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Hearth's Warming Helper

Found 46 results

  1. Why do some people think life is meaningless?
  2. So, recently, I have been entering the world of Romance fanfics. I never thought I would enjoy that kind of thing, but I guess I really have a soft spot for sweet love stories. In fact, one fanfic I read, called "Unexpected Confessions," is now my favourite story of all time. I just felt the need to drop it a line. It's an excellent story, and you will have trouble dropping it to do other things. Now that my plug is over, let's move on. ~Introduction: A Conflict~ As I was on FIMfiction, browsing fanfics, I picked up on the traditional argument among shippers. AppleDash, or FlutterDash? What motivates this conflict? They are both adorable couples in their own right. So why do fans of these shippings come to heads so often, unable to enjoy the idea of their opposing ship? ~Dashie is the issue. Right?~ At face value, the answer may seem quite obvious. Obviously, these shippings come into conflict because both feature the same pony, Rainbow Dash. Right? I would argue that no, is the answer. Rainbow Dash is the most shipped of all the ponies. This is a widely known fact. There just seems to be something about Dashie that makes her popular with fanfic writers. Chances are, if you can name a pony (Aside from the universal ships of LyraBon, Derpy Whooves, and Octav3) she has been paired with them, whether male or female. Yet, all of the other shipping groups don't come to grips with the fact that Dashie is in other shippings. Why then is there such a conflict between AppleDash and FlutterDash? If all other Dashie ships accept every other ship, why do these two in particular argue so often? Obviously, the answer is deeper than simply Dashie. ~Wrong! It's deeper than Dashie.~ So, then, if the issue is not Dashie, than what is the problem? Well, to me, it is apparent that the problem lies in an ideological difference. The two shipping groups have different philosophies about love. Fans of FlutterDash believe that opposites attract. They think that ideal relationships should have the ponies involved complement each other. Dashie's strength helps Flutters' weakness. Dashie's confidence is tempered by Flutters' humility. Dashie's impetuousness is held back by Flutters' calmness. Flutters' fear is lessened by Dashie's courage. They think that FlutterDash is magical because their different strengths and weaknesses mean that, as one whole, they can handle any situation thrown at them by drawing on each other. No external conflict can penetrate their bastion of love. Fans of AppleDash are of the mind that Applejack and Rainbow Dash, as very similar individuals, can be much stronger in the face of conflict. As two birds of a feather, AJ and RD know how the other ticks. They know what to expect from each other, and the fact that their strengths are the same means, when facing certain conflicts, they will have the strength of two ponies instead of one. They also have an incredible understanding of each other, able to read each other like a book, sidestepping almost all possibilities of misunderstanding. They know precisely how to comfort one another in rough times. Now, these paragraphs show why the two schools of thought each have merit. But they also have their faults. In the opposites attract relationship, the two ponies share all of their traits. Given their diversity of strengths, they can add to each others' weaknesses. But internal conflict can be a major issue, as their different natures make it difficult to understand each other, and therefore resolve their problems. It can also lead to misunderstanding when a pony simply doesn't get how their special somepony ticks. Within the relationship, they will be at odds with each other, and will not always be stable. This kind of relationship will be an emotional rollercoaster internally. It is strong when an external force threatens it, but does not have structural integrity in its own right. Regarding the birds of a feather philosophy, the issue is that, while the similarity between ponies means that internally, they will have a stable relationship, rarely coming to odds, it also means that where they fall short, they fall really short. If an external conflict strikes which hits the pressure points of the relationship, it can crumble like a sand castle in the rain. Having the same spectrum of strengths and weaknesses means that they can only handle the same problems. If something comes around which attacks a weakness, they are unable to draw on each other, resulting in feelings of inadequacy, causing tension in the relationship, and a longing for that thing which is missing, or lacking. ~So, what does this mean?~ Both relationship types, as we have seen, have their strengths and weaknesses. AppleDash works nicely internally, but similar strengths mean the ponies have similar weaknesses. And when those weaknesses need strength, they have nopony to draw from. At best, the two deficient ponies can hope that they just barely have enough strength to at least be worth half a pony against their opponent. FlutterDash is an emotional rollercoaster, but complementary traits mean that they can draw on each others' strengths when one of them is deficient, forming an unmovable wall against external conflcit. Where does that leave us? It leaves us with the knowledge that neither relationship is inherently functional or dysfunctional. But we also know that their is still plenty of ground to cover regarding where the relationship falls short. I would argue that, given what we've seen above, the ideal relationship will have the ponies not be polar opposites, nor birds of a feather. For a relationship to work the best, there needs to be some shared traits and some different traits. A delicate Balance, which does its best to draw on the two relationship types. And indeed, the best fanfics I've read have focused on finding this middle ground between the two philosophies, where different ponies found out how to accept their differences, and similar ponies learned how to overcome their weaknesses. And I think this middle ground is where the relationships become as functional as possible, and approaching this middle grounds is what makes both pairings attractive for me. Harmony and Balance applies to all things, love included, and seeing ponies approach the golden realm of Harmony in their relationship makes for great reading, whoever you ship. What do you guys think? Which relationship do you think would have its issues resolved easier? Do you think that they are about equal, or that one is superior? Have you noted characteristics about the two philosophies which I haven't covered? Who do you ship? And why? I look forward to reading your schtuff. And make sure to check out my other philosophical meanderings at http://balancebrony.tumblr.com. I can't wait to read your responses everypony!
  3. MLP:FiM and Steven Universe are both examples of recent family-oriented cartoons with positive moral overtones. However, they take contradictory positions on a millennia-old debate in ethics – so according to each show, the other’s position is not simply incorrect but immoral. A few notes before I explain why: In the title I used the word “existentialism” to mean the belief that an individual should choose their own purpose, even though that definition is not as broad or commonly used as others. To figure out the ethical ideas that a show teaches, I assume that if the protagonists of a show explicitly believe in an ethical idea, their antagonists explicitly believe the opposite, and the protagonists win in the conflict between them, then the show is teaching that those ideas are correct. This assumption would not work for all shows. However, it probably works for these two because they were designed partly for easily understandable moral education. Outline of this post: Crash Course Aristotle Horse Teleology Rock Teleology An Uncomfortable Ethical Trilemma from the Contradiction of Rocks and Horses TL;DR Crash Course Aristotle Before understanding the ethical conflict between MLP:FiM and Steven Universe, one must understand a few basic terms of the conflict: telos, eudaimonia, virtues, and universal essence. I will try to keep the explanation brief. Almost 2400 years ago, Aristotle distinguished 4 different ways to explain something: its matter, form, agent, and goal. For example, Aristotle would explain a hammer in these four ways: A hammer’s material cause is the matter out of which it is made: wood and metal. A hammer’s formal cause is the form of the matter which makes it a hammer instead of something else: the design of the hammer. A hammer’s efficient cause is the agent that brought it into being: the person who created it. A hammer’s final cause is the goal for which it exists: hitting nails to build structures. The Greek word for final cause is telos, which is why teleology is the study of things in terms of their purpose. The telos of a hammer may seem obvious, but what is the telos of a human? Aristotle said that the function of a human is to reason well [1]. While the precise definition of “virtue” can take paragraphs to flesh out [2], virtues are basically “good moral habits” [3] which help one attain the highest good, eudaimonia. That term is often misleadingly translated as “happiness,” but can be more accurately translated as “human flourishing” or “a complete life” [1]. Even asking about the human telos, though, assumes that all humans have a telos. Without delving into religious questions [4], note that Aristotle based his teleology on a belief in the universal essence: the defining trait of a category, which exists fundamentally in all members of that category at once. To Aristotle and other essentialists who believe that such essences exist, we categorize things based on their essence: e.g. we call something a “human” if-and-only-if it contains the essence of humanity [5]. According to Aristotle, a living thing’s telos is part of – or identical to – its essence. Horse Teleology Some people[6] don’t believe they have a telos, but I bet they would be more easily convinced if it was stamped on their butt! In MLP:FiM, a pony’s cutie mark represents its telos because it represents 1) the purpose for which that pony exists, which 2) cannot be created or altered by a pony’s beliefs or choices, but instead 3) is