• schopenhauer1
    2.2k
    Social construction is about the informational constraints that shape the individual psychology. So it is not about society making you decide anything, it is about society being the meaningful framework within which any personal autonomy is exercised.apokrisis

    I mean c'mon apokrisis. Yes, I am well aware that we may have choices, but those choices are structured within our social setting. But again, WHO is making the choices within that social setting. You keep moving the goal post from who makes the decision, to what the decisions are about.

    A larger purpose in life is the social purposes to be found all around us. Society is the organismic level of organisation here. It is the locus of the kind of meanings that are necessary to social creatures living a social lifestyle.apokrisis

    You miss my point. Chimps and dolphins are social creatures too. However, they don't necessarily have to purposely set goals for themselves. Yes we are embedded in a social setting. But it is the RESPONSIBILITY of the individual to make decisions, to choose, to conjure goals to pursue. It is not given that what choice has to be made. This is the radical freedom Sartre discusses. Certainly, I acknowledge that there are core foundations- the pendulum swing of survival (mediated by culture), and boredom. The actual goal-setting to flee from these is conjured by fiat, at will, by the individual though.

    But as a departure point for moral philosophy, that is the reality from which to start a discussion. It is not unnatural to be behaving like socially constrained creatures if it is social constraint that is constructing us as the particular creatures we are in the first place.apokrisis

    Unfortunately, you discount the choice nature of individual humans within their social structure- even the choice to want to do nothing in particular.
  • apokrisis
    4.3k
    But again, WHO is making the choices within that social setting. You keep moving the goal post from who makes the decision, to what the decisions are about.schopenhauer1

    Nope. I keep shifting the goal posts from atomism to holism. You keep trying to shift them back.

    But you need to then provide your account for how we actually do make decisions of the kind that might concern us here. Where is your psychological model? I don't see it. You simply seem to exist that "we" exist in some fashion that needs no further discussion.

    You miss my point. Chimps and dolphins are social creatures too.schopenhauer1

    Hardly on the scale of humans. We have language and so a symbolic level of cultural evolution. That makes a really big difference.

    However, they don't necessarily have to purposely set goals for themselves.schopenhauer1

    LOL. How could they even do that without a language to construct such a framework on meaning?

    But it is the RESPONSIBILITY of the individual to make decisions, to choose, to conjure goals to pursue. It is not given that what choice has to be made.schopenhauer1

    To say that is the RESPONSIBILITY, all shouty like, is already to take a very historically conditioned view of the human story. Check out your cultural anthropology and you will find that traditional tribal cultures don't tend to think they have some responsibility to make a personal choice about the life goals they will pursue.

    Unfortunately, you discount the choice nature of individual humans within their social structure- even the choice to want to do nothing in particular.schopenhauer1

    But isn't my argument that on the whole, wanting to do nothing in particular is reasonably normal? It is the idea of wanting to be extraordinary which would be the source of much modern discontent.
  • andrewk
    1.6k
    Where's the self-deception though? I don't necessarily disagree with anything else you've said here. I just don't see how any of it amounts to self-deception.
  • Caldwell
    179
    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 claimkhaled
    Sometimes I wonder why talking past each other is an acceptable method of argumentation to some people.
    I did not say that what we do needs to be meaningful. I was refuting Schop's assertion that we pretend that what we do is meaningful. Repeatedly pushing the button does not make the traffic light change faster, yet many people do it. Do they think it's meaningful? No. Do they do it out of sense of primal survival? No. What is being tested there, then? Patience. Not meaning. Not survival.

    Now that we've gotten this out of the way, let me ask you, do you think our need to be busy everyday can be blamed on evolution? Answer wisely, please.
  • Caldwell
    179
    But look at what we can do. We can even have ideations of suicide.schopenhauer1
    Dolphins beach themselves. What to make of this?

    What motivates us to do anything in the first place? Well, we usually have to have, at the last, a short-term/temporary goal in mind, and move towards that.schopenhauer1
    It's called satisfying an instinct. People naturally move towards a source of food, like the refrigerator.

    Where does this goal originate?schopenhauer1
    Biological needs.

