• Wayfarer
    21.1k
    This is info about a lecturer and teacher that others might find interesting.

    John Vernaeke is a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto. He currently teaches courses on thinking and reasoning with an emphasis on cognitive development, intelligence, rationality, mindfulness, and the psychology of wisdom.

    Vervaeke is the director of University of Toronto’s Consciousness and Wisdom Studies Laboratory and its Cognitive Science program, where he teaches Introduction to Cognitive Science and The Cognitive Science of Consciousness, emphasizing the 4E model, which contends that cognition and consciousness are embodied, embedded, enacted, and extended beyond the brain.

    Vervaeke has taught courses on Buddhism and Cognitive Science in the Buddhism, Psychology, and Mental Health program for 15 years. His youtube channel is here.

    Vervaeke has a daunting amount of material nowadays on YouTube, but a good place to start might be with a new podcast that he and colleague Gregg Henriques (also a psychology professor) have commenced, titled Transcendent Naturalism (Episode 1 homepage is here):

    They embark on a journey through modern worldviews, diving into concepts such as reductionism, the Cartesian divide, and the tension between objective and subjective understanding. This dialogue brings out the complexity of reconciling quantum mechanics and relativity, the prevalent models that rob human beings of meaning and wisdom, and the importance of transcendence. Furthermore, the discourse touches on extended naturalism, the critique of reductionism, and the groundbreaking concept of energy information singularity. Drs. Vervaeke and Henriques shed light on meta-arguments, the relevance of convergence in argumentation, the depth of "transjectivity", and the vast expanse of collective intelligence. They also explore the concepts of abstraction, self-organization, and the interplay of causality and constraints.

    They're trying to thread the needle between scientific reductionism on the one side, and religious dogmatism ( including what is described as 'degenerate romanticism' in this talk) on the other, by situating natural science within a broader context which includes the (re)introduction of levels of reality taking into account the qualitative dimensions of human existence.
  • Tom Storm
    8.6k
    I've watched a few of his talks and lectures. Interesting material. I'm curious about transjectivity (transcending categories of subjective and objective through co-creation/relatedness). There seems to be a bit of a wave of this material about - an attempt at rebuilding a discourse on meaning from the wreckage of humanism/scientism/materialism towards transcendental matters. Is Vervaeke a Platonist? I forget. I'm not sufficiently immersed in any of the important literature to get all that much from these on line sages but Vervaeke is an improvement on fellow Canadian Jordan B Peterson, who (and I may be wrong here) often seems to attempt a similar project, a type of restorative transcendentalism.
  • Wayfarer
    21.1k
    Is Vervaeke a Platonist? I forget. I'm not sufficiently immersed in any of the important literature to get all that much from these on line sages but Vervaeke is an improvement on fellow Canadian Jordan B Peterson, who (and I may be wrong here) often seems to attempt a similar project, a type of restorative transcendentalism.Tom Storm

    He does a lot of sessions on resurrecting neoplatonism, so I guess he must be. (He has mentioned Peterson once or twice, although I think Peterson has gone a bit off the rails with his political obsessions.) Anyway, Vervaeke's main concern is 'awakening from the meaning crisis' - that Western culture is undergoing a crisis of meaning, which manifests in a huge number of ways, rooted in the 'scientistic' view that the Universe is basically devoid of meaning. But in that introduction that I've linked to, they're proposing an alternative which is compatible with, but goes beyond, current naturalist models. Basically it's a synopsis of what they intend to cover in the forthcoming talks (which I mainly listen to while exercising.)
  • Tom Storm
    8.6k
    Anyway, Vervaeke's main concern is 'awakening from the meaning crisis' - that Western culture is undergoing a crisis of meaning, which manifests in a huge number of ways, rooted in the 'scientistic' view that the Universe is basically devoid of meaning.Quixodian

    Indeed and this has been a preoccupation of 'public intellectuals' for decades, from Aleister Crowley to Alan Watts. Carl Jung ran a similar project.

    Australian academic John Carroll wrote a vicious tirade against humanism back in 1993 - Humanism: The Wreck of Western Culture. His message was similar. It started me thinking about those themes.

