Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course


Final Post -Kyle M



Sludge Water? – Kyle

What did I intend to do? Well, I wanted to have a simple day and just have fun and get some sun. I was invited by a close friend of mine to go onto his boat onto a local river over the weekend. I felt that wake boarding and being on the boat, would lead to some sort of aesthetic experience, however it did not go the way I had planned. So this leads into my “what actually happened portion”. So what did actually happen? Well, sludge water happened. While sitting on the boat at the peak of the day, baking away in mercy to the suns rays, i found myself looking at the water. This icy cold heaven I wanted so badly, something to cool off; until I looked closer at this frozen hell. Sludge, floaties, and the odd little fish swept past the boat as a peered into the water. I could see the bottom, yet only see more things I dare not mention. A bead of sweat races down my back faster than I could react, it was a scorcher out there. I thought about what it would feel like jumping into this nice cold water, something to cool myself off in. But I found myself, to my utmost discomfort, not able to take the leap in, even though I knew I would feel immediate relief, my knowledge of the after math about how I would be covered in this sludge and slime would change that instant relief into instant regret.

I got something out of this unforgivably hot weekend on the boat. That I can live in the moment, when it comes to hot summer days and gross waters. I tried to live in the moment, and tried slowly submerging myself into that icy hell, I did not think about what it looked like, if I looked good to the others on the boat, or what bystanders may have seen; I wanted to cool down, and I did just that. I wanted to live solely in that moment, be that “Cool” dude on a hot summer.



Knowledge final – Kyle

So comes a conclusion to another unit, however unlike the last, I still feel more confused yet fine with it than before. Last unit on my Time vs Change, I was really lost in time and had no idea what to make of it all and just scrambled myself to the end, while here, in epistemology, I find myself with answers that fit me, and I’m strangely happy with them. Through the time I spent researching this topic on Knowledge and how it leads to blissful ignorance, I hit many road bumps, yet overcame them all I think.

I started off with a reading, as most would. It was tough, all the readings I’ve done throughout Philosophy haven’t been easy to read and digest like most articles I might come across. But this one kinda stood out to me, I could really understand it and indulge in it further than I would have thought possible. So when I started everything, when I found that blissful ignorance is knowledge in sorts, I started with the idea of that knowledge was a weakness, a weakness of will in fact. From a paper I read here, they said that;

Joseph did A rather than B, even though he was convinced that B was the better thing to do all things considered.

That really stood out to me because, when put into my mind, I can see that Joseph ate cookies rather than an apple, even though he knew apples were better all things considered. That right there was where all this started. I will mention later how I’m not totally answering the question as many others may have, because I state that it’s a weakness, but how do we get it? I’ll explain that at the end, in the discussions. So I couldn’t figure out how to state that knowledge was a weakness of will because they can’t really work as one, they are separate from one another. So while talking with some friends, they told me I was thinking that knowledge was blissful ignorance, and I was really. Explained further, Joseph was happy that he knew apples were healthy, but those cookies tasted to good, so he ate them. He knew that eating cookies, even though they taste good, they would eventually lead to something negative, while eating apples, wouldn’t. So Joseph was blissful, or happy to ignore his knowledge of how apples are better than cookies. Sure that’s a really simple one, how do cookies and apples lead to everything about our knowledge you might ask, well, it might. The saying that ignorance is bliss, states from here that;

Not knowing something is often more comfortable than knowing it.

Note: This proverb resembles “What you don’t know cannot hurt you.”

However that may be comforting in the short run, long-term that will hurt you more than anything. Because back to the cookies, I may have never known that cookies were bad for me, or any food was bad for me, and I just ate based off of my childhood taste buds of pure chocolate and sugars, however long run, I wouldn’t last. So my own adaptation to “Ignorance is bliss” goes more like this, found here;

Knowing that something is harmful, yet ignoring it for personal or a greater gain in blissful ignorance

So put simply, knowing that driving a car is bad for the earth, or leaving the lights on during daylight, or letting the water run while you shave, some things we all might do everyday that we know are bad, but put those bad thoughts behind the fact that yes, driving a car to school is so much easier than walking, and that leaving a light on makes me feel comfortable and safe, and its too much work to keep turning off and on the tap while shaving, because in reality, without me, there is nothing; so why not pamper myself and skip some things and be happy about it.

