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Thread: Humans are artifact adoring artisans

  1. #1 Humans are artifact adoring artisans 
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    Humans are artifact adoring artisans

    Humans are meme (idea) adoring creators.

    Humans create symbols (abstract ideas) upon which they place value sufficient for killing and dying.

    Americans create a flag (an artifact of cloth) which symbolizes the value they place in a nation (artifact, idea, meme) for which they will really kill and die (nothing artificial here).

    Humans require meaningful symbols upon which to give life sufficient purpose for living, dying, and killing.

    Because humans can create their own meaningful artifacts why does our species place meaning into such dangerous artifacts (memes, ideologies) as religion, nation, capitalism, communism, etc?

    The freedom we have to create that which is meaningful to us is poorly used, why?

    Why do we waste such a precious freedom on such dangerous toys?

    We do so because we lack the courage (self-reliance) to go against the flow.

    Our adaptation to society as infants and children has left us without the courage and confidence required to go against the flow of society. We have the freedom but not the energy and courage to overcome the blind habit of conformity.

    We are not determined atoms; we do have the potential to do much better. How can we overcome what we have become and thus become something better?

    We can overcome our present predicament by creating a new reality, a new set of meaningful symbols that we choose to give value.

    Imagination is the instrument by which we can overcome.


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    coberst: We can overcome our present predicament by creating a new reality, a new set of meaningful symbols that we choose to give value.
    Any suggestions, coberst?


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    whats wrong with conformity?
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    AtakesLeHpargio,

    I'm hoping that coberst is less concerned by "conformity" per se, than s/he is by the "blind habit" of conforming to social trends (and perhaps even a few so-called 'norms'.) After all, if that's not the case, then coberst is clearly a hypocrite for conforming to a commonly accepted and widely understood version of my native tongue, especially when Pig Latin is not only available; it's far better suited to the non-conformists' cause.
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    Quote Originally Posted by neatchi
    coberst: We can overcome our present predicament by creating a new reality, a new set of meaningful symbols that we choose to give value.
    Any suggestions, coberst?
    Yes, I think that if more adults became self-actualizing self-learners after their school days are over we could develop a more intellectually sophisticated population, which would be a big step forward. I think this could result in a more self-confident group of adults capable of organizing changes that are needed.
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    And apart from promoting a policy of "self-learn[ing]" beyond the confines of the formal education system (hey, that's sort of what some of us are doing here, no?), exactly what "changes" are "needed"?

    Edit: I'm not trying to badger you, coberst; I'm just looking for a clear explication of "our present predicament", so I can discuss with you (from an informed perspective) this business of "creating a new reality".
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    Quote Originally Posted by neatchi
    And apart from promoting a policy of "self-learn[ing]" beyond the confines of the formal education system (hey, that's sort of what some of us are doing here, no?), exactly what "changes" are "needed"?

    Edit: I'm not trying to badger you, coberst; I'm just looking for a clear explication of "our present predicament", so I can discuss with you (from an informed perspective) this business of "creating a new reality".
    That will be great for a start.
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    *sigh*

    Okay, I'll try the indirect approach.

    coberst: …why does our species place meaning into such dangerous artifacts (memes, ideologies) as religion, nation, capitalism, communism, etc?
    Regarding religion: and I’m speaking from direct experience here; there are certain stripes of religious indoctrination that are especially tough to overcome. This is due in large part to the prospect of facing the purported consequences for doing so. I mean, seriously, who wants to bask in the glow of eternal Hellfire? (*lol*) Sure, I can laugh about the ridiculous tenets of ‘mainstream Christianity’ now, but such was not always the case!

    As for patriotism/nationalism/ethnocentrism (etc.), I personally see no problem with a moderate degree of feelings like these, but I’ll add that taking pride in one’s own culture/nation doesn’t equate to disparaging another’s.

    coberst: The freedom we have to create that which is meaningful to us is poorly used, why?
    While I don’t necessarily disagree with you on this point, I don’t accept the potential implication that humanity’s creativity has been “poorly used” in every instance. I dare say, that somewhere along the evolutionary path, at least a few among our species have mustered some good ideas.
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    Americans create a flag (an artifact of cloth) which symbolizes the value they place in a nation (artifact, idea, meme) for which they will really kill and die (nothing artificial here)......

    The freedom we have to create that which is meaningful to us is poorly used, why?

    Why do we waste such a precious freedom on such dangerous toys?
    Suppose your father's generation or your grandfather's generation thought like you do. I doubt they would have found the courage or motivation to oppose the Nazis in WWII. So you would be living under the Nazis and I doubt they would allow you to post your foolish political opinions on this web site.
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    Quote Originally Posted by neatchi
    *sigh*

    Okay, I'll try the indirect approach.

    coberst: …why does our species place meaning into such dangerous artifacts (memes, ideologies) as religion, nation, capitalism, communism, etc?

    coberst: The freedom we have to create that which is meaningful to us is poorly used, why?
    While I don’t necessarily disagree with you on this point, I don’t accept the potential implication that humanity’s creativity has been “poorly used” in every instance. I dare say, that somewhere along the evolutionary path, at least a few among our species have mustered some good ideas.
    I think that our creativiety has been poorly used because we use war to settle disagreements rather than dialogue. We need a means to focus our attention on learning dialogue rather than learning war.
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    The problem you are going to run into is this: those who beat their swords into plowshares will plow for those who do not. Sorry, but it's a fact of human nature. Everybody has to buy into it at once, and that means some kind of central authority like a world government. The trouble with this is the central authority will eventually become corrupt and will need to be overthrown. Another fact of human nature.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    Americans create a flag (an artifact of cloth) which symbolizes the value they place in a nation (artifact, idea, meme) for which they will really kill and die (nothing artificial here)......

    The freedom we have to create that which is meaningful to us is poorly used, why?

    Why do we waste such a precious freedom on such dangerous toys?
    Suppose your father's generation or your grandfather's generation thought like you do. I doubt they would have found the courage or motivation to oppose the Nazis in WWII. So you would be living under the Nazis and I doubt they would allow you to post your foolish political opinions on this web site.
    That's one of the tritest analogys ever. Can you please give an original analogy?
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    Quote Originally Posted by pollutantofbeliefs
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    Americans create a flag (an artifact of cloth) which symbolizes the value they place in a nation (artifact, idea, meme) for which they will really kill and die (nothing artificial here)......

    The freedom we have to create that which is meaningful to us is poorly used, why?

    Why do we waste such a precious freedom on such dangerous toys?
    Suppose your father's generation or your grandfather's generation thought like you do. I doubt they would have found the courage or motivation to oppose the Nazis in WWII. So you would be living under the Nazis and I doubt they would allow you to post your foolish political opinions on this web site.
    That's one of the tritest analogys ever. Can you please give an original analogy?
    Maybe it's trite and unoriginal but that doesn't mean it's not valid. How about trying to refute it on its merits. What should we have done instead of fighting WWII using the tools that coberst does not approve of.

