Friday, April 28, 2017

660: The danger of populism.....

In the lecture of last Tuesday I showed you how current our theme is: the meaning of life. 
I told you, that on one day two columnist in my newspaper brought it more or less to the attention of the reader.
Stevo Akkerman focused on the fact that many people, voters, are floating. They seem to lack a strong hold, which tells them how to vote.
The second columnist, Rob de Wijk, also made me think of the present subject of our project. It is about  populisme. 
He offered the following argumentation:
Recently, research revealed, that a significant proportion of the Dutch population lives on a day by day basis
and that part of the impotence to  save money for unexpected expenses  is to some extend even genetically determined. 
Many can only poorly  resist short-term determination, lack of self-control and the temptation of quick rewards.
This acknowledges again that the idea that all people are rational beings who can make their own decisions is a fiction.
And here I had to think of the meaning of life. Apparently is the short-term and quick rewards the guiding principle in their life.
De Wijk relates this to political developments in the world regarding populism. 
In the first place we observed that  a lot of people are floating voters. De Wijk continues in fact on this phenomenon.

Populist politicians have known this mental state of floating or angry voters for a long time. They enchant voters with beautiful talks
and promise that everything is better when they come to power. A large group of voters thus is inconspicuously deceived.
Erdogan leads his country away from democracy towards an autocracy. People vote yes expecting that their country will be safer and more prosperous the very next day.
The British people was told that paradise would return on earth with a Brexit. Free from immigrants, refugees and the oppressing rules and regulations of Bruxelles.
The real effect of the Brexit is, however, that the problems have  increased. The financial situation is deteriorating and so on.
And then we have Trump. America first, a wall along the border, a stop on immigrants, abolition of Obamacare, coalmines open again.
Many Americans voted  for this and might realise after a 100 days, that they are deceived. Not a single one of these promises is feasible.
What the Turkish referendum, Brexit and Trump have in common is, that these are examples of the same phenomenon.
Part of the population stands behind leaders who promise quick solutions to their problems. They believe 
that if the sovereignty of their country is restored, they automatically become more secure and prosperous.
In all three cases it was a 51 - 49% like victory of the populists, which means that the interests of almost half of the population are ignored.
The final result is not  this more secure and prosperous sovereign country, which was promised,
but an increase of polarisation and a weakening power of the state, which opens the door to more insecurity and lesser prosperity.
These populists offer people a fake meaning of life and a lot of people are looking for a meaning of life and even  the indelible dream of the magic “there has to be more”
These political leaders are a danger to this world. Either they don’t see the  consequences of their actions themselves
or they are political opportunists only looking after  their own gain by abusing the good faith of voters.
Thank you for your attention again… ^_^

Main Sources:
MacMillan The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2nd edition
Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 1995
Julian Baggini, What's It All About? Philosophy and the Meaning of Life (2004)  
Richard David Precht, Wer bin ich, und wenn ja, wie viele? (2007)

Stevo Akkerman, Dutch Newspaper "TROUW", April 21, 2017
Rob de Wijk,        Dutch Newspaper "TROUW", April 21, 2017

