Politics, God and Religion vs. Science

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MikeL

climber
SANTA CLARA, CA
Nov 12, 2013 - 08:35am PT
Jstan: What we do is the expression of us.

It might be the expression of one, but it IS not one. Duchamp's "Nudes Descending A Staircase" provides an expression, but the painting is not Duchamp. The map is not the territory. What one does, does not define one's essence (apologies to Sartre and Camus).

You're about to fall into an ethical trap with this approach. It would be that the value or worth of people is what they do, productivity, "value creation," making X, doing. So to be of value, one must do. Folks who can't get jobs or gainful employment would be worth not the same as those who do or can.

We are called "human beings," not "human doings."

Doing, if it really matters, comes from being. (Even "what you are is what you are" needs some circumspection.)

This should take the conversation back to pure being, pure awareness. What is that? What is that for you?

Take a close look.

High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Potemkin Village
Nov 12, 2013 - 08:37am PT
Have you ever heard someone so young so reasonable and articulate? Wow.

.....



Want substance? Here you go...

A man whose sperm tasted like honey would probably not have any children at all.

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/intersection/2009/04/28/jerry-coyne-on-the-adaptive-significance-of-semen-flavor/#.UoJZxuLjXfF
cintune

climber
The Utility Muffin Research Kitchen
Nov 12, 2013 - 08:47am PT
FortMentäl

Social climber
Albuquerque, NM
Nov 12, 2013 - 09:05am PT
If a scientist or observer forces an interpretation on artifacts / symbols from different structures of consciousness, all he or she does is simply make stuff up. It's useless (but imaginative).

Utter nonsense. You've just dismissed the entire field of archeo-anthropology and classical literature with this ignorant statement and basically say that we've learned nothing at all of ancient psychologies by the study of artifacts and literature.

Meditation can provide access to different structures of consciousness, but just because you get access to them doesn't mean you can explain or even describe them.


Then you don't understand them, because you surely can't even explain them to yourself; but that's OK....fantasies and illusions are like that.

Back to FM. Do you get this notion? Do you understand how one language (and supporting worldview) cannot help you to gain access (and understanding) to another? Even between French, English, German, and other languages, some ideas or notions just can't be translated. There is no equivalent because the ideas or notions are more than culturally bound--they are bound by consciousness THAT MUST BE LIVED TO GET THEM. No test, not even Turing's, is going to help provide access to that world which one does not live within.

Bullshiht. Your culturally bound translations are mere window dressing to the bigger picture of how the human mind has evolved, most notably since the bronze age. This is clearly of little interest to you, fascinating in it's own right: how a student of "mind" dismisses the evolution of the brain and resultant psychologies. You'd probably say that the concept of "I" has been around as long as humans have.
MikeL

climber
SANTA CLARA, CA
Nov 12, 2013 - 09:48am PT
^^^^^^^^^

Maybe you could explain the markings and what they meant to the beings 20,000 years ago in the image MH2 posted?

There's no reason to be angry. You could tone down the ad hominems and vitriol for better conversation.

If you have a handle on how the human *mind* has evolved since the Bronze Age, please do tell. I would very much like to hear it. Maybe you could point to some articles that you've read on the subject? A URL?

On second inspection, I see that you seem to be using "brain" and "mind" interchangeably. If you are, then perhaps you could tell me what archeo-anthropology has to say about brains and consciousness.
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Potemkin Village
Nov 12, 2013 - 09:49am PT
MikeL

climber
SANTA CLARA, CA
Nov 12, 2013 - 09:51am PT
FM:

Rather than saying "it isn't," how about coming up with some theories and explanations for what is what. It's pretty easy to make catcalls from the cheap seats. If you have something of substance to say, do so. It might be time for you to do some heavy lifting around here. You're contributions are emotional, without detail, or analysis.

Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Nov 12, 2013 - 10:02am PT
Meditation can provide access to different structures of consciousness, but just because you get access to them doesn't mean you can explain or even describe them.

Then you don't understand them, because you surely can't even explain them to yourself; but that's OK....fantasies and illusions are like that.


Fort, you go from cogent to snarky. Meditation is the path to dissolving fantasies and illusions. You're so attached to content that you can't see yourself judging the whole shebang on stuff you believe is "produced" by meditating, when meditation by natures is the stripping away of layers.

