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Thread: Excuse me while I get philosophical for a second page

  1. #1
    wiltondeportes's Avatar
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    Excuse me while I get philosophical for a second

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    In my experience, the most complicated things in the world are human-made. Mother nature itself is so symmetrical and beautifully understandable. It is only our constraints that keep us from seeing this.

    People see problems in this world and think 'people are dumb'. Well, people have been around for a long time without destroying themselves. Meanwhile, they (we) have become essentially gods with our ability to manipulate the environment around us. I'd say they are doing alright.

    Maybe people who think these people are dumb are not seeing the full picture themselves. One of my favorite quotes from Einstein is when he said that problems cannot be solved with the same level of thinking that they were created with. In other words if there is lots of crime, you don't punish the criminals. You make crime unnecessary and keep it from happening. You don't use your same philosophy that created the policies that then allowed the crime to happen. You find your paradigm shift.

    My point is that most people are not dumb. I think many are naturally smart. The problem is that they get caught up in the paradigms of society. "Common sense" is only removed when people are taught wrong things and the people believe it. It is in most if not all of us. The problem is that people need to be more open minded and willing to search for truth. Call it an indivualistic center of the brain. This will rise us above the same level of thinking that created our problems and allow us to solve them.
    Last edited by wiltondeportes; 08-29-2011 at 01:17 AM.

  2. #2
    wiltondeportes's Avatar
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    PS, another thing Einstein once said is that he didn't consider himself smarter than everyone else, he simply felt that he stayed with problems longer.

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    Littlesigh's Avatar
    Littlesigh is offline Senior Member
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    Have you studied the Zeitgeist Movement?
    The Zeitgeist Movement
    Living the dream, inside a myth

  4. #4
    wiltondeportes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Littlesigh View Post
    Have you studied the Zeitgeist Movement?
    The Zeitgeist Movement
    I haven't. It sounds way too much like an Ayn Rand book for me. It's also a long, long ways from being possible.

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    IvyBlue's Avatar
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    It is not a matter of intelligence. Many people are just willing, even desire to be, led by the nose. This impulse has all to often been exploited to the detriment of all.
    Wheat is the new tobacco. Spread the word.

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    wiltondeportes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IvyBlue View Post
    It is not a matter of intelligence. Many people are just willing, even desire to be, led by the nose. This impulse has all to often been exploited to the detriment of all.
    That's what I am saying. This world needs more independent people.

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    Duudeee time to lay off the ganja with all that philosophizin' :P
    no jk, I agree...the world needs more people who are willing to think for themselves and be independent overall, at least, those are the people i get along best with anyway, so i wouldn't mind a few more of them. But I am not really bothered by people who just want to follow the crowd, that's their problem, and i think that many people would be REALLY lost in the big wide universe without someone telling them what to do.
    The only thing that does bother me about this is people who judge me to be a weirdo for wanting to do my own thing.

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    Uncephalized's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wiltondeportes View Post
    PS, another thing Einstein once said is that he didn't consider himself smarter than everyone else, he simply felt that he stayed with problems longer.
    Einstein may have been humble, but he was clearly mentally different from most people, in a way that made him able to approach problems differently and made him more able to visualize extremely counter-intuitive scenarios. I'd say that qualifies him as "smarter" than average, even if he didn't want to admit it.

    I mean, the very fact that you are holding up quotes from Einstein as wisdom means you actually do think he is smarter than most, otherwise you wouldn't give them so much weight.

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    Sure, I love a good philosophical chat.

    Though, I have to disagree with your position re: nature. Mother Nature also created cancer, AIDS (unless you think that one's an engineered bioweapon, with would be proving your point, really), the blackberry thorns currently turning my hands into bright red histamine balloons, the asthma that would have killed me if I were a Grokette, the two seizures that would have picked me off if that didnt, tapeworms, horrible gross tropical flies that bite you and inject eggs under your skin, murderous aggression, murder in general, rape in general, brutality of all stripes is very present in nature and in particular in chimpanzees.