    Well, that is where we put our fiat-value on something, to make us feel the impulse to move towards it.schopenhauer1
    Nah. It takes very little to do what we do most of the time. We move towards the door when we hear knocking without thinking of meaning or value.

    Further, this derives from preferences that we have cultivated over time.schopenhauer1
    No. Loud sound, strange sound, or banging will make us move towards it. We didn't prefer it or prepare for it at the dawn of civilization.

    Hope is in the equation, perhaps for evolutionary reasons. It could just be a coping mechanism we happened to have developed in order to keep the goal-factory moving along.schopenhauer1
    So, you are willing to allow that hope is evolutionary, but in the same breath brush off our coping mechanism as something we invented? Honestly, Schop. Why do you do this? I know you from before. Early onset of imbecility is not part of your condition.
  • khaled
    141

    do you think our need to be busy everyday can be blamed on evolution?Caldwell

    Yes.

    I'm not talking past you. I don't understand how your traffic light example is at all relevant. The guy is saying that our belief that following our instincts and doing what we want is meaningful is baseless. All you did was add another instinct "the instinct to be patient". That does not whatsoever invalidate his statement.
  • Jake
    516
    The human is one that must self-deceive at all moments that there is something to do, somewhere to go, and something to be.schopenhauer1

    Generally I agree with this. Humans tend to relate to reality through stories. The ego is a story. Meaning is a story. The past and future are stories. Religion is a story. Relationships are a story.

    I agree also that we tend to use these stories to keep the void at bay, for the void is typically seen to be too scary. An experiment can reveal this to those too lost in the busyness of stories to know the fear of the void is lurking underneath the busyness.

    Go somewhere in nature where you can get peace and quiet and be alone all day. Bring only a chair, water and food, nothing else. Get there at dawn and stay until sunset. Watch one day of your life unfold. Before long the busy busy busy story machine will probably start thinking of a thousand reasons why you need to be doing something else, something busy, something to feed the stories. If the reasons don't work, the story machine may start threatening you with various sadness emotions.

    What seems to be missing from the Schopenhauer religion (referring to the famous philosopher, not the poster) is the understanding that if we refuse to be bullied by the story machine, if we stick to our guns and patiently wait it out, the story machine gradually gives up. Over time the mind will adapt itself to the new low stimulation environment and like the bird you referenced above, the becoming story machine experience gives away to just being, to silence. That is, our focus shifts from abstractions to the real world.

    The real world has what we're looking for. And to the degree we find what we're looking for, the fear of the void fades, and the need for stories recedes.

    The Schopenhauer religion is just another story being used to push away the scary void. Perhaps this story could be useful if it encourages us to turn and face the void, which would of course include saying goodbye to the Schopenhauer religion.

    If the Schopenhauer story is being used to just endlessly wallow around in dreadful dank dreariness, then hopefully it's just a college sophomore dorm room hobby that will soon pass. As example...

    When I was late high school - early college age I read a lot of Solzhenitsyn books about the Russian gulag. I was a sheltered little suburban white boy, and so the discovery that evil existed in the world was dreadfully fascinating. In time I got over this interest and went on to better stories.
  • TheMadFool
    2.4k
    Deception, self-deception, implies a truth exists. That truth, if I catch your drift, is absurdity or meaninglessness.

    But absurdity doesn't prevent us from choosing our own personal meaning, does it?

    I once raised a question in the forum about how a life of meaning (read: purpose) would be immoral since purpose is use and using a person is immoral per Kantian terms.

    So, meaninglessness is good, ethically speaking. It liberates us from being mere tools in a grand scheme devised by God or something else. We're free to choose our destinies and that is, for me, better than having something like a divine purpose.

    It's not self-deception. It's wisdom.
  • schopenhauer1
    2.2k
    To say that is the RESPONSIBILITY, all shouty like, is already to take a very historically conditioned view of the human story. Check out your cultural anthropology and you will find that traditional tribal cultures don't tend to think they have some responsibility to make a personal choice about the life goals they will pursue.apokrisis

    This is a strawman. There can be several reasons for how these tribes operate. One can be that it has taken years of structures to think more like a group. For example, I remember learning that when a Bushmen hunter is actually one to kill the prey, the rest of the band downplays the achievement by emphasizing how inconsequential the kill was, and how the group did it, and not just him. That means they are quite aware of the tendency for pride and arrogance, have structures in place to downplay this trait.

