Tuesday, October 20, 2015

593: Individual in England and on the Continent

We have reached 1800, which will lead us to another kind of philosophers than we have met thus far.
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But before we continue, this is a good moment to look what we have learnt till now.
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First of all let me repeat the ideas behind this project. They are derived from what is happening in this world today.
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It all began with Samuel Huntington’s “Clash of Civilisations?” ( Foreign Affairs;  Summer 1993; 72, 3).
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He argues that all began with conflicts “largely among princes-emperors, absolute monarchs and constitutional monarchs 
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attempting to expand their bureaucracies, their armies, their mercantilist economic strength and, most important, the territory they ruled.”
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After the French Revolution (1789) nation states had developed and war among kings changed into war among nations.
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“Then [after World War I], as a result of the Russian Revolution and the reaction against it, the conflict of nations yielded to the conflict of ideologies, 
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first among communism, fascism-Nazism and liberal democracy, and then between communism and liberal democracy.” 
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What we see today, is a conflict not within Western civilisation, but a conflict among civilisations globally.
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And here I concluded that this conflict was in fact mainly a conflict between individualistic thinking and collectivistic thinking.
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This led to the questions, why does Western civilisation focus on the individual, why did this evolve in Europe, why not in other cultures?
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When you look at it this way, it inevitably leads to the question: Is Western civilisation the best outcome of evolution up to now?
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This project is an attempt to answer these questions. And then at the end when we have found the individual, we’ll ask the question: 
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Do we have as an individual really a free will?. Let me explain the relation between all these questions.
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The inclination to question and investigate the world around us is an innate feature of our brain. Finding answers increases our chances of survival.
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If you follow Maslow’s ideas you could say, that when we don’t need to spend all time on finding food, we get time to think about other things.
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The Greek historically enjoyed in that position, when in the rest of Europe primary survival was still the dominant activity.
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They developed a concept of the individual. Well, at least of the individual man, if we look at Aristotle. 
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The woman was still considered to be closer related to an animal than to an individual person by him.
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The Middle Ages teach us an interesting thing. Individuality, the freedom to question everything as a person, is not the center of the universe, when a religion or some ideology is forced upon the people. 
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When one ideology dominates a culture, individuality disappears or is suppressed and conformism becomes the way of life.
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But in the process individuality showed to be stronger than ideology: eventually Galileo won, that is, scientific knowledge won.
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From then on the individual emerges stronger and stronger freeing himself from the oppressing domination of a religion.
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If the world is to be understood in scientific terms, and not as a product of a creator, this also has consequences for social relations.
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Power is not bestowed on you by god, but a natural thing derived from the consent of your fellowmen.
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The individual person make this choice and thus Hobbes and Locke could openly discuss the justification of political power.
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A little as a loner, Spinoza positioned the individual in the middle of nature as a part of the whole, as a drop in the ocean, matter among matter.
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Rousseau gave the individual his personal psychology and even described the individual from an evolutionary perspective.
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The French Revolution of 1789 could be regarded as symbolic for the final liberation of the individual from ideological suppression.
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We now can ask the question: why did the individual become the center of the universe in Western civilisation?
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My answer is: in the course of history homo sapiens freed himself from most of the traditional causes of belief:
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faith, revelation, dogma, authority, charisma, conventional wisdom, the invigorating glow of subjective certainty.
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These are generators of error and should be dismissed as sources of knowledge, which allows science to do its job for us.
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This opened the path to become an individual. In the coming lectures we’ll analyse what it means to be an individual, that is….to be on your own.
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And the free will? Well, after having emerged as an individual the neuroscientists of today question our free will.
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 We are our brain, is the idea and the individual is the way the brain works.
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Thank you…if you have questions or remarks…plz..the floor is yours.
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The Discussion


[13:20] Max Chatnoir: I think we see this conflict playing out in the american congress right now.  Some people want a speaker who will adhere single mindedly to some ideology; other want a speaker who can help find solutions to problems.
[13:21] Bejiita Imako: The later lternative is the better thats for sure
[13:21] Max Chatnoir: One would think so.
[13:21] Viva Enzo is offline.
