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 The Real World - Yours or Mine?

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Temperance
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PostSubject: The Real World - Yours or Mine?   Thu 14 Apr 2016, 16:26

Didn't quite know where to put these musings, but the Philosophy section covers a multitude of sins, so here goes.

Odd how a throwaway remark - one possibly meant as a joke - can have one questioning one's whole outlook - indeed one's whole relevance. Over on the Edward Thomas thread (a real wafflers' thread where I have wandered happy and unchecked through several pages of posts), it was suggested yesterday that artistic and bohemian shittiness and mental cruelty can be "mild" when compared with the shittiness and cruelty of behaviour in "the real world".

@nordmann wrote:
 

Believe me - as dishonest, hysterical, dramatic and shitty behaviour goes this was all mild stuff. Might have been big in the Thomas household but in the real world ...



The "real world" card is often played in discussion and can be guaranteed to make at least one person in a company feel that they do not know really what life is all about.

But is that necessarily so? What, after all, is meant by "the real world"? What has it meant in history? Exactly whose world, after all, is/has been the real one? Is it the world of the rich or of the poor; the educated or the illiterate; the peasant or the aristocrat; the warrior or the slave; the East or the West; the Christian world, the Islamic world or the secular world; the realist's or the idealist's; the artist's or the artisan's?


Answers on a postcard please, or in 140 characters (no more than 140 characters allowed in the real world of today), and preferably not Chinese ones.


EDIT: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steve-nelson/what-exactly-is-the-real-_b_5984284.html




Whether in classrooms or living rooms, America’s children and young adults are always warned about the “real world,” a place where naive childhood becomes a grim battle for survival.


The phrase is usually offered with a knowing and condescending look, as if to say, “You just wait. Go ahead and enjoy your flights of imagination, your silly play, your romantic notions and your immature ideals. In the ‘real world’ things are different.”


This never fails to offend me. It is an arrogant way to diminish the importance of imagination, romance and ideals, suggesting that they are the playgrounds of the young. The smug, dismissive use of “real world” suggests that adulthood is deadly serious, pragmatic and competitive.


But maturity doesn’t mean becoming jaded and cynical. Real maturity is when one comes full circle, realizing that imagination, romance and ideals are the “real world.” The other stuff is only a tedious interlude to endure until you regain your perspective. The luckiest among us live imaginatively, playfully, romantically and idealistically through most of our days on Earth.
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: The Real World - Yours or Mine?   Thu 14 Apr 2016, 21:16

Ah, I see. You are thinking "real" versus "romantic" is a valid dichotomy here, and the Huffington Post article appears to confirm it.

This is why "real" has become a dirty word in philosophy in recent times. It invites false dichotomy, if only because it actually has no set definition that survives philosophical scrutiny anyway.

However the "real world" allusion is actually not that diffuse a term and is employed - despite the article's contention - not to suppress romance, imagination, idealism or playfulness, but to warn against a delusional relationship with one's environment. Delusional may sound harsh, but in essence that is the inevitable outcome of a "sheltered" life (which itself is either being sheltered from reality or not really sheltered at all), just as it is the inevitable outcome awaiting the self-absorbed, the unintelligent, the brainwashed and just about any other susceptibility to shun, avoid, misunderstand or ignore the actual observable and experienceable world one inhabits.

So the "real world", to answer your question, is not a preserve of any one attitude, or any one class, or any one section of society at all. It alludes simply to a world to which the delusional person is blind, and therefore serves primarily as a warning to be aware of those factors which might render one - even in a small way - susceptible to delusion, especially a delusion which will only serve to harm one if never redressed.
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: The Real World - Yours or Mine?   Fri 15 Apr 2016, 07:22

@nordmann wrote:


Ah, I see. You are thinking "real" versus "romantic" is a valid dichotomy here, and the Huffington Post article appears to confirm it.


Am I? Possibly. I wish I hadn't put the Huff Post link and quote: it has further complicated what I was mulling over, and the OP was already a muddled one - too much spontaneous mull and not enough rational thought went into its wording. Never mind - too late now.

Romanticism v. Realism is relevant though - yes. We need a definition here in case some people think  "romantic" refers only to soppy love. This is the sort of stuff you memorize for your Eng. Lit. exams:


Romanticism and realism were two competing styles of artistic and cultural thought and practice. For decades after the end of the Napoleonic wars, Romanticism, which emphasized heroic individual achievement, mysticism, and the power of the emotions dominated European intellectual life. Realism, which followed Romanticism, returned the focus of the arts and literature to more concrete matters, and tended to glorify real individuals, work, and social justice.

