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Why Can’t the World’s Greatest Minds Solve the Mystery of Consciousness? Options
Epiphileon
Posted: Wednesday, January 9, 2019 6:37:48 AM

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I found this article to be a very good survey of the current thinking on the issue of explaining the nature of consciousness. It is rather long; however, if you are interested in the topic it is worth the time.
Why Can’t the World’s Greatest Minds Solve the Mystery of Consciousness?

Question authority. How do you know, that you know, what you know?
FounDit
Posted: Wednesday, January 9, 2019 12:56:51 PM

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Epiphileon wrote:
I found this article to be a very good survey of the current thinking on the issue of explaining the nature of consciousness. It is rather long; however, if you are interested in the topic it is worth the time.
Why Can’t the World’s Greatest Minds Solve the Mystery of Consciousness?


A subject I also find fascinating, and extremely interesting to think about. I've read the link and wonder how best to approach it - a section at a time, or in an overall topic manner. Thoughts?


We should look to the past to learn from it, not destroy our future because of it — FounDit
Ivan Fadeev
Posted: Thursday, January 10, 2019 1:15:21 PM

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People can't reach unreachable unless they can. The most significant and complicated question which is "Who are we? or Who am I?" seems to fall into the category of "the unreachable". First step to realize it, is to admit the fact that people are born the way they are born and they can't contribute to their nature. Our consciousness is not something we have a control over. It controls us but not the other way around. We can explore it, play this game, but the real depth of the matter at hand is hidden from us which makes me think that we are like pawns which are programmed on the genetic level by some "Over-mind". We know too little to understand ourselves, and yet to much, not to be bothered with ourselves. That's a pathetic scenario for human beings who just fumble in the dark denied the satisfaction of having true knowledge about themselves.
FounDit
Posted: Thursday, January 10, 2019 3:31:19 PM

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Joined: 9/19/2011
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Ivan Fadeev wrote:
People can't reach unreachable unless they can. The most significant and complicated question which is "Who are we? or Who am I?" seems to fall into the category of "the unreachable". First step to realize it, is to admit the fact that people are born the way they are born and they can't contribute to their nature. Our consciousness is not something we have a control over. It controls us but not the other way around. We can explore it, play this game, but the real depth of the matter at hand is hidden from us which makes me think that we are like pawns which are programmed on the genetic level by some "Over-mind". We know too little to understand ourselves, and yet to much, not to be bothered with ourselves. That's a pathetic scenario for human beings who just fumble in the dark denied the satisfaction of having true knowledge about themselves.


I'm going to begin at the end of your post and work backwards through it. I question the idea that we are pawns programmed by an "Over-mind". That would mean that this "Over-mind" has specifically programmed every creature and human since the beginning of time. This would indicated a predestined life over which we have no control.

This ties into your point about our consciousness being something we have no control over. In a sense, you are right. There doesn't appear to be a master control we can use to direct out consciousness; rather our consciousness IS that master controller.

Then we come to the matter of "Who am I?" The answer to that, for me, is "I am" and that is enough. I exist and I deem that to be good. I am the accumulation of a unique combination of genetic material which has had unique experiences as a result of living.

I survived because I was enabled to do so by the actions of others of my species, by a lack of fatal accidents, and the recovery from illnesses. My sense of self, my sense of self-worth and sense of self-esteem is a result of interactions with life's events, interactions with other beings of all types, and my abilities, as I developed them, in dealing with those beings and events.

I came to recognize that anything I add to that statement of "I am ____" opens the door to condemnation, criticism, and judgement by others. I also came to recognize that those opinions are not always truthful or accurate, and often are developed out of a need others have to build their own sense of worth.

Therefore, it is solely my responsibility to create my own sense of self-worth, and not allow it to be created for me by others. They may play a part, but it is in my best interest to evaluate the motivation for their opinions before accepting their opinions as having any value. Some have value, some do not. Each of us must decide for our individual selves how we will allow others to influence us. This means developing the ability to think logically, rationally, and clearly to the best of our ability in order to be the best human being we can be.



We should look to the past to learn from it, not destroy our future because of it — FounDit
FounDit
Posted: Thursday, January 10, 2019 4:11:05 PM

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I’ve been thinking about this for a day or so, and in reading the info from the link, had a few thoughts occur as I read. They are listed below.

The zombie scenario goes as follows: imagine that you have a doppelgänger. This person physically resembles you in every respect, and behaves identically to you; he or she holds conversations, eats and sleeps, looks happy or anxious precisely as you do. The sole difference is that the doppelgänger has no consciousness; this – as opposed to a groaning, blood-spattered walking corpse from a movie – is what philosophers mean by a “zombie”.
This is the first section I have some difficulty with. It’s that part that says the zombie “looks happy or anxious precisely as you do.” How would that even be possible? With no consciousness, how would the zombie know what to be happy or anxious about? How would it know how to express something it cannot experience or understand?


As Chalmers explained: “I’m talking to you now, and I can see how you’re behaving; I could do a brain scan, and find out exactly what’s going on in your brain – yet it seems it could be consistent with all that evidence that you have no consciousness at all.” This doesn’t appear to me to be a logical conclusion. Since we don’t have a zombie to scan, we can’t know if there would really be a similarity in the results. It might well show there is, indeed, something missing.

If you were approached by me and my doppelgänger, not knowing which was which, not even the most powerful brain scanner in existence could tell us apart. Again, this seems to be an illogical conclusion. One might well be able to tell a difference as a result of the possibility I mentioned above.

And the fact that one can even imagine this scenario is sufficient to show that consciousness can’t just be made of ordinary physical atoms. So consciousness must, somehow, be something extra – an additional ingredient in nature.
It’s quite easy to imagine the scenario. This is one of the features of consciousness. But we again appear to have an illogical conclusion that consciousness must be something extra. There is no evidence in this scenario that would justify reaching that conclusion.


Above all, critics point out, if this non-physical mental stuff did exist, how could it cause physical things to happen – as when the feeling of pain causes me to jerk my fingers away from the saucepan’s edge?

True enough. It is consciousness that gives it a name. Pain reactions themselves tell us nothing about consciousness.


Chalmers knows how wildly improbable his ideas can seem, and takes this in his stride: at philosophy conferences, he is fond of clambering on stage to sing The Zombie Blues, a lament about the miseries of having no consciousness. (“I act like you act / I do what you do / But I don’t know / What it’s like to be you.”) “The conceit is: wouldn’t it be a drag to be a zombie? Consciousness is what makes life worth living, and I don’t even have that: I’ve got the zombie blues.” The song has improved since its debut more than a decade ago, when he used to try to hold a tune. “Now I’ve realised it sounds better if you just shout,” he said.
It seems to me that the real conceit is saying that consciousness makes life worth living. Why then do all the non-conscious living creatures continue to strive to exist if that is true? Why wouldn’t they simply allow themselves to die since they have no consciousness? Why would they struggle to continue to live?


However hard it feels to accept, we should concede that consciousness is just the physical brain, doing what brains do.

Eventually, neuroscience will show that consciousness is just brain states.

After all, our brains evolved to help us solve down-to-earth problems of survival and reproduction;

These statements in bold I could agree with. I think consciousness is just the brain doing what it does. The question is why do we seem to have a better development of it than any other creature? I have some inchoate thoughts on that which needs to be expanded upon.


Growing up as the child of German-born Catholics, Koch had a dachshund named Purzel. According to the church, because he was a dog, that meant he didn’t have a soul. But he whined when anxious and yelped when injured – “he certainly gave every appearance of having a rich inner life”. These days we don’t much speak of souls, but it is widely assumed that many non-human brains are conscious – that a dog really does feel pain when he is hurt. Again, I don’t think the experience of pain is consciousness.

The problem is that there seems to be no logical reason to draw the line at dogs, or sparrows or mice or insects, or, for that matter, trees or rocks. Since we don’t know how the brains of mammals create consciousness, we have no grounds for assuming it’s only the brains of mammals that do so – or even that consciousness requires a brain at all.
With this I completely disagree. If a creature cannot communicate its self-awareness, by either sounds or behavior, then I don’t think we can say it is aware of a self within a body. And I can’t envision a rock or a tree as being able to possess a consciousness without a brain to house it.