permanent and unchangeable throughout the pony’s lifetime. Each of these is stated or implied in MLP:FiM. First consider “Magical Mystery Cure.” The cutie marks of the Mane 6 were swapped, and consequently each of them believed and chose to follow their false cutie mark because “It’s what my cutie mark is telling me.” When Spike asks Twilight why she does not fix her friends with a memory spell, Twilight responds that “It's not their memories, [but] their true selves that have been altered!” After Spike raises the possibility that “our friends will grow to like their new lives,” Twilight asserts that “They're not who they are meant to be anymore” because “Their destinies are now changed.” Twilight’s language brims over with teleology, especially considering that a telos is what something “is meant to be” objectively. Changing a pony’s cutie mark, beliefs, and choices is insufficient to change “who they are meant to be,” so the pony’s purpose must be objective and intrinsic. What “ponies are meant to be” according to Twilight comes from “their true selves” which exist independently of belief, choice, or representation in a cutie mark. By using the term “destiny,” Twilight implies that a pony’s purpose – the referent of that pony’s correct cutie mark – is determined before that pony makes any choices. “Magical Mystery Cure” shows that, try as they might, a pony cannot alter their purpose by believing or acting as if they have a different purpose. “The Cutie Map Part 2” is even more explicit. As the villain, Starlight Glimmer urges the Mane 6 to “Free yourself from your cutie mark” and “Choose equality as your special talent.” I will note a major difference, however, between the teleologies of Aristotle and MLP:FiM. To Aristotle, every human necessarily has the same function, but to MLP:FiM, every pony necessarily has a different function [7]. Before Starlight shut her up, Twilight said that “Everypony has unique talents and gifts, and when we share them with each other, that's how rea—.” She presumable meant to say something like “how real friendship forms.” Compare Aristotle's idea that friendship is the mutual pursuit of the highest good by virtuous people [8]. Also note that in “Call of the Cutie,” Cheerilee defines cutie marks as “that certain something that makes them different from every other pony.” Since this matches the definition of a universal essence, a pony's telos is its essential identity. Each pony may have their own telos, but they are still directed by objectively-defined virtues towards a highest good analogous to humans’ eudaimonia. I am unsure whether to call it Friendship, Magic, or Harmony, but that is a distinction without a difference given that the three are identical. The title states part of this equivalence as bluntly as possible: Friendship is Magic. And in “Friendship is Magic Part 2,” Applejack asserts that the Mane 6 “really do represent the elements of friendship,” which Princess Celestia confirms. If the Elements of Harmony are elements of Friendship, then Friendship is Harmony, which should be uncontroversial given that those terms are nearly synonymous in their normal use. I will call this highest good of ponydom “Harmony,” for convenience. In the same way that Aristotle says all humans strive for the good of eudaimonia, all ponies strive for this good of Harmony, because the Elements of Harmony relate to Harmony itself in the same way that Aristotle’s virtues relate to eudaimonia. The five main Elements are defined as virtuous traits. At the end of “Friendship is Magic Part 2,” Twilight says that each of the others in the Mane 6 “represents the spirit of” that trait, i.e. the virtue defined by that trait. But the last Element is different: “the spark that resides in the heart of us all” creates the Element of Magic. That “spark” is the essence of ponydom. Because the Element of Magic requires all of the virtues, and emerges from the essence of ponydom, it is the highest good of ponydom. Rock Teleology At first glance, it may appear that the gems of Steven Universe are teleological in the same way. Rose Quartz points out in “Greg the Babysitter” that “When a Gem is made, it's for a reason. They burst out of the ground already knowing what they're supposed to be, and then... that's what they are. Forever.” This brief description covers the criteria for a telos as previously described: it exists throughout the gem’s lifetime regardless of that gem’s beliefs or choices, never changes, and is that gem’s essential identity. However, the apparent telos of a Gem is not the morally correct purpose for them to pursue. The protagonist Crystal Gems, under Rose Quartz’s ideology, assert that the correct purpose for a gem to pursue is their chosen purpose. Consider how Bismuth describes Rose’s ideology in “Bismuth”: “[Rose] was different because she decided to be … Gems never hear they can be anything other than what they are, but Rose opened our eyes.” The idea that identity can and/or should be altered by choice is incompatible with teleology. Bismuth later cites “[Rose’s] talk about how Gems could take control of their own identities” and “how we'd been convinced to ignore our own potential,” which confirms that identity can be changed by choosing a different one. Choosing one’s identity/purpose is upheld by the protagonists in Steven Universe, so it is presented as good. Conversely, adhering to one’s given/intended/innate identity/purpose is upheld by the antagonists, so it is presented as bad. An Uncomfortable Ethical Trilemma from the Contradiction of Rocks and Horses The fundamental contradiction between MLP:FiM and Steven Universe is that the former claims that one should pursue only their inherent purpose regardless of belief or choice, whereas the latter vehemently disagrees by claiming that one should pursue only their chosen purpose regardless of their inherent purpose. When the two conflict, MLP:FiM says to pursue inherent purpose, whereas Steven Universe says to pursue chosen purpose – a direct contradiction. From this contradiction, we are forced into one of the following strange conclusions (under the assumption that we can know that actions are right or wrong): When innate purpose conflicts with chosen purpose… …one should pursue innate purpose, so Steven Universe teaches immorality by implying the opposite. The Crystal Gems of Steven Universe should have followed their design and intended purpose. …one should pursue chosen purpose, so MLP:FiM teaches immorality by implying the opposite. …the right choice depends on the context, so claims about moral purpose can only be judged as true relative to their context. As a side note, I would have included that the Mane 6 should have followed “what their cutie mark was telling” them in “Magical Mystery Cure” – and were wrong to overthrow Starlight Glimmer in “The Cutie Map” – as part of option 2, but in both cases the ponies who had chosen to pursue a purpose different from their telos conveniently changed their minds and chose their telos. This potentially shows another difference between Harmony and eudaimonia: the former, being Magic, is a goal but also a force that can interact with the world to bring itself about. It's also a tree. That raises its own weird metaphysical questions, but I will shelve those for now. Anyway, to my knowledge, the three options of the trilemma are mutually exclusive (if one is true, then the others are false) and mutually exhaustive (necessarily at least one is true, such that no alternatives exist). Which of the three do you believe? Alternatively, is something wrong with my reasoning? (Probably.) TL;DR MLP:FiM calls it good to do what one was created for and to follow one's intrinsic purpose (what Aristotle called a telos). Steven Universe calls that bad and instead says to create one's own purpose. Either one of the shows is morally wrong, or purpose is only right or wrong relative to context. Footnotes Aristotle, Nichomachean Ethics Book I, ch. 7 §8-16. See Alasdair MacIntyre’s three-stage definition of virtue in After Virtue, ch. 15, p. 219-20. To be fair, though, MacIntyre's writing style is about as concise as C.S. Lewis's is subtle: not. James K. Smith, You Are What You Love, ch. 1, p. 16. Note however that the 13th-century Christian philosopher St. Thomas Aquinas fleshed out Aristotle’s philosophy and merged it with Christian theology. The philosophy he created is called Thomism, which is still “the official philosophy of the Roman Catholic Church.” Aristotle and Plato disagreed over whether the essence of a thing could exist even if the thing did not exist. Plato said it could because the essence exists more fundamentally than examples of it; he called the essences Forms. Aristotle disagreed, saying that essences only exist in the things which instantiate those essences. Myself included, for the record. I think MLP:FiM shows what the world might be like if final causes existed. A human's telos comes from its essence (i.e. "quiddity"), its "whatness" which makes it what it is: a human. In contrast, a pony's telos comes from its "haecceity," its "thisness" which makes it this pony instead of any other pony. Aristotle, Nichomachean Ethics Book VIII, ch. 3 §6. Edits: 2018-03-25: Fixed broken links to "four causes." 2018-08-01: Added footnote 7.
  4. This is an example of the thought process one can use to reach a conclusion with knowledge we already have, but did not think to consider. It just takes some time and patience. If the brain can store massive quantities of data, why do most people not consciously recall it all? Its because people do not try. All you need is spare time, and recognition of an almost order of operations of logic. In this example I start by asking a question that most would think has no definite objective answer. Then I keep going through a self-critical process of proposals based on reflections and the knowledge it brings to the foreground that I already had but did not know I had. So to simplify. 1. 'unknowable' question 2. reflection 2.a knowledge from reflection 2.b applying the knowledge into the equation 2.c rule it out if it doesn't objectively answer anything 3. repeat 2 til it does objectively answer something 4. add this into the equation permanently 5 repeat 2-5 as needed til the first question is answerable. 6. The answer and its objectively true within the assumptions that 'the world is real'.
  5. Cedar Woods