So where did that knowledge come from? How did I know that eating cookies is bad for me, and how letting the water run while shaving is bad? Experience through my senses. If I didn’t eat a whole dozen cookies in one go, and realize, “hey that doesn’t feel good anymore” I would probably still be eating cookies by the dozen. Sure I could have read something online how cookies aren’t good or that eating a dozen is bad, but that comes down to that writers senses and stomach, because everyone is different, and our senses are flawed. Everything we do is based on what we can see, feel and touch. Because if I was blind, I wouldn’t be able to see as much as Joseph might be able to, thus making him more knowledgeable than I am. So everything we know and learn for sure would be through our senses. Yes we learn history through textbooks, but the textbooks are written from the victors, if the textbooks were written from the defeated they would be written differently teaching us something totally different. So that just comes down to trusting in something or someone that they are telling a partial truth, because somethings we will never be able to sense; like history. But this still left somethings unanswered, like where does faith fit in, or where can something we need an object to enhance our senses like, glasses or a microscope fit into our experiences through senses?

I don’t have the answer, and I can say whole heartily that I’m perfectly fine with it, I can go tomorrow and the day after not knowing, and that’s how I like it, why stress over something I’ll never figure out. I figured out over this unit that Knowledge is gained through our senses, but it can be ignored for our own greater good to make us happy, and just knowing that makes me happy.




Ignorance of a day off – Kyle

My goal on this day off differs from my topic a little and more works on that knowledge comes through experiences. Now while talking to people I quickly noticed I didn’t really see their point of view because mine was flooding my mind with questions, and I quickly wanted to see if I could learn something new without senses? So obviously I cant just press a button and turn them off but I did something like that. I wore a blind fold to try to remove my sight, I wore soundproof headphones to remove sound (even though the thing I was trying to learn did not use sound), I then put on thick gloves to attempt to remove my feel, now obviously I could still feel because I can feel the gloves I was wearing, but Its the best I could have done next to actually numbing my hands. Now I grabbed a pen, or what seemed like a pen? Because I couldn’t feel or see it, so really I might have just been sitting there doing nothing for all I know. But for what I was thinking about, I wanted to learn how to do pen tricks, something I’ve never been able to do but have always wanted to.

I achieved nothing; when it comes to pen tricks, however when It came to knowledge I achieved it. I learnt that knowledge is something you must learn with your senses. Now obviously if I had no senses, I wouldn’t know much, nor would that be really possible to lose them all like that. However to counter that, I slowly removed each restraint after about an hour, for a total of around four hours, to see what sense I could learn this trick without. It came down to sight. I could live without hearing much, I’m already partially deaf in my left ear so I know what not being able to hear limits me to, and pen tricks is not that. Same to as feel, sure gloves don’t remove my feel but they do limit it, but that’s not a sense I needed for pen tricks as much as sight did. Without being able to see I really limited myself because I don’t even know if I was doing anything, for all I know I was holding a phone and flipping it all day. So in the end I learnt a little about my senses.

However what more would senses effect in my day to day life and learning, and if I had my senses heightened somehow would I be able to learn things people can’t?

I tried to learn something foreign to me while last time I played something I play a lot, so it was something new my senses weren’t used to.



Knowledge is Blissful Ignorance – Kyle

I started off my reading blog post with a discussion one because the reading I read wasn’t fully what I wanted. I felt that when talking to classmates and other people to get their input on my topic it could further my knowledge of my topic. Also I wanted to quickly mention that when I stated in my other post that “Ignorance is bliss” that after reading what that really means in the world and on other sites, it turned out that was not what I meant at all. When I said that Ignorance was bliss, I mean that when you have the knowledge of something (that something is either good or bad) you are being blissful or happy to ignore it for personal gain. There is a version of that saying where you’re ignoring it because you don’t know what it is, you don’t have the knowledge, but I’m saying that you know what it is and you’re purposely ignoring it for gain.

Now onto the discussions I had;

So I started out with Knowledge is a weakness, however it quickly formed into a weakness of will. A little while later I soon saw myself and others told me that I was thinking about how ignorance of knowledge leads to bliss.

I talked to many people about this but to name a few, I talked with Shem, Liam, and Jess, about how we gain knowledge through our experiences, and senses and without them, there would be no knowledge. So to say if someone was blind, they wouldn’t be able to see the world we see, so would they have less knowledge then? And then I spoke with just Liam alone about how humans are curios beings and how we strive to know more, but is that good? Because if we know more, there would be more we would see wrong in the world and just more to ignore to live our lives. While talking to people helped me out, I feel it still just left me knowing that I don’t know enough nor do I want to know enough because why, why should I know everything?

While talking to Shem in more detail, we came to the conclusion that knowledge is everywhere and anything but it cant be passed down you need to see it and feel it to believe it. Yes there is math classes and history classes, but are those fully factually correct? Not always. If you read a textbook about German History in WW1 from an Americans point of view, it would be very different from a Germans point of view, if they were both written around the same time. So even though we are taught to believe these things about history or other things, they aren’t always true because we cant see it to believe it for ourselves. However this brought up religion, and we cant see or feel a God, so is God fake? However I brought up that religion comes down to faith, and there are things we cant see or feel but we just feel and see them in our heart, so making faith a strong point in the world and many things around faith. But that soon became to difficult it comprehend because where does faith and knowledge draw its lines or do they overlap?

So how does this all link to my question that how ignorance of knowledge leads to bliss? I don’t know. Simple as that, I talked to many others not listed here, for various reasons. But it came down to personal opinion and personal bias about what they had to say about this. When I told people that we ignore things everyday because either its to out of our way to get done or that we simply chose to ignore it, that was the ignorance that leads to bliss; they all seemed to agree. So the discussions I had were great and furthered my very small pool of knowledge, which I am grateful to have.



Ignorance is Bliss – Kyle

So my knowledge question started off by hearing someone say that knowledge was good, but is it? No. Simple as that in my mind. I couldn’t see that knowing something could be good, everything we do is for personal gain, maybe not all, but many of the things we do nowadays is greedy or for personal gain. Sure if I know how to do something through an experience it could be knowledge, however who says I use that knowledge for good, I can apply is wrongly. I got this idea while talking to Alex, he was talking about Wisdom, and how we can know something and know how to use it, but apply it wrongly for personal gain. Now this got me really confused because what does that even mean. Put simply, from an post found here, it shows that:

  1. Joseph did a rather than b, even though he was convinced that b was the better thing to do all things considered.

So replacing a and b; I know that apples are better than a chocolate bar, but I like chocolate, so I ate the chocolate bar. This is a very very simple example of what I’m trying to accomplish, but its a base. Now I could apply this to many other things, like I know driving a car is bad for the environment, yet I do it anyways. There are so many things we have learnt throughout our lives that we know to be factually proven that we have chosen to ignore for greater gain personally. With all that said, this is just showing we have a Weakness of Will, but the question is about knowledge. So when talking to Adam and Liam, they told me that really what I’m saying is Ignorance is Bliss. So broken down I see that being ignorant and ignoring something we know makes us blissful, or as the dictionary says it is having “perfect happiness; great joy.” Now that sounds great, that knowing we know something only to ignore it for personal gain.



A day off, without change? -Kyle

What if one day things everywhere ground to a halt? What if birds froze in mid-flight, people froze in mid-sentence, and planets and subatomic particles alike froze in mid-orbit? What if all change, throughout the entire universe, completely ceased for a period of, say, one year? Is such a thing possible? Can there be time without change?
I talk about this in another post located here!

In class the other day I had the chance to talk to a couple people and find some common insights in the group talk this is what I found!
Tali raised a question about how space and the universe around us would affect us. Now at first glance, this question doesn’t have much common themes with time vs change, however through more discussion it turned out to have a very startling similarity. We talked about how if the universe would affect us, it would have to grow (for us to notice and affect our earth), however the universe growing, would that be a change or was it just always as it was? Brings us to the big bang theory, but we ignored it and kept moving. Planets grow old and die over millions of years and turn into super giants, red planets and black holes, so planets do change. It got really confusing but how we managed to kinda pull everything into one, we pretty much summed up a question that if everything were to freeze (like no more changing), like my first question states, would the universe keep growing? Like where would new Planets come from and could they come into existent without the essence of change? Or do they just need time? Now leaving us totally confused and no idea where to turn we looked over to Natalie and her question; was do we create our own meaning to life. That question  alone was difficult to understand, and we couldn’t think of how time vs change would effect a meaning to life asides the fact that would your view on life change through time, and if nothing changed would the meaning of life be one thing to everyone? But it wasn’t clear to us, and we didn’t find much similarities between these questions unfortunately.

New/old questions arises;
So the new questions that arise for me was, would the universe still grow without change? Or would planets come into existence without change because time still moves. Now this is a new question and an unanswered one to myself, something I will post about in the future perhaps. My original question is still there, I have yet to find an answer that would satisfy myself enough to say yes I like that.

Now to my day off!

For my day off I decided to take an hour out of my day, to stare into a wall, just a normal wall, no windows, no paintings, just my blue bedroom wall. Then after that painstaking hour was over, I then played some games with my friends which was around an hour, however, that hour went by so fast I had almost thought someone changed my clock! So it came to my attention that, maybe time isn’t there, maybe its just what we perceive it to be? It is selfish to think that time wouldn’t be there without us, but maybe not, because when I think about it, does a daisy know its been about a year and it knows its fully bloomed? Or is it just growing like a daisy should, it doesn’t matter how long it takes, it doesn’t care; that’s just how it is. We put a number onto time really, but does the actual essence have to be there? Would time and change be separate? Or are they the same and we just look at them two different ways? I really couldn’t tell you, at least now I can’t.



Time’s a changing thing -Kyle Meyer

Can there be time without change?

This pretty much sums up my question perfectly;

What if one day things everywhere ground to a halt? What if birds froze in mid-flight, people froze in mid-sentence, and planets and subatomic particles alike froze in mid-orbit? What if all change, throughout the entire universe, completely ceased for a period of, say, one year? Is such a thing possible?

This was taken from an article that can be found here, and this question got me wondering, is this possible, and if it was, what would happen?

In fact, if it’s possible for there to be a period of time without change, then it may well be that a million years have passed since you finished reading the last sentence.

This question about time and change goes really deep, it goes from just a could there be time without change, all the way to time travel and the universe expanding through time, with or without it. Which really caused more questions for myself, because what is time? Again from the same site, a little ways down they mention;

For, the thinking goes, if there could be a period of time without change, then it follows that time could exist without any events to fill it; but if, on the other hand, there could not be a period of time without change, then it must be that time exists only if there are some events to fill it.

So there are two sides to this time vs change. Something I need to dig deeper for, something I need to look back in time for, if there even is time at all. “Aristotle and others (including, especially, Leibniz) have argued that time does not exist independently of the events that occur in time” so that being said and widely agreed upon that time will keep going, even if there is no change. So finally, I found an answer, or one that some people thing would be correct, that time can keep moving if everything stopped.

“Time is like an empty container into which things and events may be placed; but it is a container that exists independently of what (if anything) is placed in it.”

Well there I have it, time will keep moving even if I stopped changing, however, that raises another question, what is change? For example, if I cut myself, technically that would be a change, I did not have that cut a few seconds before. The cells in my body are changing and replicating every second, that’s also change. My fingers on this very keyboard are moving from their original positions, that would also be change, and your eyes, moving back and fourth and changing, your pupils my dilate and so on, so would there be a way to stop changing?

However, that is more for me to read, more to understand, time is endless, but would change be endless as well? Many questions came up in my head while reading this, because as I mentioned earlier, time travel and the ever expanding universe is also another time and change aspect of life. So I think for now, I have a comfortable understanding about what a Time with Change would kinda look like.

(Anything that is in block quotations are from the same site, found here)



Torture for our greater good? -Kyle Meyer

As the economist says;

IN EVERY war, information is a weapon. In a “war against terrorism”, where the adversary wears no uniform and hides among the civilian population, information can matter even more. But does that mean that torture can sometimes be justified to extract information?

This age old argument is about weather or not torture is really good or bad, moral or immoral, and is it really working.

There are two obvious sides to this argument, being with or against the use or torture;

  1. Torture gets information
  2. Information saves lives

Therefore, Torture saves lives

Now, with that argument torture seems great, its a valid argument and it seems like it would help, we can find and stop terrorism, get the information we need, and put an end to any threats.

27,000 people in 25 countries last October, more than one out of three people in nine of those countries, including America, considered a degree of torture acceptable if it saved lives.

It seems as if torture seems pretty good. People seem to find that if it saves lives, it is indeed worth it, worth the ethical torture to the person torturing, worth the risk of the information being false or a trap. Torture can been seen in two ways though;

  1. Torture is morally wrong
  2. Information can be false

Therefore, Torture is useless

They’ll say anything;

If anyone was put under torture, you would say anything just to make the pain stop, true or false, who would be the wiser? Yes torture has its gains being that if someone is hiding within the civilian crowd, we can find that said person before they can cause any damage.

The answer in international law is categorical: no. As laid down in treaties such as the Geneva Conventions, the UN Convention against Torture and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the ban on torture or any cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment is absolute, even in times of war. Along with genocide, torture is the only crime that every state must punish, no matter who commits it or where

Truth, Validity, and Soundness?

There is truth to both sides of this argument, being both moral and immoral, that is why this is an argument. Both sides have valid points with or against the use of torture, therefore both the sides to this argument is sound. So I guess what it really comes down to, is personal opinion, because both sides have their facts.Those facts are both proven, that being that torture can be justified because in some cases, torture led to us finding and stopped terrorism. However there are cases that proved to be useless and we just ended up torturing someone for nothing.

Again as the economist says in another article;

On this point he is backed up by John Kiriakou, a former CIA operative who has struggled with the issue. Mr Kiriakou has said that the information gained during Mr Zubaydah’s “enhanced” interrogation “disrupted a number of attacks, maybe dozens of attacks“. The author Mark Bowden also stumbled upon a benefit of torture when writing about the American team that cracked Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s inner circle.

With that said, there are still times where it did not work, like in the Guardian;

The report finds that CIA detainees subjected to what were then called “enhanced interrogation techniques” either produced no intelligence, or they “fabricated information, resulting in faulty intelligence”

So there you have it folks, sometimes it works, and sometimes it produces nothing.