It is the argument that anything at all could be conscious, providing that the information it contains is sufficiently interconnected and organised. The human brain certainly fits the bill; so do the brains of cats and dogs, though their consciousness probably doesn’t resemble ours. But in principle the same might apply to the internet, or a smartphone, or a thermostat. (The ethical implications are unsettling: might we owe the same care to conscious machines that we bestow on animals?
No. For the same reasons stated above. With no brain to contain it, and no means to communicate it, I can see no way the internet, smartphone, and thermostat can be said to have a consciousness.


Unlike the vast majority of musings on the Hard Problem, moreover, Tononi and Koch’s “integrated information theory” has actually been tested. A team of researchers led by Tononi has designed a device that stimulates the brain with electrical voltage, to measure how interconnected and organised – how “integrated” – its neural circuits are. Sure enough, when people fall into a deep sleep, or receive an injection of anaesthetic, as they slip into unconsciousness, the device demonstrates that their brain integration declines, too. Among patients suffering “locked-in syndrome” – who are as conscious as the rest of us – levels of brain integration remain high; among patients in coma – who aren’t – it doesn’t. Gather enough of this kind of evidence, Koch argues and in theory you could take any device, measure the complexity of the information contained in it, then deduce whether or not it was conscious.
This seems to be another illogical conclusion. Electrical activity is not in itself consciousness. Neither is stored information. It is the ability to communicate the awareness of that stored information and the information itself about itself that constitutes consciousness.


But even if one were willing to accept the perplexing claim that a smartphone could be conscious, could you ever know that it was true? Surely only the smartphone itself could ever know that?
Communication, communication, communication via sounds or actions.


Chalmers has no particular confidence that a consensus will emerge in the next century. “Maybe there’ll be some amazing new development that leaves us all, now, looking like pre-Darwinians arguing about biology,” he said. “But it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if in 100 years, neuroscience is incredibly sophisticated, if we have a complete map of the brain – and yet some people are still saying, ‘Yes, but how does any of that give you consciousness?’ while others are saying ‘No, no, no – that just is the consciousness!’”
Mapping the brain doesn’t give us consciousness any more than mapping a continent gives us the elements that constitute the land. It simply describes what is already present.


It would be poetic – albeit deeply frustrating – were it ultimately to prove that the one thing the human mind is incapable of comprehending is itself. An answer must be out there somewhere. And finding it matters: indeed, one could argue that nothing else could ever matter more – since anything at all that matters, in life, only does so as a consequence of its impact on conscious brains. Yet there’s no reason to assume that our brains will be adequate vessels for the voyage towards that answer. Nor that, were we to stumble on a solution to the Hard Problem, on some distant shore where neuroscience meets philosophy, we would even recognise that we’d found it.
It would, indeed, be poetic, and deeply frustrating — if that were the case. But there is also no reason to believe we cannot understand it either.






We should look to the past to learn from it, not destroy our future because of it — FounDit
FounDit
Posted: Friday, January 11, 2019 11:34:20 AM

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No responses yet. Okay, I'll keep going.

On the topic of consciousness, I wrote:


“However hard it feels to accept, we should concede that consciousness is just the physical brain, doing what brains do.

Eventually, neuroscience will show that consciousness is just brain states.

After all, our brains evolved to help us solve down-to-earth problems of survival and reproduction;


These statements in bold I could agree with. I think consciousness is just the brain doing what it does. The question is why do we seem to have a better development of it than any other creature? I have some inchoate thoughts on that which needs to be expanded upon.

I’ve been pondering consciousness and have wondered how it could have developed. We went over this before a few years ago, but that discussion was more aligned with free will than consciousness, if I recall correctly.

In my musings, I begin with the acceptance that many creatures have memory; that they can recall things they have seen; recognize places, people, and other creatures once encountered; and can even play, but only with what is currently available to them in their environment. But I don’t think this is consciousness.

It seems to me that consciousness is what we call “imagination”. It isn’t just the ability to recall an image, a reaction, or an emotion connected to that image, but the ability to ask ourselves “what if”, and then be able to manipulate that memory/image; to even imagine something that did not exist with the original image and manipulate the elements of those things in our “imagination”. Other creatures do seem to have some degree of it, but it’s not as evidently fully developed as ours.

So the real question, it would seem, is, “Where did imagination come from?; how did it develop in us but not in other creatures to the degree we have it?” I’m now wondering if the answer isn’t in the question I mentioned above: “What if?”

As we all know, humans have no wings, scales, claws, poison, beaks, or fangs with which to defend ourselves. We’re not even very strong or fast compared to other creatures; not even as strong as our closest neighbors, other primates such as chimps and apes.

But at some point, our larynx moved downward in our throats, likely as a result of a genetic mutation, but we can’t know when or how it happened; just that it did happen. This permitted speech, even quite possibly before we knew what speech was. But then what — “What if?”

What if, after we were able to make speech sounds, we created a sound for food? We would then have a memory of a sound and a connection to food. And what if, at some later point, we created another sound for “cooked food”? This might be an animal found after a forest fire, for example. Now we have two memories, with one being an extension of the other.

What if the same process had happened with fire and how to make it; or tools and how to make them? If so, could this not be how imagination developed? Slowly, over many thousands of years, our brains re-wired themselves and adapted a new way of thinking. We no longer simply recalled memories, but developed a way of creating memories — even new memories of things we had not seen before; created pathways and interconnections never existing before.

We know that our brains have what is known as “plasticity”. What if it’s the development of plasticity that was needed for consciousness to develop; perhaps that the very plasticity itself became what we call consciousness? What if it really was speech that permitted plasticity/consciousness to develop? It’s an interesting thought to me, and one that seems entirely plausible. And this new development gave us an advantage no other creature has been able to match.

And one other thing gave us an advantage — our opposable thumbs that permitted us to grasp, hold, and work with the tools we created from our newly developed imagination. Not even our primate brethren have a thumb like ours. What if?





We should look to the past to learn from it, not destroy our future because of it — FounDit
Y111
Posted: Friday, January 11, 2019 1:16:11 PM
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FounDit wrote:
The question is why do we seem to have a better development of it than any other creature?

The first thing that comes to mind is that we are more social. We need to know our thoughts and feelings to be able to tell others about them. Or not tell if it's better for better relationships. So I think this light inside us is for the benefit of society. A human being is a part, not a whole. Can we understand why the wheel is round if we look at it in isolation? Its function determines its shape. The primary function of a human being is collaboration with the other members of a tribe for this tribe's survival.
Epiphileon
Posted: Saturday, January 12, 2019 4:58:32 AM

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Ivan Fadeev wrote:
The most significant and complicated question which is "Who are we? or Who am I?" seems to fall into the category of "the unreachable".

Actually, that is a significant question; however, the great error has been in thinking it is the first question of identity. The first question is what am I? A thorough and fact-based answer to that question is the only foundation that allows for a reasonably accurate answer to the question of who I am.

Ivan Fadeev wrote:
First step to realize it, is to admit the fact that people are born the way they are born and they can't contribute to their nature.

This statement is problematic, people absolutely do contribute to the manifestation of their nature by the choices they make; however, the choices they make are made by their nature, however, those choices do modify their nature. You see why that statement leads to a paradoxical state?

Ivan Fadeev wrote:
Our consciousness is not something we have a control over. It controls us but not the other way around.

Ask yourself this, who is the "we" you are referring to in this assertion?
Better yet ask again the first question, what is the we you are referring to? You are your consciousness, it is by definition the "I" of mind.

We can explore it, play this game, but the real depth of the matter at hand is hidden from us which makes me think that we are like pawns which are programmed on the genetic level by some "Over-mind". We know too little to understand ourselves, and yet to much, not to be bothered with ourselves. [/quote]
I do not accept that anything is hidden from us. That would require a hider, and there is no rational argument for any type of over-mind. We continue to gain more information leading to the potential for a better understanding of ourselves. The biggest problem is people are either unaware of the information, or unwilling to accept due to their preconceived notions of the nature of humanity.



Question authority. How do you know, that you know, what you know?
Ivan Fadeev
Posted: Sunday, January 13, 2019 3:12:41 PM

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FounDit
I'm going to begin at the end of your post and work backwards through it. I question the idea that we are pawns programmed by an "Over-mind". That would mean that this "Over-mind" has specifically programmed every creature and human since the beginning of time. This would indicated a predestined life over which we have no control.
IVAN
I don't see a well-substantiated argument (on your or anybody else's part) which could eliminate the idea of us being pawns and of a predestined life. Isn't life predestined? Aren't we programmed to do the things we do? Aren't we programmed to see the world and ourselves the way we see them? We don't know the world. We only know the world as WE know it. Who else, if not Over-mind, programmed our way of seeing the world the way we see it? Over-mind didn't need to program every creature separately. It was enough to program the first one, the rest went programmed automatically.
FounDit

Then we come to the matter of "Who am I?" The answer to that, for me, is "I am" and that is enough.

