Philosophical Vision: What Is Reality?

As I recover from the pain from my very first kickboxing training session, I think about if I am materialist or idealist when it comes to life. Well what is pain? Is it a feeling? Is it reality? The “pain” I have is a feeling in my tense and sore muscles caused from getting physical (feel) by learning kicking and punching techniques, as well as pushing my limit with working out on Sunday. It’s not so much of a bad feeling; it just means that I am gaining improvement on something in my life, in reality. 

So what is reality? Materialists believe reality is based off of your five senses (physical) is primary reality and emotions and mind is secondary, whereas, the idealists who believe the main leverage of reality is based off of emotions and mentality and secondary is matter. (Novack)So who is right? Is anyone really wrong?

If you think about it, if it wasn’t for our mental state, our body wouldn’t really have the ability or function to feel, taste, smell, see or hear. Our mind is a wondrous thing with how it operates and allows our bodies to function as they do. Even if one is blind, their other senses are spiked, so to speak, to replace the lack of the sense of vision. Just because they are blind, doesn’t mean that their reality is gone. They are still in the here and now, functioning almost as normal with some of the five senses.

A lot of debates about reality are about what about after we die? Then what? Materialists say that our body just shuts down and rots in the ground, idealists lean towards the “sixth sense” basis and says our spirits/mind leaves our body and moves on with life. No one really knows, but speculates when individuals do have near-death experiences.  That is more proof that mind truly is over matter for idealists even though materialists still contradict it with the excuse of the brain and functions shutting down. Nothing more or nothing less.

So this most classic debate in Philosophy may just be one of those arguments that will remain until the very end of life, whether it’s your life, my life, or all human lives. The truth about the reality seems to be more than what just meets the eye for most. It’s a feeling or emotion they have within their heart like hope or faith that keeps them as idealists or maybe the higher power (if there is one) is hiding the truth better to some than most. 


Work Cited

          Novack, George, The Origins of Materialism, New York: Pathfinder Press. 1979. Print.

(Originally written in September 2012, edited in May 2014)

Philosophy Vision: Elements of Aesthetics

To interpret beauty and art, an artist must provide some kind of intention. Without intention, you can’t involve the rest of the elements, symbolism, metaphor, or expression. The beauty of intention is that the public does not need to meet the same ends as the artist did when he/she initially created the art form whether it’s poetry, paintings, sculpture, etc.

The public can’t always have the same mean as the artist, is of one these two, nor the public does not want to know the artist’s intention or simply we can’t know. For example, the passing of specific artists, the likes as of Shakespeare, Mozart, or the late Willem De Kooning.

Without intention, there cannot be art. A critic also must have the knowledge that meta-criticism also has to remain in the objective sense.  Therefore a critic cannot bring psychology or their personal feelings in judging an art piece. So the argument of whether monkeys can or cannot intend art, is NOT philosophy or meta-criticism of art. Therefore, it is invalid. Nor can monkeys’ paintings interpret symbolism, metaphors, or expression. Again, there is no intention, therefore it cannot be art nor can be critiqued as art.

De Kooning’s art piece, “Door to the River” is a prime example to differentiate between weak and strong intentions. Regardless of its weakness, it still has some kind of intention unlike monkey paintings. As modern art evolves with today’s society, abstract paintings have become popular. The lack of knowledge with his painting could cause various arguments within beauty and art easily.

According to Beardsley, poetry is yet another strong example of abstract art. The idea of the complexity of the message, whether it involves symbolism, expression, or metaphor, is the grand critique. One could not possibly know the intention of the poem, unless the author puts performance in his/her speech. Depending on the poem, a piece of that particular art can easily become a weak intention or a strong intention. Again, there is still intention.

However, the artists’ intention may or may not fail. According to Beardsley, the only proof is the work. “Judging a work is like judging a pudding or a machine.” The meaning of the quote is in order to get some kind of intention, whether the artists, authors or the critics, one must test the piece. For example, in order to get the intention of a poet’s, one must read the art form. Regardless if the final product has met the artist’s intention or created a new from the audience, there is still intention.

The simplicity of the rebuttal that all authors have intention makes the intention argument that much stronger. Yes, all authors and artists (Homo sapiens) have some kind of intention.

