Tuesday, October 20, 2015

593: Individual in England and on the Continent

We have reached 1800, which will lead us to another kind of philosophers than we have met thus far.
But before we continue, this is a good moment to look what we have learnt till now.
First of all let me repeat the ideas behind this project. They are derived from what is happening in this world today.
It all began with Samuel Huntington’s “Clash of Civilisations?” ( Foreign Affairs;  Summer 1993; 72, 3).
He argues that all began with conflicts “largely among princes-emperors, absolute monarchs and constitutional monarchs 
attempting to expand their bureaucracies, their armies, their mercantilist economic strength and, most important, the territory they ruled.”
After the French Revolution (1789) nation states had developed and war among kings changed into war among nations.
“Then [after World War I], as a result of the Russian Revolution and the reaction against it, the conflict of nations yielded to the conflict of ideologies, 
first among communism, fascism-Nazism and liberal democracy, and then between communism and liberal democracy.” 
What we see today, is a conflict not within Western civilisation, but a conflict among civilisations globally.
And here I concluded that this conflict was in fact mainly a conflict between individualistic thinking and collectivistic thinking.
This led to the questions, why does Western civilisation focus on the individual, why did this evolve in Europe, why not in other cultures?
When you look at it this way, it inevitably leads to the question: Is Western civilisation the best outcome of evolution up to now?
This project is an attempt to answer these questions. And then at the end when we have found the individual, we’ll ask the question: 
Do we have as an individual really a free will?. Let me explain the relation between all these questions.
The inclination to question and investigate the world around us is an innate feature of our brain. Finding answers increases our chances of survival.
If you follow Maslow’s ideas you could say, that when we don’t need to spend all time on finding food, we get time to think about other things.
The Greek historically enjoyed in that position, when in the rest of Europe primary survival was still the dominant activity.
They developed a concept of the individual. Well, at least of the individual man, if we look at Aristotle. 
The woman was still considered to be closer related to an animal than to an individual person by him.
The Middle Ages teach us an interesting thing. Individuality, the freedom to question everything as a person, is not the center of the universe, when a religion or some ideology is forced upon the people. 
When one ideology dominates a culture, individuality disappears or is suppressed and conformism becomes the way of life.
But in the process individuality showed to be stronger than ideology: eventually Galileo won, that is, scientific knowledge won.
From then on the individual emerges stronger and stronger freeing himself from the oppressing domination of a religion.
If the world is to be understood in scientific terms, and not as a product of a creator, this also has consequences for social relations.
Power is not bestowed on you by god, but a natural thing derived from the consent of your fellowmen.
The individual person make this choice and thus Hobbes and Locke could openly discuss the justification of political power.
A little as a loner, Spinoza positioned the individual in the middle of nature as a part of the whole, as a drop in the ocean, matter among matter.
Rousseau gave the individual his personal psychology and even described the individual from an evolutionary perspective.
The French Revolution of 1789 could be regarded as symbolic for the final liberation of the individual from ideological suppression.
We now can ask the question: why did the individual become the center of the universe in Western civilisation?
My answer is: in the course of history homo sapiens freed himself from most of the traditional causes of belief:
faith, revelation, dogma, authority, charisma, conventional wisdom, the invigorating glow of subjective certainty.
These are generators of error and should be dismissed as sources of knowledge, which allows science to do its job for us.
This opened the path to become an individual. In the coming lectures we’ll analyse what it means to be an individual, that is….to be on your own.
And the free will? Well, after having emerged as an individual the neuroscientists of today question our free will.
 We are our brain, is the idea and the individual is the way the brain works.
Thank you…if you have questions or remarks…plz..the floor is yours.

The Discussion

[13:20] Max Chatnoir: I think we see this conflict playing out in the american congress right now.  Some people want a speaker who will adhere single mindedly to some ideology; other want a speaker who can help find solutions to problems.
[13:21] Bejiita Imako: The later lternative is the better thats for sure
[13:21] Max Chatnoir: One would think so.
[13:21] Viva Enzo is offline.
