Friday, September 10, 2010

268: Supersense continued

So the questions we are going to try to answer are: Why do we believe in the supernatural and What is the source of this way of thinking about the world?

In my former lecture I introduced the human faculty of the supersense as a possible answer, as is introduced by Bruce Hood in his book "SuperSense: Why we believe in the Unbelievable" (2009).

Our main focus is the brain and the science behind our beliefs. We want to understand why we believe in the Unbelievable. We will not discuss the question now, whether these beliefs are TRUE of FALSE.

When we have found a plausible answer to our primary question, you yourself can evaluate and maybe better understand our supernatural beliefs.

Yet, the result of such an evaluation can be lean and thin. Beliefs are hard to get hold of. That is how beliefs work. They are hard to change by reasonable arguments. Where does that stubborn way of thinking come from?

We have plenty of examples for that: a person coming back from death, manna (bread) raining from the sky, water that is magically turned into wine, feeding a crowd of hundreds of people with five loaves and two fishes, a man walking on the water.

Because we are part of human culture we are easily inclined to believe that all our beliefs are coming from what others have told us. From childhood on we believe what others tell us, because we trust them.

But there is another explanation for why we believe in the Unbelievable and that is a natural, scientific interpretation, based on the design of our mind.

Design means a structured, organized way of interpreting the world based on the way our brain works.

It is absolutely true that our culture tells unbelievable stories to children, but I don't think that that is the only way how our beliefs come into being. For a long time you believed in Santa Claus; now you probably do not anymore. Something made you change your mind.

The frame of mind of a child brings the child to believe in the supernatural. So it will be very interesting to take a closer look at the development of thinking in the child.

If supersense is part of our natural way of understanding the world, then it will emerge in every child, which is born with this frame of mind.

Bruce says at this point that if so, then it will be almost impossible to ban all supernatural beliefs. Supersense will always be part of our mind.

It is interesting to note that recently there has emerged a strong movement against any religious beliefs. They are regarded as destructive for mankind. You find this point of view in books of Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris, for instance.


Bruce Hood is milder and even asks the question whether it really is necessary to spend great effort on banning all supernatural beliefs. As you may recall, the communist countries did everything in that respect.. Yet, e.g. Poland is one of the most catholic countries in Europe these days.

Maybe the human species even needs this supersense. How do we deal with death, for instance. In many ways: an afterlife, reincarnation, a spiritual merging with the world energy, heaven.

Another thing is that the human is a social animal and to participate in society we have to share conventions: things which we assign a common and special value to.

This can be a banknote, or an original painting of Rembrandt (you can copy it, but that IS a copy, not the real thing). It can be a special place or a church or a stone in Mekka.

If we didn't share these sacred values, the only sacred value which would be left would be ourselves as individual. This would turn society into a Hobbesian world, in which everybody only fights for his own benefits.


