What is "Mind?"

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jgill

Boulder climber
Colorado
Jul 31, 2014 - 03:11pm PT
It is tricky because "I" is constantly trying to co-op everything (PSP)

There it is again . . . that damn pesky "I". Root of all evil.


I feel lucky then... my "job" hasn't really ever become "just work" maybe a life in science is special (Ed)

Me neither. I've been retired for fourteen years and still do the stuff out of pure enjoyment.
eeyonkee

Trad climber
Golden, CO
Jul 31, 2014 - 05:23pm PT
Might I just say that, in spite of the grief I've given the "big guy", this thread has been instrumental in me getting a firmer grasp on the subject matter. I would hope that this would be the case for others. I don't agree with Largo at all, but it was a brilliant idea to start a thread like this. The climbing community is a big network indeed, and there have been some super-smart contributors to this thread, IMO.

I've been reading Jared Diamond's latest book, "The World Until Yesterday". The subject matter is a related field, anthropology. The conclusions drawn by Diamond are entirely consistent with humans basically responding to events in a "programmed" way that includes mainly their own self-interest and that of their closest family and group members. Under certain conditions they actually do cooperate outside of their group, but even that can usually be shown to have an ultimate cause of self interest.

To expand on what Ed said, it's a great time to be even an armchair scientist.
Tvash

climber
Seattle
Jul 31, 2014 - 06:23pm PT
Jebus, I think I might be your mini-me.

I agree with all of that.

Accept I'm not reading Diamond right now.

That would too freaky.
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Jul 31, 2014 - 09:25pm PT
Steven Pinker made the onion!

http://www.theonion.com/articles/psychology-comes-to-halt-as-weary-researchers-say,36586/

Next week, he wants me to "guide" him on Dark Star (Temple Crag) in search for more crystal. :)

.....

So, eeyonkee, as a nuanced and well-read thinker, eh? :) it occurs to me you might be familiar with the recent dust-up just this year between Harris and Dennett re: "free will". Basically, Dennett proposes keeping the term "freewill" (despite the will at base not being free of prior causes) for same reason English speaking people kept the terms "disaster" (from the stars) and "sunrise." His argument re "sunrise" - When learned people learned the earth's rotation causes the night to give way to dawn and day, people didn't holler for its impeachment; they didn't start referring to "the illusion of sunrise" (cf: "the illusion of freewill") and on that basis reject/discard the term on the basis of it being inaccurate or wrong; instead they kept it, preserved it, respecting its usefulness nonetheless; so Dennett's proposed the same with "freewilll" - keep it, preserve it on grounds that it is useful, indeed even that it exists when action/conduct "freely" follow's volition (despite its causal basis). Personally I see it both ways, can roll either way, I suppose, depending on context and/or company. Perhaps not unlike the term "work" as well - as it has a street definition and a technical definition. Any thoughts on your part, O Nuanced One? :)

Regarding a better understanding of "freewill", I did appreciate Dennett's apt comparison to "sunrise" though.

Cerebral times.

Can't wait for my next reincarnation cycle, a honey badger would be okay.
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Jul 31, 2014 - 11:42pm PT
On re-reading, maybe I wasn't clear enough. In other words...

1) Don't throw out "disaster" (<from the stars) just because... modernity's shown the stars don't cause the troubles in our lives.

2) Don't throw out "sunrise" just because... modernity's moved past geocentrism understanding-wise.

On the same basis...

3) Don't throw out "freewill" just because... modernity (modern science) has shown/ is showing volition's not at all free of prior causes.


On linguistic grounds, I think it's a pretty good argument.
A toast to D. Dennett for the apt comparisons.
eeyonkee

Trad climber
Golden, CO
Aug 1, 2014 - 05:01am PT
Just how tall are you, Tvash? HFCS, I need to read up on the Dennett/Harris argument. I gotta say, Dennett is one smart dude. If he's suggesting something, I'm going to be listening.
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Aug 1, 2014 - 06:52am PT
re: harris dennett flap

I am saddened by the many rifts in the atheist community, but this one saddens me the most. -Jerry Coyne

http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2014/02/13/sam-harris-vs-dan-dennett-on-free-will/
Jan

Mountain climber
Colorado, Nepal & Okinawa
Aug 1, 2014 - 06:56am PT
Give them another hundred years and there will be different sects and denominations of atheists just as there are of other belief systems. Human nature is human nature.
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Aug 1, 2014 - 07:05am PT
Human nature is human nature.