[13:21] Bejiita Imako: if there are problems and so you need to think outside the box and deal with it
[13:21] Bejiita Imako: thats fact
[13:22] CB Axel: Being an individual without a supreme being to guide us is a daunting prospect to a lot of people, I think.
[13:22] herman Bergson: I thought the Speaker of the House should be impartial
[13:22] Bejiita Imako: otherwise you have a big nasty mess
[13:22] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): we need more balance in being an individual and seeing the whole
[13:23] herman Bergson: Yes CB but it is the content of the on coming lectures....to be on your own :-)
[13:23] Max Chatnoir: It's hard to be totally alone.
[13:23] herman Bergson: Well meet Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Sartre...:-)
[13:24] herman Bergson: You were born alone Max, and will die alone....
[13:24] Max Chatnoir: True, but in between there have been a lot of other people one way and another.
[13:24] herman Bergson: Yes...fortunately:-)
[13:25] CB Axel: And there are too many people in the world who don't want to think for themselves.
[13:25] Areyn Laurasia: hard to be on your own
[13:25] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): true cb
[13:25] CB Axel: They want a supreme being to think for them.
[13:25] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): they blame always others
[13:25] CB Axel: So they can sit back and watch Survivor and not think at all.
[13:26] CB Axel: Thinking is hard.
[13:26] herman Bergson: Yes and I get the impression that this is because we can not let go of the idea that we need parents
[13:26] Max Chatnoir: And you might be wrong.  :-)
[13:26] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): and seeing yourself is hard.  
[13:26] CB Axel: Well, that's the good thing, Daruma. If things go bad, we can always blame God's wrath.
[13:26] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): and to handle these things
[13:26] herman Bergson: The time we were under the wings of our parents was for most of so good...
[13:26] Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:26] Max Chatnoir: We do have a prolonged childhood -- like some other primates.
[13:26] Areyn Laurasia: what's the alternative?
[13:26] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): well herman, when you had good ├╝parents
[13:27] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): a lot did not had them
[13:27] Max Chatnoir: grow up in a creche.  But I'm not sure that's so good either.
[13:27] CB Axel: The alternative to thinking< Areyn?
[13:27] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): and thats what they first learn in life
[13:27] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): survive first your parents;-(
[13:27] Areyn Laurasia: think and be shot down. try to fix and get burnt
[13:27] Areyn Laurasia: do nothing and live like the rest?
[13:27] CB Axel: That's where parents err, I think.
[13:27] Max Chatnoir: That's true.  Bad parents can really wreck you.
[13:27] herman Bergson: The alternative is to be an individual :-)
[13:27] CB Axel: They don't let their kids think, make mistakes and get shot down.
[13:28] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): ja but i guess its very hard to find your way with such a start in life
[13:28] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): and these learnings
[13:28] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): we are all stupied when we arrive on earth
[13:28] Areyn Laurasia: guess some kids would make better parents
[13:28] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): we learn through our partens
[13:28] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): or should do
[13:28] Bejiita Imako: true
[13:28] CB Axel: I work with people who can't make decisions or think their way down a straight hallway.
[13:29] CB Axel: Their parents made every decision for them, and now they don't know how.
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: that we in Sweden call curling parents
[13:29] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): ja alos not good cb
[13:29] Bejiita Imako:
[13:29] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): also
[13:29] Max Chatnoir: We call the helicopter parents.
[13:29] Max Chatnoir: Always hovering.
[13:29] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): ja we too^^
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: aa heard that too
[13:29] CB Axel: Yes, Max.
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: basically same thing
[13:30] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): or they think they are the middle of the world
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: those kids will never manage on their own
[13:30] Areyn Laurasia: guess I had one
[13:30] herman Bergson: To get back to the point.....:-)
[13:30] CB Axel: I barely remember interacting with my parents at all.
[13:30] herman Bergson: we have reached the French revolution :-)
[13:30] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): do we^^
[13:31] herman Bergson: a turning point for the individual...
[13:31] Max Chatnoir: Liberty, equality, fraternity.
[13:31] herman Bergson: Indeed Max!
[13:31] Max Chatnoir: It sounds good, but a lot of head rolled.
[13:31] Bejiita Imako: can imagine
[13:32] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): as today the system has to burn to create changes
[13:32] Max Chatnoir: I hope not.
