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Everything posted by DocWatts

  1. least to the extent that both Materialism and certain forms of Idealism make a-priori claims of ontological exclusivity towards thier given domains. Or to put it another way: if Materialism's mistake is to conflate the most fundamental layer of reality (physical substrate) to be its most significant, Idealism's mistake is to confuse the most significant aspect of reality (consciousness or spirit) as its most fundamental. Materialism is rather crude in the way it just outright denies any ontological status for non physical aspects of reality. The subject of physical reductionism has already been discussed to death here, so I won't dwell on it. Idealism is a bit more subtle by collapsing physical aspects of reality to a projection of spirit or consciousness, ignoring how the subjective quality of consciousness is shaped by (but not reducible to) constraints within physical reality. Both materialism and idealism seem to miss the boat when it comes to realizing that a crucial aspect of consciousness is that it is embedded and embodied within an environment. This is easily demonstrable by contemplating how our conceptual system is inexplicably tied to what kind of creatures we are (social bipedal animals that metaphorically project our kinesthetic system- such as front and back, up and down- out in to our environment). Consider for a moment how differently a spherical creature with eyes on all sides of its body would experience reality. An Embodied form of Realism which makes the more limited claim that both physical reality and conscious experience are ontologically valid seems far more epistemologically responsible than either alternative.
  2. @Leo Gura I'd be curious as to your thoughts on some implicit assumptions that seem to be present in your metaphysics, or at least what seem like implicit assumptions from my vantage point. (I'm happy to be corrected if any of this mischaracterizes your views): The a-priori assumption that non-conceptual awareness is 'pure' in some sense, and not something that is mediated in subtle ways by a myriad of unconscious cognitive processes that structure the nature of our direct experience (regardless of whether or not these processes have a physical basis). The assumption that everything there is to be known about the mind is accessible to conscious awareness through introspection and contemplation. The assumption that it's possible for consciousness to be disembodied The assumption that knowledge can be non-contextual, and that what you're perceiving to be Absolute Truth isn't contextual in ways that you're unaware of
  3. Isn't it also good form to use healthy forms of skepticism to interrogate any ontological system that makes claims towards exclusivity/completeness (ie exactly what you've done towards Scientific Reductionism)?
  4. Embodied neutral monism seems to make the most epistemological sense from my point of view, as its a metaphysics that honors the defensible aspects of physicalism (objects outside of consciousness exist) while making room for the significance of consciousness. (As a bonus, both the Great Chain of Being as well as Buddhist notions of the illusory nature of self seem fully compatible with this metaphysics. Whether the 'Substance' that physical reality and consciousness are aspects of or artificially subdivided into is conceptualized as Spirit, the Absolute, or something else makes no meaningful ontological difference.) So while consciousness is of course irreducible, it's also inseparable from physical reality because consciousness is always embedded and embodied in an environment. What gives consciousness its subjective flavor is that it's in interaction with its embedded environment. Color perception is a great example of this; color being something that neither exists "out there" as a pre-given feature of external objects, nor as an independent fabrication of consciousness (as evidenced by people blind from birth having no frame of reference for color). Rather, color is a codependent origination of a consciousness that's in interaction with an environment. Both materialism and Leo's brand of absolute idealism seem extreme to me, not dissimilar to how a partial truth like postmodernism becomes problematic when taken to an extreme. Notions that consciousness can somehow become disembodied is a Myth.
  5. Same. Not infrequent that the site doesn't load and I'll have to check back later in the day
  6. Leo did a good job of introducing Spiral Dynamics, but it's important to remember that he has his own biases (as everyone inevitably does), so one shouldn't take Leo's word as final on any of the subjects he presents.
  7. Newbie/Intermediate question for experienced mediators. I've been doing a basic mindfulness meditation routine consistently for the last six months or so, and was considering other types of meditation techniques to begin experimenting with once I've calmed my mind. As far as contemplative meditation in particular, is the only real difference between contemplating something in meditative vs non meditative states the fact that it's being done from a calm or empty state of mind? Or are there deliberative steps one is supposed to be doing for this type of practice?
