Thursday, December 19, 2013

499: Philosophy and religion

First of all I want to thank everybody for the warm support and good wishes I have received because of what has happened to me. It really helped me to feel better. Thank you all, who showed such kind compassion.

[13:08] herman Bergson: I guess I'd better begin
[13:09] herman Bergson: This is actually the lecture of October 24 :-))

[ hB suffered a heart attack in RL on that day, but after six weeks is fully recovered now]

[13:09] Gemma Allen: :-)
[13:09] .: Beertje :.: smiles
[13:09] herman Bergson: First of all I want to thank everybody for the warm support and good wishes I have received because of what has happened to me. It really helped me to feel better. Thank you all, who showed such kind compassion.
[13:09] Nectanebus: :)
[13:09] Bejiita Imako: 
[13:09] Bejiita Imako: your welcome

In my quest to understand what the relation is between philosophical thinking and religion, especially while this plays such an important role in Eastern thinking,

I want to elaborate some more on the ideas I developed in my previous lecture. What fascinated me in the previous lecture was and still is, that in the development of the human mind we time and again see the same pattern. 

A wise man (not a woman) appears on stage. He appears to be rather influential with his teachings in his time. Then after his death a lot  of his teaching including all kinds of ideas added by others are committed to "paper":  

this happened to Confucius, Buddha, Jesus, Socrates, Mohammed. And only a 350 years ago scientific thinking was added to our repertoire to understand life.

Now my primary assumption is, that the homo sapiens is a result of evolution.

My second assumption is that in general all humans biologically have the same brain. That is, a limbic system and a prefrontal cortex and some other parts. Thence , theoretically, we all are mentally wired in the same way.

My third assumption is, that survival, survival of the individual and then survival of the group, is the primary drive in nature. In this process, the organisms best adapted to their environment, survive.

If you assume that philosophy begins with wonder, then somewhere in the history of mankind the homo sapiens formulated the wondering question: "Who am I and what am I?"

Let me return to "The Problems of Philosophy", by Bertrand Russell (1912): 
If you ask a mathematician, a mineralogist, a historian, or any other man of learning, what definite body of truths has been ascertained by his science, his answer will last as long as you are willing to listen. 

But if you put the same question to a philosopher, he will, if he is candid, have to confess that his study has not achieved positive results such as have been achieved by other sciences. 

It is true that this is partly accounted for by the fact that, as soon as definite knowledge concerning any subject becomes possible, this subject ceases to be called philosophy, and becomes a separate science. 

The whole study of the heavens, which now belongs to astronomy, was once included in philosophy; Newton's great work was called 'the mathematical principles of natural philosophy'. 

Similarly, the study of the human mind, which was a part of philosophy, has now been separated from philosophy and has become the science of psychology. 

Thus, to a great extent, the uncertainty of philosophy is more apparent than real: those questions which are already capable of definite answers are placed in the sciences, 

while those only to which, at present, no definite answer can be given, remain to form the residue which is called philosophy.
-end quote-

Now look at the passage "…as soon as definite knowledge concerning any subject becomes possible…"
It means, that our primary question in life :"Who am I and what am I?" is gradually answered by science.

And here, from an evolutionary point of view, I disagree with Russell. For thousands of years our mind generated "definite" knowledge and yes the subject ceased to be philosophy and became RELIGION and only a 350 years ago the subject became science,

The evolutionary meaning of religion has been crucial for survival of the group. It answered all uncertainties. It offered a perspective and a destiny of existence.

It strengthened the cohesion of the group. Created the binding feeling of a "WE" against the "OTHERS". It answered the questions about good and evil. It answered our primary question: "Who am I and what am I?" This is especially evident in, for instance, Confucianism.

This doesn't mean that the basic assumptions of all those religions were definite knowledge. They were just treated as if it was definite knowledge and it fulfilled its purpose in the evolving society.

Many religious answers now go the way philosophical answers did. As soon as it became clear that it was a virus that caused the disease, it no longer was the will of gods or evil spirits, but a medical issue that could be treated.

In Russell's days science was the future, the true knowledge. Today, science is an effective way of interpreting reality, but not the complete answer to our primary question: "Who am I and what am I?"

So, there is still plenty of time for another 500 lectures on philosophy after next Thursday.