[13:32] Max Chatnoir: I am very worried about the congress.  It has become an unworkable institution.
[13:32] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): i guesss we humans only learn with punishment
[13:32] Bejiita Imako: the hard way
[13:32] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): ja theats it
[13:33] Bejiita Imako: at least many do
[13:33] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): thats
[13:33] herman Bergson: What I want to investigate is the way we look at ourselves as individual today....
[13:33] herman Bergson: You sound like the god of the old testament Daruma ^_^
[13:33] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): ja as an individual we can do so much today to make the world a better place
[13:33] CB Axel: But Max, that's because too many people have given up their individual thought to their leaders.
[13:33] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): but...
[13:34] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): we all crie about stupid things in our lives
[13:34] Max Chatnoir: Yes, I think you are right, CB.
[13:34] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): mostly we don’t see what we (as an individual) can do to make a change
[13:34] herman Bergson: Keep in mind that we are not some one track thing...being....
[13:34] Max Chatnoir: When we swear allegiance to some rigid ideology, we paint ourselves right into a corner.
[13:34] herman Bergson: we are complex....
[13:35] herman Bergson: our brain is a jar filled with contradictions
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: ah¨
[13:35] herman Bergson: but we try to get it all in line
[13:35] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): ja, but we live now long enough to know a bit how to handle.
[13:35] Max Chatnoir: fish brain, lizard brain, mammal brain, human brain.  sometimes they fight.
[13:35] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): i loose temper;-)
[13:35] herman Bergson: Your observation is typical Max....
[13:36] herman Bergson: You say we lived long enoug....
[13:36] herman Bergson: how do you know....
[13:36] herman Bergson: maybe we lived long enough to scratch the surface only...?
[13:36] Max Chatnoir: That was Daruma.
[13:36] herman Bergson: lol...soryy :-)
[13:36] Areyn Laurasia: we live long enough but we have short memories
[13:37] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): did we learn from WO 2?
[13:37] Areyn Laurasia: no
[13:37] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): ja, but sometimes it seems rthat science mean we are so up to date;-) and we have everything under control, but in my view, we have not
[13:37] Max Chatnoir: We have short individual memories.  Thanks to Gutenberg, we don't have to get by with those.
[13:37] Bejiita Imako: hehe thats true
[13:37] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): we really scratched only the surface.
[13:37] herman Bergson: I agree Daruma
[13:37] Areyn Laurasia: and thanks to technology, we'll have shorter memories
[13:37] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): but science often tals like having the answer
[13:38] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): talks
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: and now we have USB drives to stuff more in than our brains can hold in total
[13:38] Bejiita Imako:
[13:38] Bejiita Imako:
[13:38] CB Axel: Science usually brings up more questions than answers, IMHO.
[13:38] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): we need usb devices in our brains
[13:38] Areyn Laurasia: and it makes us not have to remember that much.. changes the way our body works
[13:38] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): thats the answer
[13:38] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): we don't need to use our brains to remember a thing
[13:38] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): and better< software
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: haha yes that would be practical
[13:38] Areyn Laurasia: which is dangerous
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: yes and some really good deugging
[13:39] Max Chatnoir: I have students who have to use their calculators to divide by 10.
[13:39] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): only weere we put our usb stick:)
[13:39] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): lol max
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: hehehe
[13:39] herman Bergson: oh dear...
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: ow
[13:39] CB Axel: USB devices would only store data. The real work comes with knowing how to use that data.
[13:39] herman Bergson: How to interpret the data, I would say CB
[13:40] Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:40] herman Bergson: Ok  a philosophical side track for a moment...
[13:40] herman Bergson: to begin with...there do not exist data in this world...
[13:40] Bejiita Imako: our brain would still do that after some decoding but the usb don’t forget as easily
[13:40] Bejiita Imako: as our brain can do sometime
[13:40] CB Axel: Interpret the data and then use it to make decisions on how to live.
[13:41] herman Bergson: only at the moment YOU define what is a datum you have had[13:41] Bejiita Imako: you can say we could have it as backup memory
[13:41] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): a world with no data. a blanc world. how would it develop?
