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Thread: Human Paradox

  1. #1 Human Paradox 
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    Human Paradox

    The human paradox might correctly be said to be: Humans are the one member of the animal kingdom wherein many members consider themselves to be also a member of a supernatural kingdom.

    I define a paradox here to mean a common sense view of reality that is a logical contradiction, which presents a problem that cannot be solved but only ameliorated in some way through the process of our comprehending its nature.

    Because most, but not all, humans are possessed by this paradoxical world view we pay a heavy price due to our constant effort to preserve this “fantastic ambition” rather than understanding its source and making corrections accordingly.

    As a member of the animal kingdom we consume to live. We have an appetite and in feeding that appetite we often kill and consume other animals. We feel good after we consume and we will do whatever is necessary to continue to consume and to live. We have an absolute attraction to Eros, i.e. we have a consuming desire to do what is necessary to preserve our life.

    Good is that which promotes our life and evil is that which threatens our life.

    Eros drives us to a desire to live forever. Our brain has developed to the point at which we recognize that we will die but we are driven by the urge not to die.

    “Man transcends death not only by continuing to feed his appetites, but especially by finding a meaning for his life, some kind of larger scheme into which he fits…the “immortal self” can take very spiritual forms, and spirituality is not a simple reflex of hunger and fear. It is an expression of the will to live, the burning desire of the creature to count, to make a difference on the planet because he has lived, has emerged from it, and has worked, suffered, and died.”

    Many humans express this common sense view of belonging to a supernatural world through their religious belief; however, even those who are not religious are often captives of the mind/body dichotomy that is so prevalent in Western philosophy.

    I think that to deal effectively with this paradox we must become sophisticated enough to comprehend its source and to modify it at that point or not at all.

    What do you think?

    Quotes from “Escape from Evil” by Ernest Becker


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  3. #2 Re: Human Paradox 
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    Quote Originally Posted by coberst
    Humans are the one member of the animal kingdom wherein many members consider themselves to be also a member of a supernatural kingdom.
    I think doggie consciousness recognizes it enjoys limited membership in a higher consciousness.

    I think that when language really took off, individuals related to language as an entity apart from themselves. Now of course the "I" formulating and relating this is that language thing.

    What's the next level? Is such a thing even thinkable by us?


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  4. #3  
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    I think that one substantial consequence of this mind/body dichotomy is that today we are left with a Sunday-school morality as our guide for adaptation of relationships in a high tech world.
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    I see you wanted to talk about the conscious self as supernatural, while I wanted to talk about it as cog in a larger system. I'll try to illustrate what I mean, and maybe you'll agree the mind/body thing is just one step in a larger scheme.

    The "self" we regard in each other is not the whole. It's normally whatever part currently dominates a discrete hierarchy of consciousness. For example when you're yelling at your drunk friend to get away from the balcony, you aren't addressing the whole of him, nor the part you do when he's sober and "all there". This leading self is an impermanent thing. Through childhood it casts off bits as quickly as it grows. These lost bits were once conscious and they remain conscious and active, but they don't lead the entire person because a newer consciousness has grown into leadership.

    A boy has learned to walk and run, but he still cant' jump. He yearns to jump up off two feet, like older children do, and he tries and tries. He tries everything. He bobs up and down. He seizes his ankles and pulls. It's a conscious effort. Finally he gets the hang of jumping. And then he forgets how. "He" has moved on. When he wants to jump he sends the command to jump, and just how that is executed "he" doesn't really know. The boy he was gets the command, and, knowing the mechanics, performs a jump. Jumping is all that boy is conscious of, forever.

    Now here you are reading. Unless you are dyslexic, the act of reading is probably unconscious to you. But some entity is reading, and this requires an active intelligence. The "you" I mean to communicate with is just a small fraction of the total person. I'm speaking to the leading fringe of consciousness, as it happens. Those other parts, like the mind that assembles words, I guess cant' grasp what I mean. To them such concepts are unthinkable. You are unthinkable.

    What does this suggest about anyone's awareness of consciousness beyond the self? Fantastic, it must be. Like a God. I wonder how bees relate to the hive mind. Are they aware of it? Depends on what we mean by "they". What can "you" be aware of? Less than you can guess.

    So... back to the human animal. Is that "you"? Or is the mind "you"? Are "you" part of any groups? Are "you" a member of a religion? All of the above I think... and more, that I cant' think of.

