Thursday, January 25, 2018

694: Are we intrinsically good or bad...?

What is the authentic Self? Who are we really? We are aware of our pose, playing roles, faking attitudes. We do all kinds of things.
We love binary thinking. So, when we look at ourselves,  it is just a small step you think: what am I really as human being: good or bad?
It sounds like a simple question, but we look at questions philosophically. So this is not a simple question.
The first thing I want to bring to your attention is the evolutionary perspective on homo sapiens since Darwin.
If you are willing to accept, that we are just like chimps and bonobos part of the animal kingdom, the afore mentioned question gets a different meaning.
Suppose you look at bonobos and you ask yourself the question: are these animals intrinsically good or bad?, I guess you might frown.
Or when you generalize the question....are animals intrinsically good or bad? You feel, that this is a kind of silly question,
because these concepts of good and bad do not apply to nature in general at all, but only to us , who have a sense of morality.
In other words, WE invented good and bad as concepts, of which we assume that they are applicable to our reality.
Then we start hot is bad.....NO!, your opponents says is good and we really believe it leads a reasonable debate.
But take the binary couple: warm - cold. It is warm it is cold today. Fact however is the question,  who sets the standard  for what is to be called warm or cold. 
What I want to say is, that this primitive binary thinking leads to nothing. Just take this: you are Republican or Democrat. I won't elaborate on that any further.
The point I want to make is, that all these Black or White discussions are artificial and ignore the fact that in reality there are at least 50 shades of Grey between black and white.
But in the history of philosophy we also had these two guys, stuck in the binary thinking: Hobbes (1588 - 1679) and Rousseau (1712 -1778).
According to Hobbes, if you were looking for your true self, you would find a real bad guy deep inside. Only rationality and a social contract keeps you in check.
According to Rousseau Hobbes creates an important fallacy,  makes really a mistake.
In his description of the natural state Hobbes based this on the human as we know it now and then places it in a situation without laws and regulations.
That is, of course, asking for problems. After all, the current person is constantly trying to be better, more handsome, richer and more successful than the rest.
The moment that all rules and laws disappear, this can only lead to a war. 
Hobbes, however, ignores the influence that society has had on human nature, argues Rousseau. 
Hobbes thinks that a society is necessary to make competitive egoists peacefully live together. 
But according to Rousseau, it is precisely society that has made us into competitive egoists. 
The natural state of man was much more peaceful and rosier than that of man in society.
In my opinion Rousseau was more on the right track than Hobbes. When you look at Bonobo and Chimp colonies,
what you see is that bonobos a more gentle and social towards each other and chimps more aggressive.
It looks like we are not just good or just bad in our true Self, but  a kind of mixture of bonobo and chimp behavior with many shades of grey.
In one respect Rousseau may have seen itncorrectly. The fact that society, culture can harm and distort our true Self.
In that context I only want to point at "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010)", where Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas) says: "Greed is good!"
I may be mistaken, but I thought it was in that movie.
Thank you for your attention again ... ^_^