The Discussion

[13:21] herman Bergson: Thank you :-)
[13:21] Nectanebus: heh
[13:21] Chantal:
[13:21] Nectanebus: Nice, that was certainly worth the wait
[13:21] Daruma Boa: thank u herman
[13:21] Daruma Boa: so no class after thursday?^^
[13:22] Bejiita Imako:
[13:22] Gemma Allen: on i doubt that
[13:22] herman Bergson: How do you mean Daruma?
[13:22] Gemma Allen: forget that idea
[13:22] Daruma Boa: u wrote another 500 lectures on philosophy after next Thursday.
[13:22] herman Bergson: I was planning another 500 ;-)
[13:22] Gemma Allen: probably
[13:22] Gemma AllenGemma Allen GIGGLES!!
[13:22] Gemma Allen: ...LOL...
[13:22] Gemma Allen: see
[13:22] Daruma Boa: ahh okeee
[13:22] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:22] Gemma Allen: but it is a milestone
[13:22] Gemma Allen: i was at the first class
[13:23] Chantal: Herman 2.0 has enough to share
[13:23] Gemma Allen: imagine
[13:23] .: Beertje :.: do you think those next 500 are enough Herman?
[13:23] herman Bergson: Next Thursday is Lecture 500 :-))
[13:23] Nectanebus: I found it interesting you mentioned the "trial and error" methods employed as social programming, and its parallel with scientific method. I always thought Russell overlooked things like alchemy and theology in his statement.
[13:23] herman Bergson: Dont think so Beertje....we always have to keep on thinking critically
[13:23] Nectanebus: Wow, seems I missed a few haha
[13:23] Laila Schuman: one important question is WHY am I... i think a lot of people really need a PURPOSE in life... they long for purpose... not just who and what
[13:23] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:24] Daruma Boa: right nectan
[13:24] Bejiita Imako: i guess so
[13:24] .: Beertje :.: i think ..just TO enough
[13:24] herman Bergson: Ahh yes ..the WHY question.....
[13:24] Bejiita Imako: same here
[13:24] Nectanebus: That's a very Chan viewpoint, Bejita ;)
[13:24] herman Bergson: There is a problem with that question....
[13:24] Velvet: I think we decide the WHY, individually
[13:24] Bejiita Imako: I am just me
[13:24] Bejiita Imako:
[13:25] Daruma Boa: well just to be i guess is not enough
[13:25] herman Bergson: The thing is....we have the word WHY.....
[13:25] Daruma Boa: it sounds like u have no will^^
[13:25] herman Bergson: but the question every sentence which begins with WHY meaningful?
[13:25] Daruma Boa: to think about being here is an important question
[13:25] Laila Schuman: or the reverse is that one has no passion
[13:25] Daruma Boa: and only humas are able to
[13:25] Daruma Boa: humans
[13:25] Bejiita Imako: Im a nice guy who do many good things and like to hage fun and be with friends
[13:25] Bejiita Imako: thats good enough for me
[13:26] Daruma Boa: ok^^
[13:26] Laila Schuman: ants and trees are here...
[13:26] Daruma Boa: 4 me often not^^
[13:26] Laila Schuman: we have minds
[13:26] Gemma Allen: fortunately
[13:26] Nectanebus: I think post-(post-post-post-)modernism proved that if life has no meaning, we shall ascribe it one that suits us.
[13:26] herman Bergson: yes...and that mind makes us believe a lot of things
[13:26] Gemma Allen: ah
[13:27] Laila Schuman: like communism ascribes meanings... or church?
[13:27] Merlin: Well before we digress too much I had a comment early on but did not want to interrupt.....
[13:27] herman Bergson: Different from other organisms we are indeed capable of giving meaning to things
[13:27] Chantal: Thinks the pursuit of being the best YOU possible could be a real could why
[13:27] Merlin: Another example of people who did not themselves write but was written later.....
[13:27] herman Bergson: No no...Merlin.....
[13:27] Nectanebus: more like hedonism and monasticism being sufficient reasons for life to their adherents, to use a more base example
[13:27] Merlin: Socrates
[13:27] Chantal: could=good
[13:28] herman Bergson: let's return on our steps and Merlin, plz repeat your comment
[13:28] Merlin: Ok
[13:28] Merlin: Socrates is another example to add
[13:28] Merlin: people who did not write themselves
[13:29] herman Bergson: Ahhh indeed...Plato did all the work :-)
[13:29] Bejiita Imako:
[13:29] herman Bergson: A good example, which makes the list less religious :-))
[13:29] Merlin: Oh good I am glad I got them round the right way. I sometimes get it wrong
[13:29] ἀρετή: hi quaezar
[13:29] ⓆⓊⒶⒺⓏⒶⓇ: A very good day everyone :)
[13:29] Velvet: And we can just hope that Plato got it right!
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: hi Quaezar
[13:30] Lizzy Pleides: hi quaezar
[13:30] herman Bergson: hello Quaezar :-)
[13:30] Daruma Boa: hi quaezar
[13:30] herman Bergson: we have to expand the existential question to WHo , what an why I am.....
[13:30] ⓆⓊⒶⒺⓏⒶⓇ: A very good evening Herman :)
[13:31] Merlin: It is interesting to consider that Jesus might have been illiterate
[13:31] Gemma Allen: that is where we started
[13:31] Nectanebus: who what when where how?
[13:31] Nectanebus: heheh
[13:31] herman Bergson: I hope you al see that the WH and What are of a different nature than the WHY
[13:31] Bejiita Imako:
[13:31] ἀρετή: why are all the important questions beginning with the letter 'w'?
[13:31] Velvet: You're right, Merlin, we only have others' accounts of what he said
[13:32] Merlin: ty Velvet
[13:32] herman Bergson: another one Merlin :-))
[13:32] Nectanebus: I think Socrates is a literary troll of ancient Greece, a...what's the word for when people create something that is representative of them as a whole anthromorphously? Sorry, weird fragmentation there...
[13:32] Nectanebus: also typos haha
[13:33] herman Bergson: Doesn't matter Nectabebus...I wouldn't know the answer anyway :-))
[13:33] Nectanebus: nvm, you get the idea
[13:33] Nectanebus: like King Arthur or whatever
[13:33] herman Bergson: a myth
[13:33] Bejiita Imako: aaa ok
[13:33] Merlin: hehe
[13:34] Nectanebus: that's an easy way to say it I guess haha, I do tend to overthink some times
[13:34] Velvet: myths are meant to communicate ideas rather than history
[13:34] Velvet: so, they are philosophical
[13:34] Gemma Allen: there have always been more questions than answers here
[13:34] Chantal: and with every questions arise
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: indedd
[13:34] herman Bergson: Has to Gemma, otherwise there wouldn't be a next lecture :-))
[13:35] Daruma Boa: i guess its good to have more questions than answers^^
[13:35] Gemma Allen: Yes-ah!
[13:35] Daruma Boa: it keeps life going
[13:35] Merlin: Yes indeed Chantal
[13:35] .: Beertje :.: that's why we need a lot more lectures than 500 Gemma
[13:35] Gemma Allen: that is why there are 500 morecmoing
[13:35] Merlin: A good example is the power of telescopes
[13:35] Nectanebus: Life would be boring without navel gazing
[13:35] herman Bergson: But on the other hand it is an observation that makes sense
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: hehe indeed
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: if all questions were answered would be more booring for sure
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: alwase need something to chase after
[13:35] herman Bergson: Only questions drive us to new answers and solutions....
[13:36] Bejiita Imako:
[13:36] Velvet: I vote for more solutions!
[13:36] herman Bergson: So...has anyone  still a question about the subject of today?
[13:37] herman Bergson appreciates the silence
[13:37] Bejiita Imako: dont know hehe
[13:37] Velvet: this topic can head off in many directions!
[13:37] herman Bergson: Time to think it all over again perhaps :-)
[13:37] Nectanebus: I'm a bit tired today unfortunately, I'm not up to my usual standard :(
[13:37] Daruma Boa: lol
[13:37] Bejiita Imako: maybe that
[13:37] Bejiita Imako:
[13:37] Nectanebus: can't elucidate or conjugate at all today heh
[13:38] herman Bergson: Then  I thank you all for your participation again.....
[13:38] ἀρετή: Earlier.. it was mentioned that "A wise man (not a woman) appears on stage." Were there really no women philosophers in history?
[13:38] Velvet: Herman, are we heading into religious territory?
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: hmm also been tored all day, dont know why probably got awakened at wrong moment
[13:38] Gemma Allen: I would like to thank Herman for all the research and work that he has put into all these classes... and giving us vacations and allowing us to miss class .. and never allowing us to graduate ... and no tests... I was really scared the first year he kept promising a test soon!!
[13:38] herman Bergson: It was a real pleasure to have you all here again....
[13:38] .: Beertje :.: thank you Herman and have a goodnight
[13:38] Velvet: should I bring my seatbelt?
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: then doesn't matter how long i ve slept
[13:38] Lizzy Pleides: thank you herman!
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: will be a wreck
[13:38] Corronach: thanks Herman

