• Ciceronianus
    3k


    It strikes me that your metaphor doesn't work, perhaps because those you mention in your post don't seem to be "idols" as usually defined, except perhaps Pythagoras, who was revered by his followers in ancient times much as Epicurus was by those who followed him. But Pythagoras wasn't revered for his theorem, which is what you seem to focus on in his case.

    Regardless, where idols are concerned, if they are being considered, why have them at at all?
  • Lionino
    1.8k
    Because he is not using "idol" in the way you mean.
  • isomorph
    26
    Lionino is right, the way I am using the word idol is akin to Francis Bacon's 'idols of the mind', which were mental errors. That is what I mean and also 'heroes', cultural stereotypes, ideas that we hold onto in the face of incontrovertible evidence to the contrary. I am not advocating ridding ourselves of ideas and thoughts just because they are old. I am advocating using a critical eye on ancient ways, but especially on new items. Particularly in the 20th century, The emphasis is on newness, rather than improving what already exists. Tech people would consider me a luddite, but I'm not against tech, I am against not improving what is here now. Our consumer culture is all about production and consumption and that is an idol that should be destroyed.
  • ENOAH
    494


    Firstly, if I am exploring items outside the scope of your interest, please disregard.

    Secondly, maybe the answers are in Arendt, and I'm unaware. I can remember reading The Human Condition (?) years ago. No doubt it has contributed to my narrative, but I can't remember much. And I'm impatient. Sorry.

    Thirdly, please bear with me. I am exploring ideas which are apparently (only recently apparent to me to be) outside of the reaches of convention. Or, equally, if not more likely, I have an idiosyncratic way of expressing ideas which are within that reach. Either way, though it may not be obvious, against my impatience, I am trying to be sensitive to both. In other words, I'm not being deliberately puzzling, even less deliberately frustrating, or god forbid obtuse.

    (If) culture is Nature (which I haven't settled on) and hubris is "bad" (which I have settled upon). ...

    1. Assume, like I do, the broadest definition of culture to mean the very ground of the human condition. ( C is what differentiates us, hence the "human" condition. Not "like" the "rest" of our organic natures). So all human experiences and all of their manifestations which are not strictly primal(?) (you also reference the relevance of prehistoric, so that) are C.

    2. But C is Natural, you (and likely most people(?)) say. It's not there in the so-called primal. So it must have evolved...(?)

    3. And if C is the ground of the human condition, then hubris also comes from C and its (natural?) evolution. So hubris is natural. And when we see it as bad, that is nature "judging" itself (?). Which if C is natural, our human nature engages in a lot of processes where we necessarily behave as if we were two; behaviors like judging ourselves, speaking to ourselves...but...how? (It least that has to be some form of artificial mechanism taking place)

    4. Also if hubris is nature, is it really bad? Yes, I know, aggression is nature and also bad; and so are hurricanes. But are they? If hubris and aggression naturally evolved, they have presumably served some natural fitness for survival. And sure enough, we have surpassed the other primates with hubris. Should we take a step back before we mess with evolution?

    I have a few more, I'm sure, but I've said enough to attempt my point. Which is,

    Doesn't it seem much simpler (and in the spirit of Ockhams razor) more reasonable to see C--though clearly the ground of the HC--not as a natural evolution, but a complete construction of something new, no longer of this world of natural reality. Something empty of essence or thing in itself; something more like code which emerged/evolved. And C is built out of that. Like everything in C, everything we ordinarily see as "making-up" the HC, Hubris is a construction out of "code" triggering certain organic feelings and activities. Viewed that way, a natural being can, admittedly using the codes accessible in C, designate as something "bad", something we have constructed out of/in C, but something harmful to our organism; a thing we ought to revise or abandon.

    In other words, we can most effectively protect our organic beings, and the species, if we recognize that both the so called good and the so called bad are already not what we are, and can be "manipulated" (I prefer edited) or even abandoned if harmful to our organic prosperity; promoted, even reconstructed better, if helpful to our organic prosperity.
  • 013zen
    122
    From what I can gather...you're talking about a couples of things, but ultimately I take it to be an epistemological question?

    You mention Bacon as reference to your usage of idols, and to my understanding Bacon was using the term to identify examples of metaphysical thinking that really had no business in serious metaphysics, meant to assist the sciences - these idols do not give us knowledge.

    With that being said, I don't quite agree with his agenda - I think that it is a truism that can be taken as a cautionary tale, but it was ultimately written for a different audience than today. That's just an aside, though.

    I am interesting in hearing more about how you're using the term. Are you calling attention to the fact that there are degrees of certainty that we can have regarding various claims? If so, I am also curious to hear more about how this ties back to Arendt. I read the book many moons ago, but from my memory, praxis and all that jazz seems a different problem entirely.

    Supposing that Arendt is even right about the human condition, what does this have to do with the thesis?

    Also, hello :smile:
  • isomorph
    26
    (If) culture is Nature (which I haven't settled on) and hubris is "bad" (which I have settled upon). ...

    I would not say culture is Nature (capital N), but it is in our nature. The human condition pertains to how we are on the earth and in the world we make.

    2. But C is Natural, you (and likely most people(?)) say. It's not there in the so-called primal. So it must have evolved...(?)ENOAH

    My proposition is that culture is part of social human nature. The only difference between us and our prehistoric ancestors is technical sophistication, so the word ‘primal’ to me refers to something before modern humans were in the ascendency.

    our human nature engages in a lot of processes where we necessarily behave as if we were two;ENOAH

    Humans definitely have competing interests within ourselves, as well as in our community: love, hate, greed, altruism, etc.

