Gathering perspectives
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05-04-2014, 09:46 AM
RE: Gathering perspectives
(05-04-2014 09:29 AM)Chas Wrote:  
(05-04-2014 08:55 AM)living thing Wrote:  It is funny how your signature reads "skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims". What's the skeptical approach to claims? Take them as truths and shut the fuck up?
No, that would be the opposite of skepticism. Why would you think otherwise?
But that is not the thread's topic! Why do you pick on the sarcasm and forget the actual question?

Do you ever find yourself saying things like "this exists" or "that does not exist"? And if you do, what is it that you mean?

Thanks for your opinion if you have one.
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05-04-2014, 11:03 AM (This post was last modified: 05-04-2014 11:15 AM by GirlyMan.)
RE: Gathering perspectives
(05-04-2014 05:54 AM)living thing Wrote:  Yes, but... I'm asking you for your own view, not for you to refer me to somebody else's view.

And I'm showing you what informs my view. My view was not formed in a vacuum. Whatever "reality" is, it is nothing remotely like what I experience or, not being a physicist, can even imagine. But so fucking what. Still gotta get up in the morning and go to work.

(05-04-2014 08:54 AM)cjlr Wrote:  Whatever exists does so independently of us (consistent external reality, remember?). Observation is simply how we learn. Anything else would be wallowing in solipsism.

Blush

There is only one really serious philosophical question, and that is suicide. -Camus
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05-04-2014, 11:34 AM
RE: Gathering perspectives
Hello GirlyMan, I am glad to read your words again.

(05-04-2014 11:03 AM)GirlyMan Wrote:  
(05-04-2014 05:54 AM)living thing Wrote:  Yes, but... I'm asking you for your own view, not for you to refer me to somebody else's view.
And I'm showing you what informs my view.
I see, thank you for doing so.

(05-04-2014 11:03 AM)GirlyMan Wrote:  My view was not formed in a vacuum. Whatever "reality" is, it is nothing remotely like what I experience or, not being a physicist, can even imagine. But so fucking what. Still gotta get up in the morning and go to work.
Now that's a truth! Although maybe not for everyone. I hope that you do enjoy the time you spend working.

Thanks again for your contributions, GirlyMan. Have fun!
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05-04-2014, 01:47 PM (This post was last modified: 05-04-2014 01:51 PM by Luminon.)
RE: Gathering perspectives
I have a close relationship with a "mystical" and "transcendent" experience of universal interconnection on the positive basis of existence.

Most people are calling this experience "god", "God", "Jesus", "boddhi", "nirvana" and so on. Other people call it "the soul", "higher self", "self-realization" or "true self". Some people choose to put some cultural trappings on it, some less, but we all know what we're talking about. We're playing the highest game in town.

There's a long, ancient history of this experience, dating thousands of years B. C., for example to Patanjali's Yoga sutras and beyond. It is a natural human phenomenon. There is a minor but very reasonable interest in it today.

Anthology "The Common Experience" gathered by J. M. Cohen (can be borrowed at openlibrary.org)

"How God changes your brain" by Andrew Newberg

So in a way, I don't believe in anything, I commune with "god" that is obviously a natural part of myself. I use this mysterious but perfectly real and natural phenomenon for personal development, getting high as fuck and also for creative writing on the forums and some of my academic tasks. If I ever become a really cool dude even in real life, it will be thanks to the "god" and my increasing skill to act upon its impulses in social conduct. It's a huge source of energy, inspiration and conscience. During years of frequent meditation, "god" really helped me to integrate my anterior cingula and help the neocortex to dominate and soothe my mammalian brain. Not to speak on the wonderful job it did on temporal lobes and brain stem. As much as I oppose regular theology, I'd say there's a lot of truth in neurotheology.

As much as I value western rationality, I regret it lacks the empiricism that applied neurotheology brings people. I think western rationality is infected and corrupted with Puritan and Protestant distrust of human nature. If you should trust anything, it must first come from a machine, an institution, or a test tube. Even thinkers like Terrence McKenna chose to poison and scramble their mind with drugs, because drugs are external, visible and tangible. But they're also random. Yes, a rigid dogmatic person might need the shock therapy of drugs that scramble the cultural prejudices and help to uncover the higher principles that hold true even in altered states of consciousness. Why the hell not. But scrambling the bad stuff with drugs does not teach us what is positively true, real and obligatory.
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05-04-2014, 03:01 PM
RE: Gathering perspectives
Hello Luminon, how are you?

Yours is surely a different view, thanks for sharing it.

I am not aware of having ever had an experience that I could describe as mystical or trascendent, although I wonder whether we both use those terms in the same way. Regarding neurotheology, I must confess it is a subject to which I haven't dedicated enough time for me to talk about it.

But I do thank you for your thoughts and for the references you've provided.

Take care.
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05-04-2014, 03:23 PM
RE: Gathering perspectives
I would suggest I am flux. I never believe I have all the answers and am constantly trying to learn more.

