Philosophy’s Substance

I just finished watching the 5th season’s finale of  “Dexter” — a show about a serial killer who sanctifies his murderous temperament with a vigilante commitment.  Tears clouded my eyes during the ending.  The show was packed with philosophy.  I could tell you the final philosophical points of the show but they would be empty.  It was all the silly details of each murder, each experience of Dexter and of all his relationships in previous shows that gives the philosophy meaning and substance.  The words of the philosophy would seem hollow compared to those.

When we discuss our philosophical positions, we often forget that they are  naked without our personal history — I contend that they are meaningless without them.  Words, ideas, thoughts and such are tools we use in our relationships to others and our selves.  It is that network of relationships that is the substance of philosophy, not the ideas.  The ideas are mere clothing.

When people declare that the parts are greater than the whole, they are absolutely right because the sum is the parts PLUS all the relationships.

I started a bunch of posts here on Triangulations describing my experience and thoughts on “Reincarnation”, “Violence” and “Suicide”.  My intent was to show all the complex experiences that feed my position and thus draw attention to the fact that a position is naked without the experiences.  I hope to finish them some day and illustrate the point of the post.  Meanwhile, hours and hours of Dexter did that superbly.  I don’t recommend the show, even though I enjoyed it.  It is sick, after all.  But I am using it to illustrate my point here that the substance of philosophy is relationships — Yuan.

Question to Readers:  Do you have any philosophical/political/theological positions that you know are naked in the sense that I described above?

Note: Dexter, for now, can be watched free at Free TV.


Filed under Philosophy & Religion

7 responses to “Philosophy’s Substance

  1. Ed

    @ Sabio… I too am a Dexter fan. The show is great on many levels. It forces one to think about our own choices. Yet it is still TV. I got rid of mine before my pilgrimage that began in 2009. I just finished season 4 on my computer. Is season 5, the one you just finished, the most recent? Without a TV I have gotten out of sync… Thanks. Great posts lately. Please keep it up for the sake of those humanoids that are sans-tv…. :-}

  2. Sabio

    @ Ed: Yep, as the post says, “5th season’s finale”. We also don’t have TV channels — only for videos. I watched on computer too — thus the link for folks sans-tv or sans-showtime in this case. I wish that knowing you watched it helped me feel better about my sick choices in films. 🙂

  3. Ed

    @ Sabio… I was unsure if there had been a 6th season… hence my question… Anyway, I too wish it had made you feel better knowing that I watch also, because I felt my self esteem improve knowing you too like Dexter. It is interesting and somewhat strange that we like this show. I wonder what that says about us???

  4. Another interesting post.
    Yes, human worldviews and philosophies do not exist in a vacuum. Can we say that they sometimes or even always serve a purpose beyond providing a shelf-worthy portrayal of “truth”? Hmm.

  5. P.S. A quote comes to mind (first recited to me by a fuddy-duddy uncle rationalizing his increasing conservatism): If you aren’t a liberal when you’re young you don’t have a heart, if you aren’t a conservative when you’re older you don’t have a head.
    Of course there’s much bogus and superficial about the saying. But I think what it reflects is that philosophies change with time. But not because of time, but because of the changing nature of our experiences and environments.

  6. Ed

    @ Andrew.. hi there… I enjoy your comments. I heard the same quote a bit differently; When you are young if you are not liberal you have no heart. And when you are older if you are not a conservative you have no brain. I understand that to mean that youth decides with emotion and age (should) decide with brain power. I do not see the “facts” or philosophies changing as much as I see the person simply growing up and removing his emotional self from his politics.

  7. @Ed –
    Yes, that’s one way to look at it.
    Yet as I see it, there is no true/complete separating emotion from cognition. I think that as we age we our concerns and priorities change. Each age group acts equally “rationally” according to their circumstances.
    One simple element — as youth we are not established as and invested in the status quo. So why not upset it? When older . . . if not part of the status quo, perhaps the ease of retirement years depends upon it. Or something.
    Certainly, as one proviso I’d add that with youth there is some newness to the whole “independent thinker” thing . . . kinda what you were getting at, perhaps. Hmm.

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