    I suspect there has been some kind of meaning crisis throughout human history. But since the project of modernism has been to foster independent thinking and living as a reaction against the inflexible strictures of religious orthodoxy and the bigotries this has generally entailed, it's no wonder that people today are spoiled for choice and many feel adrift. Certainty has gone and society seems atomized - I find this exciting, but many fear it.
  • Janus
    15.8k
    I suspect there has been some kind of meaning crisis throughout human history. But since the project of modernism has been to foster independent thinking and living as a reaction against the inflexible strictures of religious orthodoxy and the bigotries this has generally entailed, it's no wonder that people today are spoiled for choice and many feel adrift. Certainty has gone and society seems atomized - I find this exciting, but many fear it.Tom Storm

    :up: I'm like you in that I find the current situation not at all "a crisis of meaning" in the sense that we have lost anything worth having, but an exciting "melting pot" in which new possibilities might emerge. Uncertainty seems to me to be the most fruitful condition.

    I think the most important challenge we collectively face is dealing with the practical economic and ecological consequences of the 'continuous growth' paradigm, and the enormous problem of plutocracy and corrupted politics.
  • Srap Tasmaner
    4.7k
    crisis of meaningQuixodian

    From the geek side of the things there's David Chapman.
  • Wayfarer
    21.1k
    Australian academic John Carroll wrote a vicious tirade against humanism back in 1993 - Humanism: The Wreck of Western Culture.Tom Storm

    I used to pick up that book at the venerable Bookocino bookstore in Avalon when I lived up that way. I hadn't been aware of such critiques until then but have found a few more since. Some of the French Catholic social philosophers, like Remi Braque and Jacques Maritain, make similar criticisms. I must say, I'm sympathetic to them (even though I'm not in the least drawn to the Catholic religion).

    Incidentally I've just been listening again to a (long!) online debate between Vervaeke and Kastrup. It's reasonably congenial, although Vervaeke throws up many objections to Kastrup's idealism.

    I think the most important challenge we collectively face is dealing with the practical economic and ecological consequences of the 'continuous growth' paradigmJanus

    I think so, I tried to make a similar point in another thread about consumer economy and addiction. That's why I think it's so important to find a basis of real values other than continued growth and economic improvement. But there's nothing necessarily within liberal democracy or naturalism which provides a basis for that, other than better technology and engineering. Like, there's no rationale corresponding to the role that mokṣa plays in Hinduism.

    Yes, I've also run into him in my many years of web surfing. I think he used to be associated with a quirky site called 'speculative non-buddhism'.
  • Wayfarer
    21.1k


    What secular reason is missing is self-awareness. It is “unenlightened about itself” in the sense that it has within itself no mechanism for questioning the products and conclusions of its formal, procedural entailments and experiments. “Postmetaphysical thinking,” (Jürgen) Habermas contends, “cannot cope on its own with the defeatism concerning reason which we encounter today both in the postmodern radicalization of the ‘dialectic of the Enlightenment’ and in the naturalism founded on a naïve faith in science.”

    Postmodernism announces (loudly and often) that a supposedly neutral, objective rationality is always a construct informed by interests it neither acknowledges nor knows nor can know. Meanwhile science goes its merry way endlessly inventing and proliferating technological marvels without having the slightest idea of why. The “naive faith” Habermas criticizes is not a faith in what science can do — it can do anything — but a faith in science’s ability to provide reasons, aside from the reason of its own keeping on going, for doing it and for declining to do it in a particular direction because to do so would be wrong.

    The counterpart of science in the political world is the modern Liberal state, which, Habermas reminds us, maintains “a neutrality . . . towards world views,” that is, toward comprehensive visions (like religious visions) of what life means, where it is going and what we should be doing to help it get there. The problem is that a political structure that welcomes all worldviews into the marketplace of ideas, but holds itself aloof from any and all of them, will have no basis for judging the outcomes its procedures yield. Worldviews bring with them substantive long-term goals that serve as a check against local desires. Worldviews furnish those who live within them with reasons that are more than merely prudential or strategic for acting in one way rather than another.

    The Liberal state, resting on a base of procedural rationality, delivers no such goals or reasons and thus suffers, Habermas says, from a “motivational weakness”; it cannot inspire its citizens to virtuous (as opposed to self-interested) acts because it has lost “its grip on the images, preserved by religion, of the moral whole” and is unable to formulate “collectively binding ideals.”
    Does Reason Know what it is Missing? Stanley Fish, NY Times
  • 180 Proof
    14.5k
    Certainty has gone and society seems atomized - I find this exciting, but many fear it.Tom Storm
    :up:

    I think the most important challenge we collectively face is dealing with the practical economic and ecological consequences of the 'continuous growth' paradigm, and the enormous problem of plutocracy and corrupted politics.Janus
    :100:

    Western culture is undergoing a crisis of meaningQuixodian
    :yawn: i.e. adolescence of the species ...
  • Tom Storm
    8.6k
    Incidentally I've just been listening again to a (long!) online debate between Vervaeke and Kastrup. It's reasonably congenial, although Vervaeke throws up many objections to Kastrup's idealism.Quixodian

    I'll check it out.

