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Why do we always have to cheapen it?

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posted on Jul, 8 2008 @ 12:08 AM
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A discussion on jules Verne, one of my favorite Sci-Fi writers of all time. And what do we discuss? His genius? His abillty to extrapolate from existing sciences to a pretty good concepetion of future tech?

Nahh.
Were gonna call him a mystic prohpet who saw the future ina trance. Or Better yet, a man who met a time traveler.


The Pyramids of Egypt. One of the single greatest triumphs of the Human mind in all of recorded history. And what do we discuss? the intellect it would have taken to design them? The culture necessary to create the trades whcih could build them?

Nahh. Cause we wanna talk about aliens building them for us.

The moon landing. A triumph literally thousands of years in the making. A milestone for our species. Do we discuss the massive project, the drafting of the entire nations genuis in pursuit of a singular goal? Of course not, we just want to talk about how it was faked.

9/11 a day of horror, fear, and sureality. Do we want to talk about the type of mind that would be willing to pilot those planes in such acts? The marvel that the towersy withstood as much as they did despite the perfect storm of conditions? Or maybe even the beruecratic fiasco that is ground zero?

Nahh. We wanna look for hidden detonators.

And I dont just mean here, on ATS. Oh no. Let anyone, any man, any woman, any nation have a truly magnificant triumph, or a descent into any bottomless depravity and the human race just lines up to prove it couldnt be so. We arent capable of THAT.

I say we, but in truth I dont share this philosphy so I have to ask, why?

Why must we always cheapen it?

[edit on 7/8/2008 by Shazam The Unbowed]




posted on Jul, 8 2008 @ 12:24 AM
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Originally posted by Shazam The Unbowed
Why must we always cheapen it?

You've undoubtedly heard the old saying: "The grass is always greener on the other side." Nobody is ever satisfied!



posted on Jul, 8 2008 @ 12:27 AM
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reply to post by Shazam The Unbowed
 


You do realise this is a conspiracy site, don't you ?

I'd say this is the reason the issues you've mentioned in your post are discussed on here in a manner you seem to find unpalatable...They are often discussed here from a conspiratorial or "alternative" angle, rather than as per the "official" viewpoint...

Its the way things are on this site...



posted on Jul, 8 2008 @ 12:32 AM
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Originally posted by Rilence
reply to post by Shazam The Unbowed
 


You do realise this is a conspiracy site, don't you ?

I'd say this is the reason the issues you've mentioned in your post are discussed on here in a manner you seem to find unpalatable...They are often discussed here from a conspiratorial or "alternative" angle, rather than as per the "official" viewpoint...

Its the way things are on this site...


You missed my point. As Ive said, its not just here. More to the point, why do so many seem to find the conspiracy easier to beleive than the fact that we could actually be capable of these things ourselves? Do we have so little faith in ourselves and our own abillities?



posted on Jul, 8 2008 @ 12:34 AM
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Well, the obvious answer is that this is a website for 'alternative topics', so speculation here is going to be a little... on the boundaries, so to speak.

But there's another factor. Basic human nature. You're saying we should be more awed by past creations. Yep, they're very impressive -- really. In fact, I would say, sometimes too much so. Consider the psychological perspective. We each have lifetimes of only a handful of decades in which we can be productive, but we're immersed in cultures with hundred, even thousand years of the products of human inventiveness -- and not just the efforts of one human, thousands, millions of people.

That's got to be a little daunting. Sure, we might work all our lives to create and achieve things, but when compared to the vast accomplishments in history, it can seem to be a small drop in a very large bucket.

So we don't get lost in an existential ocean of 'nothing i can do will really matter', we tend to 1) focus more on ourselves than a broader, more objective perspective, and 2) down-play the achievements of history.

Look at the pyramids -- no running water, no air conditioning -- pppft! Sure, we can do much better than that!



posted on Jul, 8 2008 @ 12:35 AM
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reply to post by Shazam The Unbowed
 


Only interested in what goes on here, what goes on elsewhere is irrelevant really...

I have no idea of the how or why of it, it is what it is on ATS...



posted on Jul, 8 2008 @ 12:45 AM
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Originally posted by Ian McLean
Well, the obvious answer is that this is a website for 'alternative topics', so speculation here is going to be a little... on the boundaries, so to speak.