    I believe that whatever we think we are, we should consider that we are dumb cogs, responsible for dumb cogs.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  6. #5  
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    Humans are the one member of the animal kingdom wherein many members consider themselves to be also a member of a supernatural kingdom.
    This is the result of intelligence. Dogs and most other animals have yet to progress through our degree of sentience, so it is natural that if humans were to be indoctrinated with the belief of the supernatural, most owuld go ahead believing it while other animals have no need to.

    I fail to understand the paradox here.

    Because most, but not all, humans are possessed by this paradoxical world view we pay a heavy price due to our constant effort to preserve this “fantastic ambition” rather than understanding its source and making corrections accordingly.
    Exactly how do we preserve our belief in the supernatural? Atheism is a growing movement. The religious adhere to religion because they believe, and many are not averse to science and its abilities. They recognise that God may not have created the universe, but are perfectly willing to believe that he might, simply because there is no evidence to show otherwise.

    Good is that which promotes our life and evil is that which threatens our life.
    Correct. Good and evil are human concepts, applied by humans to the world at large. Both can be said to originate from the quality of selfishness: good because people do not want people treating them badly and develop the belief that good means not doing things that harm, while evil is the direct opposite.

    Had mankind never believed in good and evil, certainly the idea of the supernatural may never have developed.

    Our brain has developed to the point at which we recognize that we will die but we are driven by the urge not to die.
    This is actually a leftover from the times before man had become sentient, when he had been prey. We know we will die, but the leftovers of our prey instincts compel us not to die. It is possible to overcome these instincts, however.

    “Man transcends death not only by continuing to feed his appetites, but especially by finding a meaning for his life, some kind of larger scheme into which he fits…the “immortal self” can take very spiritual forms, and spirituality is not a simple reflex of hunger and fear. It is an expression of the will to live, the burning desire of the creature to count, to make a difference on the planet because he has lived, has emerged from it, and has worked, suffered, and died.”
    I must say, I rather like the way the author has written these sentences. However, I have nothing to comment on about it.

    I think that to deal effectively with this paradox we must become sophisticated enough to comprehend its source and to modify it at that point or not at all.
    Not necessarily. Even the best of people can fall victim to subconscious beliefs. Besides, how can mankind become more sophisticated? We have not evolved any further since we became sentient, so it is impossible to completely alter mankind to become sophisticated. On top of that, we simply need to educate the world more. The more people understand the world, the more people will cease to be superstitious.
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  7. #6  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Liongold
    Humans are the one member of the animal kingdom wherein many members consider themselves to be also a member of a supernatural kingdom.
    This is the result of intelligence. Dogs and most other animals have yet to progress through our degree of sentience, so it is natural that if humans were to be indoctrinated with the belief of the supernatural, most owuld go ahead believing it while other animals have no need to.
    Humans are capable of seeing, partaking and communicating with what lies behind the physical Universe. This occurs through the imagination. Now before you start cursing the imagination and speaking of delusion etc. The imagination is something we humans have that other animals such as dogs might not have.
    Yes, the imagination can become delusional if it's not kept in check and anchored to the intelligent side of our being, the rational and reasonable.
    But imagination in the age of science and reason seems to be also threatened with extinction.
    This part of our being is just as important as the intellect, because it is a much closer neighbor to the subconscious than the thinking mind. The imagination is in fact the mediator between the two.
    It's all very well and good to educate people about the ways of the world and the nature of atoms, but without the imagination to picture it in context and to regard such things as awesome and amazing, what good is intellect without imagination which inspires and motivates us and helps us look much further deeper and beyond.





    Quote Originally Posted by Liongold
    Because most, but not all, humans are possessed by this paradoxical world view we pay a heavy price due to our constant effort to preserve this “fantastic ambition” rather than understanding its source and making corrections accordingly.
    Exactly how do we preserve our belief in the supernatural? Atheism is a growing movement. The religious adhere to religion because they believe, and many are not averse to science and its abilities. They recognise that God may not have created the universe, but are perfectly willing to believe that he might, simply because there is no evidence to show otherwise.
    We preserve it by realizing what function it performs. Current thought wants to eliminate this part of our nature because it views it as irrational, and that's because it has led people to behave insane. But too much emphasis on the intellect can become cold unfeeling uninspired and also dangerous.