  8. If you're interested in the phenomenology of color perception, I'd highly recommend The Embodied Mind by Thompson, Varella, and Rosch. The book is an effort to build a bridge between second generation cognitive science and the contemplative wisdom tradition contained within Buddhism. In the work, the authors frequently use the perception of color as a case study to demonstrate that meditative practices of contemplation can be used to experientially validate the claims of cognitive science. When we consider color, we come to realize that it isn't something that exists "out there" in an external world with pre-given features. But neither is it a complete fabrication of a disembodied mind (as evidenced by people blind from birth having no frame of reference for color). Rather, what color is a codependent origination (or interaction) between a mind that's embedded and embodied in environment. So yes color is something that is experienced rather than a pre-given feature of objects in an external world. But it's also important to keep in mind that it is an interaction, not something that the mind fabricates on its own independent of any input, owing to the fact that the mind is inherently embodied.
  9. Ideally the United Nations would be filling the role that the United States (dishonestly) markets itself as: that of a global peacekeeper. Unfortunately that organization is so rife with structural limitations which render it incapable of fulfilling its intensed role, that it will remain a largely toothless organization. (Of course that's not to say the UN isn't valuable in other ways). As it stands, there's no reason to believe that whatever nation eventually fills the power vacuum left by the United States will act any more ethically than the US did during its tenure as the world's supreme imperialist power.
  10. So oftentimes when I'm reading a book and come across something that challenges my preconceptions on something, I'll go for a walk and deconstruct the idea for awhile and if the idea has validity integrate it into my conceptual system. If this is my 'default' mode of contemplation in non meditative states, would I be better off leaving deconstruction and analytic thought patterns behind while meditating and focus purely on sensations and feelings? Or would I ideally want to integrate analytic methods in to the practice once I get more comfortable with it? So let's say I wanted to focus on the sensation of sight for instance with the intuition that my visual field is a mentally constructed, what would a contemplative meditation on that 'look like' so to speak (pun intended).
  11. My own understanding is that while we could interbreed with people from 300,000 years ago, humans with the sort of cognitive capabilities that exist today are actually far more recent, closer to 40,000 or 50,000 years from what I've read.
  12. I've been curious about this as well. Easy enough to find Green and even Yellow online, but I do miss having the sorts of discussions that take place on this forum on a face to face basis. Having participated in the Occupy movements when I was younger, it would be awesome to find a local organization with that sort of energy but focused in a more pragmatic direction (perhaps addressing something more focused such as ways to address deficiencies in the American political system).
  13. Closest person that comes to mind which fits the description would be someone like Marcus Aurelius. If survival conditions for a society are such that democracy is unworkable I suppose its better to have a conscious and developed person in charge, but regressing to those conditions is something to be avoided rather than to aspire to.
  14. Not denying that Trump (or Hitler for that matter) is a damaged person, but my own perspective is to look at who's being harmed versus who's benefiting from the dynamics at play. Intentionally and maliciously deceiving millions of people for personal financial and political gain, with zero regard for other people, seems like a reasonable place to draw the line. Just because "whatever helps me, damned the costs or consequences" happens to be Trump's Personal Truth, doesn't absolve him of anything. Not like Trump actually cares about his legions of cult like followers, where the dynamic is akin to an abusive relationship. So yeah, I can extend some sympathy to the people who have been conned and manipulated by this grifter without extending my sympathies to the schemer at the top.
  15. In my mind is it really so difficult to delineate between demagogues like Trump, who are knowingly and maliciously spreading misinformation to millions of people for completely self-serving political purposes, and the victims of that process who are ending up in the hospital after being manipulated by people who couldn't give two shits about them? Save that venom for the people running the damn Cult, rather than for the dummies who were unfortunate enough to get sucked in because they couldn't recognize a grift.
  16. @RareGodzilla Sure mindless media consumption is a problem (video games included in that), but the only way you actually solve the problem is by instilling a healthy relationship with digital media from an early age. Which involves (surprise, surprise) engaged parents who are actually knowledgeable about digital media. That and actually having opportunities available for social engagement and fulfilling activities away from a screen. That's of course leaving aside that online games are to at least some degree being scapegoated for more affluent young people in China choosing not to engage that country's toxic work culture (with the expectations that one need work 12 hours a day 6 days a week).
  17. Disappointing that people here are reveling in shadenfreude towards what are effectively Cult victims who were ruthlessly manipulated and exploited by a Con Artist, and ended up dying because of it.