IVAN
The answer "I am" doesn't seem to be a conclusive answer. You seem to transfer your perception of "I" into a sensual dimension only. Sensuality indicates that WE can sense, but it doesn't answer the question WHO AM I? I think, it even complicates the matter, it awakens us to life but doesn't explain our mission.
FounDit

I exist and I deem that to be good.

IVAN
Well, it's a very interesting point which is beyond our comprehension. You say that you deem your existence to be good. I don't rebut it because you may think so. However, I want to point to the vagueness of the very concept of THE GOOD and THE BAD. What is good? What is bad? They are so relative. We don't know absolute goodness or badness. By saying that you deem your existence to be good you just prove that it's easier for you to think so, it's easier to drag yourself through life otherwise life will turn into absolute nonsense which will put in danger your (or anybody else's) life. Because to live a life knowing that your existence is not good is too hard for a human being. So, basically your statement that your existence it good is not based on real knowledge rather it's based on your psychological protective mechanism. You say your existence is good because you are afraid of suffering (psychological ones are included). Human knowledge is more about how a person can find the most comfortable habituate for themself, it's not about objective knowledge (if there is such, at all).

FounDit

I survived because I was enabled to do so by the actions of others of my species, by a lack of fatal accidents, and the recovery from illnesses. My sense of self, my sense of self-worth and sense of self-esteem is a result of interactions with life's events, interactions with other beings of all types, and my abilities, as I developed them, in dealing with those beings and events.

IVAN
Our life, in the form we know it, is meaningless. I don't mean it's meaningless through and through. But if we tackle it from the logical standpoint - it's meaningless. Does it really matter, in a global sense, how long one's life lasts? 10,20,40,80,100,200 years? In any case it's finite. Isn't it a mockery to be born to die? We strive to live just to die one day. Do you think it makes sense for us? I am more inclined to see humans as "consumable material". Life is a trap which we can't escape.

FounDit

I came to recognize that anything I add to that statement of "I am ____" opens the door to condemnation, criticism, and judgement by others.

IVAN
I agree. But you are to answer this question to yourself, not to others. And no one has an ultimate answer.

FounDit

I also came to recognize that those opinions are not always truthful or accurate, and often are developed out of a need others have to build their own sense of worth. Therefore, it is solely my responsibility to create my own sense of self-worth, and not allow it to be created for me by others. They may play a part, but it is in my best interest to evaluate the motivation for their opinions before accepting their opinions as having any value. Some have value, some do not. Each of us must decide for our individual selves how we will allow others to influence us. This means developing the ability to think logically, rationally, and clearly to the best of our ability in order to be the best human being we can be.

IVAN
It's more about making your way around in society. However, fundamental questions about our existence are unanswered and it's made on purpose which I am not aware of but have some speculations about it. Just imagine, we can formulate quite sophisticated questions, be bothered with metempirical issues but never sort them out. Aren't we pawns, consumable material, puppets? It feels like that to me. But I can't (shouldn't) trust my feelings anyway because they are based on corrupted, limited knowledge.
Ivan Fadeev
Posted: Sunday, January 13, 2019 4:23:04 PM

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Ivan Fadeev
The most significant and complicated question which is "Who are we? or Who am I?" seems to fall into the category of "the unreachable".
Epiphileon
Actually, that is a significant question; however, the great error has been in thinking it is the first question of identity. The first question is what am I? A thorough and fact-based answer to that question is the only foundation that allows for a reasonably accurate answer to the question of who I am.
Ivan Fadeev
Who am I? and What am I? may be seen as two different questions but they are about the same matter. Hence, answering one leads to answering the other and it doesn't really matter which one should be answered first. Especially, it doesn't matter in the light of impossibility of answering either of the two. "What" and "Who" are simply words which are associated with certain notions. I don't think that the answer to the questions "WHO/WHAT AM I" can be put in words. It's beyond that.
Ivan Fadeev
Ivan Fadeev wrote:
First step to realize it, is to admit the fact that people are born the way they are born and they can't contribute to their nature.

Epiphileon
This statement is problematic, people absolutely do contribute to the manifestation of their nature by the choices they make; however, the choices they make are made by their nature, however, those choices do modify their nature. You see why that statement leads to a paradoxical state?
Ivan Fadeev
It's not that that statement is paradoxical, it's just that the reality we are in is paradoxical. The statement describes the reality which is paradoxical. The statement is as accurate as it can be.

One more point which I feel like bringing up. I don't think that you can say that a computer contributes to the manifestation of its nature (by whatever it does, actually). Why? Because, all it does is all that it was made to do by man. It's also fair to say the same about man. If you make choices which are drawn on your nature then who makes the choices? You or your nature? It's an old dilemma. Do we have a free will or we don't? If we have it then how can it be free if we don't choose our nature? We could have a free will if we could choose our nature but we are born with a certain nature, so we are not free.

Ivan Fadeev wrote:
Our consciousness is not something we have a control over. It controls us but not the other way around.

Epiphileon
Ask yourself this, who is the "we" you are referring to in this assertion?
Better yet ask again the first question, what is the we you are referring to? You are your consciousness, it is by definition the "I" of mind.

Ivan Fadeev
I think you underestimate the tricky mechanism incorporated into people's nature. Do you want to say that you understand perfectly how your brain works, how it sends different commands to your limbs, how you make yourself move, act, think? Yes, some things are know, but only partly. Going to the core of all mind'related issues, we realize that we don't even know from which side to approach them.

Yes, our thoughts register with our consciousness. Yes, we have some vague idea about ourselves. But I can tell you for a fact, that in extreme situations or dire straits people can act the way they didn't think they could or would; which shows that people "feel" their "selves/I's" but they don't know them deeply enough. Do you think you could predict how you would act in all situations possible? I don't think so.

I am not even sure that the "I" of every person is absolutely autonomous. We are all the manifestation of something bigger than we are, it's so obvious. All "I's" can be assembled into one ENTITY, seems to me. It becomes more obvious when we imagine all the humans as one human.

Ivan Fadeev
We can explore it, play this game, but the real depth of the matter at hand is hidden from us which makes me think that we are like pawns which are programmed on the genetic level by some "Over-mind". We know too little to understand ourselves, and yet to much, not to be bothered with ourselves. [/quote]
Epiphileon
I do not accept that anything is hidden from us. That would require a hider, and there is no rational argument for any type of over-mind. We continue to gain more information leading to the potential for a better understanding of ourselves. The biggest problem is people are either unaware of the information, or unwilling to accept due to their preconceived notions of the nature of humanity.
Ivan Fadeev
It's simply a self-protective mechanism of your psychе. Some people don't digest the idea of "not being alone" in this reality. They are constructed that way. However, the existence of the hider is not a matter of accepting or not accepting it. It's more a matter of substantiating your point. Eliminating OVER-MIND you eliminate any possible and comprehensible ground for reasonable explanation of everything we perceive.

You find information fascinating and the right way to follow. But information is only a half of the issue. The other part is your ability to receive information. Have you ever been thinking why you know what you know? What can you know at all? Do you think you can get to know more than you can (allowed to)? It's a set-up.

All we are allowed to perceive/understand is of no importance in the greater scheme of things. So, the hider gave us an illusion of progress. But real knowledge is likely beyond of our organs of perception including our psychе. What did you personally do to start being able to receive and process information? Or what did any of us do in that regards? Nothing. We just followed the impulse to sate the hunger for knowledge. But it's all stationary running. You think you learn new things but all the new things don't change the stationary running.
FounDit
Posted: Sunday, January 13, 2019 7:56:52 PM

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Joined: 9/19/2011
Posts: 10,528
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Ivan Fadeev wrote:
FounDit
I'm going to begin at the end of your post and work backwards through it. I question the idea that we are pawns programmed by an "Over-mind". That would mean that this "Over-mind" has specifically programmed every creature and human since the beginning of time. This would indicated a predestined life over which we have no control.
IVAN
I don't see a well-substantiated argument (on your or anybody else's part) which could eliminate the idea of us being pawns and of a predestined life.
And I see no evidence that we are pawns or predestined.

