• S
    6.2k
    I do literally have a gun in my mouth, as do you, as do we all.Jake

    You don't know what the word "literally" means? Or the word "gun"?

    And that is my point. Philosophy isn't working at making us rational.Jake

    Scapegoat!
  • S
    6.2k
    Hi Jake, as I already suggested in the other thread, philosophy is not politics nor activism...ChatteringMonkey

    Exactly! Someone else who understands his misunderstanding. Guiding people to action against nuclear weapons comes under politics and activism, and if people aren't interested enough, yet they should be, then that's a people problem, and it requires people to work on it. It's no use blaming philosophy for that.
  • unenlightened
    2.7k
    So living in a mad house with lots of mad people with guns, everyone is full of fear. Most people try and pretend it is not the case - that they are not afraid, and there are not mad people with guns - so the don't want to talk about it. Most people think they will be safer if they and their friends and their governments have as big guns as possible, in case the other mad people attack them.

    So, as I said above, to little effect, the madness is the fear, and it cannot be addressed externally. Ending the madness is a psychological issue, not a political or a philosophical one. Have you read The Ending of Time?
  • Aleksander Kvam
    213
    Has philosophy ever influenced politics? and in what way and magnitude?
  • S
    6.2k
    Has philosophy ever influenced politics? And in what way and magnitude?Aleksander Kvam

    Yes, massively, with Marx. But he famously wrote, "The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it". He wanted action over and above philosophy. He himself was politically active.

    Anyway, it'd do no good to sit on your hands and wait for another Marx to come along. That said, it's not as though this issue has never cropped up in a big way or that well-known and well-respected intellectuals of a time have not addressed the issue or taken any action on it. To give that impression would be misleading. There was, for example, the The Russell–Einstein Manifesto, issued in 1955, the Partial Test Ban Treaty, signed in 1963 by John F. Kennedy, Nikita Khrushchev and Harold Macmillan. More recently in 2005, 60 years after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, 40,000 anti-nuclear/anti-war protesters marched past the United Nations in New York.
  • Jake
    547
    Hi Unenlighted,

    Have you read The Ending of Time?unenlightened

    Yes, I read a LOT of Krishnamurti in my youth and consider him a significant influence on my thinking to this day. While I do appreciate his insightfulness we might note that JK wrote and spoke extensively for almost 80 years, and while his philosophy is indeed interesting and entertaining, nothing much has changed.

    Both you and Krishnamurti are helping me make my point. Krishnamurti is yet another example of an intelligent educated person who failed to focus on the gun in our mouth, and you are using Krishnamurti to aim us away from focusing on the gun in our mouth. Everybody is interested in everything, except the gun. That's fundamentally irrational, and demonstrates the weakness of philosophy.
  • Aleksander Kvam
    213
    Its not soully philosophy`s responsebility to "save the world", so to speak. doesent even need to be.
  • Aleksander Kvam
    213
    If that was what you meant..
  • Aleksander Kvam
    213
    I view philosophy as a sort of self-help tool. a stepping stone in understanding yourself and the world around you, as an individual...
  • unenlightened
    2.7k
    Everybody is interested in everything, except the gun. That's fundamentally irrational, and demonstrates the weakness of philosophy.Jake

    How does it help, to focus on the gun? Why not focus on the mouth and the hand?
  • Jake
    547
    How does it help, to focus on the gun? Why not focus on the mouth and the hand?unenlightened

    Please reference the opening post. Is this what you would say to a friend with a gun in their mouth? Would you try to teach them how to be enlightened, argue for a radical transformation of human psychology etc?

