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Author Topic: What Human Paradox?  (Read 6950 times)

Offline coberst

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What Human Paradox?
« on: 24/01/2009 19:19:57 »
Human Paradox

The human paradox might correctly be said to be: Humans are the one member of the animal kingdom wherein many members consider themselves to be also a member of a supernatural kingdom.

I define a paradox here to mean a common sense view of reality that is a logical contradiction, which presents a problem that cannot be solved but only ameliorated in some way through the process of our comprehending its nature.

Because most, but not all, humans are possessed by this paradoxical world view we pay a heavy price due to our constant effort to preserve this “fantastic ambition” rather than understanding its source and making corrections accordingly. 

As a member of the animal kingdom we consume to live.  We have an appetite and in feeding that appetite we often kill and consume other animals.  We feel good after we consume and we will do whatever is necessary to continue to consume and to live.  We have an absolute attraction to Eros, i.e. we have a consuming desire to do what is necessary to preserve our life.

Good is that which promotes our life and evil is that which threatens our life.

Eros drives us to a desire to live forever.  Our brain has developed to the point at which we recognize that we will die but we are driven by the urge not to die. 

“Man transcends death not only by continuing to feed his appetites, but especially by finding a meaning for his life, some kind of larger scheme into which he fits…the “immortal self” can take very spiritual forms, and spirituality is not a simple reflex of hunger and fear.  It is an expression of the will to live, the burning desire of the creature to count, to make a difference on the planet because he has lived, has emerged from it, and has worked, suffered, and died.”

Many humans express this common sense view of belonging to a supernatural world through their religious belief; however, even those who are not religious are often captives of the mind/body dichotomy that is so prevalent in Western philosophy. 

I think that to deal effectively with this paradox we must become sophisticated enough to comprehend its source and to modify it at that point or not at all.

What do you think?

Quotes from “Escape from Evil” by Ernest Becker





 

Offline Chemistry4me

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What Human Paradox?
« Reply #1 on: 25/01/2009 01:16:17 »
I think that to deal effectively with this paradox we must become sophisticated enough to comprehend its source and to modify it at that point or not at all.
And what is that source? How can it be modified?

Humans are the one member of the animal kingdom wherein many members consider themselves to be also a member of a supernatural kingdom.
Not 100% certain what you mean by that...
 

Offline coberst

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What Human Paradox?
« Reply #2 on: 25/01/2009 10:50:37 »

The source of our mind/body dichotomy is our attempt to “go around” our knowledge of our mortality.  We seek to create a meaning that gives value to our life but most importantly helps us to delude our self about our mortality.

Religion’s creation of the concept of soul is a good example of the creation of an after life thus allowing us to forgo the anxiety associated with the knowledge of death.

I think that one substantial consequence of this mind/body dichotomy is that today we are left with a Sunday-school morality as our guide for adaptation of relationships in a high tech world.

If we understand human nature we can best deal with it in a rational manner.
 

Offline Karsten

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What Human Paradox?
« Reply #3 on: 25/01/2009 15:56:45 »
If we understand human nature we can best deal with it in a rational manner.

Are you saying you are seeking to understand the "nature" (whatever that is) of all human beings, or at least what defines them as human beings? I mean that seems to be a rather large undertaking. There are 6.7 billion people on this planet and I cannot see a single human nature. There might be as many as 6.7 billion. Or at least a huge number of acceptable human natures. How can you deal rationally with something that cannot be defined tightly?
 

Offline coberst

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What Human Paradox?
« Reply #4 on: 25/01/2009 17:59:00 »
If we understand human nature we can best deal with it in a rational manner.

Are you saying you are seeking to understand the "nature" (whatever that is) of all human beings, or at least what defines them as human beings? I mean that seems to be a rather large undertaking. There are 6.7 billion people on this planet and I cannot see a single human nature. There might be as many as 6.7 billion. Or at least a huge number of acceptable human natures. How can you deal rationally with something that cannot be defined tightly?

Humans have in common some certain biological features.  Among these common features is how we construct perceptions and conceptions.  These biological features have evolved from the earliest creatues.  Cognitive science has used new scan echnologies plus other newer technologies to develop a science of human cognition.

One can, I think, say that this cognitive faculty is an important aspect of our nature.

It appears to me that CS (cognitive science) has two paradigms, symbol manipulation (AI), and conceptual metaphor.  When I speak of CS here I am speaking of the conceptual metaphor paradigm.

Cognitive science has radically attacked the traditional Western philosophical position that there is a dichotomy between perception and conception.  This traditional view that perception is strictly a faculty of body and conception (the formation and use of concepts) is purely mental and wholly separate from and independent of our ability to perceive and move.

Cognitive science has introduced revolutionary theories that, if true, will change dramatically the views of Western philosophy.  Advocates of the traditional view will, of course, “say that conceptual structure must have a neural realization in the brain, which just happens to reside in a body.  But they deny that anything about the body is essential for characterizing what concepts are.” 

The cognitive science claim is that ”the very properties of concepts are created as a result of the way the brain and body are structured and the way they function in interpersonal relations and in the physical world.” 

The embodied-mind hypothesis therefore radically undercuts the perception/conception distinction.  In an embodied mind, it is conceivable that the same neural system engaged in perception (or in bodily movements) plays a central role in conception.  Indeed, in recent neural modeling research, models of perceptual mechanisms and motor schemas can actually do conception work in language learning and in reasoning.

A standard technique for checking out new ideas is to create computer models of the idea and subject that model to simulated conditions to determine if the model behaves as does the reality.  Such modeling techniques are used constantly in projecting behavior of meteorological parameters.

Neural computer models have shown that the types of operations required to perceive and move in space require the very same type of capability associated with reasoning.  That is, neural models capable of doing all of the things that a body must be able to do when perceiving and moving can also perform the same kinds of actions associated with reasoning, i.e. inferring, categorizing, and conceiving.

Our understanding of biology indicates that the body has a marvelous ability to do as any handyman does, i.e. make do with what is at hand.  The body would, it seems logical to assume, take these abilities that exist in all creatures that move and survive in space and with such fundamental capabilities reshape it through evolution to become what we now know as our ability to reason.  The first budding of the reasoning ability exists in all creatures that function as perceiving, moving, surviving, creatures.

Cognitive science has, it seems to me, connected our ability to reason with our bodies in such away as to make sense out of connecting reason with our biological evolution in ways that Western philosophy has not done, as far as I know.

It seems to me that Western philosophical tradition has always tried to separate mind from body and in so doing has never been able to show how mind, as was conceived by this tradition, could be part of Darwin’s theory of natural selection.  Cognitive science now provides us with a comprehensible model for grounding all that we are both bodily and mentally into a unified whole that makes sense without all of the attempts to make mind as some kind of transcendent, mystical, reality unassociated with biology.

Quotes from “Philosophy in the Flesh”
 

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What Human Paradox?
« Reply #4 on: 25/01/2009 17:59:00 »

 

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