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Thread: What are we afraid of?

  1. #1 What are we afraid of? 
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    What are we afraid of?

    Humans are pattern recognition creatures. We survive by the patterns of which we are conscious. Math is the science pattern; we use it constantly to explore the deepest core of nature’s pattern. To be an enlightened citizen is to be a citizen who has rationally organized a matrix of pattern detecting systems.

    We have in our genes some pattern detecting systems. When hiking in the woods I am occasionally stopped in my tracks with a deep chill by some kind of form or movement. Among this infinity of movement and pattern one particular set penetrates my consciousness. We have evolved with this detection system so as to survive the predators.

    Artifacts have replaced tigers and bears. Our predators were once tigers and bears but today they are humans and artifacts (something created by humans).

    A steady diet of Twinkies and chips leads to a fat gut; a steady diet of sound bites and bumper stickers leads to a fat head!

    Knowing is like day breaking, understanding is like lightening striking.

    Comprehension is the payoff for struggle. There is a hierarchy of comprehension. Like a pyramid with the base being awareness, followed by consciousness (awareness plus attention) then comes knowledge with understanding at the pinnacle of the pyramid.

    We are meaning creating creatures; we constantly create things in which we place value. We create various ideologies such as nations, religions, political parties, economic theories, and we create wars, new technologies, cars, cell phones, shopping malls, bombs, complex financial systems, etc. Many of our creations are too complex and their effects are far beyond our ability to comprehend and to control. If we do not become more intellectually sophisticated our artifacts will destroy us.

    Reading is the key to knowing and essay writing is the canvas for creating understanding.

    Of all the creatures perhaps humans are the only ones who fail to live up to their potential. Obesity is the evidence of a lack of physical endeavor and boredom is the consequence of an apathetic and lazy brain.

    Reading is fundamental. Writing is the art and science of creation.

    We can take any policy issue that might enrage any one of us and we can discover that the root cause of it is the fact that we the citizens are not doing our job. In a liberal democracy wherein the sovereignty rests on the shoulders of the citizen any outrage committed by that society can ultimately be traced back to the lack of enlightenment by the citizen.

    Enlightened does not equal informed. Information flows over us in a daily deluge but consciousness is the missing catalyst for action. Our daily dose of information might be compared to our drive to work each morning. We are deluged with information reaching our perception on our drive to work and very little of that information becomes an object of consciousness.

    I think that if we make the intellectual effort to understand some domain of knowledge and perhaps take the additional effort to write out our understanding of that matter, our essay will serve as our pattern for recognition for matters pertinent to that domain.

    I consider that writing an essay is a major means for reaching an understanding of a domain of knowledge.

    I think that these forums offer a great opportunity for practicing our writing skills. Do you agree? Is writing in your wallet?


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  3. #2  
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    I'm afraid of your giant questions and messages. Does that count?



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  4. #3 Re: What are we afraid of? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by coberst
    What are we afraid of?
    fear
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  5. #4 Re: What are we afraid of? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by coberst
    I consider that writing an essay is a major means for reaching an understanding of a domain of knowledge.
    There are two reasons to write. We can write for ourselves and we can write for others. Writing only for ourselves is not a bad thing. Colonic irrigation is not a bad thing. Both are best done in private.
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  6. #5  
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    We are afraid of the harmful things that happened to us and our ancestors, happening again, to us.
    Dick, be Frank.

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  7. #6  
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    I have been studying such things as our dread of death and how we repress this subject of our mortality because it causes us great anxiety.

    In my effort to comprehend what this anxiety might be in its raw form I have constructed what I think might be useful in that understanding.

    Suppose that we were placed on a platform high above the ground and were required to live there. And suppose that there were no guard rails on the boundary of the platform.

    Do you think that this might be a useful imagination to help us understand these matters?
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  8. #7  
    Forum Professor marcusclayman's Avatar
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    Well, that inspires more than just the fear of death.

    To overcome the fear of death some sages used to sit on hills and ponder while overlooking the pits used to throw all the dead, sick and dying into. This even, inspires more than just the fear of death. I think that after a while of pondering, there is no image, no action, no circumstance that you can imagine death, without some corresponding fear.

    For example, this platform thought experiment is capable of inspiring fear of heights which might be the fear of falling, which might be the fear of pain, which is probably the fear of irreparable damage, but might also be the fear of death.

    Overlooking a pit while thousands apon thousands of corpses are tossed into huge piles inspires fear of many things. Disease, injury, dishonor, ugliness.

    It is possible that ALL fears stem from death. Assuming that fear is adaptive, it must help with the survival of our genes. And so, death, is the existential source of all fears, even though experience tells us that fears come in many forms.

    I don't think that we "repress" the fear of death, and if we do, it is adaptive. Overcoming one's fear of death might make you "free" in a way, but it also might make you stupid. These are things to consider. Do you realy want to overcome your fear of death? Do you know what that would mean? Do you want to be completely free from anxiety? Do you have any idea what that would make you?

    Anxiety is very useful, so is fear. We suffer these things, but suffering is also useful.

    So to answer your question, thought experiments, like the one you describe, much like psycho-dramatic religious rituals, can only succeed in jading your naturally developed mind, they do not make you understand anything. Understanding these matters is only possible through neurological experiments and philosophical discussion.
    Dick, be Frank.

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  9. #8  
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    I think humans belief in God stems from our fear of death. Our ancestors may not have been able to function very well with the lingering thought of death hiding around every corner. They had to hunt and gather foods, food and hunts that may not have been successful if there were drought, so they had a fear of not having food and then death was at the end. They also had to deal with predators, thus pushing death into there consciousness again. I think that human evolved the idea of a God and the afterlife so that they may be less fearful of death. They could then focus on living.
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  10. #9  
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    Our Western philosophical and religious heritage is based upon the mind/body dichotomy. I am convinced that this is so because we have such a strong instinct to live that we cannot abide consciousness of death. For this reason we created an after life that will thus allow us to deny our mortality. It is this repression of our mortality that sets us up for most of the problems that we now encounter. We create religion as a means to get beyond consciousness of death and to create the illusion of life eternal.
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  11. #10  
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    I agree, and religions use traditions that stem from rituals that were designed to ensure a good afterlife. Praying, and tithing and sacrifice and so forth.
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