    Why do I have to provide all the analogies? How about if you give me an example in history where pacifism worked. Not Ghandi either, that's too trite and a bad example besides.
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    Harold says—“How about if you give me an example in history where pacifism worked. Not Ghandi either, that's too trite and a bad example besides.”

    I think that you commit the Straw Man fallacy. You do not argue with my claims but you distort my claims so as to make your task easier. My claim is not one of pacifism.



    Description of Straw Man taken from Internet http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/straw-man.html
    The Straw Man fallacy is committed when a person simply ignores a person's actual position and substitutes a distorted, exaggerated or misrepresented version of that position. This sort of "reasoning" has the following pattern:

    1. Person A has position X.
    2. Person B presents position Y (which is a distorted version of X).
    3. Person B attacks position Y.
    4. Therefore X is false/incorrect/flawed.

    This sort of "reasoning" is fallacious because attacking a distorted version of a position simply does not constitute an attack on the position itself. One might as well expect an attack on a poor drawing of a person to hurt the person.

    Examples of Straw Man
    1. Prof. Jones: "The university just cut our yearly budget by $10,000."
    Prof. Smith: "What are we going to do?"
    Prof. Brown: "I think we should eliminate one of the teaching assistant positions. That would take care of it."
    Prof. Jones: "We could reduce our scheduled raises instead."
    Prof. Brown: " I can't understand why you want to bleed us dry like that, Jones."
    2. "Senator Jones says that we should not fund the attack submarine program. I disagree entirely. I can't understand why he wants to leave us defenseless like that."
    3. Bill and Jill are arguing about cleaning out their closets:
    Jill: "We should clean out the closets. They are getting a bit messy."
    Bill: "Why, we just went through those closets last year. Do we have to clean them out everyday?"
    Jill: "I never said anything about cleaning them out every day. You just want too keep all your junk forever, which is just ridiculous."
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    Quote Originally Posted by coberst
    Harold says—“How about if you give me an example in history where pacifism worked. Not Ghandi either, that's too trite and a bad example besides.”

    I think that you commit the Straw Man fallacy. You do not argue with my claims but you distort my claims so as to make your task easier. My claim is not one of pacifism.
    Great, you know what a straw man fallacy is. You are still not doing a very good job of defending your proposal. Let me rephrase it. Show me an example in history where your methods, which are not pacifism, have succeeded. What exactly is it you are proposing anyway?
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  17. #16 Re: Humans are artifact adoring artisans 
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    Quote Originally Posted by coberst
    Humans are artifact adoring artisans...

    Imagination is the instrument by which we can overcome.
    I once wrote this big ol' post on my blog about the future of humanity in relation to technological advancements in communication and gathering. It was along the same sort of lines, and the two are interchangeable I suppose.

    In short, I came to the conclusion that in order for society to break away from its fatal flaws in nature, we have to keep a proper balance between society and individuality.
    Wolf
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    Quote Originally Posted by coberst
    Harold says—“How about if you give me an example in history where pacifism worked. Not Ghandi either, that's too trite and a bad example besides.”

    I think that you commit the Straw Man fallacy. You do not argue with my claims but you distort my claims so as to make your task easier. My claim is not one of pacifism.
    Great, you know what a straw man fallacy is. You are still not doing a very good job of defending your proposal. Let me rephrase it. Show me an example in history where your methods, which are not pacifism, have succeeded. What exactly is it you are proposing anyway?
    The eighteenth century Age of Enlightenment is an example of what can happen when people throw off old habits and develop a more rational approach to life.
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    Quote Originally Posted by coberst
    The eighteenth century Age of Enlightenment is an example of what can happen when people throw off old habits and develop a more rational approach to life.
    In other words you don't have a solution, you don't know how we should change, but you think we should change because change is good.
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  20. #19  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    Quote Originally Posted by coberst
    The eighteenth century Age of Enlightenment is an example of what can happen when people throw off old habits and develop a more rational approach to life.
    In other words you don't have a solution, you don't know how we should change, but you think we should change because change is good.
    What have you been smoking?
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    well, Harold, I'll return to your analogy in which following coberst's ideas, you allege, would have meant failing to fight the nazis, so no WWII, with the consequence being a dictatorial, fascist German domination of all Europe.

    A famous statesman once commented "Jaw-jaw, is better than war-war." By jaw-jaw he meant, of course, talking, negotiating, discussing, debating. Coberst, I think, is suggesting that such dialogues are likely to be more productive if the participants are well educated, rational individuals.

    von Clausewitz observed that "war is diplomacy carried on by other means". The objective set by Coberst and favoured by the author of my first quote, is to avoid using these other means, if at all possible.

    I am sure you are aware, but some readers may not be, that the opening quote is by Winston Churchill: hardly a member of the pacifist camp.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    well, Harold, I'll return to your analogy in which following coberst's ideas, you allege, would have meant failing to fight the nazis, so no WWII, with the consequence being a dictatorial, fascist German domination of all Europe.

    A famous statesman once commented "Jaw-jaw, is better than war-war." By jaw-jaw he meant, of course, talking, negotiating, discussing, debating. Coberst, I think, is suggesting that such dialogues are likely to be more productive if the participants are well educated, rational individuals.

    von Clausewitz observed that "war is diplomacy carried on by other means". The objective set by Coberst and favoured by the author of my first quote, is to avoid using these other means, if at all possible.

    I am sure you are aware, but some readers may not be, that the opening quote is by Winston Churchill: hardly a member of the pacifist camp.
    Okay, but didn't Neville Chamberlain already try that? I thought coberst had, or thought he had, a new idea but I can't seem to pin him down on what his idea really is.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    Okay, but didn't Neville Chamberlain already try that?
    Yes, which rather neatly demonstrates my point. He did it ineffectually. He did it off the back of a punitive Versailles Treaty that had produced the conditions in Germany that permitted (almost guarunteed) the rise of Hitler. He did it without a proper appreciation of the character of the opposition, or the role of the players.

    Coberst appears to be arguing that if everyone, from the proverbial man in the street, to our leaders and their advisers, were better educated, then such mistakes would not have occured. A more even handed Versailles Treaty would have promoted the rebirth of a democratic Germany; the average German would not have been taken in by Hitler's rhetoric; Chamberlain would have understood the weaknesses of the German military at that time, and the growing weakness of the allied position.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    Okay, but didn't Neville Chamberlain already try that?
    Yes, which rather neatly demonstrates my point. He did it ineffectually. He did it off the back of a punitive Versailles Treaty that had produced the conditions in Germany that permitted (almost guarunteed) the rise of Hitler. He did it without a proper appreciation of the character of the opposition, or the role of the players.