    Also, it may be that tribal societies perhaps haven't "discovered" the extent of human individuality and freedoms of choice. For example, technology and science were "discovered" invented in other cultures. We speak in terms of "advancement" when it comes to this, but perhaps, this can be applied to other things like, the extent of human individual choice.

    At the end of the day, modern man has it that he/she makes choices on what to pursue. Sure, I do not discount the cultural background this takes place in, but it is still individuals creating fiat-like values for goals.
  • schopenhauer1
    2.2k
    It's called satisfying an instinct. People naturally move towards a source of food, like the refrigerator.Caldwell

    That's the deception- that anything is other than what we put weight on in our goals.

    Nah. It takes very little to do what we do most of the time. We move towards the door when we hear knocking without thinking of meaning or value.Caldwell

    That is simply cultural conditioning. We still choose in a way to give sway to it. The consequences of not though, perhaps keep us just following the condition.

    So, you are willing to allow that hope is evolutionary, but in the same breath brush off our coping mechanism as something we invented? Honestly, Schop. Why do you do this? I know you from before. Early onset of imbecility is not part of your condition.Caldwell

    Why the need for ad hominem? I was just suggesting it could also be something that is sort of a byproduct rather than an adaptation. It is hard to tell with human behavior what is exactly what. It is not the same as simple reflexes, for example.
  • schopenhauer1
    2.2k
    The Schopenhauer religion is just another story being used to push away the scary void. Perhaps this story could be useful if it encourages us to turn and face the void, which would of course include saying goodbye to the Schopenhauer religion.Jake

    But what are your assumptions here about facing the void and the like?
  • schopenhauer1
    2.2k
    So, meaninglessness is good, ethically speaking. It liberates us from being mere tools in a grand scheme devised by God or something else. We're free to choose our destinies and that is, for me, better than having something like a divine purpose.

    It's not self-deception. It's wisdom.
    TheMadFool

    Interesting points. The implication is that motivation is not really given, it is more-or-less self-conjured..perhaps with help from social conditioning as prompts as to what to conjure. However, it is an added fuel in the equation that no other animals need do. It is a little mind game where we make goals, and believe we should be following those goals.
  • Jake
    516
    But what are your assumptions here about facing the void and the like?schopenhauer1

    I'm not sure I understand your question, so please feel free to expand on it. Until then...

    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

    As your sentence suggests, the story we call "meaning" typically involves a process of becoming. I am becoming richer, smarter, nicer, stronger, etc. I am traveling from here to there. I am becoming this or that. A writer might call this the "story arc".

    However, with any prolonged reflection, these goals are just placeholders for a void.schopenhauer1

    Yes, kind of like the person who keeps the TV on all day because they can't face the silence of an empty house. We typically keep busy, busy, busy building the becoming story called meaning to keep the void at bay.

    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.schopenhauer1

    What I don't see in your posts, perhaps because it's not in Schopenhauer's writing, is that this statement....

    The human is one that must self-deceive at all moments

    ... is false.

    We aren't actually required to fill all moments with the search for becoming story meanings. No law of nature prevents us from taking a break from the becoming story meaning, turning to face the void, and then exploring that realm.
  • apokrisis
    4.3k
    So apparently you agree that this inflated notion of having to make fiat-like goals to rule your own life is merely a modern socially constructed “freedom”. Great. It wasn’t a straw man then, was it?
  • All sight
    232


    Yes, we hold various preferences because of what we take causal relationships between things to be, and what kind of outcomes we will imagine ourselves in.

    Deeper than this though, ambitions, desires, inspirations write themselves on to your heart. We dream, we aspire. These aspiration give no worry to difficulty, logistics, you have no control of it, and just have to do it. Without doing so, a large part of you will turn its back on you forever.

