Monday, August 08, 2005

Philosophically correct than just politically so

Geislerian told me this during our meet-up in Singapore, "Singaporeans in general, are not interested in philosophy- the deep, deep stuff."

Well, neither are Malaysians. Pity, really.

While there was a tug-at-war at a students' symposium held in Sing-a-long-pore on the clash of the economical giants (China and India, respectively) and how Singapore would ride on its wave, the bigger question in mind, was how much we were left behind in the wave of intellectual pursuit.

Anyone at the symposium was perfectly capable of constructing line after line of questions that would put even the most experienced journalist to shame, until a panelist pointed out the absurdity of the public's questions, that did not address the issue as they should have, but rather; was posed either out of their ignorance for that matter, or to feed their ego by having that 5- minute fame while standing at the speaker's stand.
Quite a pathetic scenario, it was.

Until we engage ourselves diligently in knowing where our politicians got their funny ideas in the governance of our countries, we have no proper means to be critical of the policies that they impose on us, even if they claimed to be "for our own good". Instead of putting the blame on the meekness of the Opposition as we often do, may we first enrich ourselves with the knowledge of the subtle modus operandi of the governing party in silencing the Opposition's cries. Before we support or condemn our Government in the name of 'freedom and democracy', should we not be scrutinizing the subtle re-definition of the word that we are indoctrinated with? When we call for liberalisation in the legislative aspect, have we considered the societal impacts that liberalism has on a secular society?

Indeed, many speak with clarity; out of the proficiency of the language used rather than of the clarity of ideas one conceived through reading and thinking. A critical society begins as a consequence of ideas which flowed from one to another, and this requires a series of processing called 'scrutiny of ideas'.

Karl Popper, The Open Society and Its Enemies, Volume 1- "Great men may make great mistakes; and as the book tries to show, some of the greatest leaders of the past supported the perennial attack on freedom and reason. Their influence, too rarely challenged, continues to mislead those on whose defence civilization depends, and to divide them. The responsibility of this tragic and possibly fatal division becomes ours if we hesitate to be outspoken in our criticism of what admittedly is a part of our intellectual heritage. By reluctance to criticize some of it, we may help to destroy it all".

Mere parroting of someone else's thought can never bring about change, not to mention it being a killjoy to a stimulating conversation.


Blogger jacksons said...

Most people today are intelligent enough to get a degree. Amongst these people I think the only difference between one who professes an interest in philosophy and the one who does not – is the one who has gone on record carefully examines worldviews and ideologies, the other just propagates them sloppily. A life unexamined, though not worth living, is lived anyway and it produces many erroneous believes.

As for those unthinking type, well they get taken on a ride by the smartest sounding philosopher/leader that catches their fancy.

6:25 PM  
Blogger jacksons said...

Hey guess what? Ravi Zacharias loved our bookmarks and placed an order for some more!

6:26 PM  
Blogger tehtarik said...

Wow, that's great. The bookmarks are indeed gems, am always in dilemma whether to give them away.

Am now in a epistemological struggle as well. How do we know what we know is enough to get us by safely, without the fatal stumbles? Seems as though the more we know, the less we are confident of what we know...

"On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand".

6:51 PM  
Blogger jacksons said...

"Seems as though the more we know, the less we are confident of what we know..." Yennie, I think you have found the key there. The more we know, the more we will agree with Calvin, that the greatest need of us theological / philosophical students are humility, humility and humility. Thus, the great adventure of learning leads us to horizons so vast, that we are humbled by our finite capabilities. This however must not be mistaken for its imitation common today of postmodern scepticism and agnosticism. Many pomo’s pretend to be practicing humility by referring to the vast infinity of knowledge and our finitude, while rejecting those simple truths and revelations that God has already given to us to hold on to – even if we are not intelligent. Many a simple church goer knows that Jesus is the only means of salvation – yet these people will venture to enslave us with pluralism and inclusivism is we are not vigilant.

In summary, I think we recognise our infinity and humbly learn, yet we must know today, more than we did yesterday – and we must accept that body of knowledge examined and given to us by those who came before us

11:54 AM  
Blogger jedibaba said...

Kudos on the book marks. In God's original intent, beauty and truth were meant to go together. :)
And truth was always meant to be both personal and propositional.
The foundational truth is knowledge of God through Jesus and that is accessible to all.

2:12 AM  
Blogger Sze Zeng said...

There are 2 kind of view on this kind of dilemma:

1) Skepticism (negative)
2) Particularism (positive)

The former tends to negate all possible knowledge to avoid falsehood, while the latter preserves all knowledge and discern them accordingly through. And as time goes by, particularist would have more true beliefs than false ones rather to have no knowledge at all.

cheers, edwardian

5:53 PM  
Blogger The Hedonese said...

True knowledge is 'justified' by faith alone. Faith seeking understanding, mar... :-)

11:26 PM  

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