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total access to reality?

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libertygrl
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#26 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 03/13/09 - 1:09 PM:

Monk2400 wrote:


In a way, they have. Whenever we observe human beings doing stuff, our mirror neurons kick in and basically mimic the brain activity for us as if we ourselves we doing that stuff. This is the essence of the ancient practice of apprenticeship--where an apprentice does naught but basically watch the master at work. Its an immediate empathic connection, driven by the brain.

Oh, its all like that John Fogarty song, 'I Saw It On TV'.

8)

i think it was in his book "cosmic trigger", robert anton wilson talks about how experiments have been done which show that people will develop paranoia when they sense they are being lied to.

i think if a group of actors put on a tribal dance and it were presented on television as being an actual tribal culture doing their ritual dance that they've done for thousands of years (or whatever), we would know on some level that it was BS. i think this is already happening, actually, with a lot of inaccurate reporting of events by the media. it breeds anxiety and paranoia, and then people are given psychiatric meds to try to cope with it.

on another note, the empathic connection of the apprentice watching the master at work is not to be impugned. but to master a skill the apprentice cannot avoid reaching the point where he has practiced it himself.

surely the power of experiencing something firsthand rather than through a derivative work cannot be denied.
libertygrl
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#27 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 03/13/09 - 1:26 PM:

Monk2400 wrote:
My position is that the idea of total access is incoherent, because there is no such thing as a single priveleged perspective that contemplates all of reality objectively. Even God's mind is nothing more than the reflection of infinite subjective perspectives--seeing from all angles and coordinates. So, IOW, there is no 'reality' outside of the various subjective POVs that define various beings and coordinates.

In this sense, far from not being able to access reality, each subjective perspective is actually a fundamental component of reality. Or, put another way, reality is fully and completely expressed in and through an infinite number of subjective POVs.

i agree
happycynic
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#28 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 03/13/09 - 1:48 PM:

well let's open up a notepad and without the order of trying to quote everything i respond to, respond to as much as possible.

b. yes, i think we have some access to reality. i could be wrong, but i suspect very much that we do.

i was going to start this by saying "a. yes, i think we have some access to reality." but since "a." had already been assigned to mean the opposite, i started with b.

c. i don't think the line matters at the end of the day. "in a world..." (r.i.p. don lafontaine) of excluded middles, i see the line as a tool, sometimes you can separate two ideas to better understand them, and then put them together again to better understand them yet, and i treat sometimes-unified ideas like subjectivity and objectivity as separate for what i think are obvious reasons (or what i thought were, but if they're not then forget them.) the line is not the thing, the things are the things.

it matters just as much that sometimes subjectivity and objectivity are sometimes one, or at least we have every reason to think so, as monk says, it matters that we eat. we can probably be objective about that, otherwise we might not care that people are starving. "let them eat cake" was not too objective, it was self-centered. (whether or not marie ever said that.)

to repeat again the essence of my argument... we "prove" ourselves wrong too often to go around thinking we're objective. but to temper my argument to avoid further misunderstanding, there is probably no difference sometimes between a subjective view and an objective one. subjective: baby will starve if not fed. objective: baby will starve if not fed. probably. there's very little doubt of this in my mind, and i like to think people are ethical enough to act on the assumption.

on the other hand, politicans tend to treat everything they say as objective, and they more often they do this, the more wrong they usually prove to be. that's the practical side of my argument.

experiences are real experiences. if you read this, you experience the thoughts it produces, and that is real. you may even experience some of the thoughts i had in writing it (and that's what communication is.) but even though misunderstanding is an experience, there is more subjectivity in a misunderstanding than an understanding... and, it is very possible to understand the gist of someone's idea without perfectly understanding. so there is often subjectivity in understanding, also.

the fact that we can make mistakes means that there is some fact about which we are making mistakes!


ha! i suspect (as you seem to) that there is some kind of objectivity, somewhere. i may not think we're as close to it as you do, but we probably agree that we get close to it sometimes. the hungry baby hopes so.

We don't need the persistance of motion to be fooled and make mistakes. All we need is poor lighting.


i believe this is very close to what i meant by the coin metaphor.

but at no time will such a person exit reality.


well i don't disagree on every level. it's like the argument about miracles. a miracle is taken to mean something outside nature, where nature is the sum of the rules of the universe. when a "miracle" occurs, it shatters our preconceptions about the rules of the universe, but it only happens within those rules, therefore it's not a miracle. this isn't my argument but i've heard it before and it makes sense.

you could make a nearly identical argument that everything is real. thus a unicorn is real because i just mentioned it. it may only be as real as the story of it that exists, but the story exists, and thus it is real. we're still talking about a unicorn though. (then again, i'm sympathetic to the argument that just because you've never seen a unicorn doesn't mean no unicorn exists. but i do feel a little funny suggesting that we'll find the unicorn planet in our lifetime.)

n the same way, if I believe that my body is bullet proof because I drank a 'special serum' of chinese herbs hawked by an old man in china-town, and I go to test this belief, I suggest that reality will give me a rude awakening.


yeah, don't do that. i'm not 100% certain what will happen, but it seems like a very bad idea.

Someone tells us a lie, and--as is our nature--we immediately craft an entire narrative around that lie, and can and will live 'within' the boundaries of the lie.


politics as usual.

Each person's take on experience is a reading of reality.


i agreed with this before and i still do.

Dreams are just as much real as anything else. They are, after all, nothing but experienced phenomena. As for religion, religious phenomena are as real to the people that experience it as anything else. Sometimes, however, it is only their interpretation of an event that is 'religious', and not the event itself. This often happens when a religious narrative is imposed on a mundane event.

