“Think for yourself, question authority”
“Throughout human history, as our species has faced the frightening, terrorizing fact that we do not know who we are, or where we are going in this ocean of chaos. It has been the authorities, the political, the religious, the educational authorities who attempted to comfort us by giving us order, rules, regulations, informing, forming in our minds their view of reality. To think for yourself you must question authority and learn how to put yourself in a state of vulnerable, open-mindedness;” chaotic, confused, vulnerability to inform yourself”
There aren’t many people these days that don’t question authority. Authority is questioned every way til Sunday these days. But what that exposes is the masses questioning becomes nonsensical, comical, down right ridiculous at times. Perhaps the masses shouldn’t think for themselves. Perhaps they only question authority or at least pretend to question authority, because of this motto that now runs deep through American psyche, at least… in action. The government is the least trusted institution since sliced bread. Of course, sliced bread lost all trustworthiness when we realized that .. uh, wait that’s the acid kicking in.
Ok of course they questioning authority is very popular. It wasn’t really always that way, back in good ole USA it seemed the government for the most part was doing the right thing by us and whatever the president said, well, the president said. He’s our leader, we must obey him. Wasn’t that the sentiment in the early 20th century and a little beyond?
The question now is, do the masses have the ability to think for themselves? Even when “authority” – at least the authority of thinking for themselves, questioning authority has spread like fad through the population… Now everyone’s opinion is heard on the internet.. And they still herd up in sheep like flocks. So can this population that is diseased with confirmation bias actually think for themselves? No of course not… even their contrarian viewpoints are now herded up on production lines and spewed out to them by infotainment news sources. Conspiracy theories thrive these days. A population educated on ignorance and assumptions, is what we have.
“When you grow up you tend to get told the world is the way it is and you’re life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family, have fun, save a little money.
That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again. ”
Which is a quote to live by. Even if you’re wrong or not smart enough. People and their systems and categorizations are flawed and or very subjective, or very easily improved upon, for one. People’s philosophies are flawed. Nobody spouted off a perfect philosophy and the more you spout off the more errors, and inaccuracies that will occur. But that doesn’t stop people like Kant, or anyone. It shouldn’t stop anyone. Unless they’re afraid of being perceived to be wrong, well, so what? That doesn’t matter, as long as you get things right along the way. Or perhaps you were right, and just misunderstood. Or perhaps you were wrong – but got more important things right. It’s just the way it is, there can always be improvement. There always should be improvement.
In the field of philosophy there is much room for improvement. Always was. It continues constantly. There’s disagreements constantly. There’s different view points constantly. Authorities in philosophy are not people, its reason and logic. Philosophy isn’t a science, but it led to science. Where it didn’t lead to science, it tries to answer questions where we can only provide the most reasonable answer. Things are thought constantly that might be new, or different. There’s philosophers now writing things that don’t get much attention, because it can take time for people to get around to them, to appreciate them. I really think a mindset that wants to just bow down to the presumed authorities as probably right because they’re the authorities, as a slavish mentality.
“…. for American philosophers by and large see themselves, accurately enough, as cultivating one academic specialty in contrast to others–as technicians working in the realm of ideas. This means that they generally write for an audience of their fellow academics and have little interest in (or prospect of) addressing a wider public of intelligent readers. (This is another significant difference between the philosophical situation in North America and in continental Europe. American philosophy is oriented to academia and academics. By contrast, European–and especially French–philosophy is oriented to the wider culture-complex of an intelligent readership through its concern with currently controverted issues.) Moreover, “political correctness,” which has become a point of controversy on various American campuses, has made comparatively little impact among philosophers–in contrast to practitioners of such fields as legal or literary theory. Outside of rather limited circles, philosophers in America are still expected to give reasons for their contentions, rather than to paint those who dissent with the brush of fashionably attuned disapproval–let alone to resort to name calling. The high degree of its technical professionalism has tended to countervail the politicization of the field.
The prominence of specialization gives a more professional and technical cast to contemporary American philosophizing in comparison to that of other times and places. It endows the enterprise with something of that can-do spirit that one encounters in other aspects of American life. There is something of a confidence in the power of technique to resolve the problems of the field. In this respect American philosophizing has little use for a pessimism that contents itself with a melancholic resignation to human inadequacies. Confined to the precints of higher education, contemporary American philosophy cannot easily afford sending messages that the young are not prepared to hear.
All the same, its increasing specialization has impelled philosophy toward the ivory tower. The most recent years have accordingly seen something of a fall from grace of philosophy in American culture–not that there was ever all that much grace to fall from. For many years, the Encyclopedia Britannica published an annual supplement entitled the Book of the Year, dealing with the events of the year under such rubrics as world politics, health, music, and so forth. Until the 1977 volume’s coverage of the preceding year’s developments, a section of philosophy was always included in this annual series. Thereafter, however, philosophy vanished–without so much as a word of explanation. The year of America’s bicentennial seemingly saw the disappearance of philosophy from the domain of things that interest Americans. At approximately the same time, Who’s Who in America drastically curtailed its coverage of philosophers and academics generally. During this same time period, various vehicles of public opinion–ranging from Time to The New York Times–voiced laments over the irrelevance of contemporary philosophy to the problems of the human condition, and the narcissistic absorption of philosophers in logical and linguistic technicalities that render the discipline irrelevant to the problems and interests of nonspecialists.(21) It is remarkable that this outburst indicating popular alienation from philosophy’s ivory tower came at just the time when philosophers in the United States were beginning to turn with relish to the problems on the agenda of public policy and personal concern. The flowering of applied ethics (medical ethics, business ethics, environmental ethics, and the like), of virtue ethics (trust, hope, neighborliness, and so forth), of social ethics (distributive justice, privacy, individual rights, and so forth), and of such philosophical hyphenations as philosophy-and-society–and even philosophy-and-agriculture–can also be dated from just this period. By one of those ironies not uncommon in the pages of history, philosophy returned to the issues of the day at almost the very moment when the wider public gave up thinking of the discipline as relevant to its concerns. ”
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