Making Something Out of Consciousness

 
XeKind
 
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29 June 2016 11:03
 

Sam strips away the illusions of self and free-will from consciousness through introspection.  Consciousness is reduced to a mere observer with no ability to affect the universe.  Then he makes consciousness the basis for his morality.  If consciousness before had no effect on the universe, he is now making it have one by making it the primary object of the motivations for our behavior.  What’s going on?

 
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29 June 2016 21:47
 

Well, at some level I think it’s equivalent to saying that anything and everything is a video game or virtual reality. If it impacts everything equally, the consequences sort of cancel each other out. Even upon intellectually accepting such an idea, after all, people continue to have felt experiences and impulses and thoughts and decisions and so on. If the point of origin of all of these is equally illusory, then it puts them back on a level, if illusory, playing field.


I will say, I agree that the logical conclusion of this thinking is not the sort of restated utilitarianism that Harris talks about. It is either: 1) A Nietzsche-ian will to power situation, where Harris is free to prefer utilitarianism but should logically see that this is just his personal preference   2) A declaration that there is a teleological purpose, underlying order, or underlying Good at the base of the universe that human decisions come to track to greater or lesser degrees.


Personally, I think Harris probably leans towards the latter but has never fully committed to “going there”, ergo his obsession with thinking Islam is a “death cult”. Pretty much every spiritual path and religion leans toward the latter conclusion and also involves the idea of total symbolic death to some degree or other. Surrendering or submitting to God’s will, the martyr, Christ on the cross, the death of the ego, the realization of ‘no-self’, and so on. There is something pretty depressing about the methodology of, as Joe Purdy sings “if I stumble in the dark, let me go until I’m found”. Letting go of egoic preferences sucks - it is by definition exactly what each and every one of us doesn’t want to do. One’s instinct is to say “Sooo… is there a path here that’s less, you know, horrible?”. Whether or not you believe in the truth of a reality beyond human egos is another matter, of course, but if you do, the proposed route there is not particularly appealing (but then, neither is the idea of survival of the fittest).


That’s just my armchair psychoanalysis though, of course. If Harris has no such mystic leanings, then to my mind he should accept the logical conclusions of his axioms, which is pretty much a controlled Hobbesian anarchy.

 
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30 June 2016 10:13
 
NL. - 29 June 2016 09:47 PM

I will say, I agree that the logical conclusion of this thinking is not the sort of restated utilitarianism that Harris talks about. It is either: 1) A Nietzsche-ian will to power situation, where Harris is free to prefer utilitarianism but should logically see that this is just his personal preference   2) A declaration that there is a teleological purpose, underlying order, or underlying Good at the base of the universe that human decisions come to track to greater or lesser degrees.

Personally, I think Harris probably leans towards the latter but has never fully committed to “going there”

I also get the feeling that he logically missed a step or two, but I haven’t scoured his writings and presentations, so maybe I missed it.  Maybe someone else has seen it.  Sam?

From my view, consciousness is important because it seems important, but that doesn’t automatically make it the basis for a morality.  I agree with Sam that the best answers for what is moral are found in science.  The only introspection you need is to realize that you are a human.  My morality is that if you find you are a tiger, be the best tiger; if you find you are a human, be the best human—but I look at what it means to be human from the outside, not from the subjective experience, which Sam repeatedly admits is so hard to get right.

Are you really suffering?  How can you trust subjective verbal accounts when it seems that outside measurements should be more reliable. Actual suffering and relating it to others are two separate events, and important mental connections between the two are hidden to the subject, so they are liable to get it wrong.  Why do you allow consciousness to come into play here; and if you choose the more reliable, external route, then why make the connection that we care about the suffering of conscious beings?

Then there is the problem that having the goal of minimizing the suffering of conscious beings leads to a kind of utilitarianism or consequentialism which is fraught with its own slew of logical problems.  Also, where do you draw the line for consciousness?  If we find some evidence of consciousness in other places—or if we find panpsychism to be true, then what is the morally correct way to approach those other consciousnesses?