    You could argue that nature is actually at the bottom of a lot of humankind's more sociopathic inhumanity to itself. I was just hearing some neurologists on NPR saying that a lot of lying, cheating, betrayal, dishonesty, scamming, stealing, violent crimes, greed, etc may have a lot more to do with the subconscious machinery of the brain than anyone's conscious will.

    But I agree that the world is epically fucked up. Just watch the news for plenty of vivid examples of this. Hell, as we often notice here at MDA and other paleo forums, just look at the processed, toxic, destructive shite that 99.9% of the Westernized industrialized world eats.

    I agree with Mark's commentary on how agriculture (and I would say industrialization too, though he didn't go that far into the future) created all kinds of ill effect. And that IS humanity monkeying around with stuff, and messing itself up.

    But still:

    Mother nature itself is so symmetrical and beautifully understandable.
    Yeahhh... 'animals and children tell the truth they never lie!' ORLY? Ever read a chimpanzee behavioural study? Ever watched Meerkat Manor? Hell, ever gone to elementary school? I mean... really. I can't hate on anyone who likes to romanticize things, I love to romanticize and mythologize things, that's basically what art is. But this is not a realistic view, imo. Nature's red in tooth and claw. Nature's cruel as hell.

    People see problems in this world and think 'people are dumb'. Well, people have been around for a long time without destroying themselves. Meanwhile, they (we) have become essentially gods with our ability to manipulate the environment around us. I'd say they are doing alright.
    People definitely do default to that. But I noticed something when I watched the last presidental election go down. All my progressive friends were convinced that right-wing voters were all just STUPID, they were ignorant bigots who let themselves be bamboozled. And yet, all my conservative friends actually(!, believe it or not!) had very rational and well-considered reasons for their political positions. They weren't stupid, their values were just diametrically different. Naturally my conservative friends thought that all the left wing voters were just STUPID too, they were dreamers, they were socialist dabblers, they had irrational hate-ons for authority, they had victim complexes, they were just used to sucking at the government teat, they needed to get a real job, etc etc. Naturally my leftist friends likewise had very well-reasoned positions. Again, irreconcilable value systems.

    But I do think that the first reflexive response to people who we don't understand, don't agree with and who aren't much like us in some way... is to just assume they are dumb, sociopathic, evil, dishonest, etc.

    Arguably we have subdued nature. I'd agree that we benefit from that. My Grokette self would be dead, I'm only here due to modern Western allopathic medicine. I really enjoy having an ipod. Half of the acrylic paints I use are synthetic hues. There was no purple (not even from berries, those tend to stain red, and indigo is great but it's not the same) until the Phoenicians came up with Tyrian Purple. And I'd have to be the daughter of a king to be able to afford that stuff. Now I can go drop $5 on 250ml of ultra-brilliant vivid violets, purples, lavenders.

    But on the other hand, the history of humanity is a history of wars, massacres, brutality, out and out sadism and torture, good old fashioned conquerig and pillaging, etc. We really have never done all right. We've always been violent twits to one another. On a smaller scale, we've always gone around being cruel, shunning, or just being pointlessly shitty to one another. Always always always. I don't think humanity created that, I think it's a design flaw in our brains. It doesn't impede our survival, we still breed enough to pass on our genes, so I don't think nature gives a damn if we're happy or not.

    Maybe people who think these people are dumb are not seeing the full picture themselves. One of my favorite quotes from Einstein is when he said that problems cannot be solved with the same level of thinking that they were created with. In other words if there is lots of crime, you don't punish the criminals. You make crime unnecessary and keep it from happening. You don't use your same philosophy that created the policies that then allowed the crime to happen. You find your paradigm shift
    I love that quote.

    Arguably finding and fixing the social causes of crime are better than just locking up the criminals. This is classically ineffective anyway. Most people just get more into the criminal lifestyle while in prison. So I think that's a good idea. If we can engineer this crap out of ourselves- and arguably we CAN alter and shape our behaviour- that's awesome.

