I figured I’d update. I was looking through my older entries and I noticed that my posts have devolved from convicted proclamations and inquisitive inquiries to random quotes, essays, summaries, or confounding mindless emotions. I’d like to write more on the idiosyncratic. I enjoy the details that weave the greater fabric of life together. These are the details that get overlooked; that are too readily assumed. I want to challenge the minutia.

I’m finishing up reading Pedagogy of the Oppressed. I’m going to start work on an analysis essay that examines the philosophy of Freire, Dewey and Rousseau as they relate to freedom, motivation and education. I think there is a line that needs to be explored in education where too much freedom leads to otiose behavior, while not enough stifles the possibility of developing a critical consciousness. I think this is a huge point that should be explored. I’m sure other authors have written about them, but the three educational philosophers I’ll be addressing have not adequately, to my knowledge, remedied what appears to be a dilemma.


Pedagogy of the Oppressed Review

Chapter One

  In chapter one Paulo Freire addresses the matter of humanization, or the problem of dehumanization. Initially the reader is left wondering what it means to be fully humanized. As he talks of these hierarchal roles of subject-object, of oppressor-oppressed, he refrains from explicitly prescribing what it means to be fully human. This is not unintended, for such a prescription would vitiate his message by qualifying the very structure he seeks to eliminate. For Freire, humanity is not a thing to have or possess, but rather a responsibility towards freedom that allows being more fully.
Continue reading “Pedagogy of the Oppressed Review”


I just learned that Pedagogy means ‘to lead a child’, from the Greek words ‘pais-‘ meaning ‘child’, and ‘-agogos’ meaning ‘to lead’. The word reminds me of the word educate which means ‘to lead out’.

Fascinating. Will write more on this later.

late 14c., “schoolmaster, teacher,” from O.Fr. pedagogue “teacher of children,” from L. paedagogus “slave who escorted children to school and generally supervised them,” later “a teacher,” from Gk. paidagogos, from pais (gen. paidos) “child” (see pedo-) + agogos “leader,” from agein “to lead” (see act).

1580s, from Fr. pédagogie (16c.), from Gk. paidagogia “education, attendance on children,” from paidagogos “teacher”

exploding senses

Fuck my mind. Yes fuck it. I hate analyzing. i hate thinking. I hate guarding. I hate being cautious. I want to live wildly. Yes, wildly. I hate this business of looking right, talking correctly, being something. This image that I try to fill. This life I try to mold. It is driving me crazy. I want to break all molds, all conceptions of normal. I do not want to be regular. And how typical does this sound?
Continue reading “exploding senses”

My morning.

I will journal.

Today was fine. Funny word to describe a day.

We all live in these gardens, menageries of wonder. Behind every smile, every inquisitive eye, every coy and daring gesture, there is a world in need of exploration. This is why I love people. Why do we run from these worlds? We should embrace people. (Of course these worlds are gated; many have high walls. I believe, and curiosity would agree, that every wall should be scaled.)
Continue reading “My morning.”

An Analysis of Paulo Freire’s Critical Pedagogy and Modern Education

Freire’s educational philosophy is largely political and social in nature. This aim of his message is to bring attention to the structures that govern our perceptions. These structures are generative themes that frame perceptions and our real consciousness. In doing so an ‘awareness’ can be achieved. It is this very process of approaching these structures that develops our critical consciousness, or a phronesis of practical wisdom, which uses the praxis of reflection and action. Freedom is achieved through the development of this critical consciousness as we confront reality.

Exploring and confronting reality need to occur for knowledge to be acquired. It is the critical consciousness that is responsible for this task. However, he believes that we all operate in generative themes that are framed by real consciousness that contains limited perceptions. He sees that a critical consciousness using praxis of reflection and action takes one beyond real consciousness into the potential consciousness where new themes can be generated. A supposition for the confrontation of reality is that an objective reality exists independently from the consciousness that can be explored. However, he believes that our understanding and knowledge is limited by the generative themes, the perceptions of this reality, which are historically and culturally rooted. Since all humans exist independently and are integrally experiencing reality, he believes that communal discourse allows for reality to be mutually explored which in turn yields a much more comprehensive understanding.

The mutual exploration requires that humans see each other as equal subjects.  As subjects, we should exercise our critical consciousness to solve the pressing dilemmas that are relevant and approximate to us. We should live as beings in ourselves, as ends in ourselves, fully employing our creative faculties of freedom to confront the demands of reality that lead to a fulfilling life. According to Freire, “People are fulfilled only to the extent that they create their world (which is a human world), and create it with their transforming labor. The fulfillment of humankind as human beings lies, then, in the fulfillment of the world. If for a person to be in the world of word is to be totally dependent, insecure, and permanently threatened- if their word does not belong to them- the person cannot be fulfilled. Work that is not free ceases to be a fulfilling pursuit and becomes an effective means of dehumanization.” (145)

In sum, every human possesses the ability to exercise their critical consciousness, to reflect and act on the world, in order to transform it to meet their approximate dilemmas. This is their labor. We are ends in themselves.  In contrast to animals which merely live in the context appropriate to it, and do not transcend contexts and communicate about it, human activity is characterized by reflection and action, theory and practice. This is how knowledge is garnered. Knowledge is simply the product of reflection and action.
However, due to the oppressive structures that characterize their existential experience, many people do not develop a critical consciousness. As a result, this critical conscious is underdeveloped. Oppression, in all the manifestations mentioned, subdues this critical consciousness.
You cannot separate freedom from humanity. It is distinct. Likewise, you cannot separate knowledge from humanity. As long as humans exist in reality there are themes that give it context and meaning. The question is whose context and meaning. Are the people generating these themes, this knowledge about the world and personal problems, themselves from their direct experience? Or are they prescribed or dictated these themes and knowledge by other people?

Freire’s message is that oppression robs people of their freedom to confront their own problems which thus subdues the critical consciousness. Oppression occurs when humans objectify their fellow man instead of see them as subjects. This translates to subjects who own, and objects who are possessed. This manifests as those who own labor, and those who are labor; those who prescribe knowledge, and those who receive knowledge; those who make rules, those who follow rules; those who teach, those who memorize.  To retain power and dominance, the subjects do not want the dominated objects to develop a critical consciousness as subjects and think. This would upset the power balance and strip the oppressive subjects of their ability to control.
Learning occurs when problems are posed and the critical consciousness confronts and rises above the current perceived limitations of the real consciousness. (113) The aim is to for the critical consciousness to move beyond the real consciousness into the potential consciousness where generative themes can be synthesized to solve the pressing problems. It is important to recognize knowledge as cultural and historically rooted. It is relative to the place and problems of the people. To substitute direct experience and the contradictions that arise from that experience is to strip life of its meaning.

Our current academic institutions operate in this oppressive teacher-student, subject-object, dichotomy under the banking method, where knowledge is transferred from a teacher who is ‘enlightened’ to a student who is ‘unenlightened’. This is the wrong way to approach education because it reinforces the oppressive structure by preventing the student from developing their critical consciousness, thus suppressing their ability to critically cognize knowledge for themselves. The transfer of knowledge in this method is static, absolute and lifeless.

On the contrary, education should be a dialogical in a mutual, cooperative, co-intentional exploration of the problems relative to the individual. Under the problem posing method, a teacher is not the ‘teacher-of-the-student’ but rather a ‘teacher-student’, and the student is not the ‘student-of-the-teacher’ but rather a ‘student-teacher’. Mutual learning takes place in dialog between the student and teacher as they unveil reality together. There is a trust, humility, and love that unites the teacher and student to address the problems relative to the student. Knowledge in this method is treated as changing, relative, and lively.
Who are these teachers? They are those who have developed a critical consciousness and see the student not as an object, but a fellow subject, a fellow ‘I’, that aids in the exploration of reality and problems. If those who have a critical consciousness make the student an object, and thus manipulate and divide and conquer, they are not practicing the problem posing method characterized by love, trust and humility. Instead they are oppressing, just like the banking method. A human being as an object in the world and not as a subject suppresses their freedom, submerges the critical consciousness, and limits access to the potential consciousness which gives rise to developing our humanity more fully.

What effects would manifest in an oppressive society that is structured to suppress this critical consciousness? Regarding the malaise of our modern culture, let us suppose that the democraticAmericawe know and love is actually an oppressive system composed of an oppressive hierarchal structure composed of elites and the populous.  In a world flooded with information and knowledge that has been pre-cognized and pre-objectified, where all of our answers have been prescribed for us, what does this do to our humanity, our critical consciousness and freedom?

All information that is not derived from personal experience is sloganized and robbed of the approximate and relevant meaning to the individual. News and media is simply precognized knowledge or propaganda presented and perpetuated by those who ‘know best’. I have to wonder if the repercussions to such oppression manifest as psychological ailments of society. What if there are no ‘Learning disabilities’, or if ‘depression’ and ‘bipolar’ and the like, are simply the manifestations of an oppressed humanity, an oppressed freedom, that cannot cope with the prescribed expectations and seemingly irrelevant and foreign demands of our culture?

If family structures reflect societal structures, then the majority of households operate within this oppressive structure. If this is the case with our current society, then most family structures are characterized by authority in the home, usually a dominating patriarch. In my own life, I found that I could not escape the oppression at home, or in school. When I attended school, or church, I was met with the same authoritative structure that dictated foreign demands and expectations. Teachers would lecture in front of the classroom and I was expected to engage in rote memorization, as if I were an empty receptacle to be filled with someone else’s cognitions of the world. In school, students are not given the opportunity, nor are they encouraged, to engage the world’s contradictions and coin relevant meaning. Instead, students are expected to passively consume someone else’s lifeless narrative of how things are. These structures suppress the critical consciousness, the curiosity for life and the world, by delegitimized our own ‘word’ and experience with the world. This oppression turns into listlessness, depression or rebellion against authority. These expressions are simply a result of ‘oppression’. Rebellion is a revolt against this authority. With this oppressive structure in mind, it’s queer to see how society treats us as problems and seeks to ‘prescribe’ its remedies. Children nowadays are diagnosed with a concoction of physiological dysfunctions that ranged from mood disorders to learning disabilities. Psychiatrists and psychologists attempt to assess and ‘treat’ patients with their own ideologies, and yet the rebellion continues.

I was personally met with this seemingly inescapable oppression which eventually drove me into rebellion as I sought escape from reality through drugs and alcohol. It wasn’t until after high school, when I was kicked out of my house and forced to live on my own that I experienced true freedom. For the first time in my life I was met with a profound freedom. The realization that I could be whoever and do whatever I wanted, that I could transform my life according to my passions and the dreams of my heart, that I experienced true joy in life.
From that point on I no longer struggled with substance abuse (although the habits and dependencies that had formed created challenges), nor did I see learning as a chore, a mindless endeavor of rote memorization with no significance or context. I could engage reality freely, independently, and create meaning and context as according to the passions and curiosities that affirmed my being. Everything came to life.
Any human, be it parents or teachers, should lay foundations of trust and love and humility as the starting point for all human development. Exploration of reality should be a cointentional effort.

However, one must wonder if there something lost by appeasing the undeveloped and nascent thematic understandings of reality in people. As much as Freire advocates a horizontal playing field where every relationship and community is to be considered valuable and legitimate at illuminating themes as a whole, understanding all people as equals creates an imbalance.            People are at different stages of reflection. How can one expect effective discourse to take place when illiteracy and proper reason, poisoned by superstitions, is rooted in their minds? Freire addresses this in the opening preface by referencing a meeting with peasants where a fear of freedom led some to think that this revolution of the critical consciousness could lead to a fanaticism. He mentioned the factory worker that described his transition from being naïve to critical and that while he still didn’t have all the answers, he did not experience a collapse of his world.

If one argues that there are principles that first must me ‘instilled’ in students before exploration can begin, they are overlooking the very freedom contained in humanity that allows him to explore and transform and learn from reality. If these principles exist, we need to be critical and ask their origin, as well as what their functional aim intends. This objective reality is not privy space accessed only by the elites, but an objective reality that can be learned by every human so long as there is a relevant problem to be solved. While these principles seem to offer a starting point for reason and reflection, by exploring reality with a critical consciousness, these principles can be derived from direct experience. In this way people can come to understand and utilize these principles in a way that gives meaning and context while preserving their humanity.



Freire, Paulo. Pedagogy of the Oppressed.New York: Continuum, 2000. Print.



Life. Inside me. I hate being conscientious. I hate wondering that my thoughts are correct, that they coincide with reality. What’s with this word ‘hate’ anyway? Why is it in my vocabulary?

I’m gonna let my thoughts flow freely for a bit…

I have a logic exam today. The book is peeled open and…

I find that when I’m stressed my mind operates at limited capacity. My ability to think critically and abstractly and creatively is severely hindered. I think of myself in a haze, a deep fog that extends just out of arms reach which veils the world in confusion.

