• Noah Te Stroete
    1.2k
    Anxiety is nothing but fear. Fear of things we can’t control. Fear of appearing a certain way to others. Fear of losing what we hold dear. Fear of the unknown.

    When we feel anxiety we are on a path of fear that can lead to much greater evils. We may feel anxiety at first. Then we may try to control the fear by doing things and acting in ways that cause frustration when events don’t happen the way we thought we wanted. Then we might get angry or depressed. Anger at others or the world can lead to hate. Depression can lead to hating oneself. Hate leads to all kinds of evil acts.

    So I have to tell myself when I’m feeling anxious that I’m really being afraid. I tell myself, “Don’t be afraid. Fear drives you away from God and the love you should feel for others. When you accept the world as it is presented to you without fear, then you can act with love instead of hate.”

    I hope this was helpful.
  • leo
    367
    Yes I too have come very much to a similar train of thought. Fear leads to all kinds of sufferings and beliefs which reinforce fear in a vicious circle. And fear cannot fight fear, it only adds more to it, only love can. The consequences of fear and love resemble very much what we use to call evil and good. Then that leads to the idea that there are no monsters, there is only fear. And fearing monsters and fighting them with fear leads us to become the monsters ourselves.
  • Terrapin Station
    9.8k
    I think that anxiety, at least of the sort that someone might need treatment for, is a brain chemistry/brain function issue. It often manifests as just a general feeling of unease, not with a specific target re intentionality. If we adjust brain chemistry/functioning, we can eliminate anxiety. Targets with respect to intentionality fixed on something that we're worrying about or fearing are probably at least sometimes an ad hoc way of trying to rationalize the phenomena one is experiencing.
  • leo
    367
    I think that anxiety, at least of the sort that someone might need treatment for, is a brain chemistry/brain function issueTerrapin Station

    That's one of the assumptions of modern psychiatry, that a lot of mental sufferings stem from the brain alone, but I think that's a flawed way to look at things, because how we feel is impacted by our environment and not just our brain. If a wild animal is encaged and suffers as a result from chronic stress and depression, is it because there's something wrong in its brain or because it endures constraints it doesn't want to endure? We diagnose a lot of people with mental sicknesses and numb their minds with chemicals and pretend their brain was the problem instead of solving the root of their sufferings.
  • Terrapin Station
    9.8k


    How you feel is always a factor of how your brain is functioning.

    No one is saying that the environment doesn't have an impact on that, but that doesn't change the fact that how you feel is always a factor of how your brain is functioning.

    It's just like the fact that how your car is running is a matter of how your car is functioning. We're certainly not going to ignore that environment has an impact on that, but nevertheless, how your car is running is a matter of how your car is functioning.

    I specified anxiety that someone might need treatment for. Chronic anxiety/panic attacks, for example. Those can occur for no particular intentional reason.

    Not all anxiety is of this type. Of course sometimes we're anxious about something very specific that we're worried about.
  • leo
    367
    How you feel is always a factor of how your brain is functioning.

    No one is saying that the environment doesn't have an impact on that, but that doesn't change the fact that how you feel is always a factor of how your brain is functioning.
    Terrapin Station

    This is an assumption in itself, that everything we feel stems from our physical brain, that what we see through our eyes could in principle give us the whole story on what we feel and how to change what we feel. But even if that assumption were true, why would one believe that the solution to mental sufferings should be ingesting chemicals rather than changing one's environment? After all, many people are successfully treated through therapies where only words are involved, so if one assumes that the cause of mental suffering is brain malfunction then it would appear that words have the power to fix brain malfunctions, while I don't think talking to a car would fix its malfunctioning engine.
  • Terrapin Station
    9.8k


    I don't think there's any assumption to it. It couldn't be clearer/more obvious.

    I don't know why you were assuming I was necessarily talking about medications.
  • leo
    367


    Well what you see with your eyes is one part of what you experience, what you feel is another part of what you experience, what's obvious about assuming that one part of what you can see with your eyes is the source of everything you feel?
  • Terrapin Station
    9.8k
    what's obvious about assuming that one part of what you can see with your eyes is the source of everything you feel?leo

    I don't know, because I don't really have any idea what you're asking there.
  • leo
    367


    I'm talking about your brain, what's obvious about assuming that your brain that you can see with your eyes (well, that you could see if you opened your skull, or that you can detect through some instrument) is the source of everything you feel?
  • Terrapin Station
    9.8k


    I thought you were suggesting that seeing played some causal role in the belief.