These two literary terms of art are part of a larger pattern of cultural history in the western world. They are two stages of a back-and-forth between cultural styles that emphasize the real and concrete and those that are more mythic and ephemeral in their focus. Romanticism was preceded by the era of the Enlightenment, and was in large part an attempt to break the bonds of careful reason that had defined that era.

The central tenets of Romanticism focused on the heroic power of the individual and of the individual as part of larger, heroic, social, and cultural structures. Romantics wrote passionate histories about their nations’ past glories. They imagined themselves part of great peoples with a manifest destiny to reshape the world. Their works often featured nature, mysticism, and magic.


It's the Bronte "stormy sisterhood" v. the Austen cool analysis of life. (Austen's Northanger Abbey is the text to read here. Yet her heroine in that novel, Catherine Morland, who avidly reads her Mysteries of Udolpho and lets her imagination run away with her all the time, is one of Austen's most attractive characters. She is "delusional" - but that is what makes her so attractive. But of course she has to grow up - we presume.)  





@nordmann wrote:
Delusional may sound harsh, but in essence that is the inevitable outcome of a "sheltered" life (which itself is either being sheltered from reality or not really sheltered at all), just as it is the inevitable outcome awaiting the self-absorbed, the unintelligent, the brainwashed and just about any other susceptibility to shun, avoid, misunderstand or ignore the actual observable and experienceable world one inhabits.

So the "real world", to answer your question, is not a preserve of any one attitude, or any one class, or any one section of society at all. It alludes simply to a world to which the delusional person is blind, and therefore serves primarily as a warning to be aware of those factors which might render one - even in a small way - susceptible to delusion, especially a delusion which will only serve to harm one if never redressed.



Well, yes, that all makes sense, and I would add "the addicted" to your list. But then, paradoxically, being delusional does sometimes help people to survive (not always, of ocurse) - even the stupid, the brainwashed, the addicted - and I bet you were dying to add the religious. In the deluded Thomas household were both blind - he self-absorbed and she addicted (to the relationship)? Yet his self-absorption produced some of the greatest poetry of the 20th century, and her dogged refusal to admit the truth about her life with him enabled her to cope after a fashion and to stay more or less sane(ish).

Shunning, avoiding, misunderstanding or ignoring things can, after all, make life just about worth living, but I suppose it's a cowardly way. Does courage consist of facing reality without flinching then? Most people can't do that - can't bear the truth. Yet addicts have to be made to do just that - no wonder so many relapse.

T.S. Eliot called Edward Thomas "the father of us all". Eliot read philosophy at Harvard, the Sorbonne and Oxford (like you do) and ended up as a schoolmaster, then a bank clerk who wrote poetry. His first wife ended up in an asylum. Burnt Norton contains the famous couple of lines about people not being able to bear much reality, but it's worth reading the whole poem. Here's a bit of it - perhaps relevant, perhaps not.



Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future
And time future contained in time past.
If all time is eternally present
All time is unredeemable.
What might have been is an abstraction
Remaining a perpetual possibility
Only in a world of speculation.
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.
Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Towards the door we never opened
Into the rose-garden. My words echo
Thus, in your mind.
                                   But to what purpose
Disturbing the dust on a bowl of rose-leaves
I do not know.
                                   Other echoes
Inhabit the garden. Shall we follow?
Quick, said the bird, find them, find them,
Round the corner. Through the first gate,
Into our first world, shall we follow
The deception of the thrush? Into our first world.
There they were, dignified, invisible,
Moving without pressure, over the dead leaves,
In the autumn heat, through the vibrant air,
And the bird called, in response to
The unheard music hidden in the shrubbery,
And the unseen eyebeam crossed, for the roses
Had the look of flowers that are looked at.
There they were as our guests, accepted and accepting.
So we moved, and they, in a formal pattern,
Along the empty alley, into the box circle,
To look down into the drained pool.
Dry the pool, dry concrete, brown edged,
And the pool was filled with water out of sunlight,
And the lotos rose, quietly, quietly,
The surface glittered out of heart of light,
And they were behind us, reflected in the pool.
Then a cloud passed, and the pool was empty.
Go, said the bird, for the leaves were full of children,
Hidden excitedly, containing laughter.
Go, go, go, said the bird: human kind
Cannot bear very much reality.

Time past and time future
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.



So I'm still not sure what the "real world" is - philosophers, poets and scientists all inhabit their own version of it, I suppose. Yours is as good as mine, no doubt.

