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Old 06-14-2016, 11:09 PM
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Deep Brain Poison: treatment for the viral ideas that ruin our lives


*sorry in advance for using terms like: idea, concept, thought, meme, semiotics, etc... as interchangeable equals. I do not know/care enough to make those distinctions. Furthermore, sorry for trying to mash the concepts of virus (in our body) and virus (computer) together to form an equivalence with virus (in our brain as ideas and our actions on our thoughts). I guess a tl;dr version of the below would be something like: over time as we build up (and are built up in turn by our parents/society) our inner rules on how to think and act properly in our world, some of the rules are successful, others are failures, while others are neutral or immediately effective but with long term consequences (like junk food, or the easy way out). Any of those can in fact be a “memetic virus” that lessens us as a person and our society as a whole. For example, the word “deserve” and all of the pent up meaning and implications behind it leads to the hardening of our hearts towards the plights of others and severely lessens our empathy. In order to cure these mental infections and become closer to our idealized selves, we should scrutinize everything we believe in and use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy techniques to cleanse our minds of our old toxic thoughts/habits.


You know, I think that I have learned something. The point of writing a book, is a lot like the point of being a teacher. While making new points and forming new ideas is good and laudable; what really matters is repackaging and re-telling the old salient points/ideas in your own unique way to a new generation that has not yet (maybe?) experienced the ideas that made you grow as you have. What I am trying to say is that I used to dismiss people out of hand if they brought up, what I thought of as, old well-trodden ground. (like: what if we are all in a simulation, is a Chinese Room sentient, Sneeches with their Stars on their bellies as a social commentary on our “othering” desire, etc...) And I was wrong to do so. Now I try to be more like a teacher, going over the same points with different people, and trying to form what I “believe” into various facets so people that learn differently might see my point through those different lenses. Please be patient with my naiveté, I promise to interact more with this thread more than the zero I did for my others.

Space warfare in sci-fi can be many things, from lasers to missiles to asteroids to radiation to computer viruses. The last one piqued my interest after I read the short story Kumara by Seth Dickinson
http://escapepod.org/2014/03/29/ep441-kumara/
This is a Promethean story, wherein a lone spaceship and her crew has stolen ...something important... from an ancient machine god the size of planets. Chasing the human ship, the god’s revenants weaponize viral code. Needing more processing power to combat the viruses, the ship asks the last living crew member to choose which of the dead crew to delete from their simulated heaven, to truly die, (as their bodies and minds can be re-made back safely on earth otherwise) as the ship loves them all equally and she cannot bear to make the choice herself.

In a sentient ship so closely wedded and familiar with the human mind, what could a computer viral weapon be? Would it cross over from simply slowing down her processor and writing junk to her hard drive to express itself in her sentience? Would that viral form express as insanity or self destructive thoughts? Would it be an insidious, irrefutable, idea like solipsism that would make her not care about her mission/crew anymore? Could we, as mere meat and chemical potential, be infected by a purely mental-scape “viral idea?” What would that feel like? How would we know and combat it? Then I remembered something else that I had read a while ago, and a quote that was particularly powerful to me.


The Dispossessed by Ursula Le Guin
[Quote/] "You don't mean justice, you mean punishment. Do you think they're the same thing?" "He means violence," Rulag said. "And if there is violence, you will have caused it You and your Syndicate. And you will have deserved it." A thin, small, middle-aged man beside Trepil began speaking, at first so softly, in a voice hoarsened by the dust cough, that few of them heard him. He was a visiting delegate from a Southwest miners' syndicate, not expected to speak on this matter. "… what men deserve," he was baying. "For we each of us deserve everything, every luxury that was ever piled in the tombs of the dead kings, and we each of us deserve nothing, not a mouthful of bread in hunger. Have we not eaten while another starved? Will you punish us for that? Will you reward us for the Virtue of starving while others ate? No man earns punishment, no man earns reward. Free your mind of the idea of deserving, the idea of earning, and you will begin to be able to think." (P. 288) [/Quote]

Ah... before this quote was remembered I was thinking of “viral memes” as much grander/complex things, like: people internalizing their belief in their own ugliness/worthlessness from repeated exposure to glamorized media images and trusted people telling them such; extreme otherization of taking your holy book as gospel and treating those not of your book as people deserving death/abuse; psychological issues such as anxiety or depression compounding when we dwell on all the negatives of the past and create excuses for why we cannot move forward. I never thought that such a deeply destructive, poisonous, thought could happen from our belief in just the words “deserve” and “earn.”

I do not know much about anything so I am eagerly awaiting your own ideas, but I myself cannot seem to get past the ideas of “deserving” and “earning.” So far all I have is: the idea of “earning” is inherently focused upon the singular (self/other) that implicitly sweeps away the roles that the many (other people, life forms, societies, nature’s externalities, etc) had in contributing to the “earned” event. Proper/idyllic living comes from a place of humility (realizing our relatively small, yet none the less, still important role in the Universe’s events) and respect (proper thanks and reverence for each individual, natural event, and whatnot that had a part in bringing the final event to fruition). Once we free our minds of the idea of earning, we would stop feeling lonely and greedy. Like how your life is different in the middle of loved ones and family sharing a meal vs sitting at a table in a cafeteria surrounded by strangers. Removing “earning” takes us from “I scored the touchdown” to “we did it team! Thanks fans, for being here today and supporting us! Good game other side, isn’t this fun? Lets keep playing!”

For “deserve” think about the animal kingdom and then expand it to our own lives. If a bird is hungry, does it “deserve” to eat? If the bird finds a worm and eats it, did the worm “deserve” to die suffocating in stomach acid, or did it “deserve” to live, with the bird “deserving” to be very hungry instead? Did the bird or the worm “deserve” the rain that happened to drive out the worm from the ground so the bird could see it and eat it? Are your answers some form of “eeh, nature will take its course anyway, “deserve” doesn’t factor in with dumb animals,” or something else that boils down to might makes right? How about with humans eating animals? Do they “deserve” to be eaten by us when we have the means to healthfully eat vegetarian style? We have morality, our might makes us right (right?) Or does our convenience trump our conscience? (sorry, convenience does trump my conscience. I still eat plenty of meat) “But you are still talking about animals in the equation, ‘deserve’ still does not really apply” I hear you respond. Ok, how about people “deserving” to eat. Full stop. Do we, you yourself, “deserve” to eat...ever? How about your family, relatives, friends, strangers, etc. ? Did you feel your heart soften and harden more and more as the levels of familiarity drifted farther from yourself? Such is the brain poison of “deserve,” it closes us away from the greater empathy and love that we should feel towards all things. Instead it makes our personal feelings of convenience override what should be our greater feelings of conscience.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eric-h...b_1463429.html We already grow enough food to feed 10 billion people, and have grown enough for the entire Earth’s population to never be hungry for the past 20+ years. It is our feelings towards *those people* (can also easily be internalized to mean I myself do not deserve good things) who do not “deserve” to have food (if only they worked harder, or cared enough to be active in their political structure, or did all the infrastructure work themselves, etc.), and our apathy in not helping out our fellow man which cause these crises. Now you may agree with the above parenthetical statements, but you have to realize that everyone is severely mentally ill. It is not even like you, a healthy person, understanding and helping out your sickly family. Everyone is filled with crippling disease and other mental illnesses, we all must lean on and support each other to the best of our ability. En masse, we will stumble towards a brighter future, but not if those sitting on the top of the heap get it into their heads that they are kings and “deserve” to stay on top soaking up the resources that are better spent on everyone evenly. To be free of “deserve” is to treat every person as they come up, to the best of our ability, without prejudice or judgment. And to feel an equivalent great compassion towards everything. It is like being an idyllic doctor.


So how do we actually become better people, instead of just blowing smoke up each other’s asses and returning to our same old vices once we tab out of the thread? We don’t. Even the alleged experience of perfect oneness with the universe that LSD or mushrooms give only lasts for a month at best before we are back to our old habits. The most we can hope for, as I see it, is for a single kernel of greater resolve or purpose to fall upon the scales that add up to our personality. Even though it took our entire lifetime of experiences to get to how we are today, we have forgotten much. Even though the revelation according to LSD is forgotten, a mellow kernel may remain remembered. Just as the mountain of daily self-loathing will too be pushed aside and forgotten for the things that actually make us feel good or excite our curiosity. To hasten the process, I feel that, we must first strengthen our mental immune system by consuming knowledge’s foundation (logic, philosophy, science, psychology, etc) followed by extra doses of therapeutic ways of thinking like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Then we can safely gorge on all forms of thought ( all different books, ideas, discussions, entertainments, etc.) once we are immunized from the tantalizingly easy to understand arguments that lead everyone astray. I feel that the big reason for our mental troubles is that the most poisonous ideas are the simplest to convey and “understand.” Like how a virus is the most simple form of life, but for real complex life to form (or for real useful ideas to be cultivated), like ourselves, it takes much more work and deeper understanding to reap the benefits from.
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Old 06-15-2016, 01:14 AM
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Nature says the strong survive. Thus we and things like corn are still here and velociraptors are not.
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Old 06-15-2016, 02:24 AM
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In short, I wholeheartedly support the concept "deserve." This doesn't in any way diminish my capacity for empathy; in fact it augments it.
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Old 06-15-2016, 02:26 AM
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Do what makes you happy and minimises harm to others - if that turns out to be popular or spectacular, or causes you to rise to glittering fame, then also enjoy your brief spell in the spotlight.

If it doesn't turn out to be any of those things, who cares? - you're still doing what makes you happy.
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Old 06-15-2016, 08:23 AM
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A wall of text ending with a preposition; Up with this I will not put!
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Old 06-15-2016, 08:36 AM
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The poison is subjectivism.

Similar theme (without the LSD). We've lost the concept of external objective morality.

It's only about 15 min. of your time:

C.S. Lewis, The Poison of Subjectivism
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Old 06-15-2016, 09:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GulfTiger View Post
The poison is subjectivism.

Similar theme (without the LSD). We've lost the concept of external objective morality.

It's only about 15 min. of your time:

C.S. Lewis, The Poison of Subjectivism
Wrong. Lewis equates objective morality with traditional morality, and equates that with Christian morality. He never asks "What about other traditions?" or "What was the validity of the founding of Christian morality, before it became a tradition?"
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Old 06-15-2016, 09:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OP
...you have to realize that everyone is severely mentally ill...
Nope. I don't have to "realize" that at all.

But schools out, man. Have a little fun!

Last edited by John Mace; 06-15-2016 at 09:40 AM.
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Old 06-15-2016, 10:44 AM
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From the beginning of the OP:
Quote:
*sorry in advance for using terms like: idea, concept, thought, meme, semiotics, etc... as interchangeable equals. I do not know/care enough to make those distinctions.
This feeling may become a troubling when you effort to signal your communications to others.
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Old 06-15-2016, 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by panache45 View Post
Wrong. Lewis equates objective morality with traditional morality, and equates that with Christian morality. He never asks "What about other traditions?" or "What was the validity of the founding of Christian morality, before it became a tradition?"
Actually, he does. Read The Abolition of Man. He gives all sorts of examples from other traditions, from Babylon to China to Egypt.

Regards,
Shodan

Last edited by Shodan; 06-15-2016 at 03:38 PM.
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Old 06-15-2016, 07:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QuickSilver View Post
A wall of text ending with a preposition; Up with this I will not put!
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mace View Post
Nope. I don't have to "realize" that at all.

But schools out, man. Have a little fun!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Czarcasm View Post
From the beginning of the OP:
This feeling may become a troubling when you effort to signal your communications to others.
Thank You QuickSilver, John Mace, and Czarcasm for being kind enough to teach me about how off-putting and poorly presented my screed was. I think I understand your greater points that you wanted to get across, let me see if I can articulate them.

Presentation is very important in every aspect of life. A person dressed poorly, yet qualified for a job, will have a harder time getting the job. A delicious meal that is mashed together in an ugly bowl stands a good chance of being left uneaten and unappreciated, just for the sight of it. It also works the other way. Nonsensical writings, if the words/sentences flow together well, can become best sellers (I’m looking at you Finnegans Wake) just as easily as a good ideas could never be appreciated if they lay within a dense dry prose that the reader just gave up on over boredom.

As such, when I misuse language such as John Mace had rightly brought up, I alienate my audience. I see now that with conversing, as in books, every little step needs to be taken to not assume anything. Even if the author knows/sees the greater picture unfolding around the characters, it has not been explicitly written down yet for the reader. What I was remembering when I wrote “you must realize we are all severely mentally ill” was something much more benign. Back in highschool I had a Spanish teacher who brought up the point that people who grew up speaking a gendered language, also subconsciously attributed that gendered thinking when describing the objects. For example, the Spanish word for key is feminine, and when they describe keys they say things like small, intricate, delicate, etc... all things attributed to the fairer sex. But when people from a language that has a masculine form for key describe one they use words like heavy, protecting, etc... As such I was impressed that even our forms of language lock away certain ways of surface level thinking about the world around us behind gendered (and other) doors. Is that not a brain problem? For the ancient Greeks to look at the sky and say its color was bronze instead of blue? To never paint with a realistic perspective until the renaissance, despite everyone seeing everything receding into the horizon line? http://www.webexhibits.org/sciartper...spective1.html

Of course, I have no excuse for my gross misuse of language Czarcasm, and I will look into these words and really try to understand everyone’s true meaning. But here is one anyway; why do people argue over Bricker’s legal interpretations? He is, as far as I can tell, always correct if you use the lawyerly meanings of words/terms and do not read into the words any more meaning than that. Others then tend to use their own layman interpretations of the words and argue from there. But in a SCOTUS thread, really only strict lawyer words should apply. In this thread, I felt that all of those *'d terms were more or less interchangeable to the general reader (at least they were for me), but I realize now that if any real insight is to be gained, it is through the use of rigorous and scientific terminology to dig deeper and properly unpack the mind.



Quote:
Originally Posted by GulfTiger View Post
The poison is subjectivism.

Similar theme (without the LSD). We've lost the concept of external objective morality.

It's only about 15 min. of your time:

C.S. Lewis, The Poison of Subjectivism

Quote:
Originally Posted by panache45 View Post
Wrong. Lewis equates objective morality with traditional morality, and equates that with Christian morality. He never asks "What about other traditions?" or "What was the validity of the founding of Christian morality, before it became a tradition?"
Thank you GulfTiger for this very interesting insight from C.S.Lewis. And thanks to you too Panache45 for your thoughts and for your response bringing me to this new link which talks about various world religions and their relative moralities http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/religion-morality/ .

Of course i will inevitably misinterpret C.S.Lewis, and probably your points as well Panache45. So please come and correct me.
*quotes from GulfTiger’s link*
2:32-3:10 “but when we turn to [use subjectivism on] practical reason, ruinous effects are found operating in full force. By practical reason, I mean our judgments on good and evil... until modern times, no thinker of the first rank has ever doubted that our judgments of value were rational judgments, or that what they discovered was objective. It was taken for granted that in temptation, passion was opposed. Not to some sentiment, but to reason.”

5:22-6:12 “procedure of the moral reformer, who after saying that good means what we are conditioned to like, goes on cheerfully to consider whether it might be better that we should be conditioned to like something else. What in heaven’s name does he mean by ‘better?’ He usually has at the back of his mind, the notion that if he throws over traditional judgment or value, he will find something else. Something more real or solid on which to base a new scheme of values. He will say, for example: we must abandon irrational taboos, and base our values on the good of the community. As if the maxim: ‘Thou Shalt Promote The Good Of The Community’ were anything more than a polysyllabic variant of 'do as you would be done by’ [Mat.7:127]. Which has itself no other basis than the old universal value judgment he claims to be rejecting.”

7:28-8:10 “This whole attempt to jettison traditional values as something subjective, and to substitute the new scheme of values for them, that is wrong. It is like trying to lift yourself by your own coat collar. Let us get two propositions written into our minds with indelible ink. 1. The human mind has no more power of inventing a new value, than of planting a new sun in the sky, or a new primary color in the spectrum. 2. Every attempt to do so consists in arbitrarily selecting one maxim of traditional morality, isolating it from the rest, and erecting it to an ‘una necessarium.’ [the sole criteria]”

Well thank you GulfTiger for completely crushing my ‘moral reformer’ way of thought.

But from these quotes, it seems to me that you are correct, Panache45, in saying C.S.Lewis equates objective morality with traditional morality. But, mistaken in that, Lewis says traditional morality is from the very beginning of our first tribe’s sense of religion/morality. See here how he says, “‘Thou Shalt Promote The Good Of The Community’ were anything more than a polysyllabic variant of 'do as you would be done by’ [Mat.7:127]. Which has itself no other basis than the old[er still] universal value judgment [the traditional that is older than Christianity] he claims to be rejecting.”
He is saying that before we ruined our morality (our knowledge of good and evil) by intermingling it with subjectivity, all religions/moralities/traditions were valid; as they all sprung forth from, and kept true to, the same proto-axioms that our first ape ancestors knew to be true and lived by.
To take a quote from the Stanford link I attributed to you Panache45, "The purpose of proceeding historically is to substantiate the claim that morality and religion have been inseparable until very recently, and that our moral vocabulary is still deeply infused with this history.”

The best place to build a house is on firm, level, ground. C.S.Lewis shows that all ways of valuing things or believing or acting are all variations on "The human mind ... inventing a new value...[with] every attempt to do so consists in arbitrarily selecting one maxim of traditional morality, isolating it from the rest, and erecting it to an ‘una necessarium.’ [the sole criteria]” As such, the only way to properly act/think/behave is to do so with all traditional maxims/morality on a perfectly even foot, with none ever rising in importance or relevance above the others. For that way has your stable base turn to shifting sand. Now what would that even look like? To hold all moral actions/choices as perfectly equal in all contexts? I do not know. Someone help me visualize this please.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mangetout View Post
Do what makes you happy and minimises harm to others - if that turns out to be popular or spectacular, or causes you to rise to glittering fame, then also enjoy your brief spell in the spotlight.

If it doesn't turn out to be any of those things, who cares? - you're still doing what makes you happy.
Quote:
Originally Posted by panache45 View Post
In short, I wholeheartedly support the concept "deserve." This doesn't in any way diminish my capacity for empathy; in fact it augments it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by octopus View Post
Nature says the strong survive. Thus we and things like corn are still here and velociraptors are not.
Mangetout, thank you for cutting through the BS of minutiae that I was spiraling towards. But, do you agree that some things that make you feel happy and that do not bother others could be something still worth changing, or at least moderating in order to stave off future ill effects? Say I am alone and retired and I love to eat junk food, or heavily drink, or do whatever that will leave my last years of life an agony. Would my life have a subjectively better outcome if I tried to find some inner/outer strength to help me improve my health? Or would the pain/hardship of such change outweigh the later quality of life benefits?

Ah, Panache45 I would love it if you could expand upon your thoughts for me. Is it something like: to better appreciate the good in life, bad experiences are necessary to give context and depth to life? Is empathy like a bucket full of water; in that, you only have so much to go around, so being able to dismiss or rationalize away the suffering of others as “karmic” saves it up for those that really deserve your support? Or am I just insane and am completely missing your point because you are speaking from a way of thought that is a mental blind-spot to me? (like a bronze sky, or a feminine key?)

Octopus, I think I see where you are going with this, could you do me a favor and watch GulfTiger’s link? Specifically, pause the video around 0:40-0:50 and read Nietzsche’s quote “What is good? Power itself. What is evil? All that is born of weakness.” Are you really advocating for ultimate strength and good being a cold dead universe full of black holes? I have a short story I would love for you to read that is about just that by Seth Dickinson http://www.beneath-ceaseless-skies.c...a-computation/ after reading this, do you still root for Sekhmet, or do you prefer Set?
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Old 06-15-2016, 07:40 PM
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Your post is a little screed-like, but I have taken a similar view on "deserve" for some time now. In fact I think it has no real meaning at all, and attempts to put meaning on it cause people to invent false explanations that can manifest in very unpleasant ways.

I had wondered where I got this idea from and I see that it probably was from The Dispossessed. I should reread it.
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Old 06-15-2016, 10:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GulfTiger View Post
Similar theme (without the LSD). We've lost the concept of external objective morality.

It's only about 15 min. of your time:

C.S. Lewis, The Poison of Subjectivism
Fifteen minutes of CS Lewis talking? Do you know just how long that would be if you were tripping? Almost as long as it would be if you weren't, which is several months. And no, "without the LSD" is never the right answer.
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Old 06-15-2016, 10:22 PM
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I did not read very much of your two long posts. However, I loved your title, as it gives me a handle on a subject I have been contemplating writing about. Sidebar comment to follow:

The human (apparent) need and predilection for religion/mysticism (as distinct from a rational approach to the world outside ourselves) could be very aptly called a deep brain poison, and is one that I would gladly push a button* to eradicate if I could.

*Referring to another thread in another forum that I was reading a few minutes ago.
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Old 06-15-2016, 10:25 PM
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I don't have any thought on deserve, but I wanted to recommend A Fire on the Deep by Vernor Vinge. Archaeologists investigating a data base awaken something far better left untouched. A sort of computer virus threatens civilizations across the galaxy.
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Old 06-16-2016, 02:13 AM
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Wait a minute, I think that I might have grasped something new (to me) by the tail. This is fun, please keep talking. Thank you for my growth.
Between the ideas in:
GulfTiger’s C.S.Lewis video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lgcd...ature=youtu.be and my response to it,

This deeper book analysis about the phenomenology of language https://bluelabyrinths.com/2016/06/1...-the-sensuous/

But mostly from this very long and in depth talk with the author, David Abram, about his ideas in his book The Spell of The Sensuous http://www.childrenofthecode.org/interviews/abram.htm

and our own Roderick Femm’s input "The human (apparent) need and predilection for religion/mysticism (as distinct from a rational approach to the world outside ourselves)”

Let me see if I can order my thoughts on this correctly, with sufficient synthesis on my part so I don’t just quote-bomb. tl;dr= before the written word, our ancestors read and understood their environment as well as we read and derive greater meaning from text. Their objective morality/religion, as C.S.Lewis would put it, was ultimately an ecological/biological fate that they learned and codified into stories. They had to form their morality/religion the way they did simply because that was how the biology/sociology of our Neanderthal ancestors conflicted and meshed with nature and ultimately carved out its own ecological niche. All of those “objective morals” were in fact objectively true for the time. You would die otherwise.

Our need for the mystic, to inject wonder and magic into our lives (by belief in religion, reading engrossing books, or watching entertainment, etc.), is a reflex from our animistic past (feeling/knowing that all things are alive and connected, us as part of the great cycle/web) which is entangled with (or maybe our reason for) our desire to learn and grow and understand our place in the universe. As we learned text, the constant need to read all of Nature for danger or opportunity turned into simply reading a farmer’s almanac. Our intimate connection to Nature was eroded, replaced with a new way of parsing the world; that of abstract symbols and greater abstractions of abstractions, all cooked up from and ending in human minds reflecting upon themselves. (This is where C.S.Lewis thinks everything went wrong) As we scienced our way through explaining Nature, now thought of as dead and passive, (as compared with an animistic viewpoint) and the God of the Gaps grew smaller, we became more disillusioned with the world, and more prone to entwine ourselves with anything that vaguely promised to be close to meeting that animistic urge that has been carved into our DNA over the millennium.
Maybe there is no such thing as “brain poison” or “bad choices,” only the following of our internal rules which served us well enough in the past, but in this new situation has failed to properly adapt or stay relevant. So C.S.Lewis’ claims that turning subjectivity towards our morality devolves into -is it good for you? That’s nice I guess- a shattering of God given eternal truths, and that any real idea we put forward is just an exalting of one or a few of the maxims of traditional morality over the others, is correct. But also missing a greater point. That is, everything changes. The maxims of traditional morality are not a flat shield that eternally protects people from evil. They are the ever changing teeth of a key and pins of a lock that everyone uses dynamically to gain access to others and lock away their own vulnerabilities.

Maybe subjective and objective are not opposites, but instead are the same thing seen under different strengths of magnification. The objective facts of living as hunter-gatherers on the African plains in 10,000BC, and the objective morality/religion that had been built up around those premises would be useless to the group to live by if they were transported to Russia 10,000BC to live. The old ways might work rarely on a person by person basis, but new “universal” truths need to be established for the new ecological niche they inhabit.


Blarg, it is too late now to keep writing. Maybe later I will add to this in another post, but for now have a quote-bomb. Sorry.

Quote:
Oral indigenous cultures separated by time and space, as well as philosophers separated in the same way, tend towards a similar conclusion: that the landscape is a sensuous field, and we are but one point of view or way of being which is in reciprocity, in expressive communication, with other points of view of ways of being
bluelabyrinths

Quote:
Perhaps one of the most fascinating aspects of this book is the discussion on the development of language. Abram takes us on a journey from pre-literacy (where stories and songs were employed as mnemonic devices to remember the accumulated knowledge of the tribe) to pictographic writing systems (e.g. Egyptian hieroglyphics) to the Hebrew ‘aleph-beth’ (as well as an interesting illustration of the Kabbalistic interpretation of words and letters) to the Greek alphabet (which Abrams argues was the first truly phonetic script – in which symbols represent sounds – to sever all ties with the sensuous world). It is this severing of ties, Abram believes, that has greatly contributed to the complete indifference with which we regard and treat the landscape and all that it contains. After all,language is inextricably linked to perception.
It is the author’s contention that the creation and spread of phonetic writing is a major source of our species’ felt distance from other beings and the planet. He argues that our senses were no longer involved in their more primal synaesthetic participation with the landscape, but were now converging towards written letters (purely symbolic representations of exclusively human-made sounds).
bluelabyrinths

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Right. But, I'm wondering if just the very visceral, the very felt inner-sensory experience, audibly (with one's mind's ears) hearing this play of words inside our heads—what the Buddhists call roof-brain chatter. It's not clear to me that that has been in existence very long. We do know that the experience of reading silently is much, much more recent than the experience of reading with the alphabet, which was for many, many centuries an experience of reading aloud. Or at least mumbling, often because there was no punctuation, and there were not even spaces between the words, so that you needed to sort of sound it out in order to discover what the words were that you were reading.
But, in the Middle Ages, once spaces are introduced into the text between words, and various new forms of punctuation, it's much more possible to see and get the meaning without sounding it out. And so, a kind of inner, just reading-to-one's-self, becomes possible. It’s evident to me that the experience of inner speech, of inner thinking, as we think inwardly all the time now and we experience it as being interior, does derive from that interiorization, or that moment when we begin to be able to read silently, because the experience of inner discourse, inner thought, is very kindred to the experience of reading silently.
childrenofthecode

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So I see reading as a kind of animistic participation not that different from an indigenous Hopi woman stepping out of the pueblo and walking along the path and having her eyes grabbed by a small bush wherein a spider is weaving its web. And, as she focuses her eyes on that spider, she suddenly feels herself addressed, or spoken to by the spider. Or, a Lakota man strolling down a path and seeing a boulder and his eyes are captured and he focuses on a patch of lichen on that boulder and suddenly finds that the boulder is speaking to him. And, he enters into a conversation with the boulder. We do just the same thing, with our own scratches and scripts. We come down in the morning, open the newspaper, focus our eyes on these little bits of ink, and they start speaking to us. And, we enter into this rich, magical field of conversations happening at other times and other places. This is an intensely concentrated form of animism, but it is animism none-the-less. As outrageous as a talking stone, or a talking spider. We do it with our own scratches and scripts. Our ancestors did it with leaves, spider webs, tracks of animals, clouds, twigs, boulders. It's as though we have focused down this animistic proclivity of our senses in order to practice it so intensely with our own scratches and scripts, that this new magic we're engaged in has effectively eclipsed all the other forms of participation in which the human organism once engaged. So, the sun and the moon no longer speak to us. Trees no longer seem to speak directly to us. Boulders, certainly not. Gusts of wind. Uh, uh. But, the page does. Or the neon sign, with its lettering, does. Wherever we see letters of the alphabet, we feel ourselves being spoken to, addressed.
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  #17  
Old 06-16-2016, 07:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Shodan View Post
Actually, he does. Read The Abolition of Man. He gives all sorts of examples from other traditions, from Babylon to China to Egypt.
But multiple subjective traditions don't add up to objectivity.

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Originally Posted by TipTapTwo View Post
Ah, Panache45 I would love it if you could expand upon your thoughts for me. Is it something like: to better appreciate the good in life, bad experiences are necessary to give context and depth to life? Is empathy like a bucket full of water; in that, you only have so much to go around, so being able to dismiss or rationalize away the suffering of others as “karmic” saves it up for those that really deserve your support? Or am I just insane and am completely missing your point because you are speaking from a way of thought that is a mental blind-spot to me? (like a bronze sky, or a feminine key?)
It's amazing how you got that quantity of bullshit from my simple statement. I don't know where to start.
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Old 06-16-2016, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by panache45
But multiple subjective traditions don't add up to objectivity.
But many multiple subjective experiences that can form reproducible results equal objectivity, right? If I draw a triangle and add up the degrees inside to 180, and others all draw triangles and all of their’s add up to 180 degrees and no one can draw a triangle otherwise, is that not a basis for an objective mathematical fact that the definition of a triangle is that it has 3 interior angles which add up to 180 degrees? And yet after 2000 years of this objective mathematical proof, people discovered spherical geometry, whereby if you draw a triangle on a ball, its inner angles add up to more than 180 degrees, all the time (except when you draw small enough that the spherical surface acts like a flat sheet of paper again).

The objective fact of a triangle having its 3 inner angles add up to exactly 180 is still absolutely true... as long as we add the caveat that it only applies on a flat plane. The objective fact that triangles have inner angles adding up to more than 180 is absolutely true... again with the caveat that it only applies when drawing on spheres.

Objectivity is not some eternally True-in-every-event thing handed down by God. It is subjective to the specific realm it is being discussed in (subjectively relevant to either the flat or spherical realm it is drawn upon).

What are traditions but a codified group of “do and do nots” that have, over time, come to be proven useful to a tribe’s survival in their specific circumstances? They have learned many objective truths for carving out a living against Nature’s best efforts, and if they were not followed, they died. It doesn’t mean that a tribe that learned the objective truth (for that time) that pigs tended to be full of nasty parasites, and that we should not eat that animal if we want to stay healthy, should stay believing their old ways well into the future when pigs are very healthy and clean now thanks to the modern farm.

That objective fact slowly slid away into subjectivity (or perhaps everything should come with a footnote of *only True in this specific time and place and level of technology, etc.) as technology improved and agrarian communes turned into bustling cities and fewer people got sick from not following “traditions.”

I am saying that “subjective traditions” are directly analogous to “triangles on a paper.” Each “subjective tradition” that all groups of humans, and even the innate habits of other animals, have followed are subjective in the sense that their way of living was objectively true only for them. They lived their lives on a flat paper or another tribe on a sphere or yet other tribes lived on their own unique kinds of curved space. We do as well today. If you want something truly eternal, “objectivity that encompasses all subjective experiences for all of time” then all you -maybe- can say is “a triangle has 3 intersecting lines.” The end full stop. Or, “life will find a way to propagate.”

https://plus.maths.org/content/mathe...nge-geometries


Quote:
Originally Posted by panache45
It's amazing how you got that quantity of bullshit from my simple statement. I don't know where to start.
Sorry, I like to learn through analogies. I know that nothing can truly be perfectly analogous. If they were they would be the same thing, even in greater symmetry than synonyms. But please, teach me your way of thinking through any means that you find best. Please note that I 100% agree with the quote from The Dispossessed, it spoke to me as deeply as it did to our own Dr.Strangelove. I myself have nothing more in my head that I can offer you, if that quote did not change your mind. Tell me more about how “deserve” augments your empathy. Try breaking apart Ursula Le Guin’s idea for me. Show me where it falls apart. Please and Thank you.
  #19  
Old 06-16-2016, 02:30 PM
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What if it turns out that an un-examined life IS worth living, afterall?

Not everything has to mean something.
  #20  
Old 06-16-2016, 06:30 PM
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Originally Posted by QuickSilver
What if it turns out that an un-examined life IS worth living, afterall? Not everything has to mean something.
I think you are right. Every life form that is not completely automatic examines its quality of life from time to time and takes steps towards improving said quality of life. Sometimes the only improvement we can image is suicide. Take, for example, Flipper’s suicide:

Quote:
Originally Posted by LoganHill
he visited Kathy [Flipper], who by then was “retired” and living alone in a tank in Florida. She was noticeably anxious (something he now calls “captive-dolphin depression syndrome”). On the day that changed everything, she swam into his arms and ceased breathing, sinking to the bottom of the tank. O’Barry emphasizes that, unlike humans, dolphins are not “automatic breathers”; they can choose to stop. He’s convinced Kathy did just that, in essence committing suicide.
http://nymag.com/movies/profiles/57863/

Who else had a greater right to judge if her life was worth living, other than herself? Kathy [Flipper] saw a lifetime of solitude before her, and opted out. But she did so only after seeing her old trainer/buddy again... why wait so long? Did his re-emergence in her life trigger something? If he had never visited, would Kathy have continued to stay barely content with her life?

But what of humans who failed at suicide? Do they all stay true to their initial examination of their life’s worth, or do they regret their decision?

Quote:
It is estimated that 10-15 % of people who made a suicide attempt die by suicide. Recidivism rate of suicide increases even faster than the subject is close to the index suicide attempt. A one month recurrence rate is 5 %, 12-25 % at one year.
https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01176929

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Originally Posted by Dr.DavidZigmond

Suicide should be considered not in isolation, but against the background of behaviour which is harmful to the self. Suicide is thus the most acute and dramatic form of this and represents the 'absolute' in the suicidal spectrum. Other forms of self-destructive behaviour may presage later and more serious forms of suicide. Such patterns of behaviour indicate a kind of deficiency syndrome, where the person maladaptively learns that he can relate only by being hurt. The earlier this is countered the more hopeful the outcome, but some personalities seem so damaged and disordered that all help seems inadequate.

Sometimes suicide represents a rational decision taken from a position of mental health. This creates grave problems of ethics and management. However, some people are driven to suicide by a genuine mental illness where medical treatment is fortunately effective and mandatory. Correct diagnosis and referral of these people is a foremost priority.
http://www.marco-learningsystems.com...nd/suicide.htm


That does not sound too bad (in relation to what was supposed to be a final summation of all a persons physical/psychological worth vs one more second of living), a suicidal recidivism of only 25% after a year (i’m sure it goes up for several more years, though). Those are better odds than criminal recidivism, right? Dr. Zigmond points out that while some people can be mentally healthy and still choose suicide for practical reasons, most choose it as a result of mental illness or having learned maladaptive coping/life strategies.

I am in the camp that says: the only proof of someone having a life not worth living is that he successfully kills himself. If he fails and chooses not to, as soon as he is recovered enough to try again, his own actions of staving off death and preferring life are proof enough that his life is worth living. I agree that a completely unexamined life, such as that as an extreme amnesiac who can only live in the moment, is by definition worth living; because, no thoughts or actions to the contrary would ever enter that mind or be enacted.


But I do have to disagree with you here:
Quote:
Originally Posted by QuickSilver
Not everything has to mean something.
I contend that everything means exactly as much as it does. Take for example the philosopher’s beard problem. Wherein we are asked, ‘what is a beard?’ We give a definition, and then the next question becomes: ‘is it still a beard if we remove one hair?’ And the questions and answers repeat as turtles all the way down. It is a way of asking for such unending specificity that the concept of beard itself starts to lose meaning. For example: if we agree that a beard is at least a symmetry three hairs, one on each cheek and one on the middle of the chin of at least an inch of length per hair; the next question would be ‘why can’t we agree that shaving off a micrometer of hair off the ends of the hairs would also still be a beard?’ And so on and so forth, we drown in minutiae until we are essentially forced out of exhaustion to admit “i’ll know it [a beard, a specific race, etc] when I see it.” and our opponent would crow about our lack of objectivity and our need to run home to the warm embrace of our subjective momma and such.

I can’t beat that line of questioning, but I at least can draw a line in the sand and confidently say that each atom added or subtracted from a beard adds or subtracts exactly that much. Every cell length closer or farther, denser or sparser, makes the beard exactly that cell length different. No more or less. If others want to add extra meaning to a thing beyond what it simply is (the sun rising and being worshiped as a god) it can also be taken away just as easily (we know the sun is just a miasma of incandescent plasma -thanks They Might Be Giants) but what base meaning a thing has is unchangeable as it simply and exactly is what it is.
  #21  
Old 06-16-2016, 11:34 PM
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Originally Posted by TipTapTwo View Post
But here is one anyway; why do people argue over Bricker’s legal interpretations? He is, as far as I can tell, always correct if you use the lawyerly meanings of words/terms and do not read into the words any more meaning than that. Others then tend to use their own layman interpretations of the words and argue from there. But in a SCOTUS thread, really only strict lawyer words should apply.
Um.

Right! Did everyone get that? Bricker is always correct.

Mike drop.
  #22  
Old 06-17-2016, 12:08 AM
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Um.

Right! Did everyone get that? Bricker is always correct.

Mike drop.
Yeah, but consider the source.
  #23  
Old 06-17-2016, 01:15 AM
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Um.

Right! Did everyone get that? Bricker is always correct.

Mike drop.
How dare you point that out in a short, concise post? I'm gonna need a couple dozen run-on paragraphs before I'll even consider the veracity of your mike drop (if it was real, where was the feedback?)
  #24  
Old 06-17-2016, 09:55 PM
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Thank you so much Reno Nevada, for recommending the author Vernor Vinge. I had never heard about him or his works before you. Even though I could not get a copy of A Fire Upon The Deep as you suggested, I did manage to get from my library its prequel A Deepness In The Sky. After reading that thoroughly entertaining and thought provoking story, I could not help but notice that there were ideas put forward by its characters that I have been trying to enunciate in my earlier posts.

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I think you love your children as much as any good father. And that's why it's all the harder for me to imagine how you could bring them into the world out of phase. So what if only one was mentally damaged? I notice they didn't talk of having any contemporary playmates. You can't find any who aren't monstrous, can you?"

From Sherkaner's aspect, he could tell his question had a struck home. "Sherk. Your poor children will live their whole lives in a society that sees them as a crime against nature."

"We're working on these things, Hrunkner. Jirlib told you about ‘The Children's Hour of Science,' didn't he?"

"I wondered what that was all about. So he and Brent are really on a radio show? Those two could almost pass for in-phase, but in the long run somebody will guess and—"

"Of course. If not, Victory Junior is eager to be on the show. Eventually, I want the audience to understand. The program is going to cover all sorts of science topics, but there will be a continuing thread about biology and evolution and how the Dark has caused us to live our lives in certain ways. With the rise of technology, whatever social reason there is for rigid birthing times is irrelevant."

"You'll never convince the Church of the Dark."

"That's okay. I'm hoping to convince the millions of open-minded people like Hrunkner Unnerby."

Unnerby couldn't think what to say. The other's argument was all so glib. Didn't Underhill understand? All decent societies agreed on basic issues, things that meant the healthy survival of their people. Things might be changing, but it was self-serving nonsense to throw the rules overboard. Even if they lived in the Dark, there would still be a need for decent cycles of life....The silence stretched out. There was just the clicking of Sherk's little puzzle blocks.

Finally, Sherkaner spoke. "The General likes you very much, Hrunk. You were her dearest cobber-in-arms—but more, you were decent to her when she was a new lieutenant and it looked like her career would end on the trash pile."

"She's the best. She couldn't help when she was born."

"...Granted. But that's also why she's been making your life so hard lately. She thought that you, of all people, would accept what she and I are doing."
"I know, Sherk, but I can't. You saw me today. I did my best, but your cobblies saw through me. Junior did anyway."

"Heh, heh. She did indeed. It's not just her name; Little Victory is smart like her mother. But—as you say—she's going to have to face much worse.... Look, Hrunk. I'm going to have a little chat with the General. She should accept what she can get, learn a little tolerance—even if it is tolerance for your intolerance." (pp. 259-260)
A Deepness In The Sky by Vernor Vinge


Hrunkner’s stance is similar to C.S.Lewis’, in that they both believe in an Objective traditional morality/religion that will(should?) never become irrelevant, or at least out-moded and seen as just another Subjective style of living/morality, in the face of scientific progress and the changes in society stemming from such progress.

Out of phase children are those who are born early in the planet’s warm cycle, as its star goes through natural phases from 215 years of darkness (equal to a brown dwarf, when everything hibernates underground in the deepness) to 30 years of light similar to our own (apparently not hibernating with your young babies and then letting them out for 30 years of living and rearing, is an abomination).

Sherkaner’s stance is similar to mine, in that he believes scientific progress will bring his species into a realm of unknown variables and new ethical quandaries that traditional morality/religion have never thought about and are ill equipped to handle (similar to our founding fathers never envisioning our level of weaponry and our changes to society, or even trying to future proof the 2nd amendment). His plan is to build enough power generators such that those 215 years of dark and cold need never be slept through again. He realizes that now with no greater reason to properly time births, those Objective reasons given by the old traditions/morals/religion, have turned from an Objective Necessity into a Subjective Whim of the parents.
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Old 06-18-2016, 02:00 AM
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Reno Nevada, I want to thank you again for introducing me to such a great author as Vernor Vinge. The pacing of A Deepness In The Sky is like living as part of the interstellar trading-crew. Alternating activity in daily life’s duties and events for a few days, before being preserved in coldsleep for a few months in order to preserve your youth and to skip the years of dull sub-luminal space travel. During this cold-dreaming downtime, Mr. Vinge parses the completely alien world’s ideas, events, and radio broadcasts through the lens of human linguists/interpreters as they are deciphering and passing on their final level synthesis of the data to all the crew.