    Friendship is Philosophy

    In this panel, we delve deeper into the various topics explored in FIM, and try to imagine what great Philosophers like Plato, and Socrates might think of the show... What would the banishment of Nightmare Moon look like if it were a Greek Tragedy? Considering there’s so much in MLP that comes from Greek mythology, a panel like this seems like a natural sort of thing to happen at least once.
  6. As many of you heard or are familiar with past life/ life reincarnation do you believe in it? Do you think it's possible? Many would believe that when we die, we either disappeared or go to heaven. So how about being "recycled"? Have you guys ever felt something connecting to you like a lose memories but cannot put in words? Example do you deeply feel connected with a specific different times era, places or objects for some unexplained reason? Here is a basic idea of what a past live(s) is if case you are not familiar with it. https://lonerwolf.com/past-lives-soul-reincarnated/ If you guys have a story or know a story relating to past lives, feel free to share it if you want to. Many would be skeptical about this. If people wish to go to a session to regain their past lives memories a psychologist will be hypothesising you to guide you down the memory lane. Of course you wouldn't know if they are justing messing with your mind for $$ or if it's actually true. So that is the cons side about past lives. But is there other ways to regain it without going to session?
  7. Throughout the TV series, movies and comic books, Pinkie Pie (both Pony and Human versions of her) have shown proficiency and talents at many tasks. In fact, Pinkie Pie seems to have the skills and potential to be the greatest at any task or endeavor she would ever want to take. In one of the early comic issues, we see that Human Pinkie Pie did try outs for every single club at Canterlot High and was so good that each and every one of them wanted her to join AND be their most important member. Pony Pinkie Pie has ran as fast as Rainbow Dash can fly, can play any musical instrument, or all of them at once, has knowledge of creatures that not even Twilight knows (like the Parasprites), the list could go on forever. So, the question is, why isn’t Pinkie Pie, either of them, interested in using her hidden potential to its maximum? Why isn’t she inventing new things, discovering new things, etc? Instead of any of this things, Pinkie Pie in any of her versions, seems to seek only one thing: having fun, being happy, and making everyone else around her have fun and be happy as well. Thought history, philosophers have tried to answer several questions, like what “is” and what “is not”, what does it mean to be “good” or “evil”, and other questions regarding the meaning of life and the universe. But then we have Epicurus, a greek philosopher from 341 B.C. Unlike other philosophers, Epicurus didn’t focus his philosophy on existentialisms, or good and evil, he focused on what was fun, on what made a person be happy. A question that he spent all his life trying to answer as good as possible. Unfortunately, even back then the world was a bitter place always trying to bring people down, and when people heard that Epicurus had set up a SCHOOL to study happiness, there were all kind of rumors about it. Some rumors said that the school would have orgies every night, or feasts where people would eat until they were full and even more, or both. One of his critics even said that Epicurus had orgasmed 18 times in a single night in a room full of virgins. Of course, none of this things were true. Epicurus, and the rest of the staff in his school of happiness, were indeed studying happiness, but were very serious about it. Epicurus only owned two pieces of clothing, and would eat only bread, olives and an occasional slice of cheese every now and then. As for his sexual habits, he usually answered that philosophy was his only love. Having patiently studied happiness for several years, Epicurus finally came to a conclusion of what exactly a person needs in order to be happy. He first concluded that everyone usually made three mistakes when thinking about happiness. First, people usually think that being happy means having a romantic, sexual relationship. But Epicurus only had to look around to notice that there were many unhappy couples, who had their unions tainted by jealously, misunderstanding, cheating and bitterness. At the same time, he noticed how much nicer friendships are, how people tended to be so decent and unpossessive with their friends. Friendship, he concluded, was where human nature was at its sweetest. The only problem with that, according to Epicurus, was that we don’t hang out with our friends enough. The second thing that people usually think is that happiness means having a lot of money. But, again, Epicurus noticed the big flaw here: that people tend to miscalculate the tremendous amounts of sacrifices we need to do in order to obtain said money. To get money we have to endure a lot of jealously, backstabbing, long hours of hard working effort, and so on. Epicurus concluded that what made work really satisfying wasn’t money, but it was when we were able to work alone, or in small groups, like a bakery, or a repair shop (ancient Greece had plenty of repair shops for merchant ships, for example), and also when we feel that our work is truly helping others, and in our own, small way, making the world a better, happier, place. Deep down we don’t really desire wealth or status, what we desire is feeling like we are making a difference. And third, Epicurus saw how people seemed to be obsessed with luxury and having a lot of things, especially houses in great locations, the bigger and better looking the better. But beneath our desire for luxury, what we really want is to be calm, we want our minds pure and free, free of all the bother and chaos of the rest of the world. So, did luxury actually make us calm? Epicurus wasn’t convinced about that. And so, his studies on happiness concluded that a person only needed three things to be happy. First, you needed to have your friends around you. No sex, no orgies, just your buddies, and not only seeing them every now and then, it had to be regular contact. So Epicurus purchased one big house and moved in with all of his friends. Everyone had their own bedrooms, but there were also big shared areas, like the kitchen, there was always someone nice that you could talk to. Second, everyone started to take it easy or take it down a couple of gears, or however you want to call it. They stopped working for someone else, they took big paycuts so they could have more time to do their own things, some took up farming, some took up cooking, or crafting, or writing. And third, Epicurus stopped thinking one could be calm just by having a beautiful scenery around you, and focused on trying to find calmness in their own minds, spending some time by themselves, reflecting on things, writing things down, reading, meditating about things. Epicurus little experiment was so successful and the members of his little commune were so happy, that his ideas spread like fire. Communities just like the one Epicurus had formed started to appear all around the world (which, back then, was basically all the land around the Mediterranean sea). At the height of the movement, there was an estimate of 400 thousand people living in communes from modern day Spain to Lebanon. This movement was actually ended by the Christian church in the 5th century, but they must have had some respect for said communities, because all of them were converted into monasteries. In fact, what we today know as monasteries were really “Epicurian” communes, with a Christian topping. Another little tidbit is that Karl Marx did his college thesis on Epicurus, and what we call Communism, that joyless and failed system is actually just an unsuccessful, and corrupt, version of Epicurus’ ideas. The real legacy of Epicurus is that people aren’t very good at making themselves happy, mostly because we believe that being happy its easy, we all believe happiness is having lots of sex, lots of money, lots of luxury, and all we have to do is find a way to secure all of this things. Epicurus says no to all that, and ask that we reflect in the moments that really made you happy, and they have nothing to do with these things, and to have the courage to change one’s life in accordance to the moments that actually gave us satisfaction, this means that you might end up living in a very different way, in a very different place, with just a couple of cloaks, some cake, some nice books, and all your friends. This is basically how Pinkie Pie lives her life, she doesn’t seek to use her talents to become rich and famous. All she cares about is being with her friends, be it baking a cake, having a party, playing games, or anything else they might want to do together. Sure, she could become the best whatever in the world, with customers and/or fans coming from far and wide, willing to pay her a lot of money for whatever it is she does. But she just doesn’t want that, because she’s not after money, wealth or fame, she wants to play music with her friends, not be on tour all over the world and be rich and famous. She wants to make cupcakes for her friends and eat them together, she doesn’t want to have a five star restaurant with thousands of clients and her own reality cook show. She’s not even seeking a romantic relationship, all she is looking for is more friends, to have more fun moments. Pinkie Pie is, basically, the best student Epicurus could ever hope to have. A pony (or person) that simply understood that what she wanted from life was to be happy, and understood what she really had to do in order to be happy. So, what do you think? Is Pinkie Pie's way of life what we should all strive for? Or is she a fool for wasting her talents on banal things?
  8. Have you ever asked yourself: “Does life have meaning?”, “What's the point of the universe?”, or “Why do I exist?” Recently I've been try think. of an answer to these questions and I thought what are your guys' personal beliefs in a subject such as this? My take? I believe that life has no meaning, our lives are pointless, the universe is pointless, and our existence as a species has no purpose. Sounds pessimistic or nihilistic doesn't it? I may be a bit of a nihilist but I am no pessimist. On the contrary I also believe that if the universe is pointless then we give it one. We give our lives our own meaning, our own purpose, a purpose to exist as a human being. We give our lives a reason to exist, and that's why I live day by day doing what I do. I accept that my life and life in general has no meaning, my life has no point, and I am here for no reason. But does this philosophy affect me? No, and neither should this philosophy affect you, I live my life the way I want to, I give my my life a purpose, a meaning to exist and I believe that you should too.
  9. Herrmittens

