Wednesday, March 4, 2020

832: Who is Right....?

In the discussion after our previous lecture Beertje asked the question, when man got his negative self image.
One of the most elementary emotions of homo sapiens is FEAR. Maybe it is even the first emotion.
Fear for huge animals, fear for losing control over the situation, fear for the unknown, fear for death.
A next step could be that man in his fear feels the need for help, which only can be expected to from forces greater than man. So let's pray.
And there the story begins that the gods are great and man is only a weak and needy being. Not really the basis for a self-conscious attitude to life ...
For centuries we were told to be humble and modest and submit ourselves to all kinds of religions.
This attitude changed after tens of thousands of years in the 17th century. Just note, that this is hardly 400 years ago after, say, almost 40.000 years of life in submission.
The reason of the change was the development of science. The world and its phenomena became mathematical (Newton),
We discovered the macro world of the universe (Galileo, Kepler) and the micro world (Huygens, Leeuwenhoek).
The world had become empirical and material and the question whether man is inclined to the good or the bad became a scientific question.
Two names are always mentioned in relation to this quintessential question: are we inclined to evil or to doing good?
The pessimist is Thomas Hobbes (1588 - 1679) and the optimist is Jean-Jaques Rousseau (1712 - 1778).
According to Hobbes, the primordial state of man was a "bellum omnium in omnes", in other words, a war of all against all.
In his words, life was solitary, poor, nasty brutish and short, but there was an escape. 
We only needed to give up our natural and absolute freedom and submit to the rule of a sovereign. THE solution to tame the beast in us.
Rousseau claimed really the opposite. Civilization is one big mistake. It has ruined our natural state, where we lived in compassion with each other.
Just listen to Rousseau himself: "The first man to enclose a piece of land and say, "This is mine," and found people 
who were naive enough to believe him, this man was the founder of the civil state. 
How many crimes, wars and murders, how much misery and misfortune humanity could have been saved  
if someone had risen then and said, "Beware and don't listen to this impostor. 
Your days are counted if you forget that all the fruits of the earth are owned by all of us and the  earth is nobody's property ".
(1755, Un Discours sur l’Origine et les Fondements de l’Inégalité parmi les Hommes ).
Interesting to note here is the idea, that inequality among people is created by private property. 
This is even more interesting due to the discussion initiated by the French economist Thomas Piketty these days.
An other thing to note is, that Hobbes and Rousseau actually were armchair philosophers, they lacked any big data or psychological research
to underpin their convictions about the primordial state of man. They only had their intellectual genius,
Today, three to four hundred years later, do we have the scientific data to prove who of these two philosophers was right?
We'll try to find out.....thank you for your attention.

Main Sources:
MacMillan The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2nd edition
Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 1995
Rutger Bregman, "De meeste mensen deugen",, 2019