Going back to my alternative view on morality—“If you find you are a human, be the best human.”  This avoids the problems of the boundaries of consciousness, and problems of consequentialism and utilitarianism.  To know what it is to be human, look at the point where nature dropped us off.  We are the first of nature’s creations to make ourselves coats rather than waiting for nature to make the coat for us.  Nature gave us language, which allows communication and planning together.  What are some good things to do as a human, then?  Learn to communicate well; plan together to protect ourselves from nature.  There is more, but you can see that studying our evolution is a rich source from which to draw morality.

If there is some kind of purpose to the universe, and it made us humans, then what else can we do but learn what it means to be human and to be the best humans we can be?  Sometimes I think people get confused about morality because they take consciousness to be the key feature of humanity, but if you peel it back through introspection as Sam has done, you get the impression (at least I do) that consciousness may not be a uniquely human feature.

 

[ Edited: 30 June 2016 10:27 by XeKind]
 
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30 June 2016 14:45
 
XeKind - 30 June 2016 10:13 AM

I also get the feeling that he logically missed a step or two, but I haven’t scoured his writings and presentations, so maybe I missed it.  Maybe someone else has seen it.  Sam?


Harris never posts here, just as an FYI.

 

From my view, consciousness is important because it seems important, but that doesn’t automatically make it the basis for a morality.  I agree with Sam that the best answers for what is moral are found in science.  The only introspection you need is to realize that you are a human.  My morality is that if you find you are a tiger, be the best tiger; if you find you are a human, be the best human—but I look at what it means to be human from the outside, not from the subjective experience, which Sam repeatedly admits is so hard to get right.

Are you really suffering?  How can you trust subjective verbal accounts when it seems that outside measurements should be more reliable. Actual suffering and relating it to others are two separate events, and important mental connections between the two are hidden to the subject, so they are liable to get it wrong.  Why do you allow consciousness to come into play here; and if you choose the more reliable, external route, then why make the connection that we care about the suffering of conscious beings?


To define terms a bit more precisely here, I think Harris says that subjective experience is the basic for morality, not consciousness itself. The idea that people “probably get it wrong” when they relay their suffering is an interesting one. At first glance this seems wildly authoritarian to me (you don’t decide when you’re suffering, the committee will decide when you’re suffering) although I do think there is some truth to the idea that external frames can influence suffering greatly. If you have ever seen a little kid run and then go flying and fall down, you can see this dynamic at play - the exact moment when they look up at their parent and at first are just puzzled, like “WTF just happened” - in that moment, often, if the parent laughs they laugh, if they freak out they start shrieking their head off, if they say “Oh, stop, you’re ok”, they whine for a moment in embarrassment and move on. Not always - sometimes you’ll see a parent insisting on a certain reaction when a child really does seem hurt or frightened, so there is a balance there - but yes, I think framing accounts for a lot (Another example might be getting blood drawn - if you had a sudden spark of pain in your arm that was equivalent to the needle prick, you’d probably barely notice it. I’m not even afraid of needles but I do notice that it seems somehow more painful when someone is ‘doing something’ to you.)


That said, I think the idea that we should rule out subjective experience entirely is the kind of extreme behaviorism that even most behaviorists don’t really subscribe to these days. It kinda violates the golden rule. Would you want to be in a position where someone else decided how much you were suffering? Aside from this, there is an infinite regress here, as, how is the observer in the above scenario going to decide how much another is suffering? It would have to be through their subjective experience and interpretation. And who in turn will decide how accurate that description is? And on and on and on.

 

Then there is the problem that having the goal of minimizing the suffering of conscious beings leads to a kind of utilitarianism or consequentialism which is fraught with its own slew of logical problems.  Also, where do you draw the line for consciousness?  If we find some evidence of consciousness in other places—or if we find panpsychism to be true, then what is the morally correct way to approach those other consciousnesses?


