bjbernis

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Using humility to counteract shame

The Dalai Lama once said, "In life, Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional." I think this is directly related to the concept of humility. True humility is not the devaluation of the self in as much as it is the elimination of the self, the result of which is a perspective that transcends the instinctual human desire for the aversion of pain and the seeking of pleasure. Once this perspective is attained, a person then has the ability to replace these survival instincts with higher-level goals and purposes. Thus, problems are no longer problems in as much as they are simply physical constraints to the achievement of said goals and purposes. You wouldn't consider "Gravity" a problem to flying in as much it is a physical constraint which can be overcome via other physical laws of nature.

Of course, there are other ways to attain this perspective; however, this perspective of true humility is sufficient in accomplishing a way of experiencing the world that minimizes the experience of negative emotions, the root of which is a focus on the self and the solution of which is a focus on goals and purposes.

A Priori

I must respectfully disagree with your interpretation of Kant's use of the term "a priori knowledge." Kant says "While all knowledge beings with experience, it does not all arise out of experience." Hence, Kant never himself says that we can have knowledge without ever having had experience, that is to say, the shorthand explanation of Kant's philosophy, namely that "a priori truths are truths that can be attained without experience" does a poor job of representing the nuance of his epistemological system. Again, he says "While all knowledge beings with experience, it does not all arise out of experience" meaning that you have to exist in order to attain a priori knowledge (a harken back to Descartes' "I think therefore I am"); however, a priori truths are not going to be found within the physical laws of the world. Rather, a priori truths are found in the very nature of our mental reasoning process, as well as in the very nature of language itself. This is so regardless of the very real fact that language, alongside the accompanying mental capacity required to wield it, are a large part the result of the very laws of nature Kant has deemed irrelevant. This is because Kant is not concerning himself (in this part of the argument) with the distinction between phenomena (our experience) and noumena (the thing into itself, i.e., the external world outside of our perspective). Rather, Kant states that regardless of the nature of the reality outside of human experience, the nature of our experience itself (regardless of what shaped that experience) can be studied independently of its causes, and in doing so, illuminate many concepts that were until then unknown, e.g., the existence of a priori truths themselves; the categories; and the transcendental deduction.

I hope this insight from a Kantian scholar sheds some light on your very unique and interesting argument.