What a muddled message. But it is seven in the morning.
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: The Real World - Yours or Mine?   Fri 15 Apr 2016, 08:01

Delusion in itself is not harmful, though a deluded person requires very much more support from others to function from day to day, more than they often realise (that's all part of being deluded). However even this is not in itself a bad thing. Interdependencies matter, even ones derived through spurious necessities.

And nor is it exclusive from rationality - a person accommodates both aspects to how they view and interact with the world around them.

However in terms of potential harm to oneself one approach contains much more inherent risk than the other, and the failure to assess risk is itself one of the things risked by the delusional mind. In the "real world" calculated guesswork based on certainties (justified or not) is how most of us navigate its hazards, and if there is any golden rule (which I doubt) it is that we build as firm a base as possible to mitigate the effect of the unavoidably delusional notions we may adopt along the way.
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PostSubject: Re: The Real World - Yours or Mine?   Sat 16 Apr 2016, 09:32

Without having read all of the above, I still thought, 'Is this not the right thread for this?'

http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/301566/arghhh-you-ready-for-a-pastafarian-wedding

I am sorry not to have been more active lately, let a dilapidated health be my explanation and excuse.
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PostSubject: Re: The Real World - Yours or Mine?   Sat 16 Apr 2016, 11:10

@Nielsen wrote:


Without having read all of the above...


You haven't missed anything, Nielsen - it's just the load of crap I usually come out with, although nordmann, as ever, tries to offer a rational reply. Depressing, isn't it?

@Nielsen wrote:


I am sorry not to have been more active lately, let a dilapidated health be my explanation and excuse.


Let it be indeed. If your health has deteriorated recently I'm sorry - really. Hope things improve soon for you: actually let's hope for that for us all, in whatever world - real, unreal, this, or the next, or the next but one, we happen to find ourselves.

May the FSM bless and keep you all.

Over and out.



PS I was going to ask nord something about the nature of reality, time and Henri Bergson (like you do on a Saturday morning before going to Sainsbury's); unfortunately the old dear on Take Your Pick  knows more about Big Henri than I do.






Over and out again.
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PostSubject: Re: The Real World - Yours or Mine?   Sat 16 Apr 2016, 12:13

I'm just out of a bad patch myself, sir, so here's to you too. It's when one's health hits a new low that one realises with profound regret one might as well have being living a life of hedonistic debauchery all along. Ah well, better late than never ...

Temp, you're being hard on yourself. The only messages I am capable of composing at seven in the morning are normally reminders to myself to buy more toilet roll. I comfort myself with the certainty that even Nietzsche probably went through similar phases when living with his mother in Naumburg after his release from the asylum. Supermen, indeed.
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PostSubject: Re: The Real World - Yours or Mine?   Thu 28 Apr 2016, 12:29

Lists. The downward path - at any hour of the day. I've started making and then misplacing them. Where everything was once kept in memory less now stays there. I had  have never kept an appointment book/diary or any other aide memoir until now.........even researched material if jotted down was rarely used, but now I am badly and sadly listing to port.

The real world seems to be  halfway between where you are at and where the far worse off guy you can feel for is. All about me there is what I regard as an overly unhealthily regard for health, safety, good sense, the future,  suitability and all the things that I enjoy.......pork chops, for instance. Bring back hedony, nordmann - even two for the price of one if there is any going, will do - tho parsimony and being sensible about money does not make a real world any the more attractive. I shall now go and glare at that package of posted tender plants  - veg, pf course, that now cannot be planted because of the real world frost warning when what I really need today are blousy peonies, a hot house and well cooked salted saturates and a stack sticky sweet things to follow. Some worlds are realer than others; the one in my head, for instance.
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PostSubject: Re: The Real World - Yours or Mine?   Thu 28 Apr 2016, 16:55

@Priscilla wrote:
Some worlds are realer than others; the one in my head, for instance.



That's a pleasingly Orwellian thought, Priscilla: "All worlds are real, but some worlds are realer than others..."

PS Anyone want a free copy of A New Philosophy: Henri Bergson by Edouard Le Roy? I bought it from Amazon for £4.99. It's in English, but it might as well be in Urdu: I can't understand a word of it. Really - I have no idea what he - Henri or Edouard - is on about.

Never mind - at least I did try.

PPS What happened to your errant runner bean and its onion friend? I often think about them, you know.

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PostSubject: Re: The Real World - Yours or Mine?   Thu 28 Apr 2016, 17:03

@Temperance wrote:


PPS What happened to your errant runner bean and its onion friend? I often think about them, you know.