    Coberst appears to be arguing that if everyone, from the proverbial man in the street, to our leaders and their advisers, were better educated, then such mistakes would not have occured. A more even handed Versailles Treaty would have promoted the rebirth of a democratic Germany; the average German would not have been taken in by Hitler's rhetoric; Chamberlain would have understood the weaknesses of the German military at that time, and the growing weakness of the allied position.
    That is really a stretch to say the war was the Allies' fault because of the treaty of Versailles. But even if I concede the point: the Allies could have avoided the war with better foreign policy, how does this relate to getting rid of flags, patriotism, and so forth which was the subject of the post. Why wouldn't we need to keep these in case our diplomacy still does fail. I know cobert started a thread about reading books instead of watching television. I actually agreed with that one, but this thread is about getting rid of national symbols. Let's say we get rid of our national flags or other symbols that people rally around in a war. What does that accomplish, other than to weaken the country? Will a weak country enhance our negotiating position? I don't think so.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    Let's say we get rid of our national flags or other symbols that people rally around in a war. What does that accomplish, other than to weaken the country? Will a weak country enhance our negotiating position? I don't think so.
    Surely Coberst's position is to get rid of the symbols of the countires and to get rid of the countries.
    Coberst?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    Let's say we get rid of our national flags or other symbols that people rally around in a war. What does that accomplish, other than to weaken the country? Will a weak country enhance our negotiating position? I don't think so.
    Surely Coberst's position is to get rid of the symbols of the countires and to get rid of the countries.
    Coberst?
    Symbols such as flags are symbols of abstract ideas such as nations. The symbol in this case is a colored piece of cloth, it represents a nation which is an abstract idea. We live by abstract ideas. Religions, nations, soul, mind, political parties, ideologies of all kinds are all abstract ideas that we create in the process of giving our life measning.

    We cannot exist as humans without these abstract ideas. What we need to do is to create better abstract ideas by which to direct out existence. The ones we live by now, when coupled with the technology we have developed, is going to destroy the species if we do not act quickly.
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    I hear what you are saying but I guess I'm still thinking inside the box. Maybe you can give an example of a change you would like to see made. Not so I can pick it apart, I just want to get a better idea what you are talking about.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    I hear what you are saying but I guess I'm still thinking inside the box. Maybe you can give an example of a change you would like to see made. Not so I can pick it apart, I just want to get a better idea what you are talking about.
    Capitalism and socialism are both abstract ideas. Perhaps we could create another and better economic idea than these two. Let’s call it ecosynthesism. This is a different abstract idea that might be better than the other two.

    Perhaps we might create an abstract idea that will be better than war that would include some of the factors that war has only without the killing and the destruction of property.
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    Instead of arguing over pacificsm, why not find a way to set up a new society that lacked a motive to go to war. Otherwise, no change is going to happen.

    To set up such a system, you need to figure out a new ideology because it has to be one that incompases the whole world, that is, a one-world ideology, one that would only work if universal. The trouble with our present ideological system is that it is a combination of Secular Humanism and a group of old religions. We are sort of united in the world around the secular doctrine, but the religious ones divided us and prevent us from a truly world society.

    To divise such a new system of belief would require that we undo the work social theorists have done during the last century to reconcile Christianity and science. The only way to recocnile them is to compromise science and that is what has been done.

    We need a social science that is not compromised. With it, we could create an ideological system that would unite rather than divide the world. Then, we could create a new civilization aimed to spread out and colonize outer space.

    charles, http://humanpurpose.simplenet.com
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    I have to agree with Harold. Not everything can resolved through diplomacy. If it can, great. Some things just require physical violent force for their removal. Nazism, as Harold points out, and slavery were eliminated through war. Also many good things were advanced through war: democracy and constitutional freedoms, for example.

    But the use of force is not misaligned with nature. Believing there can be a world where no violent defenses are necessary is to ignore the entire state of nature. Nature's creatures inborn defenses are almost always violent and not nurturing reactions. I suppose the rebuttal to that would be we're not animals. True, but I'd guess that makes nature immoral.

    Sometimes violence is necessary and this is the blueprint of nature.
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    Quote Originally Posted by charles brough
    Instead of arguing over pacificsm, why not find a way to set up a new society that lacked a motive to go to war. Otherwise, no change is going to happen.

    To set up such a system, you need to figure out a new ideology because it has to be one that incompases the whole world, that is, a one-world ideology, one that would only work if universal. The trouble with our present ideological system is that it is a combination of Secular Humanism and a group of old religions. We are sort of united in the world around the secular doctrine, but the religious ones divided us and prevent us from a truly world society.

    To divise such a new system of belief would require that we undo the work social theorists have done during the last century to reconcile Christianity and science. The only way to recocnile them is to compromise science and that is what has been done.

    We need a social science that is not compromised. With it, we could create an ideological system that would unite rather than divide the world. Then, we could create a new civilization aimed to spread out and colonize outer space.

    charles, http://humanpurpose.simplenet.com
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  32. #31 Re: Humans are artifact adoring artisans 
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    Quote Originally Posted by coberst
    Humans are artifact adoring artisans

    Humans are meme (idea) adoring creators.

    Humans create symbols (abstract ideas) upon which they place value sufficient for killing and dying.

    Americans create a flag (an artifact of cloth) which symbolizes the value they place in a nation (artifact, idea, meme) for which they will really kill and die (nothing artificial here).

    Humans require meaningful symbols upon which to give life sufficient purpose for living, dying, and killing.

    Because humans can create their own meaningful artifacts why does our species place meaning into such dangerous artifacts (memes, ideologies) as religion, nation, capitalism, communism, etc?

    The freedom we have to create that which is meaningful to us is poorly used, why?

    Why do we waste such a precious freedom on such dangerous toys?

    We do so because we lack the courage (self-reliance) to go against the flow.

    Our adaptation to society as infants and children has left us without the courage and confidence required to go against the flow of society. We have the freedom but not the energy and courage to overcome the blind habit of conformity.

    We are not determined atoms; we do have the potential to do much better. How can we overcome what we have become and thus become something better?

    We can overcome our present predicament by creating a new reality, a new set of meaningful symbols that we choose to give value.

    Imagination is the instrument by which we can overcome.
    It seems to me you have already created that religion you long for! You call it "freedom" and it seems to you to be the answer for everything! This is what Secular Humanism is coming to. No wonder everything is measured in "rights" and very little in duty and responsibility...why everthing wrong is someone else's fault and why we go to court with each other for every thing we can. You talk about dying for the flag. Notice we cannot get enough troops in this needless war with Islam because the people do not want to die for our "cause." During WWII, we had more than a million casualties. We were strong then. Now, we hide the American flag and ask our congressmen to give up and abandon Iraq. We have no faith in our system. It is a dying "religion."

    charles, http://humanpurpose.simplenet.com
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    Sit back and relax.

    I think this could be a good one.
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    @threadwriter:
    Another one who wants to rescue the world.
    Surely we have to change something if we want to change the world, but what we have to change is ourselves at first, and not others.
    So what, concretely, do YOU do to change the world?
    Please give a more circumscribed picture of how you'd create a new society, and out of what, and on which planet.
    You cannot just ignore thousands of years of history.
    I completely concur with you that religions and unintelligence of the people are some of the big problems, but I also don't think that science alone is the solution. Just remember "Brave New World".
    I am.
    You can't deny it.
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    Ophiolite is right, this is a good one! :-D He may have read some of my website.

