Writer’s Advice – what’s that?! 2018

Author’s Advice

There are many ways that people can get advice. The most obvious ways for writers to improve are to take lessons in the language they will be writing in and the old fashioned ‘read the greats’.

There are times when constructive criticism is very helpful and there are times when your enemies will only have destructive criticism and jealousy to offer you.

Two main ways to get feedback about your writing for professionals:  1) Submit!  When the editors will make changes; when the magazine or newspaper or publisher will buy it/pay for it; then that ‘s good.

Great ways to get feedback for amateurs and some semi-pros: join writer’s groups; take work shops or classes.  Peer critique is often part of such arrangements.

General to Specific

There are numerous types of writing and most writers specialize.  Many of those who have specialized don’t call themselves writers.  Grant writers, for instance, will often just say that they work for whatever organization they work at in some administrative role.  Journalists, typically prefer to be called journalists, although they could all call themselves writers and be telling the truth.  Staff writers may choose to refer to the publication where they work.  Most staff writers wouldn’t ever write “for fun” or “as just a hobby” and those that would might well not tell the truth about that.

Travel writers, book authors, niche novelists, political news, best restaurants, fashion, television, film, all have specialized types of writing.  There are people capable or more than one kind of writing, but it is common for those who are most successful in the field to find they were forcibly limited to a small subjection of the writing world in order to find a way to earn a living or to develop a good reputation in the industry.

 

Network

There are times when you have to meet and greet enough others in the industry to get a deal and other times when you really need to mail something for it to work. In some cases, the right thing to do is apply for a job and become a regularly paid publishing company editor for other authors even if you hardly get anything of your own published. Maybe you will, and maybe it won’t matter anymore.

Sometimes writers are stubborn and fail to change in ways that will cause them to have far greater success and other times people just realize that for them: to change that much would be so bad that they might as well go work in a totally different field if that’s really how it works.

Other writers tolerate a lot of painful constructive criticism and make survivable compromises and learn to be a bit more flexible and they find out that they can get a lot further and are happy with the results even though the reality ends up being unlike their original idea.

What is Philosophy?

What is Philosophy?
Most people know what religion is. For those who don’t go to church with their family, religion is an organized way of helping people to grow spiritually; that means mainly to help the good stay good, to help people improve – especially morally, and in terms of their awareness, and to help people to help each other better. Religion is usually also associated with beliefs: beliefs and methods.
Philosophy addresses many of the same core questions that religion does, and that science also does. Due to that, sometimes philosophy can be understood as being part of religion and part of science but other times it isn’t. For example: what is knowledge? and Is God real? If so, what is God like? are all normal philosophical questions.
Sometimes philosophy is viewed as conflicting with religion or with science. How do we know that scientific research methods are as good as or better than religious writings like The Bible? Are both just as good? Are social science case studies and legal witness testimonies any better, worse or as good as testimonies about God’s activities in The Bible and elsewhere? Are they scientific evidence? If so, then why do scientists sometimes complain about religious people or claim they are unscientific and superstitious?
There are also famous or infamous atheist philosophers, including David Hume and Friederich Nietzsche, and Bertrand Russell. They were able to write and to publish without being burned at the stake by other people and they were not struck down by God for not being believers. However, David Hume did not dare publish while he was alive because the Church was so powerful in his day and he was terrified of them.
Many theologians also study philosophy, and those who do not fear and hate it, in contrast refer to it as ‘the handmaiden of theology’.
Ethics
Ethics is the philosophical term for morality when people try to talk about it as if it is not religion. Many theologians and others are comfortable dealing with morality as ethics. The types of problems that ethicists (moralists) deal with are often political; they require thinking about both the small and the large scales in life.
Here are a few examples:
1) At what point can a physician remove life support from an unconscious patient and not be breaking their Hippocratic Oath to protect and preserve life?
This one is clearly a medical question. Hence, hospitals are one place where ethicists often work, but as there are standards for the large scale, agreements about such matters turn into laws, regulations and public policies. As such, they are also political.
2) How many refugees can the country take in, in an emergency? To what extent does a nation’s right to protect itself and it’s own welfare override a moral obligation to help those in need – such as refugees? This is more obviously political, but is just as personal as the previous one. Clearly, this is not medical ethics.
Both of these questions can be looked at from a definitely religious perspective but may have to be faced by people who do not consider themselves to be religious or to even have a religion. Neither question has a quick, easy cut and dried answer.
People who consistently address these questions from a religious perspective are still doing moral philosophy or ethics. It is just that, this is also philosophy to those who take any other kind of approach to seeking good answers to the same kinds of problems.
When it is not
Philosophy is not always religion, and not everything in religion is philosophy.
When Socrates asked the young men at Plato’s parties if they knew what “justice” is, he was not trying to practice religion. When Aristotle chose to catalog animals while working for Alexander the Great he was not doing it as religion. Both were activities of philosophy.
Many religious activities are caused by the God-based philosophy (also known as theology), but the ritual of each religion is not philosophy itself. Many of the good works done, such as building schools and hospitals and feeding the hungry are likewise based in theology but are not philosophy itself.
Many businesses put together a paragraph or two about their company’s philosophy for employees and other customers. That is normally not considered to be religion.
Together and Separate
Philosophy and religion can be found together or treated separately. Real life is holistic of course, so there may be times when a categorical separation seems artificial but that’s okay. If you are used to one, but not the other rest assured that you can know both quite intimately. The better you know them, the less you will get confused about which is which.

