Re: mindfulness and freedom

Kathryn Aegis (
Wed, 9 Jul 1997 23:00:08 +0000

Joshua F. McMichael:
>Why do you shy away from ranking philosophies?

Every human is in part a product of their culture and environment,
and each human has developed a particular perspective based on that.
We can learn to break out of that and learn to appreciate other
perspectives, but ranking our modes of thought as better than other
modes would necessarily create a barrier to broadening experience and

>Obviously some philosophies are better than others.

This is not obvious to me, because you have not defined the ranking
factors you have subsumed into the term 'better'. I would critique a
philosophy based on whether it takes an open-ended approach to
important questions, whether it is internally consistent, etc. These
are the types of factors that mean 'useful' to me.

>You also state that "I prefer to think of it in terms: 'this set of
>thinking is most useful to me in my life'. If I cannot find a useful
>philosphy, I would develop one!" Aren't you simply then *judging
>(ranking)* a philosophy by how it makes you *feel* at any particular

I don't think that the usefulness of a philsophy depends on how it
makes me 'feel.' To the contrary, I find useful those philosophies
that force me out of comfortable modes of thought.

>What's scary about Richter's "position" of no-positions is that after
>discarding all the abstract concepts that philosophy contains -
>principles, values, ethics, etc. - the only thing Richter will have left
>to decide and judge his actions will be *feelings*.

Let's be very careful here--Richter said nothing about discarding
philsophy in general and focused entirely on ideology. Philosphy is a
mental discipline that encourages questioning and rigorous
examination; ideology discourages critical thinking and relies on
emotions such as fear and insecurity, and as such it is used as a
tool by those who would control others. Richter had first-hand
experirence in his own life of how ideology is used to control and
imprison other humans, and I greatly admire him for standing up
against it.


Kathryn Aegis