Isn't life predestined? Aren't we programmed to do the things we do? Aren't we programmed to see the world and ourselves the way we see them?

We don't know the world. We only know the world as WE know it. Who else, if not Over-mind, programmed our way of seeing the world the way we see it? Over-mind didn't need to program every creature separately. It was enough to program the first one, the rest went programmed automatically.
How else can you see the world? You can only see it as you are, not as any other creature. What would be the point of creating you as you are, yet cause you to see the world as something else? It would make no sense.

Ah! You believe in the Over-mind. Okay. But I do not.

FounDit

Then we come to the matter of "Who am I?" The answer to that, for me, is "I am" and that is enough.

IVAN
The answer "I am" doesn't seem to be a conclusive answer. You seem to transfer your perception of "I" into a sensual dimension only. Sensuality indicates that WE can sense, but it doesn't answer the question WHO AM I? I think, it even complicates the matter, it awakens us to life but doesn't explain our mission.
There is no other way to see ourselves except through a sensual dimension. Who you are and who I am is a result of all of our sensual experiences; the accumulation of all those experiences.
What mission? If you are predestined, then why concern yourself with your mission? Will not the Over-mind lead you into it? Why then question anything? But you see, I don't believe in a mission. Any mission I undertake is one of my choosing, based on my own genetic makeup and the result of a multitude of experiences.

FounDit

I exist and I deem that to be good.

IVAN
Well, it's a very interesting point which is beyond our comprehension. You say that you deem your existence to be good. I don't rebut it because you may think so. However, I want to point to the vagueness of the very concept of THE GOOD and THE BAD. What is good? What is bad? They are so relative. We don't know absolute goodness or badness. By saying that you deem your existence to be good you just prove that it's easier for you to think so, it's easier to drag yourself through life otherwise life will turn into absolute nonsense which will put in danger your (or anybody else's) life. Because to live a life knowing that your existence is not good is too hard for a human being. So, basically your statement that your existence it good is not based on real knowledge rather it's based on your psychological protective mechanism. You say your existence is good because you are afraid of suffering (psychological ones are included). Human knowledge is more about how a person can find the most comfortable habituate for themself, it's not about objective knowledge (if there is such, at all).
You are correct that there is no good and bad except what we deem to be good and bad. But that is the point - we choose. We decide, and have decided over the millennia what is good and what is bad. We place values on behavior and on things for just such a purpose; and part of that purpose is to judge what is in the best interest of ourselves collectively and individually so that we may live, and our lives be as good/pleasurable/beneficial as we can make them, collectively and individually.

FounDit

I survived because I was enabled to do so by the actions of others of my species, by a lack of fatal accidents, and the recovery from illnesses. My sense of self, my sense of self-worth and sense of self-esteem is a result of interactions with life's events, interactions with other beings of all types, and my abilities, as I developed them, in dealing with those beings and events.

IVAN
Our life, in the form we know it, is meaningless. I don't mean it's meaningless through and through. But if we tackle it from the logical standpoint - it's meaningless. Does it really matter, in a global sense, how long one's life lasts? 10,20,40,80,100,200 years? In any case it's finite. Isn't it a mockery to be born to die? We strive to live just to die one day. Do you think it makes sense for us? I am more inclined to see humans as "consumable material". Life is a trap which we can't escape.
I agree that it is meaningless under certain circumstances, and its length irrelevant to any but ourselves. But a mockery to whom? And why a mockery - simply because death is a part of it? Who says we get to live forever? Or even that we should? In fact, death is what gives life meaning, its purpose, and its purpose is reproducing life.

It is meaningless to an Over-mind because it doesn't exist as far as I am concerned. It is meaningless to billions of people who don't know me, and their lives are meaningless to me except in a very abstract sense, but my life is very meaningful to me and to those who do know me and are close to me, such as my family.

FounDit

I came to recognize that anything I add to that statement of "I am ____" opens the door to condemnation, criticism, and judgement by others.

IVAN
I agree. But you are to answer this question to yourself, not to others. And no one has an ultimate answer.
Exactly. Each of us has to decide for ourselves who we are, what kind of person we want to be, but in doing so, we are influenced by those around us. My point was that we need to be very careful about who we listen to when making decisions about who we are as individuals.

FounDit

I also came to recognize that those opinions are not always truthful or accurate, and often are developed out of a need others have to build their own sense of worth. Therefore, it is solely my responsibility to create my own sense of self-worth, and not allow it to be created for me by others. They may play a part, but it is in my best interest to evaluate the motivation for their opinions before accepting their opinions as having any value. Some have value, some do not. Each of us must decide for our individual selves how we will allow others to influence us. This means developing the ability to think logically, rationally, and clearly to the best of our ability in order to be the best human being we can be.

IVAN
It's more about making your way around in society. However, fundamental questions about our existence are unanswered and it's made on purpose which I am not aware of but have some speculations about it. Just imagine, we can formulate quite sophisticated questions, be bothered with metempirical issues but never sort them out. Aren't we pawns, consumable material, puppets? It feels like that to me. But I can't (shouldn't) trust my feelings anyway because they are based on corrupted, limited knowledge.
I agree it is about making our way through society, but the fundamental questions you say remain unanswered are unanswered to whom? To yourself? To the Over-mind? Obviously, the Over-mind you believe in knows, so it is you who does not know. And why would the Over-mind leave you in the dark about your purpose if it was important for you to know? Since you believe in the Over-mind, why question? Why not simply accept your fate and relax, knowing the Over-mind is in control?

This would be especially advisable if we are the pawns, the consumable material/puppets you believe we are. But then you say you can't trust your feelings on any of this. So how can you ever be content if you can't trust what you feel, believe you are the pawn of an Over-mind, and have been purposefully left in the dark about your mission in life?

It seems like a miserable way to live to me, while mine brings me peace, contentment, and the sense that, while I don't look forward to it, I need not "Rage, rage against the dying of the light."


https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/do-not-go-gentle-good-night






We should look to the past to learn from it, not destroy our future because of it — FounDit
Ivan Fadeev
Posted: Monday, January 14, 2019 5:26:56 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 2/21/2015
Posts: 338
Neurons: 5,506
IVAN
I don't see a well-substantiated argument (on your or anybody else's part) which could eliminate the idea of us being pawns and of a predestined life.
FounDit
And I see no evidence that we are pawns or predestined.

IVAN
Do you eat, go to the toilet, breathe? Aren't you guided in choices you make by your urge to enjoy life? Don't you have a system of values which corresponds with your understanding? And where did all those things come from? Maybe it was you who constructed your body, your mental part, your feeling? I don't think so. Why do you love what you love and hate what you hate? You don't know that. You can explain it only in a shallow manner. "I love it because it feels good" - it doesn't explain much. It just shows that reality registers with you but you have no idea why it is the way it is. People are programmed to be born and to die and it's nothing else but programming. A DNA is programmed. You may not believe in it, but it doesn't remove the fact that it is. It's hard to accept by many.

FounDit
How else can you see the world? You can only see it as you are, not as any other creature. What would be the point of creating you as you are, yet cause you to see the world as something else? It would make no sense.
Ah! You believe in the Over-mind. Okay. But I do not.

IVAN
It's not the point. The point is that what you think to be a world is simply a cooked-evidence, it's a fata morgana.


FounDit
There is no other way to see ourselves except through a sensual dimension. Who you are and who I am is a result of all of our sensual experiences; the accumulation of all those experiences.

IVAN
I am not sure that a person is nothing else but sensuality. We can go beyond sensual experience. Morality is not sensual and people act upon morality as well. They are able to reject their senses and do what is right from the moral view. Plus, there is a priori knowledge which we don't get from outward experience. (Kant) I deem that to identify yourself from sensual point of view is to corrupt the truth about yourself.

FounDit

What mission? If you are predestined, then why concern yourself with your mission? Will not the Over-mind lead you into it? Why then question anything? But you see, I don't believe in a mission. Any mission I undertake is one of my choosing, based on my own genetic makeup and the result of a multitude of experiences.


IVAN
Then it's your mission to follow your sensual nature. It proves one more time that programming I am talking about is valid. You are programmed (as I am and everybody) to make choices.