[13:21] Bejiita Imako: if there are problems and so you need to think outside the box and deal with it
[13:21] Bejiita Imako: thats fact
[13:22] CB Axel: Being an individual without a supreme being to guide us is a daunting prospect to a lot of people, I think.
[13:22] herman Bergson: I thought the Speaker of the House should be impartial
[13:22] Bejiita Imako: otherwise you have a big nasty mess
[13:22] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): we need more balance in being an individual and seeing the whole
[13:23] herman Bergson: Yes CB but it is the content of the on coming lectures....to be on your own :-)
[13:23] Max Chatnoir: It's hard to be totally alone.
[13:23] herman Bergson: Well meet Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Sartre...:-)
[13:24] herman Bergson: You were born alone Max, and will die alone....
[13:24] Max Chatnoir: True, but in between there have been a lot of other people one way and another.
[13:24] herman Bergson: Yes...fortunately:-)
[13:25] CB Axel: And there are too many people in the world who don't want to think for themselves.
[13:25] Areyn Laurasia: hard to be on your own
[13:25] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): true cb
[13:25] CB Axel: They want a supreme being to think for them.
[13:25] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): they blame always others
[13:25] CB Axel: So they can sit back and watch Survivor and not think at all.
[13:26] CB Axel: Thinking is hard.
[13:26] herman Bergson: Yes and I get the impression that this is because we can not let go of the idea that we need parents
[13:26] Max Chatnoir: And you might be wrong.  :-)
[13:26] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): and seeing yourself is hard.  
[13:26] CB Axel: Well, that's the good thing, Daruma. If things go bad, we can always blame God's wrath.
[13:26] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): and to handle these things
[13:26] herman Bergson: The time we were under the wings of our parents was for most of so good...
[13:26] Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:26] Max Chatnoir: We do have a prolonged childhood -- like some other primates.
[13:26] Areyn Laurasia: what's the alternative?
[13:26] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): well herman, when you had good ├╝parents
[13:27] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): a lot did not had them
[13:27] Max Chatnoir: grow up in a creche.  But I'm not sure that's so good either.
[13:27] CB Axel: The alternative to thinking< Areyn?
[13:27] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): and thats what they first learn in life
[13:27] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): survive first your parents;-(
[13:27] Areyn Laurasia: think and be shot down. try to fix and get burnt
[13:27] Areyn Laurasia: do nothing and live like the rest?
[13:27] CB Axel: That's where parents err, I think.
[13:27] Max Chatnoir: That's true.  Bad parents can really wreck you.
[13:27] herman Bergson: The alternative is to be an individual :-)
[13:27] CB Axel: They don't let their kids think, make mistakes and get shot down.
[13:28] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): ja but i guess its very hard to find your way with such a start in life
[13:28] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): and these learnings
[13:28] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): we are all stupied when we arrive on earth
[13:28] Areyn Laurasia: guess some kids would make better parents
[13:28] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): we learn through our partens
[13:28] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): or should do
[13:28] Bejiita Imako: true
[13:28] CB Axel: I work with people who can't make decisions or think their way down a straight hallway.
[13:29] CB Axel: Their parents made every decision for them, and now they don't know how.
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: that we in Sweden call curling parents
[13:29] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): ja alos not good cb
[13:29] Bejiita Imako:
[13:29] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): also
[13:29] Max Chatnoir: We call the helicopter parents.
[13:29] Max Chatnoir: Always hovering.
[13:29] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): ja we too^^
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: aa heard that too
[13:29] CB Axel: Yes, Max.
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: basically same thing
[13:30] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): or they think they are the middle of the world
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: those kids will never manage on their own
[13:30] Areyn Laurasia: guess I had one
[13:30] herman Bergson: To get back to the point.....:-)
[13:30] CB Axel: I barely remember interacting with my parents at all.
[13:30] herman Bergson: we have reached the French revolution :-)
[13:30] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): do we^^
[13:31] herman Bergson: a turning point for the individual...
[13:31] Max Chatnoir: Liberty, equality, fraternity.
[13:31] herman Bergson: Indeed Max!
[13:31] Max Chatnoir: It sounds good, but a lot of head rolled.
