Tuesday, October 31, 2006

My Philosophy

My philosophy is based upon looking for nonsequiturs and arbitrary statements, and eliminating those from my philosophy. Nothing is immune from being questioned. I have called into question such basic ideas as ownership and rights. I have called into question such enshrined institutions as the Church and State. I have called into question such widely accepted ideas as democracy and human rights. I have questioned the basic foundations of each of these to see if they rest on arbitrary assumptions, total nonsequiturs, or if they are actually sound. Even after I satisfy myself on such a topic, I question it again and again. I have previously believed in philosophies such as subjectivism, nihilism, Randian objectivism, and others. I have previously believed in majority rule, government legitemacy, collectivism, and Christianity.

But I question and question and question everything, taking nothing for granted, challenging all assumptions. In this way I encounter a philosophy or idea and then to the best of my ability, I attempt to refute it's basic assumptions.

To say the Bible is infalliable is an arbitrary statement. If the Bible is not absolutely infalliable, then nothing in it can be said to be absolutely correct. If the basis of Christianity is in question, anything built upon that basis is in question as well.

To say that the collective supercedes the individual is an arbitrary statement. If the individual can ever supercede the collective, then the doctorine cannot be said to be absolutely correct. If the basis of collectivism is in question, anything built upon that basis is in question as well.

To say that government is needed to protect rights is an arbitrary statement. If rights can exist without government, or government can exist without protecting rights, then the doctorine cannot be said to be absolutely correct. If the basis of Randian Objectivism's politics are in question, anything built upon that basis is in question as well.

In short, when I encounter a new idea, I strip it down to it's basis and test to see if the basis is sound. If it is, then you may proceed from there.

One of the problems with communication of philosophy is the arbitrary nature of communication itself. If you have ever watched an individulist and a socialist argue about Capitalism, it is not hard to figure out that the two are not using the word to mean the same thing. Hence, it is critically important that when you approach a word that is being used in a context not consistent with your definition of the word, you must ask them to clarify exactly what they mean when they use the word.

One such word is "Human". How does one define human? Is it determined by genetic makeup? If a complete human genome were inserted into a bacterium, would that bacterium become human? Would it have human rights? Of course not, that would be asburd. If a human is defined as a primate with little hair, then you exclude the Ramos tribe of humans who have hair all over their body. If a human is defined as such a being not necessarily applying the "little hair" rule, then you introduce all primates into the human category. We all know what a human is, really, but if we cannot define it rigidly and absolutely, how can we determine if something qualifies for human rights? If we cannot do so, how can we say that rights are derived from being human?

Any time you encounter a determining factor that is open to interpretation, question it. If someone says "You have rights because you are rational", ask them how they determine how rational is rational enough. If they give some arbitrary point, ask them what it is about one above that point but not the slightest increment below it that makes the infinitecimally less rational being irrational. They can give no answer to this without using circular logic, the "it is because it is" reasoning, which only reinforces that the statement was arbitrary.

"So," you might ask, "If you question the basis of everything, what is the basis for your philosophy?"

The basis of my philosophy is that there is absolutely nothing which is beyond questioning. There is absolutely nothing that by it's nature is not to be questioned. "Cause and effect" is not immune from being questioned, although it has passed questioning. "Existence exists" is not immune from being questioned, although it has passed questioning. "God exists" is to be questioned. "The Bible is Infalliable" is to be questioned. "Humans have souls" is to be questioned. Everything, absolutely everything, without exception, is to be questioned.

It does not matter if questioning it makes people angry. It does not matter if questioning it gets you rejected from society. Do not accept beliefs simply because there are negative consequences to not doing so. Pretend to believe them if you are threatened with violence for not professing belief, but do not simply accept an idea without first questioning it's premises.

Question premises. Question authority. Question everything.

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