Friday, April 22, 2011

321: An interesting sidetrack: John Gray

Charles Robert Darwin (12 February 1809 – 19 April 1882) established that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestry.

It meant, that not only the world of physics was about matter, but also the homo sapiens was tied to this material earth.

It is almost irresistible for humans to believe that we have some special relation to the universe, that human life is not just the more-or-less farcical outcome of a chain of accidents
reaching back to the first three minutes of the universe, but that we were somehow built in from the beginning ….

This concept of a material world, which we are part of was a very threatening idea in Darwin's time - to begin with (and still is for some).

The inventor of the word "telepathy" and the writer, Frederic Myers (1843–1901), classical scholar, poet and philosopher, was one of the founders of the Society for Psychical Research.

Supported by some of the leading figures of the day, including the Cambridge philosopher Henry Sidgwick and Arthur Balfour, president of the society and later prime minister, the psychical researchers believed human immortality might prove to be a scientifically demonstrable fact.

Their quest for an afterlife was partly driven by revulsion against materialism. Science had revealed a world in which humans were no different from other animals in facing oblivion when they died and eventual extinction as a species.

Spiritism, serious scientific matter in those days, was the answer to the shock evolution theory had caused. That the homo sapiens was just an animal among other animals in a bare, materialistic world was hard to accept.

However, the undercurrent of materialism in scientific thought couldn't be stopped anymore and thence our belief moved from God to science

We now often hear: it is just a matter of time. Then science will come up with an answer or solution. We can make it. We believe that our world is malleable. Just give us some time.
John Gray (1948 - …) was professor of philosophy in Oxford and at The London School of Economics. In his book Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals (2002) he attacks humanism, which he regards as a worldview founded on religious ideologies.

According to Gray the will is, and therefore morality, an illusion and he sees humanity as a predatory species , which eradicates other life, while destroying its natural environment.

He is a serious critic of the belief in the manufacturability of our world and -in a recent publication- of our belief in progress.

He doesn't deny at all that there is scientific progress. This progress is even irreversible, but, as he says: " The average history of ideas is not only incorrect, but also misleading. It gives us the illusion, that we are absolutely rational…(…)

The most obvious contemporary example is economics. The financial crisis has shown, that it is a pseudoscience.

It claims accuracy, because of which individuals but also governments, companies and banks believe that they can control risks."

So, all the more reason to continue our quest into the Mystery of the brain and exploring the basic emotions, which most of the time outflank our so beloved ratio.

I started this project, which I regarded a a renewed look at my thesis of 1977, which was about the Identity Thesis and materialism, in other words, a materialist theory of the mind.

With philosophers like John Gray and a lot others it is amazing and exciting to see in what direction I was looking in 1977 and what was behind the horizon then for me…..

