The media is not neutral or unbiased. It never has been. The formation of mass newspapers around the world were tied to political parties to promote respective agendas. As such, the media can be distinctively broken down into a three-tiers. The first, faute de mieux, is the mainstream media. The mainstream media is the basest […]Understanding the Media in a Time of “Fake News”
In my previous post, I tried to clarify some of the misconceptions on philosophy in general by defining philosophy, concept (as the philosophical tool) and the difference between philosophy and psychology. To me, definitions are fundamental to understand and elaborate.
You can check my post here Misconceptions on philosophy I
Moving to more fun parts of the misconceptions, a distinction must be made with politics. The latter is responsible for creating some damages in the name of philosophy by imposing ideologies.
Ideology is a body of doctrine, myth, belief, etc., that guides an individual, social movement, institution, class, or large group with reference to some political and social plan, as that of fascism, along with the devices for putting it into operation. Ideology is always to be linked with politics in both large and strict sense, to religion and to society. It shapes up citizens political behaviour and way of thinking, alongside an economic plan to back it up.
An ideology is not solely the specialty of totalitarian States. Globalization for example is an ideology without being a totalitarian regime, although it has some facets of it as in forming the way of being and thinking.
The tricky part is that some ideologies, in there headlines and big titles, were in a way inspired by philosophy but with major twists. Here is the typical example of the perversion made to philosophy by politics.
Marxism, communism and Leninism:
Karl Marx had earned a bad reputation mainly because of Lenin. Let’s start by saying that Marx’ ultimate goal is the disappearance of the State, replaced by the communist society based on equality among people. He wanted this because he pointed out the exploitation of workers by the state through capitalism. So he aimed for a more liberal form of capitalism.
Lenin, who read Marx very well, did all the opposite. He implemented a gigantic State, the USSR, with a guided economy. Apart from the apparatchik or the members of the Soviet State apparatus, the rest of the people lived equally on less than average compared to the West.
Forever the name of Marx will be linked to the poorly applied communism which was spread on half of the planet. It must be noted that Marxism as in Marx’ works was never applied. The Marxist world is a utopia.
This is one example among many others were ideology and philosophy get confused. Same goes for Nazism and Nietzsche, Consumerism and the concept of freedom, the Cartesian definition of a man and nature’s exploitation and the list goes on.
This post is inspired by many questions I am asked daily on philosophy in general and on philosophers in particular. As a philosophy teacher, it is my duty to address misconceptions about this field and to untangle philosophy from other disciplines that falsely want to use it for higher purposes.
What are the main encountered confusions?
Let’s start with definitions since philosophy is the science of definitions and it always starts with defining and describing the object of study.
You might hear people say: “My philosophy of a workout/life/career/love etc. is this and this”. The right word to be used in this is “perspective” which is an interpretation based upon one’s experience. While philosophy will create representations and perspectives, it is not per se a perspective. Philosophy is the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence, especially when considered as an academic discipline. In other words, philosophy creates concepts. After figuring out what is the fundamental nature of all the aforementioned, then we can have a perspective on life, on fitness, on love, on career etc.
Design, architecture, advertising etc. use the word concept as an idea about their product. This is misuse of the word concept. A concept is not a simple theoretical idea to be concretely realized in a tangible product. For Deleuze, concepts are not identity conditions or propositions, but metaphysical constructions that define a range of thinking, such as Plato’s ideas, Descartes’s cogito, or Kant’s doctrine of the faculties. A philosophical concept “posits itself and its object at the same time as it is created.” So there is a concept of an idea, as the basis and the structure of the idea, the ontology of it. To go back to the confusion mentioned before, there is a concept of the idea which will be realized in a product. A concept is a meta-idea.
Philosophy vs. psychology:
While philosophy was the first to study consciousness and human’s mind, and was and still a type of therapy as I explained it shortly on this post: Therapy through philosophy. a short explanation. However, philosophy and psychology can’t be swapped. Psychology is the study of the mind and behavior, according to the American Psychological Association. It is the study of the mind, how it works, and how it affects behavior. Psychologists and psychiatrists work together to help people with mental health conditions, but they are not quite the same. Psychology and philosophy in its practical branch are both therapies focusing on a patient; philosophy in its broader branches doesn’t deal with individuals but with concepts.
I hope I cleared out some confusions around philosophy as an academic discipline. More posts will be written about this subject, because misconceptions like these drive me nuts!
2020 is definitely a weird but interesting year, a year like no other years before. I firmly believe it is a doorway to a different decade, therefore to a different way of life. Every morning, while having my strong black unsweetened filtered coffee, I stumble upon many small truths; most of the times I choose to go on as if nothing happened with an eager desire that things will go back to what they used to be before. Being aware of the useless nostalgia, I am trying to process the present which is, just like the German philosopher Gottfried Leibniz describes it:
The present is saturated with the past and pregnant with the future.
