Warnings And Disclaimers

Before doing any work with the laptop today, I noticed an email from Microsoft. It was a notification regarding changes in their terms of service. The document is basically a list of disclaimers written in legalese. To ignore them is to basically enter into a corporate minefield. However, most of us don’t read the fine print or we quickly skim them without digesting the meaning.

We routinely swallow analgesic tablets to cure headaches or sore muscles. Each bottle displays a warning notice and list of contraindications explaining when not to take the medicine. It is wise heed the warning labels on over the counter and prescription drugs. In such instances, ignoring the disclaimers and warnings may result in serious complications or even death.

We can also think of considerations to take when encountering spiritual teachings and philosophies. For example, a college philosophy professor urged his students to take extra care when reading Also sprach Zarathustra (Thus Spake Zarathustra) by Friedrich Nietzsche. Being a naïve, eager young man, I disregarded the teacher’s sage advice. The result being that Nietzsche’s book affected my emotional state deeply. I was in a dark funk for at least a month. I would have been in a better place had I taken the professor’s warning seriously. It wasn’t until several years later that I gathered up the courage to reread Nietzsche’s tome. Upon the second reading, I was better able to understand the gist of the book.

By and large, people undertake self-improvement and similar topics to understand themselves with the intent to make their lives better. Without due care, some philosophical texts are misinterpreted as journeys into escapism, oblivion, or nihilism. To many people who harbor a pauper’s mentality, the subconscious chases prosperity or owning something “solid”. When such a person encounters the philosophical concept of non-attachment or nongrasping, the advice and techniques might bring about anxiety and fear of letting go. Such a shallow interpretation obscures the deeper meaning of non-attachment.

Laziness or naïveté are character habits that tend to bias thinking towards superficiality, reliance upon literalism, or escape into nihilism. This is what I suffered through as a young college student who was mainly concerned with achieving a good grade point average. Disregarding the professor’s disclaimer caused an emotional setback.

There is also a subset of students who shamelessly consume large numbers wisdom teachings in a pseudointellectual manner. They disregard warnings that lead to misinterpretations. These cause rationalizations towards questionable thinking and behavior. For example, one may find reasons to justify manipulation of other people. Disregarding ethical warnings can validate the actions of philosophical and spiritual charlatans, deceivers, public speakers, and tricksters. When followers of such leaders ignore the relevant disclaimers and warnings, they are led down the garden path of wishful thinking and can become victims of fraud.

While going about our daily business, we come across numerous warnings and disclaimers. It behooves us to understand why we need to heed them. Otherwise, if we ignore the dangers, we take unnecessary risks. Know the warnings then proceed with care and discernment.


The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes comic book writer, composer, and filmmaker, Joss Whedon. “A vague disclaimer is nobody’s friend.”

About swabby429

An eclectic guy who likes to observe the world around him and comment about those observations.
This entry was posted in cultural highlights, philosophy, religion, Youth and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Warnings And Disclaimers

  1. Many warnings are meant to confuse rather than inform. It is important to proceed with caution as you say.

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