• apokrisis
    4.5k
    The question concerned the purpose of nature, of existence in general. Last time I looked, that lay outside any personal concerns I might have.
  • Wayfarer
    6.9k
    In Buddhism and Hinduism, the method is referred to as 'sadhana', which means, 'means of accomplishing'. I suppose that has equivalents in other philosophical traditions as well. But it means, commitment to a course of study, meditation and the supporting discipline, so as to realise the truth of the particular path that you have embarked on.
  • apokrisis
    4.5k
    So at best revelation, and more likely just learning the habit of feeling a conviction?
  • Rich
    3.2k
    The only way to fully appreciate the materialist-determinist point of view is to discontinue the use of pronouns when discussing anything. Forget about survival which is simply one of a myriad things that minds do (consciousness is a very poor symbolic lexicon because of the numerous psychological uses).

    For example, the soup of chemicals magically came together and decided that it would like lie down to be amused by the Simpsons.

    Or, different soups of chemicals magically bumped into each other and all of a sudden started to fight against entropy and organize it self long enough to casually discuss with each other about whether they have minds. One group of chemicals all of a sudden created wonderous illusions so it would think it would have a mind while the other group did not spontaneously create such illusions so it would magically tell the other group of chemicals that it has illusions.

    Such is the naturalness of the magical, fantasy land of the Wonderful World of Materialism. Viewing the world as it actually is. Now, one has to ask, who has the more vivid imagination: Hans Christian Anderson or those who invented this preposterous tale of Chemicals that Came to Life? Isn't it easier to believe in unicorns? And why isn't materialism taught in elementary schools without the use of pronouns. We want to be precise don't we? Maybe because all of the children would start laughing hysterically? Or maybe their parents would be shocked?
  • JupiterJess
    130
    A purpose is the reason why things happenapokrisis

    If this purpose can be made known (as you believe) then couldn't people in theory act against it's will for the sake of acting against it. And so it wouldn't by definition be the purpose of certain actions anymore?
    An example I recall reading was Kurzweil and google were working on ways to circumvent the second law of thermodynamics. Sorry if that sounds superficial and this sounds self-defeating as far as philosophy goes, but I always believed that a telos wouldn't be able to be revealed until after it is reached. You can't be told your fate is to turn right before doing so because you could then decide to turn left.
  • javra
    677
    Thanks for clarifying. If I understand you correctly then, yes, the first person point of view is indeed a thing. It is the embodiment of a purpose, an intentionality.apokrisis

    Thanks in turn for your direct answer.

    Yea, as to the first person point of view being a thing … “neither is it a (some)thing nor is it not a (some)thing” is my honest, best answer for the moment, equivocal though it may be.

    I acknowledge it to be a laconic answer: both in the sense of “Spartan” and in the sense of “dense”. Still, if we’re to make things as simple as possible but no simpler (as someone once said), most any laconic statement can be a bit too simple in certain circles.
  • praxis
    881
    From this perspective we can apprehend the existence of information at non-spatial, dimensionless points, and the unity of those points through the means of that information.Metaphysician Undercover

    Why would we be compelled to apprehend this unity?
  • apokrisis
    4.5k
    But that is part of the argument. If the global telos is to entopify, the complementary local telos is to do work. Order is the way to achieve disordering by breaking down the blockages preventing a free moving dissipative flow.

    Just like good requires the other of evil to make sense as a system, so entropy is defined by its other "choice" - negentropy.

    It is not a problem if the conscious purpose of humans is negentropy production as that goal also produces more entropy on the global scale. Every organised act must make waste heat.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    4.7k
    The question concerned the purpose of nature, of existence in general. Last time I looked, that lay outside any personal concerns I might have.apokrisis

    The mention was of a "transcendent purpose", and the point I made was that this idea doesn't really make sense. Purpose always seems to inhere within us, I have my purpose, you have your purpose, etc.. The only way that purpose seem to get outside us is when we create something with a purpose. Then that thing has a purpose, but that purpose is derived from within the person who created the thing.