OTOH, the non-religious haven't cornered the market on reality. It may be that some 'religious' experiences are very 'real' in the normal sense, as being a natural part of the fabric of the universe, and not merely the projection of the imagination.


that is what i've come to see as an unusually reasonable take on religion. i avoid being religious in any way, or subscribing to any particular religion, i even try to avoid a solid line between atheism and theism. i think people that are religious waste too much time on whether god exists or not (i don't think it matters very much, even to religion.)

religion exists, and it has served some uses over the course of history. a lot of things blamed on "religion" were greed under a banner of religion, or hate (racism, whatever) under a banner of god, where religion is just ideas, and i think ideas are not worth making scapegoats of, when it's the responsibility of people to act on them in a way that is just.

i think it may be possible for people to be brainwashed, but i won't blame that on "religion" either. people that make television commericals use it far more extensively than the church, and i don't necessarily think the "evils" of the world today come from the church any more than they do from any other "source." culture is far too intertwined to blame one faction, and removing religion would not remove the problem, so blaming religion seems disingenuous.

How does not knowing the intricate workings of some force or some object impact its reality?


again, i must point out that i never implied such a thing, so it doesn't seem fair to ask me to answer a loaded question that by being asked, vindicates a position other than my own. i've already clarified this once:

happycynic wrote:

i wasn't attacking reality...


"Monk2400" wrote:
None of which affects reality one whit.


i never implied it did...


We also like to look at the past and impose upon it the concept of 'improvement' and 'progress'. We like to see some sort of momentum carrying us towards 'perfection'. But this is just another narrative, a story we like to tell ourselves,


a hazard of making the point the way i did. i knew if i kept pointing out that "history gives evidence that we've made mistakes again and again" that sooner or later you or someone else would point that we're not on an "evolutionary" journey from "mental ape" to "mental man" to "mental god." the irony of you pointing this out is that it's another fine metaphor (as far as i can see) for the basis of this thread.

i do not think we'll ever be mental gods, i think we'll always be mental men, but it's also possible that we could be "mental apes" (or mental fish!) in the future. i do not believe that "stages of evolution" represent a march towards perfection (or even in a single direction) in biology, adaptability, or understanding. we simply adapt, and the misnomered "lower life forms" could be better adapted to their situations than we are to our own.

how's that for practical?

There may or may not be a value in philosophy, depending on how one chooses to structure their value-system.


another vindication of what i originally said, if you're certain we essentially disagree, i'm not.

But philosophers, no matter how profound, still need to eat, sleep, and defecate. No amount of twisting the cogito can change those facts about human nature...


do you know how frustrating it is to have things thrown in your face again and again, as if they prove something, when they're already obvious to you and you already agree?

Philosophy, in its more earnest essence, is a drive to understand whats there. The starting point is accepting that there is something there.


obviously you're no more a nihilist than i am.

but we agree there is something, even "nothing" is something, but i think there's more than "nothing." but our concept of "what it is" does change over time, and philosophy, which you say is: "a drive to understand whats there." begins, not ends, with the realization that we don't necessarily understand already-

otherwise "a drive to understand" would be redundant. we would already understand.

the goal is to understand better... the implication is that we don't understand as well as we could.

and that in all honesty, is all i was trying to say. so much of this arguing was unnecessary, a brute force path to common sense, (and just as exausting.) as i said to libertygrl, the difference is that we don't know each other very well. if we knew each other better there would be no "need" for you to you be so (unintentionally) condescending as to explain to me that we need to eat.

i know that. i don't even disagree with half the things you seem to think i do. nor do i believe you disagree with the core of my argument, but until we understand each other better, arguing won't get us any closer. it won't put bread on the table, it won't even serve the purposes of philsophy for philosophy's sake- if all that happens is we grow tired of mis-debating. (not a pun on another word...)

i humbly suggest we abandon the battlefield, and get to know each other better in other threads. perhaps that will make this much easier for both of us. at first i thought perhaps you were intentionally making this difficult. now i think we only set ourselves up with too great a task, too soon. what do you think?

put another way, reality is fully and completely expressed in and through an infinite number of subjective POVs.


that is almost completely identical to what i first said. i tilted a little towards "although it's impossible to be infinite," and you tilted a little towards "so what?" i'm not sure it's worth the trouble of either one of us becoming more pedantic about it, it would be like the aliens on enterprise who fought a war with the infidels, the core of their disagreement being that one side thought the spheres were built in a n days, the infidels thought they were built in n plus a number between 1 and 10, where n was also a number between 1 and 10.

it really wasn't a significant difference, and they took it to be far more of one than any reasonable person would.
libertygrl
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#29 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 03/13/09 - 3:27 PM:

happycynic wrote:
b. yes, i think we have some access to reality. i could be wrong, but i suspect very much that we do.

i was going to start this by saying "a. yes, i think we have some access to reality." but since "a." had already been assigned to mean the opposite, i started with b.

c. i don't think the line matters at the end of the day. "in a world..." (r.i.p. don lafontaine) of excluded middles, i see the line as a tool, sometimes you can separate two ideas to better understand them, and then put them together again to better understand them yet, and i treat sometimes-unified ideas like subjectivity and objectivity as separate for what i think are obvious reasons (or what i thought were, but if they're not then forget them.) the line is not the thing, the things are the things.

happycynic, i have some more thoughts in response to this, but i will let it rest for the time being. i think they will probably come to light anyway in the following topic, understanding the universe.
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