Meditation can provide access to different structures of consciousness, but just because you get access to them doesn't mean you can explain or even describe them.

What you really want is a quantification, an explanation that your discursive mind can grind on. That's the human doing part. The human being part goes in the opposite direction, from the manifested (content), into the unmanifested or unborn. But these concepts are going to make no sense to you because they are not derived from discursively picking something apart.

Again, discussion such things with those lacking the experiential data that makes it clear, can only result in demands for documentation and proof and so forth. Essential no ground gets covered. The mistake is to think ground is ONLY covered by way of measurements. That's what we've been saying all along but Fort and others aren't buying. And they never will - indeed none of us did - till we sat down, got quiet and found out for ourselves. You might consider doing that down time Fort. You will not perish or lose your mind.

JL
Jan

Mountain climber
Colorado, Nepal & Okinawa
Nov 12, 2013 - 10:16am PT
FortMental, you have now transgressed onto my territory and I have to say that your assumptions are very outdated and wrong. Even in cultural anthropology where we live with the people and speak their language, the fieldwork literature is full of (mostly) humorous examples of total misunderstandings between natives and anthropologists (look up Laura Bohannan's "Shakespeare in the Bush"). Likewise, we have studies of the same village done by different anthropologists at different times which came to totally different conclusions about the nature of the society. Thus, post modern anthropology is quite circumspect about what we actually know.

Likewise, the standing joke in archaeology is that if one doesn't know the meaning of an object, just label it an item of religious significance. And so we have the famous example of strange rubber balls made by the Mayans which were labeled religious artifacts, probably connected to fertility, which when the right mural was uncovered, proved to be a kind of tennis ball.

In biological anthropology the most embarrassing shortcomings have been over the supposedly scientific measurements of race which have changed over time as our modern western consciousness on the matter evolved, until today, we say there are no races, only clines of mostly geographically based biological traits which existed most clearly and recently in the world before western expansionism 500 years ago.

In linguistics it's well proven that one can't even discuss certain ideas in certain languages due to the very structure of the language, which does however, suit the culture which evolved it within a traditional setting. The Chinese sentence Ma ma ma ma, Why is the woman beating the horse?, would not be able to carry on a discussion such as this with all its nuances. That's why the Chinese are learning English in order to advance technologically and why indigenous languages the world over are becoming extinct as the world the indigenes inhabit now is so different from the simpler world in which their native tongue evolved.

In cross cultural psychology we have long since learned that what is considered normal and abnormal behavior depends on the culture of the society, not some scientifically measurable norm. Transgendered people for example are considered above average and gifted in some societies and occupy an exalted place, while mental illness is whatever is considered not normal in a given society, which changes of course according to the society.

Considering all this, do you really think that when we look at a cave painting of 20,000 years ago we are going to understand the full or exact purpose of that painting? Can you be sure an animal drawing is just an animal and not a drawing of a talking animal spirit? When you look at a stone laurel leaf carved so thin it's translucent and would break if ever used as a tool, can you be sure that it was a religious object, versus an artistic demonstration of the artist's carving prowess?

As for meditative states that are difficult to describe, do you really think if one could measure the exact chemicals involved, that one would then have a complete explanation as to their significance?

And finally, this reply in a way is just as unfair to you as Fructose is to me for not being an engineer, and Dawkins is to Chopra for not being his kind of evolutionary biologist. No one can know the specialized language and subject matter of more than a small number of fields. In our contemporary world we are all dilettentes in need of each other's knowledge.
MikeL

climber
SANTA CLARA, CA
Nov 12, 2013 - 11:14am PT
Really well said, Jan. One can see that this area is your bailiwick. I especially like the last line.

Thanks for the assist. My writing on the subject is probably not very clear. I'm working these ideas out into a paper these days, and it's maddeningly difficult to write about. Wish I had the writing ability of Geertz.
MH2

climber
Nov 12, 2013 - 11:14am PT
do you really think that when we look at a cave painting of 20,000 years ago we are going to understand the full or exact purpose of that painting?


No. I am actually far more curious about what prompted the square than the mega-elk. How many rectangles were in evidence 20,000 years ago?

How about when an anthropologist contacts an isolated tribe? How much can we understand about them without having grown up among them? Similar to JL's line between objective and subjective experience?