    — Does Reason Know what it is Missing? Stanley Fish, NY TimesQuixodian

    I've often enjoyed Stanley Fish - he's provocative and witty.
  • Janus
    15.8k
    i.e. adolescence of the species ...180 Proof

    I think that is a good analogy. Obsession with personal spiritual growth, in some of its forms and in relation to some of its attendant beliefs, seems to be, ironically, egoically or fear driven.
  • Janus
    15.8k
    That's why I think it's so important to find a basis of real values other than continued growth and economic improvement. But there's nothing necessarily within liberal democracy or naturalism which provides a basis for that, other than better technology and engineering. Like, there's no rationale corresponding to the role that mokṣa plays in Hinduism.Quixodian

    These days I tend to think that religion is the last thing we need to motivate interest in ecology and economic fairness. The idea of karma justifies people being in poor circumstances, the idea of a God playing favorites does the same and any notion of being rewarded in an afterlife devalues this life and demotivates interest with the problems of this life.

    Catholicism, notably, is guilty of working against the provision of contraceptives where they are most sorely needed, and many religions condemn abortion, which contributes to over-population and social problems. Christianity in general has promoted the idea of human exceptionalism, and that this world was created by God just for us to use as we see fit provided, we have faith in the Lord, which I think has been, and probably still is, a major part of the problem.

    Some religious orders fight against the very sensible idea of teaching ethics in schools, probably for fear that they will become redundant if people realize that ethics can stand on its own. I don't go as far as to say that religion ought to be banned, or that enlightened thinkers should actively work against religion: I think that would be counterproductive given the perversity of human nature, but I think that solutions, if they can be found, will have nothing at all to do with religion.

    These social, economic and ecological problems are, after all, secular political issues which require social, economic and ecological solutions. I also think one of the most important positive influences would be ensuring that as many people as possible receive a good grounding in science, because it is only from the sciences, including psychology and sociology that we can expect the much-needed solutions.

    So, in general I have much more sympathy for individuals finding their own set of spiritual values and much less time for organized religion, which always seems to become corrupted by power, just as it happens in politics and finance. I don't care what people believe provided it doesn't interfere with their giving first priority to this life, which includes all life.
  • Wayfarer
    21.1k
    I do understand that by ‘religion’ you mean ‘religious organisations’. I’m more interested in the philosophical aspect of the question.

    There are a great many important elements in the Western philosophical canon which have become associated with, or absorbed by, or even appropriated by, religion over the millennia. Because of these associations they become ‘tarred with the same brush’, as the saying has it. But what remains after all of those elements are redacted out barely worthy of the designation of ‘philosophy’.
  • Janus
    15.8k
    Unlike you, I don't believe that enlightenment or ego loss are philosophical matters. As Hadot tells us the old philosophical schools had different sets of ideas, which were unquestioned; their purpose being to provide a framework and inspiration for the practice of spiritual exercises. I don't believe such a thing is possible these days, and I also don't think such frameworks are necessary for personal transformation.
  • Wayfarer
    21.1k
    I don't believe such a thing is possible these days, and I also don't think such frameworks are necessary for personal transformation.Janus

    Which would comprise what, exactly? Transformed how? Into what?

    In any case, I don't want to convey the impression that the dialogue in the OP concerns religion, because it doesn't. Vervaeke says here and elsewhere that he's committed to naturalism, but that he doesn't accept materialist reductionism. They talk about 'extended naturalism' - the general gist being a move away from the reductionist idea that wants to account for everything in terms of the bottom layer - 'suggesting that our understanding of reality isn't limited to what's derivable from hard sciences but also includes what these sciences presuppose'. They discuss the energy-information nexus and its connection to Shannon's theory in a way that actually helped me to see that it isn't only applicable to electronic information transfer but that something like it exists in molecular biology. Also the idea that the order of the intellect conforms to the order that science sees in the world, drawing on neoplatonism - 'Conformity theory: how the principles governing the mind and the world mutually participate in the same governing principles.' And much more. This episode is basically a synopsis of what will be covered. Also provides a references list.
  • Joshs
    5.3k
    They're trying to thread the needle between scientific reductionism on the one side, and religious dogmatism ( including what is described as 'degenerate romanticism' in this talk) on the other, by situating natural science within a broader context which includes the (re)introduction of levels of reality taking into account the qualitative dimensions of human existenceQuixodian