The Discussion

[13:22] Nasty Calamity: smiles
[13:22] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:22] herman Bergson: Sorry...messed up my pulpit :-)
[13:22] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:23] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): ...has to read 50 shades of grey..
[13:23] Nasty Calamity: bonobos dont have messy pulpits
[13:23] herman Bergson: Got it as an Audio book for you Beertje :-)
[13:23] herman Bergson: Saves you the reading.....:-))
[13:23] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): yes please:))
[13:23] CB Axel: Tim Minchin has a song about how people love to look at things as black or white. I can't think of the title of it, though.
[13:23] herman Bergson: No they don't Nasty...
[13:24] herman Bergson: So Iam no bonobo :-)
[13:24] herman Bergson: Yes...that either / or thinking is a horror
[13:24] herman Bergson: It is so stupid actually...
[13:25] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): maybe our true self can be found when we are all alone
[13:25] Ciska Riverstone: thats something I would support Beertje ;)
[13:25] herman Bergson: To begin with Beertje, my idea is that the Self is a process, like conscious is also a process
[13:26] herman Bergson: In that sense there is not "something" to discover
[13:26] CB Axel: The self is something we are constantly molding.
[13:26] herman Bergson: Like Heraclitus already said....
[13:26] herman Bergson: you never can step twice in the same river...panta rei
[13:27] herman Bergson: YEs CB
[13:27] herman Bergson: Take water.....
[13:27] herman Bergson: it is liquid....
[13:27] Nasty Calamity: so sorry - real life is calling me -  jumps off the chair and waddles away.
[13:27] herman Bergson: but it is impossible too take out the liquidity, nor pinpoint a something that is the liquidity
[13:28] herman Bergson: Bye NAsty :-)
[13:28] Nasty Calamity is offline.
[13:28] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): bye then nasty
[13:28] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed it is a property
[13:28] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): not something separate
[13:28] herman Bergson: Yes...and we may say...a property of the brain....
[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): boil it or cool it down and you however can change these properties
[13:29] herman Bergson: Indeed Bejiita
[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): to steam or ice
[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): gas and solid
[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): its still the same substance chemically however
[13:29] herman Bergson: Yes but that doesnt change the issue....
[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): h2O
[13:30] herman Bergson: when you isolate the composing molecules, you hardly or even not at all can deduce liquidity from their properties
[13:30] herman Bergson: it is like these brain scans.....
[13:30] herman Bergson: you can analyse the brain up to its molecules....
[13:31] herman Bergson: but nowhere you find the property consciousness in them
[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah
[13:31] herman Bergson: Like life....
[13:31] herman Bergson: we know every molecule of your body....
[13:32] herman Bergson: but put in a jar....there will not be a Bejiita coming to life ^_^
[13:32] herman Bergson: This is what fascinates me about the Self, Consciousness and Life
[13:33] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): it takes more to it, much more complex stuff going on
[13:34] herman Bergson: it shows how simplistic this black/white reasoning is
[13:34] herman Bergson: But we love it....especially politicians :-))
[13:34] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed very true
[13:35] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and this have some really sad consequences sometimes when people get divided into either this or that but nothing in between
[13:35] herman Bergson: YEs Bejiita....
[13:35] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): for example people in need of assistance loosing it cause the laws are so square
[13:35] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): taking into the account no variations from their "norm"
[13:36] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but we are all unique
[13:36] herman Bergson: and it goes deeper, for it is closely related to our almost biological inclination to see US and THEM
[13:36] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): its just to make it easy for them i guess while they just care for themselves
[13:36] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): making tons of money
[13:36] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): doing a really lossy job
[13:37] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and thus they refuse to see the reality
[13:37] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): in fact our Self is stuck in our bodies
[13:37] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): the fine details
[13:37] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): a prison for our minds
[13:37] herman Bergson: it is Beertje :-)
[13:38] herman Bergson: In a way the body is the carrier of the continuity of the Self
[13:38] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): i guess you can call it something like this
[13:39] Ciska Riverstone: the body is the watercarrier through experiences ;)
[13:39] herman Bergson: No brain no body no continuity isn space and time for consciousness....which we maybe could call the Self :-)