    You can say that there is no real reason to do them, no real motivation, but that isn't at all what those that see think. Conservative values often seem uncompassionate, and really cold about physical violence, and other high risk safety factors. This is because the worst thing to them isn't getting hurt or violated, but damaged, broken, jaded, hateful, spoiled and self-centered... being the types that espouse love of the weak and hatred of the strong. Just those blatant types of twisted -- it's being them that is the worst thing imaginable. The consequences of not following your heart are that dire.

    We though, we have destinies to fulfill.
  • schopenhauer1
    2.2k
    We aren't actually required to fill all moments with the search for becoming story meanings. No law of nature prevents us from taking a break from the becoming story meaning, turning to face the void, and then exploring that realm.Jake

    So what does exploring that realm mean?

    So apparently you agree that this inflated notion of having to make fiat-like goals to rule your own life is merely a modern socially constructed “freedom”. Great. It wasn’t a straw man then, was it?apokrisis

    No, the straw man was saying that the tribe automatically is some collective hive-mind or some such. Rather, I proposed alternative reasons for a more group-like mentality including social conditioning which has tried to tamp down individualistic tendencies or perhaps that they have not "discovered" the extent of individual freedoms of choice, the way some societies didn't "discover" the applications of science to technology.
  • schopenhauer1
    2.2k
    We though, we have destinies to fulfill.All sight

    I don't get what you're getting at really. What destinies to fill?
  • apokrisis
    4.3k
    No, the straw man was saying that the tribe automatically is some collective hive-mind or some such.schopenhauer1

    OK. So that was the straw man you wanted to introduce here then.

    Rather, I proposed alternative reasons for a more group-like mentality including social conditioning which has tried to tamp down individualistic tendencies or perhaps that they have not "discovered" the extent of individual freedoms of choice, the way some societies didn't "discover" the applications of science to technology.schopenhauer1

    I've said a million times that the standard sociological story is that a social system is an adaptive balance of global co-operation and local competition. It is this dynamic that explains the observed facts. So yes, we would expect an appropriate degree of "tamping down", or social constraint - coupled to an appropriate encouragement of individual freedoms.

    As I've said before, I agree with your lament that modern life is difficult because it has become a social constraint that we must all strive to be highly individualistic. You have that seeming paradox of being now forced by social-conditioning to be creative and different. Your entire reason for existing is something that now has to be authored by you! Or at least, that was what you've been complaining about.

    So I agree that that would be a problem. That kind of modern socially conditioned expectation doesn't make a lot of sense.

    Well it does if you step back far enough to recognise the hand of the thermodynamic imperative - why we are hellbent on a technological lifestyle that could heat up a whole planet. The self-actualising individual is really mostly just about being the self-centred consumer, impervious to all environmental constraints. It is a system out of balance, as will be the lesson by 2050.

    But meanwhile, as we idle away the wait in amusing philosophical debate, it seems worth pointing out the fact that meanings as they would exist for humans would be learnings captured by human culture. If you don't like the current general state of the conditioning coming from our social institutions, then the answer is to help change that conditioning - not just reject conditioning in some general pessimistic fashion.
  • TheMadFool
    2.4k
    It is a little mind game where we make goals, and believe we should be following those goals.schopenhauer1

    You're right. I think we should be in the know about all forms of deception, especially self-deception as it's harder to realize and avoid.

    But...

    After we come to realize that we're fooling ourselves what are we to do?

    Imagine x realizes life is an illusion. That's a good thing to know. However, x is alive and must still live his life. His realization doesn't suddenly transport him into a different world.

    After realizing a game is corrupted why can't I continue playing it?
  • Jake
    516
    So what does exploring that realm mean?schopenhauer1

    If you should decide to explore that question I may participate.
  • schopenhauer1
    2.2k
    You're right. I think we should be in the know about all forms of deception, especially self-deception as it's harder to realize and avoid.

    But...

    After we come to realize that we're fooling ourselves what are we to do?

    Imagine x realizes life is an illusion. That's a good thing to know. However, x is alive and must still live his life. His realization doesn't suddenly transport him into a different world.

    After realizing a game is corrupted why can't I continue playing it?
    TheMadFool

    You must keep playing it. The funny part is that we are not determined on our goals and actions yet each and every time we do anything, we must play this confidence trick.
123Next
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment