Thursday, February 28, 2013

457: The Art Not to be an Egoist 22

The leading ideas in this series of lectures may become clearer and clearer to you. If not, let me tell you which they are.

With respect to understanding human nature the first leading idea is, that our ability for  moral behavior is based on natural, innate drives.

In other words, the homo sapiens is a moral being by nature and has a mainly cooperative nature and is not driven by selfishness.

The second leading thought is, that eventually we are not primarily driven by private greed, lust or interests, but by our self image.

That is, our actions are guided mainly by how we think of ourselves, also in relation to our fellowmen and how they think about us.

Therefore it isn't that bad at all when in a given situation we do not get what we longed for, or do not succeed in some plan.

It feels much worse when we are attack as a person, when our being, the person who we are, is questioned, when our self-esteem is hurt or destroyed.

Our existence is more than just our drives, reason and actions, otherwise how would you explain this sensitivity with respect to the person we think we are, or how we see ourselves.

You also could say that morality is not the simple product of our rationality, but it is a main characteristic of human nature.

These preliminary conclusions are not the result of findings of modern science. They are the basic ideas of Aristotle (384 - 322 BC).

Why is this man so important? With regard to our topic, the answer is simple: He was the first philosopher with a strikingly realistic view on human nature. 

As a biologist, he explored the interplay of our emotions, our will and our reason. As a philosopher, he observed, why we not just SHOULD be good, but also why it is tempting to WANT to be good.

Contrary to Plato, his teacher, Aristotle did not amalgamate Truth and Ethics. They don't belong together.

What truth is, is a matter of knowledge. What morals is, is a matter of experience. And while there are objective standards for truth, in logic and physics, with respect to moral ideas we are always dealing with subjective standards.

While sciences go for truth, you can't speak of truth in ethics. We do not get any further than concluding that something is plausible and that it makes sense to incorporate certain moral ideas in our actions.

Like his teacher Plato, Aristotle however could not resist to amalgamate, to intermix the order of nature and the order of human existence.

That, of course, is still a common view in certain believes, that the human being is just a part of one grand cosmic scheme.

If we are part of such a scheme it would enable us to point out, what we eventually have to be  or have to do, to be or become a true human being, the complete man.

This way of thinking was picked up after Aristotle in Western Culture by christianity and still lives on in such ideas as Intelligent Design.

However, Aristotle refrained from such farfetched ideas. For him the most important question only was: What is a good life? 

Is it limitless conceding to our animal nature? No, it is our need of fulfillment and sense. Living creatures that can have intentions 

and can think about their own intentions and those of others, long for a happy life. We all want a good life, the eudaimonia.

When we look in the mirror we want to see a happy and content face, independent of the question whether this mirror in de presidential suite in a Hilton Hotel or in our own bathroom.