[13:31] Bejiita Imako: can imagine
[13:32] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): as today the system has to burn to create changes
[13:32] Max Chatnoir: I hope not.
[13:32] Max Chatnoir: I am very worried about the congress.  It has become an unworkable institution.
[13:32] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): i guesss we humans only learn with punishment
[13:32] Bejiita Imako: the hard way
[13:32] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): ja theats it
[13:33] Bejiita Imako: at least many do
[13:33] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): thats
[13:33] herman Bergson: What I want to investigate is the way we look at ourselves as individual today....
[13:33] herman Bergson: You sound like the god of the old testament Daruma ^_^
[13:33] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): ja as an individual we can do so much today to make the world a better place
[13:33] CB Axel: But Max, that's because too many people have given up their individual thought to their leaders.
[13:33] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): but...
[13:34] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): we all crie about stupid things in our lives
[13:34] Max Chatnoir: Yes, I think you are right, CB.
[13:34] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): mostly we don’t see what we (as an individual) can do to make a change
[13:34] herman Bergson: Keep in mind that we are not some one track thing...being....
[13:34] Max Chatnoir: When we swear allegiance to some rigid ideology, we paint ourselves right into a corner.
[13:34] herman Bergson: we are complex....
[13:35] herman Bergson: our brain is a jar filled with contradictions
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: ah¨
[13:35] herman Bergson: but we try to get it all in line
[13:35] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): ja, but we live now long enough to know a bit how to handle.
[13:35] Max Chatnoir: fish brain, lizard brain, mammal brain, human brain.  sometimes they fight.
[13:35] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): i loose temper;-)
[13:35] herman Bergson: Your observation is typical Max....
[13:36] herman Bergson: You say we lived long enoug....
[13:36] herman Bergson: how do you know....
[13:36] herman Bergson: maybe we lived long enough to scratch the surface only...?
[13:36] Max Chatnoir: That was Daruma.
[13:36] herman Bergson: lol...soryy :-)
[13:36] Areyn Laurasia: we live long enough but we have short memories
[13:37] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): did we learn from WO 2?
[13:37] Areyn Laurasia: no
[13:37] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): ja, but sometimes it seems rthat science mean we are so up to date;-) and we have everything under control, but in my view, we have not
[13:37] Max Chatnoir: We have short individual memories.  Thanks to Gutenberg, we don't have to get by with those.
[13:37] Bejiita Imako: hehe thats true
[13:37] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): we really scratched only the surface.
[13:37] herman Bergson: I agree Daruma
[13:37] Areyn Laurasia: and thanks to technology, we'll have shorter memories
[13:37] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): but science often tals like having the answer
[13:38] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): talks
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: and now we have USB drives to stuff more in than our brains can hold in total
[13:38] Bejiita Imako:
[13:38] Bejiita Imako:
[13:38] CB Axel: Science usually brings up more questions than answers, IMHO.
[13:38] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): we need usb devices in our brains
[13:38] Areyn Laurasia: and it makes us not have to remember that much.. changes the way our body works
[13:38] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): thats the answer
[13:38] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): we don't need to use our brains to remember a thing
[13:38] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): and better< software
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: haha yes that would be practical
[13:38] Areyn Laurasia: which is dangerous
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: yes and some really good deugging
[13:39] Max Chatnoir: I have students who have to use their calculators to divide by 10.
[13:39] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): only weere we put our usb stick:)
[13:39] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): lol max
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: hehehe
[13:39] herman Bergson: oh dear...
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: ow
[13:39] CB Axel: USB devices would only store data. The real work comes with knowing how to use that data.
[13:39] herman Bergson: How to interpret the data, I would say CB
[13:40] Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:40] herman Bergson: Ok  a philosophical side track for a moment...
[13:40] herman Bergson: to begin with...there do not exist data in this world...
[13:40] Bejiita Imako: our brain would still do that after some decoding but the usb don’t forget as easily
[13:40] Bejiita Imako: as our brain can do sometime
[13:40] CB Axel: Interpret the data and then use it to make decisions on how to live.
[13:41] herman Bergson: only at the moment YOU define what is a datum you have had[13:41] Bejiita Imako: you can say we could have it as backup memory
[13:41] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): a world with no data. a blanc world. how would it develop?
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: hmm cant even imagine
[13:41] herman Bergson: no no.....look at Kant....
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: its like universe with o matter
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: just a black voi
[13:41] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): everything is possible and no one has an idea^^
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: void
[13:41] Areyn Laurasia: bliss?
[13:42] herman Bergson: his a priori categories create the dat
[13:42] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): silence and white clouds....
[13:42] CB Axel: We would be back to Maslow: trying to find food first.
[13:42] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): lol can be
[13:42] herman Bergson: that is the smoke of my pipe Daruma :-)
[13:42] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): but hope not
[13:42] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): rofl
[13:42] Areyn Laurasia: basic survival instinct?
[13:43] herman Bergson: I guess we are a bit lost in our discussion now :-))
[13:43] Max Chatnoir: We'd be back to nasty brutish and short.
[13:43] Bejiita Imako:
[13:43] herman Bergson: My point only was that we have reached the 19th century...
[13:43] CB Axel: So, Kant....
[13:43] herman Bergson: heading for another view on the individual :-)
[13:44] CB Axel: Yes. 19th century.
[13:44] Max Chatnoir: We watched the Eclipse a few weeks ago.  I thought how frightening it would be if you didn't know what it was.
[13:44] herman Bergson: So that will be our next station....
[13:45] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): astrology?^^
[13:45] herman Bergson: No...just the moon Daruma :-)
[13:45] Bejiita Imako:
[13:45] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): ja also a part of it^^^
[13:45] herman Bergson: I know :-))
[13:45] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): goed;-)
[13:46] bijoux Lefevre is offline.
[13:46] herman Bergson: "planeet" belonging to Cancer...:-)
[13:46] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): very good !
[13:46] herman Bergson: Ruler of Cancer it is called...
[13:46] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): so lessons for next year
[13:47] herman Bergson: But I think it is time to end the discussion now that we wind up in astrology :-))
[13:47] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): ;-)
[13:47] Max Chatnoir: Sorry about that.
[13:47] Areyn Laurasia: back to earth
[13:47] CB Axel: LOL
[13:47] Bejiita Imako: hehe that can m´be next thing
[13:47] Areyn Laurasia: :)
[13:47] Bejiita Imako:
[13:47] Max Chatnoir: I was celebrating knowledge.
[13:47] herman Bergson: Thank you all for your pleasnat participation again...
[13:47] Bejiita Imako: astrology is also interesting
[13:47] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): ja it is
[13:47] herman Bergson: it is , I agree:-)
[13:47] Bejiita Imako: but that we can take as later project maybee
[13:48] Bejiita Imako:
[13:48] herman Bergson: Even Copernicus made horoscopes
[13:48] Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:48] Areyn Laurasia: really?
[13:48] herman Bergson: anyway.....Class dismissed :-))
[13:48] CB Axel: So 19th century? We learned that we are individuals in the 18th and began to learn what to do with that in the 19th?
[13:48] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma) claps
[13:48] herman Bergson: Yes Areyn....
[13:49] Max Chatnoir: Thank you, Herman.  I will probably see you all Tuesday.  I don't seem to be able to get here Thursdays.
[13:49] Max Chatnoir: But I will hope for Thursday.  :-)
[13:49] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): thank you herman. see you thursday.
[13:49] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma) waves
[13:49] Bejiita Imako: nice once again
[13:49] Bejiita Imako:
[13:49] herman Bergson: we still have the blog Max...don't worry
[13:49] Bejiita Imako: cu tuesday
[13:49] CB Axel: Bye, bye all. See you Thursday.
[13:49] Bejiita Imako: or thursday i mean
[13:50] Max Chatnoir: Another interesting discussion.  Yes, and I'm so glad you do the blog.
[13:50] Max Chatnoir: See you all whenever.  :-)
[13:50] Areyn Laurasia: should check that out.. been missing discussions
[13:50] Areyn Laurasia: bye all
[13:51] Max Chatnoir is offline.
[13:51] Bejiita Imako: bye
[13:51] herman Bergson: Bye Bejiita :-)

































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