zzz
[13:24] herman Bergson: Now the floor is yours :-)
[13:24] Daruma Boa: and we have missed that instinct, called supernatural thinking
[13:24] Abraxas Nagy: the floor remains empty
[13:24] Abraxas Nagy: ah
[13:25] Daruma Boa: no
[13:25] Rodney Handrick accepted your inventory offer.
[13:25] herman Bergson: no Daruma…we havent...it is there in our brain..physically there..
[13:25] Daruma Boa: no we lost it
[13:25] itsme Frederix: intuition or instinct
[13:25] Daruma Boa: because of the society
[13:25] Daruma Boa: we always think about what others could think about us^^
[13:25] Daruma Boa: instinct
[13:26] herman Bergson: yes..I will get to all these point Daruma in next lectures...
[13:26] Daruma Boa: hey rod
[13:26] Daruma Boa: nearly in time^^
[13:26] herman Bergson: Welcome Rodney
[13:26] Rodney Handrick: hi Daruma
[13:26] Rodney Handrick: hi herman
[13:26] itsme Frederix: I like instinct it gives me a more materialized idea about intuition (kind of source)
[13:26] Bejiita Imako: hi Rodney
[13:26] Daruma Boa: ok
[13:26] Rodney Handrick: hi bejiita
[13:26] Alarice Beaumont: hey Rodney
[13:26] Rodney Handrick: hi alarice
[13:26] Daruma Boa: u need always something to keep in your hands itsme?
[13:27] herman Bergson: What you call instinct Itsme is there...in our brain...
[13:27] Daruma Boa: something that can u grab?
[13:27] itsme Frederix: Danuma YEP, what else is there
[13:27] Daruma Boa: your mind
[13:27] Alarice Beaumont: :-)
[13:27] itsme Frederix: of course I've some hands in my brain
[13:27] AristotleVon Doobie: The only sacred value which would be left would be ourselves as individual.....is that the first step to those daydreamers who formulate this superlatives of comfort? heaven, proper behavior etc in the indoctrination of their ideology and then the control of the group formed from their persuasion?
[13:27] Daruma Boa: these are only the tools to eat
[13:27] Daruma Boa: drive cars
[13:27] Daruma Boa: kiss e.g.
[13:28] Daruma Boa: use the keyboards^^
[13:28] AristotleVon Doobie: power is at the root of all these supernatural things
[13:28] Daruma Boa: which power?
[13:28] herman Bergson: from an evolutionary point of view Aristotle may be right...
[13:28] herman Bergson: survival...
[13:28] AristotleVon Doobie: the poser of those who formulate the comfort of the supernatural
[13:29] herman Bergson: that is the power
[13:29] Gemma Cleanslate: interesting
[13:29] itsme Frederix: die Wille (Schopenhauer)
[13:29] AristotleVon Doobie: teh desire to have power and its benefits
[13:29] Daruma Boa: yes thats your mind, your thought your wishes
[13:29] herman Bergson: Good reference, Itsme...
[13:29] itsme Frederix: blind power
[13:29] Daruma Boa: treu der wille^^
[13:29] herman Bergson: reference
[13:29] Daruma Boa: true
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: aah
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:29] itsme Frederix: oke sorry to I made it female
[13:30] AristotleVon Doobie: perhaps it all starts innocently
[13:30] herman Bergson: Well..when you refer to Schopenhauer...
[13:30] AristotleVon Doobie: a loved ones dies.....trying to understand
[13:30] herman Bergson: He hadnt the slightest idea about evolution...
[13:30] Daruma Boa: *GIGGLES* :)~~~~
[13:30] AristotleVon Doobie: the concept of heaven is comforting
[13:30] itsme Frederix: But he lived in that time Herman
[13:31] herman Bergson: but he had an intuition about the driving power...he called it the Will...
[13:31] itsme Frederix: But let's follow Ari, I've lost him?!
[13:31] herman Bergson: Darwin called it the survival of the fittest (the best adapted to the environment)
[13:31] AristotleVon Doobie: anyway, the concept is shared with others and then the movement begins
[13:31] herman Bergson: There is a parallel in my opinion
[13:32] itsme Frederix: sure but what thread do we expand in this discussion Schopenhauer/evolution or ...
[13:32] Daruma Boa: sharing to move is important
[13:32] AristotleVon Doobie: like all groups, clicks form and someone has to be in charge
[13:32] herman Bergson: the main focus is the reality of the supersense...
[13:32] Daruma Boa: well its not important who said what
[13:33] Daruma Boa: its importnat what do u think?
[13:33] herman Bergson: the willingness of the human to believe the unbelievable
[13:33] AristotleVon Doobie: then you are told if you do not behave in a certain way , you will be denied heaven
[13:33] Daruma Boa: Schopenhauer is dead^^
[13:33] AristotleVon Doobie: worse yet, if you further misbehave you will go to hell
[13:33] herman Bergson: yes and I am not....
[13:33] Abraxas Nagy: ╔╗╔═╦╗
[13:33] Abraxas Nagy: ║╚╣║║╚╗
[13:33] Abraxas Nagy: ╚═╩═╩═╝
[13:33] Daruma Boa: *GIGGLES* :)~~~~
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: haha
