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...over-educated and under-experienced, or so they say...

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Pandora Solo Kierkegaard...?

A while back I took a test called "What Philosophy Are You?"  The answer was that I am a Nihilist.

Oo...  Nihilism...  I don't pretend to be a philosophy major of any kind, but if you do some online searching you will run across some interesting bloggers who claim Nihilism as their own.  I will however say, in its most basic Webster's dictionary version, Nihilism is a rejection of established laws and institutions, a form of anarchy, or revolutionary thoughts or actions; an extreme form of skepticism, as in the denial of all that is real or the possibility of an objective basis for truth; an adherence to nothingness or nonexistence.

I laughed when I saw this because, given some of the rants I write about (or speak aloud, depending on who you are and whether you're standing next to me at the time) and given all that I hold dear and take seriously in my life, this seemed way off course. And I can't remember all of the questions that were asked to give me this result, but I do remember one being something along the lines of "What would you do if you saw the person walking in front of you throw a paper cup to the ground instead of putting it in the trash can beside them?" I believe my answer to that one was that I would pick up the cup, throw it in the trash, and keep on walking without saying a word to the person. (one of the other choices was to pick up the cup, throw it at the person, and ask them what their problem was)

Enjoying my nerdy quiz moment, I also took "What kind of character are you?" I liked this quiz because it referred to character archetypes one would use when building a character for a Role Playing Game. Whenever I played games like that in the past, I always created characters that were good, or chaotic good, so I wanted to see if that's how I would score. I didn't, however, come up as either of those. Based upon that stupid test, I am what they called a True Neutral Character, and they cited characters like Lara Croft (from Tomb Raider) and Han Solo (from Star Wars) as examples.  As cool as those characters are, and as much as I love Han Solo, these are characters who are out for themselves, accomplishing and acquiring what they need to make their lives better. And at least in the case of Han Solo, it's only when they're pushed to the limit that they are forced to choose a cause to fight for, but even then they're only fighting for the side that would serve the best of their interests (it just so happens, for Solo, that his self interest happened to fall on the side that would best serve the greater good and free all beings from "government oppression").

Again, I sat there wondering how I came up with this (so similar to Nihilism) when I don't really see myself in this kind of light. And again, I can't remember all of the questions that were asked, but I do remember one question being something like, "A group of protesters are standing outside the Capitol, how do you respond?" And my response was something like, "Oh great, now the traffic is backed up because of these people."

As silly as these stupid tests may be, yeah...  If you drop a piece of trash on the ground in front of me when the trash can is right beside you, unless you're my daughter, I'm not going to stop you and say, "Hey Earth Trasher!  How 'bout using the trash can, you disrespectful dolt!"  Why?  Because I hate people like that.  People like that are really annoying.  In a situation like that I truly would just pick it up myself and keep on walking.  I'm not responsible for that person's actions, I am responsible for my own.  And yes, I know myself... I really would roll my eyes and groan at the protesters that are backing up the traffic.  They're protesting outside the Capitol right now over the healthcare mandate, and I recognize the point of both sides, but somewhere inside my mind I know that the Supreme Court is going to a decision regardless of the protesters and their signs and the rest of us will be left to deal with it so... what's the point?

When I hear myself say these things, I guess I could be seen as a Nihilist / Neutral Character.  But... I know what I believe.  I know what my convictions are.  I know what motivates me to act or not to act.  I know where I stand on the Healthcare Mandate, and I know what decision will disappoint me and perhaps prompt me to rant on my blog.  I know that the world is full of good people and bad people, ones who throw their trash in the garbage can and ones who throw their trash haphazardly to the ground.  I know that I cannot dictate or determine the behavior of another, and I know that America would not be the same without a group of people willing to protest once in a while.  And I do know that if the government were about to take away my freedom of speech, I would most likely find a way to make a scene and protest until they shot tear gas at me and hauled me away somewhere.  So... sorry online tests.  As much as I would like to pilot the Millennium Falcon, I'm pretty sure I'd be running with the rebellion of my own free will because I do believe in something.

I did decide that I couldn't end it on two tests that made me out to be some sort of apathetic existentialist, so I did take one more called "Which Philosophy Suits You?"  I scored extremely high on my sense of individuality, and that, mixed with some other personality traits of mine, at least left me with Soren Kierkegaard.  Since I have three of his books and Frasier (one of my favorite shows) quotes him regularly, I am satisfied with this answer.  Individuality could be seen as "true neutral" simply because it appears you lack conviction because you are not "taking sides," but it's more like finding yourself standing in a room where neither side represents your true conviction.  "True peace can only be found within the self," not through yelling at the guy that dropped his trash on the ground, and not through creating stressed out energy on the steps of the Capitol due to something that is ultimately outside of your control.

Thanks, Soren.
  Personal Religion, by Kierkegaard 
You scored highest on the variable Individuality. Individuality was an important part of Kierkegaard's philosophy.

Søren Kierkegaard, 1813- 1855, Denmark.

Kierkegaard thought true religion should be found within yourself and not in uniformity. He did not oppose Christianity, but he opposed the Christian Church. The Church preached faith for the masses by rituals and generalization, which makes one lose its identity and leads to despair. True peace can only be found within yourself. As more and more people claim to have a personal belief/religion instead of conforming to a church, I think Kierkegaard was ahead of his time.

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