We’re reading Pedagogy of the Oppressed in Philosophy of Education. While I haven’t read it straight through yet, I’ve been reading excerpts here and there, attempting to harvest his insights. The book it wholly inspiring.
Continue reading “Oppression”

One. Night stand.

There is a rhythmic knocking above me: Back and forth, high and low. Intermittent melodies varying in pace and tempo. The beatings begin again. Sex. I want it to stop.

I had sex this weekend. A few times. With a few people. I can’t say I felt great about the encounters. At the end of a wild night, after a long day of intoxication, I am left with a surging desire for affection. I am left in need of a woman’s love, their body in my arms, on my body.
Continue reading “One. Night stand.”


What do I feel right now?

I feel like I’m going to lose my mind. I haven’t felt this way for a long time. I can’t hold my attention to a thought. I am always starting again. Like I keep waking up, and these responsibilities and goals are sitting there, unmoved and undisturbed. This is when the anxiety begins to creep into mind. I stress about…

Where is my life going? I’ve been having dark thoughts recently. Terminal thoughts. Its not healthy. Its stress induced. Like there is a wall of challenges that I keep walking up to, and I begin climbing, only to realize it was a dream, and the wall still lies before me.

I am behind on work.

I am making poor decisions. Decisions that I have decided were ‘not poor’, but were ‘reasonable’. These delusions are leaving me worse off. I am feeling defeated. I am unhappy. I have trouble enjoying myself and others without alcohol, so it seems.

I went to panama city beach this weekend. As I was told, it proved to be an exhilarating experience. With my fellow frat mates and their dates, we drowned ourselves in alcohol from the early hours of the morn into the wee hours of the night. When fatigue struck, due to overexposure or sheer inebriation, we popped uppers and chugged caffeine to restore our energy levels. And as often as possible, we had drunken sex with total strangers. These were, of course, our frat brothers dates. Date swapping is encouraged. I clocked in a few hours of sleep in the midst of it all. ‘How?’ is well beyond me.

I used to be a behaved boy. These tendencies to ‘rage’ like an animal, to indulge in these fantastic sensations of the body, were instinctual in my pubescent years. They came all too naturally, like a tsunami hitting the shoreline, decimating every inhibition in its path until the hunger subsided. As I grew older reason became a more trustworthy judge that shielded my inhibitions from destruction. Now I find myself rationalizing these behaviors. My moral compass has become a relative game of spin the bottle. My powers of manipulation have refocused themselves on my ethical operations, and its taking a toll.

Who are these people that encourage my demise? No. These voices? In my head. I am losing my mind.

I have work to do. Instead, I lie in bed. I hide my head from the faces around me. The shame in myself. My lack of attention in school, in the classroom, has caused my self confidence to erode. I cannot simply ‘rage’ like a mad man and maintain a composer that produces. I am not that person. I have never been that person. My attention span is that of a fly. This is why goals, concise and succinct, have been my beacon in dark hours. They provide a flickering blaze on the horizon that orients and alleviates the tension of being lost. But where have my goals gone? I can barely remember my motive for college.

Perhaps this weekend temporarily jostled my brain fluids. Perhaps the sleep deprivation has simply caused stress to double its intensity. Perhaps all these dark thoughts that weigh so severely on my conscience are merely short lived delusions that will burn off with time.

I don’t think thats the case. I am wrestling with something inside me. Something that needs to come out. I know better. While I have not eradicated the demons, I have managed their trouble. My escapades have led me astray. I have failed to keep them at bay and they are wreaking havoc on me.

So I sleep. I escape with dreams. Dreams of the world I seek to escape. It is a horrible nightmare.

Where does this inadequacy stem? Why do I feel so out dated, so expired. In my delusions, my efforts are monitored by harsh critics. My job is to increase the criticism so that I am prepared for the worst. What happens is that I destroy the only confidence I have so that I flounder when it counts. My lack of ease is alarming. Is my only refuge sleeping? Reading! Time wasters. Anything to preoccupy my mind. I steal away into these altered realities. Only here is my attention suspended completely, for a moment. The nagging anxiety melts away as I absorb into the narrative. There is no judgement. There are no peers and professors and red ink and critical counter claims. There is nothing but a suspension. A weightless wonderful suspension.

Until, of course, my habits of routine kick in and I am forced to attend maintenance responsibilities: go to class, show up to frat parties, submit work at an immovable deadline.

