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What Do You Mean - Philosophy?

Trying To Think For Ourselves

This page is a special one as it dares to tread ground where few will publicly venture. I wanted at least a small part of the site (NBW) set aside for self indulgence. By that, I mean the exploration of notions one has about the self and how that can be used to better our lives, be it by co-existing with each other and nature more easily, or discovering what is truly important in our lives and taking steps to "get on track" with what we feel.

It always seems to be a challenge to practice what one preaches but if one doesn't profess to preach then the rules are a little looser - no? No one has all the answers for anyone else. Only your self can guide you in the right direction for a happy life. Remember that (please). There are so many influences that can stray you from your heart-felt direction. I wish you as much happiness in your life as I have in mine. Doubting one's heart brings only heart-ache.

Here are a few bits and pieces of "inspiration" that have come to mind while putting this website together.

Self-Analysis or Great Discussion Starter

The following questions were assembled from watching the Biography Channel on TV. I believe this particular approach comes from interviews conducted by Rosanna Greenstreet working for Guardian Unlimited (which is an excellent site). I think that if one answers these questions seriously, one can get a better understanding of who they are, what they believe in and perhaps what they may want to change in their lives (self-analysis, if you will).

Some or all of the questions are good for stimulating group conversation and possibly are fun for a small party (although I suspect some may promote much debate).

Do you believe in capital punishment? Do you believe in life after death?
Do you believe in monogamy? For what cause would you die?
How do you relax? How would you like to be remembered?
If you could choose another career, what would you do? What are you most excessive about?
What challenges you the most? What characteristic do you most dislike in other people?
What characteristic do you most dislike in yourself? What do you consider the lowest depth of despair?
What do you consider the most over-rated virtue? What do you consider your greatest achievement?
What do you look forward to at work? What do you most dislike about your appearance?
What gives you the most satisfaction? What has been your most embarrassing moment?
What is the most important lesson life has taught you? What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
What is your fancy dress costume of choice? What is your favourite book?
What is your favourite smell? What is your favourite word?
What is your greatest extravagance? What is your greatest fear?
What is your greatest regret? What is your idea of perfect happiness?
What is your most treasured object? What is your most unappealing habit?
What is your personal motto? What is your present state of mind?
What keeps you awake at night? What makes you depressed?
What makes you feel safe and secure? What or who is the greatest love of your life?
What person do you most admire living or dead? What single thing would improve the quality of your life?
What song would you like played at your funeral? When did you last cry, and why?
When do you lie? Where would you like to live?
Which talent would you most like to have? Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

Beliefs and Religions

Religion is a sticky topic and I certainly won't push my beliefs here, apart from saying that I do believe in equality. I don't believe that anyone should attempt to harm anyone else, but indeed should be supportive in positive ways. I do believe that there is hope for co-operation in this world. As well, I know that, together, we can accomplish much greater things than as individuals. In spite of the advertising on this site which I hope will offset the cost of having this site, we should not always attach a financial value to everything we do.

Applied Inspiration and Devotion

Most of the "inspired" or "dedicated" developers or inventors were (and are) driven by the ideas, by the creative spirit and inspiration, if you will, not by the hope that they will become millionaires overnight. Many have dedicated their entire lives to an idea in which they believe. Unfortunately, if I have seen anything in the last few decades, it is the deterioration of these creative activities into commercial ventures that only survive if there is money to be made (financially viable). What about the projects of the past and present that have succeeded or will succeed because of the amazing dedication of the individuals or groups that are willing to devote themselves in spite of the not-obvious financial benefits to them personally. Examples (at least in the computer world) are the open source, and shareware/freeware approaches. These still exist. There are many co-operative or open-source projects still alive and well.

What Of Our Future?

The philosophy behind this approach might be extrapolated to a future where there exist many options and developments. In some ways, our present world, contradicts this notion, in that it attempts to restrict us to "standards" or guidelines. These are usually driven by the need to reduce the cost so that mass production can allow more of us to achieve a "better standard of living" all the while quenching the spirit for personal innovation or satisfaction. Very recently, however, I see small but positive changes that support the free-thinking approach (not the least of which is companies that are slowly realizing that there is more to an employee than meets the eye).

Each Of Us Must Choose

While I most certainly am not an expert in the many religions, I do believe that there is "common ground" in that, for the most part, these agree in their basic philosophies. In this light, and from a personal point of view which supports these commonalities, I think "religion" is a good thing. More than this, though, I think that we need to allow freedom to choose - not from what is available as the latest and greatest - but to choose perhaps no more than we really need to be happy while we are here. I do suppose that like-thinking people are drawn to organize in the hopes that their "revelations" might be imposed on the unfortunates who have not the same guidelines for life. This is not my way. I think that a seed of question might be introduced to an individual to allow for or stimulate progressive thought, but persecution for personal beliefs should not be supported in any way.

Some Reference Material

From Wikipedia, with approximate numbers, the following list is interesting data on the popularity (if I may put it that way) of the various religions (as at 2005?). This information is shown here as a reminder of the diversity of thought.

Christianity 2100 million
Islam 1280 million
Secular/ Irreligious/Agnostic/ Atheist 1100 million
Hinduism 900 million
Chinese folk religion 394 million
Buddhism 376 million (see also Buddhism by country)
Primal indigenous 280 million
African traditional and diasporic 100 million
Sikhism 23 million
Juche 19 million
Spiritism 15 million
Judaism 14 million
Mormonism 12 million
Bahá'í Faith 7 million
Jehovah's Witnesses 6.7 million
Jainism 4.2 million
Shinto 4 million
Cao Dai 4 million
Zoroastrianism 2.6 million
Tenrikyo 2 million
Neopaganism 1 million
Unitarian Universalism 0.8 million
Rastafari movement 0.6 million

Something To Think About

Mum used to say that sarcasm was the "lowest form of wit". I am one of those (of the hopefully few) who resorts to what-I-believe is friendly sarcasm at times. This is definitely a habit to eliminate. I think that those of us who do this to other people should be reminded by anyone who cares enough to say so. It is non-productive and can produce very negative effects on the friend or loved one attacked by the comment. Try reversing roles for just a moment and it will be obvious that making so-called "smart" comments at opportune times actually hurts and doesn't help a bit. I just thought I would put a little reminder in here so that IF there are any others out there who do this to others, they might be reminded to think about this too.

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