• Raphi
    12
    The problems is that the only thing that feels is you. There is no other thing feeling suffering. If you are feeling pain, but interpret it as pleasure, then you're not feeling pain. At least you're not experiencing the negativity of pain.darthbarracuda

    Well, that is a relevant point. I’m not entirely sure of how to properly address it, but what I can say is that it often happened to me. Only after high school did I realise how much I had suffered during it. During high school, I perceived my reality in such a way that I had many needs that often made me suffer just by making themselves heard, but I did not understand at this moment in time that what I was experiencing was suffering. Nevertheless, I am pretty sure I was suffering.
    I think what happens is that people experience feelings that they want to get rid of (suffering) like hunger, but they often fail to identify them as suffering. I don’t think their misinterpretation of what is happening in their mind prevents them to experience what is really happening. So I’d say you can suffer even though you think you don’t. We can also consider the fact that people can sometimes lie to themselves about what they feel.



    This is exactly what is problematic, though. You can't know what a concept it unless you experience it yourself. Where does this good concept come from?darthbarracuda

    A problem I face since the beginning of our discussion is that I have difficulty to understand what a good or a bad feeling even mean. The use of those words indicates that we have a comparison point, from where what is to one side of it is “bad” and what is on the other side is “good”. I guess that comparison point is the absence of consciousness. And so when you ask where does this good concept come from, what you are probably asking is “how do people come to consider some of their feelings as being better than the absence of consciousness?” To that, I would simply answer that they either don’t understand their feelings, or the absence of consciousness or both. Humans can come up with the concept of good feeling without it being real. I just don’t agree with your statement about having to experience a concept in order to know it. I mean, I’ve never experienced the feeling of “x” but I can wrongly attribute to it some of my feelings whenever I want.
    And it could be that I have been inaccurate about that previously, but I’d like to clarify something. I only pretend that, like with energy being the only component of temperature, the concept of suffering is the only component of our feelings, I would not pretend that our feelings are bad or good or better or worse than the absence of consciousness, because I don’t think it means anything.

    There's the "illusory" feelings of pleasure and goodness, and then there's the "actual" feelings of suffering.darthbarracuda

    Just to specify, I would not say people experience pleasure through an illusion, I would rather say they mistakenly associate goodness with some of their feelings.


    Yet your hypothesis is wrong. Completeness has nothing to do with accuracy in this case. If anything it is you who demands faith for their hypothesis, as you claim to know better than I do what I am actually feeling.darthbarracuda

    “Yet your hypothesis is wrong.”
    Oh, well that is embarrassing, I was not aware of that fact. That’s a shame, I quite liked my hypothesis.
    I did not pretend completeness had anything to do with accuracy. Though I would argue that when a hypothesis is complete, reaching accuracy does not require the addition of new concepts.
    How does pretending to know better than you do what you are feeling demand faith?
    And let’s just specify that I don’t make pretensions just like that, I make them as part of impersonating my hypothesis.


    To ignore the existence of pleasure is akin to ignoring the existence of suffering and claiming all pain is just less pleasure. This does the exact same work you theory does. We avoid pain not because it's actually painful but because it's less pleasurable and we want to maximize our pleasure.darthbarracuda

    Again, I can use temperature as an analogy.
    (I did not mention it previously, but I don’t really have a name for our feelings’ component, so it basically goes like this… cold=pleasure, heat=suffering, energy=suffering, It is not ideal, but it should be ok for now)
    Yes you could try to intuitively think of temperature as being coldness and absence of coldness, and you would be able to predict the same things that you can predict with our current understanding of heat and absence of heat. But in the same way we associate energy to heat, not cold, I associate my feeling’s component to suffering, not pleasure. It is not completely arbitrary, we can discuss the reasons I make that association if you feel it is not that simple.

    I read some of the following comments and I feel like most people agree to say that suffering is a strong force and that pleasure exist without suffering in rare quantity. I want to address something. Where you observe pleasure, I also observe a phenomenon, I just don’t agree to call it pleasure considering its current definition.



    I don’t think your comment will qualify in the top 5 of the most inspiring quotes of all time, but nevertheless, than you for it. Haha

    The problem with this is that all there is to anything being better or worse than anything else is how an individual feels about it. It's not something they can be mistaken about, or where they can get facts (about what's really better or worse) wrong.Terrapin Station

    Well, people are often mistaken when comparing a feeling they once have with a feeling they think they will have when experiencing something new. For example, my friend was pretty sure that he would like the experience of karting tomorrow better than that of bowling yesterday. He was wrong. And if pleasure is defined by being a better feeling than the absence of consciousness, then it is possible that people are mistaken about that because they don’t really understand the absence of consciousness. I don’t pretend they are mistaken in their feelings, it would be absurd, I pretend they are mistaken in their interpretation of those feelings.
  • Terrapin Station
    2.7k
    Well, people are often mistaken when comparing a feeling they once have with a feeling they think they will have when experiencing something new.Raphi

    It's not that that they're mistaken. Rather, their feelings can change.