But there's another factor. Basic human nature. You're saying we should be more awed by past creations. Yep, they're very impressive -- really. In fact, I would say, sometimes too much so. Consider the psychological perspective. We each have lifetimes of only a handful of decades in which we can be productive, but we're immersed in cultures with hundred, even thousand years of the products of human inventiveness -- and not just the efforts of one human, thousands, millions of people. That's got to be a little daunting. Sure, we might work all our lives to create and achieve things, but when compared to the vast accomplishments in history, it can seem to be a small drop in a very large bucket.

you make a good point. But thats what I find so inspiring. Dear god look at the city you live in wherever that may be. If you have internet access, chances are 99% of all the human who have ever lived would go mad with wonder. And those little meaningless things? They help build even greater worlds, little insignifacnt brick, by little insignificant brick.





So we don't get lost in an existential ocean of 'nothing i can do will really matter', we tend to 1) focus more on ourselves than a broader, more objective perspective, and 2) down-play the achievements of history.

Look at the pyramids -- no running water, no air conditioning -- pppft! Sure, we can do much better than that!



But thats what drives me nuts. We DO EVERYDAY!
Look at Tapei 101, the ancient egyptians would have # themselves if they could even see a glimpse of it. Hell look at New York city, or even peoria freaking kansas. These are marvels whose technology shames the greatest of all known civiliastions. Items that an acient God-King would have considered high-sorcery are in the hands of every working man in the western world. We have a standard of living unequalled in human history, the abillity to chase dreams our ancestors couldnt have even imagined and the poorest among us live better than kings did in the old days.

Why is it, that Shakespeare could walk through streets fileld with sewage, in a city where human heads regularly adorned the city walls, and still pen


"What a piece of work is man! how noble in reason! how infinite in faculty! in form and moving how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals! ".


and yet we, who live a better, healthier, and less brutish life than even the bard could have penned can not see the same thing when its already been pointed out to us?



posted on Jul, 8 2008 @ 01:08 AM
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You're not alone in that sense of wonder. In fact, I think it goes deeper than even things you can point to, buildings, technology, etc. Consider the fact that people can communicate at all. We convey such deep and philosophical concepts, by what is essentially the movement of air modified by muscles, modified grunts if you will -- or in the written form, by symbols thereof. Sometimes people are stunned that they can talk and talk and try and explain something to someone, and they just won't get it. Me, I'm amazed that people can occasionally communicate at all. Stunningly wondrous thing that, really.

So, as to taking things for granted, that's a psychological adaptation, too, I think. If we are constantly amazed at what we've done, what we as a species have achieved, then the tendency would be to stagnate. Ya can't stop walking in the middle of the tightrope. Consider the story the patent inspector from the early 1900 who though that 'everything of importance has been invented' -- and that was before the airplane, even! Seems silly today, but if we focus just on the achievements of the last 20 or 30 years (communications, computers, biotechnology), and are lost in a sense of wonder, it might seem plausible to think "wow, what's left to do? look at all this great stuff! what could be better?" Same fallacy.



posted on Jul, 8 2008 @ 01:19 AM
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Originally posted by Ian McLean
You're not alone in that sense of wonder. In fact, I think it goes deeper than even things you can point to, buildings, technology, etc. Consider the fact that people can communicate at all. We convey such deep and philosophical concepts, by what is essentially the movement of air modified by muscles, modified grunts if you will -- or in the written form, by symbols thereof. Sometimes people are stunned that they can talk and talk and try and explain something to someone, and they just won't get it. Me, I'm amazed that people can occasionally communicate at all. Stunningly wondrous thing that, really.


I see your point. And yeah I agree, Language itself is an astounding adaptation of our brains.



So, as to taking things for granted, that's a psychological adaptation, too, I think. If we are constantly amazed at what we've done, what we as a species have achieved, then the tendency would be to stagnate. Ya can't stop walking in the middle of the tightrope.

Granted. But must we be so willing to beleive we were carried to where we are now?



Consider the story the patent inspector from the early 1900 who though that 'everything of importance has been invented' -- and that was before the airplane, even! Seems silly today, but if we focus just on the achievements of the last 20 or 30 years (communications, computers, biotechnology), and are lost in a sense of wonder, it might seem plausible to think "wow, what's left to do? look at all this great stuff! what could be better?" Same fallacy.

I see the point your making, and I agree. You cant rest on your laurels, But at the same time if you think all of mans greatest achivements were really someone elses, then what makes you think you can accomplish anything but the most mundane of tasks.

I dunno, maybe its trite. But when I see the pyramids, or hear tales of the 300 spartans, or read a biography of a great man, one simple thought runs through my mind.

If they could do it, so can I.