498: Buddhism (intro)

In the year 480 B.C. a small force of 300 Spartans, 400 Thebans and 700 men from Boeotian Thespiae fought against the Persians at the Battle of Thermopylae.

The Greco-Persian Wars (499–449 BC) and the Peloponnesian War (431–404 BC) cover the lifetime of  the historical Buddha, also known as Gotama Buddha, Siddhārtha Gautama, and Buddha Śākyamuni (c. 480 BC - c. 400 BC).

Philosophically we encounter Greek philosophers like Empedocles, Anaxagoras and Democritus. All members of the so-called Presocratics.

Buddhism derives its name from the Sanskrit word buddha (awakened, wise, or learned), which was one of the many epithets given to Siddhartha Gautama

He was born in Lumbini, in the Nepalese region of Terai, near the Indian border. He is one of the most important Asian thinkers and spiritual masters of all time, 

and he contributed to many areas of philosophy, including epistemology, metaphysics and ethics. 

The Buddha’s teaching formed the foundation for Buddhist philosophy, initially developed in South Asia, then later in the rest of Asia. Buddhism and Buddhist philosophy now have a global following.

Soon after his death, his disciples met and repeated all they could remember being taught by him, and these recollections were committed to memory.

All the rules he had set down for the community of his disciples were collectively known as the VINAYA. 

The collections of his other teachings on good character, contemplative exercises, and the theory behind them were known collectively as SUTRAS . 

The vinaya and sutras supposedly collected shortly after Gautama’s death became a closed canon for some Buddhists; other Buddhists eventually accepted as canonical a large corpus of other literature.

You may call it coincidence, but the same happened after the death of Jesus. The first gospel written was dated about 70 years after his death.

Then there seem to have existed quite a number of gospel like scriptures. We know about  apocryphal gospels, non-canonical gospels, Jewish-Christian gospels, and gnostic gospels.

Only from the 4th century, there existed unanimity in the West concerning the New Testament canon  as it is today.

What fascinates me in these matters is, that we time and again see the same pattern. A wise man (not a woman) appears on stage.

He appears to be rather influential with his teachings in his time. Then after his death a lot  of his teaching including all kinds of ideas added by others are committed to "paper". The same happened with Confucianism.

The thoughts and teachings survive centuries. People hold on to them. Uses them to organize their lives.

Then only a 350 years or so ago there develops a new way of thinking about life, or at least about certain areas of life. This way of thinking was called scientific thinking.

In the Western world we witness a battle between this new way of thinking about life  and the old ways, where the old ways of thinking loose ground in a sustained way.

This is an ongoing process, where the West began with men like Galileo Galilei, Kepler and Newton, Darwin and Freud.

We see it happen today in Chinese culture, as I pointed out in a previous lecture. We see it happen in certain parts of the Islamic world, where some convulsively cling to old thinking.

Most important to understand this picture is, that you don't think in terms of your own lifespan only. Think in periods of centuries.

These are processes in the evolution of mankind and in our time we are in the midst of a huge turmoil, where it is hard to imagine where it all will lead us.

How to position Buddhism in this ongoing process will be our fascination for the next lectures to come.