    Anyway, we have tons of data from neuroscience (both modern and historical, when it wasnt called neuroscience) of how third-person observations of brain states correlate with first-person reports of consciousness.
  • leo
    367
    we have tons of data from neuroscience (both modern and historical, when it wasnt called neuroscience) of how third-person observations of brain states affect first-person reports of consciousness.Terrapin Station

    There is some correlation between observed electrical activity in the brain and what someone experiences, but that does not imply that all you feel stems from observable brain activity, nor that focusing on adjusting that activity is an efficient way nor the most efficient way to help someone get better. Again, if it is possible to help many people get better just by talking with them and spending time with them, with then observable results on their brain activity, then our environment and what we experience has much more influence on what we feel than it does on the functioning of a car, and then maybe the correct way to help people is precisely not to treat them as cars with a malfunctioning engine.
  • Terrapin Station
    9.8k
    There is some correlation between observed electrical activity in the brain and what someone experiences, but that does not imply that all you feel stems from observable brain activity,leo

    Yeah, it does, because ALL of the evidence we have is that mentality is brain states. There is zero evidence that it's anything else.
  • leo
    367


    Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Also, if the brain is made solely of particles as described in the current laws of physics, it is impossible for these particles to give rise to any conscious experience, so there is more to what we feel than mere observed brain states. You use a bunch of implicit assumptions you are not aware of.
  • Terrapin Station
    9.8k
    Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.leo

    Yes it is.

    The way that you tell that there's no elephant in the room you're in at the moment, for example, is by looking for an elephant. If you don't see one--absence of evidence of an elephant, then that's evidence that there's no elephant in your room. In fact, the ONLY way that you can conclude that there's no elephant in your room is via the absence of evidence of an elephant in your room. (It doesn't necessarily have to be visual evidence, but that's one thing that works.)

    "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence" is a cute bumper-sticker, and that's why people like to repeat it, but it's not sound philosophically. The only philosophical merit that slogan has is if we're talking about searching for something in an infinite domain (supposing or pretending that there are such things), wherein we have no idea where something might necessarily be or just how to check for it--in other words, it could plausibly be missing from any arbitrary location we look, or it could plausibly be undetectable per how we check, but meanwhile it could be present in any arbitrary location we haven't looked, or detectable if we were to check via some other means. That only works in an infinite domain, though, because otherwise the more we check for something in a finite domain and find no evidence of it, the better evidence we have that it just ain't there, and the bumper-sticker is not sound.

    Also, if the brain is made solely of particles as described in the current laws of physics, it is impossible for these particles to give rise to any conscious experience,leo

    That's a sentence you could write. A completely arbitrary sentence.
  • leo
    367
    Yes it is.

    The way that you tell that there's no elephant in the room you're in at the moment, for example, is by looking for an elephant. If you don't see one--absence of evidence of an elephant, then that's evidence that there's no elephant in your room.
    Terrapin Station

    No it's not, all it implies is you don't see an elephant.

    What you're saying is, when we hadn't observed Neptune there was evidence it didn't exist. Well, no there wasn't, there just wasn't evidence it existed.

    That's a sentence you could write. A completely arbitrary sentence.Terrapin Station

    And a sentence that makes sense. Look up the hard problem of consciousness if you want to see what I'm getting at, but if you did you wouldn't be so dismissive.
  • Terrapin Station
    9.8k
    No it's not, all it implies is you don't see an elephant.leo

    Yes it is. It's evidence that there is no elephant in the room. Elephants aren't invisible, microscopic, massless, etc. things.

    when we hadn't observed Neptune there was evidence it didn't exist.leo

    When we hadn't observed Neptune and there were claims about Neptune existing, then insofar as we explored those claims relative to just what the claims amounted to, and we found nothing, there indeed there would have been evidence that Neptune didn't exist.

    Look up the hard problem of consciousnessleo

    What is it with people being patronizing on this board? Sometimes this place makes other board's arrogant, partronizing @sses look like Gandhi.
  • leo
    367


    Sorry, I wasn't being arrogant, I have been rejected enough in my life that when some important idea I cherish and that would make the world a better place is rejected as stupid, that truly hurts me. I felt you were trying to make me look as stupid for saying what I said, but I misinterpreted, sorry about that.

    Fundamentally I'm just saying that we are more than our physical body, more than our brain, we don't see the "more" with our eyes but it's there. And then even if we find correlations between the brain we see and what we feel, that doesn't imply that the brain is the cause of what we feel, nor that what we feel cannot exist without the brain.
  • Terrapin Station
    9.8k


    What I was getting at is that you'd need an argument that doesn't exist as far as I know to support "it is impossible for these particles to give rise to any conscious experience,"

    Fundamentally I'm just saying that we are more than our physical body, more than our brain, we don't see the "more" with our eyes but it's there. And then even if we find correlations between the brain we see and what we feel, that doesn't imply that the brain is the cause of what we feel, nor that what we feel cannot exist without the brain.leo

    There's no evidence that supports any of that, though, so why would you believe it?
  • leo
    367
    What I was getting at is that you'd need an argument that doesn't exist as far as I know to support "it is impossible for these particles to give rise to any conscious experience,"Terrapin Station

    But precisely the argument is what some refer to as the "hard problem of consciousness".