[13:34] herman Bergson: WAIT A MINUTE....
[13:34] Abraxas Nagy: lucky us
[13:34] Daruma Boa: highway to hell
[13:34] herman Bergson: HOLD ON....
[13:34] Alarice Beaumont: lol
[13:34] Abraxas Nagy: acdc
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:34] AristotleVon Doobie: my point is it is all conjured up for the purpose of controlling others
[13:34] itsme Frederix: I think, its my opinion that Bruce has a point. He comes with some examples/proves that a) supersense is there and b) it could be wired in the brain and c) it is an effective 9in some cases) way of dealing with ... well life
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: that i use often to scare my neighbors
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: lol
[13:34] herman Bergson: What we are talking about is the willingness of the human to believe the unbelievable...
[13:35] AristotleVon Doobie: yes, and the desire for comfort and pleasure is the motivating force to belive
[13:35] Daruma Boa: sometime ari yes
[13:35] Daruma Boa: but that are the ppl, who dont understand the supernatural
[13:35] Abraxas Nagy: all our senses are wired into the brain
[13:36] herman Bergson: Aristotle...(and others)..first ..there are debating rules on the board behind me ^_^
[13:36] AristotleVon Doobie: once the adults take hold of the idea, the children are indoctrinated
[13:36] herman Bergson: and second..Aristotle what is your point?:-)
[13:36] Abraxas Nagy: it builds a view of reality based on it
[13:36] herman Bergson: ok ok...
[13:36] AristotleVon Doobie: the belief of these supernatural events, and their source
[13:36] herman Bergson: yes..as I already said...
[13:37] herman Bergson: for that we first have to study the development of thinking....
[13:37] AristotleVon Doobie: yes
[13:37] Abraxas Nagy: exactly
[13:37] AristotleVon Doobie: that is what I suggested
[13:37] AristotleVon Doobie: where the thought begins
[13:37] herman Bergson: and I can tell you....you all are still full of childlike ways of thinking...
[13:37] Alarice Beaumont: experience
[13:37] itsme Frederix: Herman thats ad omium
[13:37] Abraxas Nagy: i bet we are
[13:38] herman Bergson: lol..no Itsme that is a matter of fact...
[13:38] Daruma Boa: why give an example
[13:38] AristotleVon Doobie: yes, you can not competely remove that nurturing
[13:38] Alarice Beaumont: exemplified behavior
[13:38] herman Bergson: any form of superstion is childlike thinking..
[13:38] AristotleVon Doobie: it is
[13:38] herman Bergson: and dont you have your personal rituals????
[13:38] Daruma Boa: ;-) why u think that?
[13:38] itsme Frederix: Herman even worse, how can we deny facts. But please prove!
[13:38] AristotleVon Doobie: and is encouraged by those who can benefit from it I believe
[13:38] Daruma Boa: only cos u never made such experiences?
[13:39] herman Bergson: stop that Aristotle..lol
[13:39] AristotleVon Doobie: :)
[13:39] AristotleVon Doobie: yes sir
[13:39] herman Bergson: no ..it is true...
[13:39] Daruma Boa: what is true in live?
[13:39] herman Bergson: who doesnt have his lucky coin or rabbitfoot...
[13:39] Daruma Boa: there are always 2 sides of the story
[13:40] herman Bergson: or his favorite chair....when I sit there I can do things better...
[13:40] herman Bergson: we are stuffed with tons of such beliefs...
[13:40] Alarice Beaumont: hmm
[13:40] Alarice Beaumont: you think scientists also believe in this? have rabbit foots and that stuff?
[13:41] herman Bergson: Ever walked on the pavement and had the feeling that you had to skip two tiles every step..
[13:41] herman Bergson: No Alarice...we will get to that...that is exactly the point...
[13:41] AristotleVon Doobie: yes, I was told this as a child...step on a crack break you mothers back
[13:41] herman Bergson: our believeds against how we look at science..
[13:41] Gemma Cleanslate: so much is intertwined
[13:42] Daruma Boa: science... that are only stuoied humans as we are
[13:42] Daruma Boa: stupied
[13:42] Gemma Cleanslate: ♥ LOL ♥
[13:42] Daruma Boa: with their own view 2 see the world
[13:42] herman Bergson: Right Aristotle...and nice of you , that you obeyed (I hope)
[13:42] Abraxas Nagy: ╔╗╔═╦╗
[13:42] Abraxas Nagy: ║╚╣║║╚╗
[13:42] Abraxas Nagy: ╚═╩═╩═╝
[13:42] Daruma Boa: there is no truth or so
[13:42] Daruma Boa: i think i learned that here^^#
[13:42] AristotleVon Doobie: :)
[13:42] Bejiita Imako: haha
[13:43] Abraxas Nagy: we all have our own truth
[13:43] herman Bergson: I dont agree Daruma...
[13:43] Daruma Boa: mh
[13:43] herman Bergson: no Abraxas we dont
[13:43] Abraxas Nagy: ah
[13:43] AristotleVon Doobie: if truth only cold be had
[13:43] Daruma Boa: i have 5 truths^^
[13:43] AristotleVon Doobie: could