The Discussion
[13:28] herman Bergson: Thank you... :-))
[13:28] Gemma Allen: ♥ Thank Youuuuuuuuuu!! ♥
[13:28] Daruma Boa: ↑↛☀яєαşє─☼↚★
[13:28] Bejiita Imako: YAY! (yay!)
[13:28] Nectanebus claps
[13:28] Gemma Allen: i am looking forward to that
[13:28] Corronach: Thanks herman
[13:28] Nectanebus: Interesting comparison 'twixt the canons there
[13:28] Bejiita Imako: yes that will be interesting
[13:28] Dagg: very interesting points herman
[13:28] Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:29] herman Bergson: Thak you Dagg
[13:29] Guestboook van tipjar stand: Daruma Resident donated L$60. Thank you very much, it is much appreciated!
[13:29] oola Neruda: Buddha spoke of a way of living...etc... but i also see a Buddhism that has many many "gods".... can you tell what happened there?
[13:29] herman Bergsonherman Bergson smiles
[13:29] herman Bergson: There are a number of lectures tocome oola...
[13:29] Nectanebus: Symbolism mainly
[13:29] herman Bergson: and indeed....
[13:29] herman Bergson: do gods belong to realbuddhist philosophy...
[13:30] herman Bergson: we'll investigate that subject of course
[13:30] Gemma Allen: i am not sure they do
[13:30] Dagg: I didnt think so
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: no, buddhism is different
[13:30] Gemma Allen: iam sorrry to leave have ot return to the playa
[13:30] herman Bergson: I neither do see gods in buddhism....
[13:30] Gemma Allen: hope you all get a chance to visit burn2
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: they dont define a god like in other religions
[13:30] Dagg: bye Gemma
[13:31] Bejiita Imako: cu gemma
[13:31] Nectanebus: bye Gem
[13:31] Bejiita Imako: going to burn a while after this too
[13:31] herman Bergson: ok are excused :-))
[13:31] Daruma Boa: bye gemma
[13:31] herman Bergson: Teh only "god" so far I see in buddhism is the self
[13:31] Bejiita Imako: indeed
[13:32] Bejiita Imako: buddhism pictures the founder of it (Sidharta) and not a supernatural being
[13:32] Bejiita Imako: (god)
[13:32] herman Bergson: What gods were you thinking of oola?
[13:33] oola Neruda: i don't really know their names but they are in all kinds of oriental art labled as buddhist
[13:33] Daruma Boa: the "self" is the only solution. and should ber the main point in every religion.
[13:33] Bejiita Imako: thats why i think buddhism is my fav religion
[13:33] herman Bergson: aren't you confusing buddhism and hinduism oola?
[13:33] oola Neruda: no
[13:33] Bejiita Imako: its only good stuff in it
[13:33] herman Bergson: Hinduism has dozens of gods
[13:33] oola Neruda: i was just going to say...that i wasn't confusing it
[13:33] Nectanebus: Thousands, possibly
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: yes they have so many i cant count theml lol
[13:34] oola Neruda: it is buddhist
[13:34] Nectanebus: It depends on term usage. Mahakala can look rather God like if one doesn't undestand what the noose is about, et cetera
[13:34] herman Bergson: We'll keep an open eye for this issue oola....
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: the word avatar btw comes from the hinduism picturing of their gods
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: its how they manifest themself to us
[13:34] Nectanebus: truth, Bejita
[13:34] herman Bergson: indeed Bejiita :-)
[13:34] herman Bergson: so we are all gods here :-))
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: in the same way our avatar is a digital representation of our rl self here
[13:35] Nectanebus: Lawnmower Man time
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: thats why its called avatara, its the same concept
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: only digital
[13:35] herman Bergson: Let's stick to buddhism first :-))
[13:35] Daruma Boa: we are!^^
[13:35] Bejiita Imako:
[13:36] Dagg: thats already tricky , its a - ism
[13:36] herman Bergson: point today was that there seems to be a pattern in human mind evolution
[13:37] herman Bergson: in different cultures we see the same pattern
[13:37] Dagg: yes I agree herman, my question is , was it guided or was it a natural eveolutionary proces ?
[13:37] Nectanebus: being what, exactly? For once I don't follow
[13:38] herman Bergson: and the remarkeble thing is that all those traditions are kind of disintegrated by the development of sience
[13:38] herman Bergson: If you remember my previous lecture Dagg, then you would see that my answer is that it is a natural evolutionary process...
[13:39] herman Bergson: It is howour brain is wired....
[13:39] herman Bergson: when you see two things after the other...
[13:39] herman Bergson: and you can that be...
[13:39] herman Bergson: you immedialtely apply causality to it...
[13:39] herman Bergson: A causes B.....
[13:40] herman Bergson: But now we have a name for that error.....
[13:40] herman Bergson: the post hoc proter hoc error...
[13:40] herman Bergson: propter
[13:40] oola Neruda: a need arises and is responded to... but then the culture "evolves" so the response needs to be revisited
[13:40] Bejiita Imako: ok
[13:40] herman Bergson: inmany cases there is causality indeed...but not in all cases...
[13:41] herman Bergson: yes oola....but the primary need we feel is to explain what happened....