  18. The book I'm referring to is A Theory of Justice, which is a landmark work of 20th century political philosophy by John Rawls, that's concerned with the ethics of socio-economic inequality in democratic societies. In it he proposes what's come to be regarded as a famous thought experiment known as The Veil of Ignorance, which is designed to challenge the ways in which we use self-bias to justify societal inequalities. In the thought experiment, we are asked to imagine that we are designing the socio-economic system for a society that we'll be living in, without knowing who or what we'll be in the society we're designing. We have no idea whether we'll be born rich or poor, whether we'll be a man or a woman, or whether or not we'll be part of an ethnic or religious minority, Furthermore, we won't know in advance what our moral compass and level of development will be, nor will we have any idea whether the skills and talents we develop throughout our life will be something that's valued by the rest of the society. Removing self bias from the consideration, and you'll quickly notice that is becomes much harder to justify many of the forms of gross inequality that exist in the world. But at the same time Rawls does recognize that some level of inequality is in fact beneficial for everyone in the society, including its least well off members. So the conclusion he comes to is that some level of socio-economic inequality is ethically justifiable so long as the form of inequality in question benefits the least advantaged members of that society. For example, it's to the advantage of the least well off to have competent doctors and teachers in the society, so it makes sense to pay doctors and teachers good salaries to attract people to those professions. On the flip side of that, it's much harder to justify a CEO of Walmart making thousands of times more than an average Walmart employee in this scenario. Nor is it justifiable for a tiny handful of billionaires to own more wealth than the entire bottom half of the society. ______________________________ To add to that and address the larger issue at hand, the existence of extreme wealth inequality is problematic for other reasons because in practice it tends to damage social solidarity and erode democratic institutions. When a handful of people own more wealth than entire segments of society, it gives those individuals plenty of opportunity to game the system for their benefit and isolate themselves from societal problems. If inequality gets bad enough what tends to happen is that the rich and poor begin living in two completely different isolated realities, and when that happens the sense of social solidarity required for democracy to function beings to break down. Think of the things that we take for granted today that exist due to public investments in innovation through agencies like DARPA and NASA; the Internet and GPS were both government funded DARPA projects, after all. While I'll agree that profit motive from private Industry can be a powerful incentive for innovation for many things (such as consumer electronics), don't forget the ways that a Profit motive can also disincentive many kinds of important research. Think of something like the Large Hadron Collider or International Space Station, hard to see how either of those could exist if they had to make a quarterly return for an investor. Public private partnerships hold a lot of promise in my eyes, and I'm all for public investitures in to private industry for things that are socially beneficial (such as renewable energy).
  19. A number of good points on the issue from a therapist who struggled with game compulsion when he was younger.
  20. Not sure whether this has already been posted somewhere else, but the compassionate approach taken by the therapist conducting the interview is a good reminder that people who embody SD-Red aren't monsters so much as people who are easily deceived and manipulated because they're lacking in development. Many of these people have led sad lives, and use conspiracy theories as a dysfunctional way of coping with unmet deficiency needs.
  21. I've always been of the opinion that this is what socialists in America should really be focusing on (and to be fair at least some portion of them are), rather than just pointing out the inadequacies of the current system without any realistic plan about how to actually change things.
  22. Being that the entire notion of Free Will comes from mistaken Enlightenment era assumptions that the Mind is somehow disembodied, having something that was a Myth from the very beginning confirmed to be not true by Empirical evidence shouldn't be a cause for distress.
  23. I see this more as a non issue owing to mistaken assumptions behind how Free Will is framed, which itself is a legacy of Enlightenment era philosphy. A common misconception is to conflate the empirical evidence for the lack of Free Will with the idea that all of our Choices are pre-determined, which itself takes for granted that the a-priori assumption that we live in a deterministic 'clock work' universe. Just because the Mind is not Free to think whatever it wants due to the embodied nature of the conceptual systems we use to navigate reality, doesn't mean that we lack the capacity to think and reflect on out lived experiences. Nor are we prevented from using that process to inform the ways we approach life. Think about it. If we didn't have the ability to do so, from an evolutionary standpoint how could we possibly have survived and developed to the point to speculate om philosophical questions?
  24. What would someone living by 'socialist ideals' mean in your view? From Vaush's own political ideology (Libertarian Market Socialism), his socio-economic ideals as I understand them involve an expansion of democracy in to the workplace (acceas to the means of production through worker owned businesses) and de-commoditization of essential goods and services. So how is being a self employed political commentator a betrayal of these goals? As others have already pointed out, socialism is not against the idea of wealth, it's against using control of Capitol for exploitative purposes.