JOHN GRAY in youTube

Straw Dogs
part 1

Straw Dogs
part 2

Straw Dogs
part 3


The New Atheism
part 1

The New Atheism
part 2

The New Atheism
part 3

The New Atheism
part 4


Australian Broadcast Coop
54 minutes interview


The Discussion

[13:23] herman Bergson: I prepared an eastern egg for you too..:-)
[13:24] herman Bergson: when you click it you get a notecard with a number of youTube URLs with John Gray and a 54 minutes interview fron Australian Fora tv
[13:24] herman Bergson: thank you ^_^
[13:24] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ok
[13:24] Bejiita Imako: oki
[13:24] herman Bergson: it is this golden egg here on my desk
[13:26] herman Bergson: This John Gray is one of those philosophers like Dawkins and others ...
[13:26] BALDUR Joubert: don't get it herman..this gray guy tries to tell us what wiht the finacial crisi9s
[13:26] herman Bergson: He got a full page interview in my newspaper last week
[13:27] Bejiita Imako: ok
[13:27] Siggi Ludwig (ludwig.john): I got nothing
[13:27] BALDUR Joubert: good for him but so did madonna
[13:27] herman Bergson: He tells us that economis isn't a science...
[13:27] herman Bergson: I liked that interview too Baldur, but she wasn't that philosophical in her answers ;-)
[13:28] Doodus Moose: an investor will tell you that the driving forces of the market are greed and fear
[13:28] Mick Nerido: Economics is irrational like people
[13:28] herman Bergson: Yes I know Doodus...but these are exactly the emotions that bypass rationality
[13:28] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): well sounds correct
[13:28] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:29] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): and too much information sometimes
[13:29] BALDUR Joubert: who said economy is a science?
[13:29] herman Bergson: Universities can get a degree in Economics like you can in physics
[13:29] BALDUR Joubert: its a subject for study.. but ..has it the same value as history?
[13:29] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): oh i think so
[13:29] Siggi Ludwig (ludwig.john): much more it deals with our money
[13:30] Doodus Moose: becoming a better investor is constantly overcoming one's irrational urges
[13:30] herman Bergson: Well Economics could be a branche of psychology..not an independent science
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: well it might be science but in this case a thing we ourselves have invented and made up
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: normally science is about what nature have created
[13:30] Mick Nerido: Its more like psychology yes
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: lite ex physics
[13:30] BALDUR Joubert: lol.. a degree... that's enough'
[13:30] BALDUR Joubert: '?
[13:31] BALDUR Joubert: not that i am against theories in science...
[13:31] BALDUR Joubert: but application another thing..
[13:31] herman Bergson: well...what I wanted to show you is that materialism as a philosophy plays an interesting role in contemporary thinking...
[13:31] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): science is alll theories!!!!!!!
[13:32] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): theories are what is studied to be proven
[13:32] herman Bergson: Yes Gemma...Science is all beliefs ^_^
[13:32] Mick Nerido: Its like a ball game you can have a lot of statistical probabilities but no sure bets
[13:32] BALDUR Joubert: as far as economy is concerned the philosophers are lacking with answers to what economy should be like..
[13:32] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): and they are not theories until there is a great deal of background studied
[13:32] Bejiita Imako: lite the standard model and my LHC machine that wil get the proof of some of the theories
[13:32] Bejiita Imako: first u get a theory and then u get the proof for it , thats how science work in general
[13:33] herman Bergson: I dont agree Baldur.....
[13:33] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): exactly
[13:33] Bejiita Imako: to understand how things really work
[13:33] BALDUR Joubert: models my dear are the basis of economics of all times..
[13:33] herman Bergson: At the basis of the present crisis you find Ayn Rand and her Atlas Shrugged....
[13:33] herman Bergson: Greenspan was her disciple
[13:33] herman Bergson: then there is John Stuart MIll
[13:33] Bejiita Imako: in the case with the standard model for ex everything have meen prooven in accelerators that the theory have calculated that should be like this
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: therefore they say there MUST be a Higgs boson
[13:34] herman Bergson: and liberalism...also our toy of today
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: otherwise no matter would exist
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: cause math dont lie
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: natures language
[13:34] BALDUR Joubert: romans thought ..conquer the countries to get the economy going.. smile so did the dutch..the brits the french in the colonial times so whats new
[13:34] BALDUR Joubert: the method not the intention
[13:35] herman Bergson: to tease you Bejiita..higgs particles don't is imagination :-)
[13:35] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ah have you seen the new interesting information about the difference in the brain size between conservatives and liberals??????
