• Athena
    2.3k
    Oh my yes, you have greatly benefitted my understanding of things that seem very, very important to me. I have enjoyed looking for more information. I what to know, why you are so well informed and seem to understand the importance of democracy when people are well prepared to have a civilization that benefits everyone. If America were as you have shown yourself to be, I would not be writing as though something was very wrong. Was it your education, parents, or life experience that made you so aware? How can, what made you as you are, be replicated and become a widespread social agreement? A national culture?

    I tried to start a discussion about episteme and techne in another forum and someone posted something he thought was funny. I get his good intentions, but it was disgusting to me and had nothing to do with what I want to understand. Two people cussing with the worst possible words is not funny to me, but that is what is popular and the discussions I want to have are not. There seems to be a motive to reduce us to the lowest common denominator, and a strong distaste for raising the bar. That is curious to me. Why would humans want to do that?
  • Alkis Piskas
    1.4k

    I think this exchange is got quite "personal" and I don't want to burden this thread more. I will reply you with a message to your Profile page.

    Look at your INBOX
  • Agent Smith
    8.1k
    The question, it seems, is rather easy to answer because it's asking about essences (necessary conditions) without saying anything about completeness i.e. if you find one essence that'll do. In other words, we needn't go into the definition of a human being which is basically a list of individually necessary but collectively sufficient qualities that can be used to identify a human being.

    One "what is essential to being a human being" is our manifest rationality or potential for it, whether actualized or not.
  • Athena
    2.3k
    The question, it seems, is rather easy to answer because it's asking about essences (necessary conditions) without saying anything about completeness i.e. if you find one essence that'll do. In other words, we needn't go into the definition of a human being which is basically a list of individually necessary but collectively sufficient qualities that can be used to identify a human being.

    One "what is essential to being a human being" is our manifest rationality or potential for it, whether actualized or not.
    Agent Smith

    The point of asking the question is not to have one definitive statement. The point of asking is to have a discussion, so can we play with your last statement?

    Is it possible to learn the wrong thing? What happens when we learn the wrong thing? What happens when we learn the right thing? How do we learn? How do we know we have learned the right thing?
  • Athena
    2.3k
    think this exchange is got quite "personal" and I don't want to burden this thread more. I will reply you with a message to your Profile page.Alkis Piskas

    I can appreciate protecting our privacy but in private you mentioned what needs to be stated here. Culturally we are different because our cultures tell us how to be and what to think or not think. In the US even if we are not Christians, our culture is permeated with Christian beliefs that influence our lives daily. The reality of this is very different from how India presents itself. As Agent Smith mentions, cultures manifest different completeness and my concern is that around the world, people have taken their culture for granted and then are willing to fight for their culture. I want us to think about what we are doing and how we might do things differently.

    According to Freud, thoughts and emotions outside of our awareness continue to exert an influence on our behaviors, even though we are unaware (unconscious) of these underlying influences. The unconscious can include repressed feelings, hidden memories, habits, thoughts, desires, and reactions.Dec 9, 2020

    The Preconscious, Conscious, and Unconscious Minds
    — Kendra Cherry

    This is true for individuals and entire cultures. This thread is a kind of a psychoanalysis and hopefully an awareness of how we can do better.
  • Athena
    2.3k
    There are two modes of thinking. Kahneman calls them fast and slow thinking and both modes of thinking are essential to our survival. When our lives are threatened this is not a good time to philosophically ponder the moment.

    It takes a lot of energy to actually think things through so most of the day we are on automatic, just responding without much thought. That most certainly is not what should be happening in a philosophy forum.

    It is foolish to expect anyone to be rational without training for rational thinking. My grandmother who was a teacher would say, we teach children math to teach them how to think. That is no longer true. We now teach them math for high-tech jobs, not life skills. We used to use the Conceptual Method of education. That means teaching children increasingly complex concepts. That is no longer true. We replaced the Conceptual method with the Behaviorist Method. The Behaviorist Method is also used for training dogs. Dogs do not vote. Dogs will take that sandwich out of your hand and fight for bones. Welcome to American today.

    @Alkis Piskas is aware of cultural differences between the West and East and perhaps he will say something about these cultural differences having different human potential.

    I have to add, how you think is mostly about the culture that shapes your life. It is mostly outside of your consciousness but you are in this forum and that means you are doing more thinking than the average American.
  • Alkis Piskas
    1.4k
    my concern is that around the world, people have taken their culture for granted and then are willing to fight for their culture. I want us to think about what we are doing and how we might do things differently.Athena
    I don't know how people in US think of and treat their culture, and how they "fight" for it. In Greece there's no culture to fight for. The Greek culture today is plenty of foreign elements that have been deeply rooted during the 400 years of Ottoman yoke.

    As for Freud, since you have mentioned him, I find his work quite obsolete to be talked about, since a long time ago. He has indeed opened a road, but since then there's has been much more, better and more useful information on unconscious and conscious behavior, feelings/emotions and the mind in general.
  • Athena
    2.3k


    The US has always been many different cultures within a larger one. Jefferson understood education is essential to having a strong and united republic, and until 1958, education in the US attempted to transmit a culture based on democratic principles. I say there was an attempt to transmit an American culture for democracy because all schools were locally controlled and they could make independent decisions.