I am also getting older and tire more easily. It seems I am looking down hill.

IHTH.

NOTE: Member, Tomasia uses this site to slander other individuals. He then later proclaims it a joke, but not in public.
I will call him a liar and a dog here and now.
Banjo.
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05-04-2014, 09:00 PM
RE: Gathering perspectives
(05-04-2014 09:25 AM)living thing Wrote:  Hello cjlr, thanks for coming back.

Can I please ask you a favour? I would like to apologise for any impression I may have caused you already, and I would like you to give me the chance for a clean start.

No sweat, bro.

(05-04-2014 09:25 AM)living thing Wrote:  Now, you did leave a door open to my curiosity, and you have now referred again to an expression you used before: external reality. Please ignore me if you feel I am using an old tiring ploy on you, but I think you described that external reality as the consistent framework formed by our perceptions (which you more or less equated to observations).

To be a little more rigourous, I'd specify perception as directly related to sensory experience and observation as its superset, including information gained by proxy.
(that is, I can't perceive many physical phenomena, but I can observe them)

But yes, that sounds about right.

(05-04-2014 09:25 AM)living thing Wrote:  However, you have also explained that whatever exists does so independently of us, which is somehow related to the notion of a consistent external reality.

Yes; that's what makes it external. That is, and can only ever be, an assumption, true - but to me it seems quite a useful one.

(05-04-2014 09:25 AM)living thing Wrote:  But how can something exist in a consistent external reality that is independent of me, if that external reality is the consistent framework formed by my perceptions? I am not sure I follow you.

The key word there is formed. And by key I mean problematic.

Perception forms the description of what else exists (that's "reality"). But for any meaningful purpose it's necessary to stress that description does not define that reality (that's the "external" bit).

... this is my signature!
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05-04-2014, 10:10 PM
RE: Gathering perspectives
(05-04-2014 05:51 AM)living thing Wrote:  My dear friend, if I may use those words, I thank you for your recurring contributions to this thread, although I must admit that they are not helping me much in understanding your perspective.
...

Expensive friend might be more apt but I'm cool with dear if you're female.

I was perhaps being too obtuse... my apologies.

My perspective:
I do not believe that gods exist and I am OK with using your definition/description of 'exists' for physical entities.

But I would also say that other things exist such as, models, axioms, frameworks, ideas, concepts etc.

In other words, the concept of god(s) exist(s)... as a concept.

So, from a pragmatic perspective, with my assessor's / analyst's / sciencey hat on, I will veer towards Reductionism but with my strategist's / poet's hat on I will veer towards Holism.

As, Girly says... it's whatever gets you through you day.

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06-04-2014, 07:09 AM
RE: Gathering perspectives
Hello cjrl, I'm glad to read your reply.

I'd like to try repeating your statements using different words, not because I am interested in arguing against your valuable opinion, but because I want to make sure I have understood the notions conveyed by your words; I'd like to ensure I understand your view even in my native language. Is that alright? But please do correct me if I misinterpret your words, I'd also like to learn from any mistakes I make.

(05-04-2014 09:00 PM)cjlr Wrote:  To be a little more rigourous, I'd specify perception as directly related to sensory experience and observation as its superset, including information gained by proxy.
(that is, I can't perceive many physical phenomena, but I can observe them)
So when you talk about perceptions, I think you are referring to situations when some kind of stimulus is translated, by one of our sensory cells, into an electrochemical signal that is propagated up our nerves towards our brain for further processing, whereas an observation would be more like a detection in general, including situations in which a device that is not part of our own bodies is what actually translates the stimulus into some sort of phenomenon that our sensory organs can then translate into an electrochemical signal that is fed to our brains. Is that the case?

For example, if my hands bump into something, pressure-sensitive cells under my skin will turn their physical compression into a variation of electric potential accross their membranes, and that will be propagated to adjacent nerve cells, which will in turn send the signal to their adjacent nerve cells and so on, eventually leading the signal to a decision centre in my spinal chord, my amygdalae, my frontal lobes or wherever, where it will be combined with signals coming from many other sensory cells in order to produce an output response that will hopefully be beneficial for me, or at least not detrimental. I'll be perceiving whatever my hands have bumped into through my sense of touch.

However, I don't have any sensory organs that are able to interact with an alpha particle and translate that interaction into an electrochemical signal that can be channelled up my nerves. But if I take the time to understand the behaviour of things around me, I can take advantage of the multiplicative ionisation that occurs when some gases under low pressures and subject to large electric fields interact with alpha particles, and build a device that will translate those interactions into a variation of atmospheric air pressure, a sound that I am naturally equipped to detect. I cannot perceive alpha particles, but I can nevertheless observe them through the use of a device that is not part of my own body. Is that, more or less, what you meant by "information gained by proxy"?

