The philosophy thread (no extremist manifesto debates please)


#163

Um, wrong. Maybe think about where perception and world-understanding happen. What you’re saying is like saying the color of a car didn’t change, only the paint changed.


#164

I don’t think nostro had anything to do with what I said.


#165

@Marklar : images project upside on the retina, then get translated in orientation. Further, I recall a bit on 60 Minutes or some shit in the 80s where a correspondent wore a device that flipped the image; it took a few days or a week for his brain to re-orient the image, and the same back.

~

@Tsachi : Scroll up, holmes: reply 156, and yours following.


#166

Read some wierd article that a certain virus that created a weird protein molecule somehow merged into a symbiotic relationship with an organism and the organisms evolved adapting that virus more specifically incorporated the protein revamped the protein and evolved in order to use that protein for memory functions.
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Random thoughts Not directed at anyone…

Sometimes certain ideas are misused/misinterpreted in a way so as to justify ones flaws and as an excuse for a person not self examine their own shortcomings whilst also simultaneously laying blame upon others…example neitzsche…

Also more random thoughts…

Individual feelings being more of a metric for social standards as opposed to a cultural unwritten social contract of which everyone can agree upon…(this social contract can change with the times)

An Individuals sense of self worth being a determinant for a persons own actions.

Ambition does it Blind a person to reality or is reality more of a murky gray area that is open to interpretation…with ambition being more centering for an individual than anything?

And lastly prison rules

Everyman for themself…put in work to be accepted by the pack…dgaf about anyone and only focus on maintaining the respect you’ve earned from others, eye for an eye.


#167

Meanwhile in ancient greece…

This Is sparta…

Anyone see rise of the 300 the sequel to the 300

The study of history and studying the rise and fall of civilizations, like ancient Greece and india. Interesting lessons to be learned.


#168

High Critical thinking thoughts…

How fucked up is it that nowadays even having an idea is looked at as a political maneuver?


#169

TBH some people would see your very existence as a political maneuver. Some people need to mind their own business.


#170

Cheers,
Jayson


#171

#172

Niestche died.


#173

Very much so. I’ve been learning and thinking, trying to understand what’s going on and the general reasons for it.

I’ll see if I can weave all these threads together into a coherent exposition - it’d be great to hear what others have to say on this too.

It is just one emergent property of the Enlightenment. In terms of fairly local causal links, the re-emergence of class politics and a step toward the logical end-game of postmodernism is to blame here.

The fundamental driving force behind the Enlightenment was the emergence of reason as the foundation of our beliefs, and the questioning of unquestionable.

I think the rise of ideology ungrounded in theology is the result of the void left by religion and our intrinsic religiosity. Our naturally superstitious nature leaves much to be desired for many in an increasingly secular and atheist world. An ideology is one such religion shaped object that fits the religion shaped hole in us. Our desire for meaning and purpose that transcends the subjective, in the vacuum left in the wake of the death of God, clouds our critical thinking as we grope around in the chaos for some semblance of order, even if we fall for a shadow on the wall whilst blind to the figure casting it.

There is huge individual variability, of course, but we’re speaking of averages here, which are the real prophets of the extremes.

The repeated emergence of class politics and class guilt over our history is a consequence of the emergence of extreme ideologies, in combination with an evolutionary program within us that biases our thinking toward people or ideas the characteristics of which fit the general norms common to our local social structure.

We also tend to rely on initial intuitions without sufficiently resolving the relations between the objects of our thoughts, which tends to reinforce those intuitions, compounding the issue. Hence, when grasping for meaning in the chaos of an inevitable nihilism we tend to consider these ideas only at a surface level. Partly because we don’t want to believe otherwise, and also because we are typically not well practiced in precise thinking.

Now, the crux of this - there is no one person who embodies the entire ideological edifice, due to the aforementioned propensity for surface thinking. Rather it is fragmented over many minds, which interact with other fragments at various levels of abstraction above the individual. Potent ideologies posses a kind of logic, or “program”, which when executed by the machinations of society, can produce a significant societal change. But this is self-modifying code, the running of the program results in the evolution of the ideology. Religion can be described in the same way, hence why it’s called a mind-virus, or a belief attractor.

Ideas shift and change according to a form of Darwinian evolution, constrained by social selection pressures. This is Dawkin’s concept of Meme. The most potent and attractive ideas survive, sometimes reincarnate in some derivative representation, whilst others fizzle and die, perhaps never even moving beyond the individual of origin.

The ultimate and tragic necessity of all this.

Stable society is predicated on common organising principles, or shared belief systems. Theological belief systems are more than just a few commandments an old man in the sky supposedly decreed with the power of the divine. They are templates for life itself. There are common archetypal figures that emerge independent of culture. Myth and legend is the medium in which wisdom and collective knowledge is encoded for long-term storage. Archetypes are a way of encoding knowledge about the different variations of our kind. Hence why we are prone to stereotyping - we’re always looking for ways to generalise to an abstract notion. Myth and legend are easier to remember than cold rational analyses, hence why in memory mnemonics, it is a common tactic to represent information as a story to better exploit the way in which our memory works best.

The long-term stability of societies is inversely proportional to the individual variability and proportional to the presence of equilibria in the rules and strategies employed by agents in the world. It would be nice if we could all get along happy and dandy together, but Game Theory is not in our favour.

Try playing monopoly, but this time, throw away the rules, and play it however you like, and see just how quickly conflict emerges. Precisely how this emerges in societies is subtle and complex, and can rely on Nth-order side-effects.

We can only play the same game together if we agree to an external common organising principle.

In conclusion: we would not be here were it not for our propensity for all of the above, and yet by the same token, we won’t continue to be here in any form we in this age would consider life significantly longer if we don’t manage to curb it. Our societal and technological evolution are outpacing our biological evolution. Which is probably why the Fermi paradox is a thing, because what we are talking about is not necessarily unique to humankind, but in many ways are general notions that apply to all complex societies of interacting agents, and even in some cases applicable to complex systems generally. One of The Great Filters, if not The Great Filter

I’m working on an essay on the fate of civilisation as we know it. This all links into it - I’ll add this in and post it here when I set aside some time to finish it.

I think Nietzsche died when God did, at least to him.


#174

There’s a lot I could go into here, but I don’t have time.

The really short version is:
I think you’re skipping over the recorrence of this pattern through the much longer lense of history.

Even before there was an Israel and Judah, there came a division of views among the 15 coallition states of the Levant to very extreme positions. Even once you had only Judah, the culture - steeped heavily in religion - became polarizingly divided into extremist political views and daily violent civil unrest.

Our current situation is hardly new to society, nor unique to post-enlightenment.
Indeed, the Enlightenment period itself was a product of extremely polarizing unrest.

You also seem to be skipping over socio-economic conditions. Social class warfare, for example, of the 19th century wasn’t a consequence of the rise of ideology. It was consequence of industrialization which permitted working conditions never imagined possible and no precedent on how to fit them into society without tearing it apart.

Ideology, religous or otherwise, follows social unrest like an ambulence chasing lawyer; not the other way around.

Technology, as you note, plays a very heavy role in stress factors. Economy is the other.

The late bronze age collapse occurred because environmental conditions, partly brought upon because of refined processes which off balanced the local environment, began to push upon the international trade supply negatively. Diseases spread more easily because of the international exchange, and contributed in waves to the problems. People started attacking for provisions, which further restrained the international supply system. Eventually it all fell apart. Meanwhile people within the same culture started politically fighting and blaming each other - pushing more and more into extreme positions.

We see it again in post WW1 Germany - artifically caused by war, and extreme sanctions, and far more local. Yet the consequences would be global.

We see it almost on repeat in the middle east.

Strain the economy, allow technology to create disproportionate relationships between people, and extremist views are quick to follow.

Those disputes all the way back in Judah, in even 300 BCE, were caused by disproportionate access to socioeconimc standinds caused by a technological influx, and coupled with an economic instability and shortfall propogated by the disproportionate access beyond the society’s toleration.

This doesn’t mean everyone must be equal. It means they must be equal to the standards of their own expectations.

If people cannot achieve a life of normality they are fed over generations to accept as one’s goal, and such happens in vast numbers, which technological and economic disparity cause, then extremism will follow.

Political, religious - they’re both the same thing. Governing structures. Switching governing structures doesn’t solve anything. It’s whether the governing structure that’s switched to normalizes access to the expected standards of living, or exceeds them.

Well over 90% of the population remains religious.
We are hardly atheist, or even close.

The repeated checks show less than 10% of the world’s population is atheist, and less than 5% in the US (agnostic accounting for another 5% roughly).

Religion is very much alive and well.

What there lacks is a common access to the standard of living we have been telling ourselves is normal for generations. And this is dominantly provided by a widening disproportionate economy and technological access.

Further, the technology we have is one based on algorithms which learn to repeatedly present a window of content to a user favoring their unique interests with limited, or no access to a general layer of socially consumed content.

Tell me…where is the browse feature on Youtube?
Where is the national feed on Facebook?
Pandora?
Spotify?
Tivo. Netflix, Disney, HBOMax, Amazon, Hulu…

You don’t create unity by disproptionate access and windows of the world.

Cheers,
Jayson


#175

@Jayson

Thank you for your informative response, I should expect no less from you by now. :slight_smile:

The cyclic pattern of the tug of war between the general left and right of the times throughout history is something I started typing out but I don’t know enough about it to talk about it much. I also knew this kind of assumption of intent and class guilt is by no means a new thing. You’ve really helped me out there.

The rise of technology and the effect it has had on society from agriculture to industry is something I had intended to address - I have addressed this in the essay I’m writing. I’m somewhat informed in this regard but may still be lacking key pieces.

It’s quite complicated the interplay between all factors, I’m still working on understanding it all.

You are of course right that there are very few actual atheists in proportion to theists, even now. But I am sure that in many parts of the world it’s not taken as seriously as it was, by any means.

On a personal level, it is harder for some to stay close to their core Christian values in a world so dominated by our own understanding of the universe. It’s hard to take that funny little book so seriously. Many do because we are innately religious, but the ever increasing conflict of interest between religion and modernity is becoming more and more apparent. To the extent that religion has changed to meet the times, and will likely continue to do so far off into the future.

Not to mention the huge rise of population growth, and the technology of our day which enables travel to the other side of the planet in a day. This allows fast intermixing of culture.

Now we also have the internet, which allows the hive mind to evolve much faster. There is an almost endless landscape of resource at our disposal. The horrors of the 20th century still somewhat fresh.

For some it makes it hard to take religion seriously, or as seriously as people used to. Which means that people are finding a hollow existence in religion.

A friend of my Mother’s feels this way, she’s caught between others expectations of her and her struggling to ignore the truth she knows.

She’s depressed, her meaning now means nothing, but she can’t come to admit of it.

She began gaslighting my mum trying to help her by being a good friend and spotting that something is up.

Then there’s me: I’m atheist, because in this world it seems utterly silly for a God to exist. It seems the same way to most of my friends. I’m not so sure we’d have come to the same thinking without the philosophical template laid by the enlightenment.

Atheism and secular government definitely has played a role in leaving a hole within us, making the step toward an unrealistic ideology that bit easier. In combination with other factors such as technology, economic disparity, inequality etc.

That’s my main point with the religion element. Its lost a part of its strength as a common organising principle.


#176

@Jayson

Further to my above reply, I’ve been mulling over what you’ve said.

You are right, though isn’t it the case that the industrialisation, working conditions and economic disparity created the necessary conditions for an ideology to emerge and evolve into something extreme such as Marxism and Communism?

Those ideas of organisation I don’t think would have so readily come about and implemented as much as it was at the scale that it was, were it not for industry and the Enlightenment creating the necessary templates of thought to disregard traditional social structures which were previously upheld very much by religion. Of course elements of communism are frequently found in tribal settings, and communism only works well for populations less than or around Dunbar’s number, and tends to naturally emerge in very small populations.

Such a radical paradigm shift as Marxism and communism was couldn’t have come about were it not for a combination of industrialisation, the decrease in potency of traditional religion as a basis for social organisation, and the increase in trust in reason and philosophy.

But, the thing is, I think those three are all inseparably interconnected. The rise of reason accelerates technological and philosophical advancement, which breeds industrialisation and the decrease in the potency of religion as common organising principles. Its not so clear cut as to what causes what as the causal links are interconnected and can cause higher-order side-effects which causally link back into another element.

