I am adding the prompt for context:
Bill Shankly, manager of Liverpool Football Club once famously said, "Football's not a matter of life and death, it's more important than that." Can that true and what does it even mean?
In asking the question we are made aware that you don’t understand hyperbole.
Let’s face it, if “football” were all that great then the bloody Americans wouldn’t call it soccer!
No, there’s a reason that America’s greatest past-time is baseball, and not “football” (which I keep putting in quotation marks to separate it from Football), and that reason is that there are much better quotes from baseball.
For instance, "binary-ism" wasn’t even a thing yet when Yogi Berra famously noted after some streakers appeared at Yankee Stadium, “I couldn’t tell if they were men or women running naked across the field… they had bags over their heads?” Now there is a great quote that is completely lacking in hyperbole!
And a few other examples of quotes that show us why baseball is more important than soccer, and without all the hyperbole;
If a woman has to choose between catching a fly ball and saving an infant's life, she will choose to save the infant's life without even considering if there is a man on base. — Dave Barry
Bob Gibson is the luckiest pitcher I ever saw. He always pitches when the other team doesn't score any runs. — Tim McCarver
Beethoven can't really be great because his picture isn't on a bubble gum card. — Charles Schulz
Alan Sutton Sothoron pitched his initials off today. — Anonymous, St. Louis newspaper
All I remember about my wedding day in 1967 is that the Cubs lost a doubleheader. — George F. Will
A man once told me to walk with the Lord. I'd rather walk with the bases loaded. — Ken Singleton
So I'm ugly. So what? I never saw anyone hit with his face. — Yogi Berra
The baseball mania has run its course. It has no future as a professional endeavor. — Cincinnati Gazette editorial, 1879
So get off of the pitch and pitch us a great quote instead (especially if you aren’t a good fielder).
"The truth is a trap: you can not get it without it getting you; you cannot get the truth by capturing it, only by its capturing you."— Søren Kierkegaard
You could tell that truth had captured him a while back;
The truth'd spun a web of lies to lure him right in.
He'd started out by staring at the web, wondering what harrowingly incredible creature could have concocted such beauty.
At first he'd thought himself an insect to her. He was terrified but thrilled as she emerged; slender nimble legs, shiny thorax, bulbous abdomen. Truth was humongous; far far bigger than he; ominous but fascinating and still somehow so vulnerable. He needed to observe her, to protect, to understand. He was still thinking he could escape if he wanted, right up until she embraced him.
By the time he knew he was a spider himself it was too late; she'd already mated with him; gloriously bonded to his body, to his conscience and his memories - that which he rewrote in her image. She'd got into his very soul, shining in his eyes. He'd endured the bliss of believing in her.
Now truth eats him. Eats him up.
You can tell. You can see it. He winces as she drains him dry.
You're staring at him, but it doesn't even matter, not after what you saw.
You're allowed to look, he gave you permission by being his own tender self.
Maybe he'll look over; maybe it's his turn to capture you?
Maybe your turn to be caught?
But he won't, that's not his role. He knows it. He won't lie to you, no matter how gorgeous the webs he could spin. You're no insect to him, nor a lesser spider. Just another truth that he'll never risk catching; Never risk changing with his knowing eyes.
You start to love him deeply in that moment, in the extreme way; foolhardy, trusting.
The way only a stranger or a child can love.
"I adore spiders." You say, both of you human suddenly, young, staring at the web between the park bench slats. Silently you implore a response from the void of him, berating yourself all the while; you'd thought about it far too long to sound this daft. You wouldn't blame him if he up and walked away.
"Me too," He says, "But aren't they scary?"
"Yup." you grin moronically, ecstatic that he replied.
Unloose the Gordian Knot!
I am not so fortunately placed as others here would seem, to live without method, unmoored and amiss, in both action and belief a foreigner to truth, at all times determined by a handful of dust, begging from the Pragmatist’s cup, existing in every possible way, but never according to that one which is entirely self-evident to them.
Alas, perhaps I’ve missed my introductory philosophy lesson?! I did hear the clock ring a while back, and after all, I am like a man who sees the works of a watch for the first time…what healthy mind can reject its evidence?