*If you loved this article, check out Five Big Questions in Life and how to answer them.  You can buy it online Five Big Questions in Life and how to answer them.

Ken Wilber & His Philosophy

2000 words

Ken Wilber & His Philosophy

by Miriam Pia

Ken Wilber is one of the dominant and ‘game changing’ American philosophers of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. His work broke with the status quo of academic philosophies of both the West and the East. Because of that, his work, although famous outside of most Western philosophy based universities has not become popular or frequently taught within them. The one place he is best known for having taught is in fact the first established Buddhist based university in the United States of America, the Naropa Institute in Colorado. As it happens Boulder, Colorado with the Rocky Mountains does mimic some of the basic underlying type of geography as the Tibetan culture and philosophy which came into being in the snowy Himalayan Mountains.

What makes Ken Wilber’s Philosophy so different?

Epistemology is the area of philosophy devoted to figuring out and clarifying what knowledge is, since only by knowing what knowledge is can we – as individuals and as the human race, know what to be sure of as being truth and what remains ignorance of one kind or another.

There are clear traditions of ideas and beliefs about what the truth is and how to determine it in both Western and Eastern philosophical traditions. The main radical measure that Ken Wilber takes in his ‘integral philosophy’ is that he reviews the Western tradition and makes a new organized schema. For many in the Western tradition, to borrow from the philosophy of science of the 1980s, Wilber’s Integral Philosophical system creates a new paradigm. He does this by showing how much of what was argued over in terms of their relation to truth in terms of priority and hierarchy in the preceding 300 years of philosophical tradition can be couched into new language and put together into a new schema without denying any of them.

The main schools of thought in the Western tradition about truth and knowledge are:

Idealism: Plato and Kant, and later Hegel and other German idealists. These posit that truth can be learned through mental operations and that abstract thinking can lead to real world results because of 2 factors: 1 is that much of truth and the ability to perceive it is built right into the human mind, and that 2 logic and mathematics and proper philosophical inquiry, and later also scientific research methods also yield real and legitimate results.

Plato argued that the truth of things is right in the perception of them within a realm seen as the human mind or perceivable by the mind. The main example is what has come to be known as ‘the principle of the thing’, where Plato taught that the principle of any object was real as an idea or ideal and that if anything, things took shape from the reality of the realm of ideas more than the other way around.

Kant explained that some of what is true shows up right in the mind – these are a priori ideas, which are true of the human mind and indicate what is true about the world. Kant read Plato and Aristotle and knew at least some Christianity, and possibly knew post-Judaic Christianity (after the Council of Nicea people could become Christian without having to convert to Judaism) very well.

