Sunday, March 31, 2013

463: The Art Not to Be an Egoist 28

In the previous lecture I showed you that war is not a necessary consequence of human nature. There are at least 70 peoples known, which never have been to war among each other.

Then, when we all have the same brain, where does it go wrong? To give you the paradox: it is caused by the unlimited capabilities of our limited mind.

Let's have a closer look at that. All we know about the world we know by our private brain. It creates the colors and images, the smells and feelings, ideas and thoughts.

We experience it as our Self. How we come to this experience of a Self , is a great mystery of the brain, which is pretty unwilling to show us the secret.

We know that several areas in our head are responsible for the emergence of our Self. Seven billion people on this earth, at least every healthy human being, who can say "I am", can't be mistaken. The Self is a perceived reality.

But precisely, only a perceived reality, created by our brain. Our ego, our self, our self-image and self-esteem exist only as a mysterious product of our brain. 

And what others of us are experiencing is just a shell: our bodies, our eyes, movements and words, but never our ego.
Rather, the others form their own impression of our I.

It is a typical myth of our culture to assume that the Self is some rock solid unchanging something, that makes a person who his is. However, our Self is a volatile substance. Are not our self-image and self-esteem constantly depending on situations and moods?

Our brain is evolutionary primarily designed to live our daily life, and not to asks questions like: Is there life after death? or Where does the universe end?

What we experience as our reality, is limited to what our brain is capable of to show us. We don't see ultra-violet light like insects do, nor do we feel the magnetic field shifts of the earth like sharks and wales do.

Also in our moral judgements we are limited in that way. We look at things situationally. We can not see the whole reality. We see it from our point of view related to our self image.

Contrary to animals we are able to transcend living in Here and Now. We can reconstruct the past and we can plan for the future.

Morally we can do the same. We can care about people thousands of miles away, believe in a world peace, think of general principles of Justice, Fairness, Responsibility.

Advocates of Reason, like Kant, have built whole theories on all we can theoretically think of. but this didn't lead to objective moral judgements.

We are no calculators, nor logic machines or computers. We do not, like some philosophers claimed, make all our actions depend on what the greatest profit would be.

Our actions and moral judgements are still dominated by instincts and intuitions, and we often tend to focus on the unimportant.

Gossip magazines and tabloids have a larger circulations than Newsweek or Time magazine. We know more titles of TV series than names of philosophers.

At this stage in the evolution of the brain, we live in a mixed reality. When we act morally, then we do not act in a world of universal moral principles, but in a world of situations, our private situation.

Though we know that it is possible to live in peace, we are imprisoned in our own situation, which you could call, culture, 

or maybe even better a culture of interests and as the world today shows, our brain is not yet capable of integrating all conflicting thoughts,  impulses, drives and instincts it is made of.

