Wednesday, September 8, 2010

267: Supersense introduced

Would you buy the house in which a serial killer abused and murdered 19 young girls and burried the bodies in the backyard? In some American states the seller of the house is obliged by law to reveal the history of the house.

When I was a Bruxelles about ten years ago they were restoring a house, that dated from 1450. I have forgotten what the function of the building was…some castle or palace. I picked up a little piece of an old brick and kept it. It is still on my desk here. Why?

What drives the souvenir hunter or for instance the collector of Nazi memorabilia? Memorabilia collectors and fetishists behave in a very special way. They attribute to material objects invisible features that make them unique and irreplaceable.

This behavior is very common through the ages. In the Middle Ages there was a lively trade in bits of wood of the cross of Jesus. If we would collect them all now and assemble the pieces, we probably can build a house of all the wood.

What is it with these objects, that we believe that they have special qualities? It is a matter of fact, that we can not scientifically proof these qualities. Thence these qualities are supernatural.

This brings us to the quintessential question: why do we believe in the supernatural?

Whenever our beliefs rely on mechanisms and phenomena that go beyond our understanding of nature, we're in the field of supernatural beliefs Of course there are a lot of things we can not explain, but this doesn't make them supernatural.

Take for example the problem: how does my mind control my body? We are inclined to see the mind as a not material thing more or less independent of our material bodily. How do these two entities interact?

How to explain all this? The answer has to be found in human nature and in particular in the way we think and in how our thinking developed from childhood to adulthood.

It seems that somewhere in the process we have developed that special frame of mind regarding other people and our environment: we'll call is SUPERSENSE, as suggested by Bruce Hood.

To explain things with reference to supernatural forces is in harmony with our ideas about how the world functions, with all kinds of hidden structures and mechanisms.

We have to expand our quintessential question. We not only will ask "why do we believe in the supernatural?", but also "What is the source of this way of thinking about the world?"

Some immediately will point at religion as the primary source. Religions teach us a lot of supernatural things. A lot of miraculous events, which they want us to believe in, defy all laws of nature.

But you don't need to be religious at all to believe in the supernatural and feel your supersense in action. All forms of superstition, for example, are based on our supersense.

Sometimes we hardly notice the influence of our supersense. Do you remember that creepy feeling, when you entered that dark corridor, or the feeling of being watched by those staring eyes in that painting on the wall behind you, or your reluctance to touch certain things?

We can use all kinds of scientific methods to investigate the brain to discover how the mind works, but the supernatural eludes us here completely.

All our scientific methods don't seem to work on the supernatural. Every time we try it, we find nothing. But this lack of scientific credibility does seem to undermine our belief in the supernatural at all.

It looks as if the supernatural is all around us and that we have our supersense to see it.

So the questions we are going to try to answer are: Why do we believe in the supernatural and What is the source of this way of thinking about the world?

We'll start with that this Thursday ….. :-)