De Kooney, Willem. Door to the River. 1960. Abstract Expression. Whitney Museum of
American Art, New York, USofA.
Wimsatt Jr., W. K. & Beardsley, Monroe C. The Verbal Icon: Studies in the Meaning of Poetry.
Lexington: University of Kentucky Press. 1954. Print


Film Review: The Life & Death of Marsha P. Johnson

lgbt-pride-resistance-fistPSA: Live fearlessly. Live in your own truth. I always have and always will through my art and my blog. If I can educate individuals along the way, the better the cause for each mission I have chosen in my life. One being, the LGBT community. It is even more essential now than ever in America. Individualism is a dying breed in this country. Either people fear what they don’t understand or just allow hatred to guide their opinions.

I refuse to bring hatred into my beliefs, whether I am advocating for PTSD/MST in the military or equality rights in the minority of this country. You can support both idealism of patriotism and equality. Which both are endangered due to the extreme polarized environment that our country is currently enduring in America. I think it’s time to step back and reflect, before we let our emotions guide any more of our decisions in this country.

With that being said, June is Pride month. Regardless of the conspiracies of the “gay agenda” I will say this, the LGBT community has come a long way in the short amount of my adulthood time. I served during the “don’t ask, don’t tell” and was still enlisted when Obama denounced it. Coming from small town America, where LGBT members are discriminated in the small minded community, or even killed, it still astounds me of how the country has become more accepting over the years of the new millennium.

As we head into Pride to celebrate ourselves as individuals of the LGBT community, remember this: pride does not come from others’ acceptance, it comes from within. Be proud of yourself even in the ugliest times. Also remember, It wasn’t the white gay man who forged and solidify this movement like Hollywood wants to falsify with their shit version of Stonewall Inn. It was the P.O.C. transgendered women who are the structure of this movement, so think twice before you seclude anybody, not just this month, but any day of the year, in anything. Know where you come from and who initially built the path for you. Marsha P. Johnson. Say her name.

That is why the documentary that was made to speak out about her questionable suicide in the late 1980s is another film I recommend. Not only does it show the negligence of the police and case work for Marsha’s justice, it gives the whole backstory of how life was prior to the whole movement influenced by the entertainment industry (Will&Grace, Ellen DeGeneres, even Roseanne). It’s educational towards the Stonewall Inn and gives us a realization of who put their best feet forward to create this massive path of acceptance in front of us.

At the same time, we have a long way to go for acceptance within the the community, so take the time to reflect on this post. What can you do to open your mind beyond the gay and lesbian stereotypes? The start, educating yourself on the history of the LGBT community as a whole. Get to know Marsha P. Johnson through her friends and loved ones in this Netflix original documentary. But also, grab a box of tissues!

Philosophical Vision: Existentialism

According to Crowell, existentialism belongs in the intellectual history and others would debate it as a bygone cultural movement in the 19th century. One of the philosophers who developed the term, Jean-Paul Sartre, was one who argued that existence precedes in essence; whereas existence has no meaning, you just are. In Sartre’s argument he categorized things as En Soi or “being-in-itself” and the human being was Pour Soi or “for-itself”.

Alienation also comes into play for existentialism. For example, when one looks into a keyhole to another, you are a “being-for-itself” with your own definition, however when a third party witnesses such event, you are a “being-for-others”. Whether it’s the same definition or not, you are in existence to a third party other than yourself and/or the individual in the keyhole that may or may not know of your existence.

Some could argue that it doesn’t matter what the third party may think or feel about the discovery they found with you peeking through the keyhole. You should be authentic and be yourself during your existence regardless of others.  

Ethics play a big part within existentialism, or it should. Even though we have the freedom of choosing, we need to be familiar with moral codes whether you’re choosing utilitarianism, deontology and/or virtue. Even though the key hole is a temptation for the curious, it doesn’t look so good when these moral codes come into play.   

So, be yourself based on the good moral codes you were taught. Let’s be real, “we are damned to be free”, so therefore we choose to peek through the keyhole regardless of the ethics for our own personal satisfaction. We are back at Pour Soi with our choices over half the time. Even with sad events such as suicide. We choose life or death because we are damned for it. 

Work Cited

Crowell, Steven, “Existentialism”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2010.Web. November 25, 2012. .