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Charlotte Philosophy Discussion Group Message Board › Welcome, Chuck Pyburn. So let's proceed with discussion!

Welcome, Chuck Pyburn. So let's proceed with discussion!

Bill Van F.
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 1,855
Chuck, there are a gowing number of things that are causing me to worry. When “Todd Watlington” began posting on multiple message boards, including our own, about how wonderful your books are, and how they can be purchased at, I wondered whether you and he could be the same person. This became especially true when I learned that he was your “agent.” Then, on our message board, he suddenly disappeared without a trace, including his post on our message board, and you appeared in his place. I can understand your wanting to sell your book, and any such book might be of interest to any philosophical group such as ours. But if all that we can learn from you and/or your agent is how wonderful the book is, without some evidence for that fact, then our message board just becomes a place for advertising rather than for helpful discussion.

I became encouraged when it looked like you might be willing to share and compare ideas, and indeed that might be a way for you to demonstrate that your books would be of interest. However, when I responded to your philosophical statements with questions, you did not respond to any of them with any further clarification. You praised my book somewhat, but from what you posted, it did not appear that you had read it in any detail and really understood it.

Now, you are again telling us how wonderful your books are, and at least half of your post is copied and pasted from Wikipedia without clarification that this is so, making it seem that those are your words instead.

I think that there is no book on the planet like mine also, but I have not checked this out, and believe that the value of the book lies in the stability of its ideas when read critically and debated. I have been offering you that opportunity here, but so far you have not taken it.

Please reassure me that you are willing to discuss and debate your ideas. You certainly can take quotes from your book and present them for discussion. If you take quotes from what others have written, it would be best to be explicit about that, giving the reference, rather than implying that the words were yours.

So can you go back to some of the questions that I have asked and provide some answers, so that we can explore more deeply? Also, I welcome any of your questions about anything that I write. Please challenge any ideas of mine that seem at all unclear or possibly incorrect. You will help me to grow if you do that. Our message board here offers a wonderful opportunity for the development of increasing wisdom. And engaging in such discussion may also help you to make some money. (Not so for me, since I do not make any money from any of my books or any of my philosophical activities.)

Interesting points Bill, what I believe and what do I believe you do not believe and for that matter what you do believe. All good points and the limits of the engagement reduced to words that must be defined to be used.
I wasn’t making a point. I was asking you what your impression was with regard to the differences in our beliefs.

By declaring a definition and then seeking agreement on that definition allows for mutual understanding but only within the context of the definition. We are still limited to our own subjective experience and our concepts of reality to whatever extent those two exists.
Are you saying that we can do more than seek mutual understanding by making sure we are using words in the same way?

I claim there is something greater than the mere mechanics of thought.
Are you saying that what I write about is the “mere mechanics of thought”? It doesn’t seem that way to me. I don’t even know what the phrase means.

I claim that the thought processes of the individual and subsequent actions resulting from those thoughts can be quantified and I further claim that there exist definable similarities between persons in the conduct of their own subjective experience.
And I believe I agree.

These thoughts, actions and interactions are the crux of The Essays on Order.
If you could just give us some examples of what you mean, that would be great!

What is in the Essays is difficult at best.
I believe I understand. That is exactly what I say about my book.

I know of no other book, or books, on the planet that offers any greater detail of the human condition.
To me, it seems like there are many such books. It makes it seem like you have not done much reading of other books, but I assume you have. Maybe you could clarify what is unique about your book. Just saying it is unique is not likely to be convincing.

Now the following is what you have copied from Wikipedia. It would be better to indicate that rather than allow people to believe these are your words.

The human condition encompasses the unique features of being human.
It can be described as the irreducible part of humanity that is inherent and not dependent on factors such as gender, race or class. It includes concerns such as the meaning of life, the search for gratification, the sense of curiosity, the inevitability of isolation, or awareness regarding the inescapability of death.
The “human condition” is principally studied through the set of disciplines and sub-fields that make up the humanities. The study of history, philosophy, literature, and the arts all help us to understand the nature of the human condition and the broader cultural and social arrangements that make up human lives.[citation needed]
The human condition is the subject of such fields of study as philosophy, theology, sociology, psychology, anthropology, demographics, evolutionary biology, cultural studies, and sociobiology. The philosophical school of existentialism deals with core issues related to the human condition including the ongoing search for ultimate meaning.
Also, it is not clear what the relevence of the quote is.

Maslow made a pretty good attempt at understanding the human condition but in my opinion failed.
I think any attempt will only be a partial contribution, not a comprehensive one, and I think he made a good contibution. Are you saying that your books are a comprehensive presentation that can replace all the other, failed, attempts? I don’t think you are trying to say that, but what then is your point?

So it then becomes the case that the least of what I believe is written in the Essays. As for definitions I am content to rely on Webster.
A dictionary is only a report on how words are used, and almost always there are multiple uses reported on. What is crucial in any discussion in which real understanding is important is that there is agreement on how the words will be used in that discussion. Otherwise, people can “talk past one another.”

I look forward to your response and enjoy your Sunday.
The same in return!
Bill Van F.
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 1,856
Chuck, I hope you are doing some reading and thinking and will soon come back with some ideas for us to explore more deeply.

I was noting that you seem to have removed your posts from some of the message boards at least.

I can identify with you with regard to disappointment you may be feeling at your effort to have your books become recognized by posting word of them on message boards. I have in the past tried the same thing. My books weren’t for sale, and I was truly asking for dialogue about their contents, even posting some of the contents, and giving the website where they could be downloaded free, only to be regarded as engaging in “spam.” Even when I clarified again that my books were not for sale and that I was posting on their message board in order to engage in dialogue about the concepts, some still regarded my effort as “spam.” They said that only after I had engaged in a fair amount of dialogue would it be appropriate for me to post a link to my website. I could not, and still can’t, see the rationale for that.

And so I want to assure you that I have nothing against your letting us know about your books, if you also want to engage in discussion about the contents of them and will quote from them accordingly.

I have the impression that you have put a lot of work into them and that you also feel that they are a valuable contribution. In this regard I have empathy.

And I don’t require them to be perfect, amazing, etc., in order to welcome their presence here. We all are hoping, I believe, to increase our own wisdom, and that is best accomplished by exposing our ideas to others who have different viewpoints, with the task of trying to find out why those viewpoints differ (and what would be necessary to arrive at agreement).

So I wait with anticipation your return, and I do hope that some of my comments have not sounded too “negative” or been discouraging of such participation.
A former member
Post #: 7
Sorry Bill, had that work thing occupy my time for a bit.

Since this is the only message board I have been on I must assume you are talking about Todd. And to once and for all clear this up I'd like to send Todd to your next meeting on Sunday, with your permission of course. If he attends he will have empty hands and I will pay for his expenses.

As for book sales it is what it is. Like so many other folks I just want to get the word out on a new and fresh idea. I'm also pretty sure that by now everyone is up to speed on who I am or at least who I purport to be. And I especially enjoyed your use of the word wisdom.

One of my favorite books to read is the Steinbeck book, The Grapes of Wrath. Although fictional, it nonetheless offers insight into the human condition, particularly when Rose has her stillborn baby. Throughout all of the misfortune and tragedy the Joad family endures the entire journey is reflected in the infant. It was conceived, it endured and when the time came for it to be a meaningful member of the population it expired. All chances of life were denied, whether the death was the result of prenatal care, hardships on the mother, the infinite choices of the family members were all considered moot when the critical moment finally came. Steinbeck's symbolism for just who has the last word was impeccable. And the ending was amazing, it was only after all of the family members truly found out the kind of person they, and then, only after the last innocent blood had been spilled, where the two that were the most loyal of followers decide that new their own minds and the direction they wanted their life to take. A remarkable book that I still read from time to time.