    Philosophy Sub-forum?

    First of all: if this has been suggested before, please send a link to that topic. I've been searching far and wide on this site for a ´Search´ function, but could not find it, despite my considerable internet experience. Now to the main suggestion: How about a philosophy sub-forum over at the Everfree Forest? I'm suggestion the lay-out: General Discussion, Media Discussion, and Philosophy Discussion. Why a sub-forum and not just a new topic? So that each user who so happens to be interested, can make a new topic in that sub-forum, with their own philosophical theses which they want to discuss. The discussion of that user's views and theses, can then be handled in an organized way in that topic. A single topic for every users' philosophical views, would IMO result in much confusion, lost opinions and chaos of the unproductive kind. Opinions?
  10. aka "Suukrates". Excuse the bad pun. Also the presumption of comparing myself to the inventor of philosophy. Some time ago I created a philosophical thread (named "Philosothread") which people seemed to enjoy. For a few weeks I've been thinking of making a Philosothread 2, but I don't want to get spammy. I don't know if the General-Discussion forum is a good place for serial topics like these. Also, I was lacking for a topic about which I could say enough to spark a good discussion. Anyway, basically, I figured this is a better place to test the waters for another such discussion. If this works out, I could make a little philosophical blog, with a weekly topic or something. Also, let me know if I should move this into the main forum place instead. It might be easier for people to respond there than here. I digress. So! My topic for today is: topics I should choose for subsequent days. All right, now that my ulterior motive is out of the way, let me rephrase it: what is philosophy about? What topics does it span, what big questions does it wrestle with? What topics should it address? Are there things it avoids? Or should avoid? If that's not enough to consider, let's add in another dimension. Why do we philosophize? When (if at all) is it helpful? When (if at all) is it not helpful? Is it ever counterproductive? What drives us to understand our world so minutely, that we can get into an argument about the "source" of "math"? Both of those concepts are so nebulous and fuzzy that we'll never get a real answer. So why do we hunger so desperately to know? To think about it? There we go. Now, I'll sleep on my own questions and post my thoughts tomorrow. Let me hear what you have to say, everyone! And if anyone comes up with a philosophy cutie mark, let me know.
  11. Hey everyone! Just yesterday (when I joined this site, actually! Yay for muffins!) I found a topic about "what happens after you die," and I made a huge rambling post about my metaphysical thoughts. Most of the discussion had become people talking either about religion or decomposition, so I thought maybe we need a more philosophical approach. But philosophy thrives on general questions, so I have generalized it as I felt was natural. The question is: what is the nature of reality? Is it "really" there, or in our head, or something else? Can we ever agree on an objective reality? etc. I'm looking forward to seeing what you all have to say. I'll put my own thoughts in the next post, since this is getting pretty long as it is. Happy philosophizing! Okay, so here's my thoughts on the subject. I did copy/paste the first paragraph from my previous rambling, because I am content to sit back and contemplate my former eloquence on the subject. I've been thinking about this often, and for some time now. Just my philosophical self, avoiding boredom. When I consider this question, the most important aspect I can think of is that we have a severe lack of experience with reality. Our minds and senses are pretty clearly imperfect, and with the very frustrating inability to exchange minds with someone else, we're pretty much stuck in our own flawed world. The important thing about this is that it means we have no reason to believe there's anything other than that world. The only thing that I am certain exists is my own experience. So, although I don't have anything to disprove an external reality, I don't really need it. It is not essential to my life or how I make sense of my world. Therefore, unless I can get some proof of reality, I don't believe in it. This has some pretty alarming implications. The foremost is that, in denying any outside reality, I don't believe any of you exist - or, at least, I have no proof of it. It's very difficult to have more than one person existing in such a powerful relation to the world. All of you could easily be figments of my imagination, and things would seem the same. Of course, you all could probably say the same about me. It's a kind of a paradox, and one I choose to approach by treating everyone as existing the way I do. Maybe it's not completely sound, but it works pretty well. The second implication is that we have more control than we think over reality. There's a lot of talk about how the world is shaped by your approach to it - like the Islamic Sufis saying that people create their own heaven or hell around them. In fact, some used to claim that they were God because they had control of the universe. Impossible (and blasphemous) as that may sound, it seems right to me. I have seen people create themselves a private hell because of their bad attitudes, and I try my best to make my own world a nice one. Those are the immediate implications I can come up with. Feel free to expand on my thinking, or explain your own thoughts. Also, if you have an idea for a different question, let me know!
  12. VitalSpark

    Slice of Life Zeno's Paradox

    I published this story on fimfiction a while back, but forgot to mention it here. Twilight Sparkle proves she can win a race against Rainbow Dash. All she needs is a tiny head start.
  13. Invincible

    Books Books on philosophy

    Hey everyone. There's a question i'd like to ask, is anyone familiar with a good book they can recommend on Philosophy? I was looking for something new to read, it doesn't have to be something specific like social philosophy, or 'the art of war' or games theory. Just interested in some new thinking materials. Anything at all?
  14. Steel Accord