The Discussion

[13:20] herman Bergson: Thank you ^_^
[13:20] myxtc: I feel so dumb now
[13:21] Lizzy Pleides: Thank you herman
[13:21] Debbie DJ: interesting..
[13:21] myxtc: :-)
[13:21] Bejiita Imako: basically our brain is like a computer processor that is to slow for the work it need to do
[13:21] Bejiita Imako: so cant handle all input we get
[13:21] herman Bergson: If you have any questions or eremarks...the floor is yours :-)
[13:21] herman Bergson: I would like to disagree Bejiita....
[13:22] herman Bergson: it is a big mistake to compair our brain with a com[uter....
[13:22] Bejiita Imako: i know sometimes when i feel i get more then i can handle
[13:22] Bejiita Imako: well a computer is just a machine
[13:22] Debbie DJ: I read your lecture from thursday, and agree with your thesis that we are manipulated (into war) by a ruling class to protect their interests. We are manipulated through some kind of pseudo ethics...
[13:22] herman Bergson: if ti were like a computer we really would be logically and one dimensionally thinking individuals
[13:23] herman Bergson: Was a documentary on the Iraq war...
[13:23] Bejiita Imako: well thats true, a computer only do what we tell it and it cant feel what it does
[13:23] Bejiita Imako: we can
[13:23] Debbie DJ: in the sense that we are threatened by exclusion... and the use of words like "terrorist"
[13:23] herman Bergson: Bush and Blair literally lied us into that war
[13:23] herman Bergson: and Dick Chenney
[13:23] Debbie DJ: The propaganda machine sets values, and the group adopts them
[13:23] Bejiita Imako: yes i read about that
[13:24] Bejiita Imako: that war have caused lot of suffering and more terror for nothing
[13:24] Bejiita Imako: almost nothing at least
[13:24] Debbie DJ: So while we do things to feel good, sometimes the things we have to do are controlled by others.
[13:24] Lizzy Pleides: every war does
[13:25] myxtc: I don't know if war is caused by the ruling class to protect their interests. I feel protected by my government when the security of my country is threatened
[13:25] herman Bergson: All ads on TV try to reach that goal Debbie
[13:25] Debbie DJ: So it seems that the strong amongst us, may have different values, or ethical standards?
[13:25] Bejiita Imako: aaa yes
[13:26] herman Bergson: Well....we have human right movements, Amnesty International, Green Peace etc.
[13:26] Debbie DJ: Like, do you think bush was deluded, or greedy?
[13:26] Lizzy Pleides: they don't have debbie
[13:26] Mick Nerido: Religion tries to set ethical standards for a society
[13:26] herman Bergson: Bush wanted to finish what his father had begun....kicking out Saddam Hussein
[13:26] Debbie DJ: Mick, religen is dealt with in previous lectures ;)
[13:27] Bejiita Imako: and he motivated the war with weapons of mass destruction wich were never there
[13:27] Debbie DJ: so his"ethics" were about pleasing dad,?
[13:27] herman Bergson: Religion had as a function to unite the group, the tribe....
[13:27] herman Bergson: to make people feel responsible for more than only their own family
[13:27] Bejiita Imako: Bush is a man of revenge who act in pure rage without thinking very much id say
[13:27] Mick Nerido: The 10 commandments are moral values
[13:28] herman Bergson: Sure they are Mick
[13:28] Bejiita Imako: he acts first and think later
[13:28] herman Bergson: But the moral values weren't invented by the 10 commandments...
[13:28] Mick Nerido: We don't always follow them though
[13:28] Bejiita Imako: indeed we don't
[13:29] Lizzy Pleides: only a president who made a war is a good president, how many presidents dod hot make wars?
[13:29] herman Bergson: the 10 commandments are the transcription of social rules in a group
[13:29] Debbie DJ: so to me, it seems that Aristotle says human nature is about fitting in and feeling part of it. Yet the leaders often move outside of those goals, and are motivated by power and greed, and not bound by ethics.
[13:29] Mick Nerido: We say God bless our country...
[13:29] herman Bergson: That is fact is our problem Debbie
[13:30] herman Bergson: it is not only the leaders.
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: aaa
[13:30] Debbie DJ: Yep.
[13:30] herman Bergson: Like we have a party that is xenophobe....
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: a common problem indeed it seems and a BIG problem
[13:30] herman Bergson: or antisemit
[13:30] Debbie DJ: It is often just citizens being greedy or uncaring?
[13:30] herman Bergson: or racist...
[13:30] myxtc: I can't agree with that, debbie
[13:30] herman Bergson: Leaders can use that
[13:31] Debbie DJ: What bit Myx?
[13:31] Bejiita Imako: the big guys are the ones that does this when they get too much power
[13:31] myxtc: power and greed
[13:32] Bejiita Imako: and just want more and more without thinking of anyone else
[13:32] Debbie DJ: Well, the proof is in the eating - there are wars, even now.
[13:32] Debbie DJ: and there is unbridled consumerism , even though we know its a bad idea.