The Discussion

[13:24] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): Its just the same as when Hitler came to power once again
[13:24] CB Axel: I think you put your finger on a big problem here in the US.
[13:24] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): exactly same there, he decieved and promised everyone and in the end 100000s were murdered
[13:24] CB Axel: It's taken decades for this country to get into the poor condition it's in.
[13:25] CB Axel: Our problems are not going to be fixed in one or even two presidential terms.
[13:25] herman Bergson: I guess the first thing Americans have to learn is sharing and solidarity
[13:25] Faust Saenz: Racism was probably a big driver in the U.S.
[13:25] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): racism and greed
[13:26] CB Axel: Yes, Faust. And racism has been going one here since Columbus landed.
[13:26] herman Bergson: Just imagine FAust....segregaation was still existing inthe 60s in the US!
[13:26] CB Axel: It's not going to be ended in 4 years.
[13:26] Faust Saenz: White is a minority of new births in the U.S. now
[13:26] Faust Saenz: It’s fear.
[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): not with trump for sure, if anything it will get worse
[13:27] herman Bergson: the meaning of life is closely retaed with fear
[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): this ship need to be turned around but everything constantly turn it in the wrong direction
[13:27] herman Bergson: related
[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah
[13:28] Faust Saenz: I think he has a simplistic trickle down economics belief system.
[13:28] herman Bergson: that need for this "There has to be more to life than..." is based on fear, I'd say
[13:29] Faust Saenz: Terror management theory is a fascinating body or research.
[13:29] Faust Saenz: *of
[13:29] herman Bergson: Like our secular materialist thinking was disqualified..... leading to emptiness
[13:29] Faust Saenz: Fear of death drives us to make meaning.
[13:30] herman Bergson: That is so peculiar Faust.....
[13:30] herman Bergson: I still wonder what there is to fear regarding death....
[13:30] Faust Saenz: To me one of the chief goods of philosophy is overcoming the fear of death.
[13:31] herman Bergson: when you are dead you are dead...finito..ended...all over...nothingness....
[13:32] CB Axel: I never understood why people who believe in heaven and believe they are good people are afraid of death. Are they afraid that they'll discover that there is nothing after death?
[13:32] Faust Saenz: Stay busy so you don't have to think about it!
[13:32] herman Bergson: I have known a priest.....!
[13:33] Ciska Riverstone: more afraid to be less good as they thought cb  ;)
[13:33] herman Bergson: He had terminal cancer.....and he was sooooooo scared of death......
[13:33] herman Bergson: very confusing...
[13:34] Faust Saenz: Maybe he had some skeletons in his closet?
[13:34] herman Bergson: But yet...there is a relation between our need of a meaning of life and fear, I think
[13:34] CB Axel: I'm not afraid of death. I'm afraid of the pain and suffering that often goes along with it.
[13:34] Faust Saenz: What is imagination?
[13:34] herman Bergson: YEs CB, that can happen....
[13:35] Faust Saenz: Infinite possibility can be almost as frightening as death (no possibility)
[13:35] herman Bergson: You really think so Faust....
[13:35] herman Bergson: Infinity is such a meaningless concept for me
[13:36] Faust Saenz: Condemned to be free
[13:36] herman Bergson: that is what Sartre says....
[13:36] Faust Saenz: indeterminate may be a better term
[13:36] herman Bergson: The point in this is however...WHO condemned you?
[13:37] Faust Saenz: Its embedded in the nature of imagination.
[13:37] herman Bergson: You discover that you are free....and that frightens people....
[13:37] herman Bergson: they want a lead....a father...a hold....
[13:37] herman Bergson: a guide....
[13:37] herman Bergson: so there is religion to fill that gap
[13:38] herman Bergson: Just dont question it and you are freed of your fear
[13:38] Faust Saenz: Care and play. What more is needed?
[13:38] herman Bergson: a Second Life, maybe?
[13:39] Faust Saenz: Another means to care and play. :)
[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:39] herman Bergson smiles
[13:39] Ciska Riverstone: esoteric puts it like this: Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
[13:40] Ciska Riverstone: so we constantly search for someone who "knows better"
[13:40] herman Bergson: But why is our light frighten us......???
[13:40] Ciska Riverstone: and give power there
[13:40] Ciska Riverstone: thats one explanation for the voiting
[13:40] Ciska Riverstone: which happens right now
[13:40] Ciska Riverstone: people think: I do not know how to alter things - but that one - he must know
[13:41] Ciska Riverstone: they don't understand that they need to do it themselves
[13:41] Ciska Riverstone: and their own mistakes are often much better
[13:41] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): i guess thats how it is
[13:41] Ciska Riverstone: then the one big politics make
[13:41] herman Bergson: and one mistake is to vote for populists....
[13:42] Ciska Riverstone: well its giving away responsibiltiy
[13:42] herman Bergson: those who promise the solution of all problems
[13:42] herman Bergson: yes it the LEADER
[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): = troublemaker
[13:42] Ciska Riverstone: who won’t take it
[13:42] Ciska Riverstone: but the power
[13:42] herman Bergson: The LEADER gives meaning to life....
[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): just result in everything getting worse
[13:42] Ciska Riverstone: no I do not think its about meaning
[13:42] Ciska Riverstone: its about not owning our mistakes
[13:43] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): Hitler, Erdogan, Trump
[13:43] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): they will only make things even worse
[13:43] Ciska Riverstone: yes
[13:43] herman Bergson: I am not that pessimistic....
[13:44] herman Bergson: there still is the other 50% of the people...
[13:44] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): aaa yes thats true
[13:45] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but its always the wrong side that wins it seems
[13:45] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): evil and greed
[13:45] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and quick dirty solutions
[13:45] herman Bergson: If you look at history you'll see that you are mistaken Bejiita...