The Discussion

[13:21] herman Bergson: thank you ^_^
[13:21] Debbie DJ: so, where is the evil?
[13:21] Debbie DJ: good lecture prof.
[13:22] herman Bergson: yes Debbie...Evil is the subject of my next project
[13:22] Lizzy Pleides: Thank you herman
[13:22] herman Bergson: a logical response
[13:22] herman Bergson: But I'll get to that in next lectures of course.....
[13:23] Debbie DJ: So if we are all good moral people desiring to be loved, why are there so many starving poor people in he world?
[13:23] herman Bergson: we all think of ourselves as being good persons...yet we know we now and then do harm to others...:-)
[13:23] herman Bergson: ok Debbie....
[13:23] Merlin: I was thinking a bit about this today, asking whether we are really so good in fact
[13:23] Merlin: OR....
[13:24] Merlin: Is it something we do when we are already happy and have something left to spare
[13:24] Bejiita Imako: really interesting stuff this for suer
[13:24] herman Bergson: I think we need to make a difference between the individual and the group....
[13:24] herman Bergson: I an individual you can be a moral person....
[13:25] herman Bergson: but as a member of a hedgefund you just kill companies and squeeze them for the profits
[13:25] Debbie DJ: Its like we want to be good and loved, but we NEED lots of STUFF to do that...
[13:25] Bejiita Imako: when in a group u risk being pulled with the others into a nasty mob
[13:25] Bejiita Imako: the group pressure
[13:25] herman Bergson: that is the paradox Bejiita....
[13:26] Bejiita Imako: to feel the force to do like the others to get accepted
[13:26] herman Bergson: for every member in the group can say that...I was pulled in...
[13:26] Merlin: Yes, and sometimes that peer pressure requires that people are bad
[13:26] herman Bergson: good point Bejiita...
[13:26] Debbie DJ: And to some extent, advertising manipulates our mob behaviour...
[13:26] Bejiita Imako: thats a major problem in schools ext where some group bully others basically ruining their lives and in worst case forcing them to shift school or even move to another place
[13:26] Lizzy Pleides: to be rich and beautiful seems to be more attractive than to be social responsible only
[13:27] herman Bergson: a good life is also t be recognized and respected by others
[13:27] Bejiita Imako: same prob on the internet, telling people nasty things and believe because u have the computer between its not as bad
[13:27] Merlin: I wish I could believe that Herman
[13:27] Bejiita Imako: but its just as bad through a computer
[13:27] Merlin: People near me only look at outward appearances
[13:28] herman Bergson: What do you mean Merlin?
[13:28] Merlin: and some people are looking at our prosperity.....
[13:28] Bejiita Imako: i hear all time now about "net hatred" where people tell others they are useless can go die and general threats on facebook and other media
[13:28] herman Bergson: Ah I see
[13:28] Bejiita Imako: the computer act like a barrier between it seems, big problem
[13:28] Merlin: I mean that being Good is not so well respected, or even recognized
[13:29] herman Bergson: True Merlin....
[13:29] Debbie DJ: Merlin, true, but being bad is quickly recognized.... or is it?
[13:29] MerlinMerlin smiles
[13:29] herman Bergson: and that was a thing Aristotle didn't know at all...
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:29] herman Bergson: how a person can be influenced by advertisements etc...or even brain manipulation
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: yes thats also a factor
[13:30] herman Bergson: Aristotle had the idea that a person can develop character....which means his life by virtues
[13:30] herman Bergson: But I'll get to that next Thursday :-)
[13:31] Debbie DJ: Can it be that the nature of man is changing due to constant manipulation of people by corporate and government media?
[13:31] .: Beertje :.: very interesting Herman
[13:31] Bejiita Imako: id say could be very much possible
[13:31] Bejiita Imako: by certain 100 % sure about that
[13:31] Debbie DJ: yay thanks bejita
[13:32] herman Bergson: Well Debbie...there you hit a core issue...
[13:32] Lizzy Pleides: yes Debbie you are right
[13:32] herman Bergson: We are trying to understand human nature in this series of lectures...
[13:32] herman Bergson: human nature....
[13:32] herman Bergson: question is...
[13:32] herman Bergson: has it been the same through all ages
[13:32] Bejiita Imako: look at north korea, the people have been isolated from internet ect and then brainwashed so that they believe they live in paradise then they in fact live in hell on earth
[13:32] herman Bergson: or not
[13:32] herman Bergson: as you say..
[13:33] Bejiita Imako: with Kim as the devil
[13:33] herman Bergson: is it now a product of manipulation etc?
[13:33] Lizzy Pleides: they have another self image in north Korea
[13:33] Debbie DJ: western manipulation is no less than korea, just more subtle...
[13:34] Lizzy Pleides: true Debbie
[13:34] herman Bergson: Let me put it this way.....
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: also they barely can survive for the day, Kim's strategy in making them weak so he can manipulate them like dolls, if they survive that is
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: horrible!
[13:34] Debbie DJ: It is all about consuming faster and believing it is our right.
[13:34] herman Bergson: ok...let me put it this way...
[13:35] herman Bergson: about human nature....
[13:35] Lizzy Pleides: we have to see through these tricky things debbie
[13:35] Debbie DJ: I wish I could Lizzy...
[13:35] herman Bergson: I always have wondered about it.....but when you listen to 99% of all songs...
[13:35] herman Bergson: they are about love...
[13:35] Debbie DJ: yes!
[13:36] Debbie DJ: and most art is beautiful...
[13:36] herman Bergson: and when you look at the history of literature....and music...
[13:36] herman Bergson: nothing new there...
[13:36] herman Bergson: songs about love
[13:36] Debbie DJ: but herman - if you listen to death metal - there is no love...
[13:36] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:37] Debbie DJ: it is about death and destruction - the apocalypse and fire...
[13:37] herman Bergson: yes Debbie and you also have those crime rappers or violence rappers...
[13:37] herman Bergson: but they come and go...
[13:37] Debbie DJ: post nuclear wastelands, hunger , and death
[13:37] herman Bergson: the love song is an ever lasting subject :-)
[13:37] Lizzy Pleides: you can't hear that always
[13:37] Lizzy Pleides: yes!
[13:37] Debbie DJ: yes... Like war and destruction - also everlasting ;)
[13:38] herman Bergson: yes Debbie....
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:38] herman Bergson: TWo sides of a coin it seems regarding human nature
[13:38] Debbie DJ: definitely 2 sides to us....
[13:38] Debbie DJ: snap :)
[13:39] herman Bergson: But everybody loves love and everybody dislikes destruction, although it happens
[13:39] Debbie DJ: By focussing us on the moral good side, you have helped us more clearly see what evil might be....
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: yesa
[13:39] herman Bergson: That is..I prefer the positive look at human nature....
[13:39] Lizzy Pleides: it influences our hormone balance
[13:40] herman Bergson: and so far I have been right....
[13:40] herman Bergson: we still exist
[13:40] Debbie DJ: I prefer love to hate....
[13:40] Lizzy Pleides: of course
[13:40] Bejiita Imako: me too
[13:40] Bejiita Imako: Im a nice guy
[13:40] Debbie DJ:  ✧✩**✩✧ G I G G L E S ✧✩**
[13:40] Debbie DJ: - i nearly said I hate hate
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: lol
[13:41] herman Bergson: Like every normal human being would debbie
[13:41] herman Bergson: good one
[13:41] Debbie DJ: got to be so careful with words around philosophers..
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:41] Bejiita Imako:
[13:42] Merlin: Yes Debbie and quite right too
[13:42] herman Bergson: no not with words...
[13:42] herman Bergson: they are just the wrapping of your ideas and thoughts :-)
[13:42] Merlin: Yeah, perhaps there are bigger pedants than philosophers
[13:43] Debbie DJ: I wouldnt pack a calm blue thought in a firey red wrapper
[13:43] herman Bergson: what is a 'pendant' Merlin?
[13:43] Debbie DJ: word nit picker...
[13:43] Lizzy Pleides: pedant
[13:43] Merlin: Pedant, it's someone who is obsessive about accuracy
[13:43] Merlin: Yes Debbie
[13:43] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:44] Bejiita Imako: lioke keeping everything tidy and in order
[13:44] Merlin: Derives from schoolteacher I believe
[13:44] herman Bergson: ah in dutch we all such a person a "komma neuker"
[13:44] herman Bergson: lol
[13:44] Merlin: lol
[13:44] Bejiita Imako: hahaha
[13:44] Debbie DJ: that would be the editor....
[13:44] Lizzy Pleides: lol
[13:45] herman Bergson: Well, I guess you are ready for the lecture of next Thursday now :-)
[13:45] Bejiita Imako: think so
[13:45] Merlin: hehe yes, after a bit of rest
[13:45] herman Bergson: So thank you all for your participation again....
[13:45] Lizzy Pleides: you can start it right now, :-)
[13:45] Debbie DJ: I sure am.... Cant wait
[13:45] herman Bergson: unless you still have a burning question or remark
[13:46] Debbie DJ: I just want to say the recap tonight was most useful...
[13:46] herman Bergson: then...
[13:46] herman Bergson: Class dismissed..^_^
[13:46] herman Bergson: Thank you all

Thursday, February 21, 2013

456: The Art Not to Be an Egoist 21

In my lectures so far I have tried to find the pieces of the puzzle, which create the true picture of human nature.