What about information that I do not directly extract from reality through my senses? I can estimate the mass of a galaxy using radiometric means, then calculate it gravitationally by studying the motion of things I can radiometrically detect inside the galaxy under consideration, and arrive to two very different values, suggesting at least three possible options: either my methods for estimating mass radiometrically are inaccurate, my methods for calculating mass gravitationally are inaccurate, or there is a large amount of matter in that galaxy that cannot be detected radiometrically. Presuming that I calibrate my methods using other experiences, that leads me to the last conclusion; there seems to be a lot of matter out there that we might call "dark". However, I have not physically detected it through its direct interaction with any device, the notion about it has been produced in "my own" brain (although I didn't actually come up with the notion and I haven't performed the calculations myself; no one should believe it just because I said it). Nevertheless, would that be a different kind of information gained by proxy, being the proxy a logically deductive process, or could we then not say that we observe dark matter? I don't know; maybe it is "logically detectable" instead of "observable". Any thoughts?

(05-04-2014 09:00 PM)cjlr Wrote:  
(05-04-2014 09:25 AM)living thing Wrote:  However, you have also explained that whatever exists does so independently of us, which is somehow related to the notion of a consistent external reality.
Yes; that's what makes it external. That is, and can only ever be, an assumption, true - but to me it seems quite a useful one.
Yeah, I find it useful too. I have already made the assumption several times in my previous paragraphs, for example by considering a device that is not part of my own body, so I think I understand what you mean by "external".

(05-04-2014 09:00 PM)cjlr Wrote:  Perception forms the description of what else exists (that's "reality"). But for any meaningful purpose it's necessary to stress that description does not define that reality (that's the "external" bit).
Please correct me if I am wrong, but are you trying to say that the existence of things outside my mind happens regardless of whether it actually generates an electrochemical signal in my nervous system? Whenever a certain sensory neural pathway becomes excited, that generally implies that an interaction has occurred between some of my sensors and an entity that exists out there, however that interaction is not a requirement for the entity to be out there; it simply informs my brain about its existence. Is that what you mean when you say that descriptions don't define reality?

If it is, I think understand what your are saying, although you seem to be drawing a distinction between existence, the fact that things are located around me (and within my material structure), and perception, the information that my neural pathways convey about the things that are located around or inside me. Can that distinction be drawn?

What about perceptions of behaviours? Do our descriptions define behaviours? For example, if I watch an apple fall from a tree, is it falling because it follows the law of gravity, or does it fall because that is the way matter behaves in the proximity of more matter, and the law of gravity describes how that interaction occurs? In other words, does the behaviour of reality follow our laws, or do our laws describe the behaviour of reality?

I hope you do not mind all these questions, I'd like to know your view about those things. Please excuse me if I have misunderstood your perspective (feel free to correct me as much as you wish) and thanks again for your valuable addition to this thread. I hope we will get to talk about this and many other topics in the future.

Until then, have fun!
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06-04-2014, 07:40 AM
RE: Gathering perspectives
(05-04-2014 10:10 PM)DLJ Wrote:  Expensive friend might be more apt but I'm cool with dear if you're female.
Well, I'm glad I can call you a friend.

(05-04-2014 10:10 PM)DLJ Wrote:  I was perhaps being too obtuse... my apologies.
No need to apologise, but thanks.

(05-04-2014 10:10 PM)DLJ Wrote:  I do not believe that gods exist and I am OK with using your definition/description of 'exists' for physical entities.

But I would also say that other things exist such as, models, axioms, frameworks, ideas, concepts etc.

In other words, the concept of god(s) exist(s)... as a concept.
I understand what you mean. In fact, even though I generally try to reserve the use of the verb to the notion I have described, that other very normal use sometimes slips out when I talk; simply because I have used it like that myself for years. It was only relatively recently when I understood that by choosing the definition I've given I could then use existence as a way to distinguish real entities from entities that are not real. But ever since, I try to use it consistently.

I am not comfortable declaring that models, axioms, frameworks, ideas and concepts, etc. exist because then, as you say, I must concede that gods also exist, and I find that misleading; using language in a way in which I can claim that Santa Claus exists seems inappropriate at my age.

Instead, when I need to refer to those and other notions I will use verbs such as "happen", "occur" or "be". For example, when I said that sound does not exist, what I meant is that it does not occupy any specific volume at any relative location; it is the things that move in a sound wave what exist. Sound happens with the motion of things that do exist. If the universe can be viewed as a huge set of matter in motion, matter exists, but motion happens. At least, that is how I describe it so that I can also say "no, Santa Claus does not exist".

(05-04-2014 10:10 PM)DLJ Wrote:  So, from a pragmatic perspective, with my assessor's / analyst's / sciencey hat on, I will veer towards Reductionism but with my strategist's / poet's hat on I will veer towards Holism.

As, Girly says... it's whatever gets you through you day.
I think you're both right. Neanderthals knew nothing about gamma radiation and they got through their days. Then again, they are hardly ever found alive in our days, so I'm not sure that is a good example. Cromagnons knew nothing about gamma radiation and they got through their days.

Thanks for clearing your view for me, DLJ. Take care.
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