern employment of it.
We have to remember that we are all humans and we are all pointed in a certain direction. There is not a significant difference between our thinking but only levels of our thinking and our control over that thinking. And modern philosophy (its development) has allowed us to understand thinking on very high levels and then alter that thinking through uses of methods that we then employ.
I have hope you enjoyed this lecture. There is only one more lecture and then we are done. But until then, stay safe.