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: indeed, those 2 events maybee are not related at all only folowing each other
[13:41] oola Neruda: yes
[13:41] herman Bergson: that is how our brain even has to work if we want tosurvive...
[13:42] herman Bergson: One important aspect here is our consciousness of time
[13:42] herman Bergson: some animals seem to have some kind of memory over time....
[13:43] herman Bergson: we we have it 100%....
[13:43] herman Bergson: that is special...
[13:43] herman Bergson: we remember past event and present event and can deduce future events...
[13:44] herman Bergson: In the past a serious disease was a punishment of God because of our sinful way of living...
[13:44] herman Bergson: now we go to the doctor eand get some medicine and recover
[13:44] NectanebusNectanebus is remembered of the processional in the seventh seal
[13:44] Nectanebus: And depends on the disease and the society
[13:44] Bejiita Imako: yes we understand much better today
[13:44] Nectanebus: let us not forget chinese medicine
[13:44] Bejiita Imako: at least most of us
[13:45] herman Bergson: Maybe chinese medicine is a bit overestimated .....
[13:46] Nectanebus: ?
[13:46] herman Bergson: Well...this is the perspective fromwhich I want to study buddhism....
[13:47] oola Neruda: i recently attended a kind of play that is comic and comes between Noh plays... the plot centered around a japanese doctor and the thunder god who was afraid of accupuncture
[13:47] oola Neruda: well i thought it was funny
[13:47] herman Bergson: So that god was stuck with a heavy headache, I guess :-))
[13:47] Bejiita Imako: hehe its sounds so for sure
[13:48] oola Neruda: yes
[13:48] Bejiita Imako:
[13:48] herman Bergson: Are there any questions left unanswered or remakrs not heard?
[13:49] oola Neruda: where did all those buddhist gods come from...
[13:49] NectanebusNectanebus chuckles
[13:49] herman Bergson: As I hear no remark, I guess it is good to thank you again for your participation and interest :-)
[13:49] herman Bergson: we'll look into that oola :-))
[13:50] Dagg: thank you :)
[13:50] oola Neruda: ty
[13:50] herman Bergson: Class dismissed
[13:50] Dagg: see you all
[13:50] herman Bergson: or regard it as your homework to find out, oola ^_^
[13:50] Bejiita Imako:
[13:50] Mikki Louise: ty professor, bye all
[13:50] herman Bergson: Bye Mikki:-))
[13:50] Corronach: thanks herman
[13:50] Bejiita Imako: this gets more and more interesting
[13:50] Nectanebus: Cheers, Herman
[13:50] Nectanebus: See you next time
[13:51] oola Neruda: baiee everyone
[13:51] herman Bergson: Tilll next time Nectanebus
[13:51] Bejiita Imako: aaa almost forgot, a thing for u
[13:51] Bejiita Imako: herman
[13:51] herman Bergson: ohh?
[13:52] herman Bergson: your outfit?
[13:52] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:52] Bejiita Imako: its from an anime i watch a lot
[13:52] Bejiita Imako: its awesome
[13:53] herman Bergson: Ahh the manga world
[13:53] Bejiita Imako: and when i think about it suitable for theis theme too since we talk about asian philosophies and such
[13:53] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:53] Bejiita Imako: My avatar is from Dragonball and my outfit from Naruto
[13:53] Bejiita Imako: so 2 in 1 basically
[13:53] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:53] herman Bergson: a bargain :-))
[13:54] Bejiita Imako: dont know where i found this, think it was on the market
[13:54] Bejiita Imako: not too expensive
[13:54] Bejiita Imako: search Akatsuki
[13:54] herman Bergson: I'll have a look at that webpage first, bejiita :-))
[13:54] Bejiita Imako: aaa do so
[13:55] Bejiita Imako: lot of good info there
[13:55] Bejiita Imako: found there can be some spoilers in it though, often is
[13:55] Bejiita Imako: for ex about the guy Pain wich is where i am in the series now
[13:56] Bejiita Imako: and that is after in total almost 400 episodes
[13:56] herman Bergson: then you shouldnt read it :-))
[13:56] Bejiita Imako: i will go through some more of the series after ive been on burn now a while again
[13:57] Bejiita Imako: but i recommend that series, its totally genious
[13:57] herman Bergson: I am not such an admirer of TV comics
[13:57] Bejiita Imako: some things u think is in one way at the beginnig turns out to be in a complete other way as u proceed
[13:57] Bejiita Imako: many surprises
[13:58] Bejiita Imako: i dont get how they get it all together
[13:58] herman Bergson: good team of writers
[13:58] herman Bergson: and computers
[13:58] Bejiita Imako: japanese people have some "smart" gene or something
[13:58] Bejiita Imako: they come up with stuff no other in the world can do
[13:59] Bejiita Imako: amazing people
[13:59] herman Bergson: yeah,,,, it :-))
[13:59] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:59] Bejiita Imako: thats nice
[13:59] Bejiita Imako: tasted Ramen?
[13:59] Bejiita Imako: one of my fav
[14:00] Bejiita Imako: the name of the series and its main character naruto is in fact an ingredient in ramen
[14:00] Bejiita Imako: since he loves ramen
[14:00] Bejiita Imako: thats a bit funny
[14:00] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[14:00] herman Bergson: indeed:-)
[14:00] Bejiita Imako: oki time to go and BUUURN some more again

