Ecological philosophy for the curious. Semi unscripted podcast/video episodes about things that should matter more. Knowledge + Experience = Wisdom will inspire your mind and stimulate your journey to enlightenment. Unlike typical follower-hungry influencers, Knowledge + Experience = Wisdom offers a fresh voice for free-thinkers starving for a more intelligent discourse.
If you’ve watched a few KEW Episodes you’ll know I have codependent, people-pleasing tendencies. This week I share what I’ve learned about codependency and narcissism. I’ve spent a decade working on my personal issues, and these two personality ‘situations’ seem to be incredibly common. Maybe some of my stories will help. Here’s a preview: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=2500346136935365
Before I ‘retired’ to stay home with my kids I was an academic research scientist. I taught classes, advised students, and led a research lab. I was pretty successful. The only reason I share that is to say I feel like I’ve earned the right to explain what science is, and what it ISN’T. In Episode 1 I shared a bit about what science is, and now I want to talk about what it is not.
Science is very good at asking questions about things we can measure, but it isn’t very good at addressing the unmeasurable things. Like emotions, intelligence (even though we try with the IQ), colors, music . . . Some things just don’t fit into the scientific method. And that’s OK! Some things, many things actually, are measured indirectly and sort of forced to fit into science, and that’s ok, too. Take my former scientific field, ecology, for example. Many ecosystems can’t be replicated (there’s only one Earth), so ecology doesn’t fit exactly into hypothesis testing and statistics, but we do it anyway. Science is pretty robust, but there are still things outside the realm of investigation via the scientific method.
So what do we do? Well, there’s metaphysics, a field which I know little to nothing about. But I like the idea of metaphysics because it’s ‘beyond’ physics. And physics is arguably one of the most advanced fields of science. So, metaphysics goes beyond physics but with an appreciation and understanding of the underlying principles of particles and such.
But I think calling it metaphysics, if I’m anywhere close to understanding what it is, is probably not necessary. I think we all understand, at least a little, that science can’t do everything. So we probably also accept that there are other forms of thinking that are totally acceptable.
The major difference I see, between scientific thinking and ‘other kinds of ‘ thinking, is the standardization procedures. If anyone can just ‘think’ their way through problems, how do you know what is accurate? How many hair-brained things have you heard people say? Are all of our ideas really just opinions? There has to be someway to filter through the crummy thinking to get to the good stuff. How do we determine what’s good?
While that question may be another podcast in and of itself, in Episode 35 I offer my thoughts about how we go about non-scientific thinking as a community. Similar to science we must peer-review each other’s thoughts through a traditional discourse. I long for a world where structured thinking about metaphysical subject is widespread and follows a systematic approach developed cooperatively by all of us.
During my brief stint as a philosophy major I really wanted to learn about Metaphysics. Mostly because I thought it sounded cool, but I really knew nothing about it. I’m not sure much has changed in that respect. But I was thinking recently about things that can’t be explained using the scientific method, like Self and Soul (KEW Episodes 33 and 34) and, well, this led to Episode 35.
Science is great, but it was designed to measure things. And those things have to be measureABLE. Quantifiable. So we can use math. Physics might be the crowing achievement of the sciences (but they’re all good) but just can’t do it all. So I think of metaphysics as being beyond physics – beyond the best science into a new realm
In the Soul episode I wondered aloud whether particles might have some precursor to awareness, and that this might lead to awareness when organized into a human mind. As with most ideas I have, I’m not the first one to offer this theory, but it was new to me at the time. The alternative, of course, is that particles do NOT have any awareness and that human consciousness or awareness is unique, and maybe magical. Either way this isn’t a question science can answer. Very well, if at all.
I’m sure I’ll keep pushing into the soul/self/awareness/consciousness space because I find it interesting. But first, a bit about what science can and can’t do, and a plea for more philosophy.
If you’re part of the Rat Race, you’re a Rat Racer! And maybe you’re doing really well. Winning, even. But even if you win, like Lily Tomlin said, you’re still a Rat.
That’s how I have felt during the 35 years I’ve been working. Even when I got my ‘dream job’ as a professor, I still felt the pressure to win the Rat Race. Even now that I’m trying to do my own thing, and figure out what other options there are besides the Rat Race, I feel the tug.
Though this episode is from summer 2020, I am currently exploring alternatives to the Rat Race. Or, more accurately, alternatives to the money, fame, and power that you can win in the Rat Race. That’s the pull, after all, isn’t it?
What if we valued things above money, fame, and power? Like, loving relationships, intelligence, curiosity . . . money will always be important, but what if there were other things to win that were recognized as meaningful to all?