[13:35] herman Bergson: but that is a different subject :-)
[13:35] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): actually different shapes
[13:35] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ♥ LOL ♥
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: well they say at CERN it would be even more sensational if it didnt exist
[13:35] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): i will find the article
[13:35] herman Bergson: Yes I heard about it Gemma.....
[13:36] Bejiita Imako: cause then we have got everything wrong even we are soooooo close
[13:36] herman Bergson: patience Bejiita ..patience
[13:36] Bejiita Imako: even if i think the higgs mechanism seems a bit weird
[13:36] Bejiita Imako: taken out of the air
[13:37] herman Bergson: There were brian differences indeed between conservatives and democrates...
[13:37] herman Bergson: but I thought that the conclusions were kind of inconclusive....
[13:37] herman Bergson: both had a pro and a contra
[13:38] BALDUR Joubert: can you remind me of what the subject of your lecture was herman
[13:38] herman Bergson: Well..keep you eyes open for news and articles in which you can read materialistic ideas....
[13:38] BALDUR Joubert: as i am lost in particles.....
[13:38] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): i have to find it
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:39] herman Bergson: Try to identify the influence of this philosophy on our thoughts
[13:39] BALDUR Joubert: which philosophy ..ssorry didn't get the point
[13:39] herman Bergson: Baldur..we are pixels in fact...:-)
[13:39] BALDUR Joubert: disgusting:)
[13:40] herman Bergson: the materialist philosophy Baldur....
[13:40] BALDUR Joubert: hm.. pixels as a basis for materialism:9
[13:40] Kyra Neutron: and what is so surprising is...
[13:40] BALDUR Joubert: ?
[13:40] Kyra Neutron: we are talking pixels!
[13:40] Bejiita Imako: but we are real persons behind the pixels
[13:40] herman Bergson: You find it in those who show up in the news media as atheists..or scientists...
[13:41] herman Bergson: You are talking to my brain Kyra...dont worry :-)
[13:41] Kyra Neutron: idk..herman
[13:41] Kyra Neutron: you are a brain?
[13:41] Kyra Neutron: me is a bunny
[13:41] herman Bergson: well talking to = my brain...that is the idea here :-)
[13:41] Kyra Neutron: :)
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: haha
[13:42] herman Bergson: ok..
[13:42] Mick Nerido: And mind
[13:42] Kyra Neutron: if...
[13:42] Kyra Neutron: ?
[13:42] herman Bergson: Have a look at John Gray...a representative of the present ideas among anglo - american philosophers....
[13:43] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ok
[13:43] herman Bergson: what I find interesting too is, that continental philosophy is almost silent...
[13:43] BALDUR Joubert: silent to what
[13:43] Kyra Neutron: kk kkk..but reminds herself..dorian gray was more fun..
[13:43] herman Bergson: We have Sloterdijk..if I spell the name right..unreadable :-)
[13:43] BALDUR Joubert: you didn't look at the link i sent you..
[13:44] herman Bergson: If you have no more remarks or questions it is time to catch some nice Bunnies….Eastern Bunnies I mean ^_^
[13:45] herman Bergson: Thank you all...
[13:45] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ♥ Thank Youuuuuuuuuu!! ♥
[13:45] herman Bergson: Class dismissed...
[13:45] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): see you next thursday
[13:45] Mick Nerido: Bye
[13:45] Doodus Moose: Easter bunnies, with potatoes & carrots!
[13:45] Kyra Neutron: sees hopefully
[13:45] Kyra Neutron: oh yes!
[13:45] Ciska Riverstone: Thank you Herman - bye all - enjoy easter
[13:45] Bejiita Imako: cu
[13:45] Bejiita Imako: happy easter
[13:45] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:45] Doodus Moose: Thanks Professor, and all
[13:45] Siggi Ludwig (ludwig.john): happy easter holidays
[13:46] Kyra Neutron: have a great night all..
[13:46] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): thank you Herman:)
[13:46] Kyra Neutron: nite nites
[13:46] herman Bergson: If you have a few days off ...enjoy your vacation..
[13:46] Bejiita Imako: dont eat too many eggs now
[13:46] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:46] Bejiita Imako: or candy
[13:46] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:46] Bejiita Imako: cu all soon again
[13:46] Siggi Ludwig (ludwig.john): thank you here it is sunny and warm
[13:46] Bejiita Imako: time for me to find the higgs
[13:46] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:47] herman Bergson: Bring us some Bejiita :-)
[13:47] Bejiita Imako: I will
[13:47] herman Bergson: If not higgs then at least hugs
[13:47] Bejiita Imako: LHC broke intensity record again in physics today
[13:47] Bejiita Imako: looking good
[13:47] Bejiita Imako: machine work well
[13:47] Bejiita Imako: cu soon
[13:47] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:48] herman Bergson: ok Bejiita..I'll keep my fingers crossed ^_^
[13:48] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:48] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): have a good night all:))
[13:48] Bejiita Imako: happy easter
[13:48] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:48] herman Bergson: Bye Beertje

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