I understand how agriculture on its own enabled large-scale conquest, which decreases long-term stability of societies.

As the cost of war goes down, the probability of it occurring goes up.

I still stand by my point in my above response from this morning. The potency for religion as common organisation principles above the level of local communities has decreased. It’s harder to take religion as seriously as we did before.

We understand much about the world nowadays, and religion has CHANGED to fit the changing times over the thousands of years. Few people jump directly to God when something we don’t understand happens.

This has a deep impact on how we unconsciously behave and how we unconsciously embody the principles of our religions. Neurologically 99% of the processing in our brains is unconscious. We cannot truly know ourselves, and truly understand everything that feeds into our decisions at every level.

But given that Religion has lost a great deal of potency, that is bound to have a deep effect on how we integrate mythology and religious teachings into our daily lives. It ceases to become a primary organising principle, but rather a secondary and more locally clustered and blobby organising principle.


#177

Just been skimming what’s been happening, and as an economist I disagree that the cost of war is going down for developed nations, which is why you see a lot more posturing among them and a lot less actual conflict. Fun fact, congress has a dollar value for human life (they have to in order to make informed decisions about health and safety laws) and that number is somewhere between 6 and 10 million USD for a US citizen. And that number goes up on average as you get a healthier and more educated population. So we can roughly add up the cost to an economy in terms of life lost, production lost (or diverted to less valuable war resources by government mandate), materials destroyed etc. And that number has been massively increasing as people get more educated and we build more complex (and valuable) supply chains to build more complex (and valuable) products. In WWII if you accidentally bombed the wrong factory that country maybe couldn’t make cars or furniture anymore. These days you could accidentally bomb the factory that makes 40% of the world’s prescription insulin or the place that makes the machines that make 90% of the computer chips in the world. The economic cost would be way, way higher than any war I can think of off the top of my head if we had a major war between developed nations that actually played out on their soil.


#178

I agree. I didn’t say that the cost of war is necessarily going down in modern society. I did consider that the cost to human life is also a consideration.

As automated AI weapons/drones become more prevalent and common, then the cost of war may initially exclude humans, however, we don’t know what higher-order side effects may cause detriment to human life.


#179

@psyber

The idea that religion in ancient cultures was a unifying institution is a modern myth born out of high school text books for history class out of a need for gross over simplification.

When you look at the archaeological and anthropological record, no such thing ever existed.

Take, again, for example, Judaism.
People think of it as being this monotheism from a monoculture.
It wasn’t.
There were three distinct cultures practicing what we today understand as Judaism.
Israel, Judah, and Samaria.

And no, for anyone reading and wondering, Israel and Judah were not the same. Israel was a northern kingdom and Judah was a southern kingdom, and they practiced their Judaism differently and viscerally disagreed with each other over it. The reason that Israel gets such a rapping of the hands so constantly in the Tanakh is largely because the bronze age state of Judah had nothing to lose by praising Judah and punching Israel for making errors. By that point Israel was permanently gone with only Judah having been restored by the Achaemenid empire after the mass take over.

Samaria (as in, the “Good Samaritan”) was yet another splinter.

And before you consider that each of these was a unified culture, recall that Judah was schismed by its theocratic politics directly revolved around its religion almost as soon as it was reborn from the Achaemenid empire.
By 300 to 100 BCE they were heavily fractured, as evidenced by ( A ) The Dead Sea Scrolls, ( B ) The rise of sectarian fellowships across the region, and ( C ) the Jewish temple at Leontopolis built by Onias IV who had been ousted as the traditional rightful high priest heir by the Hellenist movement within the religion in Judah.

The unity of Christianity itself is a massive myth.
There was but only a fraction of time where this was even marginally the case - essentially the Middle Ages, and even then only in Western Europe, as Eastern Orthodoxy was alive and well at the same time, and so too was Ethiopian Orthodoxy.

It’s only “true” that Christianity was unified if you look at the world from a very narrow view - mainly that of the Catholic Church propaganda of the 20th century (as they officially don’t hold this view anymore).