    I think Vervaeke does a good job of encapsulating the main themes of 4EA cognitive science, which he then inflates into a kind of spiritual worldview. I have a few quibbles which mostly pertain to the scientific framework rather than Vervaeke. Unlike new materialism, which I discuss in another OP, the empiricism Vervaeke endorses. feistiness a split between supposedly pre-existing external reality and the cognizer who interacts with it. What is needed is not just a subject-object interaction model, but an INTRA-actionist approach which rejects the idea of a pre-existing world. For instance, Vervaeke claims that video games produce a flow experience that doesn’t allow adequate reality-testing, but I question the coherence of this distinction.

    I should add a note of caution. If you’re going to listen to his Awakening from the Meaning Crisis youtube series, you might want to take his reading of Heidegger with a grain of sand. He incorporates Speculative Realist Graham Harmon’s interpretation of Heidegger, one of the worst I’ve come across.
  • Wayfarer
    21.1k
    Thanks. I'm not all in on Vervaeke but I think he's worth the listen. I'm sure learning things from him. I'll bear that caution in mind.
  • Janus
    15.8k
    Which would comprise what, exactly? Transformed how? Into what?Quixodian

    Into whatever the nature of the human organism makes possible. Into a less self-obsessed, egocentric state of mind. Into a less anxious, more open state. Into a less conventionally constrained, more creative state. Into a less angry, more loving state. Into a less competitive, more cooperative state. Into a less acquisitive, more inquisitive state. Into a less dogmatic, more uncertain and open state.

    Vervaeke says here and elsewhere that he's committed to naturalism, but that he doesn't accept materialist reductionism.Quixodian

    I don't see materialism as a bogeyman as you apparently do. For me the reductive face of materialism shows itself in the claim that everything can be adequately explained in terms of physics, an obviously absurd claim which I don't think anyone with any understanding would make. In the sciences we see emergent hierarchies, and the lower do provide the foundations for the higher, but it certainly doesn't follow that the higher can be exhaustively explained or adequately described in terms of the lower.

    When it comes to personal transformation, what is possible is determined by the nature of the brain/body. So, one can alter their state of mind in the ways I listed above regardless of one's ontological opinions or commitments and regardless of whether one even bothers to worry about whether this ism or that ism is the truer to some imagined "ultimate" reality.

    That said, some people may find certain ideas more congenial and thus more enabling than others, but that is a matter for the individual; there are no general rules. Diversity is the only rule.
  • plaque flag
    2.7k

    The counterpart of science in the political world is the modern Liberal state, which, Habermas reminds us, maintains “a neutrality . . . towards world views,” that is, toward comprehensive visions (like religious visions) of what life means, where it is going and what we should be doing to help it get there. The problem is that a political structure that welcomes all worldviews into the marketplace of ideas, but holds itself aloof from any and all of them, will have no basis for judging the outcomes its procedures yield. Worldviews bring with them substantive long-term goals that serve as a check against local desires. Worldviews furnish those who live within them with reasons that are more than merely prudential or strategic for acting in one way rather than another.Does Reason Know what it is Missing? Stanley Fish, NY Times

    Hence the continuing allure of, for instance, fascism and communism, something bloody and radical, either nostalgic or utopian. The modern liberal state is neutral in the sense of taking the relatively free-autonomous-responsible atomized ego as its sacred object. For people like Kojeve, this is the end of history, its goal. If it didn't come with humanity's dangerous technical power, we'd probably celebrate it more.