[13:46] Faust Saenz: Why are there differences in political orientation to begin with?
[13:46] herman Bergson: Europe was a collection of autocratic states....
[13:46] herman Bergson: a king...and so on...
[13:46] herman Bergson: now all countries are democracies
[13:46] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): at many places it have at least went in the right direction
[13:46] herman Bergson: it took a few hundred years..ok....but nevertheless
[13:47] herman Bergson: it takes another few hundred years for the rest of the world
[13:47] CB Axel: I think it may be time for another Magna Carta to tell the people in power that they are not above the law.
[13:47] herman Bergson: North Korea will be the last one
[13:48] Faust Saenz: Conservative: emphasis on internal locus of control and security. Liberal: emphasis on external factors and compassion.
[13:48] Faust Saenz: But democracy for what?
[13:48] herman Bergson: equality Faust....
[13:48] herman Bergson: all man are equal
[13:49] herman Bergson: that is the startingpoint
[13:49] Faust Saenz: equal in what way?
[13:49] herman Bergson: equal in rights to live
[13:49] herman Bergson: to live a decent life
[13:49] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): yes
[13:50] Ciska Riverstone: all **hu**mans please
[13:50] CB Axel: I've always considered "all men are created equal" means that we are all equal under law.
[13:50] herman Bergson: food, shelter, a meaingful existence
[13:50] herman Bergson: Ciska....females are more equal...:-))))
[13:51] Ciska Riverstone: thats the problem : no ;) - but some men still seem to think that ;)
[13:51] Faust Saenz: Maybe we are equal in deserving to not be made to intentionally suffer arbitrarily.
[13:51] herman Bergson: The law only comes into play when fist is accepted that all human beings are equal
[13:52] Faust Saenz: I think the equality is on the negative side.
[13:52] herman Bergson: That is the same as the right to live a decent life, I'd say Faust
[13:53] Faust Saenz: Emotional wellbeing is highly heritable. That does not seem fair that some people just tend to feel good.
[13:53] herman Bergson: What do you mean Faust....negative what?
[13:54] Faust Saenz: I think we are equal is deserving to not be made to suffer
[13:54] Faust Saenz: unwanted suffering = negative
[13:55] herman Bergson: which means that we are equal in the right to have shelter and food and the liberty of our own body
[13:55] herman Bergson: a decent life implies for me that you ar enot harmed by others
[13:56] herman Bergson: the simple  biological drives regarding pain and pleasure
[13:57] Faust Saenz: What is the bare minimum needed for a good life? We are all equally deserving of the conditions necessary to realize that.
[13:57] herman Bergson: The bare minimum in our present world is related to the context we live in.....
[13:58] herman Bergson: In Sudan it means....not to starve....
[13:58] Faust Saenz: That to me seems to be the only legitimate basis of rights.
[13:58] herman Bergson: in the US it means it means to be able to pay your bills
[13:58] Faust Saenz: What must be present in a life to say that it is a good life?
[13:59] Faust Saenz: The bare minimum.
[13:59] herman Bergson: That is an abstraction Faust....
[13:59] CB Axel: The bills are because what we need to have the bare minimum (food, shelter, health) cost money.
[13:59] herman Bergson: you can not generalize have to relate it to contexts
[14:00] herman Bergson: Yes Cb.....and that is in our reality different per context...
[14:00] CB Axel nods
[14:00] herman Bergson: we cannot deny that reality
[14:00] Faust Saenz: I am thinking of the most simple objective list of goods possible.
[14:00] herman Bergson: you cant Faust....that makes no sense...
[14:01] herman Bergson: there si no basic as such minimum world
[14:01] Faust Saenz: One must have at least one good from the list in order to live a good life.
[14:01] herman Bergson: we can not generalize
[14:01] herman Bergson: in South Sudan it is a bag of rice....
[14:02] Faust Saenz: but isn't equality a generality of sorts?
[14:02] herman Bergson: in the US it is a job
[14:02] CB Axel: It is a job to pay for the bag of rice.
[14:02] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): you need a job for that
[14:02] herman Bergson: yes the end all people should have the same opportunities chances and so on in life....
[14:02] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): its a chain of things
[14:03] Faust Saenz: "Finally, basic activities are ones that if a human life did not involve the pursuit of any of them, then that life could not be a good life. In other words, a human being can have a good life by pursuing just some, and not all, of the basic activities. Some of the basic activities are as follows: deep personal relationships with, e.g., one’s partner, friends, parents, children; knowledge of, e.g., the workings of the world, of oneself, of others; active pleasures such as creative work and play; and passive pleasures such as appreciating beauty."
[14:03] herman Bergson: food, shelter, education, healthcare and so on...for everyone equally on this globe
[14:03] CB Axel: The bare minimum is not the job. The job exists so we can get the bare minimum at the very least.
[14:03] Faust Saenz: Human Rights as Fundamental Conditions for a Good Life
The Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights
[14:04] herman Bergson: That is what I mean CB...a minimum income for everyone
[14:04] Faust Saenz: Its the shortest list I have seen from an objective list theorist.
[14:06] herman Bergson: Well..I guess we saved the world once again today :-))
[14:06] Faust Saenz: A job seems necessary but might not be sufficient.
[14:06] Faust Saenz: Yay!
[14:07] herman Bergson: SO...time to save some part to save later...:-))
[14:07] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[14:07] Faust Saenz: :)
[14:07] herman Bergson: We have a mission Bejiita ^_^
[14:07] Guestboook van tipjar stand: CB Axel donated L$100. Thank you very much, it is much appreciated!
[14:07] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed we have
[14:08] Ciska Riverstone: hehehe
[14:08] herman Bergson: Thank you all agian for your was a pleasure again....
[14:08] herman Bergson: Class dismissed
[14:08] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): aaa
[14:08] CB Axel: Thank you, Herman.
[14:08] Ciska Riverstone: thank u herman
[14:08] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): well cu next time then
[14:08] Faust Saenz: Thank you!
[14:08] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):