From then up to the present there have been schools of thought which developed out of believing that idealism is true, believing in idealism in a limited way, and running counter to idealism. In the ancient world, Plato came right before Aristotle but unlike Plato Aristotle was not an idealist. He thought Plato’s theory of forms was wrong and went around cataloging species of life forms for Emperor Alexander. Aristotle is considered a proto empirical scientist of the Western world. Aristotle believed very strongly in the world as being real and as existing without dependency upon any human mind for its existence, but did view human perception as having some kind of reality.

The development of the empirical sciences and scientific method during the previous 3 centuries, although there were scientific and technological breakthroughs going back thousands of years before the advent of modern science: in Western cultures was directly related to accepting Kant’s idea that part of what is real and some of the truth that can be perceived has to do with the human mind and the ability to think and the rest of it has to do with the outside world. Hence, by relating to the world of sensory experience the right way, and by thinking the right way, humans have a good chance of learning the truth. Theories are the closest to the truth that can be reached given careful examination of the evidence found in the world with lots of help from excellent thinking with a human mind.

Ken Wilber notes early on in the description of his own philosophy the matter of how much the empirical sciences seem to award truth value to the outside world but none to the subjective experience of people. Not only that, claims Ken Wilber, but scientific theories also seem to dismiss society in determining what is true or not. One Continental Philosopher of the 20th century who emphasized the effect of society and in society was Michele Foucault, who’s writings were mainly interdisciplinary. The French tendency to post modernism which Wilber is also aware of, developed with existentialism as a mostly idealist, atheist philosophical movement of the 20th century.

Integral Theory & Truth Quadrants

In Ken Wilber’s integral theory, KW recognizes 4 types of truth which he posits exist for every individual. One, if the subjective realm. This does contain Plato’s world of forms and Kant’s a priori concepts, but also contains everything from logic to dreams and emotions, hopes and fears of individuals. Personal truths about the self and one’s point of view and so on, can all exist in this realm.

Another quadrant of truth, according to integral theory, is the truth about the world, more familial to people as involving a world of sense objects and social relations that exist regardless of human perception but that humans may be able to perceive the truth about.

Wilber’s integral philosophy contains two quadrants which are simultaneously private but also external and existing in a shared realm with other people and other creatures. One of the two is the external world from the perspective of an individual and the other is more the mass scale social scene.

Steps & Stages: Spirituality & Buddhist influences

In actual practice, one of the main differences between Ken Wilber and most of the traditional Western philosophers is that KW learned to meditate within the blended context of Buddhism in Colorado and the more general cultural context of the Rocky Mountains, Christianity – mostly Protestantism, Hippies and Chogyam Chungpa/ Trungpa – who was the first major Buddhist lama (and really a ‘bad boy’ as lamas go) who trekked to North America and introduced Dharma and founded the Naropa Institute when KW was a young boy in the region.

Because KW did bother to learn to meditate, and turned out to be very good at it, he included in his philosophy 4 major states or types of consciousness which in Western philosophical tradition go predominantly unmentioned. Here and there someone refers to imagination and dream states in Western philosophy but normally not in a well organized manner.

How it proceeds

The bulk of Ken Wilber’s philosophical writings explain how he sees his theory functioning within individuals and societal groups. It includes a history and philosophy of human development that goes from the rudimentary and biological up to the spiritual. Through the descriptions, he teaches readers and followers how to get some idea of which levels they are operating on as individuals and then, by knowing where they are, shows them how they might reach subsequent levels. In that respect KW’s philosophical works are infused with inspiration and hope as they are designed to enable readers and followers to really do something in their own lives with the philosophy rather than it being one of the types of philosophical treatises that is full of explanation and description but for readers has no direct, practical value beyond maybe being able to understand why research exists and what it is like when it makes sense.

