Politics, God and Religion vs. Science

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Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Jun 26, 2013 - 07:09pm PT
I'm going to quibble about words now.

Please find some other term than Nehru to denigrate Indian metaphysics. Jawarharlal Nehru the Indian freedom fighter and first prime minister of a free and democratic India, was idealistic, but also an eminently practical man. He managed the political practicalities of winning freedom for what was then 450 million people, through the use of nonviolence. He then established and administered a democratic government and way of life that has survived 65 years now, no small feat in a country of 200 official languages, six major religions and four identifiably different looking ethnic groups belabored with a thousands of years old system of social stratification - in a population that was 809% illiterate at the time.

The fact that he practiced yoga and meditation every day does not in the least distract from the fact that he had an elite British education. Far from being a symbol of woo woo, he was an extremely self actualized being who put his ego, his excellent education, and his health at the service of hundreds of millions.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Jun 26, 2013 - 07:32pm PT
Poor Ward doesn't mean to denigrarte Indian mystics. He's tryng to smeer anything but an old school physicalists interpretation of "reality" by drumming up an association he thinks has some bearing on - well, you'd have to ask our boy Ward about that. What an Indian mystic has to do with any of this is perhaps evidence that Ward is curating his ideas from the wind cellar.

There's no gene or any piece of neuro matter that we can reverse engineer in a way suggesting it "procures" any particular form ie an apple.

Exactly my point. Therefore the apple exists in the external world. The neuro mechanisms we humans employ are merely encoded to receive the image, taste, the feel of external things.

You're still not getting it. What you are envisioning is a fixed, external reality and a passive "mind" that mirrors the external in a kind of one-to-one semblance. That's not at all how perception works. The brain is not passive like that. But consciousness is an even bigger issue. However without experiences that would show him otherwise, Ward and many others will go with what their discursive, common sense minds tells them is "out there," never relizing the extent that perception is largely an inside game. Ward's position was common before we got any instumentation, and before people started watching their own perceptual process. The world indeed appeared flat, and that everything revolved around the earth. The truth turned out to be very counterintuitieve, not at all what we mkight think at first blush. Our brains tell us: There's an apple out there. I will eat it. Seems terribly straightforward.

And John, I am not being "led along" by my science buddies. All of these insights come from my own practice. I am just scrubbing around for examples that might or might not illustrate my point by way of language and models others might recognize, since only a few on this list understand the experiential realities - not for lack of ability, but rather because no one can get hold of these without practice, just as nobody masters "real analysis" by accident.

But I can totally see where and why Ward is defending a purely physicalist take on what he experiences. Lest you experienced otherwise, how would a person ever realize that the discursive mind is limitd, and that it doesn't have an exclusive on "knowing." At all. Till someone comes to the truths for themselves, they will keep brayngn about Nehru jackets and apples "out there" just as a man in Plato's cave will argue for a shadow world, having encountered nothing else, while imagining anything else would perfoce be imagined itself.

Can you appreciate the closed loop, and the knee-jerk conviction that anything outside is "magic" for the lack of measurements? If nothing else, people can come to appreciate how the discursive mind works, and the MO by which it operates. One can never see or learn this from the outside, which is limited to objecrtive functioning.

JL
Ward Trotter

Trad climber
Jun 26, 2013 - 08:22pm PT
Please find some other term than Nehru to denigrate Indian metaphysics

My use of the term " Nehru" has absolutely nothing to do with the man himself , nor of Indian mystics in general, nor of India, or anything of the sort.
Way back up thread WBraun used the term "lab coats" as a backhanded reference to those extolling the scientific viewpoint. I therefore found myself casting about for a sartorial equivalent-- all in fun, with no slight intended.

I settled on " Nehru" jacket because it was a perfect counterpoint to " white lab coats"
To myself, the Nehru jacket represents a passé bit of cultural tourism that looks rather absurd on a westerner, sort of like seeing a Buddhist monk with a black dinner jacket thrown over his saffron orange uttarasanga.

Largo knows all of this but prefers to see me " hung out to dry" on this issue.
He is also hiding his own Nehru jacket and refuses to bring it "out of the closet" as it were.