Yes, total utilitarianism seems to eschew the idea of agency, or, where it doesn’t, only to the degree that it can be used to justify quantitative gains in collective “good”. Because subjective experience is impossible to measure, you can never know what exactly you’re comparing when you compare the suffering or happiness of one mind to another.

 

Going back to my alternative view on morality—“If you find you are a human, be the best human.”  This avoids the problems of the boundaries of consciousness, and problems of consequentialism and utilitarianism.  To know what it is to be human, look at the point where nature dropped us off.


Well, that seems kinda paradoxical - we are where are precisely because we did not say to heck with it and stay where nature dropped us off, which I believe was in caves. Besides, what on earth could we mean by the “best” human, when humans are so varied and diverse and, as a communal species, we seem to be adapted for role-specialization, sometimes in diametrically opposed ways?

 
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30 June 2016 15:16
 
NL. - 30 June 2016 02:45 PM

To define terms a bit more precisely here, I think Harris says that subjective experience is the basic for morality, not consciousness itself.

That’s actually what I mean, too, when I talk about consciousness here; thanks for clarifying.  Harris also uses that term ambiguously to mean either deliberative thinking, which he says (and I agree) is something we should engage in and which is highly developed in humans—and then on the other hand he uses it to mean the subjective feeling of being something; which he can’t figure out any use for, but somehow it’s that definition of consciousness which becomes the basis for his morality.

If you have ever seen a little kid run and then go flying and fall down, you can see this dynamic at play - the exact moment when they look up at their parent and at first are just puzzled, like “WTF just happened” - in that moment, often, if the parent laughs they laugh, if they freak out they start shrieking their head off, if they say “Oh, stop, you’re ok”, they whine for a moment in embarrassment and move on. Not always - sometimes you’ll see a parent insisting on a certain reaction when a child really does seem hurt or frightened, so there is a balance there - but yes, I think framing accounts for a lot (Another example might be getting blood drawn - if you had a sudden spark of pain in your arm that was equivalent to the needle prick, you’d probably barely notice it. I’m not even afraid of needles but I do notice that it seems somehow more painful when someone is ‘doing something’ to you.)

William James said we don’t run from a bear because we feel afraid, but we feel afraid because we run from the bear.

That said, I think the idea that we should rule out subjective experience entirely is the kind of extreme behaviorism that even most behaviorists don’t really subscribe to these days. It kinda violates the golden rule. Would you want to be in a position where someone else decided how much you were suffering? Aside from this, there is an infinite regress here, as, how is the observer in the above scenario going to decide how much another is suffering? It would have to be through their subjective experience and interpretation. And who in turn will decide how accurate that description is? And on and on and on.

I agree.  That might show that trying to measure suffering from a third-person perspective isn’t much better than trying to measure it from a first-person one.

Well, that seems kinda paradoxical - we are where are precisely because we did not say to heck with it and stay where nature dropped us off, which I believe was in caves. Besides, what on earth could we mean by the “best” human, when humans are so varied and diverse and, as a communal species, we seem to be adapted for role-specialization, sometimes in diametrically opposed ways?

Yes, that’s kind of my point—that we are different that way, and we should explore that difference.  Why did we start making coats, etc?  I think it does have a lot to do with our advanced communication, which allows us to work together and transmit knowledge.  As far as the “best” human, there is the role of individualism and role-specialization as you say, which we need to account for when we work together.  That’s why I like processes that value a lot of diverse human input.  Maybe a better question as we move toward the global brain is to ask how can we be the best group of humans—not by comparing ourselves (because what could we compare this group of humans to?), but by asking: what was our evolutionary trajectory before we hijacked it and started down the path of self-adaptation and are we as a group still staying true to our essential humanity?

