• schopenhauer1
    2.3k
    We humans are placed in a precarious spot at almost every moment of the day. By this I mean that we have to deceive ourselves that what we are doing is meaningful, or is something worth doing, or is just what must be done in our role as (place arbitrary role here- citizen, learner, responsible adult, employee, etc.). Beyond the aversion to discomforts like hunger, heat/cold, and no shelter, we are in a constant state of having to believe that any move or decision is one even worth making.

    We put arbitrary, fiat-like value on a goal to keep our minds at peace and impose stability. If we are to truly look at what we are doing, we are constantly thinking of ways to make sure we have something to work towards. However, with any prolonged reflection, these goals are just placeholders for a void. Other animals, let's say a bird, has no need for self-deception. It doesn't fill voids of meaning. It eats its seeds, it makes its nest, it chirps in the morning, it finds mates, and repeats. The human is one that must self-deceive at all moments that there is something to do, somewhere to go, and something to be.

    Sartre talked about radical freedom and authenticity. However, he didn't get to the root of the root. Yes, if we make a choice in full freedom that we choose to do it, you may call this "radical freedom" and "authenticity", but he does not emphasize as much that even our preferences for what we choose is a sort of deception. We think we have a preference. We move towards that preference, but even having a preference is its own con game of sorts. The free man is respectable in this schema, as long as he follows his preferences. But preferences are something we conjure too, because to be truly devoid of preferences is to lack all motivating factors. There must be a deception first, "I have a preference", something we are encultured to make choices about. Then we make the second move to be motivated by these preferences.
  • darthbarracuda
    2.9k
    Feelings, like pleasure or pain, are similar to hallucinations. There is no logical connection between a perceptual object and the affectivity associated with the object, however the two are very often mixed together such that a perceptual object just is good or bad by means of its association with certain feelings. An apple pie is deemed "delicious", and an abdominal wound is deemed "excruciating"; however, the apple pie is not literally delicious, and an abdominal wound is not literally excruciating, because these are terms for the relation between a subject and an object. Thus, an apple pie is delicious for-me, and an abdominal wound is excruciating for-me (or for-us, etc).

    There is nothing actually good or bad; objects are neutral and the values associated with them are projection of subjects. Every pairing of perceptual object and associated affectivity is entirely arbitrary. Every feeling is coercive, because without them, nothing would happen. Nobody would do anything at all, because there would not be any reason to.

    To be free of feeling, then, is to be free of this enslavement, to no longer care, and no longer care that one does not care. Indifference is the "highest" form of consciousness because the subject is quite literally free of the world itself. They have "woken up" from the nightmare.
  • schopenhauer1
    2.3k
    To be free of feeling, then, is to be free of this enslavement, to no longer care, and no longer care that one does not care. Indifference is the "highest" form of consciousness because the subject is quite literally free of the world itself. They have "woken up" from the nightmare.darthbarracuda

    Good points. The problem is the subject's relation to the world "demands" certain things by subtle social programming. Survival is had by the subject's relations to an organization that provides the means for goods and services. This engenders a sort of "de facto" preference for at least doing enough to stay employed. On the other end, boredom is the feeling of the restless monkey mind. Preference for any non-negative interaction with the world is then undertaken. Thus the pendulum between survival and boredom creates its own demands that "get our preferences worked out". Thus, while there are no intrinsic goods and bads, there is strong social programming to have preferences for what is perceived as socially acceptable ways to maintain work and entertainment options.
  • All sight
    326
    You don't need motivation for things you actually want to do, you need demotivation for those things, and motivation for things that you don't want to do. Which does indeed require a lot of self-deception, a lot of fear and weakness.
  • schopenhauer1
    2.3k
    You don't need motivation for things you actually want to do, you need demotivation for those things, and motivation for things that you don't want to do. Which does indeed require a lot of self-deception, a lot of fear and weakness.All sight

    But this gets to the heart of what I'm talking about. Even the preferences we have for the things we "like" comes from somewhere. I mentioned the monkey mind in my last post. We are enculturated to cultivate our preferences so we have something to work towards in the first place.

    You bring up a good point though. That is to say, daily, we are always putting some sort of deception of meaning on what we do.
  • Wallows
    6.3k
    We put arbitrary, fiat-like value on a goal to keep our minds at peace and impose stability. If we are to truly look at what we are doing, we are constantly thinking of ways to make sure we have something to work towards.schopenhauer1

    Part of the fallacy here is that we are never truly satisfied with anything we do or get in return for our efforts. This is not true because we do feel satisfied after eating a good meal or attaining something like money for example. You have an idealized fictitious concept of a man or woman who never really feels satisfied with whatever they do or get, and I'm just pointing this out.
  • Wallows
    6.3k
    To be free of feeling, then, is to be free of this enslavement, to no longer care, and no longer care that one does not care. Indifference is the "highest" form of consciousness because the subject is quite literally free of the world itself. They have "woken up" from the nightmare.darthbarracuda

