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Read Any Good Books Lately?

 
KathleenBrugger
 
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KathleenBrugger
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17 January 2014 17:08
 

I’ve just finished Helen Keller’s The World I Live In, which is a collection of essays that she wrote when she was about 24. It’s a quite interesting look into her mind. I read the book because I saw a quote from it in Daniel Dennett’s Consciousness Explained; the quote implied that before she possessed language, she had no self-consciousness. Here’s some quotes I typed up:

Essay 11: Before the Soul Dawn

“Before my teacher came to me, I did not know that I am. I lived in a world that was a no-world. I cannot hope to describe adequately that unconscious, yet conscious time of nothingness. I did not know that I knew aught, or that I lived or acted or desired. I had neither will not intellect. I was carried along to objects and acts by a certain blind natural impetus. I had a mind which caused me to feel anger, satisfaction, desire. These two facts led those about me to suppose that I willed and thought. I can remember all this, not because I knew that it was so, but because I have tactual memory. It enables me to remember that I never contracted my forehead in the act of thinking. I never viewed anything beforehand or chose it. I also recall tactually the fact that never in a start of the body or a heart-beat did I feel that I loved or cared for anything. My inner life, then, was a blank without past, present, or future, without hope or anticipation, without wonder or joy or faith.” (first paragraph of essay)

She returns to this idea in Essay 14: Dreams and Reality:

“As near as I can tell, asleep or awake I only felt with my body. I can recollect no process which I should now dignify with the term of thought. It is true that my bodily sensations were extremely acute; but beyond a crude connection with physical wants they were not associated or directed. They had little relation to each other, to me, or to the experience of others. Idea—that which gives identity and continuity to experience—came into my sleeping and waking existence at the same moment with the awakening of self-consciousness. Before that moment my mind was in a state of anarchy in which meaningless sensations rioted, and if thought existed, it was so vague and inconsequent, it cannot be made a part of discourse.”

 
 
Bugs Bunny
 
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Bugs Bunny
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19 January 2014 11:55
 

.

[ Edited: 10 April 2014 10:23 by Bugs Bunny]
 
 
saralynn
 
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saralynn
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19 January 2014 13:11
 
KathleenBrugger - 17 January 2014 04:08 PM

I’ve just finished Helen Keller’s The World I Live In, which is a collection of essays that she wrote when she was about 24. It’s a quite interesting look into her mind. I read the book because I saw a quote from it in Daniel Dennett’s Consciousness Explained; the quote implied that before she possessed language, she had no self-consciousness. Here’s some quotes I typed up:

Essay 11: Before the Soul Dawn

“Before my teacher came to me, I did not know that I am. I lived in a world that was a no-world. I cannot hope to describe adequately that unconscious, yet conscious time of nothingness. I did not know that I knew aught, or that I lived or acted or desired. I had neither will not intellect. I was carried along to objects and acts by a certain blind natural impetus. I had a mind which caused me to feel anger, satisfaction, desire. These two facts led those about me to suppose that I willed and thought. I can remember all this, not because I knew that it was so, but because I have tactual memory. It enables me to remember that I never contracted my forehead in the act of thinking. I never viewed anything beforehand or chose it. I also recall tactually the fact that never in a start of the body or a heart-beat did I feel that I loved or cared for anything. My inner life, then, was a blank without past, present, or future, without hope or anticipation, without wonder or joy or faith.” (first paragraph of essay)

She returns to this idea in Essay 14: Dreams and Reality:

“As near as I can tell, asleep or awake I only felt with my body. I can recollect no process which I should now dignify with the term of thought. It is true that my bodily sensations were extremely acute; but beyond a crude connection with physical wants they were not associated or directed. They had little relation to each other, to me, or to the experience of others. Idea—that which gives identity and continuity to experience—came into my sleeping and waking existence at the same moment with the awakening of self-consciousness. Before that moment my mind was in a state of anarchy in which meaningless sensations rioted, and if thought existed, it was so vague and inconsequent, it cannot be made a part of discourse.”

Fascinating!  What occurs to me is that we need language to think? 

The difficulty arises because Annie Sullivan started teaching Helen when Helen was about 7, which typically is the age at which humans begin to reason.  This capacity may have developed later in Helen’s case because she was both deaf and blind.  So….there is no way of knowing if her lack of self-awareness would have continued throughout her entire life if she hadn’t learned language.

BTW, Annie Sullivan, gifted teacher as she was, was also a bit of a loon and had, in some ways, an unhealthy relationship with Helen.  By this, I don’t mean anything inappropriate, but deeply neurotic.  Can’t remember the book I read about her, but she was much more complicated than one might assume.

 
LadyJane
 
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LadyJane
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19 January 2014 13:35
 
Danna - 19 January 2014 10:55 AM

Second time around for reading The Atheist’s Guide To Reality.  It is not enough just to say all I could remember the first time around was the part about prozac, and Physics explains everything.  I’m picking up more this time, and may even go for a third read or more.  Also reading and putting into practice Mindfulness, (meditational exercises) an eight week plan for finding peace in a frantic world.  I’ll warm up the Kindle and download that fun sounding book LadyJane recommends Slaughterbowl XIII.

Alex Rosenberg I seem to recall.  I have been meaning to pick that up.  I am currently reading Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig.  Quite extraordinary.  I keep catching myself singing Dr. Hook songs for some reason.  Please let me know how that “Wandering Sheep” business turns out.

 
 
KathleenBrugger
 
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KathleenBrugger
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19 January 2014 14:25
 
saralynn - 19 January 2014 12:11 PM
KathleenBrugger - 17 January 2014 04:08 PM

I’ve just finished Helen Keller’s The World I Live In, which is a collection of essays that she wrote when she was about 24. It’s a quite interesting look into her mind. I read the book because I saw a quote from it in Daniel Dennett’s Consciousness Explained; the quote implied that before she possessed language, she had no self-consciousness.

Fascinating!  What occurs to me is that we need language to think? 

The difficulty arises because Annie Sullivan started teaching Helen when Helen was about 7, which typically is the age at which humans begin to reason.  This capacity may have developed later in Helen’s case because she was both deaf and blind.  So….there is no way of knowing if her lack of self-awareness would have continued throughout her entire life if she hadn’t learned language.

BTW, Annie Sullivan, gifted teacher as she was, was also a bit of a loon and had, in some ways, an unhealthy relationship with Helen.  By this, I don’t mean anything inappropriate, but deeply neurotic.  Can’t remember the book I read about her, but she was much more complicated than one might assume.

Exactly—re needing language to think. That is what intrigued me about the quote Dennett had pulled out (which is one of the sentences from the 1st essay). But also exactly re whether the self-awareness would have emerged later anyway without the language…To be honest after reading the quote in Dennett I was excited because I thought Helen’s breakthrough came later, after that pivotal age. When I learned it was actually at 7 I also thought the significance had to be dialed down.

Interesting about Annie Sullivan. I wondered about her after reading this; she devoted her life to Helen it sounds like, which is noble from one perspective but co-dependent/neurotic on another? I’m saying this from very little knowledge so I could be completely wrong.

 
 
Bugs Bunny
 
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Bugs Bunny
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19 January 2014 15:06
 

.

[ Edited: 10 April 2014 10:24 by Bugs Bunny]
 
 
KathleenBrugger
 
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KathleenBrugger
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20 January 2014 13:23
 
Danna - 19 January 2014 02:06 PM
LadyJane - 19 January 2014 12:35 PM
Danna - 19 January 2014 10:55 AM

Second time around for reading The Atheist’s Guide To Reality.  It is not enough just to say all I could remember the first time around was the part about prozac, and Physics explains everything.  I’m picking up more this time, and may even go for a third read or more.  Also reading and putting into practice Mindfulness, (meditational exercises) an eight week plan for finding peace in a frantic world.  I’ll warm up the Kindle and download that fun sounding book LadyJane recommends Slaughterbowl XIII.

Alex Rosenberg I seem to recall.  I have been meaning to pick that up.  I am currently reading Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig.  Quite extraordinary.  I keep catching myself singing Dr. Hook songs for some reason.  Please let me know how that “Wandering Sheep” business turns out.

Yes it is Alex Rosenburg, and you as well, I would like your thoughts on that should you read it.  It has a strange way of liberating the mind, once the message is accepted or even understood enough.  The book you mentioned Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, has got to go to the front of the line. I just read a short excerpt, and love the inspirational message.  As of yesterday the one year warranty just expired on my brand new motorcycle that I have not put to enough use.  That book just may change that.  Talk about fun and freedom, it is just tuning out all of the negative talk you hear about how dangerous motorcycles are, and being careful.

I read “Atheist’s Guide” a year ago. I thought it was an excellent tour of the conclusions that follow from atheism: There’s no God. Easy. There’s no purpose to anything. Hard. There’s no free will. Harder. There’s no self. Very hard. In particular I liked his discussion of the evolution of morality and the consequences of no free will.

Maybe the hardest to swallow is that human minds don’t work like we think; Rosenberg asserts there are only programmed neural circuits that serve up thoughts. Introspection and consciousness are an illusion: we never think “about” anything. The mind is the brain, and the brain is just neurons firing. He uses the analogy of film to explain thought: each “input/output neural circuit” is like one frame of film, and when “they act together, they ‘project’ the illusion there are thoughts about stuff.” He concludes, “there is no [subjective] point of view, no self, no person, no soul. That is the last illusion of introspection.”

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance—my husband and I always keep a spare copy of this book to give to people we meet who haven’t read it. It’s a metaphysics with no mention of God. And a page-turning blend of a fascinating (true) story with philosophy.