I am glad then, there are those eager to fill my place in that penal colony: they will tell me, as they always do, with the coveted deliciousness of opening Pandora’s box, that nothing is true, as nothing can be ‘absolutely true’ – whatever they suppose that to mean. And how they love to let that harrow rake their backs, every contusion an ascendancy, every scream a benighted blessing.
I enjoy a good philosophic romp as much as the next man, but I will not be disposed to find my intellectual integrity in an infinitude of untruths, endlessly at odds with each other, requiring the most strenuous of juggling acts to maintain, so that none can be held simultaneously nor touch another without immediate contradiction. Convenience and balance agree more with my simple tastes; and besides, I despise hypocrisy too much to stand if my human sentiments were opposed to my rational impulses.
Still, I will not pretend to know those who on behalf of obscure axioms are settled by the relativity of any truth, no matter how obviously universal; a point they appear to defend as though it were self-evident.
‘There is one thing a professor can be absolutely certain of: almost every student entering the university believes, or says he believes, that truth is relative…The relativity of truth is not a theoretical insight but a moral postulate, the condition of a free society, or so they see it. They have all been equipped with this framework early on, and it is the modern replacement for the inalienable natural rights that used to be the traditional American grounds for a free society…The danger they have been taught to fear from absolutism is not error but intolerance. Relativism is necessary to openness; and this is the virtue, the only virtue, which all primary education for more than fifty years has dedicated itself to inculcating.’
Setting aside our new virtue, I would oblige the good Dr. Bloom for a moment of his better discernment, to defend what I feel to be a mistaking of Self-Evident as Absolute, among his students certainly, but also by the rest of us who’ve been prepared by that fifty year’s inculcation.
When one attempts to grapple with the problem of the Absolute, to run his fingers along its intricacies, to dig into its grooves and hoist its bulk on his back, the more does he come to learn that what he handles is no less than that impossible Gordian knot. And he is doomed to puzzle away at it indefinitely, not because it is intuitive to him, or because he agrees that this knot ties together the most natural explanations, but rather, for the basic reason that compels all curiosity: it exists; because it has been proposed and stands before him. So, like the obscure, black-hooded figures of history who swarm and tire away at it, does he also become paralysed by the mass of rope, quibbling on at an eternity of twists and loops and tangles, failing to see that nothing of the world around him, nor the people who inhabit it, depend on a single one of its tethers. If he could just gather the Alexandrian courage to simply cut it…
When in grade school we read of those things which we hold to be self-evident, before the time when we reasonably should, and usually from a teacher who is past her season to relay—whenever we make our acquaintance with this idea, we should remember that we are not reading from the book of Philosophy. The concept is unaware of the petty abstract, with absolutely no appeal whatsoever to the Absolute, its origin taken to be altogether wider and more grounded than the general run of philosophy.
Self-evident is a term that invokes being, one which springs from a collective humanity, different in the minor points, but alike fundamentally in those matters of dignity, well-being and prosperity. It is a word that if removed from its human subject loses all its sense, as it does immediately when taken into philosophical quandary; it is the child of conscience, which cannot be made to chime with any feeble logic, with some omniscient foundation—luckily, it is much more fortunate than that. It is a word that joins us in our unspoken sympathies, which needs bear no doubt about itself, that forces us to recognize the misery of our fellow man, his pain and his downfall, and to know indelibly, without any syllogistic pretext, that it is wrong.
Socrates called it our Daemon, a child will call it her Golden Rule, but in whichever way you refer to the Self-Evident, it will always resemble that universal, internal voice, inherited by everyone who grows to have a healthy mind, if bearing even the most average moral stock. Whether it is ‘true’, well that is a question better dealt with by Orwell:
‘In England such concepts as justice, liberty and objective truth are still believed in. They may be illusions, but they are very powerful illusions. The belief in them influences conduct, national life is different because of them. In proof of which, look about you. Where are the rubber truncheons, where is the castor oil? The sword is still in the scabbard, and while it stays there, corruption cannot go beyond a certain point…But in a sense it is irrelevant whether democracy, at its highest or at its lowest, is ‘better’ than totalitarianism. To decide that one would have to have access to absolute standards. The only question that matters is where one’s real sympathies will lie when the pinch comes.’
