breadandbuttercreek t1_jds5jpy wrote

The ancient philosophers didn't like intellectual laziness. The idea is that you don't just live your life doing what seems best, you have to constantly examine your own behaviour, assumptions and attitudes to be as sure as you can be that you are living the "best" life possible. To many people that seems pointless in itself, you know what you want to do so you do it.


breadandbuttercreek t1_jc5ogci wrote

Time is change, things always change, we can't stop it. The key is to control change, change things for the better. You shouldn't obsess over time or money, try to find things of value in your life. Time will keep marching on whatever you do, but you can use rationality and wise decisions to improve your life.


breadandbuttercreek t1_j5nz9lb wrote

One of the main functions of our consciousness is to anchor us in time. It takes a tremendous amount of memory and prediction to create the bubble of time in which we create our personal narrative. It isn't surprising when disorders of the brain or mental illness disrupt this personal narrative, because it takes so much constant effort to maintain.


breadandbuttercreek t1_j1wx8nc wrote

"how all actions or events are determined by prior actions or events"

The problem is that there are an infinite number of prior events determining any event, (even in the seconds just before an event) and most of these are chaotic atomic/molecular scale events. You can't seperate events based on scale, they are all events and they all affect the future.

Then you have the problem of the big bang. In a determinist universe everything expands in a uniform manner, there is no time and no complexity. It is only by introducing quantum uncertainty that we get a universe at all.


breadandbuttercreek t1_j1b7fav wrote

There are definitely different ways of looking at life, but generally flexibility and adaptability will serve you better than stubbornness and selfishness. If people try to take advantage of you, you need to find ways to protect yourself. Sometimes easier said than done.


breadandbuttercreek t1_j1a0yw7 wrote

Metacognition - being prepared to admit you are wrong or in other ways deficient - is an important part of the path to wisdom. It seems easy to know when others are wrong, but it's much more important to see your own mistakes. Don't judge me by my successes, judge me by how I handle my failures. To be able to see yourself as others see you would indeed be a great gift.


breadandbuttercreek t1_j12r43b wrote

That's all true but it isn't what Emerson was talking about. No-one can be fully self-reliant, but you can take charge of your own life, make meaningful decisions for yourself and not just be carried along by the flow of society. It is about living a rational life, rather than the life society expects of you.


breadandbuttercreek t1_j124etw wrote

There is a lot of real, useful information available on the internet, regardless of the way it is provided. If you want to be independent and self reliant you need to use all the resources at your disposal, people aren't born self reliant, it is something you learn. If you need to fix something or make something, you can probably find out how to on the internet.


breadandbuttercreek t1_j10gp7y wrote

These days, with prosperity, technology and the internet, it is more possible than ever to be independent and self reliant. We can research, find out how things work, and make choices better informed than ever.


breadandbuttercreek t1_j0nswuo wrote

I live in a forest, if you observe forests you can see how they are co-operative rather than competitive systems. Co-operation allows better utilisation of resources, so that the whole is more than the sum of the parts. Humans can't separate themselves from the natural world, we rely too much on the resources it provides. My local authority recently removed some mature trees to pave several acres for a carpark for a sports ground. They didn't see any problem doing that, the trees were in the way, but future generations will pay as the expanse of paving heats up the whole area.


breadandbuttercreek t1_j0il2b7 wrote

I was just reading about the probabilistic nature of the ChatGPT computer program. It uses enormous quantities of data to synthesise language, basically just taking apart millions of documents and reassembling them make new logical language. This shows how consciousness and the brain's prediction and decision making systems work - the brain isn't computing new activity to make decisions, just analysing troves of data stored in neural networks, chemical systems and DNA and applying the analysis to new situations. The difference is that our consciousness allows us to use our internal voice to "step back" and make considered judgements about possible actions, up to a point, rather than just following chains of logic the way a computer does.


breadandbuttercreek t1_iyb5su2 wrote

Nothing ever stays the same. Of course if you are seeking the good life you should always be trying to improve your situation, seeking new knowledge and experience, but routine provides the bedrock for happiness.


breadandbuttercreek t1_iyaa3ag wrote

To have a richer experience of life you don't necessarily need to seek out variety and new experiences, you just need to pay more attention to the world around you. Most people have a very narrow focus on life, just paying attention to the things that seem important. If you broaden your focus of attention you can have a much richer experience of life.


breadandbuttercreek t1_iwnmoqr wrote

This is a very human-centred argument. You can make the world a lot better without making the experience of any single human any better. Things like saving the sea floor from trawling, protecting habitat in remote places, there are a lot of important things we need to do that won't help any individual humans very much, or even groups of humans. I want to live in a better world, that doesn't necessarily mean better (or worse) for any particular humans. I can pick up some litter in a forest, that is an inconvenience for me and doesn't help anyone, but it does make the world a better place.


breadandbuttercreek t1_iv2edez wrote

The good thing about this article is that it shows how much the stoics were opposed to consumer culture. We become so attached to our possessions and wealth we lose a lot of our appreciation for what is really important. People have been saying that for a long time but consumer culture is so seductive. I think you can follow stoic teachings without being determinist.