As I have mentioned in one of my previous posts, Romanticism and Enlightenment are inseparable concepts that can barely be differentiated in nature regardless of what most of the authors claim. Both concepts are what make us human. They are ideas that have been created by humans after all. So my choice is not to agree with one or the other. Rather, I choose to be human and embrace both my sentience and emotions.
Learning about these concepts has definitely opened my eyes to the natural way humans think. The conflict between the two schools of thinking has shown me that there is no right or wrong here, it’s just people trying to justify two conceptually correct concepts. With this knowledge I will go on to implement my life choices and my interactions around these concepts. I will be putting in effort to balance my life better by taking lessons from both ideologies and shaping my values to cover a wider perspective of thinking.
The most important takeaway has been the prevalence of uncertainty in our lives. Humans don’t really know what is what and everybody is figuring out their path as they go along. Yes, there has been an improvement in our understanding of the world and people can develop their emotional intelligence; but the beauty of it all is in the uncharted territory. The unseen experiences and undiscovered knowledge is what keeps us pursuing our dreams. We should keep doing that. We should feed our minds with the best possible knowledge while allowing our personalities and emotions to flourish. We should enjoy the journey while it exists.
By most, the symbol above is known as “yin and yang.” It has a rather vague meaning. It symbolizes the balance with the dark and bright. It is a portrayal of the good and the bad, tranquility and turmoil, none of which can exist without the presence of the other. Everything we perceive is relative to another experience. One cannot feel happy if they have never been sad. Both sides of the spectrum play a crucial role in keeping each other intact. I think that this should be the guide for one’s life. Everything needs to happen in a balance, in unison, nothing should be pursued to the extreme, if one wants to preserve all they have been given. One gives up the opposite by experiencing the extremes and it’s really hard to receive any good from the chosen extreme when the relativity to the other side is destroyed.
From the perspective of Schiller, I see yin and yang as a symbol of reason and feeling in harmony. The dark side represents feelings. They are usually uncharted, have unknown sources and are uncontrollable by the host. They are the dark forces that we don’t understand and thus cannot reason about or control. Sometimes they are good feelings, sometimes they are bad, but in any case, once they are in control, we are like passengers in a roller-coaster. The bright side is the reason, it is clearly visible to us and it is directly controlled by our thoughts. The brightness sheds light on the darkness to help us see.
Even if darkness might be perceived as bad, it is quite the opposite. It is what brings us joy, helps us feel human. It is what makes us alive and genuine, giving us the ability to empathize, socialize and create memories. It makes us take risks, induces curiosity to explore and encounter new experiences. Darkness is what gives meaning to the brightness. Brightness, on the other hand, is what allows us to understand and contemplate. It helps us develop new skills and helps us make sense of the darkness. It helps us spread good into the world.
Neither one can exist without the other. Without the uncertainty of our feelings, our reasoning would be meaningless. Imagine knowing the exact course of your life to the exact detail. What would be the point of struggling and thinking through it when there is no uncertainty and no feeling? Is it worth living without the excitement of experiencing new stuff with others and the joy of achievement? Would you keep playing a game even if you beat it 100% of the time with no challenge whatsoever, or solve a puzzle that you already know how to? Likewise, feelings cannot exist without reason. If that was the case, we would be blind followers of feelings, completely dark, nothing to see or think about. Feelings are what we use our reason for. We reason to help us feel good. If reason and our enlightened minds weren’t there, we would merely be an animated series of chemical reactions enclosed in a human-shaped body. No choice, no escape, only reactions to stimuli.
Even though I tried to describe the two sides (bright and dark, reason and feeling) separately, they are naturally inseparable and they always overlap. If they could be divorced, how would yin and yang exist anyway? Brightness can be perceived due to the contrast to the darkness and vice versa. Embrace them both. You are both.
So which one shall we choose, brighten the darkness or darken the brightness? The answer is neither. Leave them as they are. Listen to them both. Exile the one and the other will follow.
For an author like Kant, who is a human by the way, it is easy to argue for reason and how they lead to the moral values we have. His argument about moral laws being products of rational reasoning makes sense for all of us as we have grown up being taught about some common values and certain behaviors that we should abide by. However, it is not obvious to me that there is just one kind of reasoning in this universe. I think Kant is ignoring the fact that there is a wild difference between different forms of reasoning.
An example of a wildly different form of reasoning can be realized in an artificial intelligence medium. While it is possible for us to create AI models that think like us and follow the same rules as we do, this is merely imposing our cultural biases and prejudices onto these models and making them think like us. Extensive research has shown that, in reality, we don’t understand an AI model’s logic for decision-making. When visualized, we have seen that AI models can arrive at similar conclusions as humans in certain scenarios (like diagnosing tumors from CT scans of the brain). However, they are able to do so with a significantly different methodology compared to what human doctors to by focusing on key aspects differing from those used by humans. So, if AI models’ way of reasoning is different to ours, we should also expect them to arrive at different conclusions on what’s right and what’s wrong and build different moral values.
The part about Machine Ethics is relevant in the following page:
Hello everybody! My name is Nabi and I’m a Computer Science senior. I love the work I do and I’m very optimistic about the future. The reason I love the field I’m working in is because of the power it gives me to influence a wide variety of segments of society and enhance their living conditions in some ways through my software skills.
My favorite book in HUM has been the dialogues by Plato due to a couple of reasons: firstly, I came to the realization that some of the biases and presumptions we make might be wrong in their fundamental argument. This made me question myself and the ideas I had to make sure to eliminate these biases that come from my background. Secondly, the HUM series in general has helped me have a clearer idea of who I am and my core values. Thanks to this new skill I’m able to have a clearer vision for my future and am able to be a better person overall.