Of course, only a fool would declare that the Self-Evident is absolute, there is no need to. All that is needed is to acknowledge ourselves in the lives of our fellow creatures. Denying the Self-Evident when we pretend to wonder at the obviousness of our sympathies, is doing no less a thing than that complete rejection of our own humanness. For the sake of not appearing simple-minded in the face of poorly conceived, discursive, hairbrained philosophies? For the same sake, to pretend in spite of ourselves that we are something less than what we are, that we do not know and feel in every tingling hair when something is self-evidently right or wrong?
Let the intelligentsia, who have always been perfectly content to do so, bind themselves together in endless philosophic contortions, to trip and hobble over their principled unknowingness. Let us do the real living. In every question there is a glimmer of truth, if only we weren’t so afraid of our own self-evidence and the vested human authority to govern it.
The Grass Roots Truth (or, Thoughts While Mowing)
I sometimes wonder if mowing the lawn is a good thing. It makes the yard more aesthetically pleasing I suppose, although even that could be debated. The birds and squirrels seem happy after I mow. They arrive en masse to pummel the upturned insects and frogs, but what about the poor insects and frogs? Is mowing better for them?
I have been taught to understand that grass roots grow down below the ground only as far as the stem (or blade) grows above it. Deep roots will, of course, have better access to moisture and will give the grass a better chance to survive the heat and droughts of summer. It is why professionals cut at 3”, which is considerably higher than most weekend warriors, most of whom mistakingly believe that the lower they cut the less often they will have to mow. I say mistakenly because low grass is also thin grass, which allows weeds the room they need to sprout. Weeds grow faster than grass, ergo… more mowing. “Even” is what should be desired, not short.
And if it is true that higher grass is more capable of survival, then I am back to, ”why mow at all?” If 3” is good, then why not 12”? Or even 24”? The fields around my house seem to do ok without the help of man. The animals in them seem happy enough, although those fields are not great for walking through, what with the briars, ticks, trip hazards and all. Still, the grass seems healthy, and is “even” across the top, so that it sways prettily in the breeze. Perhaps I should just quit mowing… for the sake of the grass, that is.
Ahhh, but there is Pooky-Bear looking out the window, pretending to worry about me mowing in this devilish heat while also insuring that I finish the job. She did not seem worried though when she mentioned how high the grass was yesterday morning, or last night when she said, “Hmmm, I see Clyde has mowed his yard?” Or this morning, when she asked when I planned to mow it? So perhaps it is not for the health of the grass that I mow, but for the satisfaction of our neighbors. So that they might see that I too have a wife strong enough to make me push this mower in 100 degrees?
And over there is my dog General Sherman lying in the shade under the bass boat, waiting. Let’s consider the boat for a second. We all know that anything neglected weathers away faster than something kept sharp and clean with use. The boat will soon fade in color, and congeal in the motor if not soon put to use. This mowing is leading to the early decay of a significant financial investment, and must be stopped immediately! But wait… I see she has laid out the hedge trimmers in the garage?
Truth: the body of real things, events and facts; that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality; a judgement, proposition, idea or belief that is accepted as true.
“We see the world not as it is, but as we are – or as we are conditioned to see it. When we open our mouths to describe what we see, we in effect describe ourselves, our perceptions, our paradigms.” (Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People)
That is, regardless of the visible “facts” of any given situation, we see what we expect to see, based on our perceptions of reality.
There are some 7.8 billion people walking the earth at this moment. Put any two together, have them witness the same scene, and, even assuming they speak the same native language (there are about 6500), chances are they will describe it differently. Highlight different aspects, completely ignore or be unaware of others. Even though the visible facts seem self-evident. I mean, you’re looking at the same scene, how much more self-evident can one get?
If we cannot agree on what is “self-evident” to the eye, how can we hope to agree on that which is evident only to the mind or the heart and must be expressed with words that are filtered by the sum total of our divergent experiences?
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.
Lovely sentiment that, at the time it was written, was much more limited in scope and application than the all-encompassing words imply. And the country whose shackles begat the defense of said truths…disagreed. As did most if not all the world’s governing powers in their own spheres of socioeconomic inequality. And even many of the peoples who would be subject to the new and improved government to which this declaration sought to give rise did not agree with the very broad and beautiful words that were only words and not truths self-evident to any, quite possibly not even the writers. They sound wonderful. Worthy. I mean, who wouldn’t fight to ensure that ALL MEN had the right to LIVE FREE and with the opportunity to seek happiness? (The other side, apparently.)