[13:32] herman Bergson: In case of the Iraq war it is a real question why Blair and Bush explicitly lied...
[13:32] herman Bergson: They as leaders wanted that war...
[13:33] Bejiita Imako: at any cost no matter the consequences
[13:33] herman Bergson: meant more than 4000 american casualties to begin with
[13:33] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:33] Debbie DJ: And that was minor compared to the 200 000 iraqi deaths
[13:33] myxtc: I believe they 'wanted' it, as you say, to ultimately protect their countries.
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: read an article in the news today at work about it, so horrible everything
[13:34] Debbie DJ: myx - we cant fight for peace.
[13:34] herman Bergson: I disagree with that Myxtc...because all intelligence showed that there was no threat at all
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: no only makes more violence
[13:34] myxtc: we can't sit back and be destroyed, either
[13:34] Merlin: I just found a quote from Desmond Morris I was looking for.....
[13:35] Merlin: We already know that if our populations go on increasing at their present terrifying rate, uncontrollable aggressiveness will become dramatically increased. This has been proved conclusively with laboratory experiments. Gross overcrowding will produce social stresses and tensions that will shatter our community organizations long before it starves us to death.
[13:35] Lizzy Pleides: Nr. 43 - George W. Bush: Afghanistan, Irakkrieg II
Nr. 42 - Bill Clinton: Kosovo
Nr. 41 - George Bush "Senior": Irakkrieg I, Invasion in Panama
Nr. 40 - Ronald Reagan: Invasion in Grenada
Nr. 39 - Jimmy Carter: Mr. Friedensnobelpreis, wirklich nur "Kalter Krieger"?
Nr. 38 - Gerald Ford: Vietnamkrieg, Mayaguez-Zwischenfall in Kambodscha
Nr. 37 - Nixon: Vietnamkrieg
Nr. 36 - Lyndon B. Johnson: Vietnamkrieg
Nr. 35 - John F. Kennedy: Erste Truppen in Vietnam
Nr. 34 - Eisenhower: Koreakrieg
Nr. 33 - Harry S. Truman: Pazifikkrieg, Koreakrieg,
[13:35] herman Bergson: There wasn't the slightest proof that it was in th epower of Saddam that he could even cause a scratch
[13:35] Debbie DJ: Little cahnce of that. But how do you think smaller countries feel when terrorised by helicopters and drones?
[13:36] herman Bergson: before we continue discussing politics....
[13:36] Debbie DJ:  ✧✩**✩✧ G I G G L E S ✧✩**
[13:36] Debbie DJ: sorry.
[13:36] herman Bergson: the subject was how our brain tries to deal with moral judgments
[13:36] myxtc: we should wait for attack from n korea and etc?
[13:36] myxtc: sry
[13:36] Debbie DJ: Oh no - lets go kill them first...
[13:36] Debbie DJ:  ✧✩**✩✧ G I G G L E S ✧✩**
[13:36] herman Bergson: and that we are a combination of instincts on the one hand and a cool rationality on the other hand
[13:37] herman Bergson: The discussion on war here is realted to the instinct of fear for instance
[13:37] Mick Nerido: We compartmentalize, like eat cows but not horses
[13:38] herman Bergson: all rationality is missing here
[13:38] myxtc: I agree with prof bergson's philosophy on this subject of what the brain can comprehend if not the accusations towards blair and bush
[13:38] Debbie DJ: Drones are the extreme example of immoral and unethical behaviour - especially when they get weddings by mistake.
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: so horrible, make me really sad
[13:38] myxtc: how is a mistake immoral and unethical?
[13:39] herman Bergson: These drones are the overestimation of technology
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: mostly they kill innocent civilians
[13:39] herman Bergson: the believe that we can fight a clean war
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: while the soldiers think its a computer game or feels like one at least
[13:39] myxtc: really, I don't know...
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: looking on their screens
[13:39] Debbie DJ: Killing people by remote controle ? can you think of anything more grotesque?
[13:39] Mick Nerido: drones beginning of robot wars
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: no
[13:39] herman Bergson: They don't think that at all Bejiita....
[13:39] herman Bergson: It is a known fact that they are under great stress....
[13:40] myxtc: killing ppl by remote control is immoral and unethical.
[13:40] herman Bergson: They also know that they can hit innocent civilians
[13:40] Bejiita Imako: but the danger is still there, when you are in safety and just have this remote thing capable of such things
[13:40] myxtc: I ask about the morality and ethics of mistakes
[13:40] Bejiita Imako: well i don't know but i don't like these drones at all after what i have seen and heard about them
[13:40] herman Bergson: killing people as such is immoral....
[13:41] herman Bergson: by drone or car bomb or gun
[13:41] Lizzy Pleides: rockets could do that too and bombs, you don't see whom you kill
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: no
[13:41] Debbie DJ: mistakes are not the issue - flying killing machines is immoral.