    Movies/TV Jedi or Sith

    Now, we all know how these two mystical circles are portrayed in the films. Jedi = flawed but well meaning. Sith = eat ewoks and live in pools filled with tears of despair. For just a bit, let's remove the films from our minds, remove the past heroes and villains, even remove the Dark Side from the equation. What are both of these philosophies truly about? If morality were divorced entirely from a Jedi or Sith's life and they truly were an island unto themselves, what would either want? For this, we shall look to both of their codes and analyze what they mean in practice. We'll start with the Jedi code. There is no emotion, there is peace. There is no ignorance, there is knowledge. There is no passion, there is serenity. There is no death, there is the Force. The Jedi often give the advice to "clear your mind." They believe that acting on emotion or hunches leads to mistakes. The belief is that, by calming their own thoughts and agendas, they can more easily hear of feel the Force and be influenced by it. Hence, no emotion, peace. (And for those of you about to bring up Qui-gon's "feel don't think" remember he was infamous for playing fast and loose with the Jedi code.) The Jedi were often very studious, they had a massive archive of both their own history as well as general knowledge for a reason. When confronted with a problem that couldn't be solved with the wave of a hand (or lightsaber), a Jedi was generally thought to be better served by research, communication, or otherwise taking a step back. This facet could be said to be an extension of the first stanza by application. Again, acting on the authority of the objective external rather than the fallible self. By far the most controversial of the Jedi ways, this stanza reinforced the idea that one mustn't allow their natural emotions and desire to precede their actions. The Jedi held that the volatile nature of emotions created an internal domino effect. The road to Hell is paved with good intentions, as they say. The ultimate point, is that Jedi DO allow themselves to feel, but they strive to discipline themselves enough that they can divorce their emotions from how they live their lives. The last part could almost be said to be a prayer. It's merely a reassurance that the Jedi ultimately draw their power, and indeed their life, from something far greater than themselves. By surrendering one's self to the Force, then death (or the illusion of the material world) no longer has power over them. ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Peace is a lie, there is only passion. Through passion, I gain strength. Through strength, I gain power. Through power, I gain victory. Through victory, my chains are broken. The Force shall free me. The first stanza I myself often have wondered about. How could one take the denouncement of peace as anything other than a declaration of war? However, you can't declare war once it's already begun can you? To say that "peace is a lie" is an observation on the nature of reality. All things slip toward entropy, no man is an island, and no empire is invincible. Anything that is meant to withstand the ages and all that can be thrown against it, must do so actively. If one does achieve a sense of relative peace, the battle is still far from over. Everyday, every moment, whether it be a usurper, conquerer, assassin, or slippery banana peel can take all you've achieved away. So you must always be ready, always be vigilant, because? . . . . The Sith held firmly that passion and ambitions were not to be squandered. It is by seeking challenges, mysteries, and experiences that we can grow as people. The old phrase "what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger" is an apt summation of the second stanza. The third stanza might seem redundant, but consider it like a counterpoint to the Jedi's "there is no ignorance, there is knowledge." Where strength is the toolkit and power the finished product. By experience, and training, one becomes stronger. With that strength, a sith is more able to readily deal with obstacles and achieve goals, and is therefore more powerful. Many have different definitions of power. For some, it's influence over others, for others it's a mastery of given domain. However a sith defines their power, they must prove it's genuine. In the words of Gandhi, "It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of nonviolence to cover impotence." So a sith that proclaims his power comes not from his lightsaber but his willingness to face danger without resistance better damn well back that claim up otherwise his peers will be in the right to call him on it because any victory he claims therefore, is not genuine. The last stanza is also reminiscent of it's Jedi counterpart, but with a different attitude. The "chains" might be defined in many different ways. As we go through our lives, many things bind us and are capability. Be it laws, borders, prejudice, or any number of outside slings and arrows. But by attaining our ultimate goals, our self-defined victories, we can at last be free of want. Because then we can embrace whatever lies beyond, knowing we had a hand in shaping the world through our passion, talent, and sheer force of will. ~ ~ ~ ~ ~~ So ultimately, it could be said a Jedi is someone who views the natural world as something to be revered and human nature as something to be controlled. Whereas a Sith is someone who sees the world as tool or project, and human will as something to embrace and harness. Any different interpretations? What do you guys think?
  15. Okay- Just wanted to ask you guys, Have any of the characters in the show changed your perspective views on other people/Changed your point of thinking? As for me, Here's a list- Fluttershy's kindness and overall shyness helped me reflect on how kind I was to people, it helped me to understand that kindness is not letting people run over you, that you have to stand up and speak against someones actions without sacrificing any personal respect and being tolerant enough to hear out that person's response and explain things clearly. Fluttershy's shyness actually made me realize how shy I was, and helped me to be more open and responsive to other people. Nightmare Moon/Princess Luna/ Princess Celestia - Once I understood the reason for the dramatic change to NM, It started to open my mind on how an undisputed lie can turn people into monsters of their own pity and self angush, It taught me how someones anger can increase if they are "losing" some sort of debate and helped me explain things to people in a not so harsh, brash and loud manner. It helped me open my eyes and see both sides of an argument before jumping in, and in most cases, make peace between the two. Rarity's Selfless manner actually pretty much explained the nature of generosity to me, How I can learn not to hold on to physical items as much as I did. Applejack's Honesty reminded me of my lying nature, it made me strive to be more honest as it showed me that honesty in all forms is a important role in any kind of relationship. Twilight Sparkle's Leadership skills and wisdom helped me reflect on how I was using my wisdom, and the dramatic difference between knowledge and wisdom. It helped me to respect my elders and mostly of all, respect wisdom. Rainbow Dash's Loyalty to her friends taught me that once you make a promise, you must keep it. It taught me that being "cool" and "popular" is not always important if you are treating your friends like crap "Rainbow Dash,That was Awesome!" "Awesome?, My friends could have been killed!" Pinkie Pie's laughter taught me to look at the light of things even if everything around me is dark, Pinkie Pie's laughter taught me to laugh things off, Pinkie pie had such a tragic past, but she found strength in laughter! This helped me even more when I started to get depressed, I simply stopped looking at the dark things and started looking at the light! There is one more- Spike! (Yes, Spike) Spikes genuine helpfulness and servant heart helped me to reflect on myself and become willing again, It helped me to see that helping others pays off at the end. I just want to thank this whole fandom for the kindness and warmheartedness that somehow revolves around this group, you guys, all of you, are amazing.
  16. So I am skimming around for the runic circle based around the elements of harmony that I keep seeing everywhere. I found something that looks like it. I see that these symbols stand for the seven chakras that make up the universe FIRE is a hungry, intense Element. It is associated with strength, emotion, and change. METAL is a stark, vigorous Element. It is associated with focus, willpower and potential. EARTH is a static, monolithic Element. It is associated with endurance, determination and fertility. WATER is an enigmatic, amorphous Element. It is associated with flexibility, intellect and momentum. WOOD is a steady, progressive Element. It is associated with vitality, patience and purity. AIR is an aloof, dynamic Element. It is associated with speed, creativity and confidence. AETHER is a radiant, energetic Element. It is associated with power, wisdom and clarity. I based upon this- Aether = Magic Wood = Kindness Metal = Generosity Air = Loyalty Earth = Honesty Water = Laughter Fire = Love? Spoiler alert! So what do you guys think?
  17. DarkSun493

    Homo Homini Lupus

    Latin? Latin? Why Latin? Because it gives us the most amount of profound quotes, that's why! But any lingering humor aside, this is a serious issue. Homo homini lupus is a somewhat famous Latin quote that translates as "Man is wolf to man". Man is a vicious creature that hunts and kills for its own sustenance, and in this case, it hunts itself. People all over the place are subject to cruelty on all scales. Just look around you on the forums. So many topics have to do with bullying, embarrassment and inferiority. All of these exist due to our interactions with others and some cannot be avoided. It also coincides nicely with the theory that man in inherently selfish. Here's a little test you can do. Think about everything that you've done today, or yesterday. Perhaps it was a day of school, a day of labor, whatever. Why did you do those actions? Why did you decide to not talk to that one annoying person you see everyday? Why did you help out a stranger? While these situations appear to be different, they are very similar. You did those actions because you got some sort of satisfaction from doing it. You got satisfaction for doing something. Whether or not the other person was hurt or not is irrelevant. Life is all about you, right? Which brings us back to men and wolves. If I do something that helps myself, basic human nature says that I ignore others. If others are hurt, why should I care? I'm may not see them again. They can't hurt me; they're of no concern. But that's all a theory. So, what do you think? Is this true? Have you seen evidence of this idea, even in your own life? Even here in the Brony fandom that bears the motto "Love and Tolerate"? No idea can perfectly generalize another. Perhaps it was all just a lie...But then again, what is truth?
  18. Source: What is an excellent story for you?
  19. BalanceBrony