The truths I encountered are clichés but practically crucial. Some of them are repeated daily, almost mechanically. Some others are theoretically true but difficult to execute. The beauty of them is their simplicity. The simplicity to face the ultimate inevitable truth: the tragic of life. Death is what makes life tragic and what gives meaning to it. So, what are these “truths” to handle tragedy?
- Health, family and friendship are strong pillars to the monument of life.
- Joy found in dissonance and disharmony in doing exactly the opposite of what we are told to do and makes us joyful. I can see you smiling while reading this: did it remind you of a teenage silliness? We need to go back to the teenage heart and follow it. LAUGHING OUT LOUD.
I am talking about joy and not empty abstract harmonious happiness.
- Pleasure in every step of the way. Seek it.
- Consumption leads to waste.
- Breathing and moving are the best therapy.
In conclusion, time is wasted by “small truths” of required tasks to survive. “Big truths” are found in silence and stillness, at night when nature wakes up, in tragic scenes and scenarios. Don’t hate them and don’t try to forget them. Tragic is the meaning of life!
Cited as the most spatial philosophers, Gilles Deleuze emphasized on the concept of space throughout his writings by mixing philosophers’ concepts of space, such as Kant and Bergson, with artistic concepts of space, Francis Bacon and Paul Klee just to name a few. Architect and architectural theorists took somehow into consideration Deleuze’s view on space. However the plethora of the concepts of space that Deleuze crafted are more to be understood not only as vital but also as socio-political ways and ideas. Therefore, it is crucial to define space.
A space is the dimensions of height, depth, and width within which all things exist and move. It is as well the distance between one item and another. It is the frame or the contour of any deployed action. In other words, space and action are related. This is the reason why space in general is a wide concept, from vital space to infinite space, from quantum space to geographical barriers, from musical silence to perspectives in painting and so on; these are action related spaces, each depending on a specific field of studies. To Gilles Deleuze, all these spaces are folding and overlapping each other’s; they all exist together at the same time. Without delving into each concept, the focus here will be on the vital and the socio-political concepts of space.
How do they coexist nowadays? Is there a dilemma between them? What can Deleuze tell us more about the world today: should humanity fear an absence of space?
To answer these questions and to understand the real battle of the world, please read the full version of this post by clicking the link below:
Great post on Nietzsche, the ultimate life lover!
How many times have you find yourself agonizing over the past, your actions or inactions?
If only I had done….If only I hadn’t done….If only I could just go back and change….If only I could go back and do…..?
I know that I regret my past at least twice a day!
Sometimes I’ll think back and say, I wish I had purchased that stock when it was low. Sometimes I’ll think, why did I try a new flavor of bubble tea when I knew the original would be a safe choice?
Going through the mental process of should have, would have, couldhave is mental torture. I am aware that I cannot go back in time and do things differently yet I still regret my past actions which causes me to lose confidence in myself and be more self deprecating than necessary.
Friedrich Nietzsche had a concept called Amor Fati…
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For some, he was a complicated; for others he was an outstanding philosopher for his intertwined rich writings and his beliefs on people as individuals, capable of achieving the impossible. While other leftists prefers the social group over the individual (mostly communists do), Gilles Deleuze prevailed the importance of the individual in a world that is a web with no frontiers with endless domino and butterfly effects (Covid19 anyone?). The concept of the deleuzian space will be presented in a future post.
Consciousness is made of impressions and experiences. It is an ongoing process; one can’t achieve a set consciousness that doesn’t change. So, we go through lives affecting and being affected by the outside world and our strength is to be creators of new possibilities.
Here are some of his quotes that sum up his views on people.
A concept is a brick; it can be used to build a courthouse of reason. Or it can be thrown through the window.
Philosophy, art and science are not the mental objects of an objectified brain but the three aspects under which the brain becomes subject.
A creator is someone who creates their own impossibilities and thereby creates possibilities.
There’s no need to fear or hope, but only to look for new weapons.
The self is only a threshold, a door, a becoming between two possibilities.
Drunkenness as a triumphant of the plant in us.
To affirm is not to bear, carry or harness oneself to that which exists, but on the contrary to unburden, unharness and set free which lives.
To those who say escaping is not courageous, we answer: what is not escape and social investment at the same time? (With Felix Guattari).
Following to my previous post on the concept of the Idiot by Gilles Deleuze that you can check on here:
Desire is a crucial concept in Deleuze’s philosophy. However, desire has two definitions. One that is the reason behind the world’s problems according to Deleuze and the second is the real underlying explanation of our life on all levels.
