May 12, 2013

From "A Yangist's Musings" to "The Yangist Experience"

I'm changing the title of my blog to signal a change in the approach that I'll take to focus this stuff more on Yangism, while still remaining consistent with all of the cutthroat analytical anti-philosophy and reduction of any encountered "philosophical problems" to non-philosophical arenas.

My opinions on how life is best lived, and their justificatory grounds, align most closely with surviving Yangist material, but my anti-philosophy (or, as an epithet, positivistic tendencies) bars me from approaching the topic in any way which is typical to academic philosophy, and it doesn't allow me much freedom to discuss what I feel is most important about any doctrine -- an understanding how living by a certain code, moral, or ethos really impacts a person, as opposed arguing on the supposed pros and cons of the hypothetical adoption of one.

One potential route which will resolve these problems will be to turn away from an analysis of what texts say and how they jive with other ethical precepts, etc., in abstraction, and instead focus on concrete instances of my own life (or those of other living Yangists who happen to find this blog) in which being a Yangist proves to be advantageous or disadvantageous.  Instead of thinking of my (meta)ethics as theoretical fields of philosophical debate, I'm going to consider relevant effects that people who might consider adopting it might think are directly relevant to them.  I'm using myself as a lab rat in my own experimentation, offering data points that might guide people to adopt or avoid this lifestyle.

Now, without a few checks against myself, this self-reporting on life according to a position with which I strongly agree could dissolve into polemical diarrhea, so in the interests of checking myself against that, I'm going to stick to a few guidelines in the interest of giving an even-handed view of what it's like to be a Yangist.
  1. I'm only going to discuss autobiographical bits about myself wherein I attribute my behaviors to following or attempting to follow a claim that Yang Zhu advises.  That is, I'm not going to describe how I act in ways which coincidentally correspond with Yangist claims.  I'm going to describe how I act, think, feel because the Yangist position advises it, or because I justify it explicitly on Yangist grounds, even if other reasons tell me not to do so.
  2. I'm going to evenly distribute claims to advantages and disadvantages in my life, or even write more about the disadvantages of my Yangist life than about the advantages of it.  I do this to actively curb cognitive biases in which I would be more prone to positively assess behaviors that result from advisement with which I mostly agree (i.e. avoid whitewashing).
  3. I may describe how I act in ways which do not meet Yangist suggestions, but will not comment on whether not acting according to Yangist proposal is advantageous or disadvantageous.  Instead, I will outline a plan to adhere to a given Yangist proposal (within the scope of the law of my place of residence), execute it for a few weeks or months, and then comment on the results afterwards.
I think that these guidelines should keep this effort descriptive, a statement of results that have followed from years of actually conforming aspects of my life to Yangism, or of living according to beliefs which Yangism pretty clearly advises (and after the fact, defending my practice on Yangist grounds).  In these forthcoming expositions, I leave the normative or prescriptive questions to my modest readership.