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MikeL

climber
SANTA CLARA, CA
Jan 1, 2013 - 01:48pm PT
MikeL, I think you may have misread the Boroughs & Rindfleisch paper? I just flew through it... might have missed it... but it appears to be about material possessions and I don't think it mentions intelligence at all.

Exactly right, mechanist. My thought was invisible and implicit in the reference. My screw-up. Here is my thought: It seems to me that modern materialism is driven by higher levels of education, technology, and science. People have more access to materials (products, services, ego building "things") through modern materialism--all of which come about through what / how people think what intelligence is or how it is talked about. Verstehen Sie? Materialism seems very highly correlated to "intelligence" as it is typically talked about.

NO slander intended (really, guys!), but people like Ed, HFCS, MH2, Base, Survival, Norton, Dr. F., Bruce Kay, and most others here on ST seem to think that content (stuff, scientific facts, concepts) are the signs or artifacts of intelligence. That is how I read their posts. Intelligence generates "things that we know." Intelligence is, here in this form, discursive thinking (with a bow to Largo wherever he is), analytical thought, concepts, models, and abstractions.

But that's not how people have always thought about intelligence. There are also notions of wisdom, reason (not analytical thinking), and the importance of values. The contemplative sciences (including branches of mysticism), socratic greek thought (reason unencumbered by instinct or the passions), and even early postmodernists (Nietzsche) pointed to problems created by rationalism. For example, Nietzsche's idea of "the last man" (a man incapable of frustration) is a negative result of the Enlightenment's elevation of rationalism and egalitarianism (see also de Toqueville) over culture, aesthetics, and the passions. Nietzsche was most concerned with the poetic imagination of humanity: relying upon only science, man is groundless because science cannot provide the capacity to value. The use of God, Nature, and history have been exhausted in the modern state. As a result, Man is disenchanted, uprooted, and nihilistic. What's now needed, claimed Nietzsche, is the Ubermench, a being of moral superiority who creates values, cultures--not truths. What matters most to humanity is ever-increasing self-fulfillment into totally new levels of existence that Man can't readily see . . . least of all with science alone.

All decisions rely upon sets of values ordered into hierarchies: what's good or bad, right or wrong, appropriate or inappropriate? Science, analyses, models, and abstractions (tools) cannot establish those. Values come from cultures, communities, aesthetics, and imaginations--none of which are amenable, in the slightest, to analyses.

I deal with this kind of thing with organizations. The very determination of industry, mission, and corporate values only come from the heart or creative imagination. I have yet to see a single decision that anyone makes that does NOT rely upon values.

Does, would intelligence include values? It must. Indeed, science and democracy themselves are value systems; they are visions of worlds. What is rational is entombed or wrapped up in non-rational determinations. (People seem to overlook the arrangement.)

That very recognition, however, opens the door to discussions about what is good, bad, etc. Again, the content and approach of science and rationalism cannot help to guide us. What are we left with? We are left with creative imagination, which includes religion, mysticism, culturalisms, nationalism, nihilism, sophism, egoism, and means of direct apprehension.
yedi

Trad climber
Stanwood,wa
Jan 1, 2013 - 02:01pm PT
"Live and let live" one of the simplest yet most difficult concepts to apply to living.
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Jan 1, 2013 - 02:05pm PT
Did you mean comprehension?

(although apprehension works)
mechrist

Gym climber
South of Heaven
Jan 1, 2013 - 02:13pm PT
Here is my thought: It seems to me that modern materialism is driven by higher levels of education, technology, and science.

That's interesting because my consumption of material goods, especially petroleum based goods, has decreased dramatically as my level of education has increased.

People have more access to materials (products, services, ego building "things") through modern materialism--all of which come about through what / how people think what intelligence is or how it is talked about. Verstehen Sie? Materialism seems very highly correlated to "intelligence" as it is typically talked about.

I believe it to be more correlated with democracy and capitalism than intelligence. Easy access to more material goods by more people equals more consumption... which of course means more resource utilization, degradation, and destruction. Personally, I think education is the only way to turn that around.