 
 
icehorse
 
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icehorse
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20 January 2014 14:32
 
KathleenBrugger - 20 January 2014 12:23 PM

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance—my husband and I always keep a spare copy of this book to give to people we meet who haven’t read it. It’s a metaphysics with no mention of God. And a page-turning blend of a fascinating (true) story with philosophy.

I’ll probably get laughed off the stage, but - while I really liked Zen / Motorcycle - the book I give away (and love) for the same purpose is “Illusions”.

 
 
Nhoj Morley
 
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20 January 2014 14:52
 
KathleenBrugger - 20 January 2014 12:23 PM

Maybe the hardest to swallow is that human minds don’t work like we think:

Maybe that’s because that part is a load of rubbish. Trioonity shows how our minds work exactly as they seem to. The illusion of a single perception creates crazy explanations that do not correlate with personal experience and are at variance with actual scientific evidence. It is the central illusion that the facts must be bent and reformed around.

 
 
GAD
 
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20 January 2014 17:02
 
icehorse - 20 January 2014 01:32 PM
KathleenBrugger - 20 January 2014 12:23 PM

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance—my husband and I always keep a spare copy of this book to give to people we meet who haven’t read it. It’s a metaphysics with no mention of God. And a page-turning blend of a fascinating (true) story with philosophy.

I’ll probably get laughed off the stage, but - while I really liked Zen / Motorcycle - the book I give away (and love) for the same purpose is “Illusions”.

I loved Illusions when I was a kid but even the thought of reading it (or Zen) now seems nauseating.

 
 
KathleenBrugger
 
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KathleenBrugger
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20 January 2014 20:37
 
Nhoj Morley - 20 January 2014 01:52 PM
KathleenBrugger - 20 January 2014 12:23 PM

Maybe the hardest to swallow is that human minds don’t work like we think:

Maybe that’s because that part is a load of rubbish. Trioonity shows how our minds work exactly as they seem to. The illusion of a single perception creates crazy explanations that do not correlate with personal experience and are at variance with actual scientific evidence. It is the central illusion that the facts must be bent and reformed around.

Luckily I didn’t swallow.  LOL

 
 
icehorse
 
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icehorse
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20 January 2014 22:09
 
GAD - 20 January 2014 04:02 PM
icehorse - 20 January 2014 01:32 PM
KathleenBrugger - 20 January 2014 12:23 PM

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance—my husband and I always keep a spare copy of this book to give to people we meet who haven’t read it. It’s a metaphysics with no mention of God. And a page-turning blend of a fascinating (true) story with philosophy.

I’ll probably get laughed off the stage, but - while I really liked Zen / Motorcycle - the book I give away (and love) for the same purpose is “Illusions”.

I loved Illusions when I was a kid but even the thought of reading it (or Zen) now seems nauseating.

Why? Just curious… might be another misapprehension smile

 
 
GAD
 
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GAD
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20 January 2014 22:33
 
icehorse - 20 January 2014 09:09 PM
GAD - 20 January 2014 04:02 PM
icehorse - 20 January 2014 01:32 PM
KathleenBrugger - 20 January 2014 12:23 PM

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance—my husband and I always keep a spare copy of this book to give to people we meet who haven’t read it. It’s a metaphysics with no mention of God. And a page-turning blend of a fascinating (true) story with philosophy.

I’ll probably get laughed off the stage, but - while I really liked Zen / Motorcycle - the book I give away (and love) for the same purpose is “Illusions”.

I loved Illusions when I was a kid but even the thought of reading it (or Zen) now seems nauseating.

Why? Just curious… might be another misapprehension smile

It’s just kumbaya singing, bubblegum popping, feel good story time philosophy. I get it, I got it, I loved it, then I left it behind. As I grow older and my mind regresses perhaps I’ll find it again on my way back down. Or maybe I’ll just write lists about it.

 
 
icehorse
 
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icehorse
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23 January 2014 01:14
 

fwiw, i think some things provide good re-affirmation. For me, Illusions helps me remember that what I think is true, is true, even when the rest of the world seems to disagree.

On a somewhat related topic, I teach Go (the game),online. There are a couple of Go books that Western players regard as “classics”. All of the Dan level (blackbelt level) players I know have read these classics, many, many times. All of the beginners I know resist reading them even once.

 
 
GAD
 
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23 January 2014 01:46
 
icehorse - 23 January 2014 12:14 AM

fwiw, i think some things provide good re-affirmation. For me, Illusions helps me remember that what I think is true, is true, even when the rest of the world seems to disagree.

Except when you are wrong and the rest of the world is right, right.

On a somewhat related topic, I teach Go (the game),online. There are a couple of Go books that Western players regard as “classics”. All of the Dan level (blackbelt level) players I know have read these classics, many, many times. All of the beginners I know resist reading them even once.

Maybe they just want to play and have fun not study to be a master? I play a lot of video games and I could read the walkthroughs on how to play, win, find all items, secrets etc but I don’t because “I” want to play the game and figure it out myself and not just copy someone else.

 
 
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