    On Destiny in MLP

    ~Introduction~ So, the notion of destiny is one that I have always found interesting, due to the fact that my motto “Everything happens for a reason” pretty much reflects this idea- the idea that all things a part of a predetermined causal chain which is leading to something greater than any one of us. I first realised that this tied to MLP after watching Digibrony’s discussion of free will. Digibrony’s videos sparked some ideas in my head. And I also decided to watch Bionicle on a whim one day, which brought about more ideas. That being said, let us begin. ~What is Destiny?~ I feel before we truly dive into how destiny is applied to Equestrian life, it is important to note what “destiny” actually is. In any discussion, it is important to establish definitions early on, to prevent misunderstandings and smooth discussion out. As I normally do in discussion, I start with the dictionary definition: des·ti·ny ˈdestinē/ noun noun: destiny; plural noun: destinies 1. the events that will necessarily happen to a particular person or thing in the future. This is what the dictionary has to say about destiny. It is a causal path which one must necessarily go down. Meaning, you have no choice. But there is another concept which you have no choice in, which is completely separate from destiny. ~Duty vs. Destiny~ This is a distinction which I feel must necessarily be made, because these two things are completely different, yet related, ideas. For anypony who is familiar with the Bionicle fandom, you will know what I am talking about. Duty and Destiny are two of the three virtues. They are interconnected, as opposed to the somewhat isolated virtue of unity. They are concepts which have similarities and differences, but they are so close that nopony who has not dealt with Bionicle would separate them. But to those from within the fandom, the difference is very clear. Duty and Destiny are very similar concepts. Both refer to an aspect of your life path which you have no control over. You have no choice with regards to your Duty and Destiny. This similarity is, I feel, the one that prevents ponies from seeing the subtle, but very important difference between the two. The difference lies in what the terms mean. Duty refers to the specific niche which you are suited to. This is your role in the big picture. This is where you fit in the machine of society. Destiny refers to some grander arc in the story of your life. Duty is very much in the now. It is where you are at as you progress down the path of life. Duties can change, depending on how things around you change. But Destiny refers to the whole plot. It covers a much broader scope than simply doing your duty to society. Your duty is certainly a part of your destiny, and it can even lead directly to the final destination of your life, which is the other common usage of destiny. But your duty is not always synonymous with your destiny. To best illustrate this point, let us actually turn to MLP. ~Duty vs. Destiny in MLP~ To better point out how this distinction applies, let’s cover the notion of cutie marks. Cutie marks are a very shaky thing, in terms of this discussion. They mark what a pony is best suited to do in their life. As such, cutie marks seem to outline a pony’s duty- their role in society. Yet, we see in Magical Mystery Cure that the ponies relate their cutie marks to their destiny. Is this truly the proper use of the term? I would argue that no, it is not. Here’s my reasoning. In most cases in pony society, we see the case where duty and destiny are pretty much synonymous. For most ponies, their sole purpose and path in life is simply to do their duty to Equestrian society. But we do see exceptions to this rule, in terms of the Mane Six, and the Celestial Sisters. In all of these cases, the duty of the character (defined by their cutie mark) has not been their whole path. The Mane Six are united in one destiny. They represent the Elements of Harmony, and their destiny is to be the protection of Equestria from the forces of disharmony. From the moment when they simultaneously received their cutie marks, it was clear that their life path was shared. Their duties all lead them to a common destiny. This is further shown in Friendship is Magic Part 1 & 2. All of the ponies were acting in their duty to make the Summer Sun Celebration happen, but they discovered a greater path which transcends their cutie marks the moment they united in the quest to save the Princess. This is a shining example of the fact that their destiny, while connected to their duty, was not synonymous with it. This is also seen in the Celestial Sisters. Their duty of raising the sun and moon are not their destiny. Their destiny was to find the pony who would learn the power of friendship, to change Equestria forever. To go into headcanon territory for a moment here, I think that the EoH did not work properly for the Princesses because they did not fully grasp how the EoH worked. I think more so that it was just the Princesses’ raw power being channeled through the EoH which made things happen. This would also explain why the EoH did not work the same way for the Mane Six as they did for the Princesses. This is opposed to the use of the EoH being used by ponies who actually emulate the true power of the artifacts. The Princesses were acting outside of their niche when they used the EoH, so they did not function properly, like how a Bionicle wearing the wrong mask cannot use its full power. The Princesses had to find a pony who emulated pure magic, because only such a pony could be the 6th element, and truly understand the EoH. But their first attempts at this failed. Starswirl the bearded and Sunset Shimmer, while good at magic, were simply not destined to understand the EoH. If there weren’t something beyond cutie marks, why couldn’t these other star pupils figure out the EoH? The answer is destiny. Despite Starswirl and Sunset having the duty to serve as ponies who are good at magic, they could not utilise the most powerful magic of all. No amount of knowledge and study was enough. So cutie marks alone do not define a whole pony’s path. There is something more, and that something is destiny. So clearly, there is a distinction in Equestria between destiny and duty, despite the fact that it is unacknowledged. But where does that leave us? ~The Big Picture~ So, we have established that there is a difference between duty and destiny in Equestria. So what? So, it adds a whole new layer to Equestrian society. When you make the distinction between a grander destiny versus a mundane duty, the story has a whole new element of “where will their cutie mark lead them?” or “what great things can we expect from this simple pony?” This distinction also adds to the idea that everypony has a purpose. Even if a pony doesn’t have some grand arc, or big involvement, they still have a purpose. If you simply stick with cutie marks, and that’s it, it kind of removes some depth from the characters. But if you accept that their is something beyond simply pulling a plough, or bucking apples, the whole thing acquires a new level of awe and detail. In summary, the distinction between duty vs. destiny takes us even deeper. It becomes even more clear that in Equestria, everypony has a reason for existing. One point Digibrony makes is that being bound to a cutie mark would, in a realistic situation, result in some ponies just being screwed. But if you accept that there is something beyond the cutie mark, that problem vanishes. It is a very liberating notion when we accept that everypony has a purpose. I don’t get the whole opposition to determinism in our society. Isn’t it good to believe that everypony has a reason for existing? That nothing is without purpose? That is why I love the notions of duty and destiny. It means that there is something more… something beyond us. And when you find that meaning, life just seems so much more awesome. You get a whole new eye for existence. If we accept that all things have purpose, it can breed notions of tolerance and understanding. If we accept something greater, we become a step closer to knowing that existence really is a stunning work of art… With everypony playing their part in the symphony of life, and accepting that everypony has a major role, we come that much closer to a transcendent Harmony, and greater Peace. What are your thoughts everypony? I know this was an enormous waffle, but I had a lot to say. I look forward to reading your ideas and reactions!
  20. Here is Practical Explanation about Next Life, Purpose of Human Life, philosophical/religious facts, theories etc. ___________________________ *********** Practical Explanation ( For Example ) :- `1st of all can you tell me every single seconds detail from that time when you born ?? ( i need every seconds detail ?? that what- what you have thought and done on every single second ) can you tell me every single detail of your `1 cheapest Minute Or your whole hour, day, week, month, year or your whole life ?? if you are not able to tell me about this life then what proof do you have that you didn't forget your past ? and that you will not forget this present life in the future ? that is Fact that Supreme Lord Krishna exists but we posses no such intelligence to understand him. there is also next life. and i already proved you that no scientist, no politician, no so-called intelligent man in this world is able to understand this Truth. cuz they are imagining. and you cannot imagine what is god, who is god, what is after life etc. _______ for example :Your father existed before your birth. you cannot say that before your birth your father don,t exists. So you have to ask from mother, "Who is my father?" And if she says, "This gentleman is your father," then it is all right. It is easy. Otherwise, if you makes research, "Who is my father?" go on searching for life; you'll never find your father. ( now maybe...maybe you will say that i will search my father from D.N.A, or i will prove it by photo's, or many other thing's which i will get from my mother and prove it that who is my Real father.{ So you have to believe the authority. who is that authority ? she is your mother. you cannot claim of any photo's, D.N.A or many other things without authority ( or ur mother ). if you will show D.N.A, photo's, and many other proofs from other women then your mother. then what is use of those proofs ??} ) same you have to follow real authority. "Whatever You have spoken, I accept it," Then there is no difficulty. And You are accepted by Devala, Narada, Vyasa, and You are speaking Yourself, and later on, all the acaryas have accepted. Then I'll follow. I'll have to follow great personalities. The same reason mother says, this gentleman is my father. That's all. Finish business. Where is the necessity of making research? All authorities accept Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. You accept it; then your searching after God is finished. Why should you waste your time? _______ all that is you need is to hear from authority ( same like mother ). and i heard this truth from authority " Srila Prabhupada " he is my spiritual master. im not talking these all things from my own. ___________ in this world no `1 can be Peace full. this is all along Fact. cuz we all are suffering in this world 4 Problems which are Disease, Old age, Death, and Birth after Birth. tell me are you really happy ?? you can,t be happy if you will ignore these 4 main problem. then still you will be Forced by Nature. ___________________ if you really want to be happy then follow these 6 Things which are No illicit sex, No gambling, No drugs ( No tea & coffee ), No meat-eating ( No onion & garlic's ) 5th thing is whatever you eat `1st offer it to Supreme Lord Krishna. ( if you know it what is Guru parama-para then offer them food not direct Supreme Lord Krishna ) and 6th " Main Thing " is you have to Chant " hare krishna hare krishna krishna krishna hare hare hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare ". _______________________________ If your not able to follow these 4 things no illicit sex, no gambling, no drugs, no meat-eating then don,t worry but chanting of this holy name ( Hare Krishna Maha-Mantra ) is very-very and very important. Chant " hare krishna hare krishna krishna krishna hare hare hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare " and be happy. if you still don,t believe on me then chant any other name for 5 Min's and chant this holy name for 5 Min's and you will see effect. i promise you it works And chanting at least 16 rounds ( each round of 108 beads ) of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra daily. ____________ Here is no Question of Holy Books quotes, Personal Experiences, Faith or Belief. i accept that Sometimes Faith is also Blind. Here is already Practical explanation which already proved that every`1 else in this world is nothing more then Busy Foolish and totally idiot. _________________________ Source(s): every `1 is already Blind in this world and if you will follow another Blind then you both will fall in hole. so try to follow that person who have Spiritual Eyes who can Guide you on Actual Right Path. ( my Authority & Guide is my Spiritual Master " Srila Prabhupada " ) _____________ if you want to see Actual Purpose of human life then see this link : ( www.asitis.com {Bookmark it }) read it complete. ( i promise only readers of this book that they { he/she } will get every single answer which they want to know about why im in this material world, who im, what will happen after this life, what is best thing which will make Human Life Perfect, and what is perfection of Human Life. ) purpose of human life is not to live like animal cuz every`1 at present time doing 4 thing which are sleeping, eating, sex & fear. purpose of human life is to become freed from Birth after birth, Old Age, Disease, and Death.
  21. You will never see the world through my eyes. Or I through yours. What right is there to call anyone strange, stupid, or misguided? Every action and decision is individually justified, but you would never know that by looking at everyone as though looking at a mirror. I have somewhat of a motto, which I have posted and shared around frequently; some of you may have seen it before: “With patience comes understanding, with understanding comes peace.” I would now like to alter and add to it to be a bit more specific “With comprehensive patience in observation and learning comes comprehensive understanding, and with understanding comes peaceful relations.” Sometimes it takes more than the submissive “Let’s agree to disagree” approach to be truly at peace with the world. Why not agree to seek understanding, and agree not only to be of a differing opinion but to take the opposing completely into account, allowing it to influence and move your own approach, therefore settling upon a harmonious medium with our fellow people? “With understanding comes peace,” I have found this to be true time and time again. If peace can ever truly be realised, it cannot be through closing doors.
  22. BalanceBrony