The Discussion

[13:27] Abraxas Nagy: wow interesting
[13:27] AristotleVon Doobie: yes very
[13:27] Bejiita Imako: aaa really :)¨
[13:27] herman Bergson: thank you Abraxas
[13:27] Gemma Cleanslate: the east would give us good reasons :-)
[13:27] Gemma Cleanslate: eastern thought about mysticism that is
[13:28] AristotleVon Doobie: if one could believe in supernatural
[13:28] herman Bergson: Well Gemma..we'll come to that certainly
[13:28] Abraxas Nagy: mmm the merge between quantum mechanics and eastern thinking
[13:28] AristotleVon Doobie: of course there is no proof
[13:28] Alarice Beaumont: or the greeks with their gods
[13:28] Gemma Cleanslate: exactly
[13:28] Bejiita Imako: aaa yes
[13:28] Gemma Cleanslate: no proof anywhere
[13:28] herman Bergson: Wait.....
[13:29] herman Bergson: We should keep the problem clearly formulated...
[13:29] herman Bergson: The problem is that we believe in things that defy natural laws, the laws of physics etc.
[13:30] herman Bergson: And we hold these beliefs to be TRUE!!!
[13:30] herman Bergson: so as a real part of reality
[13:30] herman Bergson: And the problem with these beliefs is that we cant investigate them and test them scientifically
[13:31] itsme Frederix: the point is that the proposition is: supernatural beliefs are natural . I guess Bruce has a good point with that.. The 2nd is that is is quite efficient to use these supernatural conventions.
[13:31] AristotleVon Doobie: is it a possibility that the destination was arrived at by the rails of a agreed upon collective thinking or rather misthinking?
[13:31] herman Bergson: Yes Itsme...very true...but you are reading ahead lol
[13:32] itsme Frederix: well you gave a clue
[13:32] herman Bergson: Yes..the supernatural is natural....but that has severe consequences...
[13:32] herman Bergson: and those we are going to study in on coming lectures...
[13:32] AristotleVon Doobie: are they natural? I think not, they must be implanted
[13:32] itsme Frederix: lets first define why it is natural, it looks like it has been evolved in our brains
[13:32] herman Bergson: Well Aristotle....
[13:33] herman Bergson: there are two points that make the supernatural natural...
[13:33] AristotleVon Doobie: evolved or repeatedly nurtured, itsme?
[13:33] herman Bergson: one is: the culture we live in
[13:33] itsme Frederix: Bruce claims evolved
[13:33] herman Bergson: two is: the construction of our brain
[13:34] AristotleVon Doobie: I agree culture can be contaminating to good thought
[13:34] itsme Frederix: our brain seems to be wired up with circuits that support supernatural
[13:34] herman Bergson: and yes Itsme...the evolution of the brain is a major point in this discussion
[13:34] herman Bergson: Beware Itsme....
[13:35] herman Bergson: This statement has consequences...
[13:35] herman Bergson: I do not remeber if you attended the introduction on September 2?
[13:35] itsme Frederix: but I do, I did
[13:35] AristotleVon Doobie: can the evolution of the brain be affected by hearsay evidence or does that require empirical data??
[13:35] Abraxas Nagy: nope
[13:36] herman Bergson: But there I have stated that this project will take its stand in materialism...
[13:36] Abraxas Nagy: ah
[13:36] Josiane Llewellyn: I think dreams are part of why we believe in a supernatural world and sense.
[13:36] AristotleVon Doobie: I suppose I will be your counterpoint LOL
[13:36] Alarice Beaumont: Hi Qwark :-)
[13:36] Bejiita Imako: hi Qwark ㋡
[13:36] herman Bergson: There are emirical data about the evolution of the brain Aristotle...
[13:36] itsme Frederix: well by stating the brain is wired for supersense you do the materialization, you just have to find the circuits then ... voila
[13:37] Qwark Allen: ㋡ ˜*•. ˜”*°•.˜”*°• Helloooooo! •°*”˜.•°*”˜ .•*˜ ㋡
[13:37] Qwark Allen: Hey! friends ,-)
[13:37] Bejiita Imako: Hooo!!!
[13:37] Bejiita Imako: Hoooo!
[13:37] herman Bergson: Hi Qwark..:-)
[13:37] bergfrau Apfelbaum: hi qwark :-) and hii hope :-)
[13:37] Abraxas Nagy: Hiya Qwark