You are correct that there is no good and bad except what we deem to be good and bad. But that is the point - we choose. We decide, and have decided over the millennia what is good and what is bad. We place values on behavior and on things for just such a purpose; and part of that purpose is to judge what is in the best interest of ourselves collectively and individually so that we may live, and our lives be as good/pleasurable/beneficial as we can make them, collectively and individually.


The lack of absolute truths doesn't further the betterment of people's lives. On the opposite it creates endless stationary running, it gives room for maneuver to manipulate with truths. People can adjust truth to their collective and individual needs or lusts. It just equals us with animals.


FounDit
I agree that it is meaningless under certain circumstances, and its length irrelevant to any but ourselves. But a mockery to whom? And why a mockery - simply because death is a part of it? Who says we get to live forever? Or even that we should? In fact, death is what gives life meaning, its purpose, and its purpose is reproducing life.
IVAN
A mockery aimed at men. Asking this "Who says we get to live forever? Or even that we should?" who are you addressing? Yourself? It's a bit too complicated a question for a mortal creature to ask. How come mortal creatures get to the idea of immortality? Do they make it up or does immortality exist?

FounDit

It is meaningless to an Over-mind because it doesn't exist as far as I am concerned. It is meaningless to billions of people who don't know me, and their lives are meaningless to me except in a very abstract sense, but my life is very meaningful to me and to those who do know me and are close to me, such as my family.

The problem is that you judge and estimate things from you limited understanding. (Mine is also limited) However, I see a lot of prerequisites for an Over-mind to exist. This reality is too complicated to have come to existence by chance. We are caught in ourselves with our illusionary meaning. Well, that's all we are worth of having I suppose.
FounDit
I agree it is about making our way through society, but the fundamental questions you say remain unanswered are unanswered to whom? To yourself? To the Over-mind? Obviously, the Over-mind you believe in knows, so it is you who does not know. And why would the Over-mind leave you in the dark about your purpose if it was important for you to know? Since you believe in the Over-mind, why question? Why not simply accept your fate and relax, knowing the Over-mind is in control?
IVAN
There are two possible options at least. We don't know the purpose of this world and why it was created. Some people think that the Over-mind knows everything. While I leave room for doubts. Probably, this world and we are an experiment with no definite outcome to embark. There are no absolute answers to many fundamental questions.

FounDit

This would be especially advisable if we are the pawns, the consumable material/puppets you believe we are. But then you say you can't trust your feelings on any of this. So how can you ever be content if you can't trust what you feel, believe you are the pawn of an Over-mind, and have been purposefully left in the dark about your mission in life?
It seems like a miserable way to live to me, while mine brings me peace, contentment, and the sense that, while I don't look forward to it, I need not [color=black]"Rage, rage against the dying of the light."

IVAN
The life in the form we live is a miserable life in any case either you pretend to like it or you don't. Peace, contentment, sense can all vaporize in no time. But I think the best remedy to feel comfortable here is to delude yourself paying no attention to the meaningless and hostility of this reality. Optimism is fun though a delusion.

Y111
Posted: Monday, January 14, 2019 5:29:06 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/25/2017
Posts: 301
Neurons: 1,489
Location: Kurgan, Kurgan, Russia
Ivan Fadeev wrote:
However, I want to point to the vagueness of the very concept of THE GOOD and THE BAD. What is good? What is bad? They are so relative.

But relative doesn't mean vague. If you are 5 meters away from me, it's your relative location, but is it vague? Not at all. The fact that all locations are relative doesn't make the notion vague.

Ivan Fadeev wrote:
We don't know absolute goodness or badness.

Why would you need this absolute? Maybe because you feel that your good not being the same as that of others separates you from them, and this feeling is naturally disturbing to a human, since we are so social. We don't mean anything if alone. Meaning is also relative. Your life is truly meaningful only if it means something to a sufficient number of others, not just to yourself.

This meaning to yourself is a tricky concept. What is your location relative to yourself? It doesn't make any sense. Why should your meaning to yourself make it, then?

We can't deceive our nature, and our nature is to be a member of a tribe that we care about and that cares about us. Your value is zero if nobody wants you. Like or dislike it, but I don't think you can escape it. The more people there are who value your existence, the more value it will have to you.

Maybe the problem is there are too many others now. Only a tiny fraction of them know about our existence and even fewer care about it. There are just too many aliens around. In these circumstances we can't help feeling how little we matter to the huge tribe we now live in.
Kirill Vorobyov
Posted: Monday, January 14, 2019 5:48:07 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 10/4/2016
Posts: 739
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Location: Moscow, Moscow, Russia
Y111 wrote:

Ivan Fadeev wrote:
We don't know absolute goodness or badness.

Why would you need this absolute?


Our individual notions of "good" and "bad" do affect the choices we make. Therefore we actually know it for the fact that these notions not only exist but are somehow methematically represented in our brain, as they are factors in information processing within the psyche.

But then do the ideas of absolute Good and Bad exist? Maybe they do - in non-physical world, just like the mathematical pi-constant exists there, which in the physivcal reality can only be approximated.
Ivan Fadeev
Posted: Monday, January 14, 2019 5:53:01 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 2/21/2015
Posts: 338
Neurons: 5,506
Y111 wrote:
[quote=Ivan Fadeev]However, I want to point to the vagueness of the very concept of THE GOOD and THE BAD. What is good? What is bad? They are so relative.

But relative doesn't mean vague. If you are 5 meters away from me, it's your relative location, but is it vague? Not at all. The fact that all locations are relative doesn't make the notion vague.

|Ivan Fadeev|
It depends on the notion in case. If you could measure goodness or badness in meters it wouldn't be vague. But we don't know how to measure morality.

Ivan Fadeev wrote:
We don't know absolute goodness or badness.


Why would you need this absolute? Maybe because you feel that your good not being the same as that of others separates you from them, and this feeling is naturally disturbing to a human, since we are so social. We don't mean anything if alone. Meaning is also relative. Your life is truly meaningful only if it means something to a sufficient number of others, not just to yourself.
|Ivan Fadeev|
I don't know what is good as such let alone what others consider to be good. We are all pretty much separated by default. If we don't mean anything when alone then our meaningless is even enhanced when we are assembled. The more of us gathered the more meaningless we are in that case.

Y111
This meaning to yourself is a tricky concept. What is your location relative to yourself? It doesn't make any sense. Why should your meaning to yourself make it, then?

|Ivan Fadeev|
All the meaning (of life) gains its validity only inside oneself. The outward world is less important than your inner one. You can't please the world you can please only yourself.

Y111
We can't deceive our nature, and our nature is to be a member of a tribe that we care about and that cares about us. Your value is zero if nobody wants you. Like or dislike it, but I don't think you can escape it. The more people there are who value your existence, the more value it will have to you.

|Ivan Fadeev|
We can't deceive our nature, but it can deceive us and that is what it does. What is "to value your existence"? It's simply a disappearing emotion.
Y111
Maybe the problem is there are too many others now. Only a tiny fraction of them know about our existence and even fewer care about it. There are just too many aliens around. In these circumstances we can't help feeling how little we matter to the huge tribe we now live in.
|Ivan Fadeev|
The problem is that we don't know what we should know and feel. And we don't know what our life is and why we were materialized here and what it's all about.

Ivan Fadeev
Posted: Monday, January 14, 2019 5:56:43 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 2/21/2015
Posts: 338
Neurons: 5,506
Our individual notions of "good" and "bad" do affect the choices we make. Therefore we actually know it for the fact that these notions not only exist but are somehow methematically represented in our brain, as they are factors in information processing within the psyche.

Ivan Fadeev
That's the problem. We think we know what is good and what is bad, but in reality we don't. Our good and bad are crooked notions and we can adjust them the way we feel we want them to be.
Kirill Vorobyov
Posted: Monday, January 14, 2019 6:29:16 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 10/4/2016
Posts: 739
Neurons: 3,705
Location: Moscow, Moscow, Russia
Ivan Fadeev wrote:


And we don't know what our life is and why we were materialized here and what it's all about.



Angel
I found it a nice way to put it.

I am a creationist, and as to the answer to the question above I am coming to conclusion that the mission of intelligent beings like humans (maybe there are others, who knows?) is to master, develop and improve this world "from within" using human creativeness.

The physical nature, behaving in accordance with the laws of physics, can take various and beautiful forms - mountains, shorelines, etc... But there's a limit to what it can develop into by itself. To further enhance the beauty of this world there must be a creator within it - a being that can learn how this world works and change (ideally, improve) it.

