Feeling like an island in the middle of a sea of stupidity

Day in and day out life seems to be becoming mundane with no intellectual stimulation unless you actually go LOOKING for it. 

I had a nice surprise the other day when I discovered a new friend of mine was capable of having a philosophical debate. Yes! I am not alone! I can finally have someone in my life who doesn't want to talk small talk! I hate small talk. It's repetitive and mind numbingly useless. So I get all excited and think that I can FINALLY discuss all the things I've been wanting to discuss (religion, politics, evolution, the normal taboo stuff) with someone who is capable of intellectual conversation. 

Boy was I wrong. While discussing our similar philosophy background she mentioned that she fail 2nd year philosophy because she refused to write a paper on evolution. She then went on to discuss the fact that evolution is a 'no-no' subject. She believes what she believes and that is that, no discussion, don't even bring it up. Feeling like my hopes had just been dropped on their head I just mentioned how philosophy taught me that my beliefs may be wrong and that it was a difficult lesson to learn. We went on to talk about it in a different direction. Now I knew I could only discuss the things that SHE was comfortable with and she would not be willing to listen to any reason, regardless of her background in philosophy and what she had learnt through it... just like everyone else.

AAAAND I'm back at square one. Does any else feel terribly alone in this way? Like they have no one to discuss the things that interest them? It's not only these things but any of the things in general that interest me, ie science, astronomy, etc. 

I noticed a few of you mentioned that philosophy shouldn't be studied anymore or had similar views on it. I tend to find that those who study philosophy have at least a vague knowledge of the difference between debate and arguments, I enjoy debating but often my 'playing the devils advocate' sense of discussion tends to infuriate people as they can't understand how I am able to entertain a thought without having to believe in it. People who have studied philosophy tend to see it as a debate and not an argument which is what I'm looking for so desperately! I want a real life intellectual debate! Any discussion that doesn't involve 'so have you seen so and so's new boyfriend?'

I'd like to see that I'm not alone with this whole feeling of being alone. Hehehe

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Comment by Simon Paynton on December 9, 2013 at 2:18am

@Mike - "philosophy is word games" -

it can be that, but that's just a sideline in my opinion.  Really, it's ideas games, something like mathematics.  The ideas have a natural layout in the way that an evolutionary family tree has a natural layout. 

Comment by Teri G on December 9, 2013 at 5:40am


 I wouldn't call them stupid, but maybe they're a bit too rigid or too afraid to engage anything that challenges their worldview

The only reason I say stupid is because I find the inability to question or even address ones ideas and beliefs as a willful ignorance. In my head that is a type of willful stupidity. I don't mean to insult them, I am just tired of encountering the same kind of person with the same kind of conversation day after day.

I do like to catch up with people and I like to chitchat about people I know--that's not the same

I agree with you there, the only problem is that any kind of small talk always seems to be quite repetitive. When talking the chitchat it's always: how's the boyfriend/girlfriend, how's work, what's new, how did the date go, daily gossip, that kind of thing. There's nothing new. It's mind numbing.

Damn would I love to be able to talk about some of the things we talk about on here in real life!

Hell yes!!!

Comment by Teri G on December 9, 2013 at 5:58am

I agree with Pope in that human's aren't naturally inclined to philosophy. It's a sad thought.

I must say that I am definitely one to recommend philosophy to anyone and everyone. It seems to be one of the few paths that lead to critical thought, an absolute necessity in my opinion. If it weren't for my studies in philosophy I doubt I would have ever reached my level of critical thinking and introspective thought, the results of which changed my beliefs as well as my pattern of thinking.


Philosophy can be hell fascinating, but it's not going to solve any world problems.

I disagree on that point to some degree. I feel that philosophy is one way in a handful with which we can reduce prejudice and increase understanding amongst others and their beliefs. It also encourages critical thinking which can prevent the whole sheep like behavior and ultimately help grow cultures and societies into a better position than what we are in now. It's not like it's going to solve world hunger but it could help lessen the general hatred that humans have for one another and the whole "us and them" thought patterns.

Comment by Tom Sarbeck on December 9, 2013 at 6:05pm


The study of both philosophy and law should both be sub categories of linguistics.

A most intriguing idea.

In research in law libraries (reporters, Words and Phrases, Shepard, etc) I've seen how judges interpret enacted law and case law to resolve conflicts that lawmakers hadn't provided for. I have often wanted to similarly follow the thoughts of individual philosophers to see how others have used them.

Comment by MikeLong on December 9, 2013 at 11:37pm

"something like mathematics"

Philosophers like to pretend that language can be treated like math, but the harder you try to squeeze, the less it fits. Words, like human thought, do NOT have a nice, neat hierarchy to hang on. They're a mess. Human consciousness is a mess. Philosophy (and law) attempt to bring order to chaos. Fun but futile.

Comment by Tom Sarbeck on December 10, 2013 at 12:19am

Philosophers like to pretend that language can be treated like math, ....

Those philosophers are conflating computer language and human language.

Ambiguity in computer languages would make them useless.

Ambiguity in human languages makes lying less necessary.

Comment by MikeLong on December 10, 2013 at 12:35am

"Ambiguity in computer languages would make them useless."

See Fuzzy Logic

Comment by Tom Sarbeck on December 10, 2013 at 3:49am

Mike, the Wikipedia fuzzy logic article has a link to its article on artificial intelligence.

In another publication I read that from the 1920s to the 1980s, intelligence researchers made no progress in defining human intelligence. I won't bet that AI will soon deal with the ambiguity in human language.

Comment by Teri G on December 10, 2013 at 12:15pm


 Philosophy (and law) attempt to bring order to chaos. Fun but futile.

I wouldn't say futile. I agree that words and the human consciousness are always going to be ambiguous but the attempt to gain an overall understanding of it, perhaps to bring order to it, at the very least can be educational. The attempt to create a hierarchy may not be possible but it may get us a LITTLE closer. It also shows us the ambiguity which is something we all need to keep in mind. It may inevitably decrease the incongruity of daily language, or at least help keep that knowledge in mind while in discussions that can have many different meanings.

Comment by MikeLong on December 10, 2013 at 8:52pm


"I won't bet that AI will soon deal with the ambiguity in human language."

Lol. What's "soon? We'll both be dead "soon". That aside, I might take that bet. The necessary computing power was not available until recently. For the last forty years I've maintained, despite optimism to the contrary, that a computer understanding natural English was at least 10 years away. My new smart phone has changed my mind. It's now LESS than 10 years away. Much of my email and ALL of my txts are spoken into my phone. Google is doing a FAR better job at understanding my intentions than SIRI did a year ago. My voice messages are sent to Google to interpret (so the necessary computing power is STILL not available in a hand-held version). The mistakes it makes are also telling. After Google's mainframe interprets my voice and sends me back the text I can click on a wrong word and it will invariably give me the right word - even when they don't sound anything alike (weird). This tells me it's not going word-by-word - it's parsing the text before returning it. And it spells correctly despite ambiguity.


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