These deadlines are the only ones that seem to have any effect on this world that is perpetually postpone. I am not making myself into anything. I am beginning anew with every moment. This is torture. This is hell on earth. Culminated efforts with no direction. I focus and take aim, flexing and commanding my mind to hit the mark, but the direction is lost upon release and I am left wondering where my energy is being invested.

I am a wayward ship tormented by shape shifting skies.

These feelings need to get out. I need to exorcise them.

Smoking cigarettes makes me ill. But I do it anyway. Where are my values?

Why do I hate myself? Why do I hate the contradiction?

And I wake. And I am lost. This world is foreign, these faces are new. They seem to move to and fro as if I were a familiar fixture in their landscape. But who is it that they know? I am unknown to myself. I would give them that person. I would jest for their satisfaction just to give myself I place, just to restore that place in myself.

I am disconnected. Uprooted, I am artificially nourished with lies and delusions.


Not gonna lie, I’m a big fan of eclectic indie bands. Anything chill, harmonious, abstract, or the like. Speaking of…. not eclectic music… I was listening to pandora and owl city came on. Some song “Captains and Cruise Ships”. The song was alright, but what stuck out was the mention of… WEST PALM BEACH. Sweet.

I am stuck in L.A.
Through the week and can’t get away
And you’re alone on the pier
In West Palm Beach on your holiday
Stormy night, reawake

If I knew I should die tomorrow, I would plant a tree today. ~Stephen Girard

Theres something transcendental about that quote. It causes me to look beyond. To see the value in my actions. A potential that should not be overlooked. A permanency that grows.

Reflective Teacher

Regarding T.H. McLaughlin’s “Beyond the Reflective Teacher”

The essay begins with the appeal to the underlying educational practitioner philosophy of reflection. Author McLaughlin thinks that there needs to be a shift away from the notion of a reflective teaching practitioner and advocates moving beyond to a more comprehensive model. He believes the current conception of a ‘reflective teacher’ has become a mere slogan used to gain appeal and consensus about the methods of teaching.

His inquiry looks into the concept of ‘reflection’, begging critical questions such as how reflection should be understood, what value it possesses, and how reflection is properly developed. From there he gives an in depth analysis that addresses the concepts and processes involved with the practice of teaching. His aim is to reconcile the current demands of teaching with training, a difficult task when using the current conception of reflection. In the end he establishes a need to address the individuality of teachers as a vital component of teaching. To him, character and personality, integral to a teacher’s individual traits, supersede the ability of mere reflection to facilitate knowledge to pupils.

Continue reading “Reflective Teacher”

On Haunted By The Future

A Summary on Excerpts from David Wood’s "On Being Haunted By The Future"

The future beckons, and we answer. Thus is the call of men, lost in their baseless endearments, disoriented from the values in which they came, they are left wary of their ways and long for a return to the future. So onward they march, on the heels of time. In On Being Haunted By The Future, Professor Wood begins by deriving an illustration from Derrida that explains the future as a deferred experience containing the apprehension of messianic faith. This messianicity holds a “universal structure of experience” that provides justification and responsibility to the protention of experience. Protention, or perception of the next moment, functions as an incomplete and temporal phenomenon that lends itself to this “universal structure of experience” that confronts the future as a yearning apprehension.

Continue reading “On Haunted By The Future”

Husserl’s Spatiality

In his essay Foundational Investigations of the Phenomenological Origin of the Spatiality of Nature, Edmund Husserl explores the conception of motion in relation to bodies. While an exhaustive summary and examination could be undertaken on the essay as a whole, I would like to begin with examining an excerpt that characterizes the essay’s foundational theme that establishes the origin of the spatiality of nature. After all, as Husserl stressed, it is the implicit formations of such parts that give rise to the unity in which we perceive the whole.

“We must not forget the pregiveness and constitution belonging to the apodictic Ego or to me, to us, as the source of all actual and possible sense of being, of all possible broadening which can be further constructed in the already constituted world developing historically.

Continue reading “Husserl’s Spatiality”

Husserl & Spatiality

In his essay Foundational Investigations of the Phenomenological Origin of the Spatiality of Nature, Edmund Husserl explores the conception of motion in relation to bodies. While an exhaustive summary and examination could be undertaken on the essay as a whole, I would like to begin with examining an excerpt that characterizes the essay’s foundational theme that establishes the origin of the spatiality of nature. After all, as Husserl stressed, it is the implicit formations of such parts that give rise to the unity in which we perceive the whole. 