    Yes, indifference is important; but, one cannot be indifferent towards needs; but, mostly wants. If that's the case then the logical thing to do is to restrain oneself from the attainment of these wants. It's idiotic (no offense) to constantly be indifferent towards wants and never be able to attain them without realizing that they have no inherent value to an individual. This is my conception of ancient stoicism, that reverts back to cynicism. Just my two pennies.
  • andrewk
    1.6k
    I can't see the deception in the behaviours described. To say there is deception is to say that there is an objective state of affairs that the deceiver denies. But the OP is about feelings, which are subjective. So I cannot see how deception comes into it.

    Of course it is possible for somebody to deceive themself about their feelings. It often happens that someone is angry yet tells themselves and others that they are not. But only that person themself can ultimately know whether they were self-deceiving in that way. Any belief by a person about whether another person has the feelings they say they do can only ever be a guess.
  • schopenhauer1
    2.3k

    The deception is that there is any determined reason we are doing anything. Rather we conjure preferences and build goals around this to impose stability on a dissatisfied initial state
  • andrewk
    1.6k
    I don't know what you mean by a 'determined reason'. How does that differ from an ordinary reason?

    I am also don't see any reason to suppose that people conjure preferences. At least in my case, a preference is something that I just become aware of, rather than setting out to manufacture one. I don't know what it is like for others.
  • schopenhauer1
    2.3k

    Look at the bird example in my first post. What is the difference between what motivates a bird and a human?
  • andrewk
    1.6k
    I cannot know what the difference is, as I have never been a bird, and have only ever been one human out of many billions. I see no reason to suppose that either birds or humans are lying to themselves about their feelings.
  • schopenhauer1
    2.3k

    It’s not about lying to yourself about feelings. Its lying to yourself that there’s anything more meaningful to pursue other than the value we conjure upon a goal.
  • prothero
    165
    I don't think Freud is entirely wrong. Many of our motivations are primitive and not necessarily known by or acknowledged by our conscious self reflection. Much of our behavior and many of our decisions are driven by emotional needs and only later rationalized by internal dialogue. It is not so much self deceit as it is a form of self ignorance.
  • Wayfarer
    6.9k
    We humans are placed in a precarious spot at almost every moment of the day. By this I mean that we have to deceive ourselves that what we are doing is meaningful, or is something worth doing, or is just what must be done in our roleschopenhauer1

    Your post assumes that everyone else feels the same way. They might not; it might be a matter of perspective.
  • Bitter Crank
    6.8k
    a bird has no need for self-deceptionschopenhauer1

    Au contraire. Given the endless and thankless effort which birds must expend on their instinctive egg-hatching natalism and olympic level migrations twice a year just to lay more eggs and exhaust themselves feeding another batch of ungrateful chicks -- I'd say they have maximum reasons for self-deception. Those songs they sing? All lies. Bright colors? Deceptions. Mating for life? A hoax.

    Are worms really worth getting up early for? Another lie.
  • andrewk
    1.6k
    Since meaning is subjective, how can one lie about it?

    In any case, I doubt that many people do say to themselves that there is something more meaningful to their goals than the value they place upon them. I can't know what other people say in their heads, but it seems to me that would be a strange thing to say.
  • schopenhauer1
    2.3k
    I don't think Freud is entirely wrong. Many of our motivations are primitive and not necessarily known by or acknowledged by our conscious self reflection. Much of our behavior and many of our decisions are driven by emotional needs and only later rationalized by internal dialogue. It is not so much self deceit as it is a form of self ignorance.prothero

    I agree. Much of what we do is out of emotions like boredom and loneliness (akin to boredom). Only after the fact, we justify with something like, "to pursue higher goals of accomplishment and esteem".
  • schopenhauer1
    2.3k
    Your post assumes that everyone else feels the same way. They might not; it might be a matter of perspective.Wayfarer

    The fact that we need perspective at all is telling.
  • schopenhauer1
    2.3k
    Au contraire. Given the endless and thankless effort which birds must expend on their instinctive egg-hatching natalism and olympic level migrations twice a year just to lay more eggs and exhaust themselves feeding another batch of ungrateful chicks -- I'd say they have maximum reasons for self-deception. Those songs they sing? All lies. Bright colors? Deceptions. Mating for life? A hoax.

    Are worms really worth getting up early for? Another lie.
    Bitter Crank

    But it doesn't have the ability to know otherwise. THAT is the difference. We know we don't have to conjure up meaning, but we do. Or perhaps, we cannot help it, but we know our situation, including that we can't help it. As I wrote to andrewk: It's that they place value on goals in the first place. Nothing is really determined. We don't have to be motivated by anything, but we CHOOSE to. we conjure goals to work towards, but unlike other animals, we have no determined reason to work towards anything. A bird cannot help but do its thing, we can. We choose to conjure up motivation.
  • schopenhauer1
    2.3k
    Since meaning is subjective, how can one lie about it?

