The Gates of Hell
Many days and many nights did the biggest ape spend on this strange planet. The planet of moral people who talk often of hell. They had a dress for man, one for married women, one for boys, one for girls. When the priests called to prayers they came, when the priests called to sacrifice they sacrificed. They all woke up at the same time, ate a same time, prayed at the same time. Their lives ruled by a religion under the rhythm of the stars.
-"We do it for this is good", said some.
-"We do it because it's best", said others.
Never did the biggest ape enquire further for he knew they had no more explanation to give.
One day at the market he met a learned man of those people.
"We do it because our fathers did it, and before them our forefathers", said the old man, his voice as dry and leathery as his skin. "Obedience was the primary virtue of our forefathers and what brought them glory and paradise". He paused for a while, appearing to think. "We are nowhere as obedient as they were and for that we suffer, this is the reason for our poverty and wretchedness." And with that the old man raised his eyes, deeply sunken in dark caves, hidden behind the weight of eyebrows too big for the emaciated face.
The biggest ape rose and took his leave, he had nothing to say.
As he was making his way out, a man stood in front of him, unmoved by the lamentations, unstirred by the calls of the priests. There he stood behind his stole.
-"Who is this man?", asked the biggest ape.
-"He is the richest merchant. ", said one.
-"We buy from him because he cheats less", said another, "if only he was more moral like us".
-"If only he would pray like us", lamented a woman.
-"If only he would give some of his money", said a beggar.
-"It pains us that he should go to hell", whispered and old woman.
Hearing the talk the man looked up, locking eyes with the biggest ape.
'If I ever enter a god's hell', said the man, 'I will make sure to do so an a honest man.'
Thus thought Apathustra.
Part 2/5: Humor in the Halls of Academia: A Light-Hearted Look at PhD Life
Here are some humorous and light-hearted "PhD" abbreviations:
- Permanently head Damaged (PhD): A playful nod to the intense intellectual effort involved in earning a PhD.
- Piled higher and Deeper (PhD): A humorous take on the depth and complexity of PhD-level research.
- Patiently hoping for a Degree (PhD): Reflects the long and often uncertain journey towards completing a PhD.
- Probably half Delirious (PhD): Acknowledges the stress and mental strain that can come with pursuing a doctorate.
- Pizza hut Delivery (PhD): A fun twist, imagining a PhD as something entirely different.
- Project half Done (PhD): For those times when it feels like the thesis will never be completed.
- Philosophically Disturbed (PhD): A witty take on the deep and often complex thinking required for a PhD.
These are meant in good humor and to bring a light-hearted perspective to the serious and commendable pursuit of a PhD.
Part 1/5: Why You Should Apply for a PhD Regardless of Your Background
Less than 2% of the world's population holds a doctorate degree. Do you aspire to be part of the average, or will you strive to join the ranks of these distinguished individuals?
- Expanding Knowledge: Deepen expertise in your chosen field, enhancing critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Gain unparalleled understanding and push the boundaries of what's known.
- Personal Growth: Develop resilience, independence, and management skills through challenging research projects. Cultivate self-discipline and adaptability, crucial for success in any endeavor.
- Career Opportunities: Opens doors to advanced roles in academia (research, teaching) and industry (R&D, consultancy, management). Elevates your professional profile and broadens career prospects.
- Networking: Connect with professionals and academics for future collaborations and career advancement. Build a valuable network of contacts that can support your career for years to come.
- Contribution to Field: Make significant contributions to your field, influencing both academic research and industry practices. Your work could lead to new discoveries, innovations, or methodologies.
- Inclusivity and Diversity: Encourages a mix of perspectives, challenging stereotypes and promoting inclusivity in academia and industry. Contributes to a more diverse and equitable professional landscape.
- Professional and Personal Transformation: A PhD is a journey of both professional expertise and personal development, beneficial for all backgrounds. It's an opportunity to grow intellectually, professionally, and personally.
- Leadership Skills: Develop leadership abilities by guiding research projects, mentoring students, and collaborating with various stakeholders.
- Global Perspective: Gain exposure to international research communities, broadening your understanding of global challenges and solutions.
- Recognition and Prestige: Achieve a level of recognition and prestige in your field, establishing yourself as an authority and thought leader.
The Limits of Science and Skepticism
Skepticism is generally regarded as the ineffectuality of reason and observation against the givenness of the world, yet for science, reason and observation are taken as primary mechanisms for uncovering truth.
Science, or scientism as an ideology, is widely regarded as the ideal mechanisms for uncovering truth of the world. Disregarding any faults of scientific institutions, it is generally believed that good science can uncover previously unknown truths of the world.