[13:37] Alarice Beaumont: but some people are more superstisious then others
[13:37] AristotleVon Doobie: yes, but can hearsay make the brain evolve?
[13:37] Beertje Beaumont: hi Qwark
[13:37] herman Bergson: EVenRodney!! Welcome:-)
[13:37] Abraxas Nagy: hiya hope
[13:37] Rodney Handrick: hi herman
[13:38] hope63 Shepherd: hi all of you.. just ignore my presence and let me listen for a while..
[13:38] herman Bergson: We will pay attention to the evolution of the brain Aristotle in future lectures
[13:38] Qwark Allen: sorry got here late, there was a lot of trafffic to cross the bridge
[13:38] itsme Frederix: why hearsay, you are founding supersense in hearsay?
[13:38] herman Bergson: Hi Hope ^_*
[13:38] AristotleVon Doobie: if I tell you god spoke to me and you believe me, will you children believe it too?
[13:38] hope63 Shepherd: smile.. hello old friend herman:)
[13:38] Alarice Beaumont: Hope ..:-))
[13:38] Alarice Beaumont smiling heartily
[13:39] AristotleVon Doobie: what else is our beliefs without data to prove them but hearsay?
[13:39] herman Bergson: I guess so Aristotle....they have a natural inclination to believe such things, reported by an authority
[13:39] Rodney Handrick: just so you all know caileach in rl is living through earthquakes
[13:39] itsme Frederix: I'm really sorry, but I supersense my wife needs me now. Sorry
[13:40] AristotleVon Doobie: :)
[13:40] Gemma Cleanslate: ♥ LOL ♥
[13:40] Gemma Cleanslate: ok
[13:40] herman Bergson: smiles
[13:40] Gemma Cleanslate: oh that is good rodney
[13:40] AristotleVon Doobie: yes Rodney I was thinking of her this morning reading the paper
[13:40] herman Bergson: not everyone can say that
[13:40] Gemma Cleanslate: was thinking of her the other day
[13:41] Adriana Jinn: yes we think of everyone
[13:41] AristotleVon Doobie: LOL, wave you hand and I submit that the hearsay must be repeated to the next generation
[13:41] herman Bergson: Ok I guess...we get diverted....
[13:41] Rodney Handrick: I forget how to raise my hand
[13:42] Gemma Cleanslate: always
[13:42] herman Bergson: So maybe better to move on to next Thursday with our discussion
[13:42] Alarice Beaumont: honestly.... me too Rodney
[13:42] herman Bergson: To conclude our discussion of today I especially want to thank Gemma Cleanslate. She drew my attention to an interesting website -->
[13:42] Rodney Handrick: thanks gemma
[13:42] Gemma Cleanslate: yw
[13:42] Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:42] herman Bergson: A very nice website that shows the history and physiology of the brain and more
[13:42] Bejiita Imako: lets see what that can be
[13:43] Gemma Cleanslate: lots of information
[13:43] AristotleVon Doobie: it was a series wasnt it?
[13:43] herman Bergson: So thank you all for your participation today....hope to see you next Thursday again!
[13:43] AristotleVon Doobie: thanks Professor
[13:43] herman Bergson: Class dismissed
[13:43] Bejiita Imako: interesting topic for sure this ㋡
[13:43] Abraxas Nagy: thank YOU professor
[13:43] Bejiita Imako: thanx
[13:44] Josiane Llewellyn: thank you Professor
[13:44] Rodney Handrick: wow... that was fast!
[13:44] herman Bergson: There will be lots more Bejiita ^_^
[13:44] Abraxas Nagy: i sure hope so
[13:44] Beertje Beaumont: Thank you Herman:)
[13:44] Bejiita Imako: great
[13:44] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:44] Adriana Jinn: thankyou herman
[13:44] Jozen Ocello: thanks Professor
[13:44] Gemma Cleanslate: ♥ Thank Youuuuuuuuuu!! ♥
[13:44] Gemma Cleanslate: see you thursday
[13:45] Adriana Jinn: always so interesting
[13:45] Bejiita Imako: aaa
[13:45] Abraxas Nagy: see you all on thursday
[13:45] Jozen Ocello: I'm afraid I've not done much reading ... but I will read up before Thursday
[13:45] Adriana Jinn: thanks a lot to all
[13:45] Jozen Ocello: thanks and see you on Thursday
[13:45] Jozen Ocello: bye all
[13:45] Bejiita Imako: ill try show up
[13:45] Alarice Beaumont: thank you Herman :-)

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