Wednesday, October 27, 2010

281: The daily Life of Supersense

If you ever had the idea that the human being is a rational being then I have to disappoint you: THAT is an illusion. Oh yes, we can be very rational. Fortunately! The result of it is our scientific knowledge.

But in daily live…we…rational? Forget it. Ok and then, but you will have to acknowledge that in general that a lot of our decisions are based on supernatural thinking, on our supersense.

For instance, to begin with physical contact. When you love someone dearly you'll embrace that person, even wishper in his or her ear…“just wants to eat you all up”, not physically of course, but that special you.

On the other hand, when you meet someone who you deeply despise, you are reluctant to even shake hands, but if you have to your first impulse could be to go and wash your hands.

There is more….. Muslims that refuse to shake hands with a woman, that is , touch a woman. Although abolished in India you still have the "untouchables", the lowest class in society there.

The same you saw in racial segregation in the US and the Apartheid system in South Africa. All based on the same idea….these people are no good.They will contaminate you with…..

With what? We are inclined to believe that a human being is not just a collection of molecules or organs and limbs. He has some essence, his personal being or identity.

Where do these feelings come from ? The answer may lie in what we have developed in childhood to understand the world: psychological essentialism. That is how the mind intuitively tries to understand nature.

We put things into categories, classes, structures. We try to bring order intothe chaos of our experiences and then say: that is a man, that is a woman, that is an animal. And then we develop an idea what a man makes to be a man, for instance.

We are inclined to believe that humans have essential qualities, which we call youth, temperament, beauty, but also evil and that by touching the other person you get 'contaminated" or just get a bit of that essence of the other. Just look how fans try to touch their idol, for instance.

There is plenty of evidence that the supernatural belief that we can absorb the good essences of others or can be contaminated by the evil of others is common throughout our culture, practices and attitudes.

We even have these beliefs on a cellular level. Do you want to have the heart of an executed serial killer transplanted in you, for instance?

There is a supernatural belief that the psychological aspects of an
individual are stored in the organ tissue and can be transferred
to the host recipient.

Sex with another person is layered with essential, vitalistic, and holistic beliefs. Even in Second Life you encounter the working of our supersense here.

People have the feeling of being at one with the other, soul mate, achieving a sacred union or when promiscuity is involved some feel filthy and unclean, when they discover this.

There is no physical evidence at all that anything of this really happens, but our brain is wired to think so and there may be an evolutionary explanation.

If essences are thought to be transferable, we will not consider ourselves isolated individuals but rather members of a tribe potentially joined to each other through beliefs in supernatural connectedness.

Our brain generates these supernatural belief not only regarding other persons, but also with non living things. Ever thought about that picture on your desk of your deceased brother.

When you look at it, you experience more than just a picture. You experience a contact. And when you are dead, people who have to clean the house just see a useless picture and maybe they'll keep the frame.

Look at art. In 2005 Sotheby’s in London sold 'Lady Seated at a Vestral' for $32 million, following ten years of dispute about whether it was an original Vermeer masterpiece or a twentieth-century forgery attributed to the expert forger Han van Meegeren. After it was announced that the picture was an original Vermeer, its value soared.

There is that magic quality which we call authenticity. A copy of the jacket of Michael Jackson isn't worth a dime.The original one is worth a fortune. Our supersense at work.

Psychological essentialism is probably one of the main foundations of the universal supernatural belief that there is something more to reality.

It is in all of us. Influences our judgements and reactions. Don't claim that you are rationality itself, because you aren't. It is a continuum from absolute rationality to absolute supernatural thinking. Somewhere in-between these two extremes you are.