    Also if hubris is nature, is it really bad? Yes, I know, aggression is nature and also bad; and so are hurricanes. But are they?ENOAH

    Heraclitus fragment 61: “While cosmic wisdom understands all things are good and just, intelligence may find injustice here and justice somewhere else.”
    The universe is impartial, while justice, injustice, purpose and meaning all have to do with humans living together successfully. That’s what determines good, bad, etc. I am not an idealist, gut an absurdist. I’ve never been able to grasp essences and forms outside of the virtual reality in which they exist in our minds.

    we can most effectively protect our organic beings, and the species, if we recognize that both the so called good and the so called bad are already not what we are,ENOAH

    Nietzsche talked about our instinct for survival being the thing we have not gotten rid of. I don’t tend to use words ‘natural’ and ‘unnatural” lightly because they are easily misunderstood as good and bad. I am saying culture is in our nature as social animals, and with our wonderfully excess mental capacities, we are capable of doing great good and also kill ourselves on the installment plan.
  • isomorph
    26
    Bacon's idols were, as Bacon thought, mental errors, and that is an appropriate human concern no matter what era. I use the word idol in a common way: the Golden Calf idol of Hebrew days, rock and roll idols today. It is merely a way of speaking about mental attitudes toward anything in life. Nebuchadnezzar's idol and its destruction is a metaphor in my dialogue. It is apparent from the growth of knowledge about the universe that many ideas held in sacrosanct have been demolished. Hannah Arendt gave an appropriate analysis of the human condition from the perspective of western philosophy; I am saying there is an overarching human condition that we should become aware of if we are to prevent biathanatos.
  • 013zen
    122
    Bacon's idols were, as Bacon thought, mental errors, and that is an appropriate human concern no matter what era.isomorph

    Yes, that's what I said :P I did say that, while I personally, think Bacon was being a tad bit extreme (for good reason, at his time), that today, these idols are becoming (I hope) less perverse. I could totally be wrong about that, I just wanted to establish that we understanding the term "idols" in the same way. :smile:

    It is apparent from the growth of knowledge about the universe that many ideas held in sacrosanct have been demolished.isomorph

    So, it is apparent then that ideas have been replaced with ideas. But, by what mechanism does this replacement occur? Do we always outrightly discard ideas, or do we instead develop and cull certain aspects of ideas like we might prune and cultivate a tree? Isn't it simply an evolution of thought over time? Taking what is useful and discarding what is not?

    Hannah Arendt gave an appropriate analysis of the human condition from the perspective of western philosophyisomorph

    Yes, and while perhaps appropriate, the question remains...she thinks that we are "apparently" beings meant to engage in praxis.


    Do you, personally, agree with this sentiment?

    I am saying there is an overarching human conditionisomorph

    Agreed :smile: What that subsists in, is the question.
  • ENOAH
    494
    The human condition pertains to how we are on the earth and in the world we make.isomorph

    Sorry for the upper case. Ha. My keyboard does it and Im complacent. But I getvyour distinction. And you're probably right that I was squeezing you into the upper case. But still, I wonder, is it human "nature" and not a construction that "transcended" (Im not in favor of the word here) nature, hmm. I don't have the breadth of "knowledge" to judge. You are likely on the side of the majority.

    It is only the microscopic "part" of History (Culture) which has unfolded for me in my tiny locus building my beliefs. And currently it is that culture, though "tethered" to nature (specifically human) for its infrastructure and feelings-leading-to-actions in Nature (upper case intended, commonly, "the world," but for me it is "other" than Culture, a manifestation of the fleeting dynamics of hollow representations in Mind), is nevertheless alienated from it.

    How does that, if remotely true (I currently believe "true" is ultimately what is the most fitting to believe, but that's for a different "thread"(?)), tie in?

    Because if C is not our nature, and hubris is obviously bad, attack it where it exists, in the malleable narratives our representatives write; not in our real natures where hubris has no meaning Because "meaning" has no meaning. Why is that functional? It's intuitive to me that if we are aware that our "problems" are "fictional" it would be easier to carry out your call, "curtail hubris". I think your "five" propositions are exactly that, a submission for the editing of our narrative, and in no way directed at our Natures. So great, I can edit the Narrative, that seems manageable.

    Heraclitus fragment 61: “While cosmic wisdom understands all things are good and just, intelligence may find injustice here and justice somewhere else.”isomorph
    Nice!


    The universe is impartial, while justice, injustice, purpose and meaning all have to do with humans living together successfully"

    I agree!
    isomorph
    I don’t tend to use words ‘natural’ and ‘unnatural” lightly because they are easily misunderstood as good and bad.isomorph
    An excruciatingly excellent point. I'm recklessly broad and general in these brief encounters. No excuse. I totally need to sharpen my skills to fit the box. In fairness to other. Apologies.

    Thank you for the response! Your interests are definitely fascinating and have opened new pathways for me to explore. I appreciate that.
  • isomorph
    26
    I personally, think Bacon was being a tad bit extreme (for good reason, at his time), that today, these idols are becoming (I hope) less perverse. I013zen

    I hardly feel that our idols are becoming less perverse. Perhaps in your mind as you have grown, but, humans, in general are subject to the same proclivities through time. Contemporaneous idols may seem domesticated, while ancient idols are exotic and seem more extreme, but they are all just as perverse, as you put it.

    So, it is apparent then that ideas have been replaced with ideas. But, by what mechanism does this replacement occur?013zen

    A starting point to see how this paradigm shift happens is in Kuhn's The Structure of Scientic Revolutions.

    Yes, and while perhaps appropriate, the question remains...she thinks that we are "apparently" beings meant to engage in praxis.013zen

    Fill up life with things that pertain to life. That is not what the Greeks thought and I don't believe that is the thinking today, because things that pertain to life are necessary things: building , growing, etc.That would be my definition of praxis.
  • DifferentiatingEgg
    21
    Nietzsche seems to have a few things to say upon this IIRC. I remember having to look up "atavism" from a song I really liked a long time ago, and I believe the first time I've ever seen it used was by Nietzsche. His book Twilight of the Idols, although I've only skimmed through it, seems as if it may be apt to this discussion. I'll crack open some dusty old books to try and find more for the discussion. It's weird, your name Isomorph makes me want to open Godel Escher Bach because that's the first time I encountered the word isomorphism, that I can remember. It makes me wonder if I came to this post because of knowing about Nietzsche's book Twilight of the Idols, and the titled of the post reminded me of said book. Like why do I click on any of these things? Desire, to do so sure, but it's like a desire for what? I wonder if we can learn to understand the types of desires that seemingly catalyze within us, as they occur. Maybe that's kinda what stoicism is all about?
  • jgill
    3.6k
    Welcome to the Forum. :cool:

    Our prehistorical ancestors had thinking capacity equal to ours, maybe greater than ours, and this can be seen in prehistoric cave art created by intellectual masters.isomorph

    How do the drawings on cave walls imply intellectual capacities rather than simply artistic abilities?
  • isomorph
    26
    How do the drawings on cave walls imply intellectual capacities rather than simply artistic abilities?jgill

    Well, first of all, they are not just graffiti, some of the painting show depth, which requires a tremendous amount of attention and skill. The color mixes required experimentation and experience, knowledge of materials, a great deal of time was invested in learning all of this and making the paintings. It is not just someone with artistic ability picking up some material at the store and finding out they could draw and paint, they were 'inventing the wheel' so to speak. They had no shoulders to stand on. It was the same intelligence that made the first basket, the first animal bladder to carry water, burned the first brick and clay for a pottery vase. Their intelligence was guided by necessity and the geniuses made all of these things to aid in their daily life. They then made time to produce art. I would say they were very intelligent.
  • jgill
    3.6k
    I would say they were very intelligent.isomorph

    But
    a thinking capacity equal to ours, maybe greater than ours
    ?
  • isomorph
    26
    a thinking capacity equal to ours, maybe greater than ours

    I say 'maybe' because we have no way to test, however, what was accomplished from zero, the whole foundation upon which human civilization flourished, I would tend to think their mental capacity is equal to ours, and their group capacity may have been greater than ours. The necessity of their daily life was something very few people today know.
  • Chet Hawkins
    268
    This is a very cool post. Thank you for posting it!

    By the way, your shape changes every day, in many ways, and time removed as a factor means even evolution denies quite thoroughly that you are isomorphic. Just sayin ...

    Our Idols Have Feet of Clay

    King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had a dream. “The king ordered the magicians, exorcists, sorcerers, and Chaldeans to be summoned in order to tell the king what he had dreamed.” Nebuchadnezzar was a true sceptic and required the interpreter to tell what the dream was before he made an interpretation. The Chaldeans engaged in obfuscation in an attempt to garner enough information to do a cold reading, but the king was having none of it.
    isomorph
    Within the standard cultural lexicon, it might be impolite to assume people know what a Chaldean is.

    Daniel had a vision before he was summoned to the king, and when he was brought to the king, Daniel related the dream and the interpretation:isomorph
    When quoting religious text or translations it is a good idea to state your belief set overview.

    The head of the statue was of fine gold; its breasts and arms were
    of silver; its belly and thighs, of bronze; its legs were of iron, and its
    feet part iron and part clay. As you looked on, a stone was hewn out,
    not by hands, and struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and
    crushed them. All at once, the iron, clay, bronze, silver, and gold
    were crushed, and became like chaff on the threshing floors of
    summer; a wind carried them off until no trace of them was left.
    I do not want to consider Daniel’s interpretation, rather I want to consider the common phrase used today, ‘feet of clay’, how it is used and suggest it is an erroneous gloss. People often say, “All of our idols have feet of clay”, meaning we all have flaws, we should not get too disappointed when our heroes fail us, etc. However, in Daniel’s story, it was not only the feet of clay that were destroyed, but the entire idol, gold, silver, bronze, iron, and clay all became “like chaff” carried off by the wind “until no trace of them was left.”
    isomorph
    I have been aware of this for a long time in my life. People use aphorisms incorrectly. There is a whole chapter in my soon to come book about this very issue, near and dear to my heart.

    Just like the flag, people cloak themselves in that which they believe is wisdom, and all unknowingly, thus subvert wisdom. I have come up with a fairly undetailed but accurate set of ways to examine arguments such that they can be tested for at least what I believe is actual wisdom.

    According to Daniel’s telling, the idol was destroyed entirely without any trace left. People today do not usually want their idols destroyed completely, but want to assuage their disappointment in a person with a phrase, but this meaning has drifted from the original story. This illustration of semantic drift shows something about the development of human thinking.isomorph
    Don't you mean the LACK of 'human' thinking? Thinking is just thinking. There is no reason to say 'human'. My border collie of years past could give many humans a run for their money.

    Thinking and Pragmatism as a whole is only a fear-based certainty-seeking calm-state-preferring addiction. They spout one-sided aphorisms as wisdom and turn such statements into anti-wisdom. Such users of ideas are not anywhere near the discipline of the original speakers of these ideas in acumen or intent. It is thus extremely accurate to say that inasmuch as most people were deeply unwise before, they have extended the capacity for a lack of wisdom to new and greater depths as time passes.

    This is obvious, really. That is to say, with greater moral agency comes the realization that agency is an amplitude only. It has BOTH positive (good) and negative (evil) sides. The agency value is an absolute value. Dogs can only sin just so much. Humans are worth mentioning as greater sinners than animals (or rocks). What evolves past humanity will have even more negative or sinful potential. It is a law of the universe.

    Along with semantic drift, there is also misprision through linguistic interpretation as Macintyre points out, “there is no precise English equivalent for the Greek word dikaiosune, usually translated justice.” Hall and Ames deal with the problem in translating Confucius: “the most accurate picture of Confucius can be obtained if we reject the possibility of such a reconstruction and instead attempt to change lenses and sharpen our focus in such a manner that we enhance our vision of Confucius from the perspective of the present.”As languages drift and develop, not considering the Tower of Babel, humans are able to add technical sophistication to their communication, e.g., Hegel’s thesis/antithesis/synthesis as a technical development of Heraclitus 46,isomorph
    I agree that language and most poignantly, its use by the common man, is becoming a problem, rather than a solution. As mentioned in other threads and again underscored in my last comment on this post, cultural agency has increased, but that means the number of misuses and ... immoral ... interpretations has also increased. The artifacts of that increase and then the number of choosers of immoral paths will begin to pile up.