The above ability to change the world rather than to just live in it and adapt to it in accordance with some pre-determined program, seems to me the only thing that makes humans different from animals and other species. In all other respects, as somebody already said above, humans are weaker than other species. So the human creativity seems to be the only reason for humans to exist. If there is any reason at all.

Now, if that's close to truth, then creating the human must have been a pretty risky endeavor on the part of the Creator. As obviously individual human beings have very different aspirations and values, and they can worsen the world at least just as well as they can improve it. So there's a battle going on within each of us and within the society.
Kirill Vorobyov
Posted: Monday, January 14, 2019 6:35:28 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 10/4/2016
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Location: Moscow, Moscow, Russia
Ivan Fadeev wrote:

Our good and bad are crooked notions and we can adjust them the way we feel we want them to be.


Crooked notions, I agree (I prefer to call them approximations). But I am not sure I fully agree with the adjustment part. Sometimes people do act in accordance with their idea of what's good and what's bad, even if acting otherwise would be more lucrative from the point of view of well-being and survival in the physical world.

That's unlike other species, by the way.

So humans do seem to have at least an imperfect replica of good and bad "stored" in their psyche.

Y111
Posted: Monday, January 14, 2019 9:09:38 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/25/2017
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Location: Kurgan, Kurgan, Russia
Ivan Fadeev wrote:
It depends on the notion in case. If you could measure goodness or badness in meters it wouldn't be vague. But we don't know how to measure morality.

Then I don't quite understand what you mean by 'vague' here. Relative means different from different points of view. Even if we could measure goodness in meters, it would be different depending on who measures it, just like location. Your goodness would be 5 meters from my point of view and 10 meters from someone else's. So, what would be your goodness? How would meters help here?

Ivan Fadeev wrote:
If we don't mean anything when alone then our meaningless is even enhanced when we are assembled. The more of us gathered the more meaningless we are in that case.

How can you be more meaningless, I wonder? :) A less than zero meaning is definitely beyond my comprehension, so I don't really know how to answer this. Perhaps you could clarify your thought?

Ivan Fadeev wrote:
All the meaning (of life) gains its validity only inside oneself. The outward world is less important than your inner one. You can't please the world you can please only yourself.

Please? Again I must admit I don't understand you. Meaning is definitely relative. The same word, for example, means different things in different languages. How can it gain its meaning inside itself? Likewise a human being means not one and the same thing in different societies. You may be a king in one and a slave in another. Those are very different meanings.

Ivan Fadeev wrote:
What is "to value your existence"? It's simply a disappearing emotion.

Everything is transitory. But it makes a big difference whether your life is valued by the people you live with or not.

Ivan Fadeev wrote:

The problem is that we don't know what we should know and feel. And we don't know what our life is and why we were materialized here and what it's all about.


You were materialized here because your parents wanted to make a child, I guess. And now it seems to be all about finding out what you should know and feel. :) OK, suppose someone told you that, what next? Would you say "Yes, sir!" and obey the order?
Ivan Fadeev
Posted: Monday, January 14, 2019 12:05:43 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 2/21/2015
Posts: 338
Neurons: 5,506
Y111 wrote:
Ivan Fadeev wrote:
It depends on the notion in case. If you could measure goodness or badness in meters it wouldn't be vague. But we don't know how to measure morality.

Then I don't quite understand what you mean by 'vague' here. Relative means different from different points of view. Even if we could measure goodness in meters, it would be different depending on who measures it, just like location. Your goodness would be 5 meters from my point of view and 10 meters from someone else's. So, what would be your goodness? How would meters help here?

Ivan Fadeev
vague means not clear, questionable, in flux. That's what I am talking about. If goodness changes depending on who measures it then what kind of goodness is that? If you consider something good and someone else considers the same bad then neither of you knows what is good and what is bad. You just take liberties with goodness. You interpret it the way you want it. I am pretty sure there must be some absolute goodness which doesn't change according to man's desire. According to your approach it sounds as you are (a human being) to decide what it good and what is bad.

Ivan Fadeev wrote:
If we don't mean anything when alone then our meaningless is even enhanced when we are assembled. The more of us gathered the more meaningless we are in that case.


How can you be more meaningless, I wonder? :) A less than zero meaning is definitely beyond my comprehension, so I don't really know how to answer this. Perhaps you could clarify your thought?
Ivan Fadeev

Well, I hope you are familiar with figures of speech. If every person is a zero then collecting ten zeros won't add up anything because ten by zero is still zero. But then you would get disappointed ten times instead of one.


Ivan Fadeev wrote:
All the meaning (of life) gains its validity only inside oneself. The outward world is less important than your inner one. You can't please the world you can please only yourself.

Please? Again I must admit I don't understand you. Meaning is definitely relative. The same word, for example, means different things in different languages. How can it gain its meaning inside itself?
Ivan Fadeev

I didn't say in ITSELF, I said in ONESELF.

Ivan Fadeev wrote:
What is "to value your existence"? It's simply a disappearing emotion.

Everything is transitory. But it makes a big difference whether your life is valued by the people you live with or not.
Ivan Fadeev
Well, we have been talking more about the value of human life on its own. The point you are bringing up is of other category. I am not sure how it's possible to sincerely value transitory things. How it's possible to appreciate the vapor which is our life. There is nothing to value there is only something to fear. Most people live not because they love this life, but because they fear to die.

Ivan Fadeev wrote:

The problem is that we don't know what we should know and feel. And we don't know what our life is and why we were materialized here and what it's all about.


You were materialized here because your parents wanted to make a child, I guess.
Ivan Fadeev

I guess it's rather a childish thought. We all are just links in the chain. And saying that you are here because there was someone before you is pretty much silly. The real questions remains: What did mankind come to existence for?

Y111
And now it seems to be all about finding out what you should know and feel. :) OK, suppose someone told you that, what next? Would you say "Yes, sir!" and obey the order?

Ivan Fadeev
I am sure you can't ignore feelings and knowledge. You exist because you can feel and know. The highest manifestation of human nature is exactly feelings and knowledge. No one among human beings can give instructions on that matter, that is, what to feel and what to know...
Y111
Posted: Tuesday, January 15, 2019 2:31:55 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/25/2017
Posts: 301
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Location: Kurgan, Kurgan, Russia
Ivan Fadeev wrote:
If goodness changes depending on who measures it then what kind of goodness is that?

The only one that we know to exist. The only one that affects our lives. That it's in flux is only logical because human society is in flux, and it serves its needs.

Whereas the abstraction of absolute goodness seems to be no more than a toy for an idle mind. Or an excuse for someone who doesn't want to abide by the existing moral standards.

Ivan Fadeev wrote:
If you consider something good and someone else considers the same bad then neither of you knows what is good and what is bad.

Then, if I think that 2+2=4 and you think that 2+2=5, neither of us knows the correct sum. Right? :)

Ivan Fadeev wrote:
I am pretty sure there must be some absolute goodness which doesn't change according to man's desire.

Unless you can find it, it's pretty useless. Maybe there is also an absolute food somewhere but people get hungry here and now, so they use the food that is at hand, and it works pretty well.

Ivan Fadeev wrote:
According to your approach it sounds as you are (a human being) to decide what it good and what is bad.

Yes, why not? Who else? I don't see anyone around except other human beings. Either we agree to play by the rules that exist or change them sooner or later. If some god arrives, then he may decide what is good, but until then we will do on our own.

Ivan Fadeev wrote:
If every person is a zero then collecting ten zeros won't add up anything because ten by zero is still zero.

So you see no difference between, for example, a pile of car parts and a car? I was talking about people who are in relations with one another and not a disparate collection of random individuals.

Ivan Fadeev wrote:
I didn't say in ITSELF, I said in ONESELF.

Yes, so what? My point is you can't extract the meaning of a word from the word itself or the meaning of a life from the life itself. I.e. if you take either of them in isolation. Meaning is relative.

With a person it's more tricky because other people live in our mind. Even if you stay alone you will think of them, talk to them and imagine their reaction to your actions and their opinion about yourself. Consciously or unconsciously.

Ivan Fadeev wrote:
I am not sure how it's possible to sincerely value transitory things. How it's possible to appreciate the vapor which is our life.

But it's clear that you value at least this forum and the English language, even though they are both transitory. How do you manage to do that?

Ivan Fadeev wrote:
The real questions remains: What did mankind come to existence for?