I mean to ponder the great pyramid and realise that men no different form yourself in any meaningful way built it at a time when high techonoly was a lever and fulcrum...... Maybe I'm wierd but I derive such a sense of.... possibility that my own tasks no longer seem so insurmountable.



posted on Jul, 8 2008 @ 01:37 AM
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I don't think presenting alternative explanations for things is bad at all. Would you rather that everyone just go along with what the people in charge tell us is truth?

We all know that history is written by the winners of wars. Many times, the official story that history tells us is very biased to the people in power. It would be intellectually lazy to not discuss alternatives to the official account.

For example, without questioning the official story, we would still think that General Custer was a hero, and that all Indians were brutal savages. Philosophers such as Michel Foucault call these searches for alternative views of history Geneologies, and claim that they tell us more about the truth of humanity than any official story.

Now your probably saying what does this have to do with saying aliens built the pyramids. Well, two points. First, it goes to show that almost every alternative theory is initially considered to be outlandish (ie Custer was a horrible man) and therefore we should not silence voices no matter how outlandish they seem. We should leave them talk, and decide rather or not to listen, and if we do listen, we can decide on the merits of their claims. Always remember, it was once thought foolish to think the Earth was round.

The second point is that it doesn't cheapen the marvel (pyramids in this example). If anything it adds to it, by showing how magnificent the pyramids must be to have some people believe supernatural forces had to build them. It also encourages engineers, historians, etc. that may be debating this to do more research which ultimately leads to a better understanding of the engineering aspects you find spectacular.

As long as peoples beliefs don't hurt other people, they should be allowed to question whatever they want. Its this very premise which allows society to advance and obtain greater knowledge.



posted on Jul, 8 2008 @ 01:37 AM
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A little Tennyson, for the mood:


I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethrough
Gleams that untravelled world, whose margin fades
For ever and for ever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnished, not to shine in use!
...

Come, my friends,
'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew

Tho' much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.


So, with that in mind, and to get back to the original point about why we might tend to want to credit the Great Achievements to external forces, rather than people like us: perhaps we're all a little scared that we aren't as heroic and determined as Ulysses.



posted on Jul, 8 2008 @ 02:05 AM
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reply to post by Shazam The Unbowed
 


I feel the same way about those who dismiss the possibility that consciousness and the nature of existence itself transcends mechanistic interpretations. I know that there is something profoundly mysterious in regards to cognition and creativity, and in the mirroring of self and others. I know it is possible to have a direct experience of a unifying consciousness that is truly "nonlocal" and personal at the same time without irresolvable paradox.

oh no... we can't do THAT...



posted on Jul, 8 2008 @ 02:18 AM
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Originally posted by Grambler
I don't think presenting alternative explanations for things is bad at all. Would you rather that everyone just go along with what the people in charge tell us is truth?

I dont think anyone who knows me would describe me as the type to go along. But I have to wonder, if perhaps, this almost reflexive urge to deny our own capabilities isnt evidence of some deeper malaise.



We all know that history is written by the winners of wars. Many times, the official story that history tells us is very biased to the people in power. It would be intellectually lazy to not discuss alternatives to the official account.

Granted. But why invent characters too? Why not apply occams razor a bit more liberally?



For example, without questioning the official story, we would still think that General Custer was a hero, and that all Indians were brutal savages. Philosophers such as Michel Foucault call these searches for alternative views of history Geneologies, and claim that they tell us more about the truth of humanity than any official story.

And yet, in many ways, Custer was a hero. He had the attributes and the attitudes of legendary heroes. Even his death was heroic by classical standards. Compare him to the achilles of the Illiad, or the heroes of Plato's critias?
And is there any doubt that in many ways the indians were savages? Many tribes would torture the enemies they wanted to honor most. Women were not allowed enar shamans during thier period, or the tribeand were seperated to a menstruel tent.
Dont get me wrong. I get your point, and I agree with the larger theme of questioning established wisdom and stories. I also agree that we can easily fall into the trap of judging others by our standards and in so doing fail to recognise the power of thier own individuality.
I might even agree that the blind groping for truth these searches represent tell us a truth about humanity. But thats the problem. What if the truth these "geneologies" represent is closer to the scared mammal trying to survive underneath the presence of the great disnoaurs, than it is to the portrait of man Shakespeare painted? Is that a truth you would embrace? Or defy till your dying breath?



Now your probably saying what does this have to do with saying aliens built the pyramids. Well, two points. First, it goes to show that almost every alternative theory is initially considered to be outlandish (ie Custer was a horrible man) and therefore we should not silence voices no matter how outlandish they seem. We should leave them talk, and decide rather or not to listen, and if we do listen, we can decide on the merits of their claims. Always remember, it was once thought foolish to think the Earth was round.