    Since more and more moral choices are harder and harder to believe and to act upon, it stands to reason that the Fermi Paradox is likely no delusion at all. Most high minded moral agents will sink into immorality rather than face the ever mounting difficulty of making more and more moral choices when ease is so deeply craved.

    and, also, convoluted errors are added to our thinking, e.g., pick any conspiracy theory.isomorph
    Lol! Nope! Some such theories are now 'proven'. But I have no desire to derail and your main point is still greatly worthy. So on-on!

    Technical sophistication, misprision and convoluted errors characterize the development of civilized language and thinking, but it might be hubris to believe that modern humans can think better than our prehistoric ancestors.isomorph
    Well, yes, think better is probably a stretch. Still aware of more and thus able to use the same mechanisms of thought and thinking to arrive at better AND WORSE conclusions, yes.

    Again the dynamic truths I related about moral agency are the greater issue here. Language, like thought, evolves and faster than the machinery of the mind-body connection. I think it's fairly well admitted now by science though that evolution is done by fits and bursts. So, prepare to have prosthetic foreheads mounted on your real head.

    We should reconsider this metaphor of the idol and consider that our idols are provoking us to think, not telling us what to think, since our language and perspective are different, even from contemporaries using our native language. Our idols, in whatever genre, should provoke us to thought without dogma and erroneous semantic drift, or fetishes, or dreams of Arcadia or Utopia.isomorph
    This is wildly incorrect.

    Utopia is REQUIRED to be moral. That is not extant Utopia, as in realized by humanity or other 'thinkers', but Utopia as a dream, as a goal. You failed in this paragraph because of this wise maxim invented by me:

    Perfection-aiming IS NOT perfection-expectation.

    It is a Pragmatist immoral delusion that we should take no steps towards Utopia because Utopia is impossible.

    I think humans evolved to see existence as a surd and all of our idols are attempts to square the irrational , but, like Nebuchadnezzar’s dream idol, they will all end like chaff on the threshing floor and be dispersed by the wind as idol replaces idol and our knowledge moves asymptotically toward the nature of reality. Humans depend on intersubjectivity as confirmation of our perception of reality.isomorph
    I agree that this tendency is out there, mostly on the left, chaos-apology territory, where everything is a fungible orgy of rot and self-indulgence. Great ...

    In a private conversation, Roger Ames tried to dissuade me of the notion of finding parallels between western thinking and the “classical Chinese mind.” I fully understand his point, but, as Confucius said, “By nature we are alike, by practice we have become far apart.” I think there is an atavism in our nature as modern humans that ties us to all cultures and time periods.isomorph
    "No matter where you go, there you are!" - K'ung-fu-tzu

    I think you and Confucius were both right and Ames was wrong. Culture and language both are delusions we put up as walls to what is otherwise a whole lot of the same stupid and wise stuff going on.

    Nothing amid all of wisdom is more compelling finally that the oneness idea, that I call the Unity Principle, which is, 'you are me and I am you'. It also means 'You are God and I am God and We are God together'. Maybe there was a song ...

    Our prehistorical ancestors had thinking capacity equal to ours, maybe greater than ours, and this can be seen in prehistoric cave art created by intellectual masters.isomorph
    'Well, watery tarts throwing around scimitars is no basis for a system of government!'

    Umqua and Hoo were just putting ochre in their hair man for the Wa-da festival, to impress the dudes. Then they smacked it on the wall. And life was boring so they had some drawing contests. Intellectual masters might be a stretch.

    Propositions:
    1. As we progress, our idols are destroyed and replaced, e.g., Ptolemy/Copernicus.
    2. Improved instrumentation allows us to verify our perceptions and correct our thinking. Aristarchus saw a heliocentric universe before Ptolemaic geocentric universe was replaced by Copernicus’ heliocentric universe.
    3. History can be an idol to be destroyed as in the case of Pythagoras and his theorem, which was known in other cultures long before Pythagoras. Also the victor usually wipes out the history of the vanquished.
    4. Our historical idols did not spring up by the prowess of their own genius, but stood on the shoulders of giants as Newton said.
    4. We should be conservative in accepting changes, but remember the priests have always had a vested interest in maintaining status quo.
    isomorph
    I like all of these 'maxims'. The flux of progress requires fear (status quo and conservative nature) as well as discovery and following of desire to a point. The trick amid the truth of the word WISDOM, is balance. In other words, balance order and chaos.
  • isomorph
    26
    Thank you! I chose isoporph because I was tired of choosing a name and the machine said that name is already taken. I've put my own name in sometimes and I'm told , "That is taken!" So isomorph it is. I will have to take some time to let your post percolate before I can comment on you wonderful observations. As far as quoting religious texts, my belief system is I like reading old literature. I can't say I ascribe to any one. None would have me after getting to know me, and the feeling would end up being mutual. Years ago, Wilt Chamberlain was being interviewed and the Olympic committee had bad things to say about him. His response "Their opinion of me is probably higher than my opinion of them."
  • Lionino
    1.8k
    there is also misprision through linguistic interpretation as Macintyre points out, “there is no precise English equivalent for the Greek word dikaiosune, usually translated justice.”isomorph

    I just asked my Greek friend, he says it means justice.

    When it comes to the propositions, I don't have any disagreement that makes me want to voice it. Just that on 4 specifically, genius is very much important. Every student stands on the shoulders of giants, only a few of those hundreds of millions of students will ever prove a theorem or improve a theory.
  • 013zen
    122
    I hardly feel that our idols are becoming less perverse.isomorph

    Well, let's consider, for a moment, some of Bacon's idols.

    1. The tribe, or the belief that our senses exhaustively tell us what's true.

    With the advent, development, and widespread adoption of Scientific inclination, with an increasingly upward trend...more and more people are utilizing precise instruments to collect and analyze data.

    2. The cave, or personal beliefs about what's true.

    Folks are becoming more open to other perspectives, it seems. This seems to suggest that people are willing to think outside their own "caves" these days, if you will.

    3. The Marketplace, or belief about the meanings of words, and the extent to which they determine what you take to be true.

    This one is trickier. I don't think I can cite any clear example of this. I take this idol to be remedied by practicing philosophy, generally speaking. But, I can't be certain that people are becoming more philosophically inclined. If anything, this idol might be getting worse.