659: The Meaning of Life in my newspaper.....

We were discussing the phenomenon of contributing values to abstract concepts like mankind, family, the nation and the like.
But I want to bring something else to your attention first. That is the interesting observation, that the subject of our present project 
doesn’t seem to be just some random choice of mine, but something  that keeps a lot of people busy at this moment.
In my newspaper of April 27, for instance, there were two columnists, who discussed exactly what we are discussing here at the moment. Two on one day!
Let me share with you the thoughts of Stevo Akkerman. His headline goes like this:
“We are confronted with the emptiness in our own soul, which is declared uninhabitable.”-end quote-
These are the days of the big floating. Voters, whole countries float like balloons in the air and nobody knows where they will land.
We had elections in the Netherlands. Al least 30% of the voters did not yet know what to vote. The traditional social democratic party eventually vaporised.
In France we have seen the same last weekend: 30% floating voters. Eventually the traditional political parties’ candidates had no chance at all.
And then the polls….Brexit would not happen. Trump didn’t have a chance to win and it all happened. Will Theresa May win here coming election? The polls float too.
Of course this unstable  situation is analysed from top to bottom by many and “the angry voter” was discovered as if it were  a new species 
and globalisation. On the one hand economical: low cost countries steal our jobs, on the other hand cultural: all these immigrants threaten our culture.
“I think”, says Stevo Akkerman, “that both play a role, but there's something else behind it: a spiritual deficit. 
Encouraged by uncertainty and challenged by newcomers with a strong and sometimes frightening religious identity, 
the West is confronted with emptiness in its own soul, which has become uninhabitable because of its secular materialist thinking. 
It may seem a sign of strength and fighting ability, all hammering on "our" values and habits, but it is a sign of weakness. It roars down itself.” -end quote-
His next step is to refer to an interview with two absolutely unreligious writers in his newspaper of some days before.
And he quotes one of them saying “The power of religion is that for them there exists something bigger”
And he asks the question regarding our something “bigger”: where do the European values come from, what do they mean?
And his conclusion is that for the time being we are still floating with respect to this question.
This is completely in line with our present discourse. And we recognise some typical aspects here.
The most characteristic is the implicit assumption that secular materialist thinking causes an emptiness in our soul.
I would prefer to say that exactly this secular materialist thinking frees us from a lot of irrational rubbish
and opens a route to formulate our idea about the meaning of life. 
Indeed we have to question the European values, which we cherish. Explain what they are. 
Answer the question how we put value is for instance in such an  abstract concept as our national identity.
Our question after the meaning of life made the newspaper. Not bad for a Second Lifer, I’d say :-)
Thank you for your attention again…..
Main Sources:
MacMillan The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2nd edition
Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 1995
Julian Baggini, What's It All About? Philosophy and the Meaning of Life (2004)  
Richard David Precht, Wer bin ich, und wenn ja, wie viele? (2007)

