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How delusional am I?
Posted: 08 March 2009 10:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]  
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Well here goes, sometimes you open “Pandora’s box” and when you look inside you find a can of worms . . . We must be fishing for something here?  It’s interesting how little this topic is discussed in general and how usually it is assumed that we know what we’re talking about when we refer to ‘delusion’ but when you actually examine the meanings involved it becomes a messy, messy (and slippery like a handful of worms) affair.

Just off the top of my head, I thought that delusions were those beliefs one holds as being true but are actually false; while illusions were those beliefs that one knows are actually false but are treated as functionally true.

So if we take the tenets of theistic religions, people fall all over the place with these sorts of beliefs. Certain types of believers (christian fundamentalists) are definitely in the grips of a delusion, but a theist like Bruce (or whatever his name is now) is not literally delusional, yet he is still deluded at some functional level because he will not admit that his christian beliefs are merely illusions that he wishes would work out in the way he wants them to work.

The rest of you are doing great at making this topic quite fascinating, but one comes to the realization that in attempting to optimally define the subject it becomes a kind of exercise in self-evaluation.  I have been thinking about my own beliefs about the world and whether I am deluded about some of them, merely trying to maintain an illusion for my own satisfaction, or am I actually getting close to perceiving the real nature of reality?

On this last topic, my belief that I do not have a mind plays a huge role in this self-examination.  Is this interpretation of my own ontological status in this world a fairly accurate account, is it just an illusion (either for me or conversely for those who believe they have a mind), or am I completely deluded - as what else but a mind could serve as the location of such a grand delusion (well, for me a minding brain/body could be the source of a delusion)?

Another question also arises, if “the mind” is an illusion, then for those who truly believe that they have one, they are being deluded, but the delusion is the proof of itself.  For those who are deluded about having a mind, it is this delusion that actually reinforces itself.  Too weird - no wonder that most people have a visceral reaction to even the suggestion that ‘minds’ are illusory!


Bob

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Posted: 08 March 2009 10:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]  
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CanZen - 08 March 2009 02:39 PM

Well here goes, sometimes you open “Pandora’s box” and when you look inside you find a can of worms . . . We must be fishing for something here? 
Bob

But if we catch something…, might be too big for the line we use. 

CanZen - 08 March 2009 02:39 PM

Just off the top of my head, I thought that delusions were those beliefs one holds as being true but are actually false; while illusions were those beliefs that one knows are actually false but are treated as functionally true.
Bob

What about things like optical illusions and cognitive illusions.  These are things that appear true (with apologies to keith) but either are not or are ambiguous, and the appearance doesn’t change even if we know it’s an illusion.  They are intrinsic to how the brain/mind processes it’s input.  With a delusion, on the other hand, if we know it is a delusion it has a good chance of going away. 

CanZen - 08 March 2009 02:39 PM

So if we take the tenets of theistic religions, people fall all over the place with these sorts of beliefs. Certain types of believers (christian fundamentalists) are definitely in the grips of a delusion, but a theist like Bruce (or whatever his name is now) is not literally delusional, yet he is still deluded at some functional level because he will not admit that his christian beliefs are merely illusions that he wishes would work out in the way he wants them to work.
Bob

Here is the slippery part.  I wouldn’t say Bruce is deluded, just that he accepts as evidence experiences that by their nature can only be personal and private.  This might well lead him to delusion on associated (but not central) beliefs (virgin birth, etc.) but he also has the freedom of metaphoric interpretation as an out there.  He could avoid the charge of delusion completely if he took the Socratic way out and said that he chose to believe as he does, acknowledging that it is only a “noble myth.”  But anybody who thinks they can convince him that his beliefs are illusion is certainly deluded…

CanZen - 08 March 2009 02:39 PM

The rest of you are doing great at making this topic quite fascinating, but one comes to the realization that in attempting to optimally define the subject it becomes a kind of exercise in self-evaluation.  I have been thinking about my own beliefs about the world and whether I am deluded about some of them, merely trying to maintain an illusion for my own satisfaction, or am I actually getting close to perceiving the real nature of reality?

On this last topic, my belief that I do not have a mind plays a huge role in this self-examination.  Is this interpretation of my own ontological status in this world a fairly accurate account, is it just an illusion (either for me or conversely for those who believe they have a mind), or am I completely deluded - as what else but a mind could serve as the location of such a grand delusion (well, for me a minding brain/body could be the source of a delusion)?

Another question also arises, if “the mind” is an illusion, then for those who truly believe that they have one, they are being deluded, but the delusion is the proof of itself.  For those who are deluded about having a mind, it is this delusion that actually reinforces itself.  Too weird - no wonder that most people have a visceral reaction to even the suggestion that ‘minds’ are illusory!
Bob

Cogito ergo sum   wink

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Posted: 08 March 2009 11:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]  
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Burt, “Cogito ergo sum” was a nice way to sum it up.

But, if I consider the literal translation of the Latin, it might be better said, “Thinking is happening, therefore, being is happening” what it translates into is a logical syllogism that basically states that the action of ‘thinking’ is necessarily dependent on the action of ‘being.’  This changes the whole emphasis of the statement in a sense, but it also proclaims the action oriented nature of reality. If one thinks about being as a verb, rather than as a noun (I am), then the thinking part is just an extension of being.