As far as it concerns us and not our imaginary creator, the answer is obvious: to be born, to live and to die. Even if there is a creator, he or she obviously doesn't expect any more from us. Otherwise we wouldn't have been left alone.
Epiphileon
Posted: Tuesday, January 15, 2019 9:38:36 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/22/2009
Posts: 4,123
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[quote=FounDit]I’ve been thinking about this for a day or so, and in reading the info from the link, had a few thoughts occur as I read. They are listed below.
Damn, this hasn't happened in a long time, I had a detailed reply to this post I'd been working on since the day after you posted it. I had gotten used to Google Chrome not losing post's in process when my computer locked up, this time it didn't, so I'm going to try to synopsize what I said.

I don't agree with Chalmers either; however, most of his argument is not illogical. The problem with it is it is based on a questionable premise, one that I agree with you is not justified.

This is the first section I have some difficulty with. It’s that part that says the zombie “looks happy or anxious precisely as you do.” How would that even be possible? With no consciousness, how would the zombie know what to be happy or anxious about? How would it know how to express something it cannot experience or understand?

I believe philosophical zombies (PZ) are possible, and that for the most part they could not be told apart from conscious people; however, I believe they would become apparent relatively easily with the right questions. I'd like to find someone well versed and convinced of that position to test that notion with.

As far as a PZ showing emotion there is no problem with that the limbic system is among the oldest parts of the human brain. You can piss off an alligator, and have happy and sad dogs.

"As Chalmers explained...If you were approached by me and my doppelgänger, not knowing which was which, not even the most powerful brain scanner in existence could tell us apart."
Again, this seems to be an illogical conclusion. One might well be able to tell a difference as a result of the possibility I mentioned above.

This in my opinion, is a bizarre claim and I have to think the mark of someone so convinced of their own opinion that they are failing to accept contrary evidence. There are mountains of brain scan data that differentiate between conscious and unconscious perception.

"And the fact that one can even imagine this scenario is sufficient to show that consciousness can’t just be made of ordinary physical atoms. So consciousness must, somehow, be something extra – an additional ingredient in nature."
It’s quite easy to imagine the scenario. This is one of the features of consciousness. But we again appear to have an illogical conclusion that consciousness must be something extra. There is no evidence in this scenario that would justify reaching that conclusion.

This is a logical conclusion but based on an invalid premise, i.e. consciousness is nonphysical.

Chalmers knows how wildly improbable his ideas can seem, and takes this in his stride: at philosophy conferences, he is fond of clambering on stage to sing The Zombie Blues, a lament about the miseries of having no consciousness. (“I act like you act / I do what you do / But I don’t know / What it’s like to be you.”) “The conceit is: wouldn’t it be a drag to be a zombie? Consciousness is what makes life worth living, and I don’t even have that: I’ve got the zombie blues.” The song has improved since its debut more than a decade ago, when he used to try to hold a tune. “Now I’ve realised it sounds better if you just shout,” he said.
It seems to me that the real conceit is saying that consciousness makes life worth living. Why then do all the non-conscious living creatures continue to strive to exist if that is true? Why wouldn’t they simply allow themselves to die since they have no consciousness? Why would they struggle to continue to live?

Now here is where his logic fails, you have a supposedly nonconscious person, being conscious of not being conscious.
Consciousness does make life worth living, but worth is not what drives life, life is an evolutionary imperative, if this was not the case there would be many more suicides. There are plenty of people who think life is worthless and yet do not end it, and animals have no sense of worth or worthlessness.

"However hard it feels to accept, we should concede that consciousness is just the physical brain, doing what brains do."
No, we should definitely proceed on that basis, but we do not concede a point that has not been definitely established. On my personal conviction scale, consciousness as a function of the brain is among the highest scoring notions which puts it at a 9, the only 10 being that I know I exist.

Eventually, neuroscience will show that consciousness is just brain states.

After all, our brains evolved to help us solve down-to-earth problems of survival and reproduction;

These statements in bold I could agree with. I think consciousness is just the brain doing what it does. The question is why do we seem to have a better development of it than any other creature? I have some inchoate thoughts on that which needs to be expanded upon.

I would just be careful about "a better", that is a qualitative speciocentric statement. Objectively it would be better to ask why is consciousness more developed in humans?

"The problem is that there seems to be no logical reason to draw the line at dogs, or sparrows or mice or insects, or, for that matter, trees or rocks. Since we don’t know how the brains of mammals create consciousness, we have no grounds for assuming it’s only the brains of mammals that do so – or even that consciousness requires a brain at all."
With this I completely disagree. If a creature cannot communicate its self-awareness, by either sounds or behavior, then I don’t think we can say it is aware of a self within a body. And I can’t envision a rock or a tree as being able to possess a consciousness without a brain to house it.

I don't agree with this assertion either; however, I do not think external communication is a necessary condition for consciousness, it is certainly the only way there would be evidence of it though.


"It is the argument that anything at all could be conscious, providing that the information it contains is sufficiently interconnected and organised. The human brain certainly fits the bill; so do the brains of cats and dogs, though their consciousness probably doesn’t resemble ours. But in principle the same might apply to the internet, or a smartphone, or a thermostat. (The ethical implications are unsettling: might we owe the same care to conscious machines that we bestow on animals?"
No. For the same reasons stated above. With no brain to contain it, and no means to communicate it, I can see no way the internet, smartphone, and thermostat can be said to have a consciousness.
Well for me it would depend on how you defined brain, I do agree that if you had some way of complex information processing without a brain, that the potential for consciousness would exist within that system. What I would argue is absolutely critical is a perception of the world in such a manner that an internal real-time model of that world is created, that which we call awareness. It seems to me that only upon that foundation could you build an awareness of that awareness which is what we call I.


Question authority. How do you know, that you know, what you know?
FounDit
Posted: Tuesday, January 15, 2019 2:20:35 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/19/2011
Posts: 10,528
Neurons: 54,253
Epiphileon wrote:
[quote=FounDit]I’ve been thinking about this for a day or so, and in reading the info from the link, had a few thoughts occur as I read. They are listed below.
Damn, this hasn't happened in a long time, I had a detailed reply to this post I'd been working on since the day after you posted it. I had gotten used to Google Chrome not losing post's in process when my computer locked up, this time it didn't, so I'm going to try to synopsize what I said.


Aha! It's guaranteed the ghoulish goblins at Google were gratuitously grazing their user’s browsers for garrulous gab and greedily graded your post as garbage.

They’re a coven of cravenly, contemptuous, chicken-hearted cowards!

Or — something simply went wrong. Nah, it’s a conspiracy, I say!

So it seems we aren’t that far apart on the topic.



We should look to the past to learn from it, not destroy our future because of it — FounDit
Ivan Fadeev
Posted: Tuesday, January 15, 2019 4:39:50 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 2/21/2015
Posts: 338
Neurons: 5,506
Y111 wrote:
Ivan Fadeev wrote:
If goodness changes depending on who measures it then what kind of goodness is that?

The only one that we know to exist. The only one that affects our lives.
Ivan Fadeev
What is it? You said the good and the bad are relative notions. How come you call it "The only one that we know to exist."?

Y111
That it's in flux is only logical because human society is in flux, and it serves its needs.
Ivan Fadeev
It's the other way around. Human society is in flux because it doesn't know absolute things.

Y111
Whereas the abstraction of absolute goodness seems to be no more than a toy for an idle mind. Or an excuse for someone who doesn't want to abide by the existing moral standards.
Ivan Fadeev
Moral standards can't exist without us knowing what is good and what is bad. How do you get the very idea of the good if there is not absolute good? It sounds as if you measure the good by carnal satisfaction.


Ivan Fadeev wrote:
If you consider something good and someone else considers the same bad then neither of you knows what is good and what is bad.

Y111
Then, if I think that 2+2=4 and you think that 2+2=5, neither of us knows the correct sum. Right? :)
Ivan Fadeev
It's not about what you know, it's about what you can prove. You can prove that 2+2 is 4. But you can't prove (and nobody else) that something is really good or really bad even in terms of morality.
Ivan Fadeev wrote:
I am pretty sure there must be some absolute goodness which doesn't change according to man's desire.

Unless you can find it, it's pretty useless. Maybe there is also an absolute food somewhere but people get hungry here and now, so they use the food that is at hand, and it works pretty well.
Ivan Fadeev
It's no more useless than human life as such.