[13:41] myxtc: medical science has killed ppl by mistake when searching for good
[13:41] herman Bergson: the means is an academic question
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: killing is never good
[13:41] Lizzy Pleides: true Bejiita
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: or moral
[13:41] Debbie DJ: true. but the medical mistake was meant for the good of the victim.
[13:42] herman Bergson: the morality is not in the deed but in the intention of the deed
[13:42] myxtc: sorry, debbie, when you said '...especially by mistake' I got confused lol.
[13:42] Debbie DJ: :)
[13:42] Debbie DJ: my bad sentence construction...
[13:42] herman Bergson: Drones, car bombs, guns are intended to kill people...
[13:42] myxtc: drones are meant for the good of the ppl, too, I think
[13:42] myxtc: ultimately
[13:42] Mick Nerido: Thanks Herman, good class!
[13:43] Bejiita Imako: well u can use the drone concept for other things then war , have read some examples
[13:43] herman Bergson: not a single arm is eventually for the good of any people....
[13:43] Bejiita Imako: that seem promising
[13:43] Debbie DJ: sorry myx - im not a supporter of military agression, or demonstrations of shock and awe, or bullying , or terrorism.
[13:43] herman Bergson: killing can never be for the good of the people
[13:43] myxtc: that is true, prof bergson, I agree
[13:44] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:44] herman Bergson: There are peoples with hardly any violence. let alone killing or war....
[13:44] Bejiita Imako: me too
[13:44] herman Bergson: Human beings are able to live together in that way....
[13:44] Merlin: The man who ran a TV game called Robot Wars is a robotics expert and he condemns the use of robots in actual war.
[13:44] Bejiita Imako: so the question is why don't we?
[13:44] Bejiita Imako: culture?
[13:44] myxtc: I am a pacifist but a pacifism didn't make my country secure, i'm sad and sorry to say
[13:45] Merlin: hmm well...
[13:45] Debbie DJ: Neither does aggression.
[13:45] herman Bergson: yes Bejiita.....war is made by culture....not by our innate human nature
[13:45] Bejiita Imako: must be that
[13:45] herman Bergson: It is a proven fact that it is possible to live without violence...
[13:45] myxtc: no, debbie that is true - my country was also never an aggressor
[13:46] Debbie DJ: which is your country mix?
[13:46] myxtc: it is irrelevant
[13:46] Merlin: Exactly, I wondered that too
[13:46] Debbie DJ: ok. it is.
[13:46] Merlin: There is little point in mentioning your country if we do not know what it is
[13:47] Debbie DJ:  ✧✩**✩✧ G I G G L E S ✧✩**
[13:47] Debbie DJ: you made it irrelevant -
[13:47] myxtc: many countries are secure without aggression and power and greed which is why any one country that is, is irrelevant
[[13:47] herman Bergson: let's leave out countries....
[13:47] myxtc: thank you, prof, bergson
[13:47] herman Bergson: There is one final observation I want to share with you....
[13:48] herman Bergson: There are about 70 peoples that dont know war...dont go to war....
[13:48] herman Bergson: But all these peoples are tribes....tribal communities, like indians of the in such a natural state...
[13:48] Merlin: There was an interesting item on War on bbc Radio4 this morning
[13:49] Merlin: He gave interesting reasons for wars rather like those we have talked about here
[13:49] herman Bergson: btw...the amazon indians are very aggressive and apt to war
[13:49] Merlin: There was an example in PNG
[13:49] herman Bergson: Yes I can imagine merlin
[13:49] Merlin: Papua New Guinea in Australasia
[13:49] Debbie DJ: The bushmen of South Africa don't wage war.
[13:50] herman Bergson: It is the complexity of our present "civilization" that doesn't make things easier regarding matters of war and peace
[13:50] Merlin: Well in PNG they were continually at war in minor ways at one time
[13:50] Merlin: When the rulers showed them their guns and power over them they stopped
[13:50] myxtc: I didn't follow what you said about the ppls who don't war, prof. who are they?
[13:51] Merlin: Well... thats what this program  said
[13:51] herman Bergson: there is a site ....
[13:51] herman Bergson:, when I am not mistaken
[13:51] myxtc: thank you! :-)!
[13:52] herman Bergson: if it isn't correct Myxtc then I'll look it up
[13:52] herman Bergson: The list is not complete even
[13:52] myxtc: it seems to b correct - I just brought it up :-)
[13:52] herman Bergson: good
[13:53] myxtc: Buh-bye. :)
[13:53] myxtc: Fare well 'til we meet again...
[13:53] myxtc: oxo...
[13:53] myxtc: Buh-bye! ^__^
[13:53] Bejiita Imako: aaa cu :9
[13:53] herman Bergson: then, thanx you all for your participation
[13:53] herman Bergson: Class dismissed
[13:53] .: Beertje :.: thank you Herman
[13:53] Bejiita Imako: hmm this was an interesting subject
[13:53] myxtc: lol.
[13:53] Bejiita Imako:
[13:53] Lizzy Pleides: thank you, that was interesting again

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