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A thesis
Posted: 25 May 2005 06:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]  
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Any “tradition” by default resists change, it is kind of the definition of tradition.

Yes well my position has always been for a number of years now that man is a spiritual being, meaning conscious of his actions and his place in the world, and dogma destroys this spirituality with pat answers and non-thinking options.

And as for the sorting out of positive instincts vs negative ones, that is more or less what society by all its means (religion, philosophy) has been trying to do for centuries.

Well I am heartened by some religious people being able to embrace change and allow the concept of God to grow out of his ancient shackles. 

I think I shall call the new movement “The Evolved God”  = )

(kidding I am not starting any movements!)

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Posted: 25 May 2005 07:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]  
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Iisbliss:

And as for the sorting out of positive instincts vs negative ones, that is more or less what society by all its means (religion, philosophy) has been trying to do for centuries.

I hope you don’t think I’m picking on you, Iisbliss. You just have a way of bringing up extremely important issues.

Of course you’re right in the above quote. However, I would refine what you say by adding that the effects of some religions have tended to mask certain instincts altogether, which would seem not to be mentally healthy if such ignoring can possibly be avoided.

Also, I would go so far as to say that any instinct has positive potential in certain perhaps desperate circumstances, so I’d avoid trying to separate instincts into positive vs. negative categories.

(By now, you may realize that this topic is a favorite of mine, and it’s not often I get a chance to discuss it with others.)

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Philosophy may in no way interfere with the actual use of language; it can in the end only describe it. For it cannot give it any foundations either. It leaves everything as it is.
Ludwig Wittgenstein

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Posted: 25 May 2005 09:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]  
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With regards to instincts. . .  I have always thought of them as a sort of subsumption architecture, in that certain events “trigger” them, and if multiple competing instincts are triggered at the same time, whichever gets triggered the hardest will be most likely to be expressed.

In that sense, certain belief structures could certainly be posited to either enhance or suppress certain triggers.

As an example:  People are hardwired to protect their children against harm, violently if need be.  So, if someone harbors racist feelings, and one of their children is assaulted, and there happens to be a member of one of their hated minorities around. . .  Essentially their incorrect belief can combine with an important instinct to produce a monstrous result.

Now, as for religion and instinct:  I think that I missed a few key points in my earlier posts, and want to flesh out my thoughts.  I believe that a key problem with many religions is the denial of certain instincts.  I was raised, for instance, to believe that I had a sin nature, but that the more dedicated I was in my spiritual pursuits, the more that aspect of my personality would diminish.

I now believe that this approach is essentially a supressive approach, and that it is dangerous.  I’ve come to favor what I feel is the more honest approach of taking frank stock of what my instinctive impulses are - be they good, bad, or ugly.

I beleive that the sexual scandals in the Catholic church are manifestations of this concept.  The inherent dishonesty of the attempt to suppress rather than understand coupled with an erroneous belief in the effectiveness of forgiveness and absolution is a recipe for this sort of thing.

-Matt

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Posted: 25 May 2005 09:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]  
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Nah Homunculus, I don’t think you are picking on me = )

Actually this whole area interests me too, from the biology of physcial reactions and moods, to the reactions from the reptile brain, and our ability to deal with change and information overload is just another aspect of this question.  I am very interested in animal societies, dogs and dolphins and apes, because of the parallels and more importantly the differences.

And Matt I agree with you supression isn’t the way to go.  I don’t think you can say instincts are bad or good, its the awareness that this is why you are acting like you do that is missing.

I would like to offer another thought I had…which is not fleshed out completely…but…

As we change the world, our associations with animals decrease, especially in our more civilized countries.  The reason I think this might be germaine to the discussion is that people lose the ability to compare their actions to those of animals, and lose the sense of when they are acting “instinctively”.  Sort of education by exposure.

It’s kinda of like the disconnect between the hamburger and the cow.  (I do eat meat!)

How many teenagers in gangs know that its a social instinct for young males to gather in packs and follow an alpha male for example?

But this thesis is flawed, because you would expect people in areas of the world still exposed to daily contact with animals to be more aware of their own instinctive behaviour.

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Posted: 27 May 2005 04:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]  
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Gone for a few days and come back to find the thread has diverged considerably from where I started.  Oh well.

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Posted: 27 May 2005 08:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]  
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I think most of us agreed with your stating of the issue as information overload causing reactionary response and a fall back to “traditional” religions.

Assuming we had some way to screen for those to the right of the index, we could go one step further and possibly avoid the worst of the damage that would be done in allowing all-out war. We could sterilize everyone to the left of the index. I do mean everyone. In fact, we might choose to sterilize everyone but a few from the far right. This would have the effect of reducing the population load dramatically over the next 50 years. It would reduce the pain and suffering of war, but it would generate its own problems with respect to mental anguish over childlessness, loss of new workers to support the aging population, etc. The question might be posed as which is the lesser of two evils?

I think this possible solution like some others on the board is implausible for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the moral implication, after all, the ones you would have to sterilize would be by default the most religious, so umm…who would have the power to do this?  And wouldn’t sterilizing so many actually make extinction more likely?  And since we don’t fully understand the workings of DNA or mutation, wouldn’t we risk actually steriziling OUT a possible mutation we would need?  And how many years would it take to develop a screening process?  And say you do this, and we get hit with some pandemic?  Don’t we risk even more extinction?

I think your thesis was accepted, your solution was not.

Frankly there are other people who seem to think mass sterilization seems to be the way to go, however, as a woman I see a different world wide trend, and that is to less population.

Figures already are starting a show a dramatic decrease in population over the next 100 years.

Given choices, most women do NOT choose to have alot of children for economic and health and reason of self fullfillment.  So there is another problem really, which is who is actually breeding?  It isn’t the US or China or Europe, who have actually fallen behind in replacement rates.

Given the age issue on reactionary responses, then it is to the younger people being born now that we need to reach out to, and part of the problem goes away as the older “boom” generations die out.

And where are these younger people?  What countries are still above replacement curve?  Won’t the importation of workers to the US and to Europe in the coming generations be a viable way to share social progress?

And is there a way to develop a less dangerous reactionary response by “evolving” the concept of God to get away from the old books, which still leaves the masses with purpose and comfort to fall back on but a more flexible philosophy that would cause less social fragmentation as technology continues to progress?

And hasn’t this idea of creating a “super race” been tried before?

The idea of royal blood lines?  That worked out well during the middle ages !!

Who decides who and what traits to breed in or out? Who polices this?  While I think Genetic Engineering is important to our survival as a race, and things may come to pass as you say, I find your solution also reactionary, short sighted, more immoral than war, and potentialy more dangerous to the species as a whole.

In fact, the more I think about war, it seems to me that war itself is a force in natural selection and expansion of gene pools and has been for all of our history.  Would we go so far as to make the earth unihabitable and drive ourselves to extinction?  I for one don’t think so.

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Posted: 28 May 2005 04:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]  
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Who is John Galt?

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Philosophy may in no way interfere with the actual use of language; it can in the end only describe it. For it cannot give it any foundations either. It leaves everything as it is.
Ludwig Wittgenstein

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Posted: 28 May 2005 09:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]  
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ha, been so many years since I read Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead I had to google it.

and found this

http://www.strike-the-root.com/columns/Bottoms/bottoms21.html

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Posted: 29 May 2005 07:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]  
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[quote author=“Iisbliss”]ha, been so many years since I read Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead I had to google it.

and found this

http://www.strike-the-root.com/columns/Bottoms/bottoms21.html

Iisbliss, were you like me when you read Atlas Shrugged, in the sense of envying those (admittedly fictitious) geniuses all living together in a scientific paradise in the mountains? Of course in reality, if such a place were actually created, I wouldn’t even be invited. I’ll bet you would, though.

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Philosophy may in no way interfere with the actual use of language; it can in the end only describe it. For it cannot give it any foundations either. It leaves everything as it is.
Ludwig Wittgenstein

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Posted: 29 May 2005 05:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]  
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Can’t tell if that is sarcasm or not !

However I read that and a bunch of other stuff during my hippie commune days, which explains the bad memory = p

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Posted: 29 May 2005 06:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]  
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No sarcasm intended.

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Philosophy may in no way interfere with the actual use of language; it can in the end only describe it. For it cannot give it any foundations either. It leaves everything as it is.
Ludwig Wittgenstein

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