If I decide to " denigrate" metaphysics, Indian or otherwise, I'll let everyone know ahead of time.
cintune

climber
The Utility Muffin Research Kitchen
Jun 26, 2013 - 08:22pm PT
And yet it remains his bold fashion statement that continues to go the distance...

http://io9.com/simulation-proves-that-big-groups-require-big-brains-585749092

Our bulbous brains require a lot of energy to function. Like, a lot of energy. That one organ alone requires 25% of our body's total fuel stores. So from an energy allocation perspective — and thus from an evolutionary perspective — it sure as hell better be worth it.
MikeL

climber
SANTA CLARA, CA
Jun 26, 2013 - 09:03pm PT
Ward: I sometimes think you're being obtuse purposefully.

how would the mind or its belay slave, the ego, know that it is manufacturing essences to be magically superimposed upon external reality?

That's the point. It doesn't. You might consider reading up on a couple ideas: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_constructionism

There is no content within our genes that we can point to. . . .

There's no need.

god-like proportions thus outlined, it would have to be convinced that it is making the moon silver and the sun rise tomorrow morning.

Don't be silly. There are many posts in this thread from Ed, MH2, Dr. F. who have expressed the beliefs that Man promises unlimited capabilities to understand anything in the universe, and that there is no higher power. Sorry but that sort of makes Man into a God (albeit an inchoate one, but a god nonetheless). As for empirical proof, I think anyone here would say that Man IS the supreme being on this planet. That attitude gets shared in many ways (look at how Man behaves). If there is a support group, it is other Men themselves. There seems to be very little respect for the planet, for other life forms, or for each other even here on this thread by others on this thread (e.g., you).
WBraun

climber
Jun 26, 2013 - 09:19pm PT
Ward

When you used the Nehru sartorial equivalent to lab coats I knew right away what you meant.

I thought it was funny ......

But !!!!

You're a rascal

just like me ..... :-)
Ward Trotter

Trad climber
Jun 26, 2013 - 10:33pm PT
That's the point. It doesn't. You might consider reading up on a couple ideas

Let me get this straight: not only does the individual mind superimpose de novo essences and
Platonic categories, of its own choosing ,upon the nonexistent external world, but this individual mind does so thoroughly at the behest of societal norms. An individual mind becomes a type of existential automaton.

In other words, the contrived external world is nothing less than reiterated social propaganda?
Even more uncanny and fantastic than I at first imagined.

Apparently this viewpoint connotes to me:
All of human experience is laced through and through with a sort of undermining and nefarious conspiracy that never ends. An exasperating dilemma, if ever there was.
It's either our own consciousness or our own societies that are constantly in process of undermining true consciousness, genuine awareness .Which,by the way, is based upon nothing at all. A Largoid nothingness.

Don't be silly. There are many posts in this thread from Ed, MH2, Dr. F. who have expressed the beliefs that Man promises unlimited capabilities to understand anything in the universe, and that there is no higher power. Sorry but that sort of makes Man into a God (albeit an inchoate one, but a god nonetheless). As for empirical proof, I think anyone here would say that Man IS the supreme being on this planet. That attitude gets shared in many ways (look at how Man behaves). If there is a support group, it is other Men themselves. There seems to be very little respect for the planet, for other life forms, or for each other even here on this thread by others on this thread (e.g., you).

MikeL , you are covering a lot of territory here. First of all, the persons you mentioned might want to know you are associating them with a species of megalomania that inevitably leads to a death of the planet and disrespect for other life forms-- and even, eventually , for a breakdown of respect due their fellow Supertaco thread denizens.
I might be wrong on this count. Maybe their computers haven't been rigged with a notification alert for just such purposes. I know mine is.

Perhaps we willl deal with your thumbnail characterization of what constitutes " God" at some other time. Suffice to say that such a deterministic definition, forced as it is through the prism of this particular polemic, is too circumscribed and too tainted to be of much transcendental or instructive value, at this time.


MikeL

climber
SANTA CLARA, CA
Jun 26, 2013 - 11:54pm PT
[what constitutes a god is] too circumscribed and too tainted to be of much transcendental or instructive value, at this time.

Well my friend, that's up to you. What is a god? Don't you want a clear and concise definition of a god? Everything relates to the eye of the beholder. Again, that's my point.

Ward, I don't need to get you to seeing reality as a complete projection of pristine awareness (with the help from the ego and Mara). All I need to do is to get you to admit that some things get socially constructed. Then it becomes a question of what is socially constructed and what is not--and how does one draw a line? What is that basis, and how do you know?