    When God is conceived of as a transcendent being, then we have nature, and existence in general, being created by the will of God, and this allows that nature and existence in general have purpose according to the intent of God. Therefore the concept of God supports the claim of transcendent purpose. But without God, "transcendent purpose" becomes a meaningless phrase. Furthermore, if we find that we get in touch with God through our inner self, then the question of how God may transcend us through the inside becomes a very difficult problem.

    Why would we be compelled to apprehend this unity?praxis

    We are compelled by the evidence. The fundamental concept of mathematics is unity. The entire conceptual structure of numbers is based in one concept, the unit. And this unit, "one", is itself immaterial. Then the numerical structure is built on the assumption that there are numerous different units which are the same. Since the units are the same, "different", here implies a separation between them, such that "two" signifies multiple units which are the same but different (due to separation). Furthermore, the entire structure itself, as a structure, is also necessarily a unity, consisting of "the numbers", and this unity is necessary in order that the numbers are intelligible. Intelligibility, is associated with coherency which is the property of a unity. The individual unities, the numbers starting with one, as well as the entire structure, are all completely immaterial, non-dimensional.

    Then we can move toward the higher mathematics such as algebra which works entirely within the immaterial realm of symbols, and find that the symbols signify nothing material, everything conceived of is in the realm of non-dimensional numbers, unities of units. or we can move toward the lower mathematics such as geometry, where the non-dimensional is applied to the dimension. Notice that the starting point in geometry is the non-dimensional point, and we build up the dimensions with lines, circles, and spheres. The non-dimensional point again is a fundamental unity. It is indivisible, and therefore the most pure unity in relation to spatial existence. This indivisible point is the unity which allows us passage from the realm of spatial existence to the non-spatial.

    But the physicalist who denies the reality of this fundamental unity denies passage into the non-dimensional realm. The evidence though is overwhelming. These immaterial, non-dimensional units, and unities are used continuously by mathematicians and scientists, with very productive results, so they must be real.

    Further, we assume objects, which form the basis of many logical proceedings, as we attribute properties to objects. The object again is a unity. Newton assumed the unity of the object, as something taken for granted when he produced his laws of motion. But objects have long been known to be divisible, so taking unity for granted was a misleading position which the principles of modern physics have moved beyond. Now we have no basis for the assumption of a physical unity (object), because even what was once considered to be an object is now believed to be a process. However, as evidenced above, unity, and the unit (object), remains fundamental within the immaterial, non-dimensional, conceptual realm. .
  • apokrisis
    4.5k
    So you confuse the immanent purpose of naturalism with the transcendence claimed by theism? Finding creative ways to get the issue backwards as usual.
  • Wayfarer
    6.9k
    So at best revelation, and more likely just learning the habit of feeling a conviction?apokrisis

    That's a pretty weak effort. Only revelation? How about - the realisation that what most people understand reality to be, is only a shadow on the wall of a cave?

    There are numerous other conceptions of the aim of the spiritual life. Vedanta talks in terms of 'God realisation' which means, awakening to the true nature of the Universe, and the realisation that Brahman alone is real.

    I think the parallel expression in Christianity is Capital L Life.

    All of them convey the sense of a complete transformation of perception, an upending or radical change in the understanding. Far from learning an habitual response.

    Order is the way to achieve disordering by breaking down the blockages preventing a free moving dissipative flow.apokrisis

    But that is only a physical or chemical description. I still can't see how it can serve as the basis for any kind of philosophy in the sense I understand it (and which I have been trying to explain).

    I always believed that a telos wouldn't be able to be revealed until after it is reached. You can't be told your fate is to turn right before doing so because you could then decide to turn left.JupiterJess

    There's a very useful summary of the original idea of Telos here. But I don't think 'telos' ought to be equated with 'fate'. I suppose it does carry a connotation of 'destiny' but it's more like an inherent attribute - as an acorn has the inherent ability to grow into an oak. But in the case of human beings, obviously they are capable of many different things, so I don't think it would be nearly so straightforward in this case.

