Sunday, January 14, 2018

692: Where to find our authentic Self.....?

It may be late, but can never be too late to wish you a healthy and joyful 2018. I hope you enjoyed your Holidays.
Let's get back to our Self again. The most fascinating characteristic of the Self is, that we don't know, what it really is.
We can not pinpoint it nor find it in our fMRI-scans or brain activity. Yet we are all convinced, that we experience a Self, a personal identity.
Why are we struggling with this knowing/not knowing?
An article in my newspaper made me think of a possible answer.  It was an article about philosophy of science.
The most common view in science these days is a reductionist-materialistic one. This means, that science loves to analyse everything into its smallest parts.
To define what is real we can choose for molecules, or atoms, or quarks. This inclination to reduce the complex to simple constituing componenst has a long tradition.
The Ancient Greek philosophers already did it. Everything was composed of water, fire, earth, or even atoms, like Democrites claimed in the 5th century BC.
In India the Jain,  Ajivika and Carvaka schools of atomism may date back to the 4th century BC. The Nyaya and Vaisheshika schools later developed theories on how atoms combined into more complex objects. 
Descartes (1596 - 1650) suggested to solve problems by splitting them up in smaller problems and he reduced man to one feature: "I think..."
Julien Offray de La Mettrie (1709–1751) reduced the homo sapiens to a machine or to put it in an other way, to plain matter.
Nowadays we still follow this line of thinking. La Mettrie already came up with the suggestion, that. mental processes depended on bodily, that is,  material processes.
In 2010, the Dutch neuroscientist Dick Swaab published his "We are our brain", which became very popular: man reduced to his brain.
The question is, why we want to reduce what we experience into what the real reality is, for instance, what really is real are atoms, which combine into molecules and so on.
It has a reason: we can measure these tiny elements. We can count them, experiment with them, repeat experiments. 
We can use mathematics on them. Think for instance of our numerous computer models of whatever you like, weather models, economic models, process and mechanic models .
And we come to a pragmatic conclusion: it works. However, this is only apparently so. It works to some extend.
We can study as many brain scans as we like, but the only thing we see is changing oxygen levels in the brain. We don't see consciousness, nor the Self.
Philosophers, who think about our authentic Self, also tend to become reductionistic. Hobbes and Rousseau were two of them.
Next time we'll find out whether man's authentic Self is basically good or bad.
Thank you for your attention again.... ^_^