 

 
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30 June 2016 18:22
 
XeKind - 30 June 2016 03:16 PM

That’s actually what I mean, too, when I talk about consciousness here; thanks for clarifying.  Harris also uses that term ambiguously to mean either deliberative thinking, which he says (and I agree) is something we should engage in and which is highly developed in humans—and then on the other hand he uses it to mean the subjective feeling of being something; which he can’t figure out any use for, but somehow it’s that definition of consciousness which becomes the basis for his morality.


I’m not sure what part of his work you’re referring to here so can’t really comment on this part.

 

William James said we don’t run from a bear because we feel afraid, but we feel afraid because we run from the bear.


I was afraid I was going to encounter a bear recently. Then, as I was obsessing about it, I got attached to the bear. He became sort of like a cartoon bear, and I thought about how cute it would be to snuggle a bear and how it would be like a puppy or a kitten or a teddy bear times a billion and it would be so great and then I realized there wasn’t actually a bear which caused me some mental anguish even though a real bear probably would have eaten me. A long way of saying that I think mental events and actions have a complex interplay that is not linear in one direction, especially as we get older and develop the ability to narrate (verbally, visually, or otherwise) a hypothetical future. The arrow of causality likely points in both directions.

 

I agree.  That might show that trying to measure suffering from a third-person perspective isn’t much better than trying to measure it from a first-person one.


Wait, I’m confused - what other perspective would one use? Does second person perspective (as a distinct entity from third) exist outside of grammar and Choose Your Own Adventure books? Hmm. Sorry, too tired to contemplate that right now (it seems like it should, but I don’t see how).

 

Yes, that’s kind of my point—that we are different that way, and we should explore that difference.  Why did we start making coats, etc?  I think it does have a lot to do with our advanced communication, which allows us to work together and transmit knowledge.  As far as the “best” human, there is the role of individualism and role-specialization as you say, which we need to account for when we work together.  That’s why I like processes that value a lot of diverse human input.  Maybe a better question as we move toward the global brain is to ask how can we be the best group of humans—not by comparing ourselves (because what could we compare this group of humans to?), but by asking: what was our evolutionary trajectory before we hijacked it and started down the path of self-adaptation and are we as a group still staying true to our essential humanity?

 


Again, I’m confused. I think it was pretty much “don’t die, and if you have to smash in a few heads to accomplish that, well, you have to smash in a few heads to accomplish that.” (Steve Pinker has written a good bit about levels of violence in hunter gatherer societies, they were, proportionately, incredibly high, even given modern weapons of war.) This is no doubt still a very very central concern in some parts of the world, but while first world societies can by no means insulate people from every harm, one hopes that life in one means this is less at the forefront of one’s mind than it would be if you lived in the woods and could be eaten by a predator at any moment. If any rustle could literally be a bear, it would be advisable to spend a lot of time focused on the basics of survival. But I think the pattern we see is very contrary to this - once some baseline level of security and stability is established, most people (who aren’t, I dunno, Ted Nugent) tend to begin focusing on other things. Travel, art, hobbies, sports, entertainment, and on and on. Granted, I’m not saying this is always an ‘inherent good’ in and of itself - too much entertainment can become stultifying and isolating, after all. But in some cases I think it represents a ‘good’ in life.


As an example. I have been thinking about art lately as some in my early environment had a particular dislike of the art world and thought everything after Impressionism was a bunch of pretension created by snobs who no longer had to create realistic-looking things because cameras had been invented. You know the whole “one of these is abstract art, one is a finger painting by a 4-year-old, can you tell which is which?” meme type of thinking? That was more or less the theme, so I never really gave art a lot of thought. But recently I’ve been into this artist 2Fik, and I kinda get the value of abstracty-ness. It’s subjective, not literal, you know? Yes, it can be done well or poorly, hence the finger painting comparisons, but when it’s done well, it does mean something significant. With 2Fik it’s like he’s giving everyone a giant hug every time he does a piece, like “See, I am totally being the weirdest person in the room right now, and not in a wink-wink nudge-nudge look at me proving my ultimately conventional point kinda way either, this is really what I like doing, and I’m happy about it and it’s fine. So you can relax.”


