QOTD 02/26/2015

The greater the difficulty, the more the glory in surmounting it.

This one is pretty simple, but I like it nonetheless. We must challenge ourselves and do things that may seem difficult in order to accomplish great things.


QOTD 02/25/2015

Everything’s you’re own fault if you’re any damn good.

-Ernest Hemingway

I picked this quote because it brings to light a certain feature of successful people. They do not place blame. They take responsibility for their own success. If you want to be successful you need to take responsibility for your own success and more important your failures. Own up to your failures, even those you don’t think you can or could have done anything about, because chances are you can or could have done something about it. We have the opportunity to learn much more from our failures than our successes.

QOTD 02/24/2015

Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.
-Edmund Burke


I quite like this quote from Burke as it embodies an idea that I think is true throughout our lives: every little bit counts. Without the tree a forest is naught. Without the individual a society is naught.

On Choices

Alright, so in my last post on choices I stated that, “There is an answer that is right or best in every decision.” I wanted to expand on this further as I think it is important to both that post and life as a whole.

So, to start off, this idea presupposes that there is a goal towards which you are reaching. It may be that you want to be a professor, you want to buy a new computer, or you want to simply have a fulfilling life. If we assume there is a goal towards which you are reaching then depending on how you want to reach that goal there are best, or right, choices to be made along that path. If you want to be a professor, it is likely that it is best for you to go to graduate school. If you want to buy a new computer it may be best for you to not buy a new TV. These are decisions that are obvious, however, with easily defined goals and easily definable steps to reach those goals. What about when the goal and the steps are not so clear?

Well if the steps towards a goal are uncertain then your sub-goal is then to figure out what those steps are. You ask friends and family for advice, you search online, or you read up on the topic at the library. Then as you acquire more information on the matter you begin to see what steps must be taken and those steps then become your new sub-goal. If the end-goal itself is uncertain then you start by trying to determine what your end-goal is or should be. Once you have decided on an end goal you then attempt to determine the steps necessary to reach that end goal.

Ok, so what if you don’t have an end-goal and you simply want to enjoy life for itself without any purposeful goal? Well that is your goal: to enjoy life for itself. The steps may then be to simply follow your heart and do as you please. Now, I do not think that is actually true of anyone, I think everyone has a goal in life, but it is your prerogative to think what you will.

This all boils down to the idea that as human beings we are goal-oriented. Nothing we do is without purpose or direction. We always have a goal in mind for any particular action. It may not always be a conscious goal or an extremely important or fundamental goal, but it is a goal nonetheless. We do not do anything without reason. I have often heard people say, “Everything happens for a reason.” Often this is attributed to a strange coincidence or an unfortunate event, and is meant to imply that all events happen for a reason. However, I think this idea has been derived from our sense of our own reasoned action that we unwittingly apply to the physical world around us.

This is why I say, “There is an answer that is right or best in every decision.” We are goal oriented beings that do nothing without reason and that considering our intentions there is always a best decision to be made in order to reach the goal we have set forth for ourselves.

QOTD 02/23/2015

As long as I have a want, I have a reason for living. Satisfaction is death.

-George Bernard Shaw

I happened across this quote in The Harper Book of Quotations and found it to be particularly relevant to my post today. In this quote I see a shadow of the idea I discuss in On Choices. The idea that we are goal-oriented beings that make decisive actions. We act with reason. If we were to be completely satisfied and had no more wants or goals, no more reasoned action, then would we truly still be living?

QOTD 02/22/2015

I found this quote in a book entitled Einstein’s God by Krista Tippett. She quotes a mathematician by the name of Curt Godel. It is simply:

There are some truths that can never be proven to be true.

This statement was made in light of Godel’s then-recent incompleteness theorem which he was able to prove mathematically. The incompleteness theorem states that: In any system at least as complicated as arithmetic: it is either consistent OR complete. Consistent meaning that there are no contradictions and complete meaning that you can prove everything. So, either there are no contradictions OR you can prove everything. If you then choose to consider the system to be consistent then there are truths that cannot be proven. Some food for thought.

QOTD 02/20-ish/2015

So it’s not the 20th anymore but it’s close enough. Here’s one of my all-time favorite quotes.

No concept man forms is valid unless he integrates it without contradiction into the total sum of his knowledge.

-Ayn Rand

this quote has always struck a cord with me as it perfectly describes how I approach philosophy and thinking. Whatever it is you think it should be consistent with everything else you think. You should not believe contradictory things and you should not apply logic differently to different areas of your life. It is similar to Kant’s Categorical Imperative which is a mechanism used to determine the validity of our actions. In short, when determining whether or not to do something you ask yourself if everyone did this would it work or make sense to do. If the answer is yes then its fine, if not then it’s not fine and you shouldn’t do it. Now, that’s just a quick idea of what it’s like but it gets the point across. Be consistent in what you think and what you do and that should be consistent with how the world and those individuals who make up what we call society.

Just some food for thought. I hope this gives you another perspective on any introspective considerations you make.