There are all kinds of theories about what is human nature. For centuries it was the playground of philosophers only.

But nowadays many sciences contribute their pieces to our puzzle. That is, there is a growing body of evidence of what we already understood about ourselves.

In lecture 454 I said : "We look at ourselves as a good person, or  long to be regarded as one at least. 

And that is why we are nice to each other (not always but often), because it makes us FEEL GOOD.

Not because it serves our genetic interests, but it nurtures our psyche, our mind."

In the next lecture I showed you that this "Feel good" desire had already old philosophical roots in hedonism and eudaimonism.

I begin to wonder, whether it is really an ART not to be an egoist. Is it really audacious to claim, that the homo sapiens is NOT an egoist by nature,

that his happiness is not the result of his selfish, calculating exploiting of his fellowmen or the eternal pursuit of his greed?

The greedy, calculating banker might save a young kitten from drowning, or help a stranger by pointing him in the right direction.

As I said in previous lectures, we are a vessel of conflicts and contradictions and it is all the product of one's brain.

But what becomes clearer and clearer is that our brain, or actually We, steer in a clear direction: we want to feel good, we want to feel happy.

And this is achieved by one of our basic qualities: being a social being. We need the other to be happy ourselves.

What motivates us is recognition, appreciation, friendship, in other words, the feeling of being accepted socially.

When we feel ourselves socially good, the brain produces neuropetides, like oxytocin and vasopressin. These 'feel good' hormones are like a balm for our soul.

The opposite is true as well. When we get under stress the brain produces the stress hormone cortisol.

Of course happiness is much more complex than just observing the production of hormones in the brain..

Let's get back to good old Aristotle and his idea of "eudaimonia" as the perfect state of happiness. I think he really hit the bull's eye a 2000 years ago.

You can find dozens of definitions of happiness, but Aristotle already knew. Happiness is the inner state of being in balance with yourself and with your  environment.

We can achieve that state in many ways, but definitely not  by assuming that we are only calculating egoists.

We can be altruists, while calculating our profit in helping someone else, and the next moment altruists for free by helping an old lady cross the street.

But it all leads to the same result: it makes us feel good. It boosts our Self Image. We look in the mirror and smile at ourselves….  what do we really see in that mirror?