    Now we have a list of really good questions---questions about subjects most people hardly think about.

    Yes, "how do we change the world?" I am not a fan of Karl Marx and believe that the key to human progress is not economic systems but the world-view (WV) and way of thinking belief systems that bind people into societies. The old "spirit"-based ones are called "religions." When such WV systems grow old and divided, they grow weak and have to eventually be replaced. We have always had WV ideologies and will always in the future. We have to be able to agree on things to work together and WV ideologies enable that to happen.

    Our present one is a mish mash of old religion and Secular science. I think it is failing and will be replaced by the end of this century. The question is by what. That is what I work on in my website.

    Most people do ignore thousands of years of history; you make a good point. I talk about religions arising, building societies that eventually fail and then a new religion starting a new society. People look at me as it I was from another planet. Everything they know and think is right there on the TV news and in the Wall Street Journal!

    My research is on the process WV ideologies have undergone over the last some 100,000 years and any new such belief system---whether atheistic or not---would have to be based on it also.

    I also agree that "science" does not make a WV and way of thinking that would create a new society! It would also destroy science just trying to run a society! My response to this will surprise you. I believe the social science behind our secular ideology is compromised and corrupted by the intent to reconcile religion and science during the last century.

    My work tries to correct that so that we can figure out just what a new such WV ideology would have to have to eventually succeed.

    charles, http://humanpurpose.simplenet.com
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    Charles, that's the most coherent statement I've seen in this thread. I completely agree that WV is the driving thrust behind the structure of government and society in general. And I agree with author George Lakeoff that the prevailing world views come from our parental world views: strict father vs. naturing parent; that people project localized ideals into much larger frameworks.

    Lakeoff's point in "Moral Politics" is that how we see the purpose of government is rooted in our view of what is the best parenting model. For example, if you believe that the proper structure for a family is that the father's purpose is to defend his family first and foremost, then you also probably think that government's first function is national defense and law and order. If you believe corporal punishment for your children, then you probably also believe in capital punishment. On the other hand, if you believe a parent's first role in the family is to nurture the children, then you probably also believe that government's first function is to nurture its citizens through social programs rather than defense. And so on.

    From that I've come to see that local world views really do project to wider structures such as government and society in general. I think you make a good point that currently we have the odd mixture of religion and science, and that those models are probably transitional.

    Going back to a point Coberst made earlier about symbols, nations, and the fact that they're abstract I think somewhat confuses "abstract" with "arbitrary" just a bit. That is, just because something is abstract and not tangible does not mean it came about completely arbitrarily and therefore can be simply replaced with a better model. Even though a nation is a epistemological construct, it is still based in some other fundamental, also abstract, attributes that are hard to ignore: common language, common governing ideals, common traditions, et cetera. It is tribal and, thus, as with any tribe, came about through traditions that have proven to work (even if they seem silly to outsiders) over time. So, my point is, just because something is abstract doesn't mean it isn't tied to something real among human contract and so just cannot be overturned simply because of some flaws. If we take the view that anything abstract is fundamentally arbitrary so we should just simply choose a different one, removes a necessary frame of reference.

    That is to say, if we do not position ideals in some form of absolutism, then the fabric of society is lost and we are no longer bound together. A belief that some abstract ideas are real is necessary in order to have a functioning society. There must be absolutes and those absolutes if not decided by culture and tradition then by what? Any other system in the end, would be just as arbitrary and, thus, a similar target to be replaced by those who oppose it. (Sort of like believing that the metric system is less arbitrary than the imperial system.) The construct of nations, while flawed, still is a self-correcting and progresses in a way that is, in my view, more benefiting than harmful. Also, I do not see how a pacifist model can be sustainable since, by definition, it refuses to defend itself.
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    Interesting post. . . Yes, it makes sense that a strong father in the home leads to willfull, resonsible children, whereas parents who spoil their children have self-indulgent children.

    Your references to "abstract" illuded me for a while. I did not know what you meant. Putting it into my own words, I think you are saying that the way of thinking and world view that bonds a people into their society needs to be advanced and believable enough for them to consider it "Truth," "perfect," or "scientific."

    Exactly! Do most people believe the "miracles" of the Bible? Not really. Do they even think we are spreading democracy around the world now? No, not really! Worse than that, we are so disillusioned with the way our own country is run that our secular political ideals are little more than mouthed without real affection.

    Both our old religious and our more recent secular ideals are in disarray. That alone can account for the sad state of our society. We don't like to think of it as weak and fault-ridden, but when we start to list all the social and political problems we have, we hardly know where to stop!

    Much of the problem is that we have so many unsatisfactory goals. Our belief system is confused as to what we are all supposed to be cooperating to achieve. It is hard for people to cooperate if they don't have a common goal! If you don't have the same goal, there is no reason to cooperate!

    Instead of us "seeking the pursuit of happiness", accumulating "stuff", and waiting for Christ to Return, we should be working to build a new civilization, funding the work needed to colonize other planets, build a real world government so we can end big wars, protect the environment and get control over population growth.

    With a WV belief system that serves our needs, we could have a very different and fast progressing world society.

    charles, http://humanpurpose.simplenet.com
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    Quote Originally Posted by charles brough
    Your references to "abstract" illuded me for a while. I did not know what you meant. Putting it into my own words, I think you are saying that the way of thinking and world view that bonds a people into their society needs to be advanced and believable enough for them to consider it "Truth," "perfect," or "scientific."
    Actually, it was Coberst who used the word in his opening commentary. It seemed to me he was implying that since the idea of a nation was abstract (i.e., an idea removed from anything real or tangible) that it is therefore malleable and could simply be replaced by a better concept; something that transcended the idea of a nation presumably to end warring. My point was that certain abstract ideas, especially when it comes to societal bonds like nations, must be thought of as real in order for them to work. Paper money is a perfect example. It holds no intrinsic value as all its value is abstract. However, that belief in its value is absolutely fundamental for it to work. To put it another way, if everyone woke up one day as said, "money's value is really only a human ideal and, therefore, its value can be anything we want it to be" that new system or idea would fall victim to the very one it replaces: its illusion must be strong enough in order for people to truly believe in it. If everyone agrees to change the concept of money, then it has to be replaced by something as abstract and convincing enough in order for people to believe it's "real" in order to have a functioning economy.. So, is the new system really any better than the old? I believe that thought applies to the strong belief in national ties. That that illusion about territorial divisions (e.g., the imaginary line dividing Canada from the U.S.), sovereign states, and the divisions they create is just as strong as people's illusions about the value of paper money. And that when you overthrow one illusion for another, you wind up with similar problems.

    The same holds true for the idea of a nation. It works because people see it as a real thing with territorial boundaries. If everyone agreed to create to a new concept that no longer made today's territorial boundaries the principle actors in the world, some other illusion (i.e., abstract concept of what binds people just for different reasons than national identity) would have to replace it and we probably would be right back where we started.