Stevo Akkerman, Dutch Newspaper "TROUW", April 21, 2017
Rob de Wijk,        Dutch Newspaper "TROUW", April 21, 2017

The Discussion
[13:24] herman Bergson: Here you saw again that  need for something  bigger....
[13:25] CB Axel: One doesn't need religion to have values, though.
[13:25] herman Bergson: no, you don't
[13:25] CB Axel: The something bigger can just be the betterment of mankind.
[13:25] Ciska Riverstone: the question is how u express them.
[13:25] CB Axel: A better life for all people
[13:25] Ciska Riverstone: I thnk thats the biggest problem in western societies right now
[13:26] herman Bergson: equal and fair distribution of the resources of this world for instance
[13:26] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah
[13:26] Ciska Riverstone: can u do that? ;)
[13:26] CB Axel: Could be, but I tend to think that it's because too many people value only what will make their lives better and to hell with everyone else.
[13:26] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): is that possible with all the greed we see?
[13:26] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed that would make many things a lot better for many
[13:26] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): greed is the really big issue here
[13:27] Ciska Riverstone: greed is fueled by fear.
[13:27] herman Bergson: of course it is not possible.....
[13:27] CB Axel: What do Wall Street bankers and wealthy politicians have to fear except revolution?
[13:27] herman Bergson: but it can be an ideal...a goal...a belief that makes life worth living
[13:27] Ciska Riverstone: the fear to be insignificant... just like trump has it
[13:28] Ciska Riverstone: narcism is basically a huge insecurity... psychologically seen
[13:28] herman Bergson: it looks like a kind of autism Ciska
[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but can money give you that, or all the expensive cas and houses they buy with them?
[13:29] Ciska Riverstone: no bejiita but people think it can
[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): its matearilsm i guess
[13:29] Ciska Riverstone: or at least
[13:29] Ciska Riverstone: they think it makes other think it does
[13:29] Ciska Riverstone: so thats the most important thing for folks like that
[13:29] CB Axel: Well, come the revolution the rich will see that their gold is worthless. People with gardens will be the wealthy ones. °͜°
[13:29] Ciska Riverstone: hi faust.
[13:29] herman Bergson: Hi Faust...
[13:29] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): hello Faust
[13:30] Faust Saenz: Hello
[13:30] CB Axel: Hey, Faust.
[13:30] Faust Saenz: Sorry I'm late!
[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hi Fause
[13:30] herman Bergson: You missed your bus, Faust? :-)
[13:31] Faust Saenz: Missed the Trolley. Threw the wrong switch.
[13:31] herman Bergson: Lecture of today was about a column in my RL newspaper which dealt with the same question as we are dealing here with now
[13:32] herman Bergson: The basic idea was that people and even countries are floating....not knowing what direction to take
[13:32] CB Axel: The columnist seemed to think lack of religion is the cause.
[13:33] herman Bergson: looks like it somewhat...
[13:33] herman Bergson: though he denies it....
[13:33] CB Axel: But too many Christians have values that clash with my own.
[13:33] Faust Saenz: Probably more to do with with which values to affirm collectively.
[13:33] herman Bergson: He wrote that he is not pleading for re-christianization.....
[13:34] herman Bergson: yes for he asks...what are our European values..
[13:35] CB Axel: US values seem to be amass large amounts of money even (maybe especially) if it means crushing others.
[13:36] herman Bergson: Yes...the making money  idea is very popular, it seems :-)
[13:36] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): yes
[13:36] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): like Trump pointing finger to all non rich
[13:36] CB Axel: But how much money do people need. If you're spending it on gold plated toilets, you have too much, imho.
[13:36] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hehe agree
[13:37] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): oops I have replace mine tomorrow I guess
[13:37] CB Axel: And look at all the trouble and expense the US is willing to go through to keep Mexicans out.
[13:37] CB Axel: LOL, Beertje.
[13:37] CB Axel: I'll spare you in the revolution if you do. LOL
[13:38] CB Axel: The reason people come to the US is because life is better here than in their own countries.
[13:38] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): they like to boast about how much better then others they are with these gold toilets
[13:39] CB Axel: So why build a wall? We should be helping the other countries to become better places through fair trade agreements and aid.
[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but does this make them popular, no, at least myself hate such people, they think they are something cause they have money and waste it on so much non necessary stuff while others starve
[13:39] herman Bergson: Indeed CB....
[13:39] CB Axel: But what do I know. I'm just a stupid paramedic. A lowly worker who isn't wealthy enough to matter.
[13:41] herman Bergson: If you really want revolution.......the concept of private property is destroying this world...
[13:41] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): i guess
[13:41] CB Axel: But communism didn't work, either.
[13:41] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): cooperatives work?
[13:41] herman Bergson: That we allow individual to possess and controll millions of dollars.....
[13:41] Ciska Riverstone: no- we need something inbetween
[13:41] Ciska Riverstone: and we had for a while
[13:42] herman Bergson: It doesn’t mean that we need communism, for that denies the fact that we all are different
[13:42] herman Bergson: we need a fair distribution of power for instance...
[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah
[13:43] Ciska Riverstone: the problem is  that through the use of juristic persons ( Cooperations) it did become possible to outsource responsibility away from action
[13:43] herman Bergson: now the power is where the money is.....not in the parliaments...
[13:43] CB Axel: Trump would sat that the distribution of power is fair.
[13:43] CB Axel: Of course, he's using alternate fairness.
[13:43] Faust Saenz: Read the notes (Thanks Beertje!) and came up with this: Our natural drives (like care, play and sociability) press into our conscious awareness and we either affirm them as values or reject them since we cannot think our way into our own unconsciousness, cognitive prepossesses unexaminable by our consciousness. We have sufficient values baked into our very nature. Its a matter of recognizing them and then engaging in aligned action that is consented to.
[13:43] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): so true
[13:44] herman Bergson: I agree Faust...
[13:44] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): aaa yes
[13:44] herman Bergson: but unfortunately our world is more complex than that...
[13:44] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): i guess its like that
[13:45] Faust Saenz: Our primal values are physiological drives... perceived.
[13:46] herman Bergson: We have cybercrime, corruption, general criminality and on the other hand a majority of good willing people
[13:46] herman Bergson: Ture Faust....
[13:46] herman Bergson: homo spaiens in not a rational being......and that is where the problems start :-)
[13:47] Ciska Riverstone: well I do not fully agree Faust
[13:47] herman Bergson: All history is about controlling those bloody drives in us :-)
[13:47] Faust Saenz: But at least we are predictably irrational to some extent.
[13:47] herman Bergson: yes....and also more or less increasingly successful in controlling our drives
[13:47] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed
[13:47] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): thats mostly the case
[13:48] herman Bergson: But there still is a long way of many generations to go
[13:48] Ciska Riverstone: although we have strong physiological drives we still have psychological needs ... the problem is that people try to ignore that a lot because the society values are different
[13:49] herman Bergson: What society values are you thinking of Ciska?
[13:49] Ciska Riverstone: psychologically we have 2 contradictary needs: we need to belong and we need to be individuals
[13:49] Ciska Riverstone: right now we celebrate the individualism
[13:49] Ciska Riverstone: its a high vaule in western societies
[13:49] herman Bergson: Got a point there Ciska
[13:50] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah
[13:50] Ciska Riverstone: at the same time depression is going up high
[13:50] Ciska Riverstone: and people are alone
[13:50] Ciska Riverstone: become socially problematic
[13:50] herman Bergson: indeed
[13:50] Faust Saenz: True democracy can only begin when each person's core values are intentionally aggregated into a collective set of core values. That is a preliminary step to the construction of a just constitution.
[13:50] Ciska Riverstone: lots of sociophobe folks
[13:50] Ciska Riverstone: and thats due to not fulfilling the community need.
[13:51] Ciska Riverstone: in former times religion provided that
[13:51] Ciska Riverstone: automatically
[13:51] Ciska Riverstone: people were not happy with it
[13:51] Ciska Riverstone: but there was a sense of community
[13:51] Ciska Riverstone: and of belonging
[13:51] CB Axel nods
[13:51] Ciska Riverstone: this is still doing on
[13:51] Ciska Riverstone: with refugees
[13:51] Ciska Riverstone: and when you look closer then you see - people who arevery loudly against refugees
[13:52] Ciska Riverstone: often are socially isolated
[13:52] Ciska Riverstone: the instinctively feel
[13:52] Ciska Riverstone: that community is what they cannot have - and those people seem to have
[13:52] Ciska Riverstone: so we need an awareness level there
[13:52] Ciska Riverstone: and need to find a way to built that into political solutions
[13:53] CB Axel: I think those people are finding community online.
[13:53] Ciska Riverstone: yes they do - but thats not enough on the long run
[13:53] Ciska Riverstone: they still fear
[13:53] herman Bergson: I saw  some statistics about feeling happy and safe....related to political party choices...
[13:53] Ciska Riverstone: and some radicalize
[13:54] herman Bergson: an dth ePVV...our populist ultra rightwing party....people who supposrt that parte were the lowest in feleling happy and secure....
[13:54] Ciska Riverstone: yes
[13:54] Ciska Riverstone: fear driven
[13:54] Ciska Riverstone: here too
[13:54] CB Axel: Well, I think social media allows fearful people to meet other fearful people. It feeds on their fears in a vicious circle.
[13:54] Faust Saenz: Authentic friendship is one of the most important goods that public policy can formulated to enhance.
[13:55] Faust Saenz: *can be
[13:55] Ciska Riverstone: yes faust
[13:55] CB Axel: I've seen a study like that here in the US, Herman.
[13:55] Ciska Riverstone: for me
[13:55] Ciska Riverstone: whats really needed in Germany for example
[13:55] Faust Saenz: Loneliness is as detrimental to life expectancy as obesity and smoking.
[13:55] Ciska Riverstone: is that people who cannot get back into work for whatever reasons and are just living of adminitration money need extra care in the sense of psychologcial and community care.
[13:56] Ciska Riverstone: so a model for a future state would be
[13:56] herman Bergson: Yes...they should participate in society, Ciska....
[13:56] Ciska Riverstone: well they cannot if that costs money
[13:56] Ciska Riverstone: so
[13:56] Ciska Riverstone: the programme must be tailored for folks like that
[13:57] herman Bergson: yes
[13:57] Ciska Riverstone: we do have some attempts here
[13:57] Ciska Riverstone: some cities do that
[13:57] Ciska Riverstone: and it starts to develop a bit
[13:57] Ciska Riverstone: but its not enough
[13:57] Ciska Riverstone: Berlin for example has a project where a special amount of people get a "Grundeinkommen"
[13:58] herman Bergson: those fearfull people is about a 20% of our society now.....
[13:58] Ciska Riverstone: yes - its the same here
[13:58] Ciska Riverstone: and they are joined by folks who want to have a role back concerning women’s rights
[13:59] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): i can imagine that they are fearful,, all those immigrants have islam as religion, europe is not an islam coutry, for us it's all new
[13:59] herman Bergson: I guess I may conlcude that we still have a lot of work to do :-)
[14:00] CB Axel: °͜°
[14:00] Ciska Riverstone: ehheh
[14:00] Ciska Riverstone: yes
[14:00] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): i guess
[14:00] herman Bergson: Well...we are working on it from here....
[14:00] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but its just to keep on going
[14:00] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and hope for the best
[14:00] herman Bergson: hundreds of people read the blog of our clese every day to begin with....
[14:01] CB Axel: Really?
[14:01] Ciska Riverstone: oO
[14:01] herman Bergson: and thus ideas spread all over the world......
[14:01] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): yes all over the world:)
[14:01] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah
[14:01] CB Axel: I'm glad I kept my language clean. LOL
[14:01] Ciska Riverstone: lol
[14:01] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[14:01] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): lol CB
[14:01] herman Bergson: No CB...sometimes the world needs some trong words too :-)
[14:02] herman Bergson: so no self censorship here :-)
[14:02] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): (throws swear jar to CB) are you sure about that?
[14:02] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): lol
[14:02] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): I forgive you saying dirty words,, they are only letters in a row:)
[14:03] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): potverjandemikke...:)
[14:03] herman Bergson: Well....may I thank you all again for your active participation......and dirty words :-)
[14:03] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): grins
[14:03] herman Bergson: Class dismissed (just in time :-)
[14:03] CB Axel: When I get talking about politics I often use all the swear words in one sentence.
[14:04] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hehe
[14:04] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): lol CB
[14:04] herman Bergson: very efficient CB :-)
[14:04] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed me too often
[14:04] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): i have more bad then good experience about politicans
[14:04] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): esp trump
[14:04] CB Axel: See you all Thursday.
[14:04] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but also here in sweden at least some
[14:04] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ok cu next time
[14:05] CB Axel: Thank you, Herman, for the great topic.
[14:05] Ciska Riverstone: take care everyone
[14:05] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed
[14:05] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[14:05] herman Bergson: HAve a nice evening Bejiita :-)
[14:05] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): welterustenm Ciska
[14:05] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): you too all
[14:05] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[14:05] herman Bergson: Bye CB :-)
[14:05] Ciska Riverstone: welterusten Beertje
[14:05] Faust Saenz: Nussbaum's recent work is in praise of unconditional love and opposed to both anger and forgiveness.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

