It is said that knowledge may be obtained through study, yet wisdom is attained through arduous and complete life. Beware of those who suggest they obtained wisdom from study.
For me, and maybe this is just for me and perhaps too stringent a general requirement; but there exist certain things which a philosopher needs to know. Knowledge and experience sets which prepare him or her to ask the right questions, understand the habits of men – along with the uncertain nature of our reality. The awareness to know, that there are things which we do not know that we do not know. Things which distinguish the sophist from the real philosopher.
In one of my projects overseas I encountered an odd set of circumstances wherein, a very large opposing country had taken issue with some of my work. Work which disfavored their plans for empire, limited effect mega-projects which enriched only their socialized corporations, population abuse, product dumping and mineral monopolization. The representatives of this nation had convinced some of the ministers in the minority of their host nation (my client) to sequester my passport at the Ministry of Emigration during its processing of my extended visa. Their intelligence agents had even invited themselves on short notice, to join me at breakfast one morning in my hotel; in order to make it clear that my interests might be interpreted as standing in opposition to what constituted their ‘compassionate goals’ for the country. “Please let us know if we can be of assistance in your strategic work Mr. TES. We are only here to help. Coincidentally, we are right in the rooms next door to yours.” Indeed, you have not studied anything but the national mineral base, the new mineral railway, key assays and NI 43-101 documents, yet you are here to help the people. I’m convinced, I really am.
The situation would have been Hollywood shtick-to-comique if not for the backdrop of a mile long strand of polio victims along with levels of abject poverty which most liberal Westerners do not even acknowledge exist. I was essentially stuck in the country, indeed the hotel, without my passport, indefinitely. Subject to arrest at any moment, if the political winds blew in a slightly different direction. To me it was clear, continuing the cycle of abuse by empire nations, upon defacto colonies – this needed to end. I was a deeply experienced markets and trade strategist & implementer, head of my firm, backing some of the most successful brands and nations in the world. I could see what others could not. These victim nations were rife with mafia and crime; all justifying their existences through a promise of big projects a decade out, all of which never seemed to manifest – commensurate with the certainty of endless boxcar loads of mineral ores, riding on brand new rail systems employed solely to move them about, rolling to and out of the country’s ports. It was amazing how the formula repeated itself over and over again across this impoverished continent.
Population dumping had become a pastime for the rich elite of such third world proliferating hell holes. A game of dumping their unwanted on the West, whilst their ‘partner nation’, robbed them blind of their mineral wealth – through paying off the few mafia socialist warlords/ministers who instigated the population dumping at this Empire’s behest to begin with. Global domination brilliance which our Western university and government cubicle liberals fail to grasp, nor even know that they do not know.
In the end, our strategy of smaller modular power systems, a focus on education and training, a variety of local food and clean water infrastructure, healthcare, post harvest perishment and teen pregnancy mitigation – these elements turned out to be the right solution for that nation. They did not need to dump all their mineral wealth into the hands of one Empire, as this Faustian Bargain was neither ethical nor necessary – all for a promise of something monumental a full 9 years later. A magic beans project which had failed the last three times this region had attempted the same thing.
So as events warranted, by means of our best call on the situation, in the middle of the night I went with one of the tribal leaders – and broke into the Ministry of Emigration on a mission to retrieve my passport and quickly exit the country. This was not a matter in which a ‘sense of justice’ would suffice. Controlled and constructive mission anger – bore utility. Take with a grain of salt, the pinings of those who cannot understand the difference. I starkly recall the night janitor pleading with me not to kill him as I came down the hallway in the wee hours. I paid him to let me into the passport vault. There I was able to ascertain the location of my passport and recover it in short order, for a 6 am flight to Johannesburg. I was gone before the corrupt ministers had even awaken. They are all now either in prison or out of power. Certain events unfolded thereafter, which proved our strategy to be the best course. A small victory won. A very pissed off Empire with hopefully a short, compartmentalized memory.
I had a brief discussion with a celebrity Stoic PhD Philosopher about this very issue of whether or not a ‘sense of justice’ was sufficient and comprehensive in underpinning what leads a person to undertake real world changing action. I contend that it takes more than simply a cocooned sense of justice to motivate a person to intercede on behalf of those oppressed. We have tons of outraged and spoiled people carrying a loam of sense of justice and looking for a cause to anoint with it. To justify their pointless existence. Yet ironically a complete global lack of anyone motivated enough to stand up to the many malicious forces which oppress us.
Yes, constructive anger is different – contrary to what Seneca contended – and has a proper place and form of expression inside our world reality. A sense of justice is simply and unequivocally not enough. A ‘sense of justice’ would not have been enough, for me to have made it through this harrowing event. This PhD lacked the life experience required to be an effective philosopher, and was rendered vulnerable to incomplete understandings, which were just simply wrong. Passed as common wisdom by philosophers, who do not really know; and more importantly do not know that they do not know.
Don’t confuse those who sling a plurality of academic descriptives and those who bear competence.
Holding a quiver of precisely defined concepts/heuristics does not qualify that one has ever even once shot an arrow
– much less ever fought in an actual war.