    The issue is that that which creates tribal bonds cannot be so generalized as to encompass everyone on the planet because those bonds would cease to exist. It would lose its distinguishing factor. People bond in groups because of things they have in common which, by definition, means they see those common attributes as different from others in some way. A group that bonds with every type of person could not function because its point of existence it that it values certain ideas over others and since to do so means to reject certain other ideas (most likely ones that oppose theirs) what they found in common is no longer.

    For example, a group of anti-racists are not going to welcome KKK members because by definition the AR group opposes the KKK view; this is because opposing bigotry is the distinguishing feature of the AR group and the idea that binds them. You can then generalize from that: If any group was so broad in its value system such that anyone could be a part of it, would it really be a group? If you answer something like, "Yes, because it could be a group that is bound by the very idea that no one is excluded," then the group would have to then include those who believed that some should be excluded from the group, which contradicts the basic tenet of the group! It is impossible to escape the paradox an all inclusive group creates because when it takes on a value system that essentially makes it a binding tribe in the first place, it is at the same time opposing contradictory value systems. Defining a set of group values means also opposing someone else's.

    Therefore, if we overthrow the concept of "nations" as territorial and cultural groupings and replace it with a "higher" ideal where territorial divisions and cultural divisions are eliminated (and eliminating wars on behalf of these divisions), new divisions and, thus, new reasons to war with each other will be created. You just cannot create a human grouping system that does not divide people in some way.. So, what makes one ideal better than the other?

    Even in democracy, which attempts to be inclusive of all political beliefs, fails when a group becomes a part of it that is motivated to overthrow democracy. So, even an abstract ideal such as democracy cannot allow movements within it that wish to destroy it. Therefore, democracy cannot be all inclusive.
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    Sorry for not responding for awhile but I have been out of town. I took my grandson to DC and to various Civil War sites.

    My comprhension of abstract ideas I got from "Philosophy in the Flesh" by Lakoff and Johnson.

    Abstract ideas can be thought of as being like a chemical compound. An abstract idea contains literal ideas (ideas constructed from experience) plus a good deal of imaginative construction. Thus an abstract idea is grounded in experience but also goes beyond experience. The imagination constructs a model and when that model becomes meaningful through a confluence of emotion and intellection that model becomes reality for the person. If that idea (meme) becomes acceptable to others it slowly becomes part of the culture.
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    Thanks for the clarification, Coberst. I think that the construction of abstract elements, which you are describing here based on those authors you named, is different than some of the subtle ways you were using it in your opening commentary. That is, yes you were decomposing ideas into it elements (the make up of what a "nation" is), but you were also suggesting that since it is nothing more than a bunch of little abstract ideas, why can't we just replace it with better ideas? A new abstraction constructed from new ideas. And my point to that was that the idea of a "nation" is less abstract than you think and any other abstraction will most likely have the same pitfalls.
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    Retro...

    I have for a long time been trying to comprehend why we humans do the things we do. Recently I have found an author who is a scholar and an author and who seems to have been asking the same question. This author, Ernest Becker, has written four books giving us his answer to this question. His Pulitzer Prize winning “The Denial of Death” and his three other books on this subject “Escape from Evil”, “The Birth and Death of Meaning”, and “Beyond Alienation” has provided a synthesis of the sciences of psychology, psychoanalysis, sociology, and anthropology to fortify his conclusions.

    His conclusions are that we are creatures searching for meaning with the result that we have left our natural inheritances to become creators of an artificial culture that provides us with meaning that we live by. These artificial constructions are what we consider to be reality and which we live and die for. We create our world that we invest with value. These artificial constructs lead us into doing the things we do. We have the power to change these constructions if we can muster the comprehension and courage to establish different and better values if we have the will to do so.
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    Quote Originally Posted by coberst
    We have the power to change these constructions if we can muster the comprehension and courage to establish different and better values if we have the will to do so.
    This may be true but it does not suggest any useful ideas as to how that might be accomplished. Who are "we" and why would "we" all of a sudden decide to adopt a set of values suggested by someone named Coberst? It would be like saying if we have the will to do so we could eliminate all crime in the world. That statement is absolutely true if "we" includes all the criminals committing the crimes. But since it doesn't, it's not.
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    Thank you, Harold. My reaction exactly.

    Coberst, I think you need to ground this conversation into more concrete ideas otherwise it is wide open speculation to the point of no common understanding. What abstraction would have better values? Moreover, what values do you think are important?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retromingent
    Thank you, Harold. My reaction exactly.

    Coberst, I think you need to ground this conversation into more concrete ideas otherwise it is wide open speculation to the point of no common understanding. What abstraction would have better values? Moreover, what values do you think are important?
    You are correct I need to elaborate regarding my meaning. I try not to hit someone with my long winded reply unless that really seem interested and perhaps you are interested enough to tolerate my long winded reply. So here it is, I have more if you wish.


    Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.
    --Voltaire (1694-1778)

    While I was in Asheville awaiting oral surgery my companion and I settled down in the waiting area of St Joseph Hospital to just ‘hang out’ for a few hours. This was a convenient and a comfortable place to sit and wander about just passing time. One is pretty well free to walk many of the corridors and rest in many of the waiting areas along with everyone else. It was obvious that the hospital functioned fully 24/7.

    A person can walk the corridors of any big city hospital and observe in wonder at the effectiveness of human rationality in action. One can also visit the UN building in NYC or read the morning papers and observe just how ineffective, frustrating and disappointing human rationality can be. We seem to be capable of developing vast systems to efficiently provide good or evil; but have not been able to completely ‘accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative’. Why does human reason perform so well in some matters and so poorly in others?

    This is a question that has long intrigued me. How can we be so successful in developing a technology and yet be so unsuccessful in developing the ability to manage that magnificent technology? We seem to be like the man with an ‘Arnold’ like upper body mounted on a spindle, varicose veined, arthritic lower body.

    I have lately begun to formulate an answer to the question. I am not saying that I have discovered a new problem but that I have discovered how others have been struggling with this problem and that it is only now that I have become conscious of this aspect of reality. I am saying that I have discovered a problem that has worried mankind for centuries and that I have only now begun to understand the problem. I also want to be so bold as to suggest I may have a practical proposal to significantly impact the problem with a partial solution.

    A certain part of reality exists for me only when I have become conscious of it. The first step of becoming conscious of any part of reality is to formulate a coherent question about it. It is possible to create solutions to problematic situations only after developing a clear understanding of the facts.

    I have discovered that those who struggle with such questions have theorized that rationality can be classified into two major categories; instrumental rationality is that form that allows us to develop our technology and communication rationality is that form that allows us to deal with the other type of problem.

    There are problems where the end is known and only the best means are of question. The dentist knows that I have a toothache and the problem he must decide is the best way to eliminate that toothache. The dentist is the subject and the toothache is the object. The problem exists between a subject and an object. The end is clear, eliminate the ache, the means will be either pull the tooth or do a root canal. Instrumental rationality is to determine the best means to reach a specified end.