The Discussion

[13:26] herman Bergson: Thank you...:-)
[13:26] Jozen Ocello: thanks :)
[13:26] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:26] Bejiita Imako: interesting
[13:26] herman Bergson: If you have a question or remark....feel free...
[13:27] Alarice Beaumont: good lesson... can go along with all you said i would suppose
[13:27] Gemma Cleanslate: throws out all the frames in my house
[13:27] Beertje Beaumont: i think supernatural thinking makes us human
[13:27] Bejiita Imako: here there are many things that are true for sure
[13:27] Alarice Beaumont: people need a structure.... otherwise it wouldn't work - the life together
[13:27] herman Bergson: I agree Beertje.....
[13:27] herman Bergson: it is wrong to deny this part of us or talk it down even
[13:28] herman Bergson: The only thing is that we have to be aware of it...
[13:28] herman Bergson: History shows so many examples of it...
[13:28] Bejiita Imako: the importance is to use it the right way and the good parts of it
[13:28] Gemma Cleanslate: interesting that after so much study of it it still affects us
[13:28] herman Bergson: World leaders that meat and immediately dislike eachother....
[13:29] Jozen Ocello: or click like buddies (Blair and Bush)
[13:29] herman Bergson: Well Gemma...there is a new wave now....
[13:29] herman Bergson: For instance..this morning...
[13:29] herman Bergson: My newspaper comes with the announcement of a series of articles on free will
[13:29] Gemma Cleanslate: ah
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: ok
[13:30] herman Bergson: the heading is "The Death of Free Will"
[13:30] Alarice Beaumont: aw.. isn't that a little drastic Herman?
[13:30] Alarice Beaumont: you do want to provoke?!
[13:30] herman Bergson: When I started my philosophical quest in 1978 on the identity thesis (mind == body)
[13:31] herman Bergson: there was hardly any neurobilogical evidence...
[13:31] herman Bergson: No is not....
[13:32] herman Bergson: There is neurobiological evidence that when you decide to move your finger the motoric center of the brain has been active al least 200 millisecondes before you became aware of what you wanted to do...
[13:32] Jozen Ocello: i wonder how 'alive' free will actually is.......
[13:33] herman Bergson: It means...brain centers fire before you are conscious of it...
[13:33] herman Bergson: Well Jozen....
[13:33] herman Bergson: there is a parallel in history....
[13:33] Alarice Beaumont: think it depends on how one defines "free will"
[13:33] herman Bergson: I mentioned Kant....
[13:34] herman Bergson: His epistemological interpretation is more in line with neurological evidence than the tabula rasa theory of Locke
[13:34] herman Bergson: We'lll CERTAINLY get to that Alarice...dont worry ^_^
[13:35] herman Bergson: Regarding to free will we have Freud....
[13:35] Alarice Beaumont: ◕‿◕
[13:35] herman Bergson: To some extend he was a fraud, but he had the insight that we are not controlled by our will only
[13:36] herman Bergson: there is a subconscious
[13:36] Jozen Ocello: what does it mean to have free will? and does having free will means that we are in control of our minds (i.e. more rational)?
[13:36] herman Bergson: Today neurobiologists discover that the brain is acting before we are conscious of what it makes us do...
[13:36] Jozen Ocello: sorry if I'm asking questions that are too basic :P
[13:37] AristotleVon Doobie: I fully suspect that the foundation for all these supersensical things have some empircal basis we have stored in our brain since birth or a combination of data, then summoned as we need them
[13:37] herman Bergson: Your questions are to the point Jozen....
[13:37] Gemma Cleanslate: very possible aristotle
[13:37] herman Bergson: But we'll need to dig into them thouroughly
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: aaa can be possible
[13:38] AristotleVon Doobie: like the reasons I would cringe if I had to shake hands with Bush
[13:38] herman Bergson: Oh yes Aristotle..that is what I have said several times...
[13:38] Jozen Ocello: maybe throw a shoe or two, but definitely not shake hands :P hehe
[13:38] AristotleVon Doobie: that is based on my calculated opinion
[13:38] herman Bergson: cognitive psychology studies the development of the mind.....
[13:38] AristotleVon Doobie: of him
[13:38] Gemma Cleanslate: yes
[13:39] Gemma Cleanslate: would be terrible but someone asked me a while back would you want to shake hands with Clinton??
[13:39] herman Bergson: I also referred to Jean Piaget as one of the first explorers in that field
[13:39] Gemma Cleanslate: lol
[13:39] herman Bergson: well Gemma....
[13:40] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:40] herman Bergson: physics say that skins touch...supersense say....well say it yourself :-)
[13:40] Jozen Ocello: hi Rodney
[13:40] Bejiita Imako: well i wouldn't go near Bush, he is a world destroyer!
[13:40] Gemma Cleanslate: :-)
[13:40] Rodney Handrick: Hi Jozen
[13:40] Bejiita Imako: or as I call him
[13:40] Bejiita Imako: BOOOOOOOSSSHHH! ( the smell)¨
[13:40] Gemma Cleanslate: agreed sort of
[13:41] herman Bergson: Bruce Hood gives a nice example....
[13:41] Alarice Beaumont: lol now we are starting a political discussion lool
[13:41] AristotleVon Doobie: lol
[13:41] herman Bergson: He held a lecture once..and showed the audience a fountain pen...
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: haha
[13:41] AristotleVon Doobie: but the feeling relates to our disussion
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: indeed
[13:41] herman Bergson: he said that it had belonged to Einstein...and he passed it around...
[13:41] herman Bergson: everybody was eager to hold the pen for a second...
[13:42] herman Bergson: Then he showed a jacket to the audience..
[13:42] herman Bergson: This, he said, is the jacket of the serial killer so and so...
[13:42] herman Bergson: and he asked…Who wants to try this on?
[13:42] Beertje Beaumont: lol..nobody?
[13:43] Alarice Beaumont: awww.... no one did?!
[13:43] herman Bergson: well..I guess you can guess the effect
[13:43] Alarice Beaumont: i wouldn't
[13:43] Bejiita Imako: I wouldn't in fact i think
[13:43] herman Bergson: No..and the person who put up his hand ...well..he didnt make friends there
[13:43] AristotleVon Doobie: I would have to try it on to disprove the spook of it
[13:43] herman Bergson: Yet it is a perfect proof of how our supersense works
[13:44] herman Bergson: Yes Aristotle...
[13:44] AristotleVon Doobie: the fear does exist tho
[13:45] herman Bergson: And even if you would have said that there...50% of the audience at least would have regarded you as a pervert, I guess :-)
[13:45] AristotleVon Doobie: LOL
[13:45] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:45] Beertje Beaumont: oh yes
[13:45] AristotleVon Doobie: self confidence trumps fear
[13:45] Alarice Beaumont: lol yes
[13:45] herman Bergson: If you is amazing how our brain it is wired...
[13:45] Gemma Cleanslate: welll no one likes to be fooled
[13:46] Gemma Cleanslate: that would make me more angry than the jacket
[13:46] AristotleVon Doobie: but it is like saying I believe in Jesus before dieing just in case it is true
[13:46] herman Bergson: LOL
[13:46] Beertje Beaumont: lol Ari
[13:46] herman Bergson: good strategy Aristotle
[13:46] Gemma Cleanslate: :-)
[13:46] Alarice Beaumont: ,-)
[13:46] herman Bergson: But what I wanted to say....
[13:47] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:47] herman Bergson: My newspaper starts a series on articles on Free will, or the death of
[13:47] Gemma Cleanslate: will be interesting to hear what they say about it all
[13:47] herman Bergson: there are also a lot of publictions on neurobilological subjects...
[13:47] Alarice Beaumont: have to go... sorry.. see you next time.. bye everyone :-)
[13:47] Gemma Cleanslate: Bye, Bye ㋡
[13:47] Gemma Cleanslate: ah alarice
[13:47] Bejiita Imako: ok cu Alarice
[13:47] Rodney Handrick: bye
[13:48] Jozen Ocello: bye Alarice
[13:48] AristotleVon Doobie: b-bye Alarice
[13:48] herman Bergson: Here on my desk I have a brand new Dutch publication:WE ARE OUR BRIAN
[13:48] herman Bergson: in other words...
[13:49] herman Bergson: there is something happening at the philosophy and neurobiology...
[13:49] herman Bergson: something that wasn't there in 1978
[13:49] herman Bergson: even not in 1995
[13:49] Rodney Handrick: hmm...
[13:50] herman Bergson: I have a piblication of an anthology on mind - body questions....still all 100% philosophical
[13:50] herman Bergson: no neurobiological influence at all
[13:50] herman Bergson: That influence is emerging now...2010
[13:50] Gemma Cleanslate: hmmm
[13:51] herman Bergson: even so strong that it reaches a national newpaper
[13:51] Bejiita Imako: ah¨
[13:52] herman Bergson: so we are in the frontlines of the battle here :-)
[13:52] herman Bergson: Well...I guess you all have to digest this all first....
[13:53] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:53] AristotleVon Doobie: chewing now
[13:53] herman Bergson: May I thank you for your attention and participation then....
[13:53] Gemma Cleanslate: ♥ Thank Youuuuuuuuuu!! ♥
[13:53] Gemma Cleanslate: herman
[13:53] Bejiita Imako: nice
[13:53] AristotleVon Doobie: Thank you Professor
[13:53] Jozen Ocello: thanks Prof :)
[13:53] Rodney Handrick: thanks
[13:53] herman Bergson: You always can re read all in our blog
[13:53] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:54] herman Bergson:
[13:54] Gemma Cleanslate: abraxas says he is following it
[13:54] herman Bergson: Nice...
[13:54] herman Bergson: Give him my regards when you see him Gemma
[13:55] herman Bergson: Thank you all....^_^
[13:55] herman Bergson: Class dismissed :-)
[13:55] Gemma Cleanslate: i will for sure he said he was going to talk to you may come as Carl
[13:55] Beertje Beaumont: thank you Herman
[13:55] AristotleVon Doobie: lol
[13:55] Gemma Cleanslate: ♥ Thank Youuuuuuuuuu!! ♥
[13:55] Bejiita Imako: ok cu soon ㋡
[13:55] Gemma Cleanslate: Bye, Bye ㋡
[13:55] Gemma Cleanslate: all see you soon
[13:55] Jozen Ocello: thanks and see you all on Thursday
[13:55] bergfrau Apfelbaum: ty :-)
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Friday, October 22, 2010

280: Supersense and Politics

You may wonder whether our efforts to clarify the phenomenon of supersense has any practical meaning or not. I think, I can show you how practical our insights are.

In the Netherlands we have an extreme right-wing party. Some of you may have heard of its leader, Geert Wilders. In 2007 we had two members of the government, who had a double nationality, two passports.

One Dutch passport and one Moroccan passport. This Mr. Wilders then said, that he is against a double nationality. Not because these two persons were Morrocan.

Literally he said in parliament: " If you had blond hair and a Swedish passport, I would have said the same".

And what happens? Among the group of people who are now our new government is a lady (not blond), but with a Swedish passport!

Thence Mr. Wilders demands again for removal of this double nationally person, or the lady has to give up her swedish passport.

In my opinion this is a perfect example how our supersense operates in society. Let me quote Bruce to clarify my point.

Our mind design seems set to look for patterns and deeper causal explanations for the different kinds of things we think exist in the living world.

This process leads to spontaneous untaught concepts of essences, life energies and holistic connection. Many of these beliefs can also be found in ancient models of the natural world where hidden structures and mechanisms where thought to reflect a supernatural order in the universe.

While these intuitive concepts have real scientific validity to some extent, our naive way of thinking about them leads us to attribute additional properties that would be supernatural if true.

Such beliefs also influence the way we see ourselves as members of a group. In particular, our supersense leads us to infer something essential and integral to the group that should not be violated or contaminated by outside influences.

In this passport affaire we have a perfect example of how supernatural ideas work, or even endanger a society, for on the one hand we have us (the citizens with just a Dutch passport) and on the other hand there are those (inhabitants with more passports)

Here you see that because of the possession of two administrative documents this Mr. Wilders attributes a special quality to these persons, or actually the lack of a special quality: to be 100% Dutch only.

Of course it is formulated in other words. It is said that it is a show of loyalty to the Netherlands to give up your second passport.

What we are witnessing here is vulgar nationalism. The supernatural belief that living within the borders of a country adds to your person the special quality of being Dutch.

What we really see is a primitive way of thinking, which leads us to infer something essential and integral to the group that should not be violated or contaminated by outside influences.

We can feel revulsion and disgust for everything that deviates from the sacred values of the group. An obvious example of the intuitive inclination to revulsion is racism and in our case nationalism.

This passport affaire aims at vulgar nationalism. You also hear it in the words of the German prime minister, who said that the multi-cultural society has proven to be a failure.

Here you see how important it is to be aware of our drive to see forces and essences, where they are not. Nationalism and racism have left deep wounds in European history, as it has elsewhere on this planet.

When you are not one of us, we identify you as someone who is not prepared the share the group's sacred values even when these values are purely arbitrary. That is the attitude here. Dangerous.