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

497: The [non] existence of religiosity

When I first introduced this project on Eastern Philosophy one of the first reactions was "But isn't that most of all religion?"

And when I announced to continue with Buddhism the discussion came onto religion and religiosity again.

In my newspaper there is for some weeks now a discussion going on. It started with an article, written by a well known atheist, again stating that God does not exist.

Such a statement still works like a red flag on a Spanish bull and two days ago a hit again. Now is the headline "Suppression of religiosity has lasted long enough".

The fist sentence of the article already contains in interesting mistake.
" Philosophers and theologians already knew it since long ago, but now there is scientific proof: man is religious by nature."

In my eyes this is complete nonsense and begging the question. If the authors of the article had written: man shows by nature some peculiar behavior, I would have agreed.

What is the case: Over the last decade, there have been many calls in the secular community for increased criticism of religion, 

and increased activism to help loosen its grip on the public. But what if the human brain itself is aligned against that endeavor?

That's the argument made by cognitive scientist Robert McCauley in his new book, Why Religion is Natural and Science is Not. If McCauley is right, spreading secularism and critical thinking may always be a difficult battle.

Dr. McCauley is University Professor and Director of the Center for Mind, Brain, and Culture at Emory University.

What is the question here? Let me give you an example, an hilarious one actually but it really has happened.

I have a small plastic box with little pills in it, that I use in my coffee, well..the pills I mean, in stead of sugar. I guess you know what I mean. You press on the button and one little white pill is released.

But what happened? In stead of one there dropped TWO pills. I wasn't pleased with that at all and I thought "I'll get you!". And as a punishment I threw the extra pill in my trash. "There! Your own fault!"

Should I go and see my psychiatrist now? Treating inanimate objects as sensing beings? OMG!

The fun is, I dare to bet with each of you, that you have acted the same. When was the last time you talked to your car, or berated some object, which almost made you stumble? Let alone the abuse you used in response to the behavior of your computer.

Is this so surprising? Not at all. McCauley just reinvents the wheel, kicking open an opened door. Why? Quite simple, because what he says we already know for decades.

For that you have to turn to one of the founding fathers of cognitive psychology, a Swiss scientist  (1896 – 1980). He found the secrets of human learning and knowledge hidden behind the cute and seemingly illogical notions of children.

He developed a model of stages of cognitive development. What is interesting for us is the cognitive stage between 2 and 6 years, in which we discover that we are an individual and that there is the rest of the world.

It is the period in life that all things around you are animated: your doll, your stuffed bear, your cat and dog, the trees…name it.

The mistake we make is to believe that this cognitive state gradually is replaced by common sense. Sure, for 99% it is, but yet it stays a part of our brain.

In the adult stage it leads to the attitude, that we don't like questions. We like answers. Thence we developed science and where science can't offer answers , we invent answers ourself.

One organized answer with deep cultural and historic roots is called religion:  yet the product of the brain itself. It helps us to see the world as an organized, meaningful and destiny oriented system.

 And here I only can quote Bertrand Russell: "The value of philosophy is, in fact, to be sought largely in its very uncertainty. The man who has no tincture of philosophy goes through life imprisoned in the prejudices derived from common sense, 

from the habitual beliefs of his age or his nation, and from convictions which have grown up in his mind without the co−operation or consent of his deliberate reason."

So  the quintessence of life becomes how to live with uncertainty. And maybe Buddhism is an answer…who knows. For that …attend the next lectures:-))