And how about Owen Barfield? He had stuff to say about language and consciousness and their mutual evolution. Remind you a little of what goes on in this thread:

But the Second Friend is the man who disagrees with you about everything. He is not so much the alter ego as the antiself. Of course he shares your interests; otherwise he would not become your friend at all. But he has approached them all at a different angle. He has read all the right books but has got the wrong thing out of every one. It is as if he spoke your language but mispronounced it. How can he be so nearly right and yet, invariably, just not right?

?
(C.S. Lewis talking about Barfield)


jgill

Boulder climber
Colorado
Nov 12, 2013 - 11:47am PT
Meditation is the path to dissolving fantasies and illusions (JL)

It might be time for you to do some heavy lifting around here (MikeL)

A fundamental obstacle for productive dialogue on this thread: The (religious-like) belief that scientists live and work in an illusory world that can only be penetrated by abandoning rational thought and seeking emptiness. And that's why the thread goes on and on and on . . . ad infinitum. But there are worse things, and this is cheap entertainment with occasional dollops of very intelligent commentary.
PSP also PP

Trad climber
Berkeley
Nov 12, 2013 - 01:03pm PT
JG said "The (religious-like) belief that scientists live and work in an illusory world that can only be penetrated by abandoning rational thought and seeking emptiness."

Has anyone actually said that?

IMO there is no conflict between science and meditation. Meditation (such as Zen) is about experiencing a wide open mind; suzuki roshi called it "beginner's mind" and Seung Sahn called it "don't know mind". Beginners are very open to suggestions and experts are often closed to suggestions. For scientists that are trying to discover and uncover new things this type of mind seems to be essential so i think they (meditators and scientists) can share a similar experience and meditation can be very helpful to a scientist.

I know of several PHD scientists and doctors that are zen teachers and zen masters. One was a physics professor, another is an active math professor another was a bio chemist and another is a dermatologist.
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Nov 12, 2013 - 01:04pm PT
Hah hah!
FortMentäl

Social climber
Albuquerque, NM
Nov 12, 2013 - 01:38pm PT
Maybe you could explain the markings and what they meant to the beings 20,000 years ago in the image MH2 posted?

No. I can't. I'd be looking at it in a vaccuum. Best leave that to experts who've seen hundreds of these things in various contexts and have a range of possible explanations.

There's no reason to be angry. You could tone down the ad hominems and vitriol for better conversation.

I'm not interested in "conversation". I throw a rock. You throw it back. You can't ignore a rock thrown at you. Ask Largo, he's pretty good at throwing rocks.

If you have a handle on how the human *mind* has evolved since the Bronze Age, please do tell. I would very much like to hear it. Maybe you could point to some articles that you've read on the subject

Look it up....evolution of human cognition

On second inspection, I see that you seem to be using "brain" and "mind" interchangeably. If you are, then perhaps you could tell me what archeo-anthropology has to say about brains and consciousness.

Mind is inextricably linked to brain....but not the other way around. Basic biology says as much. Lots has been written about the progression of specific artifacts in a given civilization as a function of say, food supply, or environmental stress, namely the striking similarities in progression, despite differing time frames from mesoamerica, far eastern asia, and the fertile crescent.

Rather than saying "it isn't," how about coming up with some theories and explanations for what is what. It's pretty easy to make catcalls from the cheap seats. If you have something of substance to say, do so. It might be time for you to do some heavy lifting around here. You're contributions are emotional, without detail, or analysis.

I've been carefully listening to all of your new-age psycho-postmodern zen BS and going back through this thread looking up as much of YOUR posted materials (despite the absence of links) as I have time to waste doing so. How about YOU step up, for once, and answer the question I asked days ago:

Where, in the biological world, does consciousness manifest itself?

Here, for example, is a (Nobel Prize winning) scientist wrestling with this question. He could be completely full of shiht, but at least he didn't lamely parse the question into, "Well....it depends on what you mean by "consciousness" and how you might understand my answer within the framework of the "evaluating" mind".

Meditation is the path to dissolving fantasies and illusions.

Meditation IS the illusion. Just dispense with the cultural baggage and call it what it is: a brain nap. Tell me that if I take a 20 minute brain nap, I'll be able to think clearer and I might buy into it.