The Discussion

[2013/02/19 13:21]  herman Bergson: Thank you.. ^_^
[2013/02/19 13:22]  herman Bergson: If you have any questions or remarks...the floor is yours :-))
[2013/02/19 13:22]  Faithfull (beckafaithfull): good question what do we see in that mirror.
[2013/02/19 13:22]  herman Bergson: I'LL DEAL WITH THAT IN THE NEXT LECTURE FAITHFULL :-)
[2013/02/19 13:23]  herman Bergson: oops caps
[2013/02/19 13:23]  herman Bergson: sorry
[2013/02/19 13:23]  Faithfull (beckafaithfull): haha
[2013/02/19 13:23]  Debbie DJ (framdor): When individuals are happy, society functions well. That is an evolutionary win - the happy society will be more resilient ?
[2013/02/19 13:23]  Bejiita Imako: hahaha
[2013/02/19 13:23]  Bejiita Imako: yes thats true
[2013/02/19 13:23]  herman Bergson: True Debbie...
[2013/02/19 13:24]  Debbie DJ (framdor): so maybe we evolved happiness to survive ;)
[2013/02/19 13:24]  herman Bergson: The problem is only...why aren't we nice all the time..:-)
[2013/02/19 13:24]  Chuck Donardson: I am
[2013/02/19 13:24]  Chuck Donardson: :)
[2013/02/19 13:24]  Debbie DJ (framdor): Because we aren't perfect yet ;)
[2013/02/19 13:24]  Bejiita Imako: indeed a mistery sort of
[2013/02/19 13:24]  Chuck Donardson: Because we have children
[2013/02/19 13:24]  Debbie DJ (framdor): ************ G I G G L E S ************
[2013/02/19 13:24]  Debbie DJ (framdor): chuck
[2013/02/19 13:24]  herman Bergson: If that means living in harmony with the group, you are right Debbie
[2013/02/19 13:24]  Faithfull (beckafaithfull): we haven't realized that we aren't perfect.
[2013/02/19 13:24]  Chuck Donardson: :)
[2013/02/19 13:24]  Merlin (merlin.saxondale): we have to compete for things
[2013/02/19 13:24]  Bejiita Imako: guess power and money have drive on us as well that often gets the best of us and ruins everything
[2013/02/19 13:25]  Faithfull (beckafaithfull): or rather realized that we are perfect
[2013/02/19 13:25]  Chuck Donardson: we are perfect
[2013/02/19 13:25]  herman Bergson: Yes source of evil perhaps
[2013/02/19 13:25]  Merlin (merlin.saxondale): /me nods
[2013/02/19 13:25]  Debbie DJ (framdor): Our societies also channel feelings of unhappiness towards an "enemy". Not the operation of religion in creating people we like to dislike.
[2013/02/19 13:26]  herman Bergson: But the thing is....every person has some set point of happiness...
[2013/02/19 13:26]  Chuck Donardson: yes, is it the default
[2013/02/19 13:26]  Bejiita Imako: ah
[2013/02/19 13:26]  Bejiita Imako: yes
[2013/02/19 13:26]  herman Bergson: indeed Chuck...
[2013/02/19 13:26]  herman Bergson: and the next point is...
[2013/02/19 13:26]  Fred123 Aiten: so there is no common definition of happiness
[2013/02/19 13:26]  herman Bergson: when you become unhappy...for instance because of the loss of a dear one...
[2013/02/19 13:27]  herman Bergson: you'll eventually get back to your set point of happiness
[2013/02/19 13:27]  Debbie DJ (framdor): Happiness is very personal - a state of mind.
[2013/02/19 13:27]  herman Bergson: When you win a lottery and become a milionair...
[2013/02/19 13:27]  herman Bergson: you will not become happier by that
[2013/02/19 13:27]  Faithfull (beckafaithfull): short lived, perhaps
[2013/02/19 13:27]  Fred123 Aiten: why not?
[2013/02/19 13:27]  Bejiita Imako: yes
[2013/02/19 13:28]  herman Bergson: Well Fred....
[2013/02/19 13:28]  Chuck Donardson: oversupply is the enemy of happiness
[2013/02/19 13:28]  herman Bergson: think of yourself...
[2013/02/19 13:28]  Fred123 Aiten: I think I would be happy to win the lottery
[2013/02/19 13:28]  herman Bergson: you buy a new car...
[2013/02/19 13:28]  herman Bergson: in the beginning you feel really cool about it....
[2013/02/19 13:28]  herman Bergson: but after a while it is just your car again
[2013/02/19 13:28]  Bejiita Imako: yes
[2013/02/19 13:29]  Bejiita Imako: i guess
[2013/02/19 13:29]  herman Bergson: My point is....
[2013/02/19 13:29]  Fred123 Aiten: I would give lots of money to other people and their joy would make me happy
[2013/02/19 13:29]  Bejiita Imako: useful stuff can be nice to have
[2013/02/19 13:29]  herman Bergson: Aristotle thought that man longs for a state of eudaimonia...
[2013/02/19 13:29]  Debbie DJ (framdor): just more admin - rather just be nice to people now ;)
[2013/02/19 13:29]  herman Bergson: good spirit...
[2013/02/19 13:29]  Bejiita Imako: for ex my Galaxy S3 i have a lot of joy cause it os a tool that help me at work ect and that i always have with me
[2013/02/19 13:29]  Bejiita Imako: scedules communication ect
[2013/02/19 13:29]  Bejiita Imako: but still just a tool
[2013/02/19 13:29]  Bejiita Imako: a thing
[2013/02/19 13:30]  herman Bergson: what research shows is that every person really has such a state of mind....
[2013/02/19 13:30]  Lizzy Pleides: Happiness is always short lasting but it can be measured
[2013/02/19 13:30]  Debbie DJ (framdor): and it makes you work harder Bej.
[2013/02/19 13:30]  herman Bergson: Happiness is not short lasted Lizzy..on the contrary....
[2013/02/19 13:30]  Bejiita Imako: yes, i have some music in it while working along with work plans project list ect
[2013/02/19 13:30]  Bejiita Imako: really useful all in 1 thing
[2013/02/19 13:30]  herman Bergson: Joy is short lasted
[2013/02/19 13:31]  Bejiita Imako: but still just a device
[2013/02/19 13:31]  Bejiita Imako: i need friends to communicate with through that device and directly around me
[2013/02/19 13:31]  Bejiita Imako: just like i do with all of u through my computer now
[2013/02/19 13:31]  herman Bergson: You find the same idea in buddhism for instance...the idea of Aristotle's eudaimonia
[2013/02/19 13:31]  Bejiita Imako: the computer is just a way to reach all of you
[2013/02/19 13:32]  Bejiita Imako: and its you that make me happy
