Category Archives: philosophy

Destiny and free will in anime

In anime series Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, protagonist Judai Yuki duels destiny at least three times.

The first time, he goes on a voyage to rekindle his spirit, infusing his deck with power from outer space (“Neo-Space”) to defeat Edo Phoenix.

Next, Judai defeats Sartorius, antagonist of Season 2 who plays with a deck focused on determining outcomes that favor him and put Judai at a disadvantage. Sartorius wonders beforehand whether Judai is unique in his ability to defy destiny.

In Season 4, Judai and Sartorius duel again. Judai says Sartorius of all people should know that destiny cannot be controlled. This does not stop Sartorius from attempting to determine Judai’s fate: a loss, so that Sartorius’ sister Mizuchi can be saved.

With his back against the wall, and with his destiny all but decided, Judai turns things around with the Monster “Miracle Flipper”. Miracle Flipper allows him to tip the scales and escape Sartorius’ fate-deciding combo and win the duel.

Miracle Flipper’s card art

Judai is simultaneously able to fight destiny, but recognizes the futility of trying to controlling it. Still–he shows that one can overcome seemingly-hopeless situations, ones that may be imposed on us from the outside.

Philosophically, exercising our free will in a deterministic universe consists of choosing between genuine alternative paths (even if the end is already decided). If destiny cannot be controlled, determinism’s role is set in stone.

Perhaps being able to affirm our free will and win life’s games means pulling out a miracle when losing seems inevitable?

Power, knowledge, meaning

How are these three concepts related?

Many of us have heard the adage: “With great power, comes great responsibility.” (Thanks, Uncle Ben!)

Adding to the adage above, knowledge is often equated with power–knowledge is power.

If knowledge is power, and with great power comes great responsibility…well, maybe great knowledge is required for great power.

We can achieve great knowledge, thereby attaining great power (and so, great responsibility). How does meaning fit in?

For psychologist Jordan Peterson, meaning derives from the responsible life. If we achieve great responsibility from the above chain, we should expect great meaning!

Eupsychian self-actualization

One of Maslow’s characteristics of self-actualizers is the continued freshness of appreciation.

How does this lead one to Eupsychia–Maslow’s idea of the psychologically healthy culture/society?

The more we appreciate life, the more we may start to notice the ways it nourishes our soul!

The maximally healthy collective consists of spirited individuals taking great care of their souls…

Inspired creation

Creation is my word of the day, having popped up twice so far in different contexts.

It is best for any creative act to be inspired. How do we become inspired?

Inspiration comes from within. Other words that closely resemble “inspiration” are perspirationaspirationrespiration.

(Respiration is a hot topic, today!)

Inspired creation consists of dedicated perspiration. It involves toil through our labors of love.

Keep inspiring, creating, dedicating, perspiring, aspiring, toiling, laboring–and, most sweetly of all–loving!

The deal with consciousness

Consciousness is a puzzle for emergentists and panpsychists. The former have to explain the causal jump from living matter to awareness. The latter only have to worry about correlation.

Either way, we can strive to describe the origin and development of consciousness in our daily lives. These two facets might be either miraculous or brute facts of existence.

Maslow and Scott Pilgrim

Scott Pilgrim fights Gideon for love (Ramona Flowers), then for self-respect.

How does he reach the next level on Maslow’s pyramid and attain self-actualization?

After conquering Gideon, Scott must fight Nega Scott. This is the battle to confront and overcome his shadow.

Ultimately, Scott is successful in befriending his dark self. Having done so, he achieves Jungian individuation, integrating the two sides of his being.

Able to move forward with the woman of his dreams, Scott becomes a self-actualized pilgrim!

Harry Potter’s hero’s journey

Harry died for the greater good. When he realized that part of Voldemort existed within him, he had to risk his own life to eradicate it.

The hero must vanquish evil his own evil before conquering capital-E Evil! He must come to understand that the worst virus of all lives within himself.

Once the hero sacrifices his life for all others–Others–he will return willingly (if not, at first, reluctantly) . He returns to save the world and defeat the enemy of the world~

Leap of risk

What is the relation between risk and meaning?

Faith and meaning are perhaps more obviously related. Look no further than to religion to see the interplay between these: the faithful life is inherently meaningful.

Leaps of faith involve risk. In life, we are not always 100% certain. These situations especially call for faith–“going for it”, even though we might fail.

Operating under uncertainty is what risk is all about!

Eupsychia and self-actualization

Maslow defined Eupsychia as both a psychologically healthy culture and society.

Would a world of self-actualizers be like this utopia?

In Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, main character Raskolnikov dreams of a hyper-individualistic culture. In this socioculture (or “culturiety”), each figure pursues their own morality. The dream ends with the collapse of society: it can’t be that everyone is their own ubermensch!

However, Eupsychia would presumably be more collaborative than Raskolnikov’s nightmare. People forge social contracts, defining a common ethics (law) based on intersubjective morality.

Perhaps Eupsychia consists in a kind of self-and-other-actualization. Self-actualization consists in becoming part of something greater than oneself, so perhaps it is sufficient. Still–in considering Nietzsche’s ubermensch who has overcome herd morality, along with Raskolnikov’s transgression–we must be mindful that the self actualizes for another.