But these concepts are going to make no sense to you because they are not derived from discursively picking something apart.

Fine. Then explain why they make sense to you. Use standard English, simple words, with concise definitions.

Again, discussion such things with those lacking the experiential data that makes it clear, can only result in demands for documentation and proof and so forth. Essential no ground gets covered. The mistake is to think ground is ONLY covered by way of measurements.

If I devote a year of study to learning Farsi, I will finish with a basic ability to speak with a Persian.
If I devote a year of study to learning Small Business Accounting, I will (might) be able to balance my books.
If I devote a year of study to playing the guitar, I will finish with playing Stairway to Heaven.
If I devote a year of study to learning meditation, what do I finish with?

Considering all this, do you really think that when we look at a cave painting of 20,000 years ago we are going to understand the full or exact purpose of that painting?

That's EXACTLY what an anthropologist would do. A neurophysiologist, on the other hand, would say that THAT mind had the eye-brain architecture to to realistically represent what he (or she) saw in 3 dimensions AND in color and that he had an appreciative audience capable of making the connection between representation and real object. They also had an amazing capacity to observe, remember detail, and plan far in advance. Synthesizing that understanding in context with say, past efforts to do the same, in the framework of a locally changing environment, and you develop a basis for what that mind is capable of, at that time. Did that painter want to eat that horse? Perhaps ride it? Pray to it? None of that is as important as what we know his(or her) brain allowed him to do on that cave wall.

I am actually far more curious about what prompted the square than the mega-elk. How many rectangles were in evidence 20,000 years ago?

Fantastic question. In a similar vein, despite the ability to accurately represent human and animal forms three-dimensionally in stone and in paint, children were always represented as mini-adults, regardless of culture; why is it that our definition of "child" is so recent? This may be the result of a fundamental change in brain physiology and not culture. Though, at some point we get to the chicken-egg question....
Majid_S

Mountain climber
Karkoekstan
Nov 12, 2013 - 02:06pm PT
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJTV-WXcx1U
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Nov 12, 2013 - 02:31pm PT
FM is throwing out some good questions. He asks them better than I, but I am curious for these same answers.

They are all honest questions, and if you simply retreat into a "cannot be put into words" mode, then this discussion will dissolve.

Ball now in Largo's and MikeL's court. I am just an observer.
MikeL

climber
SANTA CLARA, CA
Nov 12, 2013 - 02:39pm PT
Look it up....evolution of human cognition

Jgill, this is what I mean by a lack of heavy lifting.

This is not heavy lifting, and it suggests that a person doesn't understand what they are reading or writing. I get the same thing from freshman and sophomores: "here's someone who says something I think is important, but I haven't read it closely enough or studied it enough to know it well enough to state it for myself." Stupid AND dumb.

People post URLs alone, long quotations or outright articles because they can't converse. "Oh yeah, . . . what HE said!" There's little-to-no theory, data, or sensemaking that has any substance to it. There might be a few hundred or few thousand words that someone wrote somewhere for some purpose, but such behavior simply suggests that the person who wrote the words / article should be the one posting in the thread--not the poster who pointed us there.

I don't mind if a person does this once and a while, but constantly without coming up with data or arguments is lazy and a sign of novice or naive subject.

A person with an educated mind can think and talk for themselves. "Oh no it's not" doesn't qualify. Nor does asking question after question trying to trap another person in some error. It is not what true dialogue and conversation is supposed to be about.

After a while, a person's just going to get ignored.


Base, how many times do you need to hear the same gosh darn answers? I mean seriously. You keep asking the same questions over and over again, and you keep getting the same answers over and over again. Either you can't hear them, you don't understand them, or you're pulling people's chains. This is just instantiation of the game of "gotcha!"
FortMentäl

Social climber
Albuquerque, NM
Nov 12, 2013 - 02:43pm PT
Oh... I'm sorry. Shall I prepare for you a customized lecture, complete with syllabus and study notes? Formatted for your i-Pad? Perhaps an app. Would you like me to build you FortMental's Evolution of Cognition App?
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Nov 12, 2013 - 03:47pm PT
Mike,

These questions have never been answered. Just read FM's last post and read his questions. This whole zen thing hasn't been thoroughly explained, or explained at all.

Since we acknowledge experts, let's get the down low on Zen. From our two experts.

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