    In any case, I doubt that many people do say to themselves that there is something more meaningful to their goals than the value they place upon them. I can't know what other people say in their heads, but it seems to me that would be a strange thing to say.
    andrewk

    It's that they place value on goals in the first place. Nothing is really determined. We don't have to be motivated by anything, but we CHOOSE to. we conjure goals to work towards, but unlike other animals, we have no determined reason to work towards anything. A bird cannot help but do its thing, we can.
  • Wayfarer
    6.9k
    Your post assumes that everyone else feels the same way. They might not; it might be a matter of perspective.
    — Wayfarer

    The fact that we need perspective at all is telling.
    schopenhauer1

    How could it be otherwise? We're intelligent rational beings who are required to interpret the meaning of things. It's simply that your post is pervaded by the conviction that life is inherently meaningless; I'm simply questioning that, I don't think it is true at all. I think it is simply characteristic of some perspectives.
  • Wayfarer
    6.9k
    "I have a preference", something we are encultured to make choices about. Then we make the second move to be motivated by these preferences.schopenhauer1

    “The Great Way is not difficult for those who have no preferences. When love and hate are both absent everything becomes clear and undisguised. Make the smallest distinction, however, and heaven and earth are set infinitely apart. If you wish to see the truth then hold no opinion for or against. The struggle of what one likes and what one dislikes is the disease of the mind.”

    ― Sengstan, Hsin Hsin Ming
  • Caldwell
    179
    We humans are placed in a precarious spot at almost every moment of the day. By this I mean that we have to deceive ourselves that what we are doing is meaningful, or is something worth doing, or is just what must be done in our role as (place arbitrary role here- citizen, learner, responsible adult, employee, etc.). Beyond the aversion to discomforts like hunger, heat/cold, and no shelter, we are in a constant state of having to believe that any move or decision is one even worth making.schopenhauer1
    I think you should only argue this way after you've explored the evolutionary theory of perception.

    For a start, how did you come to the conclusion that beyond satisfying our hunger and the need for proper temperature and shelter, that human actions are nothing more than self-deception or pretending to do something meaningful? That we have a propensity for 'hope', or an urge to explore what's beyond, or even philosophize could be very well be on par with satisfying our biological need for food.

    I refuse to believe that human efforts and activities are, at best, a bullshit refinery that runs twenty-four hours a day to keep our mind at peace.
  • andrewk
    1.6k
    It's that they place value on goals in the first place — schopenhauer1
    How can that be a deception? It is not a proposition, and only propositions can be deceptions. People either value things because they can't help but do so or they choose to value them. Either way, there is no proposition, so no scope for a deception.

    Are you suggesting that people tell themselves they value a particular goal, when they don't really? That would be a self-deception, but how could we ever guess whether somebody was doing that?
  • bloodninja
    301
    interesting discussion. Just wondering how it is possible to choose preferences? I feel it is more accurate to articulate preferences as something we are thrown into by way of our moods and our self-understanding.
  • khaled
    363
    if life were not inherently meaningless no one should be able to believe life is inherently meaningless. The mere fact that life CAN be interpreted as meaningless is adequate and sufficient proof that it is. Occam's razor demans it
  • khaled
    363
    adding more needs alongside food and water does not make those needs meaningful. The commenter is saying that we deceive ourselves when it comes to believing that there is a reason to follow our instincts of survival. Adding more instincts does not invalidate his claim
  • bloodninja
    301
    What is meaning? If there were no humans, would there be no meaning? Is it meaningful that life is meaningless? Is it meaningless that life is meaningful? Does what I wrote make sense? Yes it makes sense because we dwell in a meaningful space. I don't understand what people mean when they say life is meaningless? Are they doing metaphysics? Are they doing existentialism (anti-metaphysical)? Are they being scientific? I don't know?
  • khaled
    363
    when I say meaningless I mean the last 10 seconds of this:
    https://youtu.be/E_qvy82U4RE

    I'm a nihilist. I believe nothing is intrinsically meaningful, that free will doesn't exist, that value is as malleable as air and that there is ultimately no point to doing anything ever. Yay
  • bloodninja
    301
    I'm a nihilist. I believe nothing is intrinsically meaningful, that free will doesn't exist, that value is as malleable as air and that there is ultimately no point to doing anything ever. Yaykhaled

    I don't think that your position as a nihilist is inconsistent with the idea that life is meaningful, that we dwell in the meaning and make life meaningful through our shared practices. Believing that nothing is intrinsically meaningful is different to believing that nothing is meaningful. The former seems like a common sense philosophical position, the latter sounds more like depression than a philosophical position, I think.
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