Ivan Fadeev wrote:
According to your approach it sounds as you are (a human being) to decide what it good and what is bad.

Yes, why not? Who else? I don't see anyone around except other human beings. Either we agree to play by the rules that exist or change them sooner or later. If some god arrives, then he may decide what is good, but until then we will do on our own.
Ivan Fadeev
You don't see many things, it doesn't mean they don't exist.

Ivan Fadeev wrote:
I am not sure how it's possible to sincerely value transitory things. How it's possible to appreciate the vapor which is our life.

But it's clear that you value at least this forum and the English language, even though they are both transitory. How do you manage to do that?
Ivan Fadeev
You seem to fail to see the difference between something one really wants to do and something one does for want of anything better.

Ivan Fadeev wrote:
The real questions remains: What did mankind come to existence for?

As far as it concerns us and not our imaginary creator, the answer is obvious: to be born, to live and to die.

Ivan Fadeev
It's like an animal way of existence. It feels like it click well with you approach to reality.
Y111
Even if there is a creator, he or she obviously doesn't expect any more from us. Otherwise we wouldn't have been left alone.[/quote]
Ivan Fadeev
I don't know. Maybe we are not alone. Maybe it depends on a person. But this reality is too complicated to be a result of accident.
Y111
Posted: Wednesday, January 16, 2019 2:32:01 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/25/2017
Posts: 301
Neurons: 1,489
Location: Kurgan, Kurgan, Russia
Ivan Fadeev wrote:
You said the good and the bad are relative notions. How come you call it "The only one that we know to exist."?

The only goodness that we know to exist is the relative one. We don't know the absolute goodness, do we?

Ivan Fadeev wrote:
It's the other way around. Human society is in flux because it doesn't know absolute things.

Either way. Everything is in flux, so it's no wonder that our notion of goodness is too.

Ivan Fadeev wrote:
Moral standards can't exist without us knowing what is good and what is bad.

But they exist even though we don't know the absolute good and bad. This is a fact. Apparently those absolutes are not necessary for the existence of moral standards.

Ivan Fadeev wrote:
It's not about what you know, it's about what you can prove. You can prove that 2+2 is 4.

Proving is deriving something from something else using logic. Since all that we know is relative, I am not sure we can prove anything absolute even theoretically. We know some facts, but not all facts. Maybe there is a place in the universe where 2+2=5 because if you put 2 and 2 things together, they turn into 5. To people living there it would be natural and logical.

Ivan Fadeev wrote:
You don't see many things, it doesn't mean they don't exist.

It doesn't mean they do exist either. It's a bit silly to live in an imaginary world. If I don't see anyone under my bed, I conclude there is nobody there. I think it's reasonable until I have some evidence to the contrary.

Ivan Fadeev wrote:
You seem to fail to see the difference between something one really wants to do and something one does for want of anything better.

There is always something better, at least in your imagination. However, if you didn't want to come here, you wouldn't. Real is what manifests itself. Learning a language is a real lot of time and effort, and you have to really want to learn it in order to succeed.

Ivan Fadeev wrote:
It's like an animal way of existence. It feels like it click well with you approach to reality.

We are animals, whether you like it or not. My approach to reality is to try to avoid denying it as much as possible. Is yours the opposite?

Ivan Fadeev wrote:
I don't know. Maybe we are not alone. Maybe it depends on a person. But this reality is too complicated to be a result of accident.

Or maybe it's not too complicated. Who can know for sure? Nobody has absolute knowledge. Besides, you said above that it's not about knowing but about proving. Can you prove it's too complicated?
Epiphileon
Posted: Wednesday, January 16, 2019 3:23:45 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/22/2009
Posts: 4,123
Neurons: 119,974
Ivan Fadeev wrote:
Who am I? and What am I? may be seen as two different questions but they are about the same matter. Hence, answering one leads to answering the other and it doesn't really matter which one should be answered first. Especially, it doesn't matter in the light of impossibility of answering either of the two. "What" and "Who" are simply words which are associated with certain notions. I don't think that the answer to the questions "WHO/WHAT AM I" can be put in words. It's beyond that.

I would maintain that they are separate questions as the answer to one is I am a homo sapiens, and the answer to the other is I am Epiphileon. In the investigation of any complex issue, there are many questions that must be asked.

Ivan Fadeev wrote:
You find information fascinating and the right way to follow. But information is only a half of the issue. The other part is your ability to receive information. Have you ever been thinking why you know what you know? What can you know at all? Do you think you can get to know more than you can (allowed to)? It's a set-up.


First I would refer you to my signature line that appears at the bottom of all my posts. Yes I have very carefully, and rigorously examined all aspects of my understanding of the nature of knowledge, and have come to the conclusion that for all practical intents and purposes we can obtain knowledge that is reasonably; accurate, reliable, predictive, and representational of the environment within which that knowledge is obtained. This investigation of epistemology has included both the perceived and the perceiver as certainly it must.

I suspect you have a radically different view of the nature of knowledge. Attempting to discuss any aspect of the investigation into consciousness will definitely tax one's epistemology to the limits, and as I have found require periodic reviews of one's conviction concerning the nature of knowledge. Attempting to discuss details of this investigation from radically different epistemological bases would I feel be pointless.

Would you care to explain why you think we can not know things accurately enough to make a science of mind practical?

Question authority. How do you know, that you know, what you know?
Epiphileon
Posted: Sunday, January 20, 2019 9:05:39 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/22/2009
Posts: 4,123
Neurons: 119,974
Okay well, maybe some more specific comments and questions then.

Ivan Fadeev wrote:
One more point which I feel like bringing up. I don't think that you can say that a computer contributes to the manifestation of its nature (by whatever it does, actually). Why? Because, all it does is all that it was made to do by man. It's also fair to say the same about man.

No actually, it is not fair to say that about man because computers do not change their nature, the results of them running a programmed set of instructions do no result in new internal connections, or modifying the signal strength along other pathways, or a myriad of other ways in which the hardware/software of a computer cannot be compared to the wetware/physiology of mentality.

You said in your first reply to me,
Ivan Fadeev wrote:
"Our consciousness is not something we have a control over. It controls us but not the other way around."

I then asked you who, or what was the we, you were referring to. First I would like to reiterate that question. I do not understand this distinction you are making between identity and consciousness, these are usually seen as synonomous when we are speaking of an individual's awareness of self that is.

Ivan Fadeev wrote:
Do we have a free will or we don't?

Freewill is an illusion, we do have freedom of choice, but we do not create the choices so it is not freewill. There have been many discussions on here concerning freewill, if you do an advanced google search specific to the domain, http://forum.thefreedictionary.com, you will find many, here is one that went on for some time, Freewill Again

Ivan Fadeev wrote:
I think you underestimate the tricky mechanism incorporated into people's nature. Do you want to say that you understand perfectly how your brain works, how it sends different commands to your limbs, how you make yourself move, act, think? Yes, some things are know, but only partly. Going to the core of all mind'related issues, we realize that we don't even know from which side to approach them.

Oh I by no means underestimate the complexity of the mechanisms of human nature, I have studied them extensively over the last 35 years. From evolutionary, anthropological, neurological, and psychological perspectives. I have a pretty large appreciation for the complexity that contributes to our experience of being, experiencing beings, yet another way of referring to the subject matter.

There is no need to understand the system perfectly in order to understand the reasons for seeing it as a natural and organism produced phenomenon. We can look at the development of the characteristic from both evolutionary and individual developmental perspectives and see how it comes to be as a result of natural processes. Can we explain exactly how it is produced? No, and hence the so-called hard problem but, we can point to specific characteristics of the brain and its operations that support the notion that the brain is producing it.

We have been working out how to approach the problem of consciousness since the early Greeks, to the point that we now have a very rigorous approach that addresses the constitutive characteristics of consciousness, and what kind of processes would be needed to explain them.

Ivan Fadeev wrote:
Do you think you could predict how you would act in all situations possible? I don't think so.

No not at all; however, that is not a necessary condition to explain the justification for a naturalistic, monistic explanation of consciousness.

Ivan Fadeev wrote:
However, the existence of the hider is not a matter of accepting or not accepting it. It's more a matter of substantiating your point.

I can substantiate my claim of consciousness being a natural result of the history of the universe, and the history of life on Earth. What is your substantiation for the overmind? What is it? Where did it come from? and Why?

Question authority. How do you know, that you know, what you know?
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