Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course

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Jamie’s Plato’s Cave: Post Secondary Sky

PC: Jackson Parsons Surfing occured!

PC: Jackson Parsons
Surfing occured!

I spent this last weekend surfing in Tofino with my boys. Amidst turbulent waves and cold, cold wetsuits, we spent a great deal of time chatting around a roaring fire. The topics ranged from love and identity to (as these things often go), women and adventures. As we were speaking, one thread came up that, for me, sparked how I was going to address this post:

Tofino gave us a new path. In the library of life choices that is available to each of us, a new book was just written and added to the shelf. It’s titled The Surfer, and it describes a man who lives on Vancouver Island, doing artistic endeavors to keep himself financially stable while catching gnarly waves in his copious spare time. The Surfer could be me, in five or ten years. Although the chance is slim that I will fully commit to that path, it became an option, because of my experience this weekend.

There are so many more paths than I could’ve possibly imagined. As long as I’ve been the youngest sibling (read: my entire life, for obvious reasons), of three over-achievers, I’ve been thinking inside a square. The biggest questions have generally been “what universities do I want to apply for?” and “what career will I enjoy doing for a significant portion of my live?” Yet, these days, I am slowly beginning to contemplate choices that are a little larger. These days, the questions are shifting to “how am I going to be happy?” or “if money is freedom, how can I make money so that I am free of financial incentive and can pursue paths for better reasons?” or “can I just live in Tofino and surf every weekend?” It is a paradigm shift that I’m grateful for, and is giving my mind fuel to explore those bigger questions.

PC: Devon Columbus Contemplating life underneath tall trees.

PC: Devon Columbus
Contemplating life underneath tall trees.

Plato’s Cave is an allegory that shows how people can be happy in ignorance, yet will experience greater heights of bliss and fulfillment as they are enlightened of the world. My cave has been the future, and how I can grasp it. I’m only beginning to realize all of the stars, the sun, the sky, the cosmos are all outside of what I always thought I had to do.

 

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Is it okay to be happy? :( (:

WARNING: This $h*! gets real.

The automatic answer to this question is yes, of course it is. Happiness is a foundational goal for all people. Everyone wants to be happy. Happiness is something that people always strive for. The one single goal that remains on people’s minds that forever guides their actions and motives. But how do we know whats okay and not okay to do in order to be happy?

Perhaps viciously murdering puppies gives that one odd person a kick whenever they do it. Or the guy who likes to watch child pornography because it makes him feel like someone different and someone with drive mysterious aspect. This makes him happy. What if murdering others creates a feeling of accomplishment and well-being? Does that make it okay? Where do we draw the line? What if what makes someone truly happy, is the use of drugs? Or is that just a fake source of happiness? It puts a smile on someones face then how is it any less real than watching a funny TV show? What about medication? Antidepressants enhances chemicals in the brain to make it easier for people to be happy. Just because its made my people in different authorized lab coats how does it make it any more reliable and socially practical than the use of drugs? What causes people to get sad anyways and why are some people more sad than others. Do the sadder people get more help from other sources to become happier? What sources are okay and not okay?

Society looks down on drug users and sees them as losers who lost control but the people behind the typical drug users have stories and reasons as to why they are they way they are. Most of them took control and just tried to make themselves happy by using something. The other day I was having an argument with my friend about his drug abuse. I asked him why. Why is the use of drugs so important to you? His answer made me think.


 

Because we’re all hiding from something, people have different ways of coping with things. Drugs are a gateway from all the things that negatively impact you. Yes there is an addiction factor that comes into play. But when you get to that point where you can only rely on mind altering substances, it’s because you’re doing it cause your dope sick. You need that next hit cause it’s the only thing keeping you ‘well’.” 


How can we define being well? If a drug user has a dependency but is living a happy and satisfied life then is that person doing well? If a non-drug user is not dependent on anything but is living a miserable and empty boring life does that make that person live a better and more “well” life than the drug user?


People do what it takes to be happy. That’s why they do it. Whether it is okay and is not okay is up to them. I don’t think someone would do something if they didn’t believe that it was okay. Perhaps something is okay for one person and not for the other. There’s someone who’s happiness and satisfactory comes from the use of heroin. He knows that its gonna be the end of him and that it will destroy whatever aspect of a “normal” life he can have, but he’s okay with it. He’s okay with his life and the way its gonna go. He’s enjoying his current life and what he has and the people in it. I know it’s a tough subject but when you get down to it is it so bad dieing doing something that you love? He’s gonna die happy. Maybe alone, maybe a loser in they eyes of society but he’s gonna die happy and that’s more than most. If your okay with the outcome of whatever you do that makes you happy then fuck it, do it. Live a happy life and do you. Life’s too short to sit around and see if what it takes to make you happy is okay with everyone else. At the end of the day you gotta impress yourself. If impressing yourself means impressing others then do it. If it means pushing the boundaries of society and fighting a fight for yourself, then do it. All in all in the end, its okay to be happy, whatever your happy is.

 
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