What is desire and what the Idiot has to do with it?
The traditional definition of desire is a tendency seeking pleasure. Since, the latter is sometimes problematic to moral values, it is recommended guiding desire to higher aims such as spiritual and intellectual ones or to morally accepted aims. This definition, inherited from Plato who guided desire to Ideals, can explain the existence of transcendent ideologies and systems that one has to believe in and desire to be part of.
The second definition is inherited from Spinoza: desire is understood as an unconscious energy, common to all living beings and not only to humans. This energy helps the living being to survive. So all thoughts and actions have an unconscious root; we act this or that way (it all depends on individual perception and interpretation) in order to make our way through life in terms of surviving and becoming more powerful.
Therefore, desire in general has two aspects: paranoia and schizophrenia. A paranoid desire is a desire as an energy that turned against itself by hanging on an ideology. The schizophrenic desire is the line of flight of the Idiot that cracks the system and dismantles it progressively. The Idiot is the creative free person who pursues his or her life in a total different way than his or her surrounding and history.
Racism is a paranoid desire and revolutions are mainly made of schizophrenic desire.
For those of you interested in more details on this subject, I ask you to check my short essay on this link:
And for the french speakers among you who want to check on my book reviews on the major book in two volumes by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, Capitalism and Schizophrenia, please check them on here:
Gilles Deleuze’s analysis on politics is very accurate today. The reference of all actions and thoughts occurring in the daily reality are a product of desire. How does he define desire so that desire is responsible to fold and unfold reality?
Desire is not a void seeking satisfaction and pleasure. It is, according to Gilles Deleuze (who took it after Spinoza), energy, existing in all beings. As energy it can’t be contained and it will express itself in thoughts, ideas and actions.
In What is Philosophy? Deleuze and Guattari define philosophy and talk about the conceptual personage which has humanistic traits and produces concepts and philosophical systems. The conceptual personage is the Idiot. The word Idiot here is to be understood upon the Greek etymology, Idiotes, meaning the singular, the peculiar and the unique. Idiot doesn’t mean stupid. Therefore, every personage, every system is unique: The Cogito of Descartes, the Nietzsche’s Zarathustra, Dostoevsky’s Idiot etc., are all unique moments in life, events that pushed philosophy into becomings. Without them, philosophy would have remained the same.
On the other hand, the same deleuzian idiotic element is to be found in politics. According to Deleuze and Guattari, the world does not have much to offer to us since all its macro political systems failed to make humankind happy, safe and prosperous. Therefore, what is required now is to be Idiots, as in to be sensitive to all the movements of the desire, to be able to read the virtual (or the desire, again) about to actualize itself in a new event, creating some becomings in the political scene. Brexit is an idiot in a deleuzian sense (regardless the consequences of this decision); so is the Black lives matter. Revolutions, the emerging of new political parties and others are all changing phenomenons pushing politics into a new scene.
What’s left for us to do in a world that is being progressively more hostile?
The answer is the desire, to be the Idiot, the peculiar individual who cracks the big political and ideological system with desire’s line of flights.
What’s currently happening in the US happened in other big cities in the world in 2019. From Beirut to Tehran, to Paris and Alger, to Catalonia and Latin America and so on, protesters screamed the same words:
All lives matter and dignity to people!
Better known as the Global Protest Wave of 2019 that continued through 2020, the US riots are a mirror of the world: same claims, same suffering, same hunger, same poverty, same injustice. Above all, governments are not trustworthy anymore. Most of world leaders are the 20th century product and mentality and we are in the 21st century, with different struggles and problems. The change needs to take place.
Economical injustice, poverty, weaken medical system (shown since the outbreak Covid19), climate change, corruption, cybernetics and the endless politicization of races and religions. Don’t expect the same leaders and traditional political parties to bring solutions. They are the ones responsible of the state of the world today.
Systems don’t last forever. Even the biggest empires in history ended up dismantled. Riots are, as the french philosopher Gilles Deleuze call it, “lines of flight” cracking the system’s wall from the inside. The reason behind it is that energy can’t be contained for too long. It will turn to anger and violence. Instead of facing the problems, most leaders are in denial, explaining these movements with interpretations and conspiracy theories showing their paranoid personality.
Despite unfortunate events in 2020 and thousands of deaths, maybe 2020 is the year to wake up and act. Maybe it is the year where we must know that we are all in this and that we need to back each others up. Maybe it is the year where we must see racial, gender and cultural differences as party outfits and deep inside we are all the same, humans. Maybe it is the year we must consider humanism and respect as the biggest values.
Fear leads to racism and fanaticism.
Fanaticism and racism lead to violence.
Violence leads to tragedy.
Maybe 2020 is the year to break this hateful cycle.