19 May 2017

from Lawrence, SUNDAY PhiloMadrid meeting at 6:30pm: The emptiness of our souls

Dear friends,

This Sunday we are discussing: The emptiness of our souls

In my very short essay I dispel the idea that somehow this is a
religious topic based on some hard core theology. On the contrary I
anchor this topic in the laws of nature as people like Spinoza argues it
is, except many people found it more convenient to look empty concepts
rather than the emptiness inside us.

The beauty of natural languages is that they can change and morph into
whatever we eventually want them to do. We might be forgiven if we
compared language with a magnetic compass where north is where we want
it to be.

Our topic is a case in point. The soul in the title cannot be the
technical theological meaning of soul since no one has yet been able
find a soul in a way we can understand it. For example can we at least
make a mathematical model of a soul? So whatever a soul is we certainly
don't know anything about souls. Hence, by soul we probably mean a
metaphorical soul. And this is why I say language is like a magnetic
compass where North happens to be where we say it is; we just change
meaning and application to fit our experiences and needs.

But even so just because language can be manipulated at will it does not
mean that we are incoherent, at least not always. Whatever the soul
might be, what we know for sure is that if we feel empty it does not
matter where or what is empty, what matters is how we feel. Language,
after all, is there to help us and not to constrain us.

Except of course that sometimes we don't have the language to describe
what we are feeling and experiencing. We can safely assume that it's
only these past few score years that we are beginning to understand how
the human body functions and how our psychological makeup reflects how
we feel.

So the question is what do we mean when we say that our soul is empty?
We can begin by assuming that what we really mean by soul is our feeling
of well being. Hence, by soul here cannot mean some metaphysical
structure such as a spirit but rather our very own self. That is, the
conscious self, to be precise, where we perceive feelings that can be
described in a language form. The necessary and sufficient conditions
for humans to function are that information must be converted into a
medium we can access; language is one of them, maths is another and of
course pictorial representations is another.

Indeed, emptiness is a negative concept in our language and as I have
tried to establish this has nothing to do with physical spaces. In our
context emptiness can stand for feeling physically bad, in which case
this would be a matter for medical professionals to deal with, to
feeling sad or unhappy. Maybe an unfulfilled life, failed career
prospects, loss of friends and lack of a partner. These are issues that
maybe as not directly cause by biological malfunctions but rather by
negative information we receive from our environment. There is nothing
sick about feeling bad for not having a partner but still we feel very
bad about it just as much as a tooth ache makes us feel bad. How do we
fix these non biological inequities in us?

How do we deal with loss of career satisfaction, lack of friends and
failure to meet the right partner?

If taking liberties with language can cause us to lose direction in
life, we have a second serious problem to contend with. No matter how
much we profess to be rationalists or even spiritual, when the push
comes to shove, we are all empiricists. When we have a tooth ache we all
want the pain to stop so we go to a dentist and when we are feeling sad
or empty we all want to change our lot to be happy; exactly as Spinoza
said we will. And when we are unhappy, or empty, we are firm believers
of causality. And we act and behave in such a matter that we think a set
of causal events will fix our emptiness.

If we are sad because we miss the presence of a partner, then we do our
best to meet people either in person or on line. We can safely conclude
that if someone cannot find a suitable partner it is not due to lack of
opportunities. The same with careers or economic prospects; of course
just because we have access to more opportunities and more information
it does not mean that we are going to succeed. And it certainly does not
mean that the causal chain of events will always end us the way we
wished them to end up.

Basically what I mean is that our empirical instinct sometimes forces us
to believe we need to do something, whereas in most cases we need to
learn something.

Best Lawrence

tel: 606081813
Blog: http://philomadrid.blogspot.com.es/
MeetUp https://www.meetup.com/PhiloMadrid-philosophy-group/

PhiloMadrid Meeting
Meet 6:30pm
Centro Segoviano
Alburquerque, 14
28010 Madrid
Metro: Bilbao
Open Tertulia in English every
Thursdays at Triskel in c/San Vicente Ferrer 3.
Time: from 19:30 to 21h

from Lawrence, SUNDAY PhiloMadrid meeting at 6:30pm: The emptiness of
our souls

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