So societally, why choose to spend our time in pursuits like influencing the subjective state of another for the sake of influencing the subjective state of another, for its own sake? No food being caught or predators killed or anything like that - not a survival based activity in the usual evolutionary sense of the word. So again, not following your train of thought at pointing to ‘evolution’ and nature on this one? You could say wanting to do these things is an accidental byproduct of evolution, but I don’t see how on earth it could have been central? Or, alternately, perhaps you’re a strict naturalist who’s saying there isn’t value in these other things?

[ Edited: 30 June 2016 18:32 by NL.]
 
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01 July 2016 10:20
 
NL. - 30 June 2016 06:22 PM

Wait, I’m confused - what other perspective would one use? Does second person perspective (as a distinct entity from third) exist outside of grammar and Choose Your Own Adventure books? Hmm. Sorry, too tired to contemplate that right now (it seems like it should, but I don’t see how).

My point was that measuring suffering from any perspective is hard to do.  They have those pictures are the doctor’s office that show a scale from 1 to 10 with different faces.  I haven’t read any studies on how well they work, but it’s interesting that they felt the need to put visual analogues on there so that the patient can point to the picture with grimace and the tear on its face and say “that’s how much I’m hurting” even though they might not look that themselves from the outside.  It’s kind of a hybrid of first and third person.

Again, I’m confused. I think it was pretty much “don’t die, and if you have to smash in a few heads to accomplish that, well, you have to smash in a few heads to accomplish that.” (Steve Pinker has written a good bit about levels of violence in hunter gatherer societies, they were, proportionately, incredibly high, even given modern weapons of war.) This is no doubt still a very very central concern in some parts of the world, but while first world societies can by no means insulate people from every harm, one hopes that life in one means this is less at the forefront of one’s mind than it would be if you lived in the woods and could be eaten by a predator at any moment. If any rustle could literally be a bear, it would be advisable to spend a lot of time focused on the basics of survival. But I think the pattern we see is very contrary to this - once some baseline level of security and stability is established, most people (who aren’t, I dunno, Ted Nugent) tend to begin focusing on other things. Travel, art, hobbies, sports, entertainment, and on and on. Granted, I’m not saying this is always an ‘inherent good’ in and of itself - too much entertainment can become stultifying and isolating, after all. But in some cases I think it represents a ‘good’ in life.

I’m not sure how or when the group began to win out over the selfish individual, but that seems to be the trajectory.  But on some level, we could be mourning the loss of individual prowess and competition, and maybe that’s why we have the Olympics.  I think even early on, though, a lot of tribal warfare was ritualized so as not to obliterate the other tribe with which you needed to exchange marriage partners.  I get from that Jared Diamond; I haven’t read Steven Pinker on the subject.  So we can combine our ability to predict outcomes with our need for competition to realize that sports are better than nuclear warfare, and sports teams replace tribal identity in some way.  It’s interesting that our morality grows up with our technology; and it could be the only thing that’s saved us so far from self-destruction.  Maybe it’s in our nature that we should self-destruct, in which case we should self-destruct in the most human way possible.

One more point, is I’m not saying that we should become cavemen.  We couldn’t if we tried.  So we have to take our human traits in today’s context where humanity is undergoing a painful transition between the empire era and the planetary era.  Read this and tell me what you think:  http://www.context.org/iclib/ic12/gilman3/

 

 

 
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01 July 2016 13:23
 
XeKind - 01 July 2016 10:20 AM

My point was that measuring suffering from any perspective is hard to do.  They have those pictures are the doctor’s office that show a scale from 1 to 10 with different faces.  I haven’t read any studies on how well they work, but it’s interesting that they felt the need to put visual analogues on there so that the patient can point to the picture with grimace and the tear on its face and say “that’s how much I’m hurting” even though they might not look that themselves from the outside.  It’s kind of a hybrid of first and third person.