    Quote Originally Posted by Liongold
    I think that to deal effectively with this paradox we must become sophisticated enough to comprehend its source and to modify it at that point or not at all.
    Not necessarily. Even the best of people can fall victim to subconscious beliefs. Besides, how can mankind become more sophisticated? We have not evolved any further since we became sentient, so it is impossible to completely alter mankind to become sophisticated. On top of that, we simply need to educate the world more. The more people understand the world, the more people will cease to be superstitious.
    People don't fall victim to subconscious beliefs. That's impossible! The subconscious is hidden. When it is not and an idea enters the thinking mind, then it is conscious. So beliefs are consciously made.

    Mankind can become more sophisticated when it regards the subconscious as real and the imagination as a tool.
    We have made huge leaps in science and technology, and now it's time for the rest of us to catch up, and that means seeing and understanding the underlying reasons behind the spirit and the important role it plays in producing happy rounded individuals.

    Technology, scientific discovery, knowledge about the world, education, is only part of the formula of happiness and advancement.
    The rest of the formula lies much deeper inside of each and every one of us, a portion that's been severely neglected.
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  8. #7  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Liongold
    The more people understand the world, the more people will cease to be superstitious.
    I wish that were true. However it appears that despite the success of our natural sciences in the last two hundred years that American citizens are even more religious now than they were then.
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  9. #8  
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    Now before you start cursing the imagination and speaking of delusion etc.
    You are mistaken. I consider imagination the most valuable ability mankind has, second only to logical reasoning. Both, after all, are the reason for mankind's success.

    The imagination is something we humans have that other animals such as dogs might not have.
    Can you prove this? I myself disagree with you on this point. Even dogs can have imagination, as imagination is closely linked to memory. What they lack is our degree of intelligence; they are intelligent, but simply not to our level of thought.

    But imagination in the age of science and reason seems to be also threatened with extinction.
    No! Really? Yet imagination is the driving force behind movies, art, and books. All of these are more than prominent in our societies.

    It's all very well and good to educate people about the ways of the world and the nature of atoms, but without the imagination to picture it in context and to regard such things as awesome and amazing, what good is intellect without imagination which inspires and motivates us and helps us look much further deeper and beyond.
    I quite agree. Yet imagination must not be allowed to fly away when it comes to things such as science. It is all very well when you are writing or attempting to create, but when it comes to things that are concerned with things that are not imaginative, there is little use for it. Einstein himself simply used imagination as an aid to logical thinking, to help him deduce the various laws that worked in such situations.

    We preserve it by realizing what function it performs. Current thought wants to eliminate this part of our nature because it views it as irrational, and that's because it has led people to behave insane. But too much emphasis on the intellect can become cold unfeeling uninspired and also dangerous.
    What function does it perform, my friend? I have no qualms against religion, except where it begins to dominate people, but I have yet to understand what function you mean by this. Current thought does wish to eliminate the idea of a God, I agree, but mainly because there is little evidence for God.

    I fail to understand why you view an excess of intellect as faulty. After all, intellect does not prevent us from behaving like civilised human beings. An excess of intelligence was the one factor that catapulted mankind to the top of the food chain. Besides, if you really were highly intelligent, think of just how much you would be able to help people! You could advance science, come up with a weay to end poverty, solve the energy crisis, and a hundred other things.

    And how would high intelligence make you uninspired and dangerous?

    People don't fall victim to subconscious beliefs. That's impossible! The subconscious is hidden. When it is not and an idea enters the thinking mind, then it is conscious. So beliefs are consciously made.
    It is the subconscious that affects our thinking most strongly, my dear friend; we simply don't realise it. If I were to give you a Rorschach test, then you would be telling me about your subconscious, not what you ocnsciously believe. Likewise, childhood beliefs, imbibed when the brain is still forming, can affect the subconscious and affect your thinking. Beliefs are conciously made, you can say, but they are also carried by the subconscious which affects your thinking.

    Mankind can become more sophisticated when it regards the subconscious as real and the imagination as a tool.
    Um, hello? The world believes that.

    I wish that were true. However it appears that despite the success of our natural sciences in the last two hundred years that American citizens are even more religious now than they were then.
    Well, that would happen once you start teaching creationism alongside evolution as a respectable scientific theory.

    Besides, I hardly think religon counts as a superstition.
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