Values come from cultures, communities, aesthetics, and imaginations--none of which are amenable, in the slightest, to analyses.

I'm not sure I agree. In Ecology there is much value placed on biodiversity and species richness within an ecosystem. There are different measures of biodiversity which require analysis to determine. The value has been determined by observations of ecosystem resilience, ecosystem services, and species interactions. There is nothing cultural about that, other than our lives/culture depends on functioning ecosystems. Without analysis those observations could not have been made. Without analysis, Ron's assertion that warm water invasive fish are not spreading through Lake Tahoe and out competing native fishes would have just as much validity as any other assertion. But with analysis we can see the impacts before the native fish populations are decimated and aim to reduce the impacts.
moosedrool

Trad climber
lost, far away from Poland
Jan 1, 2013 - 02:46pm PT
I believe it to be more correlated with democracy and capitalism than intelligence. Easy access to more material goods by more people equals more consumption... which of course means more resource utilization, degradation, and destruction. Personally, I think education is the only way to turn that around.

100% agree.

It is true that intelligence alone doesn't have moral values. But that is also true about religions (cannibalism, human sacrifice, eye for an eye anyone?). You need BOTH, moral values and intelligence to create LAWS. Moral values can be enhanced by knowledge and intelligence.
WBraun

climber
Jan 1, 2013 - 03:01pm PT
It seems to me that modern materialism is driven by higher levels of education, technology, and science.

No

Modern materialism is driven purely by the false assumption that we are the material body which covers the real spiritual body of which the individual soul is the real person.

Everything in materialism is aimed to satisfy that material body.

Human material consciousness spends it's entire time only trying to mitigate pain.

The gross physical material body is the source of all misery .......
mechrist

Gym climber
South of Heaven
Jan 1, 2013 - 03:24pm PT
Modern Braunyism is driven purely by the false assumption that the material body and the spiritual body are separate entities.

WBraun

climber
Jan 1, 2013 - 03:25pm PT
Thus you believe you are the coat you are wearing.

There's no separate entities.

Just coat (gross physical body) and the individual within the body ......
Jennie

Trad climber
Elk Creek, Idaho
Jan 1, 2013 - 03:26pm PT
The evolution-creationism debate has no relevance.

Below... is the dispute germane to the future of civilization.

(... hope the video is posted on Summitmushroom.com)

:-)



(Praise to Peter Haan's genius.)
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Jan 1, 2013 - 03:42pm PT
You should become childlike too instead of an old worn out sourpuss that you've become ......

That's the bomb!
eeyonkee

Trad climber
Golden, CO
Jan 2, 2013 - 11:42am PT
Tony B, I was raised Catholic (one of 11 children) and my dad was a big admirer of Teilhard de Chardin. I read a book or two, although it's been awhile. As I recall, in his attempt to reconcile the notion of the soul with evolution, he postulated that at some point the soul came about (I recall something along the lines of a tranformation like from water to steam) in humans. I've remembered the gist of that argument after all of these years. Now the current understanding of early hominids is there were up to severl different species living at around the same time, and all but homo sapiens have gone extinct. My question to Mr. de Chardin would be did souls exist in those hominids that died out? Maybe something just a little less than a soul? Seems pretty arbitrary that God would at some point pick a winner and imbue it with a soul.
Jebus H Bomz

climber
Reno, Nuh VAAAA duh
Jan 2, 2013 - 11:48am PT
Bold pronouncements upon the unknowable. Yech. You need an advanced degree in navel gazing to enjoy that ball of wax.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Jan 2, 2013 - 12:06pm PT
I like this one:

from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_evolution
jstan

climber
Jan 2, 2013 - 12:13pm PT
Ed's graphic says pretty clearly that Homo Sapiens was very different from the former specie.
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Jan 2, 2013 - 12:20pm PT
There's evidence from mitocondrial DNA that Homo Sapiens went thru a near extinction event 50-100k years ago that reduced the total population / gene pool to probably down around 10,000 individuals.