[2013/02/19 13:32]  Debbie DJ (framdor): Coming to this class and interacting here makes me feel happy for example...
[2013/02/19 13:32]  Bejiita Imako: ah „ã°
[2013/02/19 13:32]  Bejiita Imako: Its really nice
[2013/02/19 13:32]  herman Bergson: Yes Bejiita...for you are recognized and accepted as a person here in SL by friends
[2013/02/19 13:32]  Bejiita Imako: ah „ã°
[2013/02/19 13:32]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): buddhism has wonderful ideas of happiness
[2013/02/19 13:32]  herman Bergson: No difference with RL here in that respect
[2013/02/19 13:33]  Bejiita Imako: no
[2013/02/19 13:33]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): much more sense than some western philosophers
[2013/02/19 13:33]  herman Bergson: Yes Gemma....
[2013/02/19 13:33]  Bejiita Imako: just like my S3 the computer is just the medium i use for communication
[2013/02/19 13:33]  Bejiita Imako: in the end i need real people
[2013/02/19 13:33]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): with practices to aid in moveing along
[2013/02/19 13:33]  herman Bergson: that is the same approach as Aristotle Gemma....
[2013/02/19 13:34]  herman Bergson: He said that you have to practice VIRTUE....
[2013/02/19 13:34]  herman Bergson: virtues like honesty, fairness, love and so on...
[2013/02/19 13:34]  Debbie DJ (framdor): It seems that if we please people we know, the results are stronger happiness, than pleasing strangers...
[2013/02/19 13:35]  herman Bergson: I wouldn't say that Debbie....
[2013/02/19 13:35]  herman Bergson: Bonobo apes even prefer to please a stranger over a known member of their group
[2013/02/19 13:35]  Debbie DJ (framdor): I wouldn't sit in the park and have such rewarding discussions with total strangers - no common ground.
[2013/02/19 13:36]  herman Bergson: To please a stranger...helping an old lady cross the road..might even make you feel better :-)
[2013/02/19 13:36]  Debbie DJ (framdor): Point taken...
[2013/02/19 13:36]  Bejiita Imako: yes
[2013/02/19 13:36]  herman Bergson: But that is an amazing observation....we all feel that way....
[2013/02/19 13:37]  Lizzy Pleides: only when the old lady really wants to cross the road
[2013/02/19 13:37]  .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): lol Lizzy
[2013/02/19 13:37]  Merlin (merlin.saxondale): lol
[2013/02/19 13:37]  herman Bergson: grins
[2013/02/19 13:37]  herman Bergson: I would drag her to the other side just ti get the feel good experience :-)))
[2013/02/19 13:37]  Chuck Donardson: why did the old lady cross the road
[2013/02/19 13:37]  Faithfull (beckafaithfull): sorry i crashed
[2013/02/19 13:37]  Debbie DJ (framdor): *************** G I G G L E S ***************
[2013/02/19 13:37]  Lizzy Pleides: lol
[2013/02/19 13:38]  Bejiita Imako: wb
[2013/02/19 13:38]  Debbie DJ (framdor): wb
[2013/02/19 13:38]  herman Bergson: Love to help old ladies cross the road ^_^
[2013/02/19 13:38]  Lizzy Pleides: and young ladies too i guess
[2013/02/19 13:38]  herman Bergson: ssshhh....
[2013/02/19 13:38]  Chuck Donardson: To makae the boy scout feel better
[2013/02/19 13:38]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...
[2013/02/19 13:38]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate):  GIGGLES!!
[2013/02/19 13:38]  Fred123 Aiten: lol
[2013/02/19 13:38]  Bejiita Imako: hahaha
[2013/02/19 13:38]  herman Bergson: Anyway....
[2013/02/19 13:38]  Bejiita Imako::-)
[2013/02/19 13:39]  herman Bergson: In general I get a rather positive picture of human nature so far....
[2013/02/19 13:39]  herman Bergson: To reveal you something....
[2013/02/19 13:39]  Debbie DJ (framdor): Right now, we look like a cheerful, helpful happy lot...
[2013/02/19 13:39]  Bejiita Imako: hehe true
[2013/02/19 13:39]  Bejiita Imako: :-)
[2013/02/19 13:40]  Faithfull (beckafaithfull): until something or someone pushes our buttons
[2013/02/19 13:40]  Merlin (merlin.saxondale): hmm... I'm saying nothing
[2013/02/19 13:40]  herman Bergson: I am working on ideas about a next project after all this positive thinking about man...
[2013/02/19 13:40]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ooh
[2013/02/19 13:40]  herman Bergson: Subject will be "The origin of Evil" :-))
[2013/02/19 13:40]  Debbie DJ (framdor): that will dwell on the dark side?
[2013/02/19 13:40]  Chuck Donardson: his struggle to control...
[2013/02/19 13:40]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ohoh
[2013/02/19 13:40]  Debbie DJ (framdor): yes!!!
[2013/02/19 13:40]  Bejiita Imako: aaa ok
[2013/02/19 13:40]  Chuck Donardson: to be the alpha male
[2013/02/19 13:40]  Bejiita Imako: interesting
[2013/02/19 13:40]  Debbie DJ (framdor): time to put the devil in his place ;)
[2013/02/19 13:41]  herman Bergson: Really philosophically fascinating....
[2013/02/19 13:41]  Bejiita Imako: hehe
[2013/02/19 13:41]  Bejiita Imako: yes
[2013/02/19 13:41]  herman Bergson: Yes Debbie....that fellow needs to be taught a lesson...
[2013/02/19 13:41]  Chuck Donardson: better the devil that you know ? :)
[2013/02/19 13:41]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): lets try not to mention Ayn Rand
[2013/02/19 13:41]  Debbie DJ (framdor): gemma
[2013/02/19 13:41]  Debbie DJ (framdor):  ******* G I G G L E S ***********
[2013/02/19 13:41]  herman Bergson: He may thing k that it is all his doing...
[2013/02/19 13:41]  Bejiita Imako: hahahahahahaha
[2013/02/19 13:41]  Bejiita Imako: loooool
[2013/02/19 13:41]  herman Bergson: but there he is mistaken :-))
[2013/02/19 13:41]  herman Bergson: right Gemma..!!!!!
[2013/02/19 13:42]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): i am sick of her
[2013/02/19 13:42]  herman Bergson: We just needed Ayn Rand.....
[2013/02/19 13:42]  .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): me too Gemma