    This is how I would formulate the argument:

    Premises
    P1. Everything is made of elementary particles
    P2. Elementary particles only have the ability to move each other

    Observations
    O1. The experiences of red, of a musical note, of love, of anything, are not made of particles.
    O2. You can argue that the experience of red is correlated with photons of a given frequency entering the eyes, that the experience of a musical note is correlated with air molecules vibrating in your ears at a given frequency, that the experience of love is correlated with certain molecules being synthetized in your brain, but the experiences themselves are not particles.

    Conclusion
    C. Such particles cannot account for any conscious experience.

    If particles are all there is, and if they only have the ability to move each other, there can't be conscious experience. But we have such experiences. So such particles are not all there is.

    To account for the existence of such experiences we have to introduce something more, either these particles have the ability to elicit such experiences (which gives them a mystical character and not just a physical one anymore), or there is something more than these particles, or some combination of the two.

    Everything we experience is the evidence that we are more than our physical body and brain seen as an ensemble of physical particles.
  • Terrapin Station
    9.8k
    P2. Elementary particles only have the ability to move each otherleo

    The argument would have to not be incredibly poor, as that premise is.

    It's not as if just any arbitrary argument, no matter how ridiculous outside of formal considerations, will do.
  • leo
    367
    The argument would have to not be incredibly poor, as that premise is.Terrapin Station

    Yet that premise is at the root of our current fundamental theories of physics, general relativity, the standard model of particle physics, and so on.
  • Terrapin Station
    9.8k


    So you'd say that in physics, particles don't have properties, for example?
  • leo
    367


    These properties only dictate how the particles move relative to each other, be it mass, charge, spin, what have you.
  • Terrapin Station
    9.8k


    First off, if particles have properties, then that's something about them that's additional to the ability to move each other. (That's not the end of the problems here, but the beginning.)
  • Terrapin Station
    9.8k


    When particles are in relations with other particles, so that they form atoms, molecules, etc. all the way up to things like shoes, ships, sealing wax, cabbages, etc. they have a lot of other properties than just mass, charge, etc., don't they?
  • leo
    367


    These properties have no ability other than dictating how these particles move relative to each other. Instead of saying that particles have properties, you could take each pair of elementary particles and describe how they move relative to each other, and you wouldn't even need to talk about properties, you would just have particles and how they move relative to each other.
  • Terrapin Station
    9.8k
    These properties have no abilityleo

    Properties aren't the same thing as abilities. So listing abilities doesn't exhaust property-talk.

    In a hypothetical universe with just one particle, say, that particle would have the properties it does, even though it would have no ability to "do anything"--there's nothing to do anything to in that universe.
  • Terrapin Station
    9.8k
    One obvious set of properties that you're overlooking, by the way, is shape and extension.
  • leo
    367
    Properties aren't the same thing as abilities. So listing abilities doesn't exhaust property-talk.Terrapin Station

    That they are called properties doesn't change the fact that all they dictate is how the particles move relative to each other, you could make the whole of physics in a more cumbersome way without talking about properties, just describing how each pair of particle move each other. If instead of saying that an object accelerates at 9.8m/s² I say that the object has the property to accelerate at 9.8m/s², surely saying that it has this property doesn't say anything more than what was already described.

    When particles are in relations with other particles, so that they form atoms, molecules, etc. all the way up to things like shoes, ships, sealing wax, cabbages, etc. they have a lot of other properties than just mass, charge, etc., don't they?Terrapin Station

    No, the particles keep moving as described, what changes is what we perceive and what we interact with. The emergent properties are to be found within our experience rather than in the particles themselves. The very experience which mere particles moving each other cannot account for.
  • Terrapin Station
    9.8k
    No, the particles keep moving as described, what changes is what we perceive and what we interact with. The emergent properties are to be found within our experience rather than in the particles themselves.leo

    Why would you believe that? What led to that belief for you, in other words?

    Also, do you believe that that's the standard view in physics, for example, since you were appealing to that earlier?
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment

Welcome to The Philosophy Forum!

Get involved in philosophical discussions about knowledge, truth, language, consciousness, science, politics, religion, logic and mathematics, art, history, and lots more. No ads, no clutter, and very little agreement — just fascinating conversations.