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#411552 - 11/12/08 11:13 PM Knowing that you know nothing
jkdwarrior Offline
Member

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 341
Loc: belfast, Antrim, Ireland
If you can accept that the only true wisdom is in knowing that you know nothing, then surely it would be truely foolish to believe that we get wiser as we get older. Yet the vast majority of older people feel they are wiser than those who are younger.
Furthermore if you accept that Socrates was right, knowing that you know nothing could mean open mindedness. Yet the older generations seem to be more "set in their ways", or closed to new experiences, and therefore more foolish. In my experience, most older people are fools (as are most of the others), but some are light years beyond myself in terms of wisdom. Most very young children on the other hand are open to almost anything and therefore wiser than us all. I can see quite clearly that my children are wiser than me, they can instantly forgive me for shouting or punishing whereas I would need a few minutes to forgive somebody for the same. Is this because I've "learned" more which has made me more foolish? Or is wisdom something you either have or you don't?
If knowledge increases with age, we may learn how to go about our daily lives more effectively, but this may be what makes us fools.
I don't want to offend any of the older members, but then again if this does offend then that is really my point, a truly wise person would not get offended. If we believe we are wise
then we cannot see that we are full of crap

Am I simply too young to see?
Controversial eh?
What do you think?
_________________________
Sticks n stones'll break my bones, but if I land the first one, you're in trouble!

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#411553 - 11/13/08 10:22 AM Re: Knowing that you know nothing [Re: jkdwarrior]
DeadlyKnuckles Offline
Member

Registered: 07/26/08
Posts: 130
Loc: United States, Florida
It's not a matter of age, it's a matter of experience.

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#411554 - 11/21/08 10:36 PM Re: Knowing that you know nothing [Re: jkdwarrior]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772
I think what Socrates was pointing out, was that it's not so much the quantity of knowledge that is accumulated which determines wisdom - but more the increased awareness of what is NOT known.

you can be totally unaware of things that you don't know.
-or-
you can be aware of things that you don't know.


The goal is to increase the scope of awareness of things that you don't know.

It's sortof like the process of Scientific thought: asking and pursuing the answer to one question, opens up a dozen new questions that you were previously unaware of to ask.


...as oppossed to being satisfied with not knowing the answer to the first question asked, nor pursuing the answer.

In that light, I think wisdom/knowledge isn't a noun, it's a verb. it's the pursuit itself that defines it, not it's end goal of obtaining it.


...but I don't know for sure, and my opinion is subject to change.

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#411555 - 11/23/08 09:41 PM Re: Knowing that you know nothing [Re: Ed_Morris]
jkdwarrior Offline
Member

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 341
Loc: belfast, Antrim, Ireland
So with this perspective, children would again be wiser than adults since they seem to understand that there is no chance that they could know even a small percentage of what there is to know. Then again it could also mean that you either have wisdom or you don't and that you can have it regardless of age.
Do you think that as we get older we tend to believe we a know a greater proportion of all that is or that we tend to understand that all the information we've gathered is infinitesimal when compared to what there is to learn? In my experience, the vast majority are part of the former school of thought, but the minute latter group are extremely wise.

I took Socrates' expression as meaning that knowledge leads to thoughts, which cloud perceptions. For example, if you learn to read body language, then you'll be analyzing the movements of others and therefore using a smaller part of your brain to pick up what they have to say, hence your judgement of everything will be poorer since it will be based on previous experience and not on what is happening right now. The only true wisdom in this case is in having a clear mind, or that knowing that one's opinion is extremely prone to bias. What do you think?
You said that its the pursuit of wisdom itself that defines it, in this case then it is possible to gather knowledge and still be wise. I would like to have a definitive answer as to what was implied, but then again this may close my mind in a sense. If any of you see Socrates about, be sure to ask him for me.
The thing is, I've been a knowledge gatherer for most of my life, but several years ago, I began stripping away my knowledge so that I can behave spontaneously believing that wisdom is a paradox. i.e. to be "wise" one must understand that there is no such thing as wisdom and that we are all fools, but your view has helped me to try and reconsider. Maybe I can gather knowledge as long as I understand not that it's all rubbish as I do at the minute, but that as long as I remain open to everything else, then it is OK to do so.

This is probably just one of those riddles that there is a whole bunch of possible answers for, but we all take what applies most to us from it. Philosophy can be fun, but it never seems to get us anywhere.
_________________________
Sticks n stones'll break my bones, but if I land the first one, you're in trouble!

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#411556 - 11/29/08 12:04 PM Re: Knowing that you know nothing [Re: jkdwarrior]
Cord Offline
Prolific

Registered: 01/13/05
Posts: 11399
Loc: Cambridge UK.
jkd, your argument is weak because clearly children are dumb as a bag of hammers.
What they do have however, is a thirst for experience and an open mind.
Ironicaly, it is this drive for knowledge that leads to a self defined subconcious satiation, and from there the mind can easily become less open to new experiences/ideas, as everything new gets filtered through what has gone before.

Kids are not smarter than adults, but adults are mentaly more lazy and complacent.
_________________________
Don't let the door hit ya' where the good lord split ya'
http://cord.mybrute.com

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#411557 - 12/03/08 09:09 AM Re: Knowing that you know nothing [Re: Cord]
underdog Offline
Veteran

Registered: 09/18/04
Posts: 1270
Loc: Mansfield, MA U.S.A.
I find the arguement thin, as are most generalizations of this type. Further, the "arguement from intimidation" kind of stiffles dialogue. The arguement says: if I agree with you, fine. If I disagree (or take offense) then that is proof that I am so inferior that you couldn't possibly explain things to me. So that leaves me with the choice of accepting that I am closed minded and inferior, or being too dumb to understand why I must be closed minded and inferior. Some choice!