    4. The theater, or acceptance of established truth, and what is true.

    This, again, I take to be remedied by the upward scientific trend. Insofar as a core tenant of science is that of falsification, and the acceptance that scientific truth is merely, the best we've got at the moment, I think we're doing better on that front, too.

    A starting point to see how this paradigm shift happens is in Kuhn's The Structure of Scientic Revolutions.isomorph

    I have a copy, and made it through quite a bit awhile ago :smile: I get what you're saying, but more people are starting to understand and accept that science is composed of the best guess given the data, and shifts in how we understand the world can happen at any time.

    This was not the case in Bacon's time.

    Fill up life with things that pertain to life.isomorph

    I think we take the same meaning here...more or less :smile: and I don't disagree that we really ought to fill our lives with an appreciation for meaningful engagement with one another, in order to determine how best we can all live together.

    By calling her work: The Human Condition, she's saying that this is the position we are all in, aka this is the environment that we exist in, and that enables us a unique freedom that other beings don't have. She thinks this unique position in some sense constitutes our proper place of action, which borrowing from the ancient Greeks, established one's telos.

    I don't think we have a "telos", and while I do agree we find ourselves in a unique environment relative to other beings, and that it does influence how we developed, think, and engage with the world, I am uncertain as to whether or not that's truly what makes a human a human.
  • Chet Hawkins
    268
    ↪Chet Hawkins Thank you! I chose isoporph because I was tired of choosing a name and the machine said that name is already taken. I've put my own name in sometimes and I'm told , "That is taken!" So isomorph it is. I will have to take some time to let your post percolate before I can comment on you wonderful observations. As far as quoting religious texts, my belief system is I like reading old literature. I can't say I ascribe to any one. None would have me after getting to know me, and the feeling would end up being mutual. Years ago, Wilt Chamberlain was being interviewed and the Olympic committee had bad things to say about him. His response "Their opinion of me is probably higher than my opinion of them."isomorph
    Love it! I look forward to the stimulants that come from percolation!
  • isomorph
    26
    I just asked my Greek friend, he says it means justice.Lionino

    Thank you for making me do my own research. It also means righteousness, and it is from dikaios, which means "of persons, observant of customs and social rule, well ordered, civilized...regular way of living...observant of right." In later usage "of things, even, well balanced, regular, exact, rigid...to speak, quite exactly." This is from Liddell and Scott"s lexicon of Attic Greek. There were declension and case in Ancient Greek language which, depending upon the author using a word, gave varied meanings to a word that can not be reified, as in the word 'justice'.
  • isomorph
    26
    With the advent, development, and widespread adoption of Scientific inclination, with an increasingly upward trend.013zen

    I agree with this 'upward trend' pertaining to science. That is Steven Pinker's position. I said we are technically more sophisticated than our forbears, but we have not progressed as far as we think we have because we have the ability to alleviate much of the suffering that continues in the world, and much of it is autogenic, not just from natural catastrophes. We also have the other side of humanity: Anti-vaccine groups have no science behind them. The Covid pandemic could have been handled better if we had learned anything from the misnamed Spanish Flu pandemic (science learned but most humans did not, even some human scientists).The Q conspiracies, of the recent past, have no science behind them. Tribal distrust, in our politics, has no science behind it, yet every person thinks he is right. Xenophanes fragment 34, "...But opinion is allotted to all." Science has learned, I agree with you, but, humans, in their core, have not changed that much. "Technical sophistication, misprision and convoluted errors" is what I said earlier, and I still think that is a true characterization of humanity, past,
    present, and future.

    By calling her work: The Human Condition, she's saying that this is the position we are all in, aka this is the environment that we exist in, and that enables us a unique freedom that other beings don't have.013zen


    I am not sure that Arendt is positing anything in her book, it is an analysis of the human condition in western, developed civilization, which is not all of humanity. She has provided an analytical lens for our condition and anything we get from that is on us.

    I am uncertain as to whether or not that's truly what makes a human a human.013zen

    That is a truly idealistic thought. I am not an idealist, and I think we are already all human with our science, conspiracies, warts, and all.
  • isomorph
    26
    People use aphorisms incorrectly.Chet Hawkins

    "That begs the question..." That is a phrase that has gained some currency, and it has been incorrectly lifted from the philosopher's lexicon.

    people cloak themselves in that which they believe is wisdom, and all unknowingly, thus subvert wisdom.Chet Hawkins

    Xenophanes - "But opinion is allotted to all."

    Don't you mean the LACK of 'human' thinking? Thinking is just thinking. There is no reason to say 'human'. My border collie of years past could give many humans a run for their money.Chet Hawkins

    I say human because I want to limit the subject of this conversation to humans. I love my dog, too.

    It is thus extremely accurate to say that inasmuch as most people were deeply unwise before, they have extended the capacity for a lack of wisdom to new and greater depths as time passes.Chet Hawkins

    My idea is that there was more wisdom and invention in our prehistoric ancestors, otherwise we would not be able to talk about this on this contraption I am using right now. I have to think that they were smarter and more capable than we are. I will not name a recent example, but you must be aware of some 'geniuses' whose fortunes are built upon someone else's work.

    Humans are worth mentioning as greater sinners than animals (or rocks). What evolves past humanity will have even more negative or sinful potential. It is a law of the universe.Chet Hawkins

    From your speech, I see you take that as axiomatic. I refrain from words like 'sinner' and 'evil', because try as I might, I am not much of a poet. We make choices that can be beneficial, or detrimental, or both at the same time. I am not persuaded that it is a law that whatever comes next will have exceedingly 'sinful potential'. Is that entropy?

    I agree that language and most poignantly, its use by the common man, is becoming a problem, rather than a solution.Chet Hawkins

    I do not think the situation is worse than it has been. I am constantly echoing Confucius' 2600 year old cry, "We need a rectification of names!" Heraclitus moved up to the mountains because he did not want to listen to crowd anymore, if I am reading it correctly.