[2013/02/19 13:42]  Chuck Donardson: i need to know her better
[2013/02/19 13:42]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): the only project we did not mention her was the first 100 philosophers
[2013/02/19 13:42]  Debbie DJ (framdor): ayn who?
[2013/02/19 13:42]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): never mind
[2013/02/19 13:42]  Faithfull (beckafaithfull): lol
[2013/02/19 13:42]  Debbie DJ (framdor): ;)
[2013/02/19 13:42]  herman Bergson: Yes...her simplistic interpretation of human nature is a disaster
[2013/02/19 13:43]  Bejiita Imako: yes
[2013/02/19 13:43]  .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): we all feel that disaster now
[2013/02/19 13:43]  Debbie DJ (framdor): She doesn't make you happy Herman....
[2013/02/19 13:43]  Faithfull (beckafaithfull): you want to talk about terribly unhappy human being.
[2013/02/19 13:43]  Faithfull (beckafaithfull): look at Ayn
[2013/02/19 13:43]  herman Bergson: Yes we do Beertje
[2013/02/19 13:43]  Bejiita Imako: that we only are and should think of ourselfves
[2013/02/19 13:43]  Bejiita Imako: totally weird
[2013/02/19 13:43]  Chuck Donardson: She must have had good days
[2013/02/19 13:43]  Chuck Donardson: when helped across the road
[2013/02/19 13:43]  herman Bergson: Well. I guess I already have shown that THAT is NOT the basis of human nature
[2013/02/19 13:43]  .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): yes Chuck when she was only 4 I guess
[2013/02/19 13:43]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): never
[2013/02/19 13:43]  Faithfull (beckafaithfull): all conditional on something no doubt
[2013/02/19 13:43]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): no one could help her across the road
[2013/02/19 13:43]  Faithfull (beckafaithfull): lol
[2013/02/19 13:44]  Chuck Donardson: lol
[2013/02/19 13:44]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): seh would take a train first
[2013/02/19 13:44]  Faithfull (beckafaithfull): or walk across someone to get there.
[2013/02/19 13:44]  Debbie DJ (framdor): Gemma - lets not talk about....
[2013/02/19 13:44]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): GIGGLES!!
[2013/02/19 13:44]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...
[2013/02/19 13:44]  Bejiita Imako: hahah
[2013/02/19 13:44]  herman Bergson: OK....I guess we better continue with more merry things in SL now....
[2013/02/19 13:45]  herman Bergson: So thank you all for your participation....
[2013/02/19 13:45]  herman Bergson: Class dismissed...^_^
[2013/02/19 13:45]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate):  Thank Youuuuuuuuuu!! ‚ô•
[2013/02/19 13:45]  Debbie DJ (framdor): Sounds good to me... Go and feel good some more ;)
[2013/02/19 13:45]  Faithfull (beckafaithfull): thank you.
[2013/02/19 13:45]  Faithfull (beckafaithfull): let's go party
[2013/02/19 13:45]  Bejiita Imako: YAY! (yay!)
[2013/02/19 13:45]  Faithfull (beckafaithfull): just kidding
[2013/02/19 13:45]  Bejiita Imako: :-)
[2013/02/19 13:45]  Debbie DJ (framdor): Thanks Herman... Nice to have you back - and i had a great holiday thanks ;)
[2013/02/19 13:45]  herman Bergson: That's the spirit Faithfull :-))
[2013/02/19 13:45]  Faithfull (beckafaithfull): i hope to see you at Kido Go, Herman
[2013/02/19 13:45]  Chuck Donardson: I must attend to shovelling, thank you Herman, friends,
[2013/02/19 13:45]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): i was sick the whole two weeks
[2013/02/19 13:46]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): bronchitis
[2013/02/19 13:46]  Chuck Donardson: thanks Faithfull for the t
[2013/02/19 13:46]  Faithfull (beckafaithfull): don't ruin that lovely suit, Chuck
[2013/02/19 13:46]  Bejiita Imako: aaaaw
[2013/02/19 13:46]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): and a blizzard
[2013/02/19 13:46]  Bejiita Imako: poor Gemma
[2013/02/19 13:46]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): oh well
[2013/02/19 13:46]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): recovering
[2013/02/19 13:46]  Bejiita Imako: nice u r better now
[2013/02/19 13:46]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate):   Thank Youuuuuuuuuu!!  
[2013/02/19 13:46]  herman Bergson: yes...poor Gemma ...
[2013/02/19 13:46]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): Bye, Bye   
[2013/02/19 13:46]  Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): for now
[2013/02/19 13:46]  Fred123 Aiten: Many thanks Herman
[2013/02/19 13:46]  Bejiita Imako: cu soon all
[2013/02/19 13:46]  Bejiita Imako: hugs  
[2013/02/19 13:46]  Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Thanks Herman and Bye everyone
[2013/02/19 13:47]  .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): thank you Herman
[2013/02/19 13:47]  herman Bergson: smiles
[2013/02/19 13:47]  Faithfull (beckafaithfull): that's it that's all
[2013/02/19 13:47]  herman Bergson: Nice discusion again today :-)
[2013/02/19 13:47]  Bejiita Imako: yes
[2013/02/19 13:47]  Bejiita Imako: very
[2013/02/19 13:47]  Bejiita Imako: interesting
[2013/02/19 13:47]  Faithfull (beckafaithfull): i'm just getting warmed up
[2013/02/19 13:47]  herman Bergson: smiles
[2013/02/19 13:47]  Bejiita Imako: cu soon again
[2013/02/19 13:47]  Debbie DJ (framdor): Faithfull - pace yourself hun... this happens twice a week ;)
[2013/02/19 13:47]  herman Bergson: We have a strict time schedule here Faithfull
[2013/02/19 13:48]  Faithfull (beckafaithfull): good to know
[2013/02/19 13:48]  Faithfull (beckafaithfull): i'm a hungry ghost
[2013/02/19 13:48]  herman Bergson: Class never takes longer than about a 50 minutes...sometimes some longer
[2013/02/19 13:48]  Debbie DJ (framdor): bye friends, bye herman...
[2013/02/19 13:48]  herman Bergson: Bye Debbie :-)