As for science and epistemology, science assumes much it is unable to demonstrate itself. As an extreme example, science assumes the existence of an external world without addressing whether we may or may not be a brain in a vat. Or, even more damning, that memories themselves are legitimate or not. It may very well be that you, the reader, were spawned into this world moments ago implanted with a lifetime of false memories that are completely ignorant to the facts of reality. It may seem like a silly idea to someone who has placed complete faith in their lived experiences, but by abandoning that lived experience, the odds become 50-50, either that you have real memories, or you don't.
For those still unconvinced, let's assume you have lived experience. Do you suppose your memories at all resemble the truth of that lived experience? Surely you have been wrong before, or so you must believe so. You can't much then argue that you're not wrong about all lived experiences. You may elevate some knowledge of the past to some superior ontological status, but in doing so you may be making a critical mistake still.
Any statement of fact is hubris and ignorance. Even that one and this one.
Many scientists have been aware of these issues or similar. For this reason, a scientific fact is regarded as a theory. The existence of atoms, for example, not so sure. See atomic *theory*.
As for philosophy, a philosopher is just one who tries to fool themselves using foolproof reason.
One day the biggest ape was walking a lonely path leading to the top of a hill when he saw an emaciated man sitting bellow a dead tree. His clothes were in tatters and yet his eyes glew with the intensity of emptiness. "Strange", thought the biggest ape.
- "Come", said the man as the biggest ape came closer to him. "I have news for you."
"Let me tell you of the dreadful place called life", continued the old man. "Dreadful indeed it is, and full of sorrow, for life is suffering. I know for I have been cursed with intellect and discernment. I teach it for I hold compassion into my heart, and suffer for it dearly for I am but compassion.
Happiness is the glow of the feeble minded, the madness of the blind. I know, I know, because..."
-"Hum.", grunted the biggest ape without skipping a step. He was busy.
At the top of the hill he heard a strange noise from behind and turned back. Instead of one old man, they were now many around the dead tree. All in tattered clothes, with glowing eyes looking at each other, backs turned to world. "Let me tell you of the dreadful place called life..." he heard them say to each other.
"Fools. I am busy."
Thus spake Apathustra.
Revival and Revolution of Platonic Mysticism
Mysticism in the Western philosophic canon is considered antifoundational, but here we discuss and interpret mysticism in Platonic thought; we identify Platonic mysticism in relation to the development of Michael Oakeshott's conservative philosophy
For a skeptic, human reason is counterassertive to reality's material facts. Plato was in a broad contexts, a skeptic. Plato's Theory of Forms  tells us the facts of the material world are of an inferior ontological status to eternal forms; Plato's *degrees of reality*  tells us eternal forms are more real than their counterpart. In *platonic dialogue* , Forms are considered primary to particulars, which are viewed in the mystic sense, in part, beyond human cognition, i.e., counterassertive to reality's material facts.
For Michael Oakeshott, a 20th century skeptic philosopher, "[dialectic] discussion is spent ... when all simultaneously discover that each has been right all the time" (6, B). To Oakeshott, transmission is diluted by the ambiguity of language, and the dialectic is the developing of the subject as susceptible to multiple and contradictory conceptual phenomena.
Plato's *degrees of reality*, for Oakeshott, in his book Experience and it's Modes, becomes a modal reality, whereas human experience is comprised of distinct modes, e.g., the scientific, philosophic, historic, etc, each with their own rules and criteria for truth. For Oakeshott, philosophy is a distinct mode of experience, one that critically examines the presuppositions of other modes.
Brand Blanshard, in his book Reason and Analysis, published in 1962, wrote "there has been no period in the past two thousand years when [Rationalism has] undergone a bombardment so varied, so competent, so massive and sustained, as in the last half-century" (26, A). In attacks on Rationalism, mysticism got a new heartbeat, retrospectively identified in the work of Plato.
In Oakeshott, we see a postmodern skeptic philosophy, where philosophic knowledge is regarded as mystical, in clear relation to platonic philosophy. Indeed, in Michael Oakeshott's Skepticism, by Aryeh Botwinick, he writes "[Oakeshott] did not require more than Plato in order to arrive at what nowadays is usually regarded as an antifoundational position" (6, B).
** Plato's Theory of Forms:**
The *theory of forms* is the metaphysical theory that true reality consists of abstract and ideal entities. Plato's theory of anamnesis tells us learning is the process of remembering the eternal forms before we were incarnated into the physical world.
** Plato's Doctrine of Degrees of Reality:**
The *degrees of reality* doctrine set forth by Plato suggests that Forms are, in the proper sense, real, while particulars are between existence and non-existence.
** The Platonic Dialectic:**
The *platonic dialectic* is the theory of platonic dialogue, for which the impetus is exercised when participants resolve their subject to an eternal form.
**[A]** Blanshard, Brand. Reason and analysis. OPEN COURT, 1991.
**[B]** Botwinick, Aryeh. Michael Oakeshott's Skepticism. Princeton University Press, 2010.
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