    The fundamental concept of mathematics is unity. The entire conceptual structure of numbers is based in one concept, the unit. And this unit, "one", is itself immaterial.Metaphysician Undercover

    That is very much the original intuition behind Pythagorean philosophy, which was incorporated into Platonism. Actually Bertrand Russell says, in his chapter on Pythagoras, that it was the mathematical dimension of Greek philosophy that differentiates it from Eastern traditions, and is one of the principle reasons that it gave rise to modern science (which has now, however, forgotten its Platonist origins).
  • apokrisis
    4.5k
    What is the difference between revelation and realisation here? You didn't say.
  • Wayfarer
    6.9k
    In the past, I would have said 'revelation means 'The Bible'. 'Realisation' was more characteristic of the language of Indian gurus, like Ramana Maharishi or Paramahansa Yogananda who spoke in terms of 'God Realisation'. The latter is the idea that 'realising God' is realising the real or ultimate nature of reality - that what the hoi polloi (that's us) take to be real, is simply a projection or illusion - hence the similarity with the Platonic 'shadows on the wall'. 'The sage' realises one-ness, which is (in Alan Watts' terms), 'the supreme identity', beyond the individual ego.

    Where I thought the Hindu and Christian accounts were so different, was that Christians just 'believed the dogma', whereas the Hindu attitude was much more 'experiential', i.e. derived from spiritual experience. But I've started to see that really they're not so different after all, i.e. there's a sense in which 'revealed truth' also applies to the Eastern religions, and a sense in which Christian teachings may also be experiential. In any case, the experiential dimension that is supposedly at the heart of all of these teachings, is elusive. Seek it, and it dissappears, forget about it, and it taps you on the shoulder.
  • apokrisis
    4.5k
    Plato used reason as the path to a realisation. So he made a logical argument. The world was observed to be changeable matter so - dialectically - that pointed to the complementary thing of the form that could be its timelessly formative constraint. So far, all very naturalistic.

    Then he got unnatural in arguing that the realm of form must be the true reality. Having realised something due to an immanent or dialectical argument, he then reified one half of the duality thus revealed and made it the transcendent or the divine.

    Or rather that is the telling theists like to remember. Plato tried to do justice to the material pole of being with his late comments about the chora or "receptacle" that could take the imprint of forms. Aristotle also had his go an reuniting the two aspects of being - bottom up and top down causes - in his account of hylomorphic form.

    Anyway, there is a metaphysical approach - dialectical reasoning - that has proven itself as a western method. And science has cashed that out in its own largely reductionist way. Science brings the "conviction of pure experiencing" back into it in the form of observations or acts of measurement. A theory is a Platonic assertion of a mathematical form. We then experience directly the truth of that form by conducting an experiment and seeing the expected result.

    So that is the essential difference. Scientific reasoning (as defined within Peircean semiotics/modelling relations) is a method that perfectly aligns concepts and impressions. A theory abstracts a Platonic form. Measurements are the way that the validity of the form can be experienced as a fact. If beliefs can become numbers read off a dial, then that is the end game as that is belief fully symbolised by Platonic abstraction.

    The kind of religious experiencing you are talking about is relying on the unreliable feeling of "hey, that feels right". Neurocognition can tell you all about the circuits that subserve an "aha!" recognition response - a match/mismatch feeling of salience.

    It is a biological kind of world measurement. Psychologically I need to have a judgement that says either "that fits" or "that doesn't fit". We couldn't act in the world without that kind of biological level capacity for "revelation".

    But a sense of conviction is quite wrong as a basis of abstract belief. The western method of scientific reasoning is all about rising above our biological embeddeness to find an objectively philosophical point of view. And so that is why we seek to put belief and understanding on a rational footing where our modelling relation with the world becomes one of fully symbolic theory and measurement.
  • Rich
    3.2k
    Actually Bertrand Russell says, in his chapter on Pythagoras, that it was the mathematical dimension of Greek philosophy that differentiates it from Eastern traditions, and is one of the principle reasons that it gave rise to modern science (which has now, however, forgotten its Platonist origins).Wayfarer

    If Russell actually intimidated or actually said this, it shows how poor Western education was and continues to be. Incredibly myopic. It reminds me of the world history books I read which cover Western Europe .. period. Ditto for the histories of philosophies.
  • Wayfarer
    6.9k
    f Russell actually intimidated or actually said this, it shows how poor Western education was and continues to be. Incredibly myopic.Rich