This is because our supersense makes these values seem reasonable because of the moral indignation we experience fuelled by our intuitive emotional system. As social animals, we depend on our supersense, even when it flies in the face of reason. (Bruce)

Ok…and now the politicians at word. The man who is now Prime Minister said int 2007 and I quote:" The Dutch passport is not just a piece of paper, it stands for a nationality, a nation to which you belong and it just isn't right if you have a double nationality"

In 2010, just recently he was asked about the presence of a person with double nationality in his government… and I quote: "From the fact that I was familiar with her double nationality you may conclude that I do't see a problem here."

That is a super supersense world!!!!

The Discussion

[13:24] herman Bergson: Thank you....
[13:24] Gemma Cleanslate: oh brother
[13:24] Bejiita Imako: really crazy
[13:24] Alarice Beaumont: aw...that really is something... yes
[13:24] herman Bergson: Yes bejiita ..but that is the effect of our supersen...
[13:24] Gemma Cleanslate: we have the same type of thing going on here at this time
[13:24] Alarice Beaumont: but that is reality.. how ppl think
[13:25] herman Bergson: Yes Alarice...and we know it is based on nothing....but emotions
[13:25] Bejiita Imako: guess its a bit like what Hitler was thinking about killing all people in the world except the arians, not as extreme but same hirrible way of thinking in general
[13:25] Bejiita Imako: people are people
[13:25] Bejiita Imako: nomater where they are from
[13:25] Gemma Cleanslate: we are always reinventing ourselves i guess
[13:25] Alarice Beaumont: well... not so sure about that Herman.... it's the experience ppl have
[13:25] Alarice Beaumont: lol yes Gemma
[13:25] Gemma Cleanslate: is it not like situation ethics???
[13:25] AristotleVon Doobie: the idea of a melting pot of culture and hence nationalities is absurd in reality
[13:26] herman Bergson: Yes Alarice….
[13:26] Bejiita Imako: one other example in sweden is when fully educated engineers from iraque / iran or some other place are handed a vacuum cleaner or asked to mop toilets, in best case they become pizza bakers
[13:26] AristotleVon Doobie: the US has been taunted as melting pot, it is a false claim
[13:26] Alarice Beaumont: yes.. i think it would take generation to succeed in this Ari and the ppl really have to be willing
[13:26] herman Bergson: One of the characteristics of supersense ideas is that they are based on personal experience...never on scientific facts and research
[13:26] Bejiita Imako: thats racisctic and a horrible waste of human resource
[13:27] AristotleVon Doobie: groups will form within every group and then splintger off into new groups
[13:27] Alarice Beaumont: yes.. in the use it doesn't really melt... they just stay what they are, live near each other but thousand of miles away...
[13:27] Gemma Cleanslate: more than a generation this has been going on here every 40-50 years or so when new nationalities begin to grow here
[13:27] Alarice Beaumont: and keep their culture and even language... horrible
[13:28] Alarice Beaumont: hmm.. wrong word for this... but that's not melting in the way i would describe it
[13:28] Gemma Cleanslate: well
[13:28] Gemma Cleanslate: yes
[13:28] AristotleVon Doobie: the US governmenst even support the dual langues
[13:28] herman Bergson: We have the same problem here...
[13:28] herman Bergson: Morrocan women live here for 30 years and still dont speak Dutch...
[13:28] Gemma Cleanslate: but here usually the first generations does that and i dont blame them but after the second generation become adult they blend moer into the society
[13:29] Gemma Cleanslate: it is a case of education too
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: I think people should adapt somewhere to here at least, for example i dont speak arabic or farsi and they sometimes even cant speak english
[13:29] Jozen Ocello: policies
[13:29] AristotleVon Doobie: the politicians pander to the splintered groups for votes
[13:29] herman Bergson: But let's get back to the main issue here...
[13:29] Gemma Cleanslate: ♥ LOL ♥
[13:30] Qwark Allen: :-)
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:30] herman Bergson: nationalism and racisim are clear examples of supernatural thinking
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: its we and them sort of
[13:30] herman Bergson: and it proofs how dangerous supernatural thinking can be for our species if it wants to survive
[13:31] Alarice Beaumont: and Herman.. i never would have put that subject under "superstitious"
[13:31] Gemma Cleanslate: wow never really considered it a supernatural thinking
[13:31] herman Bergson: that is the point I wanted to make today...
[13:31] herman Bergson: But it is Gemma...
[13:31] Bejiita Imako: hmm not me wither but guess can be logical
[13:32] Gemma Cleanslate: yes i see
[13:32] herman Bergson: Put me on the table…dissect me...and try to find my Dutchness in the corps
[13:32] Gemma Cleanslate: ♥ LOL ♥
[13:32] Alarice Beaumont: isn't it just putting the experience one had with some person... on to all
[13:32] AristotleVon Doobie: would you equate the stated example as be relative to the political parties ing the US, Republic & Democrat? One must believe the whole platform to belong?
[13:32] Gemma Cleanslate: i bet it is visible
[13:32] Alarice Beaumont: lool
[13:32] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:32] herman Bergson: Ok...I wear wooden
[13:32] Alarice Beaumont: loool
[13:32] ladyy Haven: lol
[13:33] Bejiita Imako: haha
[13:33] Bejiita Imako: that i have some really good ones rl
[13:33] herman Bergson: what is ignored is that we are just human beings...
[13:33] Bejiita Imako: yes we are all the same
[13:34] herman Bergson: a bumblebee in the US doesn't differ from a bumblebee in the Netherlands....same insects...or do we have Dutch bumblebees, that don't speak english???
[13:34] AristotleVon Doobie: primally, we are all the same, cerebrally we are all different
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: one thing i love with SL is you meet people from all world and have great fun
[13:34] herman Bergson: the idea that we are a idiotic supersense ado....
[13:34] herman Bergson: and look how politicians deal with it...
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: not at all on the completely wrong way
[13:35] herman Bergson: Bruce admits too...we need such supernatioral ideas to keep the group together
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: groups to me are people i like no matter where they are from
[13:36] herman Bergson: you are globalized Bejiita :-)
[13:36] Bejiita Imako: like in SL the hydra group is where i have really good friends
[13:36] Bejiita Imako: all of you
[13:36] Jozen Ocello: i think diversity draws the group closer together in a way...
[13:36] AristotleVon Doobie: our society of groups are similar to the food chain, the langer groups are a danger to the smaller ones
[13:37] herman Bergson: So the US is a danger to the little ones Aristitle??? :-)
[13:37] AristotleVon Doobie: certainly a danger to individuals
[13:37] AristotleVon Doobie: yes the US is a danger :))
[13:37] herman Bergson: smiles...
[13:37] Gemma Cleanslate: afraid so
[13:37] Bejiita Imako: aaa some don't even know the world map, they think the world is only USA
[13:38] herman Bergson: Better get back to our philosphical point...
[13:38] AristotleVon Doobie: it is that human nature thing and the lack of control of it by our reasoning mind
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: mixes sweden with schweiz thinking we make watches and sweden house the LHC
[13:39] herman Bergson: If I would believe you Bejiita it really seems to be so..:-)
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: well we have particle accelerators, biggest syncrotron light source in world is being built and wee also will have the ESS accelerator, the worlds biggest neutron gun
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: i at least think the MAX 4 accelerator will be the biggest
[13:40] herman Bergson: Well..I think that you now all have seen how supersense works in society...
[13:40] Bejiita Imako: we have that but NOT the LHC
[13:40] Bejiita Imako: aaa yes
[13:40] Bejiita Imako: really interesting ideas
[13:40] herman Bergson: We always have to be on alert to expose that kind of thinking...
[13:40] AristotleVon Doobie: It seems civilized society is merely manipulated anarchy, whoever has the biggest gun wins
[13:40] Bejiita Imako: about stuff i get SOOOO mad about when i read the news sometimes
[13:41] Qwark Allen: fear will be the biggest gun
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:41] Jozen Ocello: almost like in the game, civilization
[13:41] herman Bergson: ANother chapter Qwark...but a big one ^_^
[13:41] Qwark Allen: :-)
[13:41] Qwark Allen: nice
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: aa yes, i thought about that one, in that game i can be a real swine killing lot of others and play hitler and so but thats only a game, I am not like that
[13:41] herman Bergson: So I guess..I made my point and you got the idea for today...
[13:42] Gemma Cleanslate: ♥ LOL ♥
[13:42] Gemma Cleanslate: yes
[13:42] Bejiita Imako: but i like to play CIV
[13:42] Gemma Cleanslate: got it!
[13:42] AristotleVon Doobie: and the fear of the double passports goes deep into the innate urge to survive, you and your group
[[13:42] herman Bergson: Then I thank you all for your participation.....
[13:42] Gemma Cleanslate: ♥ Thank Youuuuuuuuuu!! ♥
[13:42] Gemma Cleanslate: for class
[13:42] Bejiita Imako: YAY! (yay!)
[13:42] Bejiita Imako: great Herman
[13:42] Gemma Cleanslate: i missed tues will read on the blog
[13:42] Bejiita Imako: got some really nice insights
[13:42] AristotleVon Doobie: Thank you Professor
[13:42] herman Bergson: The double passport issue is utter nonsense!
[13:42] Qwark Allen: very interesting as always
[13:43] Jozen Ocello: thanks
[13:43] Bejiita Imako: true
[13:43] Gemma Cleanslate: have been busy in rl and at the burn2
[13:43] Bejiita Imako: ah burs 2 is really fun
[13:43] Gemma Cleanslate: hope i will make it on tuesday
[13:43] AristotleVon Doobie: indeed , but it puts a foreign agent in you midst to some
[13:43] Bejiita Imako: wonder what happens there now
[13:43] Alarice Beaumont: yes.. me too
[13:43] Bejiita Imako: did y played before Q
[13:43] herman Bergson: Class dismissed :-)
[13:43] Qwark Allen: ☆ - ~*~Partyyyyyyyyyy!!!!~*~ - ☆
[13:43] Qwark Allen: indeed, and was nice
13:43] Bejiita Imako: aa ㋡