    Instrumental rationality is not a method suitable for developing ends. Dialectical rationality is the only mode of reasoning suitable for arriving at satisfactory ends.

    In a criminal jury trial each juror ideally begins hearing the case as a mental blank slate. The witnesses engage in a controlled and guided dialogue wherein each witness communicates to the jury their particular truth regarding the matter under consideration. Each juror modifies his or her blank slate as the witness’s parade through; each providing his or her view of the truth. A dialogue takes place for the benefit of the juror who is not a member of the dialogue.

    Each juror is required to reason dialectically. Dialectical reasoning is a process wherein the opinion of the juror is molded and remolded based upon the truths presented. The blank slate becomes slate A after witness A and then becomes slate A-B after witness B and then becomes slate A-B-C, etc.

    At the end of the trial the jurors assemble in isolation to determine a verdict. Generally the members are polled to determine if all agree upon the truth of the case. If one or more jurors dissent from the others a new dialogue must take place. The jurors begin a dialogue in an attempt to reach a unanimous decision.

    In this stage each juror is engaged in communication in dialogue while simultaneously each juror is engaged in a rational dialectic.

    A jury trial might be a useful example of a problem engaged by many reflective agents with a multiplicity of frames of reference. In such a situation the jury must utilize communicative techniques to enter into a dialogue wherein there is a constant dialectic until a unanimous solution is reached or deadlock prevails.

    Communicating by dialogue together with reasoning dialectically is a technique for attempting to solve multi-dimensional problems. Problems that are either not pattern like or that the pattern is too complex to ascertain.

    Most problems that we face in our daily life are multi-dimensional in nature. Simple problems that occur daily in family life are examples. Each member of the family has a different point of view with differing needs and desires. Most of the problems we constantly face are not readily solved by mathematics because they are not pattern specific and are multi-dimensional.

    Dialogue is a technique for mutual consideration of such problems wherein solutions grow in a dialectical manner. Through dialogue each individual brings his/her point of view to the fore by proposing solutions constructed around their specific view. All participants in the dialogue come at the solution from the logic of their views. The solution builds dialectically; from a thesis and a contrasting thesis, a synthesis is constructed that takes into consideration both proposals. From this synthesis, a new thesis has developed.

    When we are dealing with single dimensional problems well circumscribed by paradigms the personal biases of the subject are of small concern. In multi-dimensional problems, without the advantage of paradigms, the biases of the problem solvers become a serious source of error. One important task of dialogue is to illuminate these prejudices. These biases may be quite subtle and often out of the consciousness of the participant holding them.

    Our schools have decided that our children should learn to be critical thinkers. CT can provide the student with the intellectual foundation to lean how to think and reason about multidimensional problems. I agree with their judgment. This disciplined form of thought is important to each child and is vitally important to our society. I have attempted to relay to you my sense of the importance of critical thinking in the hope that you may share that judgment and lend your support to the school system in this vital matter.



    CT (Critical Thinking)

    “The noblest exercise of the mind within doors, and most befitting a person of quality, is study.”
    William Ramsey, Nobel Prize Laureate in Chemistry, 1904

    “Understanding is a kind of ecstasy.”
    Carl Sagan, Celebrated Scientist


    I once asked a philosophy professor “What is philosophy about?” He said philosophy is “radically critical self-consciousness”. This was 35 years ago. Only in the last five years have I begun to understand that statement

    I took a number of courses in philosophy three decades ago but it was not until I began to study and understand Critical Thinking that I began to understand what “radically critical self-consciousness” meant.

    I consider CT to be ‘philosophy light’. CT differs from other subject matter such as mathematics and geography in that it requires, for success, that the student develop a significant change in attitude.

    Anyone who has been in military service recognizes the significant attitude adjustment introduced into all recruits in the eight weeks of boot camp. During the first eight weeks of military service each recruit is introduced to the proper military attitude. During the eight weeks of basic training there is certain knowledge and skills that the recruit learns but primarily s/he undergoes a significant attitude adjustment.

    I would identify the CT attitude adjustment to be a movement from naïve common sense realism to critical self-consciousness. It is necessary to free many words and concepts from the limited meaning attached by normal usage—such a separation requires that the learner hold in abeyance the normal sort of concept associations.

    The individual who has made the attitude adjustment recognizes that reality is multilayered and that one can only penetrate those layers through a critical attitude toward both the self and the world. To be critical does not mean to be negative, as is a common misunderstanding.

    If we were to follow the cat and the turtle as they make their way through the forest we would observe two fundamentally different ways that a creature might make its way through life.

    The turtle withdraws into its shell when it bumps into something new, and remains such until that something new disappears or remains long enough to become familiar to the turtle. The cat is conscious of almost everything within the range of its senses, and studies all it perceives until its curiosity is satisfied.

    Formal education teaches by telling so that the graduate is prepared with a sufficient database to get a job. Such an education efficiently prepares one to make a living, but this efficiency is at the cost of curiosity and imagination. Such an education does not prepare an individual to become critically self-conscious.

    If we wish to emulate the cat rather than the turtle we must revitalize our curiosity and imagination after formal education. That revitalized curiosity and imagination, together with self directed study prepares each of us for a fulfilling life that includes the ecstasy of understanding.

    I think that radically critical self-consciousness combines the attitude adjustment of CT and combines it with the curiosity of the cat and then takes that combination to a radical level.

    A good place to begin CT is: http://www.bu.edu/wcp/Papers/Educ/EducHare.htm
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    I don't mind long answers, Coberst. Taking the time to explain is appreciated. I went through your response carefully and I have to admit I don't get it. That is, I understand your observations and background data, but where you're going with that data and the significance of that data as it relates to your argument eludes me. To be honest, it seems that you generalize the reasons behind some behavior but do not explain what drives curiosity beyond the obvious. For example, why does the dentist, one who likes to solve problems for others and took his time to be throughly trained to so, inspires a curiosity in you beyond that? What are you going after? All the likely "reasons why he does what he does" seem obvious: economical survival for him and his family, a likely desire to help others, to be engaged in meaningful work, et cetera. I believe that the fundamental reasons motivating him are universal and can be found in all people. Therefore, it would help to understand why basic human motives have significance to you.

    As to creating "good" and "evil" systems, these are value judgments on your part and need qualifications because they are too subjective and have no reference point here. For example, if we took an extreme subject matter such as Hitler an examination of his motives would probably deduce to human needs understandably by anyone. After all, he thought he would be creating a better world--that is not my opinion, I am only using his point of view to make my point. He would say his value system is good for the world. The rest of the world deems it evil because it values ideology over human life. So, then, to may any argument about it you need to claim your point of view first.