658: Offers mankind a meaning of life....?

Helping my friend or brother in need, knowing that he would do the same for me, makes living life worth living, meaningful.
My friend or brother are tangible. I can see them, touch them, feel them. They are real to me. I can say, that they exist.
But what when what we value entities, that are NOT tangible, can not be felt, can not be seen and of which we yet say that they exist?
Line up your family. What do you see? Four individual persons. You can call them by their name, touch them, but what you do not see is your FAMILY.
Well, of course, in a way you do, but in another way you don’t, but yet you accept statements regarding your family as normal and meaningful.
Let’s make a philosophical turn. If you say “I know that….”, it means this is either true or false. That is knowledge. All science is based on this concept…true or false.
So any statement that can be tested on being true or false, we can regard as knowledge statements. 
In the previous lecture we learnt that we can do knowledge statements about members of a family and about the family itself.
And we discovered that what is true of the family is not necessarily true of individual members of the family.
Thence we must conclude that there exist  the four members of the family, who we can feel and touch
and that  there exists independently of these four members also THE FAMILY, of which we can say real meaningful things, but which we can not touch and feel.
What counts for family , counts even more for mankind, the biggest family on earth there is. But we have here the same problem…
What may be good for mankind doesn’t necessarily have to be good for a number of individuals, members of mankind. So how should we understand this  situation?
The meaning of life may be the well being of you and your brother, but maybe it might even be the well being of the species homo sapiens,
So the meaning of life could be advancing the species homo sapiens. We are here to become better and better each day…
However, there is nothing in our evolution that tells us which direction to take to become better….and…better in what sense?
But yet you see time and again someone  stand up as a leader with the promise to lead all (at least his country fellowmen) to a better future.
So did Stalin at the cost of millions of human lives. So did Hitler, Napoleon. They all promised a better life.Same happens in Turkey again with Erdogan.
It is the promise that when we have reached this or that state of affairs, we are free from all problems, have reached the better world and life.
But here we run into that same wall. Suppose we all accept these ideas and promises as our meaning of life.
Then, what is the meaning of life when all promises have been fulfilled? 
And  furthermore what is this end stage of our evolution? 
And have all these millions of years of evolution been only a means to reach this end?
Maybe we should look for the meaning of life at the here and now, at the life we live now.
Thank you for your attention…to be continued next Tuesday … ^_^