Additionally, I would point you to how cognitive science, cognitive psychology, artificial intelligence, communications theory, linguistics, and neurobiology suggests the operations of filters and processes that translate, interpret, supplement, or amend raw sense data into understanding.

For example, here is the abstract for an NSF call for research proposals:

http://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=5686

"Supports research on perception, action and cognition. Emphasis is on research strongly grounded in theory. Central research topics for consideration by the Perception, Action, and Cognition panel include vision, audition, haptics, attention, memory, reasoning, written and spoken discourse, and motor control. The program encompasses a wide range of theoretical perspectives, such as symbolic computation, connectionism, ecological, nonlinear dynamics, and complex systems, and a variety of methodologies including both experimental studies and modeling. The PAC program is open to co-review of proposals submitted to other programs (e.g., Linguistics, Developmental and Learning Sciences, Cognitive Neuroscience, etc)."

Perhaps you notice the different variables and topic areas mentioned in the abstract. Those indicate intervening states and variables between raw sense data and understanding or knowledge. I hope that I don't need to say that there is slippage between each and every step / process. Influence over "what's what" is subtle, unconscious, subconscious, psychological, social, institutional, and personal. WYGIWYS, and what you believe is what you see.

How can it be any other way? What explains the constant, overwhelming disagreement about the world and what happens in it among educated people? Are we all possessed by guile? Are none of us meaning to play fair and avoid telling what we think is true? Do you believe that Man is evil and lies unabashedly at every turn? Or do you believe that people are merely mistaken very often? If the latter, then that suggests powerful intervening processes in perception and cognition.

It's clear to everyone that we don't observe consistent perceptions among all people. People see things differently. Nor do we consistently observe random perceptions among people (subgroups and groups). What people believe post facto tends to explain how they see their worlds; and how they see their worlds greatly influences (we believe) how they behave. Indeed, education is based upon those beliefs.

People see different worlds? How's it possible? How is it that people don't see exactly the same world and circumstances?
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Jun 27, 2013 - 12:26am PT
Let me get this straight: not only does the individual mind superimpose de novo essences and Platonic categories, of its own choosing ,upon the nonexistent external world,


When I read this I realised you were not reasoning things out or listening to anything but the idea that you have fixated in your mind - that our brains somehow decide how reality will be shaped and project said wraith over the "Real McCoy" like a mascara over Quasimoto. That our brains our just making sh#t up, in other words, when real science can tell you otherwise, right? Just look at the measurements.

In fact there are some nuances at play here and like Mike was saying, you might want to bone up some materials beyond what you already "know" and get up to speed on this stuff. As is, based on you diging your heels into no-man's land, you're basically spinning in place.

JL
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Jun 27, 2013 - 01:56am PT

How did I know , beforehand, even whilst penning that line ,that this would be the Nehru response.


Nothing here about jackets.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Jun 27, 2013 - 10:55am PT
Way back up thread WBraun used the term "lab coats" as a backhanded reference to those extolling the scientific viewpoint.


I think one of the biggest misconceptions is that in encouraging people to explore past the discursive, we are in fact dissing the "scientific," which is not at all true. The discursive is what gets the majority of things done in the world. The point is you are underutilizing your own resources if you employ the discursive alone. Many people are so in the dark about this that the only "beyond-discursive" kind of sphere they can envision is magic, or hot-tub guru ass kisssing and tree huggers. These are the most fantastic notions.

JL
jogill

climber
Colorado
Jun 27, 2013 - 11:33am PT
The point is you are underutilizing your own resources if you employ the discursive alone

This I find is true.
MikeL

climber
SANTA CLARA, CA
Jun 27, 2013 - 12:08pm PT
Concepts are needed to communicate until the mind reaches a stage where it realizes that what it seeks is beyond its comprehension
TomCochrane

Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
Jun 27, 2013 - 12:18pm PT
http://www.cnn.com/2013/01/24/health/love-psychology-book/index.html?sr=sharebar_facebook

10 things you might not know about love
By Barbara Fredrickson, Special to CNN
updated 5:37 AM EST, Thu January 24, 2013

Making eye contact is a key gateway for love, Barbara Fredrickson says.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

Love and compassion can be the same

Small emotional moments can have disproportionately large biological effects

Editor's note: Barbara Fredrickson is the Kenan Distinguished Professor of Psychology and director of the Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology Laboratory at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is the author of a new book on love.