    So, perhaps if you start with your own opinion and then lead into the research that supports those opinions (you site research here but it isn't positioned as a support to an idea stated up front), and finally the significance, it would make more sense. It is the CSS format (claim something, support it with facts, and show its significance to your argument). That would probably help make your argument more digestible. At least for literally minded people like me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retromingent
    I don't mind long answers, Coberst. All the likely "reasons why he does what he does" seem obvious: economical survival for him and his family, a likely desire to help others, to be engaged in meaningful work, et cetera.
    Thewrein lay the rub. One does not learn many of the important things that need to be known by social osmosis alone. My message to all adults is that after the school days are over they need to 'get a life--get an intellectual life.' There is much to learn and effort is required.

    Hobbies are ways in which many individuals express their individuality. Those matters that excite an individual interest and curiosity are those very things that allow the individual him or her to self-understanding and also for others to understand them. Interests define individuality and help to provide meaning to life. We all look for some ideology, philosophy or religion to provide meaning to life.

    When examining psychosis the psychiatrist advises either the establishment of an interpersonal evolvement or for finding interests and perhaps new patterns of thought. Many of us find that our work provides that means for identity and personal fulfillment.

    None of us have discovered our full potentialities or have fully explored in depth those we have discovered. Self-development and self-expression are relatively new ideas in human history. The arts are one means for this self-expression. The artist may find drawing or constructing sculptures as a means for self-discovery. The self-learner may find essay writing of equal importance. Consciousness of individuality was first become a possibility in the middle Ages. The Renaissance and further the Reformation enhanced the development of individual identification.

    The word “individual” moved from the indivisible and collective to the divisible and distinctive. In this we see the development of an understanding of self-consciousness thus illustrating the dramatic change taking place in our developing understanding of the self as a distinct subject not just a cipher in a community. This was part of the Renaissance.

    I recommend that each of us develop the hobby of an intellectual life. We could add to our regular routine the development of an invigorating intellectual life wherein we sought disinterested knowledge; knowledge that is not for the purpose of some immediate need but something that stirs our curiosity, which we seek to understand for the simple reason that we feel a need to understand a particular domain of knowledge.

    The question is why do we behave in the manner that we do? We have the sciences of psychology, sociology, anthropology, and psychiatry to study such things and to acquire a comprehension of such matters. We do not ‘see’ what is going on all around us because we have lived in the middle of such behavior all of our lives. We can ‘see’ only what we are prepared to ‘see’.

    Some wise person said “know thyself”. We have no way of knowing our self until we begin to study what these sciences have learned and can tell us. If we wish to follow the wise admonition “know thyself” we will begin the process of learning about the findings of these sciences.

    I think that one of the steps in the process of self-actualization is to read what the best thinkers have to say about their comprehension of human nature.
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    [quote="coberst"]
    Quote Originally Posted by Retromingent
    I don't mind long answers, Coberst. All the likely "reasons why he does what he does" seem obvious: economical survival for him and his family, a likely desire to help others, to be engaged in meaningful work, et cetera.

    Some wise person said “know thyself”. We have no way of knowing our self until we begin to study what these sciences have learned and can tell us. If we wish to follow the wise admonition “know thyself” we will begin the process of learning about the findings of these sciences.

    I think that one of the steps in the process of self-actualization is to read what the best thinkers have to say about their comprehension of human nature.
    Well, a couple of responses. Keep in mind that we're not that far apart on this subject, but I am going to pick on some details for the sake of spirited debate. As is commonly known, Socrates said, "The unexamined life is not worth living." The message is the same as "know thyself." I disagree with those sentiments. Certainly, not because I think I know more than Socrates, but because I believe you can reach a point of "paralysis by analysis" such that you miss out on some living that would otherwise just occur instinctively. That too much analysis of one's self leads to many unresolvable blind alleys and ultimately frustration. This is why Descartes came to the conclusion that for all his self examination the only true thing he could be sure of was his own doubt; everything else could be reasonably doubted. If the only true axiomatic point of existence is that I can doubt (i.e., exist), is that self-actualization?

    You cannot get to self-actualization by effort, self-actualization comes to when you're not trying. Try to be happy and it will elude you. Forget about being happy, live your life and you'll discover happiness just happens to you. It's like trying to force yourself to sleep. It doesn't work. However, I think that the term self-actualization is an overstatement what is nothing more than just happiness. That leads me to my next point.

    My second point is, I do not believe a state of self-actualization exists. By definition it means fulfilling your highest needs; the ultimate expression of yourself. If anyone believes their expression is truly unique and individual they're sadly mistaken. Everyone is the sum of millions of influences, too many to notice. My "ultimate expression" will hardly be unique in a world of billions. I just think it's unique because I have nothing available to me to to compare it to. Now, I suspect the response to that is that uniqueness in the context of "self-actualization" is not about being different in relation to the world, but that you acting "authentically." True to one's self. To which, I also disagree. No one truly acts authentically, nor would anyone want to. You live within a human structure and most things you do affect that structure and so it is imperative one act's with sensitivity to that structure. To be uncooperative toward others (not do what they want or expect because it to trueness to yourself that counts first and foremost) is really to be insensitive to others. Between authentic self-expression and a sensitivity toward others, I choose the latter. The former is how snobs and divas are created. I rather work in the spirit of cooperation at the cost of my "authentic self" because I value the former more.

    Just fodder for thought.
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  48. #47  
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    Retro...

    We disagree on the most fundamental level. I do not know how to respond. Perhaps we shall just have to agree to disagree.
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  49. #48  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retromingent
    As is commonly known, Socrates said, "The unexamined life is not worth living." The message is the same as "know thyself." I disagree with those sentiments. ...because I believe you can reach a point of "paralysis by analysis" such that you miss out on some living that would otherwise just occur instinctively. That too much analysis of one's self leads to many unresolvable blind alleys and ultimately frustration.
    This is only true if there is no balance between action and analysis. Action, without the benefit of analysis is likely to be misguided, undirected, random, and ultimately fruitless. As, I think, coberst has suggested, the anyalsis can be improved in quality and efficiency if we take advantage of the insights of philosophers and the findings of science.
    You appear to be suggesting a laissez faire approach to life, hoping to attain happiness by chance.
    Quote Originally Posted by Retromingent
    You cannot get to self-actualization by effort, self-actualization comes to when you're not trying. Try to be happy and it will elude you. Forget about being happy, live your life and you'll discover happiness just happens to you.
    Please excuse the edited anglo-saxon expression, but what the **** are you talking about. Self actualisation has bugger all to do with happiness, it is about achieving the maximum that you as an individual are capable of achieving. This will produce satisfaction, a by product of which may well be happines, but this is hardly its goal. I should be interested to discover where you have acquired this distorted perception of the nature of self-actualisation..
    Quote Originally Posted by Retromingent
    My second point is, I do not believe a state of self-actualization exists. By definition it means fulfilling your highest needs; the ultimate expression of yourself.
    By definition you are correct, but Maslow, in my opinion, failed to understand a qualitiative distinction between self actualisation and the lower needs. I would argue that self actualisation is not so much a need as a pradoxical blending of choice and compulsion. ..
    Quote Originally Posted by Retromingent
    My "ultimate expression" will hardly be unique in a world of billions. I just think it's unique because I have nothing available to me to to compare it to.
    It is irrelevant whther it is unique or commonplace. It is wholly unique to you. The clue is in the phrase: self actualisation. It is a wholly egocentric concept. I am unique (just as you are) because only I experience my life, my dreams, my fears, my pains and losses, my hopes. Self actualisation is about striving to realise those dreams and to overcome those fears. A proper degree of self analysis can promote this...
    Quote Originally Posted by Retromingent
    True to one's self. To which, I also disagree. No one truly acts authentically, nor would anyone want to. You live within a human structure and most things you do affect that structure and so it is imperative one act's with sensitivity to that structure. To be uncooperative toward others (not do what they want or expect because it to trueness to yourself that counts first and foremost) is really to be insensitive to others.
    I don't wish to be rude, but I have little dount that I am being so. This is palpable nonsense. For me to be true to myself I have to cooperative. I have to be sensitive to others. (I also have to say I think someone is spouting crap when they are spouting crap.)
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  50. #49  
    Forum Freshman Retromingent's Avatar
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    Obviously, this is an emotional topic for you. I didn't think I said anything that provocative, but I guess that's a matter of opinion. I will briefly attempt to explain a couple of my points:

