Previews on Works by O.G. Rose

Short Pieces on Thinking About Thinking III

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This is a preview list of short pieces we wrote focused on “thinking about thinking,” mental models, epistemology, and the like. We hope you see something in here that you find interesting!

Audio Summary

Life is about maintaining instabilities. Is “balance” another word for “instability?” Perhaps, but I think the term contributes to us losing sight of the fact that the game of life isn’t stagnant: it can sound like that achieving balance means we achieve it forever. But life is always moving, and if we don’t move with it, we’ll lose balance and fall off.

Boredom is a state where an individual doesn’t see significance in what he or she could do (it is a state in which a person “doesn’t see any point” in doing one thing versus another). A bored person, therefore, is someone who will struggle to be rational and thoughtful, for rationality and thoughtfulness require a capacity to give significance to certain ends and issues which motivates thoughtfulness and rationality. If nothing is significant, nothing is worth thinking about.

Is there any harm in someone calling themselves a nihilist even if it is technically impossible? Yes, and here we begin to see why. If we think people today are (traditional) nihilists, we’ll assume they’ll be inactive and indifferent to the world, and so we may not take them seriously. But if people are actually “German Nihilists,” which generally means they want to restore their nation to “higher principles” or else “burn it all down,” then we will consider “inactive” the very citizens that are most likely to rise up against social institutions.

If we ever want to destroy a relationship, the following formula is a great guide:

If you cared about x, you would have done y.

“Thoughtlessness” is not a simile for “stupid,” as we learn from Hannah Arendt: to be “thoughtless” about x is to “not think about it,” to instead assume it, christen it an axiom, and the like.

If the most idiotic, evil, wholesome, saintly, greedy, etc. person on the planet said, “2 + 2 = 4,” the person said something true. If a listener thought the person, because he was evil, said something false, that listener would be incorrect. Likewise, if someone thought the person was a saint and hence said something “truer” than an evil person who said the same thing, that person would also be incorrect.

For me, the question “How should we live?” embodied the project of Pragmaticism, and that question is often presented as a “corrective” to philosophical life, as if philosophers need to stop worrying about abstract questions like “What is truth?” and focus on how we can get through our daily lives. And there’s some legitimacy to this, but personally I believe the question “How should we live?” is critical for more “abstract questions” to take into account precisely so that the abstract questions can be better addressed: the split between “pragmaticism” and “non-pragmaticism” is a false one.

Knowledge can be transferred across generations and often is, even if it’s harder to pass along than technologies. Both technology and knowledge tend to be things we naturally inherit from the past just by virtue of being social creatures, but knowledge isn’t all there is out there which the mind can learn.

Philosophers tend to write about many different subjects: Davide Hume, for example, glides with ease between studying causality, stable identity, to then addressing the role of commerce is “civilizing” people and “growing sentiment.” But is Hume “building a system?” Hardly.

Ideas seem to suggest to us in our very experience of them that they want to be “grounded,” given the reality that they are “composed” out of things we experience: colors, shapes, wings, voices, feet, computer screens, laughter — I could go on…

Think of Plato carefully investigating the meaning of the word “justice” or the endless debates on “freedom” — they sometimes seem needless and nick-picky, don’t they? Why go to that all trouble? Well, it’s because Wittgenstein was right: the limits of my language are the limits of my world.

Since it is not possible for us to choose or desire anything “entirely on our own” (meaning “autonomously” and without any reference to “external sources”), then we must look “beyond” thinking to decide “what we should do.” Perhaps we look to emotions, experiences, and the like, but I believe it’s natural for us to look to “common life” (for I am very Humean in my thinking).

Because our “frenemy” brains like “low order complexity” (“the linear”), our brains want to firstly conflate all kinds of focus together as identical, and secondly it wants to bias us toward “direct focus” versus “indirect focus.” We are biased to believe “daydreaming focus” isn’t focus at all…

David Hume’s great insight was that “unbound rationality” and/or “unbound philosophy” became a force of destruction. “The true” and “the rational” are not similes, and what constitutes “the rational” is relative to what we believe is “true,” which means rationality must come after truth…

We all have to approach topics and questions from “default positions”: no one begins with “a view from nowhere,” to use Thomas Nagel’s line. This isn’t inherently bad, but if we never take the time to think about our “default positions,” there is a high chance that we’ll limit the possibilities of where we could end up and not even realize it. And stuck on a “narrow road” shaped by what we “absorb” (as discussed in “Compelling” by O.G. Rose), we could end up making poor choices we will lack the tools to even notice, let alone correct.

…Basically, Analytical philosophy denies the possibility or need for (“meaningful”) “negative knowledge” (“knowledge known by tracing out”), while Continentalism believes an over-zealous investment in “positive knowledge” or “knowledge about presence/being” leaves us ill-equipped to address the most pressing questions in our lives (which tend to involve “lacks”)…

A paradox, however, is a combination of inconsistencies that don’t negate, and this is because though paradoxes may logically negate, they don’t experientially negate…




Iowa. Broken Pencil. Allegory. Write Launch. Ponder. Pidgeonholes. W&M. Poydras. Toho. ellipsis. O:JA&L. West Trade. UNO. Pushcart.

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O.G. Rose

O.G. Rose

Iowa. Broken Pencil. Allegory. Write Launch. Ponder. Pidgeonholes. W&M. Poydras. Toho. ellipsis. O:JA&L. West Trade. UNO. Pushcart.

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