    How so? What do you mean, 'myopic'?
  • Rich
    3.2k
    If you don't mind, I'm really disgusted right now. I know Russell was narrow minded, but to be this poorly educated about the world is unbelievable. I mean he really said something like this? Well, there is always Jung.
  • Wayfarer
    6.9k
    Oh, this has to do with your pathological aversion to anything scientific. I'm afraid I can't help you there. I am just going back to the chapter on Pythagoras in HWP, and it's really not such a big deal. The statement I had in mind was this one:

    in Plato, Saint Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Descartes, Spinoza, and Kant there is an intimate blending of religion and reasoning, of moral aspiration with logical admiration of what is timeless, which comes from Pythagoras, and distinguishes the intellectualized theology of Europe from the more straightforward mysticism of Asia.

    I think elsewhere in the book, there are further references to how Platonism (which, he argues, was derived from Pythagoreanism), because of it's emphasis on ideas such as forms, types, number, and related concepts, provided a foundation for modern scientific method, even though much of it is obviously archaic in today's terms. But I think the divergence between European thought, and Eastern thought, is pretty undeniable - not that it's always a good thing.

    I don't see anything particularly wrong with that, although I hasten to add, I don't share your dislike for science - only for it's misapplication in scientific materialism.
  • Rich
    3.2k
    Oh, this has to do with your pathological aversion to anything scientific.Wayfarer

    No, Russell obviously had the standard myopic education which apparently much of Western academia relishes. As I said there are some European authors who have allowed their curiosity to extend beyond the very narrow culture of Western Europe. Good for to them. Otherwise, wee can pretend that all history is Western Europe. Who really cares? Those who are curious will find out otherwise and those who aren't can revel in their glory.

    BTW, you can do yourself a favor by studying the history of science. It's more than making weapons that go Boom! Or declaring that humans are computers.
  • Wayfarer
    6.9k
    I have done. I'm no devotee of Russell, but I always had a liking for him. Actually I got into university on the strength of what was then called an 'adult entry exam' (long since discontinued; I had made a mess of my leaving exams). The exam, in a good old-fashioned exam room, paper and pencils, mainly comprised a long excerpt from an essay, with a series of detailed questions about it. And the essay in question was Russell's Mysticism and Logic, which was very much a precursor to the kinds of things I went on to study there.
  • Srap Tasmaner
    2k
    An example I recall reading was Kurzweil and google were working on ways to circumvent the second law of thermodynamics.JupiterJess

    On a related note, from The Onion.
  • MikeL
    644
    I didn't study philosophy at uni, so I can't be of much help in regard to your thinkers, but I have still been thinking of Hoffman today, and return to my previous statement regarding QM theory.

    One way to look at what he is telling us is that the universe is front of us is filled with so much white noise that we need to filter it in order to understand a truth that promotes our survival. We can take the idea of a Superposition of all information of our world, and suggest that our mind Decoheres it in order to make sense of it (Rich won't like the idea of a decoder as the mind).

    In this model of the world our mind has created visual buttons for us to understand the world around us, hiding the complex behind it. The snake, the train. In this instance closer inspection reveals the atoms and molecules.

    I may have been too hasty in dismissing Hoffman's work as simply that though. In relation to the computer there is really only one thorough way to go about solving the problem, and that is a top-down, bottom-up, top-down, bottom-up approach, stepping systematically through observations and theory as we work backwards.

    The problem as I understand it is that by understanding the Folder on the Desktop we only understand the code that created the folder, by understanding the word document we may only go so far as understanding the code that created that program. It gives no further information that we can trace back to the computer.

    But it does. A Save file must be getting saved somewhere, an Open File must be getting opened from somewhere. We would need to begin to invoke the existence of abstract storage areas to get a full model. For the interface to run we can elucidate their is a background program and seek to determine what it is. Letter input's from keyboard's can likewise be accounted for and a list of all the possible keys drawn up, leaving spaces for those keys we suspect are out there but are yet to discover.