    Instead we see the Jenga towers of Moloch go up all around us, and our dear ol' gametheoretical Locomotive Breath has no way to slow down. If this or that agent reasonably stops to think, is cautious in this way or that, others will swoop in and take over. We won't (we can't) be careful with the environment or A. I. The incentive structure forbids it. Politicians will continue offering the comforting lie to those who don't want to see the ruthless way of the world --which is not the ruthlessness so much of guilty individuals but of the prisoner's-dilemma ('Molochian') structure of the game. Hegel came too early, dwelled on the good, didn't contemplate the threat of tech, but he saw the bloody grinding gears of a Machine that transcended the intentions of ephemeral individuals, and he mocked the impotent sentimental objections to this Process (the creepy side of humanism, but man is, among other things, an apex predator, though we mostly treat animals like meatplants, too lazy to hunt or bored with such easy prey).

    In retrospect, we were always on the way to this situation, as a kind of breakaway piece of nature that had a big enough brain to become capable of bringing the whole system down. As far as I can tell, no evolutionary pressures were available during our forging to prepare us for our own therefore doomed triumph -- though we may sneak through the bottleneck and take over for nature, programming ourselves genetically and integrating our flesh with our best technology --posthuman cyborgs. This is the 'good' option, unless you not-so-unreasonably long for the end of our species. It's beautifully disgusting or disgustingly beautiful. I can't remember.
  • plaque flag
    2.7k
    In the sciences we see emergent hierarchies, and the lower do provide the foundations for the higher, but it certainly doesn't follow that the higher can be exhaustively explained or adequately described in terms of the lower.Janus

    :up:

    This is part of my point in Dramaturgical Ontology. Personality is a very 'high' or complex thing, yet its function is absolutely fundamental. It is the window through which the world shines, but it's stained glass. The world depends on my personality, as does my personality on the world. And this is true for all of us. And it's an old insight. Attitude changes the object. The stoic works at transcending resentment and greed, changing the world he lives in by changing the lens through which is shines. So the high and the low are terribly entangled.

    The reductionist is an escapist, enjoying the temporary relief that comes when complexity is simply ignored rather than clarified. To be fair, it's nice to get lost in maps that don't include the terrible self-referential complexity of ontology. I love a game of chess.
  • Wayfarer
    21.1k
    Hence the requirement for the vertical dimension, the qualitative domain.

    I don't see materialism as a bogeyman as you apparently doJanus

    The issue is that materialism only considers objects and their quantitative attributes to be real, not to put too fine a point on it. It says that intelligent agents such as ourselves can be explained and understood solely in those terms, and that the qualitative domain - the felt quality of existence - has no intrinsic reality apart from that. That is the source of what John Vervaeke and Gregg Henriques are describing as ‘the meaning crisis’ of modern societies.
  • plaque flag
    2.7k
    Hence the requirement for the vertical dimension, the qualitative domain.Quixodian

    Ah but you speak as if we don't all of us already live in such a domain. In our historically late liberal pluralistic societies, we are lost in a maze of differing conceptions of that vertical dimensions. Socrates is probably only possible within such 'decadence.'

    People crave community. They also crave recognition as individuals.

    The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.
    ...
    Mankind’s common instinct for reality has always held the world to be essentially a theatre for heroism. In heroism, we feel, life’s supreme mystery is hidden.
    — William James

    These days, when I hope to win another human being's attention and respect for my precious individual snowflake value, I have to compete not with other individuals but with the entire internet, a veritable dream machine, all others individuals at once, expertly curated by bespoke filters. So we largely bore and annoy one another, at least when sex is not an option and there's no money or fame to be obtained via cooperation. Of course parents and children often have strong bonds, at least when the children are young.
    ***
    The most plausible situation I might have bothered hoping for once is a generalized Denmark. It's not that I don't feel your sense of something missing in our style of civilization. But then I think 'Solomon' is right about some kind of fundamental emptiness to human things. A show entirelessly without substance. But one can only say so with a complicated irony. Life is richly meaningful in one sense and yet lacking 'substance' in another sense.

    Nihilism and transcendence sleep in the same bed.
  • plaque flag
    2.7k
    It says that intelligent agents such as ourselves can be explained and understood solely in those terms, and that the qualitative domain - the felt quality of existence - has no intrinsic reality apart from that.Quixodian

    If the point is just that mind is embodied, that the subject needs a world, then I agree. But of course I insist that we live in quality and meaning, and that primarily quantitive 'maps' are something like useful fictions or mere aspects of the larger lifeworld.
  • Wayfarer
    21.1k
    I feel as thought what I’m attempting to say is considerably simpler than what you’re taking it for. Never mind, it’s good to thrash these things out.
  • plaque flag
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    Even scientistic secular humanists, a tiny subset of the population, are lit up with the holy fire of the righteous truth, and they count themselves as members of the one of the countless versions of spiritual-cultural Elite.