The Discussion

[13:19] Ciska Riverstone: thanx herman
[13:19] herman Bergson: The floor is yours, if you have any questions or remarks :-)
[13:19] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): thank you Herman
[13:20] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:20] John Howard Cassio (sticaatsi): It's not just the leaders people follow, they tend to unite behind the idea of nation
[13:20] Faust Saenz: Thank you! Is there a general will and who gets to speak for it?
[13:21] herman Bergson: yes Faust.....behind some abstraction...
[13:21] John Howard Cassio (sticaatsi): the creation and expansion of the idea of nation in the 19th and 20th centuries is at the base of all those massacres
[13:21] John Howard Cassio (sticaatsi): and Napoleon is a different case. People joined his army because they were led to believe they were fighting for the French revolution
[13:21] John Howard Cassio (sticaatsi): for their individual rights
[13:21] herman Bergson: Well before that date we had massacres too HJphn
[13:21] herman Bergson: John
[13:22] John Howard Cassio (sticaatsi): yes, sure
[13:22] herman Bergson: Bu tthe nation state is indeed a phenomemnon....
[13:22] John Howard Cassio (sticaatsi): but nothing like the 20th century
[13:22] CB Axel: I just heard today of a website that allows you to "vote" in elections in other countries.
[13:22] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ok
[13:22] herman Bergson: ohhh?
[13:22] Faust Saenz: Do the aggregate entities have their own being or do they consist of voluntary participants?
[13:23] herman Bergson: That is  the ontological problem here, Faust....
[13:23] herman Bergson: what is the ontological status of abstracts like family, country, nation etc
[13:24] CB Axel: It's very interesting. The people voting on the website tend to vote for people who want to help the world, but the actual voters in the countries vote for what they think is best for their country only.
[13:24] Faust Saenz: The same reality as that of triangle.
[13:24] herman Bergson: Interesting indeed, CB
[13:24] John Howard Cassio (sticaatsi): people are shrinking back from globalisation
[13:24] John Howard Cassio (sticaatsi): it scares them to thanks to the crisis they seek refuge in the idea of nation
[13:24] herman Bergson: Seems so indeed, John...
[13:25] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ok
[13:25] John Howard Cassio (sticaatsi): so...
[13:25] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hmm
[13:25] herman Bergson: We see it in Europe with le Pen or Wilders....
[13:25] herman Bergson: the xenophobic reactions
[13:25] John Howard Cassio (sticaatsi): Trump, Erdogan
[13:25] John Howard Cassio (sticaatsi): everywhere
[13:25] Faust Saenz: Is it permissible to be partial to one's friend and cheat on realizing the highest good for humanity?
[13:26] herman Bergson: That is a real ethical problem Faust :-)
[13:27] herman Bergson: But first we have to establish what is the highest good for humanity
[13:27] Faust Saenz: I think once we globally discharge our obligations toward justice, we are free to grant partiality toward friends and family.
[13:27] John Howard Cassio (sticaatsi): peace, love and unity
[13:28] herman Bergson: If that could be true, John
[13:28] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): agrees John, why is it so hard to strive against that
[13:28] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): greed for power and control is the problem i guess
[13:28] John Howard Cassio (sticaatsi): esperantists used to believe it's the fault of the difference in languages
[13:28] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): a few who oppresses the rest for own gain leading to war hunger and misery
[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): thats the big issue I think
[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): gor ex only a few people have over 50 % of all the worlds money
[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): for7
[13:29] Faust Saenz: Nothing intrinsically wrong with a desire for security, but it can get out of hand, easily.
[13:29] John Howard Cassio (sticaatsi): true is that the world is more and more controlled by multinational companies, some are bigger than most states
[13:29] John Howard Cassio (sticaatsi): and they have interests of their own
[13:29] herman Bergson: Here we have the same problem....
[13:29] herman Bergson: the concept Multinational.....
[13:30] herman Bergson: it still is a collection of individual beings only
[13:30] John Howard Cassio (sticaatsi): multinationals are a collection of interests
[13:30] herman Bergson: but yet we can meaningfully talk about a Multinational.....
[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed, ive heard horrible stories about such companies, going into for ex resource rich regions in africa, murdering and enslaving the locals and taking all resources out of the country for themselvs while the population gets nothing from it
[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): thats sooo awful
[13:31] herman Bergson: Intersts are features of human beings only...
[13:31] Faust Saenz: Voluntary collaboration is the only meaningful aggregate.
[13:31] John Howard Cassio (sticaatsi): I have heard that they convince us daily in buying useless stuff that we don't need.
[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed
[13:32] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): so they can make more money while the poisons are spread and the trash heaps get bigger and bigger
[13:32] John Howard Cassio (sticaatsi): they behave as individuals with their one conscience and interests
[13:32] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): such a waste
[13:32] John Howard Cassio (sticaatsi): they tend to selfpreservation at all costs
[13:32] herman Bergson: What is interesting is that individual human beings can morally hide themselves behind for instance the interests of teh Company....
[13:32] John Howard Cassio (sticaatsi): In the end they have good things and bad things in them
[13:32] herman Bergson: sothat they are freed from moral responsibility
[13:33] Faust Saenz: We need to create an infinite game that navigates though the treacherous waters of loneliness and boredom and yet affirms sociability, play, and compassion.
[13:33] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): seems so
[13:33] John Howard Cassio (sticaatsi): i always wonder how they could put on trial the nazists in Germany after wwII but not the industrialists that helped them and who thrived on their actions
[13:33] herman Bergson: I agree, John...
[13:34] herman Bergson: Same at the moment with terrorists....those who finance them are invisible
[13:34] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed they must have been knowing what they helped doing
[13:34] John Howard Cassio (sticaatsi): the paradox today is that those who are living in rich countries are unhappy while those who live in poor countries seem to be happier
[13:35] herman Bergson: The issue here is that our world is not just filled with real persons, but also with abstract concepts which we hold for  real...
[13:35] John Howard Cassio (sticaatsi): terrorists means very little or nothing
[13:35] John Howard Cassio (sticaatsi): ISIS is behaving as the USA's ground troops
[13:35] John Howard Cassio (sticaatsi): go and look who they are fighting
[13:35] Faust Saenz: Some nations are better than others at converting economic growth into increases in positive psychological wellbeing.
[13:36] John Howard Cassio (sticaatsi): some people are nothing but incarnate concepts
[13:36] Faust Saenz: Norway is both the happiest country and also the best at converting economic growth into higher wellbeing.
[13:36] Ciska Riverstone: @herman cooperations? ;)
[13:37] herman Bergson: what do you mean Ciska?
[13:37] Ciska Riverstone: hermann bergson: The issue here is that our world is not just filled with real persons, but also with abstract concepts which we hold for  real...
[13:37] Ciska Riverstone: and I was asking cooperatios? ;)
[13:37] herman Bergson: Ahh yes....
[13:38] Ciska Riverstone: those are abstracts which are not real
[13:38] Ciska Riverstone: but we pretend they are
[13:38] herman Bergson: like family, nation, multinational, company....
[13:38] Ciska Riverstone: until we killthem
[13:38] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed
[13:38] Faust Saenz: Friendship
[13:38] John Howard Cassio (sticaatsi): Norway has a high suicide rate
[13:38] Ciska Riverstone: and they have a responsibility whatsoever.
[13:38] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): this is why a family cant be a thing by itself
[13:38] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): it is not a thing but a concept, a group of people
[13:38] herman Bergson: the point is that we put value in those entities.....we value family for instance.....
[13:39] herman Bergson: and this guides our actions in this world...
[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and as with any group you can not touch the actual group, just the obects inside the group
[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): same with a family
[13:39] herman Bergson: Like Trump said...America first.....
[13:39] Ciska Riverstone: and we do the same with cooperations but they do not have emotions - family has
[13:39] Ciska Riverstone: (or into nations - same thing)
[13:40] Ciska Riverstone: so in the end the matriarchate is the only thing that will work long term?
[13:40] Faust Saenz: Norway is middle of the pack in regard to suicide:
[13:40] John Howard Cassio (sticaatsi): If trump put America first he wouldn't be Trump
[13:40] herman Bergson: these abstractions have no emotions....or feelings....individual people have
[13:40] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): he puts himself first
[13:40] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and his money
[13:40] John Howard Cassio (sticaatsi): true
[13:42] herman Bergson: Next time we should look into the question Why do we put values in abstract things like family, nation and the like.....
[13:42] herman Bergson: what kind of process is this...
[13:42] herman Bergson: It guides a lot of our actions....
[13:42] Ciska Riverstone: the problem is that we do put laws on individuals but not on the concepts we have -  for families that makes not difference - because families consitste of individuals.. but for cooperations it does because they have their own law personality  - we tread them like people
[13:42] CB Axel: That should be interesting.
[13:43] Faust Saenz: Thanks again!
[13:43] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hmm indeed even a coropration is just another type of group
[13:43] Ciska Riverstone: but not with all consequences.
[13:43] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): not 1 single thing
[13:43] Ciska Riverstone: no bejjita not legally
[13:43] herman Bergson: Interesting Ciska.....the personalisation of abstractions by laws...
[13:43] Ciska Riverstone: and thats the problem
[13:44] Ciska Riverstone: yes
[13:44] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): true and thats why issues arise
[13:44] Ciska Riverstone: for nations it is
[13:44] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): the need to look beyond the group and what is in it
[13:44] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): the individual objects, persons ect
[13:44] John Howard Cassio (sticaatsi): Thank you, have a nice day
[13:44] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and not just look at the group
[13:44] Ciska Riverstone: and that makes it possible to by just shifting the main point of the cooperation to another country without the laws u do not want to follow choose something an individual could not choose.
[13:45] herman Bergson: You too, John :_0
[13:45] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): yes
[13:45] herman Bergson: :-)
[13:45] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): assholes hiding behind the company so they can dump their toxic waste and then say, its not us, its the company
[13:45] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): sort of like that
[13:45] herman Bergson: Indeed Bejiita...
[13:46] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ok, tile to move on
[13:46] Ciska Riverstone:
[13:46] herman Bergson: Ok Bejiita :-)
[13:46] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): aaa gonna watch that
[13:46] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): cu soon again
[13:46] herman Bergson: So thank you all again for your participation...:-)
[13:46] herman Bergson: Class dismissed....
[13:46] Ciska Riverstone: have a great day everyone
[13:46] Ciska Riverstone: or night
[13:47] herman Bergson: you too Ciska :-)
[13:47] Ciska Riverstone: welterusten beertje
[13:47] CB Axel: Thank you, Herman.
[13:47] CB Axel: See you all on Tuesday.
[13:47] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): thank you Herman and goodnight everyone
[13:47] herman Bergson: Bye Beertje :-)
[13:47] herman Bergson shouts: Bye CB
[13:47] Joseph Bard (science24): night everyone
[13:48] herman Bergson: Bye Joseph :-)