The Discussion

2013/10/17 13:21]  herman Bergson: Thank you:-))
[2013/10/17 13:21]  CONNIE Eichel: :)
[2013/10/17 13:22]  herman Bergson: If you have questions or remarks...the floor is yours :-))
[2013/10/17 13:22]  Corronach: I don't think we *can* live with uncertainty.
[2013/10/17 13:22]  Corronach: I think we create logic and structure to survive.
[2013/10/17 13:22]  herman Bergson: yes indeed Corronach
[2013/10/17 13:23]  Corronach: Religion serves a function
[2013/10/17 13:23]  Corronach: for example...
[2013/10/17 13:23]  Corronach: it alleviates fear of death for many people
[2013/10/17 13:23]  herman Bergson: yes...
[2013/10/17 13:23]  Corronach: perhaps that fear would be too great otherwise
[2013/10/17 13:23]  Corronach: a mortal terror
[2013/10/17 13:23]  herman Bergson: in the article I referred to they even say it ois good for your health :-)
[2013/10/17 13:23]  Corronach: well, apparently prayer has been proven in some research to improve mental health
[2013/10/17 13:24]  herman Bergson: yes like meditation....
[2013/10/17 13:24]  herman Bergson: pray for a sick person doesn't help the sick person at all, research also shows...
[2013/10/17 13:24]  herman Bergson: but it might help the other dealing with the feelings about a sick friend or relative indeed
[2013/10/17 13:25]  Dagg (daggash.bayn): alright, there is no solution to this dilemma.. or is there ?
[2013/10/17 13:25]  herman Bergson: what is the dilemma Dagg?
[2013/10/17 13:26]  Dagg (daggash.bayn): to see the fear or the void and not to be able to get rid of it
[2013/10/17 13:26]  herman Bergson: hmmm...yes...
[2013/10/17 13:26]  Dagg (daggash.bayn): i don't want to escape in some belief
[2013/10/17 13:26]  herman Bergson: That is what I am always wondering about....
[2013/10/17 13:26]  Dagg (daggash.bayn): yes
[2013/10/17 13:26]  Dagg (daggash.bayn): me too
[2013/10/17 13:27]  herman Bergson: I mean..what is so scaring about  this "void"?
[2013/10/17 13:27]  Corronach: both science and religion can be viewed as our need for control. whether we want control, as with science, or whether we want someone else to have it, as in religion.
[2013/10/17 13:27]  herman Bergson: Life is or is not....that is all we know...
[2013/10/17 13:27]  Corronach: either way, as long as there is control, we are contained.
[2013/10/17 13:27]  Corronach: secure.
[2013/10/17 13:28]  herman Bergson: Yes Corronach...but religion controls the masses perhaps...but it doesnt help the individual to control his personal life...
[2013/10/17 13:29]  Corronach: it can do, depending on the beliefs i suppose.
[2013/10/17 13:29]  herman Bergson: But indeed it all is about control...about understanding your life....the meaning of it...
[2013/10/17 13:29]  Corronach: the void, or the after-death, without religion is complete loss of control.
[2013/10/17 13:30]  herman Bergson: for some it appears to be indeed....
[2013/10/17 13:30]  Toubanua T'Kreth (toubanua.tairov): Not for you?
[2013/10/17 13:30]  herman Bergson: Imean..I dont mind....
[2013/10/17 13:30]  herman Bergson: I exist..and someday I stop existing ...what is the big deal there :-))
[2013/10/17 13:31]  Toubanua T'Kreth (toubanua.tairov): Well, I like existing :)
[2013/10/17 13:31]  CONNIE Eichel: its sad
[2013/10/17 13:31]  herman Bergson: Oh yes me too....^_^
[2013/10/17 13:31]  Toubanua T'Kreth (toubanua.tairov): So not existing anymore is a big deal.
[2013/10/17 13:31]  herman Bergson: I wouldnt say so...
[2013/10/17 13:32]  herman Bergson: because you only can be aware of not existing when you are aware of your existence :-))
[2013/10/17 13:32]  Dagg (daggash.bayn): but then we have another belief there, that life is that the conclusion ?
[2013/10/17 13:32]  herman Bergson: when you die awareness just simply stops
[2013/10/17 13:32]  Dagg (daggash.bayn): we don't know that
[2013/10/17 13:32]  Toubanua T'Kreth (toubanua.tairov): It may be irrelevant to me when I don't exist. But since I currently exist, it matters to me that I might stop :)
[2013/10/17 13:33]  Dagg (daggash.bayn): no one came back to tell, but we can assume so
[2013/10/17 13:33]  herman Bergson: yes..the idea not to have another day is unpleasant...
[2013/10/17 13:34]  herman Bergson: but can absolutely normal that it will happentoo
[2013/10/17 13:34]  Toubanua T'Kreth (toubanua.tairov): Just because something is normal doesn't mean I have to like it.
[2013/10/17 13:34]  herman Bergson: but then the remark....if looked at it this way is meaningless???
[2013/10/17 13:34]  herman Bergson: No....
[2013/10/17 13:34]  herman Bergson: Because that idea is deeply connected with teleological thinking....
[2013/10/17 13:35]  herman Bergson: Life must lead to some goal...
[2013/10/17 13:35]  herman Bergson: is the life of your cat meaningless???
[2013/10/17 13:35]  herman Bergson: Does it expect to be reborn in some afterlife?
[2013/10/17 13:35]  Corronach: cat gives me joy :)
[2013/10/17 13:36]  CONNIE Eichel: we make that question when we are "born" in SL... what is the goal here?
[2013/10/17 13:36]  herman Bergson: Yes...Corronach...
[2013/10/17 13:36]  Dagg (daggash.bayn): I dont know, lets talk about humans , is hard enough lol
[2013/10/17 13:36]  herman Bergson: thus you give meaning to the life of your cat
[2013/10/17 13:36]  herman Bergson: as an organism...
[2013/10/17 13:36]  Toubanua T'Kreth (toubanua.tairov): I wouldn't argue that the absence of an afterlife makes life meaningless. In fact, if there is no afterlife, then corporeal life is the only life with any meaning.
[2013/10/17 13:36]  Corronach: i see two main purposes to SL, Connie. People come here for sex, or they come here to escape. Or both. :)
[2013/10/17 13:36]  herman Bergson: what is the difference between humans and all other creatures on this planet?
[2013/10/17 13:37]  Dagg (daggash.bayn): the difference is ...
[2013/10/17 13:37]  Toubanua T'Kreth (toubanua.tairov): We smoke cigarettes.
[2013/10/17 13:37]  CONNIE Eichel: coinscience... however it spells
[2013/10/17 13:37]  herman Bergson: Our consciousness...our self awareness...
[2013/10/17 13:37]  Dagg (daggash.bayn): that humans have an individuality , I guess
[2013/10/17 13:37]  herman Bergson: yes CONNIE :-)
[2013/10/17 13:37]  herman Bergson: Primates have an individuality too Dagg....
[2013/10/17 13:38]  Toubanua T'Kreth (toubanua.tairov): Oh, some also smoke cigarettes . . .