1st century Christianity, we now know, is so diverse that we have given up hope on ever tabulating all of the variations.
Gnosticism? No such thing. There was no such thing as A Gnostic belief of Christianity. There were scores of them, and they have remarkably strong differences. Some had female leaders, others didn’t - for the simplest of examples.

Islam? No unification there. propaganda of unification, yes. Real unification? No.
Leaders repeatedly killed each other because they did not agree with the direction of the empire, and each brought about their own spin on the religion. Surely, though, while they were under that rule this is unification. No, because division doesn’t spring up from nothing. That difference comes from existing in parallel for a long time well before someone up and kills a leader and champions a different variation.

Egypt. Famed for being the oldest most well preserved massive civilization on the planet. Not unified.
In fact, repeatedly violent within its own culture because of religious differences.

China! Again, war. Repeatedly.

Most of the idea about unification from religion is, as I said, a myth created by a want for simple chapter categorization in high school text books. “Here’s the Mayans, they had this religion. Here’s the Greeks. They had this religion. Here’s the Middle Ages. They had this religion. Here’s the Celts. They had this religion. etc…”

Wrong.

Humans are rarely so simple.

The only time humans are controlled by a monoculture is when its government enforces one, and it’s not done because of religion.

Look at modern China. They don’t use religion as a unifying methodology. They use ideology.
Look at North Korea! That’s not done using religion.

Religion doesn’t destroy unification, nor does it bring it about.
Unification is always a state campaign and one that is almost always extremely oppressive.

As to this part.

That’s what I was saying, yes.

But…

Now I flip this entirely on its head and point out that this was all done by religion.

The reason we built clocks in the middle of towns, the reason for baroque, the reason for the automata was all rooted in the ambition of religious ideals.

The idea of the divine machine was one at the heart of the Enlightenment period, and it was seen that the cosmos were heaven’s domain and moved in just order, and that harmony with the divine was to be achieved by right motion in alignment with the divine machine.

You’re over simplifying the human being and its interactions at a civilization scale by trying to work in a narrative that puts a linear progression between religion and non-religion against unification and non-unification.

Cheers,
Jayson


#180

@Jayson

Interesting points! Thank you for expanding on this. You’ve given me a lot to think about.

I didn’t mean to imply that religions are this unchanging culture, and that they are unified, or that there’s only one derivation of Christianity - my knowledge isn’t THAT shallow :stuck_out_tongue: . I get that religions have a lineage, and inter-mix and inter-breed.

However, I don’t agree that it’s a myth that religious belief systems are one of the prime ways in which society has self-regulated and encoded collective wisdom - nothing you’ve said negates this IMO. I’ve read and listened to too many intelligent people talk about this with better reasoning that I’m capable of to believe that it’s entirely myth - maybe I’m misconstruing you or you me. I don’t think there’s just one form of Christianity - whilst I’m certainly NOT as well read as you on the family tree of religion, I at least have an abstract understanding of that.

I’m also not saying that they are common organising principles for everybody. But they certainly are for large numbers of people over long spans of time.

That doesn’t negate the fact that religions evolve, split and merge over long spans of time.

I know - I also said that Ideology can be an organising principle earlier on.

ahem - :stuck_out_tongue:

This I do partially agree with - you have indeed uncovered a misunderstanding on my part!

It’s not necessarily by religion, it’s the part of us that is religious - that was something I was also trying to point at when I said that there’s this religion/ideology shaped hole and there are several objects which can fit inside the hole.

I agree with that, kind of, but I do understand what you are saying, hence why I said earlier that “Its not so clear cut as to what causes what as the causal links are interconnected and can cause higher-order side-effects which causally link back into another element.”

I’m not thinking about this in linear terms by any means. I think and speak very conceptually, so it’s general notions I’m speaking of, informed by specifics in my trains of thought. I do understand that they don’t map globally onto reality, I try to walk the line between specific and general so I can better my ability to generalise from specifics, and to draw specifics from general notions. And I’d do well to better explain underlying reasoning that lead to the abstract. That’s a communication barrier I’ve always struggled with.

I’ve only recently learned much of this, I’m still resolving the conceptual structure. I must thank you for helping do exactly that!

I think for the most part we do agree, but my understanding is not complete and has holes that I’m still trying to fill in. This is exactly why I partake in this sort of discussion, you learn so much when your understanding is being challenged.