The Discussion

[13:23] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): thank you Herman
[13:23] CB Axel: Thank you.
[13:23] Ciska Riverstone: thank you herman
[13:23] Quistis Hoorenbeek (quistis.shippe) is online.
[13:24] herman Bergson: I  see that you are not shocked :-)
[13:24] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): i didn't know that that long agon people knew about atoms
[13:25] herman Bergson: Well...not exactly in the way we know about atoms.....
[13:25] CB Axel: They hypothesized about atoms back then.
[13:25] herman Bergson: Democritus just thought that reality consisted of small particles...
[13:25] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): even that thought is genius
[13:26] herman Bergson: The interesting thing here is that someone came up with  that idea in those days
[13:26] herman Bergson: yes it is amazing....
[13:26] herman Bergson: It shows a great imagination
[13:27] herman Bergson: but the main point today is that we try to define reality.....
[13:27] herman Bergson: preferably in terms of the smallest particles....
[13:27] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): but what did men do with that knowledge in the years between bc and now?
[13:28] CB Axel: They invented microscopes so they could try to see those tiny particles. °͜°
[13:28] herman Bergson: The Alchemists somehow kept it in mind....
[13:28] herman Bergson: Indeed CB....we wanted to see the unseeable...
[13:28] Ciska Riverstone: they tried to look at it from different persepctives and mixed things together in different ways to have different results, Beertje, thats how I see it...
[13:29] herman Bergson: For some reson chemists discovered that matter  like water or gases were particles....molecules
[13:29] herman Bergson: So I think that this reductionistic idea has a long history.....
[13:30] herman Bergson: But it doesnt explain everything....
[13:30] herman Bergson: That is the philosophical problem....
[13:30] herman Bergson: It doesn't explain what life is, or consciousness or the Self....
[13:31] herman Bergson: So in fact we have an incomplete view of reality
[13:31] herman Bergson: and we do not (yet) know how to complete it
[13:31] CB Axel: Interesting. Scientists try to explain life by looking smaller and smaller. Religious people look bigger. °͜°
[13:32] herman Bergson: I was thinking about that myself CB...
[13:32] herman Bergson: but in fact religious thinking is also kind of reductionistic....
[13:32] Ciska Riverstone: It's interessting because I  was at the Iching class just now which has this different view
[13:32] herman Bergson: all life is reduced to the will of god or allah
[13:32] herman Bergson: by some religious people
[13:33] CB Axel: What does the I ching say?
[13:33] herman Bergson: I have no idea :-)
[13:33] Ciska Riverstone: it was my first class so bear with me for a moment
[13:33] Ciska Riverstone: as I just digest it too
[13:33] Ciska Riverstone: as far as I understand it so far
[13:34] Ciska Riverstone: they explain the world context driven
[13:34] herman Bergson: You fattend a I Ching class Ciska?
[13:34] herman Bergson: attend
[13:34] Ciska Riverstone: I did attent the fist iching class yes
[13:34] Ciska Riverstone: at the wbh
[13:34] herman Bergson: interesting
[13:35] herman Bergson: I discussed it in my Non Western Philosophy project....
[13:35] Ciska Riverstone: so they have the ying and yang thinking underneath
[13:35] Ciska Riverstone: that even puts objects in relation to intention
[13:36] Ciska Riverstone: (which of course is very buddhist)
[13:36] herman Bergson: Maybe even the dualistic monism according to Tao :-)
[13:36] Ciska Riverstone: so they would basicalyl take an atom
[13:36] Ciska Riverstone: and have a look at it in a ying and a yang way
[13:37] herman Bergson: Difficult subject.....
[13:37] Ciska Riverstone: so while we separate meaning from object
[13:37] Ciska Riverstone: they embrace that
[13:37] Ciska Riverstone: as far as I can see
[13:37] Ciska Riverstone: which makes things as far as I see up to now complex of course
[13:37] Ciska Riverstone: still its interessting
[13:37] Ciska Riverstone: a different point of view
[13:38] Ciska Riverstone: which seems to include the aliveness
[13:38] herman Bergson: I'll look into it again :-)
[13:38] Ciska Riverstone: join me next time ;)
[13:38] Ciska Riverstone: then we are late together
[13:38] Ciska Riverstone: hahaha
[13:38] Ciska Riverstone: it starts at 12
[13:38] herman Bergson: I could do that indeed :-)
[13:38] Ciska Riverstone: its a text class too
[13:38] herman Bergson: Great......
[13:39] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): is it free to join Ciska?
[13:39] herman Bergson: the Yin / yang philosophy and Tao is a kind of holistic philosophy when I am not mistaken....
[13:39] Ciska Riverstone: yes beertje
[13:40] herman Bergson: this is contrary to the Western philosophy of science and underlying metaphysics
[13:40] Ciska Riverstone: it is holistic yes
[13:40] herman Bergson: We love to analyse things.....but run into trouble with this approach
[13:41] herman Bergson: becaus ewe can not get hold on phenomena as life and consciousness
[13:41] Ciska Riverstone: yes i'm curious as to how their approach works there
[13:42] Ciska Riverstone: if it does more
[13:42] herman Bergson: In the newspaper article it was about someone who seemed to offer a solution, but unfortunately it wasnt really clear to me what she meant
[13:42] Ciska Riverstone: o who was it?
[13:43] herman Bergson: I have to dig that up from the waste paper container Ciska :-)
[13:43] Ciska Riverstone: o no worries
[13:43] herman Bergson: Dumb that I didnt note the name
[13:43] herman Bergson: no I want to learn more about her ideas....
[13:44] herman Bergson: There also was a reference to Sheldrake....
[13:44] herman Bergson: someon from the 80s or 90s.....
[13:44] herman Bergson: a philosopher...
[13:45] herman Bergson: who also tried to develop some kind of holistic ideas....
[13:45] Ciska Riverstone: Rupert Sheldrake?
[13:45] herman Bergson: But he seems to be forgotten now
[13:45] herman Bergson: yes him
[13:45] Ciska Riverstone: ic
[13:46] CB Axel: He sounds interesting.
[13:46] herman Bergson: Yes his time he was.....but I don't know much about his ideas....
[13:47] herman Bergson: have to do some reading here :-)
[13:47] CB Axel nods
[13:47] herman Bergson: I Ching....Rupert Sheldrake...and this unknown scientist I have to dig up again :-)
[13:48] Ciska Riverstone: *gg*
[13:48] herman Bergson: ohhh...maybe I can find it in the digital edition of my newspaper!
[13:48] herman Bergson: saves me the digging :-)
[13:48] herman Bergson: It is cold outside ^_^
[13:48] Ciska Riverstone: very possible yes
[13:49] Ciska Riverstone: I was just curious if the name rings a bell for me
[13:49] CB Axel is picturing Herman rummaging through the trash outside his home.
[13:49] Ciska Riverstone: hehehe
[13:49] herman Bergson: lol..indeed CB :-)
[13:49] bergfrau Apfelbaum: * giggle *
[13:50] herman Bergson: But it is all well organized....we havve special containers for paper, green stuff from garden and general trash
[13:50] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): and plastic
[13:50] herman Bergson: So it is a rather clean job
[13:50] herman Bergson: ah yes Beertje....forgot the plastics:-)
[13:51] herman Bergson: So, my friends, thank you again for your participation :-)
[13:51] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): thank you Herman
[13:51] herman Bergson: And again...welcome in the New Year :-)
[13:52] CB Axel: Yes. Happy new year, everyone. °͜°
[13:52] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): happy new year CB
[13:52] bergfrau Apfelbaum: it was very interesting!all! ty you herman and Class and a good 2018 <3 p="">
[13:53] CB Axel: It's nice to see you all again.
[13:53] Ciska Riverstone: happy new year everyone yes
[13:53] herman Bergson smiles
[13:53] Ciska Riverstone: and thanx herman
[13:53] herman Bergson: I agree CB ^_^
[13:53] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): nice to be back:)
[13:54] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): fresh and fruity in the new year:)
[13:54] Ciska Riverstone: has everyone already the happy dancer? not sure
[13:54] CB Axel: I have to get used to thinking again. LOL
[13:54] herman Bergson: I know the feeling CB :-)

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