Probably like the courgettes that I foolishly planted out, too early, in mid April when we were enjoying unseasonably warm weather (even for the south of France) ..... they've, "pulled up their roots and just withered away", to quote Flanders and Swann.

I seem to have planted depressed, even suicidal, courgettes ... and I have had to resort to an A&E action of digging some of them up, putting them back in their little pots, and bringing them back inside .... whereupon they all seem much happier, despite the very cramped conditions. But the tomatoes that I rudely planted out at the same time do seem to be stoically hanging in there, out there, just.
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PostSubject: Re: The Real World - Yours or Mine?   Thu 28 Apr 2016, 17:33

Tomatoes are indeed the Stoics of the vegetable* world.

A bi-polar courgette doesn't bear thinking about, although the manic growing phase is OK - if they don't overdo it. Put any Grow-More on an unstable courgette and all hell is let loose. It's the vegetable equivalent of crack cocaine.









* Forgot - tomatoes are fruits, aren't they?
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PostSubject: Re: The Real World - Yours or Mine?   Thu 28 Apr 2016, 17:55

"It's only Grow-More ... I could give it up if I wanted ... anytime. It's not as if I'm addicted!"



..... And now back to the 'real world'.
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PostSubject: Re: The Real World - Yours or Mine?   Sat 30 Apr 2016, 08:35

@Meles meles wrote:




..... And now back to the 'real world'.






Indeed, MM. This was meant to be a Very Serious Thread and, as ever, like Priscilla, you have egged me on into silliness and flippancy about vegetables. Voltaire tells us that we should cultivate our gardens, it's true, but perhaps we should not introduce the merits and demerits of Grow-More as an all-round garden fertiliser here in the philosophy section of Res His. It does make petunias go mad, though.


So let us return swiftly - as we start this May Bank Holiday - to our attempts to discover an answer: what is the real world in this set of bewildering worlds? Henri Bergson has proved to be absolutely no use at all, despite T.S. Eliot having been a great fan of the man and, inspired by his thinking, writing a lot of very impressive poetry about tricky things like time and reality, poetry unfortunately that no one really understands (even Peter Ackroyd admits as much). So what about Plato? Can he help us? Here are some quotes about truth and reality from that great thinker: I got them off Brainy Quote:


And isn't it a bad thing to be deceived about the truth, and a good thing to know what the truth is? For I assume that by knowing the truth you mean knowing things as they really are. (Plato)

The philosopher is in love with truth, that is, not with the changing world of sensation, which is the object of opinion, but with the unchanging reality which is the object of knowledge. (Plato)

Truthfulness. He will never willingly tolerate an untruth, but will hate it as much as he loves truth. ... And is there anything more closely connected with wisdom than truth? (Plato)

What is at issue is the conversion of the mind from the twilight of error to the truth, that climb up into the real world which we shall call true philosophy. (Plato)

The object of knowledge is what exists and its function to know about reality. (Plato)




Mmm. Makes it all sound quite simple, doesn't he? But does he actually give any answers? No - philosophers never do. I note that Plato says that leaving error behind is a "climb up into the real world we shall call true philosophy" - I wonder what he meant by that? Going up, I mean? Most ordinary people would go the other way - down - assuming that being "grounded" in reality is best, not foolishly embarking on a hopeless quest for non-existent answers in ivory towers.

Francis Bacon famously wrote, in his essay Of Truth " 'What is truth?' said jesting Pilate; and would not stay for an answer." I've always been intrigued by the word "jesting".

It always seems to boil down to argument about theology v. philosophy, doesn't it? I found this snippet interesting. I note nord tells us poor old Nietzsche ended up bonkers - so many great philosophers did/do, especially French and German ones. I like the bit about the common man:

The exact nature of Kant's religious ideas continue to be the subject of especially heated philosophical dispute, with viewpoints ranging from the idea that Kant was an early and radical exponent of atheism who finally exploded the ontological argument for God's existence, to more critical treatments epitomized by Nietzsche who claimed that Kant had "theologian blood" and that Kant was merely a sophisticated apologist for traditional Christian religious belief, writing that "Kant wanted to prove, in a way that would dumbfound the common man, that the common man was right: that was the secret joke of this soul"

I wonder what he meant by that: the common man, struggling to get by in his very real and often unpleasant world, usually has no time for the niceties - or the agonisings - of either religion or philosophy. As someone often used to say to me: "You're right there, ***, another drink?"




PS "Logic is neither a science nor an art, but a dodge." That's a quote from the great Platonist, Benjamin Jowett. What did he mean?
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