Just too good not to post

“All men and all women are philosophers. If they are not conscious of having philosophical problems, they have, at any rate, philosophical prejudices. Most of these are theories which they take for granted: they have absorbed them from their intellectual environment or from tradition.
Since few of these theories are consciously held, they are prejudices in the sense that they are held without critical examination, even though they may be of great importance for the practical actions of people, and for their whole life.
It is an apology for the existence of professional philosophy that men are needed to examine critically these widespread and influential theories.
Theories like these are the insecure starting point of all science and of all philosophy. All philosophy must start from the dubious and often pernicious views of uncritical common sense. Its aim is to reach enlightened, critical common sense: to reach a view nearer to the truth; and with a less pernicious influence on human life.”
Karl Popper, ‘In Search of a Better World’.


I first heard of him through climate science contrarian and denialist, who did a masterful job of cherry picking and misusing a few paragraphs. It lent a certain absurdist bent to my initial impression. But, by and by, I keep coming across quotes I like, and they make sense to me.

But apparently one really needs to be able to take a deep drive, check it out.
I looked up Karl Popper, ‘In Search of a Better World’., yipes.

# In Search of a Better World: Lectures and Essays from Thirty Years

But aren’t we all philosophers of our own lives. Thinking about all those layers that make up our relations and circumstances, that make up our dynamic life.

I always assumed there was an inner compass of self-criticality in all of us. A feeling that ideals are important and worth striving to live up, even if we’re never as clever and moral as the heroes in our heads. Wanting to know the “truth” of our lives and then as we grow older, how well we’ve managed to stay true to our youthful spirit and self-imposed expectations from innocent youth, smacks up against the an unforgiving world full of predators of every stripe, and how well we’ve ridden the wave of living, the single moment, (the Now Moment of the living on this planet, in this moment, that’s constantly racing towards the future) and how fast the moment of “Now” sees the days, and years and decades unfolding at our feet.

It’s why I think an explicit deeply personal awareness that this thinking mind, that is me, is the biological product of this particular biological body I inhabit, is important. It opens all sorts of new vistas that’ll help me better understand and appreciate who I am my place on this Earth. What’s nice is that it’s founded on learning about Earth sciences and grappling with ancient questions “Who am I?”
We can delve into that question like never before history, no creature, no humans, in no other time has had such a wide field of awareness of the world and what makes it like it is. That is amazing, but it’s boring, no bling, or bang, or sparkle. At least so I’m told. I don’t believe it.

For me understanding who I am, via understanding what made this world, this environment, it’s animal kingdom, evolution, who I was, what my consciousness was, what my body was, this body the world around me interacted with. I would think most teens go through those sorts of musing, guess I never stopped wondering about it, fascinating, this mind and the body that caries me along my portal to reality.

That was my takeaway. I didn’t understand his use of the word “apology” .

This is why forums like CFI are valuable tools to discuss these issues. If anything, the research by individuals finds valuable philosophies and theories by "knowledgeable people that may otherwise go unnoticed, and can only help in expanding “understanding”.

You know what though, all these “words of wisdom”, like Popper’s, and countless others, have had decades and decades to make a difference. And yet here were are, headed in the exact wrong direction on almost every front. In the face of the disease of unfettered capitalism, it’s all just talk. Very depressing.

And as a matter of fact, I just finished reading Bernie Sanders’ new book It’s Okay to be Angry about Capitalism. He mentions so many people who made such great efforts, himself included, all the way back to Eugene Debs, FDR, MLK, and so on. And yet none of that mattered - we’re still going in the absolute wrong direction and things are getting worse. Just very very disheartening. The only thing I truly believe will correct our direction is technology that makes money obsolete, and that will happen by accident, not by any coordinated social effort.

I get it, but it’s not so easy to look at the trajectory and say where we’re headed. I haven’t read Pinker’s long analysis of how the world is improving, but I can list a lot of ways that it is. I got the announcement for the MN ACLU board meeting coming up, and one of the candidates for this year is a young woman with tattoos up and down her arms, an artist, and a Lutheran minister. Something you wouldn’t have seen a few years ago. There is even competition for being good, with wokeness and virtue signaling. Pinker pointed out that as wild as Trump was, he didn’t claim to be a god, or to talk to one directly, he didn’t even reference astrology. That was perfectly normal a few centuries ago.

I was caught off guard in 2015 when younger people said Hillary was part of the establishment. I don’t completely agree with that, but it tells me that the next generations have seen the errors that were made after WWII. We changed the face of war, passed civil rights bills, and found new ways to avoid famine, but then sort of got tired of all that good stuff and didn’t keep reflecting on how we were doing. Still, we’re far from rolling back all the advancements.

But really, the “too good” part is more for the laugh. We get kind of serious about which philosophy is right, or if philosophy should be a thing at all. This Popper quote is saying, we’re all doing it all the time.

The most recent Humanize Me podcast covers this. The guest was a consultant to the comedy The Good Place. Before that, his publisher had challenged him to write a book on ethics for sane people. That is, something attainable, not theoretical ideas about absolute good.

You can blame that on Twitter, Tik Tok, WhatsApp, WeChat, and others that allow unrestricted just “free speech”, which inevitably turns into a free-for-all.