    For example, my friend was pretty sure that he would like the experience of karting tomorrow better than that of bowling yesterday. He was wrong.

    You can be wrong with a prediction. That's not the same thing as being wrong about something being better than something else, or being wrong about your feelings.

    And if pleasure is defined by being a better feeling than the absence of consciousness,

    That wouldn't make any sense, as there is no feeling to an absence of consciousness. There are no better or worse judgements with an absence of consciousness either.

    then it is possible that people are mistaken about that

    It's not possible to be mistaken with any judgment of x is better than y period. That you can change how you feel is not being mistaken--because it's not the case that how you feel at one time as opposed to another is right (or wrong). And that you can get wrong a prediction of how you'll feel at another time (or get wrong remembering how you felt at a previous time) is a different issue. That's not getting feelings or better/worse judgments themselves right or wrong.
  • Raphi
    12
    That wouldn't make any sense, as there is no feeling to an absence of consciousness. There are no better or worse judgements with an absence of consciousness either.Terrapin Station

    Just change “feeling” by “state of mind”. I often thought to say “state of mind” in previous answers, but that one here slipped away from me. Or if state of mind does not satisfy you, just use “state”.
    For what can be consider better or worse than what else, I just don’t think anything in this world can be considered simply better or worse without having a goal in mind. For example, you can say that a water bottle is better than a chair to hold your water in place. But you can’t say it is better and stop there. I don’t think absolute good or bad exist. Nevertheless, people have in their mind ideas of what is good and what is bad, and they use that to compare two things and say that one is better than the other. What happens with “good” and “bad” is that whatever constructs you built in your mind to justify their use, they imply there exists a neutral zone or line between the two. And, I think the absence of consciousness is that state that lies on that neutral line in that spectrum of states. On one side of that neutral line, there is what people call bad state/feeling and on the other side, what they call good.
    When I talk about better or worse feeling than other, I refer to how people wrongly perceive their reality, not what I actually think of those feelings. And by “wrongly perceive”, I mean it in the sense of “according to my hypothesis”.


    It's not that that they're mistaken. Rather, their feelings can change.Terrapin Station

    Well, if their perception of their reality does not fit with their actual reality, they are what we call mistaken in their perception. Being mistaken meaning being incorrect in an opinion or judgment.
    In the case of my friend, we had just been bowling the day before, he knew what it felt like, and he was thinking about tomorrow where we were going to do karting. He thought about how he would felt when doing so and so he thought it would be a better feeling than the bowling of yesterday. He went to sleep, the day after, we went karting, then he thought about what just happened and he realised he had preferred the feeling of bowling rather than the one of karting. So, we know he was wrong in his prediction he made the day before. He was mistaken in thinking his state of mind would be better when karting than when bowling.



    You can be wrong with a prediction. That's not the same thing as being wrong about something being better than something else, or being wrong about your feelings.Terrapin Station
    Like I said in my first answer, I don’t think “better” or “worse” or “bad” or “good” mean anything without a goal in mind. Some feelings are better or worse than others for surviving, but none are just better or worse than others. I don’t see how you can explain what it means for a feeling to be better than another without using arguments like “it feels better” which has the same problem of not meaning anything. Of course, if you have your own definition for “good feeling”, I will be glad to use it in order to progress in our discussion.

    I want to point out that my hypothesis does not pretend there exists only bad feelings, it just pretends that suffering is the way your consciousness is aware of your needs, and that the awareness of your needs alone can explain every feeling you experience.

    And maybe I should have asked you to define what you mean by “good feeling” before, but it is never too late to ask.
  • Terrapin Station
    2.7k
    Like I said in my first answer, I don’t think “better” or “worse” or “bad” or “good” mean anything without a goal in mind.Raphi

    What sort of goal would you say I have in mind when I say that I think that Stravinsky is a better composer than Brahms?
  • Wayfarer
    2.4k
    Evolution by natural selection explains practically every characteristic associated with living things.Raphi

    I think that's where the problem lies. Evolution is a biological theory, and insofar as we are biological subjects, then it explains much about us - respiration, metabolism, reproduction, and the like. But to say that this explains 'every characteristic' of humans is 'biological reductionism'. It is a very commonly-held attitude nowadays, but the problem with it is, it is not a philosophy of existence, or even a philosophy at all. It is simply a biological theory, which is now often believed to 'explain everything about us'. But just as you wouldn't study languages or humanities in the department of biology, then you also wouldn't explore philosophical questions there either.

    (Unless, of course, the suffering in question is actually physical, in which case the solutions are medical, which is at least connected with the biological sciences.)

    Your post is a very heartfelt one, as if you are acutely aware of the problem of suffering. So, what solution might there be? Traditionally that is not the province of biological or even cognitive sciences, but of philosophy proper, whether existential, religious, or some other kind. Buddhism addresses the 'problem of suffering' in terms of the cause of suffering, the possibility of the end of suffering, and the path to the end of suffering. Other religious philosophies propose other solutions, But the 'end to suffering', overall, is the meaning of the word 'salvation', which is the same root as 'salve'. So that is what I think you're looking for, and I don't think evolution has much to do with it.
  • Raphi
    12
    What sort of goal would you say I have in mind when I say that I think that Stravinsky is a better composer than Brahms?Terrapin Station

    Well, you could affirm something like what you just said and have no goal in mind, but in that case it would simply mean nothing relevant, since there is no evidence for the existence of absolute good or bad. It would only be faith in their existence.