Thursday, February 7, 2013

455: The Art Not to Be an Egoist 20

At this point, of course , I could continue with showing you all kinds of examples and scientific results regarding our desire to feel good as a basic of human nature.

But I think it is more to the point to show you, that already from the beginning of its philosophical adulthood man knew about what now is offered as new insights derived from biology and neurosciences.

In other words, there is nothing new under the sun, except that we now have all kinds of empirical evidence from a number of sciences, that tell that those from the past were on the right track regarding understanding human nature.

Who were they? Democritus (c.460 - c.370 BC), Aristippus (c. 435 – c. 356 BC), Epicurus (c. 341–c. 270 BC) representing hedonism and Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC) as a representative of eudiamonism.

Hedonism assumes that man naturally seeks pleasure, which in Greek  is called "hedone" , hence the name. 

This commitment is reflected negatively in avoiding pain and positively in the pursuit of all that can generate a feeling of wellbeing. 

Hedonism recognizes not only the psychological fact, but also assumes that indeed enjoying is the most valuable or the highest good for man, and that he therefore does well when he seeks pleasure. 

A person is acting good who lets his behavior be determined by the question, how he himself can obtain the most pleasure, in this way he not only lives according to his nature, but he also fulfills his destiny.

The word is derived from the Greek word "eudaimonia" which Iiterally means a good demon or spirit, that means being fortunate or lucky. 

Originally it so relates in the first place to the external conditions. Later, the emphasis shifted to the inner state and therefore the meaning of happiness in the sense of happiness or bliss. 

It indicates a feeling of well-being, resulting from knowing a harmony both with himself and with his environment. 

The man, who has reached the eudemonia, enjoys a sense of complete satisfaction, not only physically but also mentally. 

The latter distinguishes eudemonisme from hedonism. It is however clear that the boundaries between the two systems are fluid.

Although the word is in different cases is shallow, we still can best translated eudemonia by "feeling good". 

Eudemonism now wants like hedonism  start from experience and believes that it teaches that man naturally seeks for "feeling good", while it adds, that this is morally good. 

The aim of human activity, according to the eudemonism is always "feeling good". It thus regards "feeling good" as the greatest good. It is now up to the people to learn, to find true "feeling good". Thus eudemonisme  therefore is a life doctrine.

Then it is fascinaitng to notice, that interest in the concept of eudaimonia and ancient ethical theory more generally enjoyed a revival in the twentieth century.

 Elizabeth Anscombe, one of our female philosophers, in her article "Modern Moral Philosophy" (1958) argued that duty based conceptions of morality are conceptually incoherent for they are based on the idea of a "law without a lawgiver". 

She claims a system of morality conceived along the lines of the Ten Commandments depends on someone having made these rules.

Anscombe recommends a return to the eudaimonistic ethical theories of the ancients, particularly Aristotle, 

which ground morality in the interests and well being of human moral agents, and can do so without appealing to any such lawgiver.

As you see, what is now presented to us as insights derived from evolutionary psychology, biology and neurosciences, have been known to the homo sapiens for centuries.

And now I also have an announcement to make ..^_^
Next class will be on February 19, because in between I gonna spend my time on the Dutch island Schiermonnikoog. Use Google Earth to wave at me ^_^