But recollection of these events brought to my mind one evening, this very concept of strength of one’s philosophy and how it relates to their life exposure. It is simply not enough to get a PhD, grade papers and write books. I have expounded before on the Nine Features Which Make for Great Philosophy. So perhaps it is time to relate what I believe to be the qualifications for a great philosopher as well. I suppose that Seneca the Younger, father of the Stoicism movement, would be my best candidate – among all the academic and spoiled celebrities who posed as Mediterranean/Anatolian/Levant philosophical torch holders – for one who had earned their philosophical stripes, if you will. Ironic perhaps since he was the seminal philosopher who decried the very role of anger which I outlined as being beneficial above. Seneca to his credit however, had at least been a tragedy playwright, Roman senate member and advisor to an Emperor.1 Qualifications which most philosophers of antiquity do not commonly hold. You will find in the About section of this blog, that I bear a dearth of respect for ancient and religious philosophers. Finding their ramblings shallow or moot in most cases. Teachings about how to argue about arguing or how the natural world proves god or proves a lack of god. Blase, lacking in human depth and life experience. Academic and cocooned pablum; bereft of scientific insight, discipline or even a grasp of the right questions to ask. A rhetoric about social ‘oughts & naughts’ regarding which they possessed meager qualification basis, save for discussions with academy peers and being recorded as having attended famous lectures. Sophistry if you will.
Don’t let someone who has done nothing, tell you how to do (nor how you did) anything.
~ Ejike Henry Akuneziri
The Philosopher’s Tell
/philosophy : wisdom/ : a heuristic for testing a philosopher along the following lines:
1. Most ancient and classical philosophers produced ideas which can be simply and organically derived through just living an effective life.
2. Recitation of a classic philosopher serves only as a means to back an idea one already derived organically on their own.
3. Classic philosophy therefore, is a course on appeal to authority derived simply in an a priori context (education), or a posteriori context (autodidact).
If a philosopher cannot show a life story which exemplifies the principle, then they really do not understand the principle and it is only academic knowledge.
The Philosopher’s Test
/philosophy : wisdom/ : it is said that knowledge may be obtained through study, yet wisdom is attained through arduous and complete life. Beware of those who suggest they obtained wisdom from study.
Four unsound agencies which can hide and masquerade inside the art of philosophy – or why the qualifications of a philosopher are important.
1. To promote self as a celebrity/preeminent teacher
2. To prove the existence of your God/Pantheon
3. To assert Nihilism as truth
4. To establish the power of one group over another.
The purpose of philosophy is to improve the capability of science to enlighten,
along with serving all other mechanisms in helping alleviate the suffering of mankind.
Be cautious of all philosophers, no matter how classic or well regarded, who do not grasp this.
For me therefore, and this is just for me and perhaps too stringent a requirement, there exist certain things which a philosopher need know. Things which prepare him or her to ask the right questions, understand the nature of man – and the uncertain boundaries of our reality. Understand the weakness of self and that a PhD really does not mean that much unless the discipline is highly focused and not readily accessible. For example, the person to the right, Fern Riddell is not competent to perform as a philosopher, regardless of her degree. She snuck by the screening process and is now abusing the privilege, inflating its currency and reducing the gravitas of what qualifies as a PhD. She is the problem, not the solution: The awareness to know, that there are things which we do not know that we do not know. The following is my list of such qualifications/understandings/experiences. 42 of them to be exact, 42 things which have nothing to do with PhD’s, meditation, recitations of ancient or religious philosophers.
42 Critical Knowledge/Experience Qualifications of a Philosopher – Ancient or Modern
1. Predictive strength of evolutionary phylogeny to DNA/Historical extent and influencing factors inside evolution
2. Planck intervals, spacetime and boundary conditions
3. Turing principle and nature of computation/been a cryptographer
4. Expansive and extensive nature of our universe/Probable ubiquity of other life in universe
5. Archaea/cyanobacter appearance timing and development
6. DNA/RNA replication, stops, codons, transcripterase, conservation, expression
7. 3rd letter of the DNA codon codex boxing & protein progression
8. Inflationary universe and time-space malleability/dimensionality
9. LaPlace transformation calculus and higher mathematics
10. Solar and post-solar mass gravitation/Chandrasekhar Limit
11. Theories of special and general relativity
12. Wealth of paleontological data
13. Wealth of pre-Biblical archaeological and civilization data
14. Managed a scientific lab or been on a team making a significant scientific discovery
15. Extent of hominin lineages and overlap/progression with homo sapiens sapiens
16. Quantum Entanglement: Spooky Action at a Distance/Observer Effect
17. Have advised a head of state on what his/her nation should do & be held accountable for the results of that advisement
18. The absence of evidence for a Worldwide flood
19. Warfare/Faced death/Been shot at
20. Have played an instrument, written, played and sang a real, complex and heartfelt song
21. Have taught a class and had students remember you
22. Lived in more than 1 or 2 countries
23. Have grown a garden
24. Have designed a super-large structure & then lived or operated in it
25. Have designed, managed & been accountable for a process involving 1,000 people or more
26. Have observed first hand, grand scale corruption in governance/power
27. Sailed at least 3 oceans/survived in wilderness at least 3 days
28. Been over 120 ft deep in the ocean
29. Periodic table of the elements in detail/organic chemistry/metallurgy/exotic materials
30. Binomial distribution, bounded distributions and theories of probability/arrival distributions
31. Hypothesis testing theory/p-value amaurosis and risk/anti-fragile/tail theory
32. Modeling, simulation and outcome theory
33. Have started and run a business and failed
34. Have started and run a business and succeeded
35. Have had families and lives believing in and depending upon you
36. Had someone they love die in their arms/Had your children severely injured or killed through social malice
37. Have had a Near Death Experience/Seen a UFO
38. Exhibited difference-making leadership under dire circumstances, while leading more than a handful of people
39. Have overcome through their own research and discipline, a major health/threat to life issue or almost died
40. Have put their life on the line for the innocent, and against an empire
41. Volunteered for a homeless shelter/been homeless
42. Have saved someone from dying
Perhaps these are not fair. Perhaps, nor should they be.
The Ethical Skeptic, “42 Critical Knowledge/Experience Qualifications of a Philosopher – Ancient or Modern” The Ethical Skeptic, WordPress, 3 Jan 2018, Web; https://wp.me/p17q0e-6Xd