(CNN) -- In writing the book "Love 2.0: How Our Supreme Emotion Affects Everything We Feel, Think, Do, and Become," here are 10 lessons I have learned:

1. It can be hard to talk about love in scientific terms because people have strong pre-existing ideas about it.

The vision of love that emerges from the latest science requires a radical shift. I learned that I need to ask people to step back from their current views of love long enough to consider it from a different perspective: their body's perspective. Love is not romance. It's not sexual desire. It's not even that special bond you feel with family or significant others.

And perhaps most challenging of all, love is neither lasting nor unconditional. The radical shift we need to make is this: Love, as your body experiences it, is a micro-moment of connection shared with another.

2. Love is not exclusive.

We tend to think of love in the same breath as loved ones. When you take these to be only your innermost circle of family and friends, you inadvertently and severely constrain your opportunities for health, growth and well-being.

In reality, you can experience micro-moments of connection with anyone -- whether your soul mate or a stranger. So long as you feel safe and can forge the right kind of connection, the conditions for experiencing the emotion of love are in place.

3. Love doesn't belong to one person.

We tend to think of emotions as private events, confined to one person's mind and skin. Upgrading our view of love defies this logic. Evidence suggests that when you really "click" with someone else, a discernible yet momentary synchrony emerges between the two of you, as your gestures and biochemistries, even your respective neural firings, come to mirror one another in a pattern I call positivity resonance. Love is a biological wave of good feeling and mutual care that rolls through two or more brains and bodies at once.

4. Making eye contact is a key gateway for love.

Your body has the built-in ability to "catch" the emotions of those around you, making your prospects for love -- defined as micro-moments of positivity resonance -- nearly limitless. As hopeful as this sounds, I also learned that you can thwart this natural ability if you don't make eye contact with the other person. Meeting eyes is a key gatekeeper to neural synchrony.

5. Love fortifies the connection between your brain and your heart, making you healthier.

Decades of research show that people who are more socially connected live longer and healthier lives. Yet precisely how social ties affect health has remained one of the great mysteries of science.

My research team and I recently learned that when we randomly assign one group of people to learn ways to create more micro-moments of love in daily live, we lastingly improve the function of the vagus nerve, a key conduit that connects your brain to your heart. This discovery provides a new window into how micro-moments of love serve as nutrients for your health.

6. Your immune cells reflect your past experiences of love.

Too often, you get the message that your future prospects hinge on your DNA. Yet the ways that your genes get expressed at the cellular level depends mightily on many factors, including whether you consider yourself to be socially connected or chronically lonely.

My team is now investigating the cellular effects of love, testing whether people who build more micro-moments of love in daily life also build healthier immune cells.

7. Small emotional moments can have disproportionately large biological effects.

It can seem surprising that an experience that lasts just a micro-moment can have any lasting effect on your health and longevity. Yet I learned that there's an important feedback loop at work here, an upward spiral between your social and your physical well-being.

That is, your micro-moments of love not only make you healthier, but being healthier builds your capacity for love. Little by little, love begets love by improving your health. And health begets health by improving your capacity for love.

8. Don't take a loving marriage for granted.

Writing this book has profoundly changed my personal view of love. I used to uphold love as that constant, steady force that all but defines my marriage. While that constant, steady force still exists, I now see our bond as a product of the many micro-moments of positivity resonance that my husband and I have shared over the years. This shakes me out of any complacency that tempts me to take our love for granted. Love is something we should re-cultivate every single day.

9. Love and compassion can be one and the same.

If we reimagine love as micro-moments of shared positivity, it can seem like love requires that you always feel happy. I learned that this isn't true. You can experience a micro-moment of love even as you or the person with whom you connect suffers.

Love doesn't require that you ignore or suppress negativity. It simply requires that some element of kindness, empathy or appreciation be added to the mix. Compassion is the form love takes when suffering occurs.

10. Simply upgrading your view of love changes your capacity for it.

The latest science offers new lenses through which to see your every interaction. The people I interviewed for the book shared incredibly moving stories about how they used micro-moments of connection to make dramatic turnarounds in their personal and work lives.

One of the most hopeful things I learned is that when people take just a minute or so each day to think about whether they felt connected and attuned to others, they initiate a cascade of benefits. And this is something you could start doing today, having learned even just this much more about how love works.