I would say that’s first person report with a visual support available - but in that case it seems the visual is there in order to standardize, not give the patient an ‘aha!’ moment about how much they’re actually suffering. They already know they feel bad, they might just not know what another person is picturing when they say they’d rate their pain a ‘3’, ‘5’, ‘7’, etc. Aside from this, you can have situations where someone should be suffering by observable physical symptoms but isn’t - this has happened to me a couple of times, as I seem to process pain in this weird “all or nothing” way sometimes. I wouldn’t even say I have a high pain tolerance overall (I’m kind of a wimp, actually), it just seems to not kick in sometimes. Once I had a doctor miss a diagnosis because he very literally told me “There’s no way you could have X, if you did it would be so painful you would have jumped off the table when I did Y”. Well, it turns out there was “some way”. Another couple of times when I’ve finally bothered to seek medical help for something, the staff has gone “OMG get her back here immediately she must be in terrible pain!” and I’m like “No, I’m really not”, and they’re like “You’re so brave” and I’m like “No, really, I’m not noticing anything here. Does the pain chart have a blasé face? I’ll point to that one.” Whatever causes this, it seems to run in my family, as other family members have had similar experiences. People can have various sensory problems that disrupt their ability to report physical sensation accurately or even extreme conditions like ‘CIPA’, where no pain at all is felt. And yet obviously we don’t say they are simply ‘fine’, because what would usually be an important correlate to pain is still happening. It’s an interesting and dynamic topic, I think, that probably becomes more complete with more perspectives but never entirely complete.

 

I’m not sure how or when the group began to win out over the selfish individual, but that seems to be the trajectory.  But on some level, we could be mourning the loss of individual prowess and competition, and maybe that’s why we have the Olympics.  I think even early on, though, a lot of tribal warfare was ritualized so as not to obliterate the other tribe with which you needed to exchange marriage partners.  I get from that Jared Diamond; I haven’t read Steven Pinker on the subject.  So we can combine our ability to predict outcomes with our need for competition to realize that sports are better than nuclear warfare, and sports teams replace tribal identity in some way.  It’s interesting that our morality grows up with our technology; and it could be the only thing that’s saved us so far from self-destruction.  Maybe it’s in our nature that we should self-destruct, in which case we should self-destruct in the most human way possible.

One more point, is I’m not saying that we should become cavemen.  We couldn’t if we tried.  So we have to take our human traits in today’s context where humanity is undergoing a painful transition between the empire era and the planetary era.  Read this and tell me what you think:  http://www.context.org/iclib/ic12/gilman3/


I was kind of thinking this might be going in a vaguely new-ageish direction. At a personal level, I would love to believe that humanity is simply awesome and designed to move towards increasing states of awesomeness, but I really don’t think there’s any way to do this without simply saying “This is my chosen axiom (maybe backed up through introspection and such), we all have to have some tentative axioms and this is mine” (the route I tend to go) or tell a just-so story about evolution, which is of course quite easy to do given the amount of material there is to work with. The only somewhat-scientific grounding I have heard for such thinking - outside, again, of introspective insights, like the observation that meditation tends to consistently increase empathy when there should be no real obvious relationship there - is complexity theory, but I can’t exactly remember the way this tends to be fitted into the ‘positive evolution’ paradigm at the moment. Worth a Google, though, if you’re interested in such things.

 
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01 July 2016 15:00
 
NL. - 01 July 2016 01:23 PM

I was kind of thinking this might be going in a vaguely new-ageish direction. At a personal level, I would love to believe that humanity is simply awesome and designed to move towards increasing states of awesomeness, but I really don’t think there’s any way to do this without simply saying “This is my chosen axiom (maybe backed up through introspection and such), we all have to have some tentative axioms and this is mine” (the route I tend to go) or tell a just-so story about evolution, which is of course quite easy to do given the amount of material there is to work with. The only somewhat-scientific grounding I have heard for such thinking - outside, again, of introspective insights, like the observation that meditation tends to consistently increase empathy when there should be no real obvious relationship there - is complexity theory, but I can’t exactly remember the way this tends to be fitted into the ‘positive evolution’ paradigm at the moment. Worth a Google, though, if you’re interested in such things.