    Easier said than done, though.

    I do agree we need a paradigm shift. I hope whatever it is, we can do it peacefully and with wisdom rather than this cataclysmic natural disaster/world war/end times scenario that so many people seem to either crave or feel we 'deserve' for being... I don't know, sinners or something.

    The way the world is run now isn't sustainable, though. I know that I, as a North American, only have the lifestyle I do because the majority of the world is being exploited, robbed blind, and is living in abject poverty. I think Western governments have a hell of a lot to answer for with their foreign policies and their international trade activities. Buuuuut... I'm still going to the apple store and buying that ipod that was made with metals extracted possibly with either child or slave labor in the third world. I need new jeans for when I move back to the city, and chances are they'll have been made by a trafficked young woman who's beaten by her supervisor, possibly abused sexually too, and is made to work for pennies a day.

    And I own (and like) Nike shoes. I can't throw stones.

    If we're going to make this better, we're going to have to give up all that stuff up. (yeah yeah, I know all us Groksters should run barefoot anyway.)

    The problem is that they get caught up in the paradigms of society. "Common sense" is only removed when people are taught wrong things and the people believe it. It is in most if not all of us. The problem is that people need to be more open minded and willing to search for truth. Call it an indivualistic center of the brain. This will rise us above the same level of thinking that created our problems and allow us to solve them.
    I agree that society has a lot of destructive habits that we feed to little kids before they can think successfully for themselves. I disagree that this is our only problem- lots of awful behaviour appears to be very natural.

    I do agree that open-mindedness is good. Dogmatic fundamentalism doesn't do anyone any favors.

    But yeah... I may naturally and bioneurologically want to get out of my car and deck the guy who just cut me off. But I still can supersede that with my higher will. So, sure. I think we can develop a better way of living. I think we should. I hope we do.
    Last edited by CandylandCanary; 08-29-2011 at 10:21 AM.
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  10. #10
    Lewis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wiltondeportes View Post
    In my experience, the most complicated things in the world are human-made. Mother nature itself is so symmetrical and beautifully understandable. It is only our constraints that keep us from seeing this.
    Well, what philosophers do, at least on one plausible view of things, is look at the validity of arguments. You don't actually advance arguments for that, let alone look at their validity. You simply make a statement. It's worth starting by reflecting on what we mean by "nature". By "nature" we mean "the whole"—everything there is. Do we understand that fully? I'm pretty sure I don't. Can we ever know the "thing in itself"?

    And we certainly can't step outside nature to look at it. I'm inclined to agree with Eric Voegelin when he said "we live in mystery".

    People see problems in this world and think 'people are dumb'. Well, people have been around for a long time without destroying themselves. Meanwhile, they (we) have become essentially gods with our ability to manipulate the environment around us.
    To paraphrase: modern man is able to manipulate his environment to an extent that would amaze his ancestors.

    Certainly. But you started with "understanding" the world. Now we've moved to "manipulating" it. Fast forward to Francis Bacon (Novum Organum). But is manipulating one's surroundings in any way always and everywhere a good thing? That's a stretch. And again, you don't actually advance any arguments. (You don't even adduce any examples to show how societies that are greatly taken up with the idea that they must do this are happier, or better in whatever way, than societies that don't.) Again, this isn't philosophy; it's opinion-slinging. There may be an interesting case to be made, but you haven't made it.

    You can certainly make an interesting case if you turn that on its head. To give one example—C. S. Lewis's novel Out of the Silent Planet. Now that's not a philosophical case: art and philosophy work in different ways. it's an imaginative treatment of our society seen from the point of view of beings whose lives are bound up either with poetry, or science, or making things but who have no concept of "manipulating" reality in the way we do and for the reasons we do. How convincing it is as art I leave to the literary critics, but it's certainly good at challenging some current preconceptions and providing a few laughs along the way.

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