reply to post by HyphenSt1
but our ability to perceive as human isn't necessary "privileged" either..
This is how I quantify "privilege". Am I superior to animals, in terms of my conscious experience? Does my ability to imaginatively explore an animals
behavior, and infer its "umwelt" make my experience a gift, relative to theirs? I say that it does.
Of course, when you relativize differences by assigning philosophical priority to the "now" - allowing you to ignore the many cognitive gifts which
make humans qualitatively superior to animals - then I can see how you would not pay much thought to the specialness of human beings.
when I use the word "creative" I mean in the sense that they are able to mold their environment and make it adapt to THEM, as well as the well-known
notion that evolution aids in the animal to adapt to its surroundings.
Wouldn't that make nature creative? Without an "I" that can "work upon" it's environment, how can you ascribe creativity to an animal?
Evolutionary processes are certainly ingenious. But evolution, mind you, merely describes natural mechanisms. You can't turn it into a primal cause.
is the act of manipulating the environment in accordance with Will/Intent (whatever word you like to use) and allowing it to change YOU in return; a
symbiotic exchange that only functions optimally when it is NOT being acknowledged..
I would say only humans meet that criteria. Maybe an argument could be made for chimps.
become caricatures and great scapegoats for anyone wanting to ignore "the war on nature"... this may be another thread haha.
Yes, us humans are vortices of potential. We have profound abilities to create, and correspondingly, to destroy.
Good thing about us is, we seem to have a stronger will to do good than to do bad. Even our historical blights - world wars, genocides, indifference
to famines - we still try to make amends.
Right now, great efforts are being made to reverse global warming. Yes, we exploited our environments. We weren't thoughtful enough about the
consequences to ecosystems and our atmosphere. But now that we know better, efficient technologies are being introduced yearly to reduce the damage
we've caused; LEDs; more efficient combustion engines; hybrids; carbon capture technologies, etc etc, to me represent the goodness of the human
Steven Pinkers book "the better angels of our nature" - if you haven't read it, I suggest you do.
We are becoming more spiritually wise as a species. We are making better decisions, and we do this, and we feel compelled to do this, because growth,
prosperity and happiness are primal human urges.
I am never really trying to make value-judgments on what is THE "better" or "right" way to see things, but I also think that we need to get the idea
of "infinity" in focus..
Everyday we make such decisions. Whether or not their approximations of what is "right" should not obscure from focus the fact that we NEED to make
these decisions, daily, in order to live.
Perhaps nothing annoys me more than extremism. Whether it be the dogmatic extremism of the right, in fundamentalist conservatives, whether Christian,
Jewish, Muslim, or what not, as well as the radical extremism of the left, with it's moral relativism and inept questioning of everything.
Both positions make the world a worse place to live. The former makes no concessions - either intellectually, or practically - to it's inherent
limitations. And the other is fanatical in it's philosophical brooding. It'll sacrifice the good which can be sought and fostered, for the sake of
some imagined philosophical good - which does not always correlate with good ends.
As a psychologist, I am not afraid to direct clients in positive directions. For instance, if I have a client who binge drinks and sleeps around, I
have no compunctions about telling her she needs to reflect on her life; she needs to stop the drinking, join a support group, and she should also
take stock of her emotional life: why do you feel this need to sleep around?
Fact is, the values enthroned in traditional patriarchal cultural system have universal value. Whether it be Judaism, or Confucianism, common sense is
common sense. People need to take stock of left and right (conflicting realities) and make the appropriate adjustments.
I really do believe living is about finding a balance that will promote peace of mind and happiness.
The Buddha emphasized that All is illusion to balance the tendency to see all is REAL and factual. This is how we find the middle-path."
There's actually quite a bit of dogmatic thought in Buddhism/Hinduism/Taosim. Just as there is dogmatism in western religions. Really, to live, and to
formulate a sense of self and meaning, seems to require foundational beliefs (assumptions).
As I've tried to explain throughout this thread (it's a good thread btw; and you're a very interesting thinker) my view about religion is: they're all
At a moral level, though, I believe that the golden rule has ontological merit in constructively organizing all human behavior. For anyone to tell me
that the golden rule is merely a convention - even though every civilized society has established it as an organizing principle - or can be superseded
by some other principle (as some eastern or gnostic thinkers would think), I believe such a person is bored and to remedy this boredom they use
metaphysics to justify immoral behavior.
A logic-dependent person feels they MUST resolve paradox and contradiction or "they aren't truly seeing the truth of the situation" whereas a purely
intuition-dependent person feels they MUST keep their mind blank and "go with the flow" but this too is a stagnant way of progressing through life
(progressing though life being the common goal of everyone who isn't suicidal)
That's more or less my attitude. My theological beliefs satisfy a cognitive impulse to project meaning onto this enigmatic world we inhabit.
Philosophically, and psychologically, though, you have to give priority to feeling and emotion. All of the thinking we do is organized by primary
emotions. We may not notice it, because, well, to be aware of it requires dissociation. But when you are aware of it, you can see and use emotions in
a constructive way.
The fact that the brain is plastic means that we are the architects of our personality. If we want to be more sociable, we should emphasize positive
feeling states that encourage inter-subjective relations. Throughout this process, following an eastern-centric precept, people need to avoid
identifications; whether it be with some old sense of self, an insecurity which brings to mind an image, etc. All cognitions do is derail us from our
So, opposite ideas can be integrated, but they need to be hierarchically organized in an intelligent way. For instance, I give priority to my
psychological understanding over my theological beliefs; no rabbi or priest is gonna tell me what is right or wrong when my own sound research
edit on 13-11-2013 by Astrocyte because: (no reason given)