    The Q-Anon lady is heroically doing Research and saving children from demons who merely look like humans. And so on.

    William James nailed it. We are fundamentally dramatic-heroic beings, understanding the world as a stage for good guys and bad guys -- vertically.
  • plaque flag
    2.7k
    Reading about Vervaeke here : https://www.whatisemerging.com/profiles/john-vervaeke-edba633a-50b3-4dec-920b-967d8f0f2b01

    A worldview is two things simultaneously: (1) a model of the world and (2) a model for acting in that world. It turns the individual into an agent who acts, and it turns the world into an arena in which those actions make sense.” The congruence between “agent” and “arena” leads to meaning in life. They “mutually make sense of one another, and ratify each other’s existence and intelligibility.”
    :up:

    A hero myth is a world view. A world view is a hero myth.

    An ego-ideal implies a stage on which it makes senes, as well as a dragon/windmill/shadow.

    Any expression of worldview is the expression of a total personality, of an 'unreliable' narrator who can be 'read off' of this worldview. Probably we mostly praise reveal ourselves by talking about the world (our stage), because our vanity is slightly less obnoxious in the vanity of others that way.

    In modernity, politics is basically ideological competition. While it claims to be addressing the human pursuit of happiness, whatever that's supposed to mean, it has degenerated into ideological competition,

    Freedom is idealogical competition, within the constraints of a 'meta-ideology' of this freedom itself. You/I pursue happiness as you/I see fit, within the limits of not denying that privilege to others. This is just Enlightenment autonomy. Did freedom save the world ? From what, the horror of -- the horror that's necessarily part of --- life itself ?

    We tend to overemphasize propositional knowledge: We have sentences that give us certain beliefs, and then we classify them into theories, etc.” explains Vervaeke. “I am a scientist, so I think propositional knowledge is great. I am not trying to condemn that.” The problem is not with propositional knowledge per se. The problem is that we have lost other forms of knowledge that allow us to experience our connection with ourselves, each other, and the worlds we are embedded in.

    Vervaeke sounds somewhat Heideggarian to me so far. His 'worldview' is something like the dramaturgical structure of a lifeworld. If I bring a woman a rose, it's not just a plant. If I slip a ring on her finger, when she's wearing a white dress, it's bigger than the metal and cloth involved. Heidegger famously criticized the idea that the subject 'painted' values and meaning on the world that was given in terms of meaningless objects. This fiction has been extremely useful for certain purposes, and the rhetorical triumph of the technology it enabled dazzled philosophers who should have known better. The subject itself, in its meaningful lifeworld found and enabling science in the first place, became transparent to itself, as it 'collapsed' into its model of an amoral machine.

    As I see it, such insights are extremely liberating for the weird kind of person who could find a reductive description of the world plausible in the first place. A younger me was like that. I loved science in school, and I let myself believe I was studying a secret reality as opposed to the structure of this one. So tables were Really just atoms and love was Really just chemicals. Nevermind that scientific norms are vaporized along with the now-mystical-seeming meaning of scientific claims. To me this just goes to show how much we all long for the esoteric (for membership in a elite exclusive circle.) I couldn't just know progressively more about tables and love. I had to gaze at the Real table and the Dark Truth of what sentimental fools called 'love.' Eventually the game becomes gazing on what sentimental fools call 'Dark Truth.' And that too is swallowed and so on.
  • plaque flag
    2.7k
    Reading about Vervaeke here : https://www.whatisemerging.com/profiles/john-vervaeke-edba633a-50b3-4dec-920b-967d8f0f2b01

    “Situational awareness depends on what we call perspectival knowing. Perspectival knowing is what it's like to be here now: what's foregrounded, what's backgrounded, what's salient, what's relevant? Perspectival knowing is your salient landscaping in a particular context from a particular state of mind. That's your situational awareness. Now that, in turn, is ultimately dependent on how biology, culture, and your fluid intelligence are shaping you in the environment, so they fit each other so that it creates affordances. For example, a cup is graspable to me as a cup that I can use to solve the problem of drinking.”
    No mention of Heidegger or Dreyfus in this. Are the fields that far apart ? 'We' have known/discussed this for awhile now.

    “Can we find bottom-up emergence—new forms of practices, new ecologies of practices, new communities of practitioners—that are trying to train people in the transformation of perspectival and participatory knowing so as to reduce their self-deception and enhance their sense of connectedness to themselves, to each other in the world?”