We came really close to not making it as well.
eeyonkee

Trad climber
Golden, CO
Jan 2, 2013 - 12:22pm PT
Still awaiting a response from the esteemed Mr. Bird.
Tony Bird

climber
Northridge, CA
Jan 2, 2013 - 12:34pm PT
if teilhard fretted about souls, he didn't let it detract from a much bigger picture. he took scientific concepts and worked them into an analysis of creation, biological evolution and human history, introducing a number of terms which we still use and which have garnered respect from atheists who take the trouble to get familiar with him.

teilhard's vision involved a number of geneses: cosmogenesis, biogenesis, noogenesis, christogenesis. evolution, he noted, thrives on tension. he envisioned a finale to it, which he named point omega.

teilhard died in the mid 50s, but a lot of people still subscribe to his vision. i don't, but the world i've gotten to know still involves inexorable tensions, and the development of electronic technology in our lifetimes reflects his own prediction about a future in which ideas and politics play out in extraordinary and unexpected ways. you have to remember that teilhard was a jesuit priest, and the catholic church did not allow publication of most of his books until after he died. he was quite controversial, but he seemed to toe a fine line.

ed's graphic clearly states a lot of fuddled and controversial data.
sullly

Trad climber
Jan 2, 2013 - 12:59pm PT
Like Chardin as well. Add Kierkegaard.
jstan

climber
Jan 2, 2013 - 01:09pm PT
The lowest population at Homo Sapiens' near extinction I have seen quoted is in the 600's. It is thought we survived that climatically induced extinction caused by warming and desertification by taking up residence on Africa's western seashore and adding sea food to our diet.

Perhaps there is a real reason we oldsters are told to add cod liver oil to our diet if we wish to delay mental deterioration.
MikeL

climber
SANTA CLARA, CA
Jan 2, 2013 - 02:16pm PT
Mechrist:

1. Your personal habits cannot provide the basis for a broad generalization. How has your consumption of materials and services changed over the last 30-40 years? Buying more? What are you buying more of? Any of it have to do with the results of the advancement of science or technology? Are science and technology the result of higher levels of education?

2. You can cite democracy or capitalism, if you want. Whether it is Karl Marx or Adam Smith or others, materialism appears to be the end goal of all political philosophies. The only difference lies in how goods get distributed. In the end, political philosophies have little to do with it.

In this regard, Werner is correct. Attachments and aversions lie at the heart of the matter. They are further exacerbated by the liberal view that samsara (the world of scarce resources) can be fixed through projects, especially that more education, technology, and science will get humanity out of its problems. It's a naive view. The education that truly needed is insight into the self. Nosce te ipsum. What people need is not more stuff (materialism) beyond the most basic needs.

The founders of the Enlightenment (French not Buddhist) argued that higher levels of education (university) would (theoretically at least) solve mankind's problems by breaking young people out of their provincialism (family, community, gender, political, national, race, instinct, passions, etc.) to see bigger yet messier pictures of the human condition. Unfortunately, that objective was problematized (many reasons). Today, the objectives of higher levels of education are those that serve the bourgeoise: careers to make more money to buy more and better things. (Oh, well.) The idea that societies study Nature simply because they are curious is a myth. People study things to get ahead (power, politics, money) and to solve technical problems that appear to be in their way.

What's most in people's way is themselves. The very stipulation of any value at all leads to unresolvable problems. Become a nihilist in-practice, and many problems simply disappear.

Whatever analyses you do, beneath it all is a set of values that you hold dear. There is no justification for any of those values other than you like them, you believe in them, and they serve your interests. Life (which ones?), ecology (ditto), biodiversity, richness, ecosystems are all good by your way of thinking. That things continue for the better or at all is a set of values that you hold dear. I could argue that things shouldn't continue "for the better" (according to whom?) or at all just as easily. It'a all so arbitrary.

The universe seems to be a never-ending cycle of boom and bust, good and bad, pain and pleasure, up and down, creation and destruction. That's its state. You believe that you and other smart people can somehow change that? There are just so many problems with that view. One cannot change anything without changing other things simultaneously. Anyone who takes a true and comprehensive systems approach to reality and its so-called problems, comes away humbled by the complexity, breadth, and depth of the undertaking.
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