    Chaos: is it Really Evil?

    *HEAVY PHILOSOPHY DISCLAIMER, IF UNINTERESTED IN PHILOSOPHY, DON'T WASTE TIME READING* ~Introduction~ So, I would like to bring up a discussion which always interests me. I first had this talk on the RuneScape forums, in philosophical debates about the gods. But it is one that very much applies to Equestria. Is Chaos actually inherently evil? The common argument brought up is that well, in the Equestrian paradigm, yes, Chaos is evil. But I would say that such a view actually is a direct contradiction to the other Equestrian paradigm that Harmony is the thing which society should strive for. Harmony is a subject which is very dear to me, and one that I have spent several years mulling over. I have had countless debates, read numerous books, and written several papers on the subject, not to mention a book which I am working on. As such, I have had much evolution in my ideas. I have made plenty of progress in my thoughts since I first started pondering Balance (a subject related to Harmony) back in the 9th grade, 5 years ago, on the RuneScape forums. And one thing which I have established many times over is the importance of opposites coexisting for Balance to occur, and for Harmony to exist. Existence has many parts. There are Yin, Yang, and Neutral aspects which make up everything. The Universe is a web of these various aspects, and their interactions. There are also different types of interactions which occur. The most notable interactions are called dualities, which are interactions between a Yin aspect, and its complementary Yang aspect. Their are other kinds, but interactions involving neutral forces are not an issue, as they do not threaten Harmony, or Balance. For our discussion here, we are focusing on the two dualities which are most prominent in the Equestrian paradigm. These dualities are Order/Chaos and Harmony/Discord. The Good/Evil duality in Equestria is equivalent to those two relationships, but we are going to examine if that should be the case. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ~Order/Chaos~ Now, if we examine the Order/Chaos relationship, Order is Good and Chaos is Bad in Equestria. However, I would posit this: exactly why is Chaos a Bad? Chaos, while it does create some level of misery, is still a necessary part of life. If there was only pure Order, society would have to oppress anypony who deviates, as in the case of Discord (the entity), the Changelings, and Nightmare Moon. Oppression can lead to civil unrest, and leads to injustice. Mind, in Equestria deviants aren't common, so unrest isn't a big problem. But Injustice does occur. Was it right to banish the Changelings for their nature? Why was no attempt made to serve both ponies and Changelings? Was it Just to force Discord to reform? Couldn't he just be given another outlet for his Chaos? Attempts could have been made to be Just, but the pure Order which Equestria supports resulted in tyrant-like actions on the part of the Equestrians. Then the other factor of Order which is negative is that pure rigidity of society makes it fragile, and less capable of handling conflict. Your society might not change, and internally that could work fine. But if an external force works against your society, the lack of variety and innovation could backfire. If we examine history, we know that the greatest advances all came from times of conflict, or a problem which needed solving. A society lacking conflict internally will become complacent. "Why should we advance when things are working fine?" is a thought commonly held by an overly ordered and stable society, Then something new comes along and exceeds its level of innovation, and overtakes it. So Chaos is not only not Evil, but it can be Good at times too. ~No Chaos? An Affront to Harmony~ In the Introduction, I mentioned that the Equestrian anti-Chaos sentiment was actually contradictory to its paradigm of Harmony. How is this so? Well, simply put, Harmony is the state of existence in which all things love together in multiplicity, tolerating and respecting all different paradigms without qualms. As soon as the Equestrians decided that Chaos should be oppressed, they contradicted Harmony. Simply having the attitude that an aspect of existence should be tossed out the door means that Harmony is not the end goal, as Harmony involves tolerating views, not eliminating them. Attempts should have been made at reason and compromise. Oppression is inherently an unbalanced action, and Harmony cannot be achieved be acting against Harmony. Then there is also Balance to be considered as well. Balance is a notion which is related to Harmony. Balance is an overall equillibrium between opposite forces. Existence changes, so opposite forces won't stay equal forever. But in order for Harmony to exist, Balance must be strived for. Opposite forces cannot be allowed to grow to strong or too weak. If we are to take this Order/Chaos duality as an example, we know that too much Order and too little Chaos are both bad things. The inverse is also true, as seen if we examine Discord's reign.Balance means that we should weaken the strong or strengthen the weak forces in a duality, to prevent the scales from going too much in either direction. These Imbalances would help create Discord- a state of existence which has excessive suffering for one or more parties, where somepony or another is not happy. So, in conclusion, I would argue that Equestria has it all wrong. In oppressing Chaos, the Equestrians are causing Imbalance. On top of that, the blind intolerance of anypony who seems to threaten the status quo means that the Equestrians are acting in an inherently Discordant and unharmonious way. I know this was quite a waffle, and I appreciate anypony who took the time to read. But I really wanted to share my ideas, and I would love to hear your own. What do you think everypony? I look forward to reading your responses!
  23. *WARNING: HEAVY PHILOSOPHICAL CONTENT. IF UNINTERESTED, DON'T WASTE TIME* ~Introduction~ So, the notion of destiny is one that I have always found interesting, due to the fact that my motto "Everything happens for a reason" pretty much reflects this idea- the idea that all things a part of a predetermined causal chain which is leading to something greater than any one of us. I first realised that this tied to MLP after watching Digibrony's discussion of free will. Digibrony's videos sparked some ideas in my head. And I also decided to watch Bionicle on a whim one day, which brought about more ideas. That being said, let us begin. ~What is Destiny?~ I feel before we truly dive into how destiny is applied to Equestrian life, it is important to note what "destiny" actually is. In any discussion, it is important to establish definitions early on, to prevent misunderstandings and smooth discussion out. As I normally do in discussion, I start with the dictionary definition: des·ti·ny ˈdestinē/ noun noun: destiny; plural noun: destinies 1. the events that will necessarily happen to a particular person or thing in the future. This is what the dictionary has to say about destiny. It is a causal path which one must necessarily go down. Meaning, you have no choice. But there is another concept which you have no choice in, which is completely separate from destiny. ~Duty vs. Destiny~ This is a distinction which I feel must necessarily be made, because these two things are completely different, yet related, ideas. For anypony who is familiar with the Bionicle fandom, you will know what I am talking about. Duty and Destiny are two of the three virtues. They are interconnected, as opposed to the somewhat isolated virtue of unity. They are concepts which have similarities and differences, but they are so close that nopony who has not dealt with Bionicle would separate them. But to those from within the fandom, the difference is very clear. Duty and Destiny are very similar concepts. Both refer to an aspect of your life path which you have no control over. You have no choice with regards to your Duty and Destiny. This similarity is, I feel, the one that prevents people from seeing the subtle, but very important difference between the two. The difference lies in what the terms mean. Duty refers to the specific