“We must not forget the pregiveness and constitution belonging to the apodictic Ego or to me, to us, as the source of all actual and possible sense of being, of all possible broadening which can be further constructed in the already constituted world developing historically.

Continue reading “Husserl & Spatiality”

Economy of Thought




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As reflection occurs, there is an invitation for expansion of the mind. As noted elsewhere, consciousness arises from the syntheses of our response to environmental demands. The better we become at responding, or satisfying, these environmental demands, the more ‘material’ or ‘programs’ are available to synthesize for the creation of new thought. In the sense that there is a conditioned path in which a demand was satisfied and remembered, these responses are simply programs. Concerning this synthesis of creating, the more programs, or responses, that occur, the more possibilities exist. Just as the more land there is, the more crops can be grown and the more goods can be cooked or baked, leading to endless combinations. It is simply a matter of what seed is planted, much in the way that demands plant responses. For now on, the word thought will be used to describe the conditioned response programs.

Continue reading “Economy of Thought”


What is the future?

Perceived events to-come? A something ‘before us’ containing an unpredictable, all-too-predictable, universal structure of immanence? A dangerous ‘understanding’ to come?

Journal thoughts on this notion and conception of future. Look at events that have shaped our apprehension ‘for’ the future. Uncover the essence of ‘future’, not as a physical phenomenon, but as a subjectively charged, intuitively constituted, exploding experience.

Educate is from L. educatus, pp. of educare “bring up, rear, educate,” which is related to educere or “bring out,” from ex- “out” + ducere “to lead”. Ducere is from where the word “duke” is derived.

Educate= to lead out.

Max Born (1949), Natural Philosophy of Cause and Chance

Max Born (1949), Natural Philosophy of Cause and Chance
From “Metaphysical Conclusions”, pp. 124-28
[My emphasis added in bold]

“[T]he principle of objectivity…provides a criterion to distinguish subjective impressions and objective facts, namely by substituting for given sense-data others which can be checked by other individuals. […] It is perhaps the most important rule of the code of natural science of which innumerable examples can be given, and it is obviously closely related to the conception of scientific reality. For if reality is understood to mean the sum of observational invariants – and I cannot see any other reasonable interpretation of this word in physics – the elimination of sense qualities is a necessary step to discover them.

“Here I must refer to the previous Waynflete Lectures given by Professor E.D. Adrian, on The Physical Background of Perception, because the results of physiological investigations seem to me in perfect agreement with my suggestion about the meaning of reality in physics. The messages which the brain receives have not the least similarity with the stimuli. They consist in pulses of given intensities and frequencies, characteristic for the transmitting nerve-fibre, which ends at a definite place of the cortex. All the brain ‘learns’ (I use here the objectionable language of the ‘disquieting figure of a little hobgoblin sitting up aloft in the cerebral hemisphere’) is a distribution or ‘map’ of pulses. From this information it produces the image of the world by a process which can metaphorically be called a consummate piece of combinatorial mathematics: it sorts out of the maze of indifferent and varying signals invariant shapes and relations which form the world of ordinary experience.

“This unconscious process breaks down for scientific ultra-experience, obtained by magnifying instruments. But then it is continued in the full light of consciousness, by mathematical resoning. The result is the reality offered by theoretical physics.

The principle of objectivity can, I think, be applied to every human experience, but is often quite out of place. For instance: what is a fugue by Bach? is it the invariant cross-section, or the common content of all printed or written copies, gramophone records, sound waves at performances, etc., of this piece of music? As a lover of music I say No! that is not what I mean by a fugue. It is something of another sphere where other notions apply, and the essence of it is not ‘notions’ at all, but the immediate impact on my soul of its beauty and greatness.

“In cases like this, the idea of scientific objective reality is obviously inadequate, almost absurd.