The Discussion

[13:20] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): Thank you Herman
[13:21] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): what will be the truth?
[13:21] herman Bergson: We'll see, it the chimp in us or the Bonobo? :-)
[13:21] CB Axel: I don't think it was property that made people unequal.
[13:22] CB Axel: Some people have always been stronger or smarter.
[13:22] herman Bergson: Ok, CB
[13:22] herman Bergson: true, but here I hear the idea of the right of the strongest.....
[13:22] CB Axel: Or the smartest.
[13:23] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): most of the time the man with the most money has the privileges
[13:23] herman Bergson: `whst if everyone lived in compassion with each other regardless individual differences in physical power or brain power?
[13:23] CB Axel: I don't see that happening.
[13:24] herman Bergson: In a way communism has tried to realize this idea.....and failed....
[13:24] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): that would be utopia herman
[13:24] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): I guess
[13:24] herman Bergson: there is no proof that it is utopian....we are indoctrinated for centuries with the idea that it IS utopian :-)
[13:25] CB Axel: It failed because people will always be greedy and want more than the next guy.
[13:25] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and yes it true, the more money u have the more status u have to oppress the ones having less than u. The ego syndrome
[13:25] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): Communism is not based on free was told to live like that
[13:25] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): a big problem
[13:25] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and just a few owning 99% of all wealth
[13:25] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): its crazy and unfair
[13:25] herman Bergson: I don't deny our present situation
[13:26] herman Bergson: But we also have to see that we are facing a problem here
[13:26] herman Bergson: to begin with the believe in unlimited economic growth...
[13:26] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah
[13:27] herman Bergson: the believe that we have, that is, some want to make a lot of money
[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): thats also insane
[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but its also what drives today's stock markets and investors
[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): MORE MORE MORE!
[13:27] herman Bergson: You say it is insane Bejiita, but our economics is yet based on that belief
[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): they scream
[13:28] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): never getting satisfies with what they already have,
[13:28] herman Bergson: So why can't it be possible that we are looking at ourselves in a completely wrong way?
[13:29] herman Bergson: To make is believe that we are evil is good for the powerful, those who wants to keep us in check
[13:29] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): and the industrials keep us poor
[13:29] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): wonderful combination
[13:29] herman Bergson: I admit that we hardly can accept the idea that we are ...that is...most of us are actually OK
[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hmm isn't it?
[13:30] herman Bergson: Yes Beertje...
[13:30] herman Bergson: wages haven't gone up for more than ten years now, while the profits have
[13:30] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): seniors have to pay
[13:30] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): no profits anywhere
[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): only the bosses get more money to their champagne coolers and lambo cars
[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): the workers
[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): nono
[13:31] herman Bergson: looks like it, bejiita :-)
[13:31] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): more and more people have to go to the food banks these days
[13:31] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): where is the compassion?
[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): everyone have right to a piece of the cake
[13:32] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): its been eaten by the greed demon
[13:33] herman Bergson: From now on we are going to investigate if it is possible to change our perspective
[13:33] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): the ones fallen to greed have no feelings for others,just their already fat wallets which is why they still sleep good at night because they simply don't care as long their wallets get thicker
[13:33] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): big attitude problem here for ure
[13:33] herman Bergson: At the moment  most people say...those who believe in the good of man are dreamers, those who believe in the evil of man are realists
[13:34] herman Bergson: Lord of the flies was just fiction......the Tonga boys were real
[13:35] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): aaa read that before, and indeed all went well in that case
[13:35] herman Bergson: And the pessimists immediately will say...yah...but that was an exception!
[13:35] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): thats nice
[13:35] herman Bergson: Can't it be a proof of what we are capable of as human beings?
[13:36] theo Velde is offline.
[13:36] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): one bad appel in the basket spoils it for the rest
[13:37] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): I guess
[13:37] herman Bergson: One bad apple can be removed :-)
[13:37] CB Axel: I don't remember where those Tonga boys were from before they ended up on their island.
[13:37] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): thats true  unless they are already been mashed
[13:37] herman Bergson: from the main island of Tonga, CB
[13:38] CB Axel: And what kind of society was on Tonga?
[13:38] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): blue sea...palms waving in the wind..white beach:))
[13:38] herman Bergson: They were students at a boarding school and wanted some adventure
[13:38] CB Axel: They may have been raised to be kind and cooperative.
[13:38] herman Bergson: Right Beertje
[13:39] CB Axel: So they did come from privilege.
[13:39] herman Bergson: If you can raise them that way, why not all of mankind, CB a couple of centuries :-)