niche which you are suited to. This is your role in the big picture. This is where you fit in the machine of society. Destiny refers to some grander arc in the story of your life. Duty is very much in the now. It is where you are at as you progress down the path of life. Duties can change, depending on how things around you change. But Destiny refers to the whole plot. It covers a much broader scope than simply doing your duty to society. Your duty is certainly a part of your destiny, and it can even lead directly to the final destination of your life, which is the other common usage of destiny. But your duty is not always synonymous with your destiny. To best illustrate this point, let us actually turn to MLP. ~Duty vs. Destiny in MLP~ To better point out how this distinction applies, let's cover the notion of cutie marks. Cutie marks are a very shaky thing, in terms of this discussion. They mark what a pony is best suited to do in their life. As such, cutie marks seem to outline a pony's duty- their role in society. Yet, we see in Magical Mystery Cure that the ponies relate their cutie marks to their destiny. Is this truly the proper use of the term? I would argue that no, it is not. Here's my reasoning. In most cases in pony society, we see the case where duty and destiny are pretty much synonymous. For most ponies, their sole purpose and path in life is simply to do their duty to Equestrian society. But we do see exceptions to this rule, in terms of the Mane Six, and the Celestial Sisters. In all of these cases, the duty of the character (defined by their cutie mark) has not been their whole path. The Mane Six are united in one destiny. They represent the Elements of Harmony, and their destiny is to be the protection of Equestria from the forces of disharmony. From the moment when they simultaneously received their cutie marks, it was clear that their life path was shared. Their duties all lead them to a common destiny. This is further shown in Friendship is Magic Part 1 & 2. All of the ponies were acting in their duty to make the Summer Sun Celebration happen, but they discovered a greater path which transcends their cutie marks the moment they united in the quest to save the Princess. This is a shining example of the fact that their destiny, while connected to their duty, was not synonymous with it. This is also seen in the Celestial Sisters. Their duty of raising the sun and moon are not their destiny. Their destiny was to find the pony who would learn the power of friendship, to change Equestria forever. To go into headcanon territory for a moment here, I think that the EoH did not work properly for the Princesses because they did not fully grasp how the EoH worked. I think more so that it was just the Princesses' raw power being channeled through the EoH which made things happen. This would also explain why the EoH did not work the same way for the Mane Six as they did for the Princesses. This is opposed to the use of the EoH being used by ponies who actually emulate the true power of the artifacts. The Princesses were acting outside of their niche when they used the EoH, so they did not function properly, like how a Bionicle wearing the wrong mask cannot use its full power. The Princesses had to find a pony who emulated pure magic, because only such a pony could be the 6th element, and truly understand the EoH. But their first attempts at this failed. Starswirl the bearded and Sunset Shimmer, while good at magic, were simply not destined to understand the EoH. If there weren't something beyond cutie marks, why couldn't these other star pupils figure out the EoH? The answer is destiny. Despite Starswirl and Sunset having the duty to serve as ponies who are good at magic, they could not utilise the most powerful magic of all. No amount of knowledge and study was enough. So cutie marks alone do not define a whole pony's path. There is something more, and that something is destiny. So clearly, there is a distinction in Equestria between destiny and duty, despite the fact that it is unacknowledged. But where does that leave us? ~The Big Picture~ So, we have established that there is a difference between duty and destiny in Equestria. So what? So, it adds a whole new layer to Equestrian society. When you make the distinction between a grander destiny versus a mundane duty, the story has a whole new element of "where will their cutie mark lead them?" or "what great things can we expect from this simple pony?" This distinction also adds to the idea that everypony has a purpose. Even if a pony doesn't have some grand arc, or big involvement, they still have a purpose. If you simply stick with cutie marks, and that's it, it kind of removes some depth from the characters. But if you accept that their is something beyond simply pulling a plough, or bucking apples, the whole thing acquires a new level of awe and detail. In summary, the distinction between duty vs. destiny takes us even deeper. It becomes even more clear that in Equestria, everypony has a reason for existing. One point Digibrony makes is that being bound to a cutie mark would, in a realistic situation, result in some ponies just being screwed. But if you accept that there is something beyond the cutie mark, that problem vanishes. It is a very liberating notion when we accept that everypony has a purpose. I don't get the whole opposition to determinism in our society. Isn't it good to believe that everypony has a reason for existing? That nothing is without purpose? That is why I love the notions of duty and destiny. It means that there is something more... something beyond us. And when you find that meaning, life just seems so much more awesome. You get a whole new eye for existence. If we accept that all things have purpose, it can breed notions of tolerance and understanding. If we accept something greater, we become a step closer to knowing that existence really is a stunning work of art... With everypony playing their part in the symphony of life, and accepting that everypony has a major role, we come that much closer to a transcendent Harmony, and greater Peace. What are your thoughts everypony? I know this was an enormous waffle, but I had a lot to say. I look forward to reading your ideas and reactions!
  24. BalanceBrony

    Love and Tolerance! Right?

    Love and tolerance! The battlecry of Bronies everywhere, and the moral high ground which we argue is but one reason why the show is great. It's covered numerous different times in the various episodes. But there is one place where this message seems to fall short: Villain episodes. Any episode where a villain comes into play, we see the show's so-called message completely shot down. In the Nightmare Moon arc, Nightmare Moon had to be cleansed of the force which corrupted her. But in this case, I will say that this was acceptable. Whatever was influencing her turned her into a tyrant, and with tyrants you need to be forceful. No problem here. I just didn't want anypony saying "What about Nightmare Moon... Derrr." Discord... I have loads to say about him. He is actually going to be granted a thread of his own. But for our purposes here, I only need to point out the what here. The how, why, and should will be elsewhere. But the what is this. For having a different lifestyle and paradigm, he had only two possible paths. He could stay true to himself, and be imprisoned for ever and/or forced to reform, or he could change his own nature. It sure is tolerance to hate somepony for their lifestyle and sense of humour. The Changelings and Chrysalis... These guys are forced by their nature to feed on love. It is injustice to take away their natural right to self-preservation. No attempt was made to try and reach a compromise. They were simply banished for something they couldn't help. This is on par with various civil rights and social issues which I won't detail, but we all know how this kind of thing would be considered wrong in today's society, without at least trying to find a middle ground. So, given these notable examples, what do you guys think? Do you think these episodes have kind of undermined the show's message a bit? Do you agree that injustice is really this prominent in an otherwise great society? Now, let's have discussion!