    Would this not be enabled rather than hindered by a free society ?

    “With mindfulness,” he says, “I can break out of egocentric bias and that will actually afford me overcoming a lot of self-deception and it also enhances my connectedness to the world.”

    I totally agree with that project. To me philosophy and science are already a big part of that. The branding of 'mindfulness' is fine, but some of us find it necessary. Because it can be sold as one product.
    The wisdom traditions of the great religions play an outsider’s role in modern Western culture. They do not determine our culture. Science, psychology and even the multitude of modern and postmodern therapies and social practices, have not been able to fill the vacuum.

    This 'vacuum' is the treasure of our long, bloody, and mostly stupid human history. It's the idea of trying all kinds of ways of being and letting our bad ideas die without taking us and our neighbors down with them.

    This doesn't mean that we aren't fucked as a species. We might be. But this looks more game-theoretical than a mere matter of ideology. Moloch demands a tower. If I mindfully avoid developing the next super-weapon, my rival is even more motivated to do so, for that rival can achieve a greater advantage at the same cost. If my company thinks A.I. is unethical in this or that context and does the right thing at a loss of profit, rival companies sweep in, make more money, and eventually by my own or put it out of business by underselling it. We'd need a global spiritual/ideological movement to spread across all classes and nations at high speed. How about a single nation ? Would the issue then be endless class war ? The threat of a schism of that supernation's ruling class ?

    What I like about God on the cross (as a symbol, and as a way of life, me being bloody Christ of course) is its insistence that good is only found entangled with and even imprisoned by evil. Satan Moloch is lord of this world. The proposed mindfulness movement is essentially optimistic and political rather than pessimistic and transcendent. Optimistic movements tend to reject the world as it is now, or forgive it only in terms of a implausible future. Pessimistic-transcendent ideologies (perhaps the skeptic in Kojeve) refuse to take mere worldly power as authoritative, finding an invisible 'kingdom of God' within. Stirner made much of the link between a unworldly Christianity (not today's Trumpthumping) and skepticism. Freedom is internal, a matter of ideas and feelings and ....
  • Wayfarer
    21.1k
    No mention of Heidegger or Dreyfus in this.plaque flag

    The Meaning Crisis episode on Heidegger is here. Dreyfus comes up in this episode and in a subsequent episode on Paul Tillich. (He specifically mentions a book by Dreyfus and Charles Taylor, Recovering Realism, which as it happens I own a copy of.)

    Would this not be enabled rather than hindered by a free society ?plaque flag

    Surely, but there’s nothing native to modern liberal democracies which foster it. We have the freedom to pursue any ‘ecologies of practice’ we want to but absent the connective tissue provided by culture they can be very difficult to develop and enact. I was part of an informal Buddhist practice group for about ten years which was invaluable but it dispersed and it’s been impossible to replace.

    That, by the way, is a very good overview, I hadn’t found it previously.

    Watch this trailer. The full movie has been released on YouTube but the trailer is a mini-documentary in its own right. Dreyfus is in it.

  • plaque flag
    2.7k
    Watch this trailer. The full movie has been released on YouTube but the trailer is a mini-documentary in its own right. Dreyfus is in it.Quixodian

    :up:

    I've seen it. Good stuff.
  • plaque flag
    2.7k
    We have the freedom to pursue any ‘ecologies of practice’ we want to but absent the connective tissue provided by culture they can be very difficult to develop and enact. I was part of an informal Buddhist practice group for about ten years which was invaluable but it dispersed and it’s been impossible to replace.Quixodian

    :up:

    This is why I mentioned earlier how we all compete now with the entire internet. I was very social in my 20s and 30s, but lots of things I took for granted fizzled out as people took different life paths. Some of it must be aging, but some of it is probably our hyperstimulated culture. So I feel a nostalgia sometimes for that lost sociality, but I find comfort in the realm of ghosts -- as I find myself more and more a ghost myself, in many ways happier than ever. I reflect on Plato from a psychoanalytic perspective, thinking about how the projection is drawn back in and the object in its recognized virtuality is possessed internally. I think of blindgoing Joyce at work on his musical monomythic sinwheel, watching from the balcony with the gods, trying to paint the view. Jung's essay on Ulysses is profound. Pdf not hard to find if you are interested.
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