How it fits in

Beyond what has already been explained, Ken Wilber’s thought has been enigmatic and profound in that it is not a simple rehash of what has been done in the past and yet it really does break with tradition without just destroying tradition.

As an individual, Ken Wilber is someone who was able to become well known and well liked and to fit in in those senses but he has always stood out from the crowd in part due to being exceptionally tall and thin but also due to being a brilliant man who boldly did something like study Plato but also learn to meditate and not run away nor hide from what he learned by doing so.

By reputation, Ken Wilber has become a well known American philosopher despite being regularly ignored by academic philosophy and philosophers because he is 1) an odd ball, and 2) they weren’t responsible for his success and don’t know him and may feel put out that he is a great philosopher out of nowhere rather than after having carefully ensconced in academic philosophy for at least a decade and showing up as a little bit important by contributing the American analytical philosophical tradition with a new treatise on computer logic and the implications for hospital ethics in the 21st century or something ‘normal’ and ‘expected’ like that. Instead, integral theory has grown into a diverse set of organizations that surround sales of Ken Wilber books and workshops. The philosophy has been picked up and partially learned and bandied about as much by corporate coaches as by academic philosophers.

Personally, I think it is not worth denying that despite the ill fit with the majority trends in the American analytic philosophical tradition early in the 21st century, Ken Wilber really is one the best American philosophers certainly of his generation and quite possibly for the century for the Americans.

In truth, to give perspective another way, he is more the spiritual and philosophical son or descendant of the Englishman Alan Watts who was a British philosopher who was one of the first of the 20th century Western thinkers to attempt to engage with Asiatic and Buddhist philosophy. Their 19th century predecessor was actually Friedrich Nietzsche and Louise Andreas-Salome (maybe J. Ree) who tried to go beyond the limits of what they had learned from the ancient Greeks and their philosophical forebears in a decidedly Christian European and North American world.

In that respect, it is proper to understand these thinkers as trying to be more worldly, and cutting edge and inclusive in the scope of their philosophical endeavors, thoughts and trying to write for what Thomas S. Kuhn (philosophy of science 1980s) called a new paradigm.

Conclusions

Ken Wilber’s philosophy is far from useless but really is best understood in the context of trying to bridge Western and Eastern thought, but also trying to push forward with Western consciousness, and draw new conclusions about the debate about which takes philosophical precedence about truth: self, world, a priori ideas or logic?

In general, idealism faded during the 20th century but did not entirely disappear. American and British philosophy became more analytic and atheistic. Continental philosophy became more atheistic but also more interdisciplinary and some forms of idealism persisted but were changed as their context switched from empirical sciences and math over to areas such as music, art criticism and so on. The women’s movements as part of the continuing saga of human civil rights was also involved and showed up because French women existentialists on the Continent and radicals – like Ayn Rand, who was as free standing in her philosophical efforts as Ken Wilber but being a woman, and a conservative, unlike Ken Wilber she was able to do it in part thanks to the funding from her husband while living as a wife.

It may take some decades before universities figure out the best way to place the work of Ken Wilber in relation to the canon for the philosophy curriculum, but already, Ken Wilber has made himself into a prominent American philosopher. Not everyone will agree with him and that one point makes Ken Wilber just like every other great philosopher who has ever walked the Earth.

Five Big Questions in Life – book review

REVIEW

The 5 Big Questions In Life

Publication date:

ISBN: 978-1-61720-864-5

Many have the questions; but very few have the answers. Among the few; Miriam Pia stands out with her book: The 5 Big Questions In Life. This is your opportunity to learn Philosophy which she has defined as ‘the love of wisdom.’ Simplified, but still with a professional touch.

In this exciting philosophy, Miriam also brings in the old timers; Socrates and his student Plato. The highlight is; Plato was rich and Socrates was poor.That is the point Miriam is highlighting as being evidence that Philosophy is free to practice and is useful to people who have money as well as those who don’t. Of course she studied Philosophy the Plato way – she paid for it – up to Masters Level with Middlesex University. But she is encouraging you to digest this book should you not be in a position to afford tertiary education.