Of course, this is the crux of Existentialism and Descartes specifically warned us that his discourse was about epistemology and not about ontology.

Bob

[ Edited: 08 March 2009 12:03 PM by CanZen]
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Posted: 08 March 2009 02:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]  
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Physical biology, conscious thought and sensory perception as interdependents are the nature of being. As long as I can discern someone else’s delusions and illusions, and reasonably defend and support my lack of same then I suppose I can be determined to be reasonably sane.

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Posted: 08 March 2009 05:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]  
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CanZen - 08 March 2009 03:49 PM

Burt, “Cogito ergo sum” was a nice way to sum it up.

But, if I consider the literal translation of the Latin, it might be better said, “Thinking is happening, therefore, being is happening” what it translates into is a logical syllogism that basically states that the action of ‘thinking’ is necessarily dependent on the action of ‘being.’  This changes the whole emphasis of the statement in a sense, but it also proclaims the action oriented nature of reality. If one thinks about being as a verb, rather than as a noun (I am), then the thinking part is just an extension of being.

Of course, this is the crux of Existentialism and Descartes specifically warned us that his discourse was about epistemology and not about ontology.

Bob

Thanks, Bob quite interesting.  It fits with Parmenides statement: “it is the same, thinking and being.”  Of course, the meditative state of “no mind” might then be best described as “being” without “thinking.”

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Posted: 08 March 2009 09:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]  
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Intriguing thought burt. The meditative state of ‘no mind’ might also be described as the action of thinking completely submerged into being.  Sort of like, lets say, the action of living takes on all sorts of extensions (through senses reaching out, through thoughts reaching out, through dreams expanding their horizons, through understanding the external forces, etc.) - the meditative state would be like pulling in all of these living extensions until simply ‘being’ becomes the dominant action . . . and suddenly, you find yourself connected to everything in a different way?? No longer as an intruder (no mind) but as one sound interconnected with all sound - sorry about that.

Ggd, I was thinking about the “test” mentioned in the OP in the same way today, that it couldn’t be a test that one takes in a solitary experiment by answering a list of questions.  This would need to be an intersubject exercise, all the better with the more people participating.  Like you say,

“As long as I can discern someone else’s delusions and illusions, and reasonably defend and support my lack of same then I suppose I can be determined to be reasonably sane”

Obviously, only someone else can actually point out your delusions and even pick out your illusions. And in the same way, you would be able to identify their delusions as such. Reality, really becomes an intersubjective project, and when enough of us are committed to that perspective, then we can bank on something like the methods of science and the exhanges of reason in our attempts to expose our own delusions as well as those of others. We arrive at sanity by comparing belief-notes with one another . . . of course if you are the one with the fewest delusions in a group of credulous ninnies, you might be accused of being “insane” - as long as the ninnies can agree about their misgivings at some conforming level.

That’s a disturbing thought.

Bob

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Posted: 09 March 2009 09:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]  
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CanZen - 09 March 2009 01:35 AM

Intriguing thought burt. The meditative state of ‘no mind’ might also be described as the action of thinking completely submerged into being.  Sort of like, lets say, the action of living takes on all sorts of extensions (through senses reaching out, through thoughts reaching out, through dreams expanding their horizons, through understanding the external forces, etc.) - the meditative state would be like pulling in all of these living extensions until simply ‘being’ becomes the dominant action . . . and suddenly, you find yourself connected to everything in a different way?? No longer as an intruder (no mind) but as one sound interconnected with all sound - sorry about that.
Bob

I’ll have One With Everything.  LOL 

CanZen - 09 March 2009 01:35 AM

Ggd, I was thinking about the “test” mentioned in the OP in the same way today, that it couldn’t be a test that one takes in a solitary experiment by answering a list of questions.  This would need to be an intersubject exercise, all the better with the more people participating.  Like you say,

“As long as I can discern someone else’s delusions and illusions, and reasonably defend and support my lack of same then I suppose I can be determined to be reasonably sane”
Bob

CanZen - 09 March 2009 01:35 AM

Obviously, only someone else can actually point out your delusions and even pick out your illusions. And in the same way, you would be able to identify their delusions as such. Reality, really becomes an intersubjective project, and when enough of us are committed to that perspective, then we can bank on something like the methods of science and the exhanges of reason in our attempts to expose our own delusions as well as those of others. We arrive at sanity by comparing belief-notes with one another.
Bob

Sounds like part of the curriculum of a 4th way school.

CanZen - 09 March 2009 01:35 AM

of course if you are the one with the fewest delusions in a group of credulous ninnies, you might be accused of being “insane” - as long as the ninnies can agree about their misgivings at some conforming level.

That’s a disturbing thought.

Bob

In the country of the blind…

Definition of Ego Consideration: “I really think you’re nuts, but I’ll agree to pretend that I buy your ego-trips so long as you pretend to buy mine.”

And if all you ninnies don’t buy my delusions, I’ll go find some other group of ninnies that does!  mad

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