[2013/10/17 13:38]  herman Bergson: no two chimps are alike as individual for instance
[2013/10/17 13:38]  Dagg (daggash.bayn): not sure about that herman, sorry
[2013/10/17 13:38]  Toubanua T'Kreth (toubanua.tairov): I've heard there's been some interesting results recently to research in regards to dog consciousness.
[2013/10/17 13:39]  herman Bergson: Frans de Waal on that subject Dagg...
[2013/10/17 13:39]  Dagg (daggash.bayn): alright I will
[2013/10/17 13:39]  herman Bergson: well it is a proven fact that some animals have some level of self awareness...
[2013/10/17 13:40]  herman Bergson: The most famous test is the mirror test....
[2013/10/17 13:40]  herman Bergson: does an animal recognize himself in a mirror...?
[2013/10/17 13:40]  herman Bergson: A cat doesn't for goes looking behind the mirror
[2013/10/17 13:41]  herman Bergson: But an elephant does as a chimpansee does...
[2013/10/17 13:41]  CONNIE Eichel: /me vanishes for rl...
[2013/10/17 13:41]  herman Bergson: bye CONNIE :-)
[2013/10/17 13:41]  Dagg (daggash.bayn): what about the morality.. lets take the question of human rights..can animals go as far as we do ?
[2013/10/17 13:42]  herman Bergson: Of course not that far Dagg, but again....
[2013/10/17 13:42]  herman Bergson: Frans de Waal has demonstrated that even Bonobos have a sense of fairness....
[2013/10/17 13:43]  herman Bergson: His latest book is on this subject...
[2013/10/17 13:43]  herman Bergson: even these primates have some rudimentary sense of justice....
[2013/10/17 13:43]  xtc yonimyxtc (windows.bhalti): i need to doubt some of Piaget because i have two early memories, one i was in a baby's crib and the other i was crawling - i knew then what was inanimate and what was alive
[2013/10/17 13:43]  herman Bergson: but indeed nothing compared to what we have...
[2013/10/17 13:44]  Toubanua T'Kreth (toubanua.tairov): Ray Bradbury claimed to remember being in the womb.
[2013/10/17 13:45]  herman Bergson: you can claim what you like....of course...
[2013/10/17 13:45]  Toubanua T'Kreth (toubanua.tairov): lol
[2013/10/17 13:45]  xtc yonimyxtc (windows.bhalti): bradbury is been found unreliable
[2013/10/17 13:45]  herman Bergson: the peculiar thing with such claims however is that hardly anyone has such experiences, tho we are with billions of people on this planet...
[2013/10/17 13:46]  herman Bergson: it is always just one , maybe a few persons...
[2013/10/17 13:46]  herman Bergson: I would say it is complete nonsense what this Ray says..but that is my personal evaluation of his claim
[2013/10/17 13:47]  herman Bergson: Anyway...the point is....
[2013/10/17 13:47]  herman Bergson: can a philosopher deal with religious thinking...?
[2013/10/17 13:48]  herman Bergson: My answer is yes. of course, for it is a product of the same brain the philosopher aspect of human behavior
[2013/10/17 13:48]  Toubanua T'Kreth (toubanua.tairov): I should think a philosopher could analyse anything he or she wants :)
[2013/10/17 13:48]  xtc yonimyxtc (windows.bhalti): i am reading an article on consciousness, i am sorry, the title and author is not at my fingertips, that is leading me away from a deep theological belief
[2013/10/17 13:49]  herman Bergson: Yes indeed Toubanau...that is what is the value of philosophy as Russell indicates
[2013/10/17 13:49]  Dagg (daggash.bayn): I think that Plato f.i. was somehow religious..not in the sense of a dogma but in spiritual sense
[2013/10/17 13:50]  Toubanua T'Kreth (toubanua.tairov): I'm sorry but rl is calling me too. Nice meeting you folks :)
[2013/10/17 13:50]  herman Bergson: he was metaphysical indeed Dagg....
[2013/10/17 13:50]  xtc yonimyxtc (windows.bhalti): *leading me away from spiritual beliefs
[2013/10/17 13:50]  herman Bergson: because he tried to solve an epistemological problem...
[2013/10/17 13:50]  Toubanua T'Kreth (toubanua.tairov): Ciao, all :)
[2013/10/17 13:51]  herman Bergson: He wondered can we know what we know...
[2013/10/17 13:52]  xtc yonimyxtc (windows.bhalti): this article i am reading explains the workings of the chemical/biologiacl brain
[2013/10/17 13:53]  herman Bergson: oh there is a lot of research on that subject XTC....
[2013/10/17 13:53]  xtc yonimyxtc (windows.bhalti): it is fascinating and wholly explainable
[2013/10/17 13:53]  herman Bergson: just google on 'godhelm'
[2013/10/17 13:53]  herman Bergson:
[2013/10/17 13:54]  herman Bergson: it explains a lot about what saints experienced in the catholic tradition....
[2013/10/17 13:54]  xtc yonimyxtc (windows.bhalti): the saxon chieftan?
[2013/10/17 13:54]  herman Bergson: Like Jean d'Arc shows all characteristics of what is now know as a mental disorder
[2013/10/17 13:55]  xtc yonimyxtc (windows.bhalti): ahh yes
[2013/10/17 13:55]  xtc yonimyxtc (windows.bhalti): ty
[2013/10/17 13:55]  herman Bergson: Well..
[2013/10/17 13:55]  Mikki Louise (mikkilouise): I must go.. thank you for the class and discussion
[2013/10/17 13:55]  Dagg (daggash.bayn): bye Mikki
[2013/10/17 13:55]  herman Bergson: I have tortured you long enough, I guess :-))
[2013/10/17 13:55]  Mikki Louise (mikkilouise): lol
[2013/10/17 13:55]  Dagg (daggash.bayn): no it was quite interesting herman
[2013/10/17 13:56]  herman Bergson: so..see you next lecture on Buddhism :-)
[2013/10/17 13:56]  xtc yonimyxtc (windows.bhalti): i am lagging very bad - i am not on my powerful pc :-(
[2013/10/17 13:56]  herman Bergson: You look perfectly ok to me, XTC...and your legs too :-))
[2013/10/17 13:56]  Corronach: thanks herman
[2013/10/17 13:56]  xtc yonimyxtc (windows.bhalti): haha :-))!
[2013/10/17 13:57]  herman Bergson: Thank you all again....class dismissed :-)
[2013/10/17 13:57]  xtc yonimyxtc (windows.bhalti): but i have pants on
[2013/10/17 13:57]  Dagg (daggash.bayn): thank you
[2013/10/17 13:57]  Dagg (daggash.bayn): bye bye all
[2013/10/17 13:57]  xtc yonimyxtc (windows.bhalti): byby, professor bergson
[2013/10/17 13:57]  herman Bergson: Bye Dagg
[2013/10/17 13:57]  Corronach: bye
[2013/10/17 13:57]  xtc yonimyxtc (windows.bhalti): byby
[2013/10/17 13:57]  xtc yonimyxtc (windows.bhalti): fare well until we meet again...
[2013/10/17 13:57]  xtc yonimyxtc (windows.bhalti): oxo...
[2013/10/17 13:58]  xtc yonimyxtc (windows.bhalti): Enjoy traveling around Second Life...
[2013/10/17 13:59]  xtc yonimyxtc (windows.bhalti): thank you for hosting, for teaching and for your time :-)
[2013/10/17 13:59]  herman Bergson: my pleasure XTC :-))