    1. The motivator in all human activity is happiness. (People who engage in self-destructive or self-defeating behaviors could be used to argue against my statement, but I would argue that even they in the end are seeking a form of happiness. But I'm not going down that road here.) So, of course self-actualization is the pursuit of the ultimate happiness. If the ultimate expression of yourself does not result in happiness, then what does it result in? Depression? Are you suggesting it has nothing to do with emotion that one just expresses with emotional result? Singers that hit that difficult high note or passage don't feel a sense of exhilaration? Of course they do. Of course the point of self-actualization is the pursuit of happiness, just a very highly functioning level of happiness. What is the point of self-actualization if not complete and full happiness? Ultimate self-expression through depression?? Full self-expression with complete emotional detachment? Nonsense.

    2. Happiness is a natural state that comes to us without effort. This is evident in small children. Toddlers with absolutely no reason to be happy other than they exist, show all kinds of symptoms of happiness on a regular basis. Trying to willfully create happiness is like a cat chasing its own tail, it's really already there if you don't ignore it. There are countless examples of people who spend a lifetime striving for happiness and never find it. You can find some of the most unhappy people in the absolute best of circumstances: the amount the wealthy people who have the most prestigious degrees, a lifetime of security, celebrity, adulation, endless reasons to be happy and yet they're discontent, commit suicide, engage in self-destructive behaviors (Lyndsey Lohan comes to mind), are on all kinds of anti-depressants, et cetera. Of course, you can find all those same problems on the other end of the economic spectrum; and in the middle of the spectrum and just left to the center of the spectrum; it's all over the economic spectrum. And, yet, you can find others who have nothing and find complete happiness. Thus, my point: It seems that happiness is independent of what you own and what you do. This is because happiness is not based on external circumstances nor on what you strive for externally. It is simply a natural state that you return to. As a young toddler you found happiness without ever trying. It just happened to you. That is my point: happiness happens to you, you don't need to go after it.

    Viktor Frankel found contentment and ultimately happiness imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp. (He wrote about it in "Man's Search for Meaning," which I'm sure you have read and are familiar with.)

    Working your way up the Maslow pyramid to achieve the ultimate happiness, i.e., fulfillment through full expression, seems unnecessary. You don't have to work at it it's just there if you tap into it. Please do not confuse this with "talents," which is a means to self-expression but not an end. (And a different topic altogether.) Yes, you develop talents through effort and time. Yes, talents can play a role in happiness. But it easy to have happiness before you develop any talent. It can be there before, during and after, you don't hit a certain level and then, ah hah!, there it is. It always was there.

    If my comments send you into a tizzy, which they seemed to and I don't quite understand why as I am not making an attack on anyone, then it would be interesting to know why.

    Regards
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  51. #50  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retromingent
    Obviously, this is an emotional topic for you.
    ..
    ..
    ..
    If my comments send you into a tizzy, which they seemed to and I don't quite understand why as I am not making an attack on anyone, then it would be interesting to know why.
    I think you are confusing vigorous expression of opinion and rigorous examination of observations. on the one hand, with unrestrained emotion on the other.
    I was mildly non-plussed by some of your observations, which as I had hoped to indicate by the vitality of my language, I considered to be flawed - in some cases fatally. So no, the topic is not emotional, but I shall become animated when I perceive anyone posting inaccuracies.
    Quote Originally Posted by Retromingent
    1. The motivator in all human activity is happiness.
    I do not accept this.
    It is not what Maslow believed.
    It is not what I believe.
    Please cite a couple of respected social scientists who believe this is so.
    If this were treu, then much of what you argue follows automatically. However, this runs counter to anything I have encountered in psychology. I fully accept that that may reflect a limitation of my experience rather than the true nature of the field, hence my request for citations.
    Quote Originally Posted by Retromingent
    If the ultimate expression of yourself does not result in happiness, then what does it result in?
    Excellent question, for which I have an excellent answer, courtesy of Maslow. Satisfaction. That is not the same as happiness, though happiness may stem from satisfaction, but satisfaction, not happiness, is the goal.
    Quote Originally Posted by Retromingent
    Trying to willfully create happiness is like a cat chasing its own tail, it's really already there if you don't ignore it.
    Exactly. But Maslow's Heirarchy involves striving to attain each level. So self actualisation, which one must work towards, is all about achieving that level, having that satisfaction, and not about achieving happiness. The happiness, typically, is a by-product..
    Quote Originally Posted by Retromingent
    You can find some of the most unhappy people in the absolute best of circumstances: the amount the wealthy people who have the most prestigious degrees, a lifetime of security, celebrity, adulation, endless reasons to be happy and yet they're discontent, commit suicide, engage in self-destructive behaviors (Lyndsey Lohan comes to mind), are on all kinds of anti-depressants, et cetera.
    Exactly, again. They are not self actualised. They have not achieved what they are capable of achieving. They are not satisfied..
    Quote Originally Posted by Retromingent
    (He wrote about it in "Man's Search for Meaning," which I'm sure you have read and are familiar with.)
    No...
    Quote Originally Posted by Retromingent
    Working your way up the Maslow pyramid to achieve the ultimate happiness, i.e., fulfillment through full expression, seems unnecessary. You don't have to work at it it's just there if you tap into it. Please do not confuse this with "talents," which is a means to self-expression but not an end. (And a different topic altogether.) Yes, you develop talents through effort and time. Yes, talents can play a role in happiness. But it easy to have happiness before you develop any talent. It can be there before, during and after, you don't hit a certain level and then, ah hah!, there it is. It always was there.
    I know of no other way to say it than that this is simply wrong. You are free to believe this if you wish, but it has absolutely nothing to do with self-actualisation, Maslow, or the true nature of happiness. I'm not sure why you think it does.
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