The Golden Rule has versions across the world’s major religions so one might consider it self-evident. It is, to paraphrase, treat others as you would wish to be treated. Looking around, though, you would think the actual rule is treat others as you anticipate you will be treated, where one is always anticipating the worst.
Truths, like beliefs and ideas, cannot be seen, so the path to “self-evident” is even murkier than agreeing on what we can actually see with our eyes. Ultimately, we make a choice to believe, to accept ideas and truths…or not. And, far too often, even if we profess certain beliefs, and support generally accepted truths, actions belie our words.
The only self-evident truths that we have no choice but to accept as true? We are born and we will die. Everything else, as we see on a daily basis, is subjective. Relative. Debatable. Based on so many things that are not self-evident.
Truths today, but maybe not tomorrow.
July 4th and the Real Self-evident Truth Behind that Day
July fourth, the day we celebrate our freedoms. The day we officially became an independent country away from the tyranny of England and a tyrannical King.
July fourth, the day the Declaration of independence was signed, where officially the thirteen colonies formed would become U.S. States.
But hold the phone! Stop the presses!
We have been taught this history since we were children and it will still be taught in schools and even universities but there is something you may not be aware of that in truth, is not so "self-evident". Back in June of 1776, a man named Richard he n ry Lee, put together a draft, later to be called the Lee Resolution.
It stated, "That these united colonies are and of right ought to be free and independent states." The Lee Resolution contained three parts: a declaration of independence, a call to form foreign alliances, and a plan for confederation.
Because members of Congress believed the actions Lee proposed to be premature or wanted instructions from their colonies before voting, approval was deferred until July 2. On that date, Congress adopted the first part (the declaration). The words of the Lee Resolution are echoed in the Declaration of Independence.
The affirmative votes of twelve colonies were listed in the signatures. New York didn't cast a vote until the newly elected New York Convention upheld the Declaration of Independence on July 9, 1776.
The plan for making treaties was not approved until September of 1776; the plan of confederation was delayed until November of 1777.
Thereby, based on a little-known piece of history we in effect and by now, should be self-evident that our "Independence" wasn't July Fourth but rather July Second
But hey, who am I to upset the apple cart, right? Celebrate both days and be happy for the fact we still do have some rights and freedoms, and that's self-evident.
As for most of the questions posed in this challenge, in a round ab out way they have been answered.
Don’t Be A Govinda
This lacks originality as it's a concept expressed in someone else's writing. I'll make my point. Eventually. Probably. Look, I'm doing my best, okay?
There's a book I like by the name of Siddhartha. Simply explained, it's about the son of an Indian holy man who basically says "Wtf dad, this all kinda seems like bullshit" and decides to leave home to find the true meaning of life. Shenanigans ensue. Slight spoiler- on his journey, he meets Buddha. He is intrigued by this as he's ya know, on the search for the truth or whatever but once he meets him, he is unimpressed. The chapter goes something like this:
SIDDHARTHA: So this is Buddha, huh?
GOVINDA: Uh yeah, he's pretty dope.
S: I mean, I guess...he's just like, sitting there. I don't get it.
G: Whaddya mean? He's enlightened.
S: What is THAT supposed to mean?
G: He's like, found the truth. You know, the meaning of all things.
S: What is the TRUTH?
G: It's the TRUTH, man. I don't know.
S: Oh, for fuck's sa-HEY BUDDHA!
BUDDHA: *casts a lazy yet enlightened eye over at Siddhartha*
S: Yo, Buddha. What's the deal? How exactly are you supposed to show people "the truth" What even is enlightenment?
G: What the hell, Sid? Be cool, do you not realize-
S: No hold on, Vin- this guy is a con artist, don't you see? He can tell us how you got there, but he can't SHOW us what it's like to be there, man. [to Buddha] Quit bullshitting everybody!
B: *gives Siddhartha an enlightened smirk, walks off enlightenedly to continue enlightening his followers*
S: What was that about?
G: I don't know but you're lucky he didn't come for you. That was rude af, my guy.