    Utopia is REQUIRED to be moral. That is not extant Utopia, as in realized by humanity or other 'thinkers', but Utopia as a dream, as a goalChet Hawkins

    Utopia is not required to be moral. Living together successfully requires ethics for living together successfully. I am not a German Idealist, however I think Kant had some understanding of things required for 'us to just all get along.' And the US Constitution is aspirational, but no utopia. Utopia is an idealist concept, as opposed to aspirations towards getting along with one another and not killing ourselves and others.

    It also means 'You are God and I am God and We are God together'. Maybe there was a song ...Chet Hawkins

    Way to idealistic for me. Sorry!

    Umqua and Hoo were just putting ochre in their hair man for the Wa-da festival, to impress the dudes. Then they smacked it on the wall. And life was boring so they had some drawing contests. Intellectual masters might be a stretch.Chet Hawkins

    I would like to persuade you that your opinion of our predecessors is not true. Our cultural cloud has given us the stereotypical caveman, which I do not think is accurate. McLuhan in Understanding Media talk about 'primitive' people encountering technology and they assimilate it into their lives just as 'modern' people. From what I can ascertain in news reports, terrorists living in remote areas are more technically sophisticated than I am. They have used the internet, Facebook, etc. more than I have, and before I have used them. I have no test to show the intelligence of our predecessors. The experimentation and invention that were required to give their progeny a foundation required much luck and much genius. Mathew Arnold talked about "the power of the man and the power of the moment." I think that applies to our ancient ancestors.
  • Chet Hawkins
    268
    ↪Chet Hawkins
    People use aphorisms incorrectly.
    — Chet Hawkins

    "That begs the question..." That is a phrase that has gained some currency, and it has been incorrectly lifted from the philosopher's lexicon.
    isomorph
    I agree. But in case you are asking, let's say for an example, life and reality are aligned and balanced properly amid morality by a radical polarization to spur action and flux. This dichotomy is seen throughout life and in every way at every level. From the balance of charges to include the neutral in atoms themselves all the way up to such 'enlightened' beings as humans, and AT NO LEVEL in this advance is the balance or morality ever abandoned (or can be).

    That is to say, ... these days most people prefer or pretend to prefer sound byte sized wisdom. So, right there, on the surface of things, you see the immoral dynamic. It's deeply saddening. We have the ever short-cut-loving right wing order apologists fine SUDDENLY with imbalance and stating only their side's wisdom precisely because they are sick of the over-indulgence of the left and chaos-apology. These apology terms are my terms. They refer to fear-side Pragmatism (order-apology) and desire-side Idealism (chaos-apology). I consider the terms MORE, not less accurate than ... ANY other terms used because the stress is on the REAL issue, the underlying emotion in charge of the motivational narrative.

    With attention to the three path and wise fourth path designations, we see whole wisdom MUST contain all three and equally stressed. This flies directly in the face of all polarized foolishness like literally almost everything we see on the news today.

    people cloak themselves in that which they believe is wisdom, and all unknowingly, thus subvert wisdom.
    — Chet Hawkins

    Xenophanes - "But opinion is allotted to all."
    isomorph
    Agreed and yet ... not relevant. Do opinions matter to truth? No, they do not. So, amid the effort to uncover and understand truth, like in any other discipline, experts are advisable to lead the way. But I see expertise as compromised too much these days (as before). Money corrupts the issue largely and its pressure is unforgivable. Capitalism was indeed a better way once. But its use has passed, and we are all too unwise to see it now as the One Ring of Sauron that it always was.

    Democracy likewise is immoral. Socrates himself explained this 2500 years ago and we are still ignoring his better wisdom. Just anyone IS NOT QUALIFIED to vote, to offer their opinion on what SHOULD BE the guiding light for the leadership of us all, wisdom. So the masses can keep their foolish opinions, frankly. They have proven without much doubt over history that their 'voting' is a horror show of mediocrity and random flippant pursuits. Although the root of the word is much maligned, in words like sophists, I prefer a Sophocracy. That means we need to GET BUSY defining what is wise and what is not, for real, best subjective guesses on objective morality.

    Don't you mean the LACK of 'human' thinking? Thinking is just thinking. There is no reason to say 'human'. My border collie of years past could give many humans a run for their money.
    — Chet Hawkins

    I say human because I want to limit the subject of this conversation to humans. I love my dog, too.
    isomorph
    Well, I think the limit to human is a problem, because it subsumes often enough a conceit that is part and parcel of the problem in question. Still, I am just making sure the scope of delusion of whoever I have dialogue with. People demonstrate to me all the time that they are incapable of entertaining other points of view for real. I suppose one might rightly accuse me of a shock-jock style of dialogue. So be it! Gadfly status is a hard cross to bear. 'Men of Athens! ...'

    It is thus extremely accurate to say that inasmuch as most people were deeply unwise before, they have extended the capacity for a lack of wisdom to new and greater depths as time passes.
    — Chet Hawkins

    My idea is that there was more wisdom and invention in our prehistoric ancestors, otherwise we would not be able to talk about this on this contraption I am using right now. I have to think that they were smarter and more capable than we are. I will not name a recent example, but you must be aware of some 'geniuses' whose fortunes are built upon someone else's work.
    isomorph
    Aware of it? I lived it many times. I designed, wrote, installed, sold, and maintained many many software works (of art). In some cases my work has been sold to 500+ large businesses within one year and I got a pittance bonus at best. Investment money should not make such a share. Investment in people is when you support them making THEIR way in the world, not yourself, or not yourself alone or mostly.

    But I disagree strongly that they were wiser than us per capita. In fact we are wiser in every way than they were, even per capita. The problem IS NOT that. The problem is the ease is now readily available as a temptation. And people grasp for that great wealth and ease, power of freedom.way way way way too much. The result of relative prosperity is that people's morals have slipped on average which is what offers you that impression. People are effectively EMPOWERED to be more immoral. Eat a whole bag of sugar doughnuts. In the past that was almost not available. Spend time as an activist out protesting while someone else pays the price. In the past that was much harder to bother with. Find your 'crazy' niche of others and get with them easily to sound your 'crazy' horns. In the past that was unheard of and much craziness was isolated and easily maintained.