Cheers!


#181

… and - Jung spotted this phenomenon. I said earlier that there are common archetypes that developed independent of culture: The Hero, the mother, the trickster, the wise old man etc.

There’s so much wisdom encoded in religious belief systems, how can it possibly be a myth itself that it ISN’T one of the prime ways wisdom is encoded for long-term consumption.

The wisdom people absorb ARE the organising principles, since they affect how that individual acts in the world.


#182

@psyber

Religion’s marked decline from chief method of frameworking ideological models of conception within society - which I believe is actually what you’re looking for - isn’t really about the rise of non-religious ideology.

It’s actually about the stalling of Religion.

You’re skirting around the edges, but I feel like you’re struggling to describe what religion actually conveys, because it’s not archetypes, or wisdom.
We can hardly say the bronze age is radically wiser than our current capabilities. In fact, we don’t. Every user of a bronze age religion today (i.e. Buddhism, Judaism, Hinduism, Christianity - by derivation, Islam, etc…) does not (regardless how much they think they do) have access to ancient wisdom.

They don’t because the cultural divide is far to vast an expanse through region and/or time to make it accessible. Everyone has essentially appropriated an older culture’s allegories for their own culture’s views to be forcibly shoved down its throat - rather awkwardly I might add.

So it’s not wisdom, and we’re of no loss for archetypes outside of religion.

However, what religion does that is unique is that by the method of allegory, it attempts to convey the sense of experience.

That is: how does existence feel.

I have an analogy for this. It’s also a fun sort of test to do with someone.
I have 3 wood cubes and a little piece of cloth the size of 3 cubes wide by 3 cubes long.
I place the 3 cubes in some pattern on the cloth.
Now, my challenge.
I must write you the instructions for how to place the 3 cubes as close to the way that I did, but I cannot describe the cubes, the cloth, the table, the room, or any physical object in the room when I describe how to get the cubes into the right pattern.

What do I have left?
I have sensation, metaphor, and allegory.

You cannot describe, literally, what it is to feel existence the way that you do to someone else.
The only method possible is metaphor and allegory. That’s it.

And that’s what religion is for.
It’s a form of communicating what existence feels like to us to someone else.

Now, here’s where things went wrong for religion.
It’s not that ideology rose, or that religion gave rise to ideology which took over, or any of that.

It’s that religion stopped allowing new expressions.

Yes, there are new expressions in the wings, but as the mainstream form, it just stopped.
It wasn’t always that way.

The last great creation of religious expression was theological chiastic literature.
That was the late bronze age.
The text of Daniel, for example, is one of the most impressive witnesses of textual chiastic narrative ever put to a page in the historical record.

The story’s acts are crisscrossed and mirrored, the scenes are crisscrossed and mirrored, and even the dialogue is crisscrossed and mirrored.

That. Is. Insanely. Complex!

Anyone writing such complex methods of text today? No. Not at all.
It was a massively popular method of writing for almost a thousand years, and then it just died by the late bronze age.
What happened was that societies stopped allowing new religious texts to be created.

And even when new texts were created, they were based on something from before (e.g. Islam).
Edit: [Which is why you see visual chiastic religious painting and engraving rise (which gave rise to encoding secrets and layered symbolism into religious iconography) at the same time that written chiastic narrative effectively died.]

But the expression of creating religion effectively died. Religion became this authoritarian function almost exclusively rooted on an appeal to tradition.
It lost a huge amount of fluid freedom, and became fixed.

Now, the only fluctuations are sectarian. Full creations are absolutely shunned and ridiculed, and never stand a chance of mainstream tolerance.

And that is bassackwards because we’re more modular now than we were when religion was in its creative prime - meaning, we need more iterations of personalized creations of religion now than ever before, because what existence feels like now is far more subjective by magnitudes in order beyond anything in history.

Imagine all of humanity only having the ability to express itself using poetry that has already been written.
That is where, by and large, we are right now.

Buried in religious mold.

Ideology didn’t replace religion. Ideology occurred as a byproduct of humanity right along with religion, and always has, but its growth eventually outpaced religion’s because religion stopped accepting new creations while ideology didn’t!

Cheers,
Jayson