“This is trivial, but I have to refer to it if I have to make good my promise to discuss the bearing of modern physical thought on philosophical problems, in particular on the problem of free will. Since ancient times philosophers have been worried how free will can be reconciled with causality, and after the tremendous success of Newton’s deterministic theory of nature, this problem seemed to be still more acute. Therefore, the advent of indeterministic quantum theory was welcomed as opening a possibility for the autonomy of the mind without a class with the laws of nature. Free will is primarily a subjective phenomenon, the interpretation of a sensation we experience, similar to a sense impression. We can and do, of course, project it into the minds of our fellow beings just as we do in the case of music. We can also correlate it with other phenomena in order to transform it into an objective relation, as the moralists, sociologists, lawyers do – but then it resembles the original sensation no more than an intensity curve in a spectral diagram resembles a colour I see. After this transformation into a sociological concept, free will is a symbolic expression to describe the fact that the actions and reactions of human beings are conditioned by their internal mental structures and depend on their whole and unaccountable history. Whether we believe theoretically in strict determinism or not, we can make no use of this theory since a human being is too complicated, and we have to be content with a working hypothesis like that of spontaneity of decision and responsibility of action. If you feel that this clashes with determinism, you have now at your disposal the modern indeterministic philosophy of nature, you can assume a certain ‘freedom’, i.e., deviation from the deterministic laws, because these are only apparent and refer to advantages. Yet if you believe in perfect freedom you will get into difficulties again, because you cannot neglect the laws of statistics which are laws of nature.

“I think that the philosophical treatment of the problem of free will suffers often from an insufficient distinction between the subjective and objective aspect. It is doubtless more difficult to keep these apart in the case of such sensations as free will, than in the case of colours, sounds, or temperatures. But the application of scientific conceptions to a subjective experience is an inadequate procedure in all such cases.

“You may call this an evasion of the problem, by means of dividing all experience into two categories, instead of trying to form one all-embracing picture of the world. This division is indeed what I suggest and consider to be unavoidable. If quantum theory has any philosophical importance at all, it lies in the fact that it demonstrates for a single, sharply defined science the necessity of dual aspects of complementary considerations. Niels Bohr has discussed this question with respect to many applications in physiology, psychology, and philosophy in general. According to the rule of indeterminacy, you cannot measure simultaneously position and velocity of particles, but you have to make your choice. The situation is similar if you wish, for instance, to determine the physico-chemical processes in the brain connected with a mental process: it cannot be done because the latter would be decidedly disturbed by the physical investigation. Complete knowledge f the physical situation is only obtainable by a dissection which would mean the death of the living organ or the whole creature, the destruction of the mental situation. This example may suffice; you can find more and subtler ones in Bohr’s writings. They illustrate the limits of human understanding and direct the attention to the question of fixing the boundary line, as physics has done in a narrow field by discovering the quantum constant . Much futile controversy could be avoided in this way. To show this by a final example, I wish to refer to these lectures themselves which deal only with one aspect of science, the theoretical one There is a powerful school of eminent scientists who consider such things to be a future and snobbish sport, and the people who spend their time on it drones Science has undoubtedly two aspects: it can be regarded from the social standpoint as a practical collective endeavor for the improvement of human conditions, but it can also be regarded from the individualistic standpoint, as a pursuit of mental desires, the hunger for knowledge and understanding, a sister of art, philosophy, and religion. Both aspects are justified, necessary, and complementary. The collective enterprise of practical science consists in the end of individuals and cannot thrive without their devotion. But devotion does not suffice; nothing great can be achieved without the elementary curiosity of the philosopher. A proper balance is needed. I have chosen the way which seemed to me to harmonize best with the spirit of this ancient place of learning.”


When you are walking along, and a pebble finds its way into your shoe, what do you do?

You stop and remove the pebble.

Perhaps I place a pebble in my shoe and begin walking.


Both situations yield equivalent experience. One is to address a necessary demand, the other is the creation of an unnecessary demand.

The first leads to an ordinary accumulation of knowledge. The second, creative, act leads to an extraordinary accumulation of knowledge.

This is curiosity.

Perhaps we could save ourselves much discomfort by only attending the problems that find their way to us? Or, perhaps it is this curiosity that provides the ultimate satisfaction?

Reflection and Self-deception


I like to think of philosophy as  being charged with the task of creating ideas that better serve man.

People go about their life, never questioning, never reflecting on the source from where they came. For many, the formulation of God as a super divinity overflowing with answers is enough to assuage the task of inquiry. However, these formulations, whether belief or superstition or paradigm, need to be traced. An origin must be uncovered. As something, we do not sprout from nothing. We should assume that thoughts, a product of natural processes, follow the same principled behavior as other matter. No matter is created or destroyed, but constantly transfers and transforms. Thoughts and beliefs have a source, and if one should ever wonder where they are going, they should ask from where they came.

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Discussion with philosophy professor
I feel like I annoyed him with my ideas, like I was violating an unspoken truism that questioning professors violates the teacher student relationship. That his conceptions are already rooted and these foreign thoughts of mine, however (seemingly) viable, should not be tolerated.