It is so refreshing to have not 1, not 2, but 3 distinctly different, believable, major viewpoints and moralities conflicting for supremacy; each given ample time to shine and flesh itself out to the degree that we are shown their strengths and faults, and left to ourselves to decide which we prefer. Every character is a distinct, believable, complex individual; and the in universe technology is well thought out and used to its logical conclusions (no Star Trek transporter and replicator obvious lapses of potential).
  #26  
Old 06-18-2016, 04:39 AM
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Originally Posted by TipTapTwo View Post
Even the alleged experience of perfect oneness with the universe that LSD or mushrooms give only lasts for a month at best before we are back to our old habits.
Actually, the positive psychological effects of LSD and psilocybin mushrooms last far longer than "a month at best":

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A follow-up study by Katherine MacLean, a psychologist in [Roland] Griffiths’s lab [at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine], found that the psilocybin experience also had a positive and lasting effect on the personality of most participants. This is a striking result, since the conventional wisdom in psychology holds that personality is usually fixed by age thirty and thereafter is unlikely to substantially change. But more than a year after their psilocybin sessions volunteers who had had the most complete mystical experiences showed significant increases in their “openness,” one of the five domains that psychologists look at in assessing personality traits. (The others are conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism.)
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According to [Stephen] Ross [an associate professor of psychiatry at N.Y.U.’s medical school], cancer patients receiving just a single dose of psilocybin experienced immediate and dramatic reductions in anxiety and depression, improvements that were sustained for at least six months.
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It also became clear that, psychologically, at least, Mettes [a cancer patient given psilocybin] was doing remarkably well: he was meditating regularly, felt he had become better able to live in the present, and described loving his wife “even more.” In a session in March, two months after his journey, [Anthony] Bossis [psychologist at N.Y.U.] noted that Mettes “reports feeling the happiest in his life.”
Quote:
“When administered under supportive conditions,” the paper [a double-blind study by Prof. Roland Griffiths] concluded, “psilocybin occasioned experiences similar to spontaneously occurring mystical experiences.” Participants ranked these experiences as among the most meaningful in their lives, comparable to the birth of a child or the death of a parent. Two-thirds of the participants rated the psilocybin session among the top five most spiritually significant experiences of their lives; a third ranked it at the top. Fourteen months later, these ratings had slipped only slightly.

Furthermore, the “completeness” of the mystical experience closely tracked the improvements reported in personal well-being, life satisfaction, and “positive behavior change” measured two months and then fourteen months after the session.

Last edited by Steken; 06-18-2016 at 04:42 AM.
  #27  
Old 06-18-2016, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by TipTapTwo View Post
.
Mangetout, thank you for cutting through the BS of minutiae that I was spiraling towards. But, do you agree that some things that make you feel happy and that do not bother others could be something still worth changing, or at least moderating in order to stave off future ill effects? Say I am alone and retired and I love to eat junk food, or heavily drink, or do whatever that will leave my last years of life an agony. Would my life have a subjectively better outcome if I tried to find some inner/outer strength to help me improve my health? Or would the pain/hardship of such change outweigh the later quality of life benefits?
Sure, it's worth thinking about that and trying to find the right balance. It's not worth obsessing over every little detail though. You can't control everything, so sometimes it's better to proceed with the assumption that you won't always be in control of causes, just mopping up effects.
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Old 06-18-2016, 12:14 PM
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*sorry in advance for using terms like: idea, concept, thought, meme, semiotics, etc... as interchangeable equals. I do not know/care enough to make those distinctions...
Yeah, I'm going to stop reading right here then.
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Old 06-19-2016, 09:53 PM
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The reason why I am fully quoting splifyphus’ post (and Subyng’s quote snippet that is quoted by splifyphus) from page 5 of the SomethingAwful forum thread ‘Why do you believe if God?’ Is for this thread’s continued access of splifyphus’ insight. People following the link in the future will find the SomethingAwful forums posts un-viewable as they will be locked behind a $10 pay wall every other month or so, and in a few years the thread will not even be an active link for lurkers like me without archive privileges.

http://forums.somethingawful.com/sho...0&pagenumber=5
Quote:
Originally Posted by splifyphus

Quote:
Originally Posted by Subyng
I don't think there's anything wrong with holding illogical beliefs as long as it doesn't affect others around you. However, unless you live in seclusion, your beliefs will end up influencing your actions in a way that will affect someone else.
So far your main objection to religion seems to be that it's somehow inherently illogical or irrational. You're positing a singular, normative definition of rationality, and it's utterly enclosing the horizon of your world.

All systems of knowledge have unproveable assumptions at their base. Symbolic, representational systems are always a pale shadow of the actuality of the universe, and likely will never be able to mirror it fully. There are many different kinds of logic, and there are many different kinds of rationality. '1+1=2' is hardly a given, nor is it somehow a 'fundamental feature of the universe'. We actually don't know how math relates to the world, and the proofs for simple number theory arithmetic get more and more complex and desperate every year. At best, simple arithmetic is a useful human practice with no ontological implications, and the exact ontological status of the mathematical disciplines in general is still up for grabs.

Personally, I don't think that a modern 'secular' 'scientific' worldview is any less irrational than that of a fundamentalist. Limiting your epistemology to a strict empiricism or positivism is a great way totally miss that there are entire dimensions of our existence that can't be accounted for empirically without barbaric amounts of reductionism. It's also a great way to cut yourself off from history and a much wider realm of human meaning.

I don't think 'rationality' is a thing that humans do well or even at all, and using 'rationality' as some kind of normative epistemological device is a great way to let other people do your thinking for you. All human knowledge is always socially constructed and fundamentally historically limited. The ratio of what we know, absolutely, definitively, to the vast expanse of the mysterious unknown really hasn't changed much at all throughout our entire history as a species.

If you're willing to accept a pluralistic account of rationality, I think you'll find that there's more to learn from a single page of a religious text about the actual concrete lived experience of human-being-in-the-world than there is from the combined efforts of every scientist ever. Whether the earth goes around the sun or vice-versa and whether you believe one or the other has basically no effect on your ability to live a meaningful, satisfying, joyful human existence. No many how many phenomena you can explain scientifically, all you'll ever do is push all the small miracles back into the greatest miracle of all - that there is something rather than nothing. No matter how many fundamental laws you posit, you'll never make headway against the infinite regress of where are the laws that govern these laws; where do the laws come from, why are there laws in the first place?

When you read the bible or the quran or the pali canon or the upanishads or whatever there are a few explanations for what you're doing: you're definitely accessing the combined metaphysical and ethical creativity of our entire species history, and you're possibly communicating with people who lived their lives in drastically altered states of consciousness, and you might even be reading accounts of communication with fundamentally alien intelligences. The only situation where this isn't an insanely educational use of time is one where you're determined to maintain the stupid enlightenment fiction of scientific rationality vs religious superstition.

If you decide to actually live your life in accordance with one of these religious schemes, you're doing something else entirely - connecting your life with a vast cultural stream and guaranteeing yourself a real human community that has already demonstrated it can and will last for millennia. You don't 'believe' in God like it's some kind of binary circuit you can subordinate to Aristotelian non-contradiction, you literally build a complex relationship with something vastly bigger than yourself, something that cannot ever be contained within or defined by any symbolic system. You discover/create both yourself and God through the process.

And from this perspective, arguing about abstract binary understandings of 'belief' or 'existence' is what is irrational. Religion is something you do with your entire being, not a checklist of metaphysical postulates you bring to debate club.