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

279: supersense and the Body 2

In my previous lecture I stated that our natural way of thinking about life tells us that there are essences, which in living organisms are fueled by a life force (élan vital), while all is part of a whole.

With 'our natural way of thinking' I mean the way of thinking that is the result of how our brain is wired. There is a logical, scientific way of thinking, but you have to learn that.

The natural way of thinking you don't need to learn. It develops and emerges from childhood on and stays with us al our life. It is a mix of rationality and supernatural thinking.

One basic trait of the mind is to organize our experiences and put them in categories: male, female, herbivore, bird, fish and so on…And here we find a nice example in the bible book Leviticus.

There you find a detailed list of animals which are clean and which are unclean. One explanation was that certain animals were indicated as unclean because in the warm climate they could cause easily diseases.

But this explanation doesn't apply to all listed animals. One intriguing alternative is that the unclean animals didn't fit into the categories, which people had in mind.

When the cow is a clean animal, all clean animals of that kind have to fit to its properties: slip hooves and chewing cud.

This made the camel unclean, because it brings up its cud, but its hoof is not split. Same with the pig…it has split hooves but doesn't chew its cud.

The jewish scholars in those days thought that such violations were abominations of the natural world. This is an example of our inclination to chop up nature into all kinds of categories which we think exist. And as you see, it may lead to conclusions which only can be justified by our supersense.

Take for instance the essence of being human , that invisible property that distinguishes us from nonhumans. We love to believe that, especially certain philosophers.

However, you can define an individual human being in a dozen ways, as a prince, an adolescent, a male, a neurotic, an athlete.

So which is the "right" definition. There isn't. The idea that there is only one true individual essence is nonsense.

Genetic manipulation is another example of how our supersense, our belief in essences works.

"When we hear about scientists inserting genes of fish into mice and potatoes, we feel squeamish. It just does not seem right. It’s not natural.", says Bruce Hood.

Related to the notion of essence is the idea of a life force, something that is in living animals but not in dead ones. This is vitalism, an ancient belief that the body is motivated by an inner energy.

We are not talking about the biochemical processes here, but about that extra, an "élan vital", or as you find in many religions, we are talking about the soul, often even understood as that force that makes us that unique individual we are.

Many believe that when somebody dies, something is leaving the body. In movies they love to show it as a half transparent copy of the deceased.

Don't you remember that movie where the deceased tries to warn his girlfriend. Forgot the title, only know that Whoopi Goldberg plays a part in it too and that scene at the potter's wheel.

herman Bergson : Anyone?
AristotleVon Doobie: Ghost
Qwark Allen : i remember
Qwark Allen : yes
Jozen Ocello : oh yes, ghost
Jozen Ocello : like that movie
herman Bergson : Yes Ghost...!
Bejiita Imako : ah ok
herman Bergson : I loved that movie...
AristotleVon Doobie: Patrick Swaysy
herman Bergson : yes and that girl...who was she...
Jozen Ocello : oh yeah... and Demi Moore?
AristotleVon Doobie: Demi Moore
herman Bergson : great!
Let me quote Bruce Hood on this intuitive vitalism: "... an emerging naive vitalism helps children to appreciate the nature of death as final and something that happens to everyone. Intuitive theories don’t have to be scientifically accurate to be useful.

Again I'll like to emphasize, in the realm of (scientific) knowledge ideas generated by supersense are nonsense, but on the other hand time and again it appears that we can't live as social beings without this nonsense (in an epistemological sense).

Let me quote Bruce Hood on this intuitive vitalism: "... an emerging naive vitalism helps children to appreciate the nature of death as final and something that happens to everyone. Intuitive theories don’t have to be scientifically accurate to be useful.

Again I'll like to emphasize, in the realm of (scientific) knowledge ideas generated by supersense are nonsense, but on the other hand time and again it appears that we can't live as social beings without this nonsense (in an epistemological sense).