    As we elucidate the background code there will be pointers in the code that suggest it is running on a BIOS, especially when we know there is a folder and other GUIs. So too BIOS when we begin to unpack it will reveal a deeper machine code or bits and bytes or whatever it is.

    When we run unpack the machine code there will be pointers to information processing diodes, information storage magnetic disks, power sources etc.

    Of course the other way to solve the problem is abstract mathematics where we start with the premise that there is an underlying computer and computer program running on it and work upward from there.
  • Wayfarer
    6.9k
    One way to look at what he is telling us is that the universe is front of us is filled with so much white noise that we need to filter it in order to understand a truth that promotes our survival. We can take the idea of a Superposition of all information of our world, and suggest that our mind Decoheres it in order to make sense of it (Rich won't like the idea of a decoder as the mind).

    In this model of the world our mind has created visual buttons for us to understand the world around us, hiding the complex behind it. The snake, the train. In this instance closer inspection reveals the atoms and molecules.
    MikeL

    well, that's not a bad interpretation of what Hoffman says, but you need to realise that he also says 'atoms and molecules' are just as much icons as are any other kind of objects. In other words, he doesn't see atoms or molecules or any other kind of supposedly fundamental physical object as actually fundamental. What is actually fundamental, is conscious experience, and reality comprises entirely conscious agents. He lays it out in Conscious Realism and the Mind Body Problem.. I'm still reading it, and there's parts of it I really don't get, but it's important to see that he doesn't think you can get 'behind' conscious experience to discover what is 'truly objective'.

    It seems to me that the whole idea of 'natural law' originated with 'divine law', in the early modern period. It was commonplace for Newton and his contemporaries to refer to natural laws as 'God's handiwork'.

    But over the subsequent centuries, the 'divine' was dropped, while 'law' was retained. But a consequences was that the link between law and (the moral) order was severed, with the consequence that 'laws' are still believed to 'rule', in some way, but now only in a purely physical sense - what is governed is principally the motions of bodies, the combinations of substances, and the actions of forces such as gravity, electro-magnetism, and so on, which are held to be ontologically fundamental.

    That gives rise to the idea that physical laws, such as the law of thermodynamics, are understood to be causal, in the sense that the original idea of 'God's laws' were causal - but without any reason, other than physical necessity. Hence the idea that the actual reason life has developed, is because it is the most efficient way to attain the state of maximum entropy. But, satire notwithstanding, I do question the sense in which that amounts to the basis for any kind of philosophy.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    4.7k
    So you confuse the immanent purpose of naturalism with the transcendence claimed by theism? Finding creative ways to get the issue backwards as usual.apokrisis

    The "immanent purpose of naturalism". I've never heard that before. Care to explain? I thought naturalism, by definition, excludes purpose. Are you just trying to inject purpose into naturalism in a way which veils the inherent contradiction? Bear in mind, that something created with purpose is artificial, and therefore by the law of non-contradiction, cannot be natural.

    One way to look at what he is telling us is that the universe is front of us is filled with so much white noise that we need to filter it in order to understand a truth that promotes our survival. We can take the idea of a Superposition of all information of our world, and suggest that our mind Decoheres it in order to make sense of it (Rich won't like the idea of a decoder as the mind).

    In this model of the world our mind has created visual buttons for us to understand the world around us, hiding the complex behind it. The snake, the train. In this instance closer inspection reveals the atoms and molecules.
    MikeL

    But what if survival is just a side effect? Suppose that it is possible that the mind is trying to do something, and survival is not even related to what the mind is trying to do. Some of the efforts which the mind carries out, happen to promote survival, but this is really irrelevant to what the mind is actually trying to do. So for example, if I was trying to harvest grain to eat, and I spilled it and happened to seed an area, then the propagation of the grain into the next generation is accidental to what I was really trying to do. I say this just to stress the point that if there is intention behind the acts of living things, then that intention is not necessarily survival. It is possible that survival is a side effect, therefore we must seek the real intention.
  • MikeL
    644
    I totally agree that survival is a side effect without purpose. In a previous post on the arrow of time I equated it to falling sideways through a plaster wall out of the every churning pool of molecules.