I think introspection is valuable because it lets you see how weak your faculties are and that you have no special insight over anyone else aside from your (probably not very) unique experiences.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Introspection_illusion

To sum up my position, I think morality is improved by understanding what it is to be human in the same way technology is improved by understanding the universe.  I don’t think anything that is authentically human is inherently bad, but I think humanity needs to be viewed holistically (Maslow’s hierarchy was one attempt at this).

 
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01 July 2016 15:47
 
XeKind - 01 July 2016 10:20 AM

Read this and tell me what you think:  http://www.context.org/iclib/ic12/gilman3/

That article was awesome!  Especially considering it was first published in 1986.  Really beautifully written.  Lengthy but totally worth the time to read for anyone interested in history, humanity and the future.  Thanks for posting it.

 
 
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01 July 2016 15:53
 
XeKind - 01 July 2016 03:00 PM

I think introspection is valuable because it lets you see how weak your faculties are and that you have no special insight over anyone else aside from your (probably not very) unique experiences.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Introspection_illusion


All I can say is that this is one weird POV, homey. I don’t know about “special”, but if your subjective experience of your own experience is not distinguishable from another person’s subjective experience of your experience, you may actually be a Turing machine, ha ha! wink I’m teasing because I think what you actually mean by ‘special’ is ‘accurate’. Here I would just say, again, that I disagree, and think it seems wildly authoritarian to say that people cannot tell you much of anything about their own first person experience. Granted, what feature of the universe they are describing, exactly, is up for grabs, but to my mind they’re most certainly describing something that is ‘real’ in that it ‘exists’. Unless mind reading exists, we all possess a ‘special’ (as in differentiated, unique) insight into our own mental state that, presumably, no one else does. 

 

To sum up my position, I think morality is improved by understanding what it is to be human in the same way technology is improved by understanding the universe.  I don’t think anything that is authentically human is inherently bad, but I think humanity needs to be viewed holistically (Maslow’s hierarchy was one attempt at this).


I dunno, cannibalism is human. I am not a big fan of cannibalism, so I tend to say that one needs additional parameters here. Perhaps you are just super Zen and “accept it all”, though, which I sorta admire in theory, until I think about the cannibalism part. Hmm. I have confused myself.

 
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01 July 2016 16:46
 
LadyJane - 01 July 2016 03:47 PM
XeKind - 01 July 2016 10:20 AM

Read this and tell me what you think:  http://www.context.org/iclib/ic12/gilman3/

That article was awesome!  Especially considering it was first published in 1986.  Really beautifully written.  Lengthy but totally worth the time to read for anyone interested in history, humanity and the future.  Thanks for posting it.

Thanks.  I’ve been in correspondence with Dr. Gilman and consider him a mentor.  I signed up for Bright Future Now on that site and I’ll let you know how it goes.

 
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01 July 2016 19:54
 
XeKind - 01 July 2016 04:46 PM
LadyJane - 01 July 2016 03:47 PM
XeKind - 01 July 2016 10:20 AM

Read this and tell me what you think:  http://www.context.org/iclib/ic12/gilman3/

That article was awesome!  Especially considering it was first published in 1986.  Really beautifully written.  Lengthy but totally worth the time to read for anyone interested in history, humanity and the future.  Thanks for posting it.

Thanks.  I’ve been in correspondence with Dr. Gilman and consider him a mentor.  I signed up for Bright Future Now on that site and I’ll let you know how it goes.

It’s a refreshing narrative. I disagree with some of the specific anthropological assertions (some of which have been brought into question by discoveries within the past 20-30 years), but I don’t think they matter much to the overall flow of the narrative.