(1) Even better: nature is nature. (Branch and expand, repeat; it's nature's way; it's ubiquitous, leads to adaptation, growth, diversity.)
(2) I'd take different sects and denoms of "a-theists" over different sects and denoms of theists any day.
(3) We naturalists can hope 100 years hence there won't be any more to sects and denoms of rel/theism than today there are sects and denoms of astrology.



There are already, even today, different "sects" (cuts) of evolutionists. For instance I am a "feelings" evolutionist. Many other so-called "evolutionists" are not. ;)
Jan

Mountain climber
Colorado, Nepal & Okinawa
Aug 1, 2014 - 07:21am PT
The New York Times has an article today on a new 24/7 TV channel promoting atheism. Tele athievangels? Tele athiangels?

Anyway, they promise to criticize traditional religion where I think it always needs to hear dissenting voices - religion and big business, religion as the instigator of wars etc.

They might even have some good shows on neurobiology in the future.

Remember, only in America could Atheists Inc. be classified as a tax exempt religion.
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Aug 1, 2014 - 10:28am PT
Jan, if all goes according to plan, young people a century from now won't even know the names a-theism or theism, a-theist or theist. Except in references to history (cf: alchemy, astrology, phrenology, luminiferous ether, demonology, exorcism, limbo, etc.). Imagine it!

A couple weeks ago was in a group, we were all philosophizing, I was asked, Do you believe in God? I tried a fresh approach. My answer: "I believe in 'God' as a personification of nature. Does that count?"

I don't think it counted with the couple Christians there. Another didn't know what a "personication" is. (ref: Grim Reaper, Father Time, even Mother Nature Herself, etc.)
jgill

Boulder climber
Colorado
Aug 1, 2014 - 11:20am PT
In one of HBO's latest series, The Leftovers, ATF has morphed into ATFaC, Alcohol,Tobacco, Firearms and Cults. They are merciless with cults, sending in armed agents in combat gear and gunning down all the males, and taking females and children as prisoners.

Your fictional tax dollars at work!

Anyone here watch the fine new series Manhattan on WGN on Sundays? Excellent drama and period piece about the Manhattan Project in the early 1940s.
Bushman

Social climber
Elk Grove, CA
Aug 1, 2014 - 05:24pm PT
Don't you know there's over seven billion individual atheistic, religious, political and/or philosophical sects and counting?


-the myopic bushman philosophical society of the one
eeyonkee

Trad climber
Golden, CO
Aug 1, 2014 - 05:32pm PT
HFCS said

We naturalists can hope 100 years hence there won't be any more to sects and denoms of rel/theism than today there are sects and denoms of astrology.

That made me think of maybe my only hero in the truest sense of the word, Darwin (I've got a bunch of heroines). I want to contrast Darwin's approach to this problem of mind with Largo's.

Darwin was the quintessential observer. A good observer is like a good listener (I'm sure he was that too), it's not about you imposing your will on the situation, rather, it's about discovering what can be discovered, which is greatly enhanced by knowing and respecting the subject. It can only be accomplished over a length of time and reflection. Darwin knew about a vast range of subjects including the anatomy of living species, the distribution of species and genera, fossils and how fossils compared to living species, and, especially, domesticated plants and animals. It's clear he thought about all of these things a lot and over a long time. He also had the scientific mindset that an overall theory should be consistent with and explain all of these observations.

Contrast this with Largo's arguments that go along the lines of you can only "know" this thing if you've practiced what I've practiced. Largo claims to be like Darwin in that it has taken him a long time to achieve his current knowledge or state or whatever it might be. But in Largo's approach to the problem, it more or less starts and ends with him. All of those things that Darwin was so interested in are "noise" or something...something not to be trusted.
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Aug 1, 2014 - 05:46pm PT
Charles Darwin had me at 17yo. I chose his Origin of Species for my English IV book report and talk. For me, it was all the more acute because the girl I was sweet on (very) was in the first row of class, not 10' away. Boy, what I'd give today for a video of that 45 minutes. Kids today are so lucky. My first semester book report was on cryonics, all the way back in 1977, on the freezing of our dead bodies in the hope future tech would be able to bring us back to life. Back then it was unheard of, such a rare thing, but today it seems such outlandish futurist thinking is on every channel and wavelength. To think, once upon a time, I wanted to live forever lol!!
MikeL

Social climber
Seattle, WA
Aug 1, 2014 - 06:27pm PT
Ed: maybe a life in science is special.