The Discussion

[13:24] Britta Exonar: yes quite fascinating
[13:24] herman Bergson: thank you..:-))
[13:25] herman Bergson: The floor is yours...:-)
[13:25] Oceane (oceane.madrigal): cool :)
[13:25] herman Bergson: Have a seat Muan :-)
[13:25] Muon Yiyuan: Giving up smoking while you are there, Herman?
[13:25] Debbie DJ (framdor): Eudaiimonism - what a lovely concept - maximising the feeling of well being.
[13:25] Bejiita Imako: aaa yes
[13:25] Debbie DJ (framdor): fits in with your holiday herman
[13:26] herman Bergson: Yes Debbie....
[13:26] Bejiita Imako: right now I'm trying to do all kind of stuff that make me feel good, right now try a lot of dance styles and similar
[13:26] Debbie DJ (framdor): I read a set of ten atheist commandments earlier today...
[13:26] Bejiita Imako: awesome fun amd make me feel great
[13:26] herman Bergson: it struck me that all what the neuroscientist say today was already said by the Greek
[13:27] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Well those ancients were well informed on philosophy and religion
[13:27] herman Bergson: That is why I presented you today with classic hedonism and eudaimonism
[13:27] Bejiita Imako: already the old greeks
[13:27] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:27] Bejiita Imako: a classic saying
[13:28] herman Bergson: I would say they were well informed on human nature Merlin...
[13:28] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Religion was about the only thing they had to think about all day
[13:28] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Yes, that too Herman
[13:28] herman Bergson: They already understood what it was all about...
[13:28] Britta Exonar considering teh fact that relatively ancient times being less complex than our times which in fact should require even more to ponder over issues fo feeling good
[13:28] Bejiita Imako: seems so
[13:28] Britta Exonar our times being more complex relatively
[13:28] herman Bergson: Yes Britta....
[13:29] herman Bergson: and they didn't have any scientific insights we have now...!
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: a bit fascinating for sure
[13:29] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): scientific distractions
[13:29] Britta Exonar that's why is so fascinating....they had developed abstract thinking to the utmost then
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: but i guess its because feeling good is a such basic drive
[13:29] herman Bergson: Yes Britta....
[13:30] Britta Exonar: ı agree Bejita
[13:30] herman Bergson: Like their atomism....
[13:30] herman Bergson: the idea that reality is in fact constructed out of small identical particles...
[13:30] Laila Schuman: the common man worked extremely hard all day just to survive and died young
[13:30] herman Bergson: Why would you get such an idea living in ancient Greece???
[13:31] Muon Yiyuan: The Aristotle particle!
[13:31] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): I have heard something different Laila
[13:31] Britta Exonar: ah!
[13:31] Muon Yiyuan: a forerunner to the Higgs
[13:31] herman Bergson: Ye Laila philosophy was for the wealthy part of the population but never the less
[13:31] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): It was the industrial revolution which caused people to have a heavy workload
[13:31] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): We touched on this once before here
[13:32] Debbie DJ (framdor): Ha - found the link to ten commandments for atheists...It is a bit eudaemonistic
[13:32] Debbie DJ (framdor):
[13:32] Bejiita Imako: ok
[13:32] Laila Schuman: not if you lived off the land, had raids coming and going and did all the work yourself... have you been to africa... they have similar situations yet today
[13:32] Britta Exonar but imaigne the construction fo heavy building all day carving stones and breaking them to shape and carry under teh hot sun of the mediterranean that was quite hard work ...
[13:32] herman Bergson: What I didn't mention is Buddhism....
[13:33] herman Bergson: I guess that is a life doctrine close to eudaimonism as well
[13:33] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Well they were poor Laila, but they had a lot of leisure time in the Elizabethan times etc
[13:33] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): so I have heard anyway
[13:34] herman Bergson: So also in eastern philosophy this eudaimonist idea emerged
[13:34] Laila Schuman: hmm
[13:34] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): I thought eudemonism sounded Buddhist
[13:34] herman Bergson: Yes Merlin....
[13:34] Debbie DJ (framdor): I am surprised we work so hard, if pleasure is our main drive. we should take more holidays....
[13:34] herman Bergson: that is what I was thinking of...
[13:34] herman Bergson: So I do Debbie ^_^
[13:34] Britta Exonar: /em but hard work can be pleasurable for some...
[13:35] herman Bergson: Next class February 19 :-))
[13:35] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): When computers were being developed they predicted we would all have more leisure time
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: true but now we have money coming in our way for that
[13:35] Debbie DJ (framdor): So you do Herman!!!!
[13:35] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): (and use less paper too hahaha)
[13:35] herman Bergson: lol...
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:35] Britta Exonar also for soem leisure activity can be work like..
[13:35] herman Bergson: and what did we get....
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: or u use a tablet or smartphone instead of papers
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: so do i
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: i just loose papers
[13:36] herman Bergson: a constant mood of irritation because the bloody computer is screwing up again
[13:36] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): The software company I worked for would print everything four times over for people
[13:36] Bejiita Imako: hahaha that happens to one of my work buddies all time
[13:36] Debbie DJ (framdor): I put a shredder onto the output of the high printer to promote a paperless office ;)
[13:36] Bejiita Imako: lool
[13:36] Britta Exonar loves shredders makes good confetti
[13:36] Bejiita Imako: hahaha but then u still waste paper and for no use at all this time
[13:36] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:37] Debbie DJ (framdor): and beds for hamsters
[13:37] Bejiita Imako: lol
[13:37] Britta Exonar: shredders work for fun
[13:37] herman Bergson: Well...I guess we are becoming all eudaimonistic now talking about our fun subjects :-)
[13:37] Bejiita Imako: hahahaha yes
[13:37] Muon Yiyuan: I once heard the japanese had invented a reverse photocopier
[13:37] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): yeah we are off topic again... sorry
[13:37] Debbie DJ (framdor): Yes. How does second life rate on the eudaimonistic scale?
[13:37] herman Bergson: I wont put you all through the shredder but just thank you for your particiaption:-)
[13:37] Muon Yiyuan: a purely eudemonistic idea
[13:37] Bejiita Imako: hahaha
[13:37] Muon Yiyuan: you feed in the photo copies
[13:38] Muon Yiyuan: and the paper comes out blank
[13:38] Britta Exonar: thank you Herman..that was informative and quite entertaining...
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: for sure
[13:38] Britta Exonar: lol Muon
[13:38] Muon Yiyuan: just like my mind does with new ideas
[13:38] Debbie DJ (framdor): Great lecture thanks Prof Herman...
[13:38] Oceane (oceane.madrigal): thanks herman :)
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: and was in a great mod from start
[13:38] herman Bergson: Well at least I hope you noticed that the ancient Greek already knew what we are trying to proof now by neuroscience and evolutionary psychology...
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: time to continue with all this nice dancing i did before that got me into this nice state
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: this week will be great for sure
[13:39] bergfrau Apfelbaum: afk :-/
[13:39] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): he Greek were very smart..
[13:39] herman Bergson: Plenty of time for dancing Bejiita :-)
[13:39] Debbie DJ (framdor): The greeks were very hedonistic it seems.
[13:40] Bejiita Imako: yes, im getting better and better too
[13:40] Debbie DJ (framdor): Their legend lives on
[13:40] Bejiita Imako:
[13:40] herman Bergson: Yes...emphasizing WERE :-)
[13:40] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): have a nice vacation to Schiermonnikoog Herman
[13:40] herman Bergson: Well now they are smart in tax evasion :-)
[13:40] Bejiita Imako: yes have a good time there
[13:40] Britta Exonar yes enjoy your vacation please....thank you again .))
[13:40] Bejiita Imako: ill look up what this place is
[13:41] herman Bergson: Thank you Beertje :-)
[13:41] herman Bergson: Thank you all
[13:41] Debbie DJ (framdor): Have a tan when you get back herman....
[13:41] herman Bergson: Class dismissed
[13:41] Debbie DJ (framdor): and enjoy at least one pina collada on the beach
[13:41] Britta Exonar waves to her class well
[13:41] herman Bergson: I guess it wil be more like a frost Debbie
[13:41] Debbie DJ (framdor): bye britta
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: cu
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: hugs all
[13:41] Britta Exonar: Byee
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: try to feel good now everyone
[13:41] herman Bergson: Bye Britta
[13:41] Oceane (oceane.madrigal) wishes everybody a nice and pleasant day... bye bye :)
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: I will
[13:41] Bejiita Imako:
[13:41] Britta Exonar: Bye prof.
[13:42] Muon Yiyuan: Always a pleasure and an education, Herman
[13:42] Debbie DJ (framdor): bye bye friends...
[13:42] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): CU Debbie
[13:43] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Bye Herman, and everyone still here
[13:43] herman Bergson: Bye Merlin :-)