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My ideas are constantly changing as I learn. Sometimes they even change midway through writing a post.

Friday, July 18

Leaving the world a better place

In browsing around the blogs of some fellow atheists, I ran across one whose writing philosophy and general philosophy of life caught my attention as being a bit like my own.

Generally, I do whatever I do with some eye towards making myself and the world better. Sometimes the details of life distract me and even overwhelm me, but it's always there...

Why am I creating this blog?

Ultimately, it is because I want to leave the world better than it would have been if I were not here.

Introduction - Making the World a Better Place

Knowing what is better has proved to be a very difficult problem to solve. In fact, I'm not entirely certain it is solvable by me - or even by one individual. Knowledge can be quite difficult to achieve and my thoughts are ever changing, updating, to take in the next bit of information and experience. In fact, I state this in my warning. I don't state it in quite the same way and I left off how my writing process works when I do edit (and yes, occasionally, I do manage to edit without completely stripping everything I said and still manage to publish the post).


I’m sorry about the editing problems. I just run out of time. You see, when I go to edit a post, I usually end up rewriting it. I remove all of the old mistakes (because I simply block off whole sections of text and delete them) but introduce new mistakes in their wake. At the end of the day, when I am finishing up my post, my head is typically bouncing off the desk as I fall asleep at the keyboard. That has something of an adverse effect on quality. I’m sorry about that.

1000 Posts and Birthday

It's nice to know I'm not the only one who runs into that problem. This fellow seems better educated, at least formally, than I have been. Which leads me to another train of thought which I sometimes toy with and am thinking about pursuing more actively.

The idea is that perhaps the problem of "better" is too big a problem for me to solve and therefore, I shouldn't spend too much time on it. I've only got one life, as far as I know, and is the pursuit of truth the only thing I want out of it? Don't I want to enjoy it? Experience it? Just live? How? Which way?

I think about Socrates' wife sometimes, and his children. What must it have been like for her? As a woman in those times, she would have been totally dependent on a man for her care, and he failed her - so he could pursue knowledge. It may have been wonderful for the rest of humanity, it may have launched humanity into a whole new, greater level of existence in the long run, but what good did that do her? Or his children? They lived a life of poverty when, if she'd married a different man, she might have had more from life, both in material possessions and in care. Even if Socrates' wasn't one to provide her a good living, he also failed to provide her with companionship, with caring, with love. At least, that's what one would guess given his apparent neglect of his family.

Would he have been "better" as a person, if he'd taken care of his family? What would that have done to his ideas? Would they have been more mediocre? More of the same? Or would he have taken them even further - by making them practical, practicable, useful to his wife? We'll never know.

For me, a lot of the everyday things are quite difficult. Oh, sure, I "can" cook passably, sew, write a simple program, mow a yard, get kids ready for school, and quite a few other little household things. What I find difficult, mostly, is making myself do them.

I wonder if that's what happened with Socrates. Perhaps he lacked motivation and self-discipline, but he was clever and could get a crowd of other men to listen to him and make him feel better about his failings. His wife may have had more moral character than he did, in that respect. I wonder what she would have to say on that subject.

2 comments:

Leo said...

Live, explore the world, find things that are good, that make your life better and create more of that.

I find a problem with this "leaving the world a better place." Individuality should not lose its importance for the simple fact death is yet an unsolved problem.

The problem of Socrates wife was that she couldn't work for herself and divorce.

Nowadays only one's children are in such a position of dependence. You chose to be a mother, how good their life is depends on you until they can create a life for themselves.

(More later, got to go now)

Becky said...

I agree with you.

I think that's the problem I have with Socrates. He spent so much time "making the world a better place" that he didn't take time to examine his own life and make it better. he had it in his power to make the lives of the only people who were dependent on him and who couldn't turn elsewhere, better.

To be fair, it is my understanding that the students of Socrates offered some help to his family - bringing them food and such.

The problem with Socrates is that he knew his wife couldn't get a job and couldn't divorce and really had no other options. He took her on as a responsibility and then performed it poorly.