    I also take the points raised earlier on creativity, or in your point, of the scattered seeds. I think the scattering of the atoms or the subatomic particles across the very fabric of the universe itself set the conditions. The real intention behind it all may be to see how it turns out. I don't think it is being directed in its course. The steps on the path to becoming is of no importance (man rules the universe, dinosaurs do, galaxies interact with sentience toward each other) but that it will turn out a certain way may be what has a "God" very curious. Just like the rolling of the proverbial dice. An eventual Heat Death, as Apokrisis states, may just be the game over sign.
  • MikeL
    644
    I'll check it out.
  • Rich
    3.2k
    The mind is no more a decoder than it is a steam roller or a cotton gin. I realize that neurology creates such some stories so that people buy into their total mastery of the mind (big money is to be had) but it is just more modern day scientific hogwash. Hoffman, and all academia, had to pay homage to such silliness in order to be academically acceptable (yes, universities have become churches controlled by the priests of the science industry), but I am in no such need to be accepted.

    The easiest way to understand the mind is to simply observe patterns as they are actually unfolding in your we everyday experience. It is all real and it is exactly, precisely as you are experiencing it. Your mind is creating and observing what others are creating right smack in the fabric of duration real time). This is the Universe evolving. No decoding, because it is the mind.. Sure can play the mind-is-a-computer game with other academics, but at the end it is just a game and as such you might as well play chess, which is far more instructive about life.

    Once you begin to explore the mind as it is, and not just create fireside stories as is popular in academic philosophy, you will find a very rich world to explore in many dimensions. Not only does it enrich life and bring in an abundance of joy and awe, it also allows you to develop a very keen sense of life with a multitude of practical uses, not the least of which is great health in into your senior years via an enriched and keen eyed soul.
  • Rich
    3.2k
    I totally agree that survival is a side effect without purpose.MikeL

    The purpose of survival is to allow the mind to create. To create and learn it's the purpose of life. If you don't believe me, just observe. This is the Science of Eastern philosophy.
  • MikeL
    644
    Ha,ha, I knew you wouldn't like the decoder remark. I have no position on it at all to be honest, potato potarto, but I am starting to consider the whole thing in more detail. I'm reading this paper of Wayfarers at the moment. One of my concern's with Bergsun's assertion or conscious realism and the mind as a holograph creator, is much akin to the God question. So, the hologram is formed, but who views it?

    The purpose of survival is to allow the mind to create. To create and learn it's the purpose of life.Rich

    I'm not so sure I can agree with you here, Rich. Life in this definition seems to have a very narrow application to humanity. But life is teeming all over the earth and probably all over the universe and I don't see how it fits. Is the assertion that creativity and learning is the purpose for all life, including moss?

    It is true that a child will find immense joy and fascination in watching a stick float down the drain, and that once they understand this process thoroughly it no longer holds any interest, so too with playing with toys, but are these things (creativity and learning) not simply masks to enable learning that can be applied to survival via complex reasoning later on? Much like the sex drive is the mask for reproduction?

    I'm a bit vague on how the term creativity is being used throughout this thread too. It seems to have some other meaning.
  • Rich
    3.2k
    So, the hologram is formed, but who views it?MikeL

    Just observe. It is not complicated, though one can make it complicated in order to create a lifetime game or of it.

    It is your Mind that is observing. It is peering out through your eyes.
    Is the assertion that creativity and learning is the purpose for all life, including moss?MikeL

    Yes. Observe the beauty of the moss. Today, I saw some beautiful, multi-colored carrots grown on an organic farm. So much creative beauty all around us. Of course, the very advanced species of humans creates weapons and pollution. Talk about hubris.

    these things (creativity and learning) not simply masks to enable learning that can be applied to survival via complex reasoning later on?MikeL

    No, the child is learning to create and should be encouraged to do so. We sent our child to a Montessori School. Creativity to life. Without it you end up with existentialism and other types of philosophies that suck life out of life. That's the Dark Side.

    Creativity is what scientists are doing when the make humans into computers to advance their economic interests. It is also drawing a tree.
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