I'd also like to make a final comment on the likeness of Todd and myself. About thirty-seven years ago, man am I old or what, my platoon was undergoing jungle survival training in the Zambales mountains in the Philippines. We were being trained by the indigenous people called Negritos, a very formidable community of people. At one point in the training the native pulled his bolo knife and deftly cut the bottom off of a hanging vine. He then grabbed the hanging vine and held it to his mouth, almost immediately clear liquid began dripping into his mouth. He then looked at us novices and said something in Tagalog. The translator looked at us and said, "he say good water, no sick." I never forgot it and every place I've been since then I look for 'good water, no sick'. I have found such a well and offered Todd a chance to drink from the well and that might explain why we may talk in a familiar fashion.

And no Bill, disappointment if a feeling I have very little, if any, time for. Lively discourse is just that, I await your response.
Bill Van F.
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 1,857
That’s great, Chuck!

Yes, of course Todd is welcome at our meetings.

I note that his original posts are back on the Gastonia and New York philosophy discussion boards, and on our board also. I am confused. But everything is restored, and we can proceed. That is good news.

We are meeting this Sunday, if he can make it. We decide what we will discuss around the beginning of each meeting, and I will probably recommend, if he is present, that we discuss the thesis of your books, which we can hear about from him. The decision is made by group vote, and my prediction is that the group would like that topic.

I would be especially interested for you and I to see what our common ground is. I see you as being more of a poet, and me more of a technician, with regard to these areas of thought. Your books are probably far more readable than mine.

I say this even though you use the phraseology of the logician (“it is the case that”). When you talk about “the struggle between order and chaos,” I know you are referring to something similar to what I write about, but I can’t make the connection. Just as I see Science and Religion as important co-endeavors, I also see Poetry and Whatever-You-Would-Call-My-Kind-Of-Writi­ng as important activities of our species. Poetry offers us the opportunity to think “out of the box”; technical writing makes our growing insights more usable in our efforts to improve our understanding and therefore our decision-making.

On the other hand, the fact that you use logical phraseology implies that you value the rules of logic, and I would therefore guess that you also value the rules of evidence, and therefore Science.

So wouldn’t it be great to see how our belief systems diverge, and why? And might we find that much apparent divergence is really only linguistic? And could our efforts be synergistic? Have you exposed yourself yet to Humanianity? What are your ideas about our species developing a different and stronger ethical belief system with a stronger ethical sense?

Since this is the only message board I have been on I must assume you are talking about Todd.
Yes, I don't know what caused that glitch in my thinking. Maybe I still unconsciously think of the two of you as being the same person, but I have now accepted that you are two people. (Of course, photo ID's and retinal scans would be helpful.)
Bill Van F.
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 1,862
Fantastic!! I see both of you are coming to our next meeting. Great to have you!
A former member
Post #: 8
I figured, in for a penny, in for a pound.
Bill Van F.
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 1,863

By "order" do you mean that which is predictable?
By "chaos" do you mean that which is not predictable?
A former member
Post #: 9
Is the cup that empty, do so few people know? I am your closest friend and yet I am your enemy. I have so few words to speak and yet so much to say. No matter how many years you have lived the two-penny argument you have only have one chance to hear it. I'll be there and sit in silence if that is my task. There is no law against a life based on ignorance.
Bill Van F.
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 1,865
Chuck, I don't know how to interpret what you are saying. You seem to be saying that you have wisdom to help us out of our state of ignorance, though it is probably our fate that in our ignorance we will fail to see that you have the wisdom, and will therefore not ask you to help us and thereby remain ignorant. Did I understand correctly? I don't know what the reference to the two-penny argument means. Do you believe that anyone who has sufficient wisdom will know, so that you don't have to explain? Do you believe you tend to talk in riddles? And do you ever answer a question?
A former member
Post #: 11
Call me Ishmael...
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