Achtung: Dies hier ist kein eigentlicher Blogartikel, sondern ein Gedanken-Exzerpt. Will sagen: Ein Versuch, meinen kreiselnden Kopf auf gerade Bahnen zu bringen. Fuer alle geeignet, die schwindelfrei sind und wissen moechten, wie es im Kopf einer hilflosen Philosophie-Bewerberin zwei Tage vorm alles entscheidenden Interview aussieht. Mit Oxford hat sich Europa wieder in meinen Kopf geschlichen, will sagen: Pustekuchen mit der Asiatischen Gelassenheit. (Achtung, ist zu allem Ueberfluss auf Englisch, zur Einstimmung)
Es wird eine Zeit zum Daumen druecken kommen. In dem Fall ist das Freitag, der 13.12. (jaah, ich weiss!) um 14h15 deutscher Zeit. Ein kleiner Gedanke reicht auch schon.
Hier stehe ich und kann nicht anders;
- I think
and think and think
At some point, this seems to be the only thing keeping me from going crazy; and sometimes I feel as if it was just the opposite.
Well, I am on the edge of running out of the office whilst screaming - at least, my mind feels a bit like this. If I wasn't "captured" here, a bit of sunshine and singing would do the job, too.
My interview "at" Oxford (which will actually take place in some hotel room in KTM) is the day after tomorrow.
I use my time to get back into thinking. It feels good, a bit. Some things come back to my mind, some arrange themselves in a new fashion which is, as always, a highly rewarding feeling.
((Aah, I already get calmer talking to someone outside my head. The sole possibility that there's so. at the other end helps))
For instance, I had a good time thinking of the ethical concept that Russell formulated as "Love & Knowledge" (as the principles that should lead our lives).
-> We should love the people, and then the wish to know will arise, in order to help them.
This is so very close to the Buddhist idea of general compassion that to me, it's the same.
What baffled me this time was to notice that in its _outcome_, this Buddhist concept is similar to Kant's ethic! How comes?
You surely remember that, acc do Kant, an action is moral when, basically, it would work out if everyone did the same.
Well.The current Dalai Lama argues that
1) we're all the same in our base, therefore we've got the same right to happiness/Wohlergehen
2) On this base, we should approach others with an attitude of general compassion, making no difference between our own actions and other's
3) Because we "love everybody" (by reason, remarkably enough), we wish an outcome that works in the whole
4) This works adapting some Kantian model of "what would happen if everyone did this"
The difference is the MOTIVATION
For Russell, and in Buddhism, it is love; for others and for oneself (in recognizing that I, too, want to lead a happy life) - whereas Kant argues that we automatically wish to do the LOGICAL thing.
I understand more and more how Schopenhauer meant that we need some other motivation (I think, he was also influenced by Asian ideas).
Where I come to the starting point: For my interview, I wanted to briefly review my motivations for the two subjects. Hah, "briefly" - nice dream of mine! For Linguistics, it's okay to say "well, I'm fascinated about...." and then you give examples etc.
So. In my application, I wrote that I like Philosophy because of the thinking structures it provides, bref, its logic.
Throughout the text, I tried to demonstrate how intrinsically logic I was, as for the selection criteria it seemed particularly importantto be logical.
Well, if I really WAS, then my motivation should be one of logical nature, too - shouldn't it??
And this is how I realised that I BELIEVED in logic instead of BEING logical.
When I look at the religious and superstitious beliefs that are much stronger here in Asia, I was first tempted to feel superiour. Logical rigour seemed so much more consistent than "belief". But, why do people belief? The core of religion is, to my mind, to give guidances on how to live and to diminish the fear of death. In short: to give us some structure in our life. Sounds familiar? Yeah, because it's what I just said about logic!
I "believe" in logic because it provides me with tools to deal with my life, exactly as religion would do. In itself it isn't any different or better than other beliefs
(I mean, formally. I though share the common point of view that it is good to encourage people to think for themselves, mostly considering our history of people stupidly stumbling into war because they believed some leading figure - I was sincerely shocked not to find this attitude among an Indian fellow but then understood better as I thought of how strongly we in Europe -and, Germany!! - are marked by WW2)
Schopenhauer says that we need some "Triebfeder" (what a nice word!) other than reason.
What are, actually, my motivations, then? A large bit of it is the very human wish of belonging.
Even more here, where best result I can get out of discussions is that so. participates for the fun of it, thinking of it later with a half-smile as "discussions on weird topics". Not only here: it was like this in most places I went.My mind works in a certain fashion, and sometimes it is desperatingly different from others (at least from what I can conduce from discussions etc)
Someone, wh supported me for some hours, recently said: "In the beginning, I thought you thought more than was required". I could only laugh. Since when is thinking a requirement?
Well, it can... Is it...?
a) an instrument to solve problems
b) a thing itself, driven by... curiousity?
A very vague term. Well, this is part of my motivation, then.
Makes it three
1) The delight to find minds working like mine
2) The satisfying feeling you get out of "thinking" as an activity ("Following the thirst of knowledge", as I put it in September)
3) The practical use of good problem-solving skills
Out of those, no 3 seems the most logic-driven. To me, the least motivating. I certainly enjoy when thinking comes to a useful end but - as I said in May, too - we can't really TARGET our thinking on the outcomes. Well, I enjoy it though and I have to say that it is maybe more motivating than that... If, for instance, I take a look on my interest in moral philosophy. This is because it helps LIVING, which is a rather practical thing to do.
Question am Rande
"Does logic make things easier or more complicated?"
I hope that I'll get the time to ask a question, as, maybe, one of the tutors might be helpful ;-)
I still don't know where my kenness on thinking and my pleasure at doing something comes from, but now, that feels rather acceptable.