    Most glaring for the US is the North attempted to use education to end slavery and the South realized what was happening. The South wanted to protect its way of life that was dependent on slavery and a few rich landowners. An economic system that was terrible for the Southern poor, no matter what color their skin was. Those in power had the power and they used it to create a Southern textbook supplier that would promote maintaining the status quo. Eventual the slavery issue was somewhat resolved with the Civil War, but as wars are very destructive, I would not say it ended the problem. We are still living with the problem of past prejudice and economic inequality. And darn, but Christianity has been part of the problem even more than it has been part of the solution. Good Christian Southern women did a lot to promote their way of life that was unjust to others.

    Ah justice! Now there is a good philosophical topic. Solid solutions depend on philosophy, not religion.

    Yeah, I have my problems with Freud and we sure have come a long way since his time. He was under the influence of the German mindset and patriarchy in general.

    Okay, you got me- I know absolutely nothing of the effect of the Ottoman empire. I asked google what are the values of the Ottoman empire and they look good to me. But I gather there is a downside to being under the Ottoman. Please tell me what you know.

    The Ottomans valued science, law, Islam, and art. People whose work reflected these were the highest social class. This included prayer leaders, judges, poets, and scientists. This class of people was even called, "Men of the Pen."

    The Ottoman Empire Values the Pen by Grace Leckey - Prezi
    Grace Leckey
  • Alkis Piskas
    1.4k

    Please look at your INBOX.
  • Agent Smith
    8.1k
    The problem as I see it is that to answer this question one has to take into account both the potential (to be human) and the actual (is human). To compound our woes, the difference between so-called humans and non-humans is, in addition to being type-based, is also degree-based. The long and short of it - if you take a family picture of the animal kingdom, you get a hazy/blurry photograph and it's quite impossible to identify human/animal/even non-living. :snicker:

    The idea, as Athena said, is to stimulate discussion. :snicker:
  • Athena
    2.3k

    Exactly. Our genes do not guarantee we will express our full human potential. Whatever human characteristics we have beyond those that determine our physical appearance, are learned.

    The British show "Humans" is about robots that look like humans and how they interact with humans. Five of them are sentient. They can perceive and feel things. There is a real fear of sentient AI and this is a delicious subject for a philosophy forum.

    Interesting is these human robots are nothing like Australian aborigines or jungle head hunters. These isolated human beings have very different values from ours. In the wild they have a better perception of nature they we do. We live mostly in our heads and our minds block our awareness of the moment.

    What is essential to our humanness?

    When we compare chimpanzees with bonobos, we can see our sexuality plays an important role in our social structure. Our abundance of food or lack of it plays an essential role in our experience of life and relationships.

    Oh, and we can consider the novel and movie "Brave New World" where humans are grown in Petri dishes and from the moment of conception are programmed for their predetermined place in society. This is a human effort to have a utopia but is it what we want?

    Perhaps this thread requires some imagination? We are as we make ourselves and exactly what is our potential? Why does it seem we can not be happy slaves as many indignant Southerns expected people of color to be happy and even appreciative of the good lives given to them. Why do humans rebel, because they are born in sin?
  • Agent Smith
    8.1k
    Yeah, you can trust science/philosophy to mess up our crisp, sharply defined categories.

    Before science/philosophy: A human was simply someone who had easily recognizable, relatable physical features, spoke a language, and could think reasonably well.

    After science/philosophy: No such clarity or perhaps, more accurately, an exposé of our muddled, wooly thinking.
  • Athena
    2.3k
    Before science/philosophy: A human was simply someone who had easily recognizable, relatable physical features, spoke a language, and could think reasonably well.

    After science/philosophy: No such clarity or perhaps, more accurately, an exposé of our muddled, wooly thinking.
    Agent Smith

    Before science/philosophy: A human was simply someone who had easily recognizable, relatable physical features, spoke a language, and could think reasonably well.

    After science/philosophy: No such clarity or perhaps, more accurately, an exposé of our muddled, wooly thinking.
    Agent Smith

    Long ago I read there was no superstition in the beginning of human consciousness. Like animals do not imagine things, as far as we know. The earliest people were too busy surviving to start imagining things like gods and demons or how to build a temple. Stone circles were calenders that marked sun and moon cycles. No one imagined a calendar such as we use but there were moon cycles that were easy to keep track of.

    I can appreciate what you said about philosophy and science making our thinking very complex. What is justice? I don't know but if someone makes me mad I hit him. Problem resolved. :rofl: I hope you get I am trying to get us to that original very simple thinking and perhaps we can move slowly to more complex thinking as we contemplate the essence of being human. Like math, wow, what imagination math is! And then writing! What is up with that? Did these human inventions change our experience of being and our expectation of others?

    I volunteered in schools and most children are obedient with no thought of resistance, but occasionally there was a child who wanted the freedom of being on the farm with Dad and had no appreciation of the school prisons. Is it good that we institutionalize our children or is there a negative to it?
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