    That's why I offered the hypothetical in the opening post, an attempt to make nuclear weapons real, instead of some fancy abstract issue. I attempted to make them real in this thread, because they are real.
  • unenlightened
    2.7k
    Would you try to teach them how to be enlightened, argue for a radical transformation of human psychology etc?Jake

    Yes. If you try by force to take away the gun, it will go off. So you have to tackle the reason the gun is there.
  • Jake
    547
    Ok, so your plan is that we should leave the nuclear gun in our mouth until we achieve a radical transformation of human psychology, such as is referenced by Krishnamurti. How long do you expect this process to take?
  • Bitter Crank
    6.5k
    We can't do much about the problem because 1) we insist we can't do much about the problem and 2) we spend almost all our time focused on other much smaller issues.Jake

    As rational persons, we agree that nuclear weapons are a threat to all life on earth and should certainly be made as safe as they can be made. There are difficult technical problems in disposing of plutonium, but our larger and much more difficult problems are political. Politics are much more difficult than just about any other human endeavor.

    Only a political party [a government] that is very securely in power can carry out the decision to do away with its nuclear weapons. It has to have secure control over its political situation and its military. And then it has to want to do away with its nuclear weapons. Governments are loathe to diminish their international leverage.

    Very few governments, if any, are ever so secure that the most rational policies can be pursued, no matter what other political groups, the military, economic players, and the people in general think.

    Governments face many huge problems: its climate change, nuclear disarmament, massive debt, huge displaced populations, resource depletion, clean air and water, and so on. Then there is the infinity of small problems. Politics are part of all those problems.
  • unenlightened
    2.7k
    How long do you expect this process to take?Jake

    It's taking a while to convince you, though you don't seem to have much of an alternative.
  • Jake
    547
    Hi Crank,

    In democracies at least, we are the government. Politicians will say and do whatever it takes to get our votes and stay in office. If we view the pending collapse of modern civilization as just one of a thousand issues, politicians will too. If we make nukes a high priority issue, they will too.

    Everybody always wants to pass the buck to politicians and the government, when the real problem is actually their employer.
  • Jake
    547
    Hi unenlightened,

    I don't mean to dismiss your interests, they are my interests too, and I'd welcome the opportunity to discuss them together some time. If you start a thread on such topics and I don't show up, please zip me a reminder.

    I do agree that human psychology is the root of the problem. I'm just making the point that we don't have time to fix that first, if it even can be fixed. Such a process would take centuries at least, and we just don't have that kind of time. Imperfect flawed human beings are going to have solve this one, if it is to be solved.
  • Blue Lux
    587
    Actually, philosophy does focus on threats like this. Carl Jung said "Psyche is the great danger... What if the fellows in Moscow get a little antsy? The whole world goes in flames."

    There are philosophies that address mass hysteria and life-threatening potentialities.
  • Blue Lux
    587
    The nuclear gun is not in our mouth.
    Just because I can go and jump out the window beside me does not mean that I must live my life with reference to not accomplishing that potentiality of my being... This is the root of anxiety; a contemplation of potentialities of my being, especially that which would render my being an in-itself. It is precisely my freedom that allows me to not wallow in an imaginary anxiety.
  • Blue Lux
    587
    Very fatalistic you are
  • unenlightened
    2.7k
    I do agree that human psychology is the root of the problem. I'm just making the point that we don't have time to fix that first, if it even can be fixed. Such a process would take centuries at least, and we just don't have that kind of time. Imperfect flawed human beings are going to have solve this one, if it is to be solved.Jake

    But the solution is trivial; take the gun out of your mouth, get rid of the weapons. One doesn't need to be perfect to understand that, and it needn't take centuries. So one has to ask why such an obviously sensible course is not being followed. Just as one has to ask why people starve when there is enough food for all, and why though we have the understanding and the technology we cannot sort out climate change or stop polluting the oceans, and so on.

    Is it not the case that I am waiting for everyone else to be perfect before I start?
  • Moliere
    1.4k
    A common, and sensible enough, response to concerns you cannot do anything about is to accept them for what they are and move onto concerns you can do something about.

    From a day-to-day perspective the issue of nuclear warheads is a big picture problem. Big picture problems are the sorts of problems that don't have anything immediately actionable -- Global Warming, Racism, War, Pollution, Poverty, Sexism, Nuclear Armageddon. They are real, but they are larger than life. They are too big for most of us to feel like they fall into the category of things we have control over.