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: hmm cant even imagine
[13:41] herman Bergson: no no.....look at Kant....
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: its like universe with o matter
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: just a black voi
[13:41] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): everything is possible and no one has an idea^^
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: void
[13:41] Areyn Laurasia: bliss?
[13:42] herman Bergson: his a priori categories create the dat
[13:42] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): silence and white clouds....
[13:42] CB Axel: We would be back to Maslow: trying to find food first.
[13:42] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): lol can be
[13:42] herman Bergson: that is the smoke of my pipe Daruma :-)
[13:42] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): but hope not
[13:42] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): rofl
[13:42] Areyn Laurasia: basic survival instinct?
[13:43] herman Bergson: I guess we are a bit lost in our discussion now :-))
[13:43] Max Chatnoir: We'd be back to nasty brutish and short.
[13:43] Bejiita Imako:
[13:43] herman Bergson: My point only was that we have reached the 19th century...
[13:43] CB Axel: So, Kant....
[13:43] herman Bergson: heading for another view on the individual :-)
[13:44] CB Axel: Yes. 19th century.
[13:44] Max Chatnoir: We watched the Eclipse a few weeks ago.  I thought how frightening it would be if you didn't know what it was.
[13:44] herman Bergson: So that will be our next station....
[13:45] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): astrology?^^
[13:45] herman Bergson: No...just the moon Daruma :-)
[13:45] Bejiita Imako:
[13:45] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): ja also a part of it^^^
[13:45] herman Bergson: I know :-))
[13:45] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): goed;-)
[13:46] bijoux Lefevre is offline.
[13:46] herman Bergson: "planeet" belonging to Cancer...:-)
[13:46] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): very good !
[13:46] herman Bergson: Ruler of Cancer it is called...
[13:46] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): so lessons for next year
[13:47] herman Bergson: But I think it is time to end the discussion now that we wind up in astrology :-))
[13:47] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): ;-)
[13:47] Max Chatnoir: Sorry about that.
[13:47] Areyn Laurasia: back to earth
[13:47] CB Axel: LOL
[13:47] Bejiita Imako: hehe that can m´be next thing
[13:47] Areyn Laurasia: :)
[13:47] Bejiita Imako:
[13:47] Max Chatnoir: I was celebrating knowledge.
[13:47] herman Bergson: Thank you all for your pleasnat participation again...
[13:47] Bejiita Imako: astrology is also interesting
[13:47] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): ja it is
[13:47] herman Bergson: it is , I agree:-)
[13:47] Bejiita Imako: but that we can take as later project maybee
[13:48] Bejiita Imako:
[13:48] herman Bergson: Even Copernicus made horoscopes
[13:48] Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:48] Areyn Laurasia: really?
[13:48] herman Bergson: anyway.....Class dismissed :-))
[13:48] CB Axel: So 19th century? We learned that we are individuals in the 18th and began to learn what to do with that in the 19th?
[13:48] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma) claps
[13:48] herman Bergson: Yes Areyn....
[13:49] Max Chatnoir: Thank you, Herman.  I will probably see you all Tuesday.  I don't seem to be able to get here Thursdays.
[13:49] Max Chatnoir: But I will hope for Thursday.  :-)
[13:49] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma): thank you herman. see you thursday.
[13:49] Daruma Hermine Boa (daruma) waves
[13:49] Bejiita Imako: nice once again
[13:49] Bejiita Imako:
[13:49] herman Bergson: we still have the blog Max...don't worry
[13:49] Bejiita Imako: cu tuesday
[13:49] CB Axel: Bye, bye all. See you Thursday.
[13:49] Bejiita Imako: or thursday i mean
[13:50] Max Chatnoir: Another interesting discussion.  Yes, and I'm so glad you do the blog.
[13:50] Max Chatnoir: See you all whenever.  :-)
[13:50] Areyn Laurasia: should check that out.. been missing discussions
[13:50] Areyn Laurasia: bye all
[13:51] Max Chatnoir is offline.
[13:51] Bejiita Imako: bye
[13:51] herman Bergson: Bye Bejiita :-)

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