Helen Keller
Helen Keller
Credit: TomCochrane
Ward Trotter

Trad climber
Jun 27, 2013 - 01:52pm PT
Many people are so in the dark about this that the only "beyond-discursive" kind of sphere they can envision is magic, or hot-tub guru ass kisssing and tree huggers. These are the most fantastic notions.

Don't underestimate the degree of resistance to the non- scientific perspective when given certain demonstrable experiences many people have had and continue to have in this regard.

Not long ago I was made aware of an individual who promoted a brand of enlightenment that featured ETs from the Pleiades star cluster . Very nice, honest sounding, decent lady who was here to let us know that Pleiadians were preparing the Earth for its dimensional transformation from the hitherto crude material consciousness to an advanced spiritual state of love and healing and enlightenment.

These ETs are watching us closely and are incrementally prepping us humans for this coming galactic transformation. Apparently even the cells of our bodies are currently in some state of vigorous "bathing in the light". The very advanced Pleiadians were acting as sort of spiritual mid-wives for the human race during this critical passage for our species . They are very altruistic beings who are always bathed in eternal universal love and light; eager to engage humans in a sort of non-material meals-on-wheels outreach.

It appears that these light- beings are also somewhat strapped for hard cash. Being bathed in the dimensional light is not some ordinary cheap amusement park ride. The first series of "light courses" will duly relieve the universal aspirant of $250 smack-a-roonies.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Good post Tom.

When a youngster on the way to school , in Tuscumbia , Alabama we would walk by Helen Keller's family home , where the real life events depicted in " The Miracle Worker" took place.
Not far away, in Florence, were a few of the ancient haunts of WC Handy, known as the 'father of the blues'. In some parts of town his music could always be heard on warm summer nights.
In Sheffield the legendary Muscle Shoals recording studio where Wilson Pickett, Percy Sledge and Aretha Franklin recorded some of their early hits. (Where Percy Sledge recorded: " when a Man loves a woman")
All of these small towns were clustered together in a quad- city area in northwestern Ala.
Many of my mother's family populated a rather dark and mysterious place along the big river folks around there called " Buzzards Roost"
Anywho...

Magical place to spend some childhood. Fishing off the banks of the Tennessee River.
Soon thereafter we moved to Monterey, CA. LOL( culture shift)

healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Jun 27, 2013 - 02:30pm PT
...and how does one draw a line?

A '73 Pontiac Firebird driven at high speed into a [supposed] immovable 'object' usually does the trick nicely.
Ward Trotter

Trad climber
Jun 27, 2013 - 02:42pm PT
A '73 Pontiac Firebird


The 74 Firebird Espirit that Jim Rockford ( James Garner) drove in "The Rockford Files"

Credit: Ward Trotter
MikeL

climber
SANTA CLARA, CA
Jun 27, 2013 - 04:14pm PT
. . . a brand of enlightenment that featured ETs from the Pleiades star cluster .

Do you believe anything that people tell you? Do you believe your own experience? Can you tell the difference?

I don't think you're really applying yourself analytically to the issues, Ward. I think you're just writing whatever comes into your head without much consideration. It is, however, dramatic.

A '73 Pontiac Firebird driven at high speed into a [supposed] immovable 'object' usually does the trick nicely.

This hardly deserves the time to write an answer, so I'll let another person do it for me.

"One prominent physician of his day claimed Berkeley was
insane. The great Dr. Samuel Johnson dismissed Berkeley's ideas with
his famous "I refute Berkeley thus" and then he kicked a rock. Of course,
this did not refute Berkeley at all. It only proved Johnson had not
understood Berkeley's point. Berkeley did not claim the non-existence of
stones or that kicking a stone will not produce sensation. He claimed the
rock did not exist apart from the perception of its solidity or the
perception of pain when struck, and so on. An oft-repeated epitaph
summarizes the general reaction to Berkeley: 'His arguments produce no
conviction, though they cannot be refuted.'"

http://dangerousidea.blogspot.com/2010/11/i-refute-berkeley-thus.html
Ward Trotter

Trad climber
Jun 27, 2013 - 04:54pm PT
summarizes the general reaction to Berkeley: 'His arguments produce no
conviction, though they cannot be refuted.'"

This about sums up the peculiar brand of existential solipsism routinely aired on this thread.
With the exception that it most definitely can be refuted.
Ward Trotter

Trad climber
Jun 27, 2013 - 05:24pm PT



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