Whose looking to silence? Im asking questions, which is pretty much the antithesis of silencing isnt it?



The second point is that it doesn't cheapen the marvel (pyramids in this example). If anything it adds to it, by showing how magnificent the pyramids must be to have some people believe supernatural forces had to build them. It also encourages engineers, historians, etc. that may be debating this to do more research which ultimately leads to a better understanding of the engineering aspects you find spectacular.

Now that is a beautiful sophism, I think. If only because by searching for aliens (regarding the genesis of the pyramids, not searching for proof of aliens in general) arent we actually leading ourselves further away from experiment into the answers? Thats my fear with supernatural solutions. If "god did it" (or aliens or the great market maker etc ), then why look for human fingerprints at all?
I'm not saying we shouldn't ask.
I'm simply asking what our collective propensityfor giving (possibly imaginary) foeign beings credit for our deeds or thoe deeds of our antecedents, says about us.


As long as peoples beliefs don't hurt other people, they should be allowed to question whatever they want. Its this very premise which allows society to advance and obtain greater knowledge.
No argument. Thats what this post is all about.



posted on Jul, 8 2008 @ 02:25 AM
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reply to post by Ian McLean
 


Fair point.
But why arent we just as quick to wonder if Ulyses wouldnt be just as scared of our challenges. Yeah he could sail a ship with cotton in his ears. How would he respond to being told to create a Marketing Campaign? Im pretty sure a show of bowmanship wont sell too many tube socks.

Seriously though Hasnt everyone who has ever commited great deeds been terrified they would fail? Hell most of my not nearly great and really only middling impressive as far the accomplishments of thirty yeard old american men go (especially in the historic context) scared the crap out of me.

Life kinda has to be scary doesn't it? I mean we literally have to eat life in order to live. We cant not exist without ending some other form of life. Nor can any other form of animal life we know of. I think maybe life is supposed to be scary.

[edit on 7/8/2008 by Shazam The Unbowed]



posted on Jul, 8 2008 @ 04:12 AM
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Originally posted by Ian McLean
Look at the pyramids -- no running water, no air conditioning -- pppft! Sure, we can do much better than that!

Well, take a look at the Minoan Empire in their heyday on Crete...They actually had indoor plumbing! Nothing like that again until about a hundred years ago...Anyone care to speculate on who taught them how to build it?

But then again, that's what the scientific disciplines of archeology, sociology & anthropology try to piece together for us...That's where I get my sense of wonder about the past.



Originally posted by Grambler
I don't think presenting alternative explanations for things is bad at all. Would you rather that everyone just go along with what the people in charge tell us is truth?

Actually, no. It's often the creative-impulse of looking for the "alternative explanation" that reveals how corrupted those "people in charge" really are. You can't try to find any credible evidence if you can't even imagine what paths you can take in your research, even if it's just to disavow your initial theories.


Originally posted by Grambler
We all know that history is written by the winners of wars. Many times, the official story that history tells us is very biased to the people in power.

One good example that comes to mind is the first edition of the King James Bible. There was no real scholarly attempt to make it an accurate translation...No, it was re-written to justify the King's Divine Right to Rule. Granted, later versions have been corrected, but the fact still remains that it was originally in favor of a political agenda.


Originally posted by Shazam The Unbowed
I also agree that we can easily fall into the trap of judging others by our standards and in so doing fail to recognise the power of thier own individuality.

I agree, but on the other hand, we can also learn more about ourselves by analyzing the various viewpoints discussed in forums like this. A site like ATS draws in people from all over the world to discuss these "alternative viewpoints." I forgot who first said this & I have to admit I'm paraphrasing a bit: "The tales one tells about others often reveals more about the tellers of those tales than the told about."


Originally posted by Shazam The Unbowed
Life kinda has to be scary doesn't it? I mean we literally have to eat life in order to live. We cant not exist without ending some other form of life. Nor can any other form of animal life we know of. I think maybe life is supposed to be scary.

In the Ann Rice Novels of the Vampire Chronicles, LeStat de Lioncourt viewed the whole of the Earth as a "Savage Garden." The beauty of asthetics is obvious, but there also lies the inherent danger that life can only survive by consuming life. In the specific book, "Memnoch the Devil," LeStat learns that the whole of Creation is a self-perpetuating cycle of the Conversion of Matter & Energy.

[edit on 8-7-2008 by MidnightDStroyer]



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