The Discussion

[13:19] herman Bergson: Thank you... ^_^
[13:20] herman Bergson: If you have any questions or remarks...the floor is yours :-)
[13:21] herman Bergson: Don't tell me you are speechless...^_^
[13:21] Qwark Allen: indeed
[13:21] Beertje Beaumont: were would we be without any supersense? gives us safety
[13:21] AristotleVon Doobie: This concept of soul then is a result of Supersense and not tutoring?
[13:21] Qwark Allen: still thinking about
[13:22] herman Bergson: Yes Aristotle...where would we be without our supernatural beliefs...
[13:22] Beertje Beaumont: it gives us a safe feeling..and we need that to survive
[13:22] herman Bergson: I really don't know unless I would say that we would be rational beings then
[13:22] AristotleVon Doobie: I agree with Beertje about the safety of the sentiment, but the roots of it must be in instruction
[13:23] herman Bergson: Yes but these supersense ideas are also a source of great danger for our survival..
[13:24] herman Bergson: Just look at religious and nationalistic fanaticism..
[13:24] Beertje Beaumont: yes true
[13:24] AristotleVon Doobie: I can see that the primal brain gets involved in the formation of such things
[13:24] herman Bergson: Iran building nuclear plants to safe its nation ...
[13:24] Beertje Beaumont: but if there is nothing to live for..after we are dead..what is the use of living then?
[13:25] herman Bergson: let focus on Beertje's is most important....
[13:25] AristotleVon Doobie: ahh, the joy of living must be its own reward
[13:25] herman Bergson: What implies her remark....
[13:25] herman Bergson: One implication is that life has a goal...
[13:26] herman Bergson: a fundamental issue...
[13:26] herman Bergson: but the result of our supernatual thinking to believe that
[13:26] herman Bergson: there is nothing in this world that indicates that what is has a goal...
[13:26] herman Bergson: a final destiny
[13:27] AristotleVon Doobie: or hope that it does so that we can feel worthy?
[13:27] AristotleVon Doobie: religion for one tells you you are unworthy from the get go
[13:28] herman Bergson: One particular characteristic of monotheistic religions is that they tell you that you are bad, a sinner, unworthy, that you have to kneel down
[13:29] herman Bergson: and have you noticed...
[13:29] herman Bergson: now that religion is in decline we re establish the same system.....
[13:29] AristotleVon Doobie: the first thing a child hears once they can reach out is 'no'
[13:29] herman Bergson: Now we are the unworthy criminals destroying this planet..
[13:30] herman Bergson: God had been replaced by Earth
[13:30] herman Bergson: Sinner has been replaced by pollution creator
[13:30] Jozen Ocello: i wonder if this is where spirituality comes in? being spiritual rather than religious?
[13:30] herman Bergson: Our brain seems to be wired to think in such terms
[13:31] herman Bergson: May be Jozen.....
[13:31] Beertje Beaumont: writing a novel Itsme?
[13:31] AristotleVon Doobie: :) yes, seems sinful to destroy your support system
[13:31] herman Bergson: his memoirs Beertje...his memoirs
[13:31] Beertje Beaumont: lol
[13:32] AristotleVon Doobie: stuttering a lot
[13:32] itsme Frederix: Beertje, that might help
[13:32] herman Bergson: the more than an average of 17 words ^_^
[13:32] Daruma Boa: oh sorry 2 say that. i have to leave now.
[13:33] herman Bergson: Take care, Daruma
[13:33] itsme Frederix: my average is this sentence divided by ... all these lines shorter than 17
[13:33] Daruma Boa: hope 2 be here on thursday^^^
[13:33] Bejiita Imako: ok cu Daruma
[13:33] Beertje Beaumont: i read that later Itsme..i need time to read english
[13:33] AristotleVon Doobie: spiritualty has to equate to religion somehow
[13:33] herman Bergson: there is a difference between spirituality and religion...
[13:34] AristotleVon Doobie: or could spirituality be merely appreciation and respect?
[13:34] herman Bergson: religion is always related to the group and to some kind of organisation
[13:34] herman Bergson: spirituality might mean the person way of using your supersense, having your own supernatural ideas to comfort you
[13:35] herman Bergson: Is that what you meant Jozen?
[13:35] Jozen Ocello: yes
[13:35] AristotleVon Doobie: well, I am certainly grateful for the sun, I don't really know to whom tho
[13:36] herman Bergson: Yes Aristotle...also such a supersense be grateful for the sun..for life, for your health
[13:36] herman Bergson: and indeed to whom????
[13:36] AristotleVon Doobie: yes indeed
[13:36] AristotleVon Doobie: to me I suppose
[13:36] herman Bergson: I think so too Aristotle....
[13:37] herman Bergson: But I think the word grateful should be replaced by 'happy'
[13:37] herman Bergson: I am happy with the sun , with life , with my health...that makes sense
[13:37] Jozen Ocello: i think religion and spirituality are very closely related and indeed similar in some ways depending on how people define them, but i think spirituality is perhaps more tied to supersense than religion
[13:37] AristotleVon Doobie: ahhh, then that is the purpose of life.....happiness and the sharing of it
[13:37] Bejiita Imako: YAY! (yay!)
[13:37] itsme Frederix: the bright side of life
[13:38] herman Bergson: yes ...but some religions forbid us to feel have to stay aware of the fact that we are still sinners...
[13:38] AristotleVon Doobie: yes LOL I have seen it, you must be miserable to go to heaven
[13:38] herman Bergson: And others say...happy ? arrogant jerk...
[13:39] AristotleVon Doobie: LOL, thats me
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: haha
[13:39] herman Bergson: great!
[13:39] Jozen Ocello: lol
[13:40] herman Bergson: As you see, our supersense can be comforting, but also endangering our existence
[13:40] AristotleVon Doobie: like most things, depends who is weilding it
[13:40] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:41] herman Bergson: yes Aristotle...and then we enter the realm of philosophy...of ethics for instance
[13:41] herman Bergson: We have to the face the ontological questions....Beertje's question..what is the purpose of life...
[13:42] herman Bergson: We'll come to that later
[13:42] AristotleVon Doobie: is Itsme still typing?
[13:43] herman Bergson: So I suggest we'll wait for the lecture of Thursday ..:-)
[13:43] itsme Frederix: thats the wood it hurts a little
[13:43] AristotleVon Doobie: :))
[13:43] herman Bergson: should we collect some money for Itsme, so that he can buy proper clothes?
[13:43] Bejiita Imako: hhe
[13:44] Beertje Beaumont: lol
[13:44] Bejiita Imako: ah all his clothes are probably just in the wash
[13:44] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:44] itsme Frederix: All I want is that you leave me some sunshine ;)
[13:44] herman Bergson: we'll give him a landmark to a freebie store ^_^
[13:44] AristotleVon Doobie: :))
[13:45] Jozen Ocello: you would have two tans by the end of it, itsme hehe
[13:45] Bejiita Imako: hehe¨
[13:45] itsme Frederix: suckers
[13:45] herman Bergson: Well...thank you all for your participation again...
[13:45] AristotleVon Doobie: Thank you, always very interesting
[13:45] Bejiita Imako: nice as usual this ㋡
[13:45] Beertje Beaumont: thank you Herman
[13:45] herman Bergson: Class dismissed... ^_^
[13:45] Jozen Ocello: thanks look forward to Thursday's session
[13:45] Bejiita Imako: interesting
[13:45] herman Bergson: No homework today :-)
[13:45] Jozen Ocello: cool!
[13:45] AristotleVon Doobie: great I can Party
[13:45] AristotleVon Doobie: LOL
[13:45] Jozen Ocello: lazy student here :P
[13:45] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:46] Beertje Beaumont: yay!
[13:46] Qwark Allen: eheheh
[13:46] Qwark Allen: nice
[13:46] Qwark Allen: \o/
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Monday, October 18, 2010

278: Supersense and the Body

Not only regarding the mind makes our supersense us think that it is independent of the body. Also regarding our biology offers our supersense, our ability to hold supernatural beliefs, interesting perspectives.

You certainly know about conjoined twins, bearded ladies, microencephalics, shemales, dwarfs, giants, and albinos. I wonder? Should I add homosexual and lesbian people also to this list?

A lot of people call these beings human freaks and in fact, this is very odd, for the only thing you really can say is that they represent only a small percentage of the human species.

Are they human beings or not? A lot of people might say…hmmm…yes…no..well…yes, but they are freaks. But where does this biological insight come from. Well, one would reply, such beings are not really a human male or female….you know. They are freaks of nature.

What is revealed by this way of thinking is a result of our supersense. It teaches us to believe that there is The FEMALE and The MALE as the real categories in nature.

Just like the intuitive theories of the mind that we saw in the previous lectures, intuitive biological theories of life lead us to assume a number of ideas that lay the foundation for supernatural thinking.


In biology identity and uniqueness of an organism is established by DNA.

Measurable quantities of energy are produced by the so called Krebs cycle, a chemical reaction in the cell.

No man, not even a fly, is an island. We are all part of a large eco-system. This means that biological systems are interconnected.

Examples of it you find in evolutionary theory, in symbiotic physiology and for instance in the "Gaia" theory of ecology of James Lovelock.

But our supersense makes us believe that there is more than these scientific facts. Before we knew all these facts, humans naturally assumed their existence in the form of intuitive essentialism, vitalism and holism.

I guess that a perfect example of this way of thinking about nature is the famous saying in the Star War movies: "May the Force be with you !" We intuitively know what it meant……

We infer essential, vital, and connected properties operating in the world that go beyond what has been scientifically proven.

We might get in trouble if we were asked to describe what the Force really is, but ok….

Maybe when you understand Feng Shui, a 3000 years old chinese philosophy that teaches how the environment can influence happiness, you'll get a glimpse of the meaning of the force, named "Chi"

Thus, our natural way of thinking about life tells us that there are essences, which in living organisms are fueled by a life force (élan vital), while all is part of a whole.

We regard this as a rather acceptable line of reasoning and you find example in philosophy. It was the great Plato (428 - 348 BC) himself, who believed in the existence of essences.

And my namesake, Henri-Louis Bergson (1859 - 1941), introduced with his philosophy of vitalism the "élan vital", an ubiquitous force.

How we develop this essentialist vitalist, holistic frame of mine with our supersense will be our subject for the next lectures.

The Discussion

[13:21] herman Bergson: Thank you...:-)
[13:21] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:21] herman Bergson: If you have a question or remark..the floor is yours ^_^
[13:22] Bejiita Imako: hmm this concept with chi is kind of widespread for sure
[13:22] Alarice Beaumont: great lesson... read some about feng shui and explored some places when being in hongkong
[13:22] Bejiita Imako: used in many different ways
[13:22] herman Bergson: Yes Feng Shui is popular....
[13:22] Alarice Beaumont: quite remarkable how even the architecture is influenced this
[13:23] Alarice Beaumont: not only a believe alone.. like others... more a kind of lifestyle
[13:23] herman Bergson: I had a colleague, professor in architecture who used Feng Shui as guidlines for his design...
[13:24] herman Bergson: But of course the whole idea is generated by our supersense....
[13:24] herman Bergson: We love to believe that there is more.....whatever it is
[13:24] Gemma Cleanslate: yes but here is more about the placement of furniture
[13:24] Gemma Cleanslate: for a good chi
[13:24] Alarice Beaumont: yes and it's somehow funny that a bad ghost is hindered in entering a house just by building the entrance not straight.
[13:24] Alarice Beaumont: yes.. water and stone too
[13:24] Gemma Cleanslate: ♥ LOL ♥
[13:24] Gemma Cleanslate: never heard that
[13:24] Gemma Cleanslate: nice one
[13:25] Alarice Beaumont: am quite fascinated by it
[13:25] herman Bergson: Yes even a plant in the corridor can do the job
[13:25] Bejiita Imako: an extreme example of the use of this force is from the series my avatar is from, there my character type called saiyans can focus huge amounts of this energy and focus to a beam than can even blast planets to pieces
[13:25] herman Bergson: But here we have the quinessence of the problem....
[13:25] herman Bergson: we have no means to prove that bad ghosts exist...
[13:26] herman Bergson: and even when they exist we have no means to prove that a not straight door keeps them out
[13:26] herman Bergson: typical supernatural law of nature applies here
[13:26] Bejiita Imako: have heard many examples of haunted houses
[13:26] Alarice Beaumont: and still people believe in it.. official buildings are build reagarding those rules!
[13:27] Bejiita Imako: where people say they hear someone walking on the nights on the attics and so
[13:27] herman Bergson: Oh yes....!
[13:27] Bejiita Imako: lot of such stories
[13:27] herman Bergson: I know Bejiita...not a single one has a solid proof however
[13:27] herman Bergson: But again.....
[13:27] Bejiita Imako: nope
[13:27] herman Bergson: read me well....
[13:28] herman Bergson: I dont say that supernatural thinking is utter nonsense and should be forbidden....
[13:28] herman Bergson: A man like Dawkins would plead for that....
[13:28] herman Bergson: I dont...
[13:28] herman Bergson: supernatural thinking is a part of how our brain works...
[13:28] herman Bergson: you cant deny that....
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: true
[13:29] Alarice Beaumont: no.. true
[13:29] herman Bergson: what I try to explain is WHY we love this supernatural thinking...
[13:29] herman Bergson: and how to deal with it....
[13:29] herman Bergson: We take a lot of decisions based on supernatural thinking.....
[13:30] herman Bergson: take religious choices, moslim terrorists, suicide bommers and so on...
[13:30] Alarice Beaumont: which the people won't admit when ask... or do you think most will?
[13:30] herman Bergson: Religious people would admit it ...
[13:31] herman Bergson: We have christian political parties here
[13:31] herman Bergson: there exists christian democratic politics...whatever it may be
[13:31] herman Bergson: we have three belief systems....
[13:32] herman Bergson: science, religion and supernatural beliefs (astrology etc.)
[13:32] herman Bergson: what it is all about is the truth claim...
[13:33] Alaya Kumaki: yes the monolitism world perspective is also coming from a central supernatural being
[13:33] herman Bergson: and to establish the truth we need an intersubjective method to do so...
[13:33] herman Bergson: the only method we have discovered so far is scientific method...
[13:34] herman Bergson: so that is our situation
[13:34] herman Bergson: this leads to the question....
[13:35] herman Bergson: why are we willing to take for true what can not prove it is true... (religion/supernatural)?
[13:35] Gemma Cleanslate: back to the begiining again ....
[13:35] Gemma Cleanslate: our early life?
[13:35] Gemma Cleanslate: our environment?
[13:35] Alaya Kumaki: well the paradise that was here seems to have been put out there into the supernatural world, and then no care but the run to the grant has been push on, no care for our natural world out there,,
[13:35] herman Bergson: Yes….GEamma…
[13:36] Bejiita Imako: cause when we don't know we MUST have an explanation for anyway i guess
[13:36] herman Bergson: we have seen that the brain is wired to do so...
[13:36] herman Bergson: Yes Bejiita...our primary drive...
[13:36] Alaya Kumaki: the brain is also wired to biology understanding
[13:36] herman Bergson: to discover patterns and structures in nature
[13:37] herman Bergson: If you mean scientific knowledge of our biology Alaya , yes
[13:37] Alaya Kumaki: yes biology of our nature too
[13:38] herman Bergson: and there we make big progress , especially in the field of neurobiology
[13:39] Alaya Kumaki: well not so much yet, my son was having an operation in the brans, when a tiny baby, and they dont know much yet, not yet
[13:39] herman Bergson: In a way it solved philosophical disputes...
[13:39] herman Bergson: I agree Alaya,....
[13:39] Alaya Kumaki: itsa beginning they say they never know what is coming out its very complex
[13:40] herman Bergson: oh yes....
[13:40] Alarice Beaumont: will never really be fully explored.. i think
[13:40] herman Bergson: if you compare the progress in the field with the complexity of this subject, we are just at the beginning
[13:40] Alarice Beaumont: too much.. people are to different, they cannot be pressed into a sheme
[13:41] herman Bergson: No Alarice....we still dont understand the concept of Mind....
[13:41] Alaya Kumaki: imagine they create medz that act through neural field, and they have surprise , like for prozak ,ext, other response of other neural connection , to many connections interacting together
[13:41] herman Bergson: like the Self, or personal identity....
[13:42] herman Bergson: It will be a big philosophical puzzle to answer the question...what makes a person to a unique person...
[13:43] Gemma Cleanslate: yes it will
[13:43] Alarice Beaumont: yes sure is
[13:43] herman Bergson: So still plenty of work to do :-)
[13:43] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:43] Gemma Cleanslate: never ending
[13:43] Alaya Kumaki: herman, because there is only one persons sitting at that person's places;)
[13:44] Gemma Cleanslate: too easy we might all be thinking the same way
[13:44] Gemma Cleanslate: exactly the same
[13:44] Gemma Cleanslate: and dont
[13:44] herman Bergson: But by clarifying the presence of the supersense in our brain, it helps use to drop at least a number of explanations...
[13:44] herman Bergson: Like the presence of an immortal soul for instance
[13:45] herman Bergson: looks around......
[13:45] herman Bergson: hmm...nobody seems to care about that anymore ^_^
[13:46] Gemma Cleanslate: well would be nice
[13:46] Alarice Beaumont: the soul lives on :-) the soul is energy
[13:46] Beertje Beaumont: how do you know?
[13:46] herman Bergson: We'll see Alarice :-)
[13:47] Gemma Cleanslate: you missed last week Alarice
[13:47] Gemma Cleanslate: :-)
[13:47] Beertje Beaumont: no one ever came back
[13:47] Alarice Beaumont: yes.. and i have to admit.. i didn't read the blog before coming
[13:47] herman Bergson: no Beertje.... I am still waiting for that too
[13:47] Beertje Beaumont: it will never happen
[13:47] Alaya Kumaki: nobody resurrected so far, its my believes
[13:48] herman Bergson: Very complicated subject...
[13:48] bergfrau Apfelbaum: thanks for the interesting lecture, herman,… he works still longer, in me
[13:48] Alaya Kumaki: the legend of coming back from the under world, meant something else and its a very old legend that was repeated
[13:48] Gemma Cleanslate: ▓▒░ ♪♫♩ ॐ ॐ ॐ ((-: QWARK :-)) ॐ ॐ ॐ ♪♫♩ ▓▒░
[13:48] Gemma Cleanslate: is doing 80-90 today at the corner cave
[13:49] Gemma Cleanslate: and i will bring the intan
[13:49] Qwark Allen: yes
[13:49] herman Bergson: Yes a number of religions have such a story
[13:49] Gemma Cleanslate: yes
[13:49] Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:49] Gemma Cleanslate: and the buddhists believe in many lives
[13:49] herman Bergson: Well....We'll continue next Tuesday....
[13:49] Alarice Beaumont: yes.
[13:49] Gemma Cleanslate: ok see you then
[13:50] Gemma Cleanslate: come to the party!!
[13:50] Qwark Allen: :-)
[13:50] Gemma Cleanslate: your kind of dance music today
[13:50] Alaya Kumaki: it was found to be an old old legend and some images in a cave about it are still in italy, a very older legend than the religions one,,,
[13:50] herman Bergson: Thank you all for your participation.... :-)
[13:50] Gemma Cleanslate: ♥ Thank Youuuuuuuuuu!! ♥
[13:50] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:50] herman Bergson: Clas dismissed....
[13:50] Qwark Allen: ¸¸.☆´ ¯¨☆.¸¸`☆** **☆´ ¸¸.☆¨¯`☆ H E R MA N ☆´ ¯¨☆.¸¸`☆** **☆´ ¸¸.☆¨¯`
[13:50] Qwark Allen: thank you
[13:50] herman Bergson: Party time, Gemma!
[13:50] Qwark Allen: very interesting subject
[13:50] Bejiita Imako: this was nice as usual
[13:50] Bejiita Imako: aaa yeah
[13:50] herman Bergson: thank you...
[13:51] Beertje Beaumont: dankjewel Herman
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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

277: The Illusion of the Independent Mind

"We treat the mind and the body as separate because that is what we experience. I am controlling my body, but I am more than just my body. We sense that we exist independently of our bodies.", says Bruce Hood.

This is a very peculiar situation, we are in. It does not, however, touch our epistemological position, in my opinion. Kant is right when he states that the mind has its own mechanisms to make sensory experiences meaningful experiences.

Otherwise stated, we would say that the brain is not an empty vessel that gets filled up as soon as consciousness emerges in the human organism, but that it comes with a extensive toolbox to help it understand and interact with its environment.

Statements which are knowledge claims, tell us something about the world, which is independent of the mind and describe states of affairs, which we can check.

One state of affairs of which we claim that it is really the case, is our conclusion that the mind is generated by the brain. No brain means no mind.

A physically damaged brain means a damaged mind. A chemically influenced brain with pills or drugs results in a seriously influenced or confused mind.

And yet we generally experience our mind as a kind of independent of our body. The mind controls the body and we are not easily inclined to believe that the body controls the mind, although this seems to be the actual state of affairs.

Linguistically the mind is enigmatic. We can construct sentences which have a proper syntax, but sound so puzzling. For instance:
"I have a mind."

Pretty simple observation it seems, isn't it, but compare it with the statement "I have a car". Looks 100% the same, but the semantical conclusions are puzzling.

That car isn't me. It is an physical object,which I possess. The statement "I have a mind" can't have the same semantics. The mind is not some physical object. Then what does this statement mean? And who is that "I" who possesses a mind?

You probably know officer Murphy from the movie Robocop. His brain without memories is implanted in a cybernetic machine. He is regarded to be just a machine until gradually his memories come back.

In Kafka's The Metamorphosis (Die Verwandlung, 1915) Gregor Samsa discovered that he has changed into a huge beetle, but he still is Gregor Samsa.

These examples suggest that we have some strong opinions about what makes something a unique human person. Adults are inclined to believe you are you as long as your mind and memories are there, whether the brain is in a jar or in your body.

Our conscious experience of our own minds and memories inclines us to think of minds being unique and the source of personal identity. We certainly don’t think our own minds and memories could belong to other people, says Bruce Hood in his book Supersense.

Alzheimer confronts us too with this idea of personal identity. A friend of mine once said to me: " It is so hard to visit her. She looks like my mother, but she isn't my mother anymore."

From childhood on we grow up with this dualistic view. Then it is easy to believe that the mind is not necessarily chained to the physical brain.

Thence, could there be a possibility, that the mind can escape the fate of the physical body and survive? This is a view that is strongly supported by all kinds of religions,

but we must recognize that the concept of the immortal soul originates in the normal reasoning processes of every child.

In an article, “The Development of ‘Afterlife’ Beliefs in Secularly and Religiously Schooled Children,” British Journal of Developmental Psychology 23 (2005), three researchers observed

that children raised in a secular environment may express fewer afterlife beliefs than children raised in a religious household, but they still retain notions of some form of mental life that survives death.

The survival of such ideas into adulthood does not need to be the result of indoctrination in childhood. It appeals to our supersense to think that we can continue to exist after our death.

I won't deal with these issues now, but here we run into fundamental philosophical questions about The Self, Consciousness and Personal Identity.

That is work still to be done, so stay tuned!

The Discussion

[13:23] herman Bergson: thank you :-)
[13:23] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:23] herman Bergson: If you have a question or remark....feel free..
[13:24] herman Bergson: This was a bit much I guess in a nutshell
[13:24] Gemma Cleanslate: the mind is not chained to the body
[13:24] AristotleVon Doobie: I wonder if a child were isolated from birth to the interview if they would express the same belief in the after life of their mind
[13:24] Gemma Cleanslate: interesting
[13:24] Gemma Cleanslate: i think they would not expect the life they are in to disappear
[13:25] herman Bergson: Well fact the mind is...tho we have difficulty to believe this
[13:25] Gemma Cleanslate: so.. isolation would not lead to death thoughts
[13:25] herman Bergson: And Aristotle...the development of the mind is well described by Piaget..
[13:26] herman Bergson: so the dualistic idea about oneself is almost an innate line of thinking...
[13:26] herman Bergson: We experience the mind as something different from the body...
[13:26] herman Bergson: we don't experience it as being physical
[13:27] Gemma Cleanslate: that is true
[13:27] herman Bergson: that mad e Descartes believe that the mind is a non substantial substance...
[13:27] AristotleVon Doobie: I hear you, but have to think that the mind is influenced not only through self exploratioin but parents and peers
[13:27] AristotleVon Doobie: even at a young age
[13:27] Gemma Cleanslate: that is very true ari
[13:27] Gemma Cleanslate: oh yes
[13:28] Gemma Cleanslate: hi jozen
[13:28] herman Bergson: yes but even then the dualistic view is not necessarily the result of indoctrination in childhood...
[13:28] Jozen Ocello: Hi Herman sorry I'm late
[13:28] Jozen Ocello: hi Gemma hi everyone
[13:28] herman Bergson: it is a logical consequence of how the mind develops
[13:28] Gemma Cleanslate: yes
[13:28] Bejiita Imako: hi Jozen
[13:29] Beertje Beaumont: hi josen
[13:29] AristotleVon Doobie: I would agree to the development of the mind post birth, yes
[13:29] AristotleVon Doobie: but I fear I hold strongly to the tabula rasa
[13:29] Jozen Ocello accepted your inventory offer.
[13:29] Gemma Cleanslate: :-)
[13:29] herman Bergson: there you are refuted by neurobiological facts Aristotle
[13:29] Gemma Cleanslate: i don't think so
[13:30] Gemma Cleanslate: yes
[13:30] Gemma Cleanslate: read piaget
[13:30] herman Bergson: Kant was right in my opinion
[13:30] AristotleVon Doobie: LOL, someone just needs to convince me otherwise
[13:30] Gemma Cleanslate: ok
[13:30] Gemma Cleanslate: not me
[13:30] AristotleVon Doobie: so far not enough evidence for me
[13:30] herman Bergson: read all reseach done on babies
[13:30] herman Bergson: takes out his baseball bat...
[13:31] herman Bergson: ok
[13:31] AristotleVon Doobie: :)))
[13:31] Gemma Cleanslate: that is why there are so many philosophers with different approaches
[13:31] Gemma Cleanslate: ♥ LOL ♥
[13:31] Gemma Cleanslate: about the same life
[13:32] herman Bergson: Ye t I hope to show you that neurobiological evidence shows that we are no clean slate at birth
[13:32] AristotleVon Doobie: in talking about the mind my daughter reproached me for thinking theer is one
[13:32] Gemma Cleanslate: ♥ LOL ♥
[13:32] Gemma Cleanslate: at what age
[13:32] AristotleVon Doobie: she is taking a a neurobiological class and thinks there is on neurons
[13:32] AristotleVon Doobie: only
[13:33] Gemma Cleanslate: ah
[13:33] herman Bergson: No children prefer to speak of I and me....they hardly use the word mind in conversation
[13:33] AristotleVon Doobie: she is a senior
[13:33] AristotleVon Doobie: college
[13:33] herman Bergson: then she needs to clarify what she means by MIND
[13:33] AristotleVon Doobie: yes, I agree LOL
[13:34] Gemma Cleanslate: she will
[13:34] herman Bergson: But is she means that there does not exists more than the body then I would agree with her
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:34] herman Bergson: if
[13:34] AristotleVon Doobie: but her evidence is research to support her position
[13:34] AristotleVon Doobie: teh same evidence you have referenced :)
[13:34] AristotleVon Doobie: same evidence
[13:35] herman Bergson: Yes Aristotle....
[13:35] Gemma Cleanslate: in the next class she will think differently i imagine
[13:35] Gemma Cleanslate: what ever it is
[13:35] AristotleVon Doobie: it is funny, the concept of strictly biological reactions
[13:35] herman Bergson: I think that neurobiological research will clear a lot of philosophical disputes...
[13:35] Gemma Cleanslate: I think so too
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: yes maybe that
[13:36] AristotleVon Doobie: I asked her where the driver of the car was?
[13:36] herman Bergson: for instance the empiricist (Locke - tabula rasa ) view and Kantian rationalist view...
[13:36] herman Bergson: Ah......there you go Aristotle...
[13:37] herman Bergson: there is the illusion of the mind....
[13:37] Gemma Cleanslate: and she said?????
[13:37] herman Bergson: because your daughter could ask you...who is the driver of the driver?
[13:37] AristotleVon Doobie: LOL, she implied I was not sane in thinking differently LOL
[13:37] Gemma Cleanslate: oh well you are only her father
[13:38] AristotleVon Doobie: yes Gemma Indeed
[13:38] herman Bergson: You still think of the ghost in the machine Aristotle...
[13:38] AristotleVon Doobie: well, in my trilogy I suppose, the mind is the holy ghost
[13:38] herman Bergson: if the ghost controls the machine..ok...but who or what controls the ghost...
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:39] herman Bergson: let me rephrase…
[13:39] AristotleVon Doobie: my ghost apparently has gone rogue
[13:39] herman Bergson: I think about myself...
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: starts to sound like the classic saying turtles all way down
[13:39] herman Bergson: so I am smarter than myself...we are two...
[13:40] herman Bergson: But this I, can he think about himself too?...should be..yes
[13:40] herman Bergson: the problem here is....and we'll discuss that later
[13:40] herman Bergson: that you get in an infinite regress...
[13:40] herman Bergson: I think that I think that think that I think...
[13:40] Gemma Cleanslate: yes
[13:41] herman Bergson: so here the mind mKES short-circuiting
[13:41] AristotleVon Doobie: either way it is extremely titelating to think of it
[13:41] Gemma Cleanslate: yes
[13:41] herman Bergson: oh yes.....
[13:42] herman Bergson: I still havent' it figured out myself....
[13:42] herman Bergson: But here you see the influence on neurobiology on philosophy...
[13:42] AristotleVon Doobie: we will be very rich when we do
[13:42] Gemma Cleanslate: and there is so much discovered every day
[13:43] AristotleVon Doobie: teh discovery is exponential
[13:43] herman Bergson: yes Gemma....
[13:43] Bejiita Imako: indeed¨
[13:43] herman Bergson: When I wrote my thesis on this subject in 1977 neurobiology was hardly mentioned
[13:44] herman Bergson: the ideas of materialism were pure philosophical discourse...
[13:44] Jozen Ocello: the intersection of the two fields are most interesting indeed
[13:44] herman Bergson: but now to say that the brain is the mind and that the brain controls the mind is almost common knowledge in scientific circles
[13:45] Caipirisma Laval: we will have prove what happens when they are able to transplant a brain.. i think
[13:45] Gemma Cleanslate: oh gosh
[13:45] herman Bergson: What pleases me the most is ...that my arguments from 1977 now are corroberated by scientific evidence...
[13:46] AristotleVon Doobie: :)
[13:46] AristotleVon Doobie: I am sure
[13:46] Gemma Cleanslate: i have an idea it will be legally prevented in most countries
[13:46] herman Bergson: Well Cai...transplantin a brain was the issue in RObocop...
[13:46] Gemma Cleanslate: remember the first face transplant???
[13:46] Caipirisma Laval: i mean ..not in a movie:))
[13:46] Gemma Cleanslate: an uproar
[13:47] Jozen Ocello: oh yes, that wasn't too long ago was it, Gemma?
[13:47] Jozen Ocello: a very good example
[13:47] Gemma Cleanslate: no
[13:47] herman Bergson: What is the question at stake here is...what makes a person to an individual person....that is ..what is personal identity
[13:47] Gemma Cleanslate: within two years
[13:47] Gemma Cleanslate: that has been the question
[13:47] Caipirisma Laval: true..what happends..with memories..well the patient can tell us at that time..
[13:47] herman Bergson: That doesnt matter Cai..whether it is in a movie or in reality...
[13:48] Caipirisma Laval: i think it does matter
[13:48] herman Bergson: and yes GEmma...a face transplant...and personal identity...huge question
[13:48] AristotleVon Doobie: but how infintesimal the fulcrum point must be that determines which controls which, brainn or mind
[13:49] herman Bergson: Philosophically it isn't that important Cai....
[13:49] herman Bergson: it is only the difference between technically thinkable and technically possible...
[13:50] herman Bergson: if it is already thinkable, you have to face the philosophical questions..related to th eissue
[13:50] Caipirisma Laval: hmm..a brain cant function without the body..and body not without a brain..
[13:50] AristotleVon Doobie: and then the question arise, can the mind be excised
[13:50] herman Bergson: because it was thinkable to fly to the moon ..Jules Verne did so
[13:51] herman Bergson: It immediately provoked the question ..where is god and where is heaven
[13:51] herman Bergson: when the first russian astronaut was send in to space ..Gagarin....
[13:51] AristotleVon Doobie: once thought of, all that remains is technology to catch up with the thought
[13:52] herman Bergson: the first thing he said was...there is no heaven here...just space
[13:52] AristotleVon Doobie: LOL, he must have have the metaphor of heaven n his mind as being up
[13:52] herman Bergson: this is how philosophically thinkable and technically possible relate
[13:53] Bejiita Imako: what did he expected to find, little angels on clouds playing harps
[13:53] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:53] herman Bergson: I guess so yes...
[13:53] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:53] Caipirisma Laval: if technology change..philosophy change with it
[13:53] AristotleVon Doobie: some folks cant see the forest for the trees
[13:54] Caipirisma Laval: change of view..
[13:54] herman Bergson: In fact it is the other way around Cai.....
[13:54] Caipirisma Laval: possible to..smiles
[13:54] Jozen Ocello: i like what you said, Herman "philosophical thinkable" and "technologically possible"
[13:54] herman Bergson: when the scientist comes up with a new idea, new technology will emerge...
[13:55] Gemma Cleanslate: true
[13:55] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:55] herman Bergson: the scientist is the philosopher who changed his interpretation of nature
[13:55] AristotleVon Doobie: took awhile for DaVinci :)
[13:55] Caipirisma Laval: so it can be visa versa
[13:55] Bejiita Imako: I still wait for the LHC to give me hard facts about some stuff however the damn machine only stryggles now
[13:56] herman Bergson: yes Cai...first there is the thought...then there is the technology created based on the thought
[13:56] Bejiita Imako: dumped now when colliding the beams so have to start over again
[13:56] Bejiita Imako: ran fine yesterday at least
[13:56] Gemma Cleanslate: well
[13:56] Gemma Cleanslate: thing is so big!!!!!!
[13:56] Bejiita Imako: many theories to be answered by it
[13:56] Bejiita Imako: and i want to know SOON
[13:56] Bejiita Imako: curious like hell now
[13:57] AristotleVon Doobie: :)
[13:57] herman Bergson: I can imagine Bejiita...
[13:57] herman Bergson: Must be sensational to get the answer
[13:57] Gemma Cleanslate: his mind is obsessed with it
[13:57] Bejiita Imako: feels we get closer and closer but cant reach all the way now when it behave like this
[13:57] Gemma Cleanslate: :-0
[13:57] Gemma Cleanslate: better be soon!!!!
[13:58] Bejiita Imako: I want it to find some stuff that will rewrite all the schoolbooks
[13:58] herman Bergson: I would suggest we all light a candle for Bejiita....^_^
[13:58] Gemma Cleanslate: :-)
[13:58] AristotleVon Doobie: just don't let Texas write em
[13:58] Bejiita Imako: would be amazing
[13:58] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:58] Gemma Cleanslate: ♥ LOL ♥
[13:58] Gemma Cleanslate: no
[13:58] herman Bergson: We covered a lot of ground today.....
[13:58] Bejiita Imako: aaa yes
[13:58] Gemma Cleanslate: hope i will make it thursday
[13:59] Bejiita Imako: interesting as usual
[13:59] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:59] Gemma Cleanslate: ♥ Thank Youuuuuuuuuu!! ♥
[13:59] Gemma Cleanslate: yes
[13:59] herman Bergson: So, time to thank you for your great participation in the debate
[13:59] AristotleVon Doobie: Thank you Herman :)
[13:59] Gemma Cleanslate: see you all soon
[13:59] Jozen Ocello: i'll be here on thursday but may be 10-15 mins
[13:59] herman Bergson: See you soon again...
[13:59] Bejiita Imako: aaa cu then
[13:59] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:59] herman Bergson: Class dismissed..^_^
[13:59] Caipirisma Laval: ty professor
[13:59] Beertje Beaumont: thank you Herman:)
[13:59] AristotleVon Doobie: gotta run, good bye all
[13:59] bergfrau Apfelbaum: ty herman & class! see u thursday
[14:00] herman Bergson: My Pleasure Beertje
[14:00] Bejiita Imako: bye
[14:00] Gemma Cleanslate: Bye, Bye ㋡
[14:00] Caipirisma Laval: yes ..thats me:))
[14:00] herman Bergson: Bye Gemma
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