    It takes a lot of motivation to look at such problems as something you can do something about. But then you have to direct your energy in a way that breaks such things down into day-to-day actions. A pretty common example is to vote. With respect to the problem you're talking about there have been other concrete actions taken, but they aren't the sort of thing you're going to get many people to do. (edit: There's also a plethora of other things that fall in-between the extremes of the mundane and the heroic)

    If all you do is talk about how this is a big problem, then all you do is make the problem appear bigger, and thereby making it even more sensible to just shrug your shoulders. Without concrete action big picture problems appear to be the sort of thing you might agree is a problem, but you give up on because there is nothing to be done. Making a problem concrete doesn't take the course of making an analogy -- like a gun in my mouth -- but rather it takes the course of outlining a plan of action that is something we can actually do.
  • Kebt rhodes
    3
    Philosophy is a parlour game because it can’t address issues of a great scale? Nonsense.

    To keep the gun analogy, the misconception with the argument is that it mistakes the gun for the bullet.

    Philosophy is a bullet. Point and shoot. But you can’t say the bullet is inadequate because it is being shot - or aimed - at a direction you don’t like.

    So that leads to who holds the gun, why they are pointing it, what they have to gain, and how larger groups of interests are represented and why are they not always for the greater good but for their own benefit? And how to align those desires wth generic benefits and match those up to where and how people want to live?

    As with anything it is a black hole - all we can really see is the circumstantial effects.

    But to stay at a specific level: I guess psychology and psychiatry are worthless because they aren’t applied to the people who really need help? And financial structures fail because the changes made to them, and their import are not concerned with the greater good? Just because a universal isn’t applied to your specific interest doesn’t mean the universal is a parlour trick. It means you have an agenda and you are rightly voicing an opinion to draw attention to it. Guess what that isn’t new. As I’m sure you are aware. I’m not trying to say anything new here, but just add some perspective to your claims.

    Peace
  • Jake
    547
    But the solution is trivial; take the gun out of your mouth, get rid of the weapons. One doesn't need to be perfect to understand that, and it needn't take centuries. So one has to ask why such an obviously sensible course is not being followed.unenlightened

    I've been attempting to point to one cause.

    Most of us, most of the time, don't really reference reason but authority. To a degree, this makes sense because nobody has the time to think through every issue for themselves. So we look to experts and the community around us, and go with the flow.

    The experts and the community have formed a group consensus which assumes that since the end of the cold war nuclear weapons are no longer really something to worry about. So we don't worry. Logically this lack of concern is unsupportable, but we're not using reason, so what is logical is largely irrelevant.

    Given that we're not capable of addressing this threat through reason alone, some event is going to be required to engage our emotional energy. As example, imagine how the group consensus might dramatically shift if a terrorist sets off a nuke in some major city.

    What can we do? We're doing it now.

    Look at the threads on this forum, on any philosophy forum, and look at the articles being written by academic philosophers too. The vast majority of this content can be described as intellectually interesting, but of little importance in comparison to threats to human civilization. That is, it's mostly a parlor game.

    What can we do? We can use reason. We can prioritize our attention. We can stop playing the parlor game, and direct our public attention to issues which if unsolved will lead to the end of all other issues.

    Imagine that hackers added a button to this forum which would allow every reader to erase the entire forum and the backups too. This issue would immediately go straight to the top of focus for the mods, right? Obviously, that's because if they don't get rid of that button it's only a matter of time until somebody clicks it and then all the other threads vanish. Thus, it's not rational to focus on the other threads until the button is gone.
  • unenlightened
    2.7k
    Given that we're not capable of addressing this threat through reason alone, some event is going to be required to engage our emotional energy. As example, imagine how the group consensus might dramatically shift if a terrorist sets off a nuke in some major city.Jake

    I don't imagine it would change the consensus at all; if anything, it would demonstrate the need for 'us' to have nuclear weapons - because 'they' have them. Just as every act of gun violence demonstrates the need for guns in America.