    Humans are worth mentioning as greater sinners than animals (or rocks). What evolves past humanity will have even more negative or sinful potential. It is a law of the universe.
    — Chet Hawkins

    From your speech, I see you take that as axiomatic. I refrain from words like 'sinner' and 'evil', because try as I might, I am not much of a poet. We make choices that can be beneficial, or detrimental, or both at the same time. I am not persuaded that it is a law that whatever comes next will have exceedingly 'sinful potential'. Is that entropy?
    isomorph
    So, refrain, restraint, ... these are fear words, order-centric. And the avoidance of discussion of morality or sins or good and evil, is just that, avoiding the truth. I am NOT religious, but was raised Methodist Christian. My model of reality, which I am writing a book on, is for 'generic' wisdom, free from any organized religion and focusing only on objective moral truth (wisdom).

    Your statements there imply a kind of possible moral subjectivism. (It is) As if good and evil are poetic only. They are not to me. They are fundamental truths of the universe.

    Moral agency is a scope that increases in amplitude. I already 'proved' it as a base. I mean you realize and admit, do you not, that the choice scope of a canine is less than that of a human. But it is both less good and less evil. That is a minor proof. What is next will BOTH be more good and more evil potentially in its choices than a human is. Or let me state it this way, increasing awareness and thus increasing belief, requires more, not less control, to be moral. If for example, atomic bombs had been used with the same sort of abandon as guns, well, you know the rest.

    Still my model shows clearly that conflict is unavoidable and wise in general. The peaceniks are badly wrong. Change is synonymous with war, really. I am NOT saying that unnecessary violence is a good idea, but I am saying that necessary violence is morally good. A wide swath of people will not regularly maintain society's rules if allowed unforced choice. So force it is and that force is wise.

    I agree that language and most poignantly, its use by the common man, is becoming a problem, rather than a solution.
    — Chet Hawkins

    I do not think the situation is worse than it has been. I am constantly echoing Confucius' 2600 year old cry, "We need a rectification of names!" Heraclitus moved up to the mountains because he did not want to listen to crowd anymore, if I am reading it correctly.
    isomorph
    I agree, it's always been RELATIVELY the same. That means because it is better now, it's also worse now, but the same relatively. Empowerment of leaders and speed of human civil awareness growth BUT NOT WISDOM, in fact one-sided or RELATIVELY less wisdom, we are in more trouble.

    If chaos (freedom) increases, order must increase to wisely balance it.

    Utopia is REQUIRED to be moral. That is not extant Utopia, as in realized by humanity or other 'thinkers', but Utopia as a dream, as a goal
    — Chet Hawkins

    Utopia is not required to be moral. Living together successfully requires ethics for living together successfully. I am not a German Idealist, however I think Kant had some understanding of things required for 'us to just all get along.' And the US Constitution is aspirational, but no utopia. Utopia is an idealist concept, as opposed to aspirations towards getting along with one another and not killing ourselves and others.
    isomorph
    These ARE NOT opposed to one another as you suggest. They are the same. Denigration of idealism as an aim is an immoral Pragmatic failure. This is nothing so much as order short-cutting truth via fear to be efficient and 'get er done'. It IS NOT a wise way to proceed and it never will be. The ideals lead the way. They steer the ship. The Pragmatists, like it or not, ONLY get to decide HOW to do what the idealists know WHY to do. I think it's important as well to say that the speed of change is relevant. In general the idealists are far too impatient. Change must be at a pace slow enough for the fear types not to panic.

    It also means 'You are God and I am God and We are God together'. Maybe there was a song ...
    — Chet Hawkins

    Way to idealistic for me. Sorry!
    isomorph
    Ha ha! I figured. But it's less aggrandizing than is realized. We all have the responsibility of God as well.

    Umqua and Hoo were just putting ochre in their hair man for the Wa-da festival, to impress the dudes. Then they smacked it on the wall. And life was boring so they had some drawing contests. Intellectual masters might be a stretch.
    — Chet Hawkins

    I would like to persuade you that your opinion of our predecessors is not true. Our cultural cloud has given us the stereotypical caveman, which I do not think is accurate. McLuhan in Understanding Media talk about 'primitive' people encountering technology and they assimilate it into their lives just as 'modern' people. From what I can ascertain in news reports, terrorists living in remote areas are more technically sophisticated than I am. They have used the internet, Facebook, etc. more than I have, and before I have used them. I have no test to show the intelligence of our predecessors. The experimentation and invention that were required to give their progeny a foundation required much luck and much genius. Mathew Arnold talked about "the power of the man and the power of the moment." I think that applies to our ancient ancestors.
    isomorph
    I disagree that they were any more capable. In fact, in general, the opposite. But I agree entirely that today's people use less well what is readily available to them. They simply follow their random pleasure seeking far too much and get locked into various patterns of addiction much more easily. It is the rot of ease that is costing us now. We do not understand that ease is effectively immoral.
  • isomorph
    26
    AT NO LEVEL in this advance is the balance or morality ever abandoned (or can be).Chet Hawkins

    From this statement, I think you are saying that morality is a balance, not morality in a religious sense, perhaps in the sense of Heraclitus, or in a Daoist sense. Am I understanding correctly? I can agree with that on our level of resolution.

    on the surface of things, you see the immoral dynamic.Chet Hawkins

    This goes with the above, but you are talking about people now. I don't think what you are talking about has changed in human nature. I think you could go to ancient writers and find the same complaint.

    This flies directly in the face of all polarized foolishness like literally almost everything we see on the news today.Chet Hawkins

    It is in our nature to be tribal and technology makes it so much more efficient. The beginning of the US Constitution was not a two party system, but it developed immediately after Washington left the presidency, because Washington seemed to be the only thing they could agree on.

    Agreed and yet ... not relevant. Do opinions matter to truth?Chet Hawkins

    Opinions are not truth, and Xenophanes did not think so, in fact his statement was deriding opinion. However, today we see opinion polls influencing everything. Remember technology makes it so more efficient..

