• Outlander
    Or in non-philosophers, rather. Someone who has not quite yet refined or harnessed their philosophical ability or otherwise has no interest to do so.

    I ask this because I've often wondered what would be the most effective way to essentially turn people's lives around. Surely you've thought this driving by a homeless encampment and looking into the faces of people down on their luck. Certain areas of town that just can't seem to catch a break, etc. I'll never forget as a preteen I was with a family friend's family going somewhere and we were on the freeway. Traffic slowed. Looking out the window I saw a man in a wheelchair missing part of his leg, just rolling himself off of the freeway down an offramp exit street. Attached to the chair was a bag carrying presumably all his earthly possessions and a lone national flag. "Who's that guy? Why is he doing that?" I asked. "That's a veteran. He's homeless." my friend's mom replied. Of course at the time I had no understanding of either so I just thought to myself "Oh. Wish he had his leg." Now obviously he may not have been or it was an elaborate psy-op, the former being slightly more possible than the former. But stuff like that sticks with you. We continued on to our destination and I soon forgot all about the man.

    Is philosophy even the answer? Is it religion? Is it just having to experience the hardship enough to get sick of it and wake up one morning with a passionate fury in one's eyes and an adamant conviction of "I need to make changes. Now." or something? I say it is philosophy. Rather the answer will come from it.

    It is important however, to acknowledge a certain harsh reality that not all people can reach "enlightenment" or have the same quality of life as everybody else. Someone with a disabling mental condition or whose brain has been utterly destroyed by drugs to name a few. Though there is a clear distinction between those examples and someone who is gripped by a mental ailment (depression, paranoia, mild schizophrenia, etc.) or addiction. As in, they have not yet reached that socially damning point of "no return." Where the average person becomes judge, jury, and executioner of another. How the fry cook and the esteemed physicist are now on the same level of thinking. Isn't it remarkable how all of humanity can come together, if not just for a fleeting moment, to damn another.

    What similarity is to be drawn from all those unfortunate cases mentioned, the disabled, the addicted, the degenerate, is that there has to be some, no matter how remote, glint of humanity remaining. And this is the subject of the question.

    Surely we've all felt down. Depressed, angry, lacking all motivation. There was a time when the greatest minds here could do little more than crawl like a rat or cry at the slightest discomfort. I'd want someone to be there for me in any of these cases. As did you. And so these men became wise and all they are today because someone more capable allowed them to do so. So. Will you be there for those society dictates as beneath you?

    To make the discussion more useful, let's for the moment, exclude persons without their mental facilities so to speak. How can their lives be bettered and brought up to par with the society around them? Philosophy? Religion? Life experiences?
  • tim wood
    It is important however, to acknowledge a certain harsh reality that not all people can reach "enlightenment" or have the same quality of life as everybody else.Outlander

    It is important to acknowledge that while in competitive situations not everyone wins, in terms of self-actualization and the possibility of realizing one's potential and achieving happiness, everyone can win. In this sense "the same" is not the same. Each has his or her own measure. And in that sense, everyone is the same, while not being the same.

    In terms of getting there, Maslow's hierarchy of needs is a reasonable starting place. But the key, imo, is that at some point, at whatever age, the individual has to own the effort, both halves. I don't think that's in Maslow. But I am pretty sure there are many paths, and no doubt many false paths.
  • Banno
    "Work ethic"?

    Perhaps there is your problem: "How do we make more people middle class?"

    The United States has not just forgotten to look after each other, but long pushed a myth that actively rejects looking out for each other as worthwhile. No wonder it is in such a mess.
  • creativesoul
    "Work ethic"?

    Perhaps there is your problem: "How do we make more people middle class?"

    The United States has not just forgotten to look after each other, but long pushed a myth that actively rejects looking out for each other as worthwhile. No wonder it is in such a mess.

    Spot on.
  • Pfhorrest
    We cannot empower someone just by telling them what to do, even if they are asking what to do to be empowered; for empowerment is not a set of actions but rather a mode of operation of the will. We cannot simply tell them to operate their will in that way either, for there is a bootstrapping problem there; they couldn't do that unless they were already empowered to begin with. Instead, we must somehow inspire them to exercise their will, give them (and even more importantly, show them that they have) opportunity and motive to take the initiative of their own accord.

    The principle vehicle for inspiring other people to pursue goodness, to empower them, is thus to show them, not merely tell them but actually demonstrate in practice, that achieving goods is actually possible, and thus that there is hope for them if they try to do so themselves. At the same time, we must also show them that achieving goods is not a foregone conclusion that someone else will always handle for them without any action on their own part, because if they thought that was the case they would have no motive to try to act themselves. So to that end, we need to point out to them how any authorities on justice that they may be tempted to rely on are fallible, and that without their personal action such authorities may fail, not necessarily catastrophically or globally, but in any particular case, in which cases the individuals involved will need to be ready to pick up that slack and stand up to injustice themselves.

    So we can empower people by doing good by them, helping them flourish, but we must be sparing in our direct help, lest they come to rely upon us, take our help for granted, and deem it unnecessary for them to try to act themselves. Instead, we need to help people to help themselves, to require that they take initiative in trying to pursue their own good, but to stand by and hold their hand while they get a bearing for it, to ensure that their early attempts are successful, and build in them the confidence and skill that they will need to continue pursuing goodness on their own. It will of course take much of such inspiration for such empowerment to stick permanently, and the challenges that we help people to overcome to build that empowerment must start out small enough for them to have a chance of success at them even with our help, but as they become increasingly empowered we can continue to help them tackle still greater and greater challenges, eventually building a momentum of achievement that can continue even without our further help.

    But doing good not only for oneself, but also for others, can also help to cultivate that feeling of empowerment, the feeling that achieving justice oneself is both possible and necessary. So more than merely helping people to help themselves, we can also enlist them to help us help other people to help themselves, with the promise that doing so will in turn empower them, help them learn to help themselves...
    — The Codex Quarentis: On Empowerment
  • I like sushi
    Clearly in today’s world it’s nationalism/religion.

    There is no other method that comes close to surpassing either just yet. That said consumerism is a contender.

    Note: These aren’t ‘philosophies’ though. I don’t think such a question makes sense in terms of ‘what philosophies’ when you’re talking about what is essentially dealing with specific aspects of human life (work ethic and values). I’m also assuming you meant ‘most effective’ rather than ‘best’?
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