[13:39] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): people have to cooperate
[13:39] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): on that
[13:40] herman Bergson: to some extend we already show that we can
[13:40] herman Bergson: but not yet good enough
[13:41] herman Bergson: It took almost 400 years to make this world a scientific world with all its benefits in medicine, food production and so on...
[13:41] herman Bergson: Maybe we also need a 400 years to become bonobos :-)
[13:41] herman Bergson: That is, friendly and compassionate people
[13:42] CB Axel: We need to devolve back into bonobos.
[13:42] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): in a worlds time thats would be not so lanong
[13:42] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): not so long
[13:42] herman Bergson: no ;-)
[13:43] herman Bergson: theonly point is that it won't happen in OUR lifetime, but we could create a base for it, a starting point
[13:43] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): how?
[13:44] herman Bergson: In the same way as it happened 400 years ago.....
[13:44] herman Bergson: one man began to say that the sun was the center of our solar system.....they fought him, but eventually he won
[13:45] herman Bergson: and these days you hear voices that question the basics of neo;liberalism.....
[13:45] herman Bergson: the justification of the possession of immense fortunes...
[13:46] herman Bergson: the questioning of our basic views on man....that he is primarily greedy and egoistic....
[13:47] herman Bergson: research shows that we are not......but that economists use it as one of their axioms
[13:47] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah
[13:47] herman Bergson: the media are questioned.....
[13:47] herman Bergson: in what way are we manipulated.....
[13:48] herman Bergson: the endless stream of advertisements that is dropped on us
[13:48] herman Bergson: senseless
[13:48] herman Bergson: In other words.....
[13:48] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): I use to say, commercials are to get us buing stuff we don't need and we don't need stuff we don't need right?
[13:49] herman Bergson: it will take an ocean of time....but things are questioned
[13:49] herman Bergson: If climate change is a real issue, we HAVE to change our attitude
[13:50] herman Bergson: Like Rousseau says....Nobody owns the earth
[13:50] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hmm
[13:50] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): well something is indeed changing, the winter here have never been this mild
[13:51] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): no snow, just rain
[13:51] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): snow for 1 day at max and then gone
[13:51] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): its not normal
[13:51] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but is it just a temporary glitch or something more serious
[13:52] herman Bergson: I don't have the answers, Bejiita :-)
[13:52] herman Bergson: But can we ignore it?
[13:53] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): what im most worried about is a summer like 2 years ago when entire sweden was ablaze more or less becaue of extreme dryness and heat
[13:53] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): that was here last year
[13:53] herman Bergson: yes....
[13:53] herman Bergson: I am curious to see too, what this summer will bring us
[13:53] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): i could grow a cactus in my garden...
[13:54] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): a lot of BBQ beer green golf courses and happy parties I hope
[13:54] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and no wildfires
[13:54] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako) whispers: and lot of dancing of course!
[13:54] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hehe
[13:54] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): with my happy crazy buddies
[13:54] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): i don't like summer.....
[13:55] CB Axel: I don't like summer either.
[13:55] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): to hot?
[13:55] herman Bergson: Not my favorite either
[13:55] CB Axel: Much to hot and humid
[13:55] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): sun to bright,, the light is too white, it's too hot...i just don't like it
[13:55] CB Axel: We only have to good months, imo. May and October.
[13:56] CB Axel: The others are either too hot or too cold. :)
[13:56] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): i like autumn best...winter is my favorite too
[13:56] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): summer is a crime
[13:57] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): we all have our fav times
[13:57] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): of the year
[13:57] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and indeed to hot is not nice
[13:57] herman Bergson: We'll have still some lectures to go before it  is Summer, Beertje
[13:57] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): when u feel like u are boiling away more or less
[13:57] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): yes
[13:58] herman Bergson: So let's enjoy Springtime first :-))
[13:58] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): yes, vacation in 2 weeks:)
[13:58] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:58] bergfrau Apfelbaum: yeah:-) spring and autumn are my favorites
[13:58] herman Bergson: Nice....
[13:58] herman Bergson: I'll send you on vacation till Thursday :-)
[13:59] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): :))
[13:59] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:59] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): cu Thursday then
[13:59] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:59] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): no home work this time?
[13:59] herman Bergson: So.....thank you all again for your participation.....:-)
[13:59] CB Axel: Sounds good to me. See you all Thursday then. :)
[13:59] CB Axel: Thank you, Herman.
[13:59] herman Bergson: No homework this time Beertje ....vacation tillTHursday, as I said ^_^
[13:59] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): :))) thank you
[14:00] bergfrau Apfelbaum: great! Beertje @ vacation!
[14:00] bergfrau Apfelbaum: thank you Herman and class :-)


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