S: Whatever. Let's bounce. This is lame.
G: Actually...I'm gonna stay.
S: For real?
G:Yeah, dude...I'm kinda digging what he's saying.
S: BUT HE'S NOT SAYING ANY- alright, know what? You do you. I don't get it, but I respect it.
G: You're still my boy, though. You got this.
S: Yeah. You too. Be good.
This chapter stuck with me the most out of the entirety of the book despite it being one of the earliest and least involved chapters of the story. I read it while "finding myself". *gag* I mentally revisit it often as it serves as a reminder- when it comes to the TRUTH, especially truths involving the intangible, that is for you to define. We may have truths that can't be argued (though people will certainly still try), things like math, science, and so on but as far as what things like peace, openness, healing, spiritual connection, etc...no one can define that for us. Someone can tell us the steps they took to get there, but our path may very well lead in a totally different direction. Truth, like many other things in life, is subject to duality. It is both tangible and intangible, defended and defenseless, objective and subjective. All these years later, I'm still a little peeved with Govinda for choosing to follow the steps of another in pursuit of oneness. But that's his truth, right?
“We hold these truths to be self-evident...life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
That's a nice sounding phrase but what exactly is meant by self-evident truth? Is it some common standard that everybody agrees is inviolate, like driving on the right (unless you live in England)? Could it be some moral statement reported in the holy book of an all-powerful deity, assuming we accept this deity? Is it something we're compelled to do without needing a reason, like mother saying because I said so.
Aristotle had no problem with truth. “If we say a thing is,” he told us, “and it is that thing, we have spoken the truth.” Okay so far but can we unpack that remark?
I sit at a table, and by calling it a table, he claims I've spoken the truth. My problem is it's a limited truth. I haven't said anything about the table's design, colour, composition or atomic structure. When I do, my table becomes becomes progressively more unique. With a full and complete description, this table is like no other, no longer needing a generic label. For me to say “table” is to apply a label universally recognized among English speakers as something with the quality of “tableness.”
How circular. Some mythical old white dudes write “tableness” in Webster's and that becomes the agreed label, and if I use this label correctly, I have spoken the truth? We need something better than that.
“in everything, there is a share of everything.”
i looked out the window on a train and i could've swore i saw you, but it was just a small bird dancing near the tracks.
i was thinking about you after that and the thought shot joy through me like heroine. i started crying. if you had have been there i might've hit you. maybe i would've hugged you. i definitely would've wanted to kiss you. the thought turned into a daydream and you were sitting comfortably in my mind.
i punched you in the nose. your lip split and there was blood all over your face. dripping down your chin in a way that proved how much i love you and how painful that is.
my legs were kicking and my arms were flailing and when i stopped, you were on your knees in front of me. we were verging on religious. you were so silently devoted to me in that moment. i could've punched you again and again and thrown you against the window and kicked your teeth in and you would've thought 'how merciful a god to keep me alive'.
i found myself kneeling in front of you with angry tears in my eyes, gripping your wrists. i thought about breaking them. trying to snap them single handedly. i pulled them to my chest and kissed the blood from your lips. i wiped it off your chin and your neck and i cradled your head, savouring the taste of your blood in a malicious, perverted sort of way. and loving you in a way so tender and pure jesus would have been put to shame.
the bird flew away and the train started moving again.
“The real, objective world is therefore the world of the primary properties, while the realm of subjective secondary qualities is the domain
Galileo’s mathematization of nature strips off the capacity of matter to experience. They built the idea of dualism that separates the physical body with the primary qualities such as shape, size, and motion to the soul with the secondary quality which are the colors, odor, and taste. They only considered the primary qualities of nature in order to mathematize nature and put values on matter itself.
Which philosophically, affected us humans on how we value matter since we were taught that the only way to mathematicise and create value of a matter is through the primary qualities, and eventually since more and more people stop believing in religion, we lost touch on the idea of the soul along with our secondary qualities. We put values only depending on shape, sizes, and actions. We forgot that the value of a matter doesn’t depend only on primary qualities but rather or along with our experience as a consciousness itself.
That’s why I like panpsychism, it unifies the picture of nature as it is, without having to consider the value of one matter to the other- the proper appreciation of matter itself