[13:43] herman Bergson: if that were true..you hav etons of other methods to send a rocket to the moon...
[13:44] herman Bergson: dont confuce truth with commandments Daruma ^_^..you missed 5 then :-)
[13:44] Alarice Beaumont: ^^
[13:44] Abraxas Nagy: ah but each interprets the world in his own unique wayt
[13:44] Daruma Boa: 42?
[13:44] Daruma Boa: ^^
[13:44] herman Bergson: No Abraxas I dont agree...
[13:45] itsme Frederix: not 42, 20 is the figure these times
[13:45] Daruma Boa: ;-)
[13:45] itsme Frederix: (rubic's cube)
[13:45] Alarice Beaumont: lool
[13:45] Bejiita Imako: haha
[13:45] herman Bergson: The reality around us isnt a matter of subjective interpretation....a bullit is a bullit..beng...hit ..dead
[13:45] Daruma Boa: and in another world
[13:46] Daruma Boa: or dimension perhaps
[13:46] Daruma Boa: who knows?
[13:46] itsme Frederix: supersense
[13:46] Daruma Boa: we not
[13:46] Daruma Boa: or forgot it
[13:46] herman Bergson: there we go….Daruma's supernatural thinking...
[13:46] Daruma Boa: yes i know
[13:46] Daruma Boa: its true
[13:46] Daruma Boa: we n
[13:46] Abraxas Nagy: ah u mean cause and effect
[13:46] Daruma Boa: know nothing
[13:46] Alarice Beaumont: some people just do have a "fine antenna"
[13:46] Abraxas Nagy: causality
[13:46] herman Bergson: the essential characteristic of supernatural thinking is that it defies laws of nature
[13:46] Daruma Boa: so we cant talk really about it
[13:47] itsme Frederix: nothing wrong with it - you can't help (everyone is biased)
[13:47] Daruma Boa: hi jozen
[13:47] herman Bergson: Ther eyou go Alarice...supernatural thinking too
[13:47] Gemma Cleanslate: yes
[13:47] Jozen Ocello: hi Daruma, Hi everyone, so sorry I'm late
[13:47] AristotleVon Doobie: since it defies the laws of nature, why do you suppose it is thought?
[13:48] itsme Frederix: causality is one of those supersense/natural ideas
[13:48] herman Bergson: Here you see..we are loaded with supernatual thinking....
[13:48] herman Bergson: We'll discuss that later Itsme..if you dont mind
[13:48] itsme Frederix: well it came up prof
[13:48] Daruma Boa: next week^
[13:48] Bejiita Imako: aa yes probably, even if i mostly believe in pure science i bet i have a load of these things myself
[13:49] Bejiita Imako: its interesting for sure
[13:49] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:49] herman Bergson: yes Bejiita....if it were only your favorite pen....
[13:49] Daruma Boa: we dont have to put thinking into boxes (schubl├Ąden);-)
[13:49] Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:49] Daruma Boa: just think and feel
[13:49] herman Bergson: no Daruma...we have to get it out of the boxes!
[13:49] AristotleVon Doobie: we start collecting baggage from birth, a great deal of it empty
[13:49] itsme Frederix: well some times its better to leave it in the box (pandora)
[13:49] Bejiita Imako: one thing no one takes its my chair at work at the coffee table
[13:49] Daruma Boa: i think, if we would feel more, than to think
[13:50] Bejiita Imako: haha
[13:50] Daruma Boa: ^^^
[13:50] Daruma Boa: a lot would be better
[13:50] herman Bergson: That might be quite true Aristotle...
[13:50] herman Bergson: and empty here means Supernatural
[13:50] Daruma Boa: yes herman let the thinking of the boxes free^^
[13:50] AristotleVon Doobie: :)
[13:50] AristotleVon Doobie: it may behoove us to cast a lot of it off
[13:51] herman Bergson: Well....hearing this discussion.....great...
[13:51] herman Bergson: our next lectures will be wuite interesting then for you....^_^
[13:51] Alarice Beaumont: so.. who of you has a lucky token or something like this?
[13:52] herman Bergson: So..thank you all for you participation..it was inspiring..
[13:52] Bejiita Imako: aaa yes
[13:52] Bejiita Imako: really
[13:52] Abraxas Nagy: it sure was
[13:52] AristotleVon Doobie: Thank you Herman :)
[13:52] herman Bergson: class dismissed ^_^
[13:52] Bejiita Imako: look forward to next one
[13:52] Rodney Handrick: yes, interesting
[13:52] Daruma Boa: it was a pleasure
[13:52] Gemma Cleanslate: yes
[13:52] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:52] Alarice Beaumont: great subject to talk about :-)
[13:52] herman Bergson: my pleasure too Daruma..^_^
[13:52] Gemma Cleanslate: ♥ Thank Youuuuuuuuuu!! ♥
[13:52] Gemma Cleanslate: herman
[13:52] Bejiita Imako: indeed
[13:52] Rodney Handrick: thanks Herman
[13:53] Bejiita Imako: great stuff
[13:53] Daruma Boa: mh^^
[13:53] Jozen Ocello: so sorry i missed this... will read up on it on the blog
[13:53] herman Bergson: ok Jozen....
[13:53] Jozen Ocello: thanks professor :)
[13:53] herman Bergson: Go and spank yourself first ^_^
[13:53] Jozen Ocello: hehe
[13:53] AristotleVon Doobie: LOL
[13:53] Bejiita Imako: lol
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