Saturday, April 23, 2011

What is Existence?

What is existence?

Does Santa Claus exist?
People always say Santa doesn't exist, but how come we can see him every December. We can google Santa and an old man with white beard in red coat appears.

What is existence?

If our account states we have certain amount of money, does our money exist? If all the people in the world were to withdraw their money in one moment, certainly the bank won't be able to satisfy our withdrawal. Doesn't that mean our money doesn't exist?

What is existence?
Existence is not Nothing, because Nothing exists and Everything exists.
The moment we think of something, something come into existence, whether that something is real or not.
Therefore, Existence is subjective because something exists to someone might not exist to the others.

Think of a cup in whatever form and design. The cup exists in our mind. The cup exists but it is not concrete.

I think there are two types of existence, mental existence and physical existence. Either one is as real as the other.
Mental existence is an idea. We can think of an idea as crazy as Santa Claus.
Physical existence is a concrete object: a cup, the computer in front of us, etc.

The computer in front of us. We know it is concrete because we can see it, we also know it exist in our mind because we know the idea of the computer. But if we close our eyes and stop thinking about the computer, do we deny the existence of the computer? Will the computer cease to exist?
The computer is still concrete and is still in front of us whether we think of it or not. But how can we know the statement is true or not if we do not think of it?
The moment we stop thinking about the computer, whether it is physically exist or concrete, the computer cease to exist.

Existence is not whether something is concrete or not.
It is not whether something is real or not.
Existence happens.

Existence happens at only one moment, and one moment only.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Philosophical Question

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

It's an interesting philosophical question.
One might immediately answer, "Yes!" without much thinking.
To answer the question, we should define what sound is. Sound is mechanical vibration transmitted by an object. Hence, when the tree falls, it will certainly make a huge vibration.

But does it make a sound?

Every atoms in our body vibrate, but we can't hear it. In order for us to call something a sound, it has to able to be heard as well. If the tree falls and no one hears it, then the sound doesn't exist!

So far, the explanation is quite technical. Any physicist can answer it, how does this question philosophical?

Above all, I think the question tackles not just merely the sound, but existence. How can we say something exist? If we were to modify the question to be:

If Jengtu had lived in Beijing in 980 C.E but there is no record of him and no one knows him now, does Jengtu exist?

How can he exist if there is no trace of him? The only reason we know Jesus, Michelangelo, and all those dead people exist because we have records and traces of them. If we don't have any trace, then certainly Jengtu doesn't exist. Jengtu might have existed, but right now he does not exist.

It seems that we have reached the end of our conclusion.
A philosopher should not so easily satisfy.
A philosopher should follow both his reasoning and intuition and gut.

Something is not quite right in the question:

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

How can someone ask such question?
In order for someone to ask this question, somebody must have known a tree is falling. If we know a tree is falling, that means there is someone around the forest, isn't it?
How can you know a tree is falling without being there?
Even though you say they are just all inside you mind, you still is inside your mind in order for you to know.
Hence, the question is invalid.

Does the conclusion make sense?
One day, someone walk around the forest and saw a fallen tree. He was not present when the tree was falling, yet he knows that the tree fell.
Then this statement contradicts my previous argument leading to me concluding the invalidity of the question.

In the end, I still don't have an answer to the question.
What do I mean?
The depth of a philosophical questions lie in the limitless of arguments one might come up with to support one's view. It may seem I already have the answer to some, but I have no doubt one day, someone or even myself may come up with a counter argument to disagree with myself.

There really is no answer to the questions like:
What is life?
What is my purpose?
Does God exist?

The best we can do is to believe and to have faith.
"If you do, fair is the prize, and great is the hope, and it is in that hope I can go happily to my death."

Ironically, Plato's statement is not a truth.
We can only believe him.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Good and Evil

In the beginning,
God created Light and Darkness.
God created Good and Evil.
For there will be no Light without Darkness, nor Good without Evil.

Thus, Evil is not an absence of Good.
Evil is the opposite of Good.
Good and Evil are at war since the very beginning of time.
Good is the beginning, and the beginning was good.
Evil always finds her way to corrupt the Good.
Good always falls for Evil, for Good is good.
Good always loves and trusts, even to Evil.
Good is pure and innocent.

Balance must be kept.
God intervenes again and again.
God helps Good.
But Good is too innocent.
Good always begins but always loses to Evil.
Again and again.

God intervenes no more.
Good must grow up.
God sends Grace to Good.
Grace will guide Good.
Grace will encourage Good.
Grace will teach Good.
Grace will protect Good.
Grace will fight for Good.
Grace will stay with Good.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Being Aware of What You're Being Taught

Once in awhile, we will encounter some teachers with a very strong opinion in design.

They'll tell you not to do certain stuff:
Do not use colors, you are not good at it. Keep the colors to minimum!
Design is not like waiting under an apple tree and wait the apple to fall on you head for inspiration.
You cannot do this. It's not practical.

I see some of my friends are pinned down by those authority. They are weak-minded.
It is not the case whether the teachers are right or wrong, I don't believe there is absolute right or wrong, especially in field as ambiguous as design, it is the matter whether we understand the reason behind those comments or not.
In a way, if we took it literally, it seems that they are telling us what to do; but the true reason behind those comments is their concern on our grades. The teachers are worry that their students were unable to meet the deadline or that they will not do good.
The teachers wanted to ease their teaching as well as to protect us, the students, from mistakes.

This kind of teaching possess a very dangerous outcome of producing monotonic graduates, which it does each year with a few exceptional students, not more than 5%.

So what should we do as a student?
We should be aware of this issue. We should understand the reason behind those comments. It is crucial to do so, because once we are aware of this we can try not to get caught in this authority. We will not be pinned down even though we do as what we are taught to do.