    Most probably, when you say that, you subconsciously or consciously have a goal in mind. First you have to understand that, since you began to exist, your brain has developed a lot of criteria concerning music that indicate what you will like or not. (If my hypothesis is true, what you like or not is probably related to what entertains you the most, and so, at the same time, what makes you forget about your needs the most. Note that some people came to have an understanding or art such that their criteria of goodness are not entirely related to what entertain them the most.) So when you say that Stravinsky is a better composer than Brahms, it probably means “Stravinsky, as a composer, is better at filling my criteria about music than Brahms is.”


    I think that's where the problem lies. Evolution is a biological theory, and insofar as we are biological subjects, then it explains much about us - respiration, metabolism, reproduction, and the like. But to say that this explains 'every characteristic' of humans is 'biological reductionism'. It is a very commonly-held attitude nowadays, but the problem with it is, it is not a philosophy of existence, or even a philosophy at all. It is simply a biological theory, which is now often believed to 'explain everything about us'. But just as you wouldn't study languages or humanities in the department of biology, then you also wouldn't explore philosophical questions there either.Wayfarer

    I don’t think there exists any subject that can escape the reach of philosophy. In fact, it is pretty common for philosophers to use, in their though process, what science proposes. And, I just put that sentence about evolution by natural selection in order to justify the presence of those complex structures we, humans, are, in a universe tending towards a state of maximum entropy. It is far from central to my hypothesis, even though I probably made it look that way.


    Your post is a very heartfelt one, as if you are acutely aware of the problem of suffering. So, what solution might there be? Traditionally that is not the province of biological or even cognitive sciences, but of philosophy proper, whether existential, religious, or some other kind. Buddhism addresses the 'problem of suffering' in terms of the cause of suffering, the possibility of the end of suffering, and the path to the end of suffering. Other religious philosophies propose other solutions, But the 'end to suffering', overall, is the meaning of the word 'salvation', which is the same root as 'salve'. So that is what I think you're looking for, and I don't think evolution has much to do with it.Wayfarer

    I don’t think you can be in a better state than the absence of consciousness. And for legal and taboo reasons, I’ll leave it at that and I won’t advise people with what I think might be the best solution to eliminate suffering all together.
    I often feel like Buddhism is the religion that is closest to the truth.
    I’m only looking for a discussion with other people about my hypothesis in order to put it to the test.
  • Rich
    437


    Buddhism doesn't not suggest that all life is suffering (happily). Buddhism suggests that suffering is a response to desires. A reasonable response. The more one desires, the more they suffer. So one can take from this that suffering is trying to suggest that maybe a little less desire is the way to go. Hence, the eight fold path of moderation. Suffering isn't inevitable, it is more of a warning. It can be softened with moderation.
  • TheMadFool
    556
    I’m not sure how your comment fits into our discussion here or even my hypothesis. Could you make the connection more clear to me please?Raphi

    Well, an orgasm is not simply a degree of suffering.
  • Terrapin Station
    2.7k
    Well, you could affirm something like what you just said and have no goal in mind, but in that case it would simply mean nothing relevant, since there is no evidence for the existence of absolute good or bad. It would only be faith in their existence.Raphi

    "Relevant" used in that way is a pet peeve of mine. Revelance isn't intransitive. Everything is relevant to some things and not to others. Me telling you that I think Stravinsky is better is relevant to my tastes, for example. It's relevant to letting others know my preferences. It's relevant to all sorts of things.

    Re "absolute good and bad," my utterance of "I think Stravinsky is a better composer" has nothing to do with any ideas I have of absolute good and bad, or objective good and bad. I don't believe that good and bad, better and worse, etc. are objective. I believe that thinking of them as objective is a category error.

    Most probably, when you say that, you subconsciously or consciously have a goal in mind.Raphi

    I don't buy the idea of unconscious mental content.

    First you have to understand that, since you began to exist, your brain has developed a lot of criteria concerning music that indicate what you will like or not. (If my hypothesis is true . . .Raphi

    This is turning into the "Can I interpret everything to fit under my x-umbrella if I'm creative enough" game.
  • Wayfarer
    2.4k
    I don’t think you can be in a better state than the absence of consciousness.Raphi

    Pity there's nobody around to benefit.
  • Ergo sum
    17
    Consciousness is the feeling emerging when a brain introduce the concept of self to its model of realityRaphi

    I wouldn't say consciousness is a feeling, but rather a state produced by feelings. And feelings are all sensations. And all sensations are abstractions that we give an imprint. The concept of self emerges when we are conscious of our "self" and look into us, self-consciouness. All forms of life are conscious, the difference is how consciousness is observed and classified.
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