[13:41] herman Bergson: Maybe consciousness is the awareness of the constant stream of sensory input and the input prom the processed data by the brain
[13:41] Ciska Riverstone: still something has to be aware ;)
[13:42] herman Bergson: Awareness is an emergent property of the nervous system in this context....most organisms have it....
[13:42] herman Bergson: the ability to interact with its environment
[13:42] Ciska Riverstone: but how is it sorted?
[13:43] herman Bergson: it is just there ...just like rain or air
[13:43] Ciska Riverstone: well still we have an entity that sorts that one
[13:43] Ciska Riverstone: all the input we are aware of
[13:43] herman Bergson: yes...the is a filter....
[13:44] herman Bergson: like there are colors we cannot see or sounds we can not hear.....while other organisms can
[13:44] Ciska Riverstone: but we can influence how
[13:44] herman Bergson: yes yes....that is the interesting matter here....
[13:44] Ciska Riverstone: so there is something
[13:45] Ciska Riverstone: which can do that
[13:45] herman Bergson: we step beyond our awareness....and can think
[13:45] herman Bergson: you still look for a "something" Ciska?
[13:45] Ciska Riverstone: no not really ;)
[13:46] Ciska Riverstone: I can call it experience of self - that something
[13:46] herman Bergson: A process is an interaction between elements....and it results in some effect....
[13:46] herman Bergson: what we see elements no process....
[13:47] herman Bergson: yet the proces is essential for a certain state of the elements....
[13:47] herman Bergson: like we need boiling water for tea :-)
[13:48] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): we need education to develop our self
[13:48] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): yummy!
[13:48] herman Bergson: So, I am beginning to assume that the Self, like consciousness or life are processes...
[13:49] herman Bergson: When you say a thing like that Beertje it sounds as if the self is a thing you can work on...
[13:50] herman Bergson: I agree that you can shape a person by education....
[13:50] herman Bergson: But also without education he will be a person, an identity, a Self
[13:51] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): yes
[13:51] herman Bergson: I am only thinking out loud at the moment.....:-)
[13:51] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed
[13:51] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hehe
[13:52] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but i guess its true
[13:52] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but with education you will know more about everything around you
[13:52] CB Axel: Not if it's a bad or biased education.
[13:52] herman Bergson: I changes your possibilities to interact with your environment
[13:53] Ciska Riverstone: you will have different perspectives with education
[13:53] herman Bergson: True CB...
[13:53] Ciska Riverstone: does not say anything about the quality of those
[13:53] CB Axel: Right, Ciska.
[13:53] herman Bergson: And that is how we all have been educated.....biased ^_^
[13:54] Ciska Riverstone: or the usefulness
[13:54] herman Bergson: That is why there are `republicans and Democrats in the US :-))
[13:54] CB Axel: People believe in the god they've been taught to believe in, for instance.
[13:54] herman Bergson: As I said....we all are biased....^_^
[13:54] CB Axel: My parents must have been bad teachers. They're Republicans who raised me as an Episcopalian. Now I'm a liberal atheist. lol
[13:55] herman Bergson: And it is the task of philosophy to make clear how and in what sense one is biased
[13:55] herman Bergson: Guess you are a philosopher, CB :-))
[13:55] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:55] CB Axel: My father would say I'm a pain in the neck.
[13:56] herman Bergson: Better  there than somewhere else :-)
[13:56] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): lol
[13:56] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): lol
[13:57] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): give him a jar of Tigerbalm
[13:57] CB Axel: lol
[13:57] herman Bergson: Well...I guess you've got enough to think about again for today :-)))
[13:57] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:57] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): not to use tfor that 'else'
[13:57] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): TAKE AWAY THAT TIGERBALM! IT SMELLS!
[13:57] herman Bergson: So...thank you all again for yourparticipation.....
[13:58] herman Bergson: Class dismissed...^_^
[13:58] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): smells like mothballs
[13:58] Ciska Riverstone: thank you herman
[13:58] CB Axel: Thank you, Herman.
[13:58] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): well interestng again
[13:58] Ciska Riverstone: thanx all
[13:58] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): thank you Herman:)
[13:58] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): cuon thursday I guess
[13:58] bergfrau Apfelbaum: thank you Herman and Class!
[13:58] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:59] herman Bergson: Bergie gave me a classic stream...gonna try that
[13:59] CB Axel: See you Thursday. Must run. Bye.
[13:59] Ciska Riverstone: welterusten beertje
[14:00] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): bye for now all
[14:00] Ciska Riverstone: enjoy bejiita
[14:00] Ciska Riverstone: welterusten herman
[14:00] bergfrau Apfelbaum: gute nacht Beertje:-)
[14:00] herman Bergson: Bye Bejiita :-)

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