Personally, I am an optimist and I believe that whatever powers out there that watch and govern the human state, like us. The superlatives: goodness, wisdom, bravery, beauty are all attainable. Our situation is not hopeless or helpless. There is a lot that can be learned while looking at those shadows in the cave. We don't need an Olympian perspective to be complete, self fullfillled human beings. It just means that no matter how long we live or how long we search, this wonderful life will always have something new to offer. What a treat!
_________________________
The older I get, the better I was!

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#411558 - 12/04/08 02:15 AM Re: Knowing that you know nothing [Re: jkdwarrior]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772
philosophy is just an exercise that may or may not materialize into something tangibly useful. like alot of other things, the exercise isn't to find a right or wrong, but just a personal balance. maybe similar to libido: Too little philosophical thinking and you might feel 'empty' in some regard...yet too much and it could turn into a habit of "mental masterbation".

Plus everyone goes thru phases in their life - ever have the phase where you are really interested in personal psychology? so you delve into finding out what this and that suppossedly means and find out how messed up you are? lol. You go into it thinking you are going to learn more about yourself, like a first car, checking under the hood and fiddling with stuff to see how it works - but thinking about self-psychology too much causes the opposite effect: you start getting overly self conscious, self doubting, and maybe even depressed or withdrawn. luckily it didn't last long, but I went thru a spell of that early in adulthood... not to mention the disaster my ambitious curiosity caused to my first car.


Same thing with philosophy - balance.

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#411559 - 12/05/08 11:52 PM Re: Knowing that you know nothing [Re: Ed_Morris]
jkdwarrior Offline
Member

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 341
Loc: belfast, Antrim, Ireland
Sorry underdog, I didn't mean to limit your responses as such. The optimist's perspective is certainly a great one, and the only one that can make us happy.

Ed I agree, what you say sounds true to me, but I feel you misunderstand me. Self psychology is the opposite of my argument. What I mean is "don't think", just act. More or less all of our thinking is severely handicapped and limited since it all comes from our previous experiences. What I mean is that it is possible to live out our existence without being the driver of it (not an argument for laziness), we can just enjoy the ride and therefore take nothing seriously.
I feel that our state of peace and happiness is the quality of our lives (and our deepest desire) and that everything else is of secondary importance. If you're an optimist, then you are happy and have therefore got the right idea and your actions will most likely be in accordance with your desires.
Many philosophers and medidators however think too much, and drive themselves into madness, as you said Ed. I feel that this is the greatest danger of meditation, but one that happens far too often when people don't know what they're doing. Those that do however, and have being doing it for a long time, repeatedly show higher levels of happiness and satisfaction than lay people (on average), I feel that this is because we can learn to act and not think, therefore we take nothing seriously and are free to be optimistic, in agreement with the above couple of posts.

Cord your response is self contradictory.
_________________________
Sticks n stones'll break my bones, but if I land the first one, you're in trouble!

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#411560 - 12/06/08 09:24 AM Re: Knowing that you know nothing [Re: jkdwarrior]
underdog Offline
Veteran

Registered: 09/18/04
Posts: 1270
Loc: Mansfield, MA U.S.A.
I have no problem with mind of no mind acting without the thnking. I train for hours to get there.

I have no problem with thinking, since I teach and train people all the time on my job, I appreciate someone who can think and stay awake at the same time.

I have no problem with accepting my place in the universe as an imperfect human being. I am not defective because I can not compete with gods, and angels, and titans. Of course I do not know what the Olympians know, nor do I need to.

Flesh this out with something practical. I am an older female. For me to train, and in my case, that is exclusively with men, that would be the equivalent of you trying to train with titans, the half men, half gods of the Greeks. If I did not accept myself, and tried to compare myself, benchmark myself against men 20-40 years younger than me, I'd be sick. I can no longer match their balance, grace, flexability, and strength. However, I don't beat up on myself. I accept myself and accept what I know, don't know and what is no longer in my reach. I've made a delicate art of being "the underdog" i.e. I've tried to make it honorable. I actually train with and teach men who can do things I no longer can do. I accept myself, and surprisingly, they also accept me. Last Friday, a young Shodan asked for help from me to get the key lock with his legs. I showed him two ways to get it. I showed him how I get it, and another way that I can no longer use because I don't have the flexability in my knees anymore to do it.

We both felt good about the experience. If I dwelled on being inferior and not knowing things, I would have to be depressed all the time and give up karate because I will never be good. Instead, I have the wisdom of self acceptance. I am worthy of positive regard for myself, by others and by my creator, just because I am.

I hope this isn't confusing. I just wanted to explain the rationale for a positive outlook and show how self doubt is not a requisite for open mindedness or wisdom.

I'm actually a religious person, having studied for the ministry and I'm trying to avoid religious references here because they are never universal and too often provocative. However, having studied with folks of interesting diversity, I suspect that if you talk to the religious people of your choosing, you may find a brighter perspective explained in a way that is more congruent with your own way of thinking.
_________________________
The older I get, the better I was!

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#411561 - 12/07/08 12:22 PM Re: Knowing that you know nothing [Re: jkdwarrior]
Cord Offline
Prolific

Registered: 01/13/05
Posts: 11399
Loc: Cambridge UK.
Quote:

Self psychology is the opposite of my argument. What I mean is "don't think", just act. More or less all of our thinking is severely handicapped and limited since it all comes from our previous experiences. What I mean is that it is possible to live out our existence without being the driver of it (not an argument for laziness), we can just enjoy the ride and therefore take nothing seriously........




You put a lot of thought into that didnt you

Quote:

Cord your response is self contradictory.




No it isnt, but feel free to expound on why you see it as such
_________________________
Don't let the door hit ya' where the good lord split ya'
http://cord.mybrute.com

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