Maybe you are special.

Randisi: Is meditation an exception to this "every role and discipline"?

Absolutely not. (Smirk.)

HFCS: ("Human nature is human nature"). . . . (1) Even better: nature is nature.

Those two categories should NOT be placed so close together, for reason of metaphor. Is human nature Nature?? That would smack of radical determinism, which you claim it isn't. Making classifications is more than tricky . . . it's just plain wrong. It leads to so many poor decisions and judgments. I understand you believe you need to do it to advance your understanding and knowledge. You don't.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 1, 2014 - 06:30pm PT
He said: But in Largo's approach to the problem, it more or less starts and ends with him.

I have never claimed to be anyone but one of many who follow a structured, empirical practice of attention training. Nothng I hve ever said is remotely original per that work and all of it is immediately accessable to anyone who wants to start a practice. There are many out there.

The problem most people have with the subjective adentures is they want something for nothing - like becomming an excellent climbier without ever practicing or bouldering or cross training. Because they believe that the discursive mind has no limitations, there is no reason why any aspect of reality is not immediately accessible, the belief goes, so long as we have the relevant facts and figures and measurements. My approach does not "stope with me," it stops with the assumption that you can fully understand mind without doing what Darwin did (keen and lasting empirical observation) from the inside, from the core of experience itself.

Again, the main stumbling block here is that many simply do not belive that this is true, never asking themselves that if this really was so, that yuou nevder had to quiet the mind and observe to ever know what was really going on, why wouldn't the many millions of people who have engaged in self observation simply have taken an discursive approach? If that worlked, you really think people would not have taken that route? Why would they?

Most people nowdays who do mind training are atheists so the old argument that we are practicing old time religion is not only absurd but vastly misinformed.

But as I have said, quieting the mind will never be popular becuse most of us - myself incouded - are infatuated with hearing our own voices (thinking). It's an addiction that we never really fathom till we attempt to let it go - even for 30 minutes. Thinkking is in no wise "bad," but it is not the same as observing or listening or being present with something, which renders a much different POV.

JL
Tvash

climber
Seattle
Aug 1, 2014 - 07:48pm PT
"The problem most people have with the subjective adentures is they want something for nothing - like becomming an excellent climbier without ever practicing or bouldering or cross training."

Really?

The problem rests with you and you alone - and it is that you've mistaken your own subjective adventure with scientific truth - or, more specifically, a rebuttal of scientific truth, which is in essence the same thing. You've stated as absolute truth what you simply do not and cannot know - and you've backed it up with nothing more than personal anecdote.

Not compelling, particularly in light of the more scientific theories presented here - which are cogent, consistent with evolution and a number of other fairly well supported areas of science, and, most importantly - do not require an umbilical cord to their author's personal inner experience.

You don't speak for most people, or even a single other person. That you get out what you put in seems to be commonly understood. The value of cross training is hardly a novel idea.

Sure, there are those who avoid difficult pursuits entirely. For those who do choose to engage, however, some concentrate, others spread themselves over several long term disciplines. Regardless of where an individual falls on this spectrum, an ethic of continual improvement and innovation can be employed.

Despite all of your work, LG, you've made the same beginner's mistake as a person who actually believes they've left their body during an out of body experience. You've managed to turn just another mental state, however profound it may be to you, into an alternative theory of mind.

Then you've gone one step further - to disparage the scientific method you're losing this debate to with a label you've declared by personal edict is bad.

In other words, you're smoking your own bullsh#t.
PSP also PP

Trad climber
Berkeley
Aug 1, 2014 - 07:55pm PT
JL said " it stops with the assumption that you can fully understand mind without doing what Darwin did (keen and lasting empirical observation) from the inside, from the core of experience itself."

+1
observation = meditation

but to truly observe you have to become unattached from the discursive (opinions,situation and condition)
jgill

Boulder climber
Colorado
Aug 1, 2014 - 08:15pm PT
Despite all of your work, LG, you've made the same beginner's mistake as a person who actually believes they've left their body during an out of body experience. You've managed to turn just another mental state, however profound it may be to you, into an alternative theory of mind (Tvash)


Exactly what I said many pages back with reference to my own mystical adventures from forty years ago - that I emphasized were purely mental experiences no matter how profound they seemed (even though my "I" had its moments of glory).

Didn't gain traction then, not going to now. But good try.
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