    Capitalism was indeed a better way once.Chet Hawkins

    Adam Smith's 'invisible hand' was not really invisible if you read his writings on ethics along with The Wealth of Nations . The problem with systems is that there is a resistance to changing them due to tribal power struggles. Jim Jeffries always says, "We can all do better."

    That means we need to GET BUSY defining what is wise and what is not, for real, best subjective guesses on objective morality.Chet Hawkins

    This sentence ends a paragraph that I think you should think about some more. The Oracle of Delphi said Socrates was wise, but Socrates said he wasn't. Sophistry may get a bad rap, but part of it may be well deserved. '...the best subjective guess on objective reality."I think that is what opinion is.

    Well, I think the limit to human is a problem,Chet Hawkins

    We have to limit a topic of discussion.

    But I disagree strongly that they were wiser than us per capita. In fact we are wiser in every way than they were, even per capitaChet Hawkins

    I stay with my statement. We don't have any way to test, however, if they weren't wiser, none would have existed long enough for us to be here today. We stand on their shoulders, not Socrates' shoulders. We are now waiting for AI to write all of our papers, news articles, etc. Edward Fredkin wondered if the robots would keep us as pets. How wise is that?

    So, refrain, restraint, ... these are fear words, order-centric. And the avoidance of discussion of morality or sins or good and evil, is just that, avoiding the truth.Chet Hawkins


    Those are not fear words. It simply means I avoid conversations that tend to idealism or religious overtones. To Quote Pontius Pilate, "What is truth?"

    My model of reality, which I am writing a book on, is for 'generic' wisdom, free from any organized religion and focusing only on objective moral truth (wisdom).Chet Hawkins

    I think Kant did that, and we are still arguing about it.

    Denigration of idealism as an aim is an immoral Pragmatic failure.Chet Hawkins

    I am not denigrating idealism. I don't believe it.
  • 013zen
    122
    That is Steven Pinker's positionisomorph

    but we have not progressed as far as we think we have because we have the ability to alleviate much of the suffering that continues in the world, and much of it is autogenic, not just from natural catastrophes.isomorph

    It's interesting that you mention Pinker, because his overall thesis is simply that the world is getting better, and that this is quantifiable. A subset of his argument is that the upward trend of science is one factor. But, we are also bringing people out of poverty faster and faster, and if we accept the more general thesis, the world does seem to be working out those "autogenic" issues that you mention.

    With that being said, by referring to these issues as "autogenic", it suggest that they are in some sense intractable, and therefore the claim that us being unable to solve them is indicative of our shortcomings, doesn't make much sense...especially if we admit that by and large, some of these issues are in fact becoming better.

    With that being said, I don't think anyone is willing to admit that we couldn't perhaps do better in a number of areas, but that might always be true. I think you are right that many issues are "autogenic", and therefore one can only elevate them to a degree given certain variables. Some idealistic paradise is only as possible as having infinitely attainable resources, otherwise there will always be disparages among the population. Lessening that is obviously the goal, and its one we seem to be moving towards.

    Science has learned, I agree with you, but, humans, in their core, have not changed that much. "Technical sophistication, misprision and convoluted errors" is what I said earlier, and I still think that is a true characterization of humanity, past,
    present, and future.
    isomorph

    The degree of each has improved, though. Remember, evolution takes time. You say humans haven't changed much since the time of Socrates, and I'll happily grant that, but we both admit that we have changed in some manners for the better, and we can both I'm sure admit that evolutionarily speaking, that's quicker than a bone becoming vestigial.

    That is a truly idealistic thought. I am not an idealist, and I think we are already all human with our science, conspiracies, warts, and all.isomorph

    I'm sorry, I don't take your meaning. I, too, believe that we are human, but I also admit that, like anything, we are changing and evolving, simply conceding that typically change takes time on scales much greater and the fact that we've improved at all at the rate we've done is not negligible. We obviously have much to improve on, though.
  • isomorph
    26
    It's interesting that you mention Pinker, because his overall thesis is simply that the world is getting better, and that this is quantifiable013zen

    I am not of the opinion that the world is not getting better. I am of the opinion that if we are not as advanced as we think we are. It could be much better than it is, e.g., Gaza, Ukraine, Uyghurs in China, Pakistan, India, etc. I have no problem with all that Pinker states except that we still have all of the human characteristics that have been with us throughout our history, i.e., poverty, war, starvation, etc.

    With that being said, I don't think anyone is willing to admit that we couldn't perhaps do better in a number of areas, but that might always be true.013zen

    It will always be true. Jim Jeffries always says, "We can all do better." But that is not happening..

    there will always be disparages among the population. Lessening that is obviously the goal, and its one we seem to be moving towards.013zen


    Jesus said there will always be poor. Lessoning that is a utilitarian goal, however when greed snd exploitation is the modus operandi, instead of science, I maintain my pessimistic position. Why didn't the oil companies get into alternative fuel? Why didn't Tesla start with hybrid cars that recharged their own batteries instead of cars that have limited charging stations. I agree we have the potential, but...

    Remember, evolution takes time.013zen

    I think you are confusing evolution of ideas with biological evolution. Individual people 'evolve' and ideas 'evolve' but biological evolution works on populations not individuals. Modern humans have not evolved in the biological since. We have adapted and benefited from nutrition, vaccines, etc., but we have not evolved biologically. We have no new part of the brain popped out to help us deal with climate change, tectonic plate shift, or other natural problems that threaten our geopolitical status quo.
  • L'éléphant
    1.4k
    You could easily look up that the first piece of writing in Greek predates the first in Chinese by some 200 years.
    Farming villages are not enough to establish "civilisation".
    Lionino
    Your argument is still deficient. Not just farming, but look into written history.

    China did not unify ahead of other civilized societies -- but theirs are considered one of the oldest civilizations, if not the oldest.
  • Lionino
    1.8k
    but look into written historyL'éléphant

    That is what my comment you quoted does(?).

    if not the oldestL'éléphant

    It is not the oldest by any account. Mesopotamia and Egypt are far older. Minoa, Elam, and IVC are also older.
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