More on that later this week. For now here’s a look back at why the Rat Race sucks.
On some metaphysical level we are awareness. We occupy a body on earth that abides by the laws of physics and biology, but what goes on when we think?
When I meditate, or even when I’m just making decisions in my day-to-day life, I FEEL like ‘I’ (whatever ‘I’ am) comes from a spot in my head that encompasses my brain and my eyes. That’s where I picture ‘me’ to be. But what is this?
Some have called it the ‘seat of consciousness’ and I like that. I think of that brain/eye spot as being the drivers seat of my physical body. My awareness, and my Self, emanates from there.
Ok, but it gets weirder. The awareness in the seat of consciousness varies with my emotional state. Yeah, it’s like I have multiple parts or characters that make up my ‘self’, depending on the situation.
If I’m fearful, the fearful me occupies the seat of consciousness.
If I’m sad, same thing. And so on for other emotions.
So I guess all these parts make up my self.
BUT WHO AM I THEN? What is the self?
More like this in this weeks’ episode. I hope you enjoy and please share with others you think might also enjoy.
Following up the Soul episode (KEW Episode 33) with a discussion of the Self.
What is the self?
I have been doing some work with a coach who is helping me understand the different parts of my psyche. Sound crazy? It isn’t. I am starting to believe that our ‘personalities’ or our ‘selves’ are comprised of myriad little parts. These parts are like characters or roles we play at different times in our lives and during our days. There are funny parts, angry parts, and sad parts. These parts, I think, exist because we give them our attention – or our awareness. And together they are elements of our Self.
Smarter people have written about and researched what the Self is, and I don’t pretend to understand the existing body of work on the subject. But it’s still meaningful to ask the question and to posit an explanation. This week I’ll share my thoughts about what a Self is.
A few of my observations from this past July regarding the US COVID situation. Or as they say around here, “All that’s been goin’ on”. At the least it’s interesting to look at how much things changed (and haven’t) over the past six months.
I wonder most about the polarization between the economy and our health. Mostly the argument that we need to keep all the businesses running as usual to protect our economy versus taking a financial hit to preserve our health and deal with the economy later.
What is most shocking with respect to the economy, is that the stock market, construction, real estate, and even some retail businesses seem to be BENEFITING from COVID. And I have yet to see widespread increases to homelessness or severe suffering. It may be happening, but I don’t see it nor hear about it on the news.
I’m not saying everything is a bed of roses, but I’m not seeing evidence for the argument that our economy is in crisis.
Anyway, some things to think about here that you might not have considered. Please share as you see fit and share with your friends!
Do we have a soul? If so, what is it? Is it God? Is it Awareness?
Though I learned a lot recording this episode, I still don’t have a definition. But I think that’s because the Soul is beyond human comprehension. We simply don’t have the sensory hardware nor the vocabulary to describe it. The Soul is beyond this Earth or these bodies.
But I find it SUPER fun to think about.
Making this episode took me on an hour long journey through my understanding of life and awareness. I used my Knowledge and Experience about biology and psychology and sprinkled in a little magical observation to reach, what I think, are some great jumping off points for further discussion.
I hope you’ll listen and be inspired to comment or email me your thoughts. This could be a long-term thought experiment, for sure.
I hope at the very least you enjoy this adventure.
I do apologize, half of my video file was corrupted but the audio is fine. I couldn’t possibly recapture what happened during recording so I decided to release the video half complete (but with full audio). Podcast listeners will be unaffected. Thank you for understanding.
My buddy Paul, whom I will interview as part of my upcoming Curiosity series, asked me recently what I though a ‘soul’ was. That planted the seed for this weeks’ episode.
While I haven’t really thought about what a soul IS, exactly, I had some ideas about where to take this question. In this episode I offer a pathway toward deciding whether a soul IS or ISN’T a real thing, and some explanations about why I choose to think we have souls.
At the end of the day, it’s WAY more fun to think things exist and try to explain them rather than simply choosing a thing isn’t real.
This was a really fun episode to record in the process I came to some pretty interesting new ideas. Thank, Paul!
Slavery is a disgusting topic but I had to share my thoughts in this episode. Most of us think about the terrible movement of africans to the southern US that led to the civil war. But it turns out that slave labor is a critical part of many business models. Here I argue that slavery remains fairly common today in the form of cruddy, low paying jobs. Look around at the businesses that rely on cheap labor to turn a profit. In my opinion, if a business can’t allot a reasonable amount of revenue to labor costs, then it shouldn’t be a business. Instead, we see businesses minimize their labor expenses to pay profits to shareholders. How is that not slavery?