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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