Most importantly, the book takes you from the history of Western philosophy, Eastern philosophy and the founding Greek philosophy to the present day phenomenon.

The book is not only asking what the world is really like. How do we know what we know, whether God exists, the best way to live, what defines the Good and Evil; it is also about answering those questions. Justa glimpse on the best way to live; Miriam shares that sexual love, romance, a sense of the morality surrounding those involved and any children who show up is also a very major and important part of people practicing their best way to live.People need to be safe: traditional forms of family; represented by marriage, is one of the best ways for people to be safe to have sex.Like it or not, this is a truth. All in The Big5 Questions in Life.

Blessings S. Makanani

Freelance Writer.

Together Time & Alone Time

Today’s post is about amounts of togetherness. Most people like to feel ‘not alone’ at least sometimes but also like to be able to ‘be alone – by oneself’ at least sometimes.

Over the course of a life, there are those of us who get the balance right most of the time and others who cope with either too much or not enough alone time over the years.

One activity that people can enjoy to be on their own but still feel at least somewhat connected is reading.

Some of you already know that I write. Most of what I have written professionally does not have my name on it: I have no control over those and am not really involved with them much afterwards. Most of you also know that there are works of which I am the author. It is a real pleasure to find customers. I know that it is challenging: as someone who has been irritated by sales people but who has also spent happily and willingly on items I really wanted or needed, it can be strange to hawk one’s wares.

For nonfiction – if you have ever wondered about the meaning of life or how to tell right from wrong, or even how we have anything like knowledge at all, please actually buy http://www.amazon.com/Five-Big-Questions-Life-answer/dp/1617208647/ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1354910525&sr=1-7&keywords=Five+Big+Questions+in+Life

What is the best way to live? 2013

The following is an excerpt from Chapter 5 of Five Big Questions in Life and how to answer them.

This is another of the most famous and important philosophical questions that exists. In fact, some of the different philosophers can be organized according to which of the Big 5 Questions they answer and deal with.

This one involves some of the most intense personal practice that anyone can do. For hands on people who like to take action, dealing with this question is very fulfilling. One looks around and sees that there is more than one way to live. People live differently for a variety of reasons. Some of the reasons involve matters we have control over and other factors are beyond our control.

The best way to live is normally influenced by what natural and social forces seem to govern. Our gender, our age and our cultural identity all influence how we view the world, what our needs and expectations are and how we operate. Within the limitations placed upon us by those factors most of us find that we still have room to maneuver – there is some element of choice somewhere in our life.

Both religion and politics are involved here. Some people are born in nations where they have the free choice to move to many other countries of the world. Others are not. For those that do have that freedom, then they may choose to live in part by which type of politics they prefer. They may select a place where they feel they have the best economic chances. They may choose their preferred climate.

To read the rest, get yours now. Currently on sale at: http://www.amazon.com/Five-Big-Questions-Life-answer/dp/1617208647/ref=sr_1_9?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1353177143&sr=1-9&keywords=five+big+questions+in+life

Free excerpt from Five Big Questions in Life and how to answer them by Miriam Pia

Below is a free excerpt from  http://www.amazon.com/Five-Big-Questions-Life-answer/dp/1617208647/ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1354910525&sr=1-7&keywords=Five+Big+Questions+in+Life

1.
Introduction

What is philosophy? Translated literally from the Greek, it means “love of wisdom”. It has been around for approximately 3000 years in the West. The world’s first known,remembered philosopher is Confucious of China over 1000 years before remembered Greek philosophers.  Another simple way to understand what philosophy is to describe it: the subject that tries to answer some of the questions in life that are hardest to answer. Philosophy takes more effort to practice than it does to just think about. For adult readers, the most obvious way you have seen this is whenever you have taken a new job. The company often gives you a small flier. One paragraph of the flier gives you the philosophy. They give it to you with the Mission Statement and the Vision so that you understand core principles of the organization. The entire business functions daily – and its all in an effort to implement that little bit of philosophy.