What is the difference between a Singular account of Rationality and a Pluralistic account of Rationality? I did not know, so a little digging turned up this digestion of Joseph Agassi’s ideas from his work Towards a Rational Philosophical Anthropology by Christopher Donohue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristopherDonohue
Agassi’s philosophy of science as well as his ethics, best articulated in his magnum opusTowards a Rational Philosophical Anthropologyextols the virtues of a pluralistic account of rationality. This does not mean that there are no answers and no methods. Agassi imputes these views to Paul Feyerabend and his anarchistic relativism. Agassi ties his theory of pluralism (it is always good to disagree about the truth and ways of finding the truth out) to a theory of criticism (disagreement is always a good thing) which reflects his account of changeof science in history (science progresses through disagreement). His pluralistic view of rationality as disagreement is behind his deep displeasure withThomas Kuhn (there are personal reasons for this as well.) His suspicion of any method as “the method” or of any truth as “the truth” (or no truth, Feyerabend) lay behind too his critique of Neo-Darwinism, behaviorism, and the anti-psychiatry movement in the 1970s and 1980s.
https://etherwave.wordpress.com/2015...-introduction/

From this and Splifyphus’ writings I assume that a Singular account of Rationality is anything (be it settled religious dogma, scientific and mathematical laws, or any other area of our life that is not debatable anymore as it is deemed Objectively true) that has our thinking stop with “this belief/way is correct. Not just correct in this very narrow margin of events of which it has been shown to be true, but for all time.”

While I think that a Pluralistic account of Rationality is the give-and-take act of honest debate itself. It seems to be a Socratic dialogue that tries to take in the externalities of all of creation so that any form of “truth or method” that we do agree upon, is safely filed away with a Subjective footnote of *for this time/place/circumstance/etc.

Now from my older post’s quotes of Dr. David Abram and this new one, I will liken the pre-writing animist cultures and the post writing scientific cultures to being Pluralist and Singular thinkers. In that, the animists fully immersed themselves in their experience of the world around them. To them everything was alive and interconnected in deeper meaning. Just as the text on this page speaks to you, so did the wind/land/etc speak to them. Once the written word was known, we have fully devoted ourselves to deepening our understanding of it (our own minds and increasing abstractions of thought) at the cost of losing our “connectedness” to the outside world. This distinction between comprehending the “big picture,” and diving down into comprehending smaller layers of specificity, are at the heart of the disagreements.

Quote:
David Boulton: What else do we have that's prior to the alphabet that's anything like it in terms of a limited number of elements out of which we can combine and describe virtually everything? What else is anything like that, prior to the emergence of the alphabet that could be a model for such powers? What I'm hearing is that, it seems like the way that we think now, of analyzing things down into their constituent parts and being able to assemble them, that whole process is connected to the alphabet. Again, what came before the alphabet that would even give rise to such modes of thinking? Like you were saying with the Hebrews, it wouldn't even occur to them add vowels - they weren't functioning with this same kind of reductionism. It would be kind of against the grain for them. They needed, we needed, something outside of ourselves to create the opportunity to think differently. If it wasn't the alphabet, do you have any sense of what else might have done it, what might have led to this discreteness, this atomistic reductionism?

Dr. David Abram: Oh, I have no doubt that the alphabet is the key player in that. There are many other factors, but they all to me seem to be related to the alphabet. For instance, I don't think that the notion of separate individuals could even arise without the dispelling of the sacredness, the divinity, even of the invisible atmosphere that binds all of us together and that connects my body quite palpably with everything, you know, with the chair, with the house, with the trees outside, with the clouds overhead. I'm in direct, physical contact with them through this body of air. Only when air begins to be forgotten, really, just forgotten, and so, experienced as just sheer emptiness does it become possible to think of entities as being discrete and separate from one another. And, I believe, only after this forgetting of the air could one then imagine a heaven that is not just invisible, it's intangible. It's not sensuous in any way whatsoever. It's entirely outside of all bodily contact or apprehension.
http://www.childrenofthecode.org/interviews/abram.htm


As the Pluralist (Splifyphus/animist) chides the Singulist (Subyng/scientist) over not taking into consideration everything at once: “You're positing a singular, normative definition of rationality, and it's utterly enclosing the horizon of your world[...] Limiting your epistemology to a strict empiricism or positivism is a great way totally miss that there are entire dimensions of our existence that can't be accounted for empirically without barbaric amounts of reductionism.” So does the Singularist chide the Pluralist for forgetting how one does rigorous science and gains knowledge: through the repeated observation of various experiments that only have one variable difference. Through the build up of a few simple axioms and having them flow through logically/mathematically sound proofs. Through examining the Universe at every scale and later stitching together the disparate results through the underlying fundamental math.They each want the same things ultimately, they are each just starting at opposing ends of thought. Sure in their own ability to encapsulate everything of meaning eventually.

The animist belief breaths life into all things and intimately interconnects them, such that simply living life is a deeply spiritual act. The act of living itself is, to the animist, the way that he constantly intuits from his surroundings such rich information that we must glean from multiple books. Splifyphus says, “When you read the bible[...] you're definitely accessing the combined metaphysical and ethical creativity of our entire species history[...] If you decide to actually live your life in accordance with one of these religious schemes, you're doing something else entirely - connecting your life with a vast cultural stream[...] you literally build a complex relationship with something vastly bigger than yourself, something that cannot ever be contained within or defined by any symbolic [textual/scientific] system. You discover/create both yourself and God through the process[...] Religion is something you do with your entire being [what else is living your life other than something you do with your entire being?].” Thus, the idea of living a life according to certain religious schema in order to connect with its deeper culture becomes the self evident truth of: how you act, live your life, determines your social circle and culture, and vice versa. God is the rich dynamic relationship between us and all of the communities (religion, nation, gang, family, etc) that we are a part of. Their gifts of: greater purpose and meaning, inclusiveness and exclusivity, secrets and knowledge; all feed back into our primal thirst for the feeling of constant greater meaning and inclusivity that we had as animists before text took our world away.

That is not to say that reading/writing has given us nothing. On the contrary, it has given us vastly more than the immediate sensing of our surroundings ever could. It is just the amount and type of information that differed. Just as today we constantly search for various forms of entertainment to slake our boredom; back then simply living in the world told us so much (and the world was so much harsher towards our failures) that we were constantly multitasking: being wary and doing other things for our daily survival. Now we have no real threats, and have not been raised to use all of our senses properly/constantly as we were used to. Like a phantom limb, our DNA remembers the need for constant total sensual immersion in our world, but we have atrophied our ability to do so. Perhaps the closest we get today is if we are listening to a book-on-tape or music while we do our necessary daily tasks.

We agree that movies, books, paintings, games, sculpture, all forms of creative expression are good at some things and not at others? That if we really wanted a complete artistic experience that would inspire the greatest number of people, we would need some concept expressed in a multitude of different forms? Similar to how people just have different learning styles? And yet we train all of our children to use the written word as the main lens through which they experience the world and to largely ignore their other senses. There is no malice behind the choice, only pragmatism. If we no longer need to fear the night, why keep watch? Since machines do all of our real work now, why ever have our children exercise when all they will need is the strength to push a button?
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