    Imagine that hackers added a button to this forum which would allow every reader to erase the entire forum and the backups too. This issue would immediately go straight to the top of focus for the mods, right? Obviously, that's because if they don't get rid of that button it's only a matter of time until somebody clicks it and then all the other threads vanish. Thus, it's not rational to focus on the other threads until the button is gone.Jake

    The mods already have this button, it is the power that confers authority. And without that authority, as you probably know, the site would descend into an ocean of spam and flames. Fortunately, no one dies when a thread is deleted or a poster banned. So there is no question of getting rid of the button, only of preventing it falling into the 'wrong hands'. Alas, your analogy works against you. It is because the mods have this button, that I can afford to focus on other things. The trick, of course is to find mods that are interested in good discussion and communication, rather than in the exercise of authority; who use the button as a sad necessity when some drunk vomits on the thread. The world should be run by cleaners, not leaders.
  • Jake
    547
    I don't imagine it would change the consensus at all; if anything, it would demonstrate the need for 'us' to have nuclear weapons - because 'they' have them.unenlightened

    It would change the group consensus in that the round the clock media coverage (which would dwarf 9/11) would focus everyone on the issue. Whether that focus would have positive or negative results is indeed unknown, agreed.

    That said, a terrorist nuke may be our best hope. We're in a race between a limited event like that and The Big One. Every day that we drift along blindly complacent to the threat is another pull on the russian roulette trigger.

    The mods already have this button, it is the power that confers authority.unenlightened

    Thanks for playing, but um, you've completely dodged the hypothetical analogy here.
  • unenlightened
    2.7k
    That said, a terrorist nuke may be our best hope. We're in a race between a limited event like that and The Big One.Jake

    You are insane.

    You are now arguing that nuclear weapons are the way to get rid of nuclear weapons.
  • Hanover
    4k
    It would change the group consensus in that the round the clock media coverage (which would dwarf 9/11) would focus everyone on the issue.Jake

    You really think that the media possesses the power to bring about world peace?

    At any rate, the media ought have no agenda. To the extent it does, it comes under legitimate attack. The "fake news" claim, whether justified or not, is a claim that the media has abandoned its role of just reporting the news, but has instead taken on the role of shaping societal values. While it may seem obvious to you that the limitation of nuclear weapons is a good thing and that no reasonable person would disagree, I do think it'd be a legitimate concern if the media acknowledged that their reporting on the horrors of nuclear war was motivated by their political position that there should be nuclear disarmament. Their motivation ought be only in reporting the facts, and once that is done, continued use of the bully pulpit would remove the media from the neutral role it ought occupy.

    Whether that focus would have positive or negative results is indeed unknown, agreed.Jake

    What sells newspapers, gains clicks on websites, and sells magazines is the same thing that sells loaves of bread and yoyos. It's called demand. So, if we decide that the cure to all sadness is yoyos and we require that the market be flooded with yoyos, your sale of yoyos will only rise to the extent people really want yoyos. I would assume that soon after the excitement of the increased yoyo production settled, there's be a whole lot of unbought yoyos on the shelf and people would start looking elsewhere for their diversions.

    I believe the demand placed on the media is to report the news so that people will know what's going on, not that the media repeat over and over the same thing because it has an agenda.

    What this means is that you're going to have a whole bunch of media outlets going belly up if they decide to flood the market with the story they think is super important while ignoring the fact that he public has bought their product, heard what they've said, and now grown bored and are now looking for a new yoyo.
  • Jake
    547
    You are now arguing that nuclear weapons are the way to get rid of nuclear weapons.unenlightened

    I'm arguing that what the evidence shows is that little else is likely to earn our attention. Like I keep saying, reason and philosophy have PROVEN that they are insufficient to get our attention.

    Look at this forum. How many threads can you find about nuclear weapons? Look at the writings of academic philosophers. How many articles do you find about nuclear weapons? Evidence. Evidence that reason and philosophy are not adequate for getting us to focus on the pending end of everything.

    I don't like this evidence, but I'm willing to look at it.

    You guys don't like this evidence either, so you're ignoring it.
  • Jake
    547
    You really think that the media possesses the power to bring about world peace?Hanover

    Media has the power to direct our attention. Every time Donald Trump farts they do a three hour special on the smell. If they can get us all talking about that, they can get us talking about cities that just vanished too.
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