• JackBRotten
    15
    The cat is either dead or alive. Not both. Never both. Our inability to know the answer does not eliminate the possibility of an answer. If I look in the box and discern the status of the cat, but don’t tell you whether it’s alive or dead does that mean your lack of empirical evidence makes it alive and dead and the same time? No. This is the problem with Quantum Theory. The notion that what we personally perceive has a fundamental impact on reality itself. If a tree falls in the woods and you didn’t witness it then it doesn’t make a sound. However, if you are there then it does make a sound, unless your deaf. It both makes a sound and doesn’t make a sound. A perception so ridiculous it amazes me to no end how people still take scientists seriously and not question everything they utter.
  • JackBRotten
    15


    Perception is also a way of regarding, understanding, or interpreting something; a mental impression. Conception wouldn’t make sense in reference to believing oneself superior or rational. I’m not saying we hatch plans on how to be superior or rational.

    How do I account for humans “greater” perception? You do get that referring to our perceptions as “greater” is literally just perception, right? We are literally incapable of perceiving anything beyond what exists within our own framework of understanding. No two people perceive in the exact same way. As such, it’s impossible to determine any measure of greatness between the perceptions of any other person or other type of life.

    Also, a human being saying that the human brain is the most complex thing in the universe is precisely how “biased” is defined. Perception declares it complex. But there is also perceptions that say it’s not.
  • Jack Cummins
    494

    Definitely when people speak of the human brain as the most 'complex thing in the universe' they are committing the great sin of anthropomorphic superiority. It is all from our limited human understanding of the whole complexity of the universe and beyond.
  • Athena
    948
    Let us just hope that the future is one of more knowledge rather than ignorance. I am inclined to think that we are at a crossroads, and history can make negative or positive of knowledge and that it could be used destruction or positively. Perhaps, it will be a mixed picture.Jack Cummins

    That would be more knowledge of what? Holy books are so simple. Until the 20 century the only education most people had was from the holy book and that is still true of some people. Our specialization has made it possible for us have good lives relying on the expertise on others, and totally ignoring most of the available information.

    The people in the US think they have a democracy but what do they know of democracy? Who can list ten principles of democracy? How can we defend something we know so little about? We may discover our worst enemy is ourselves. At this moment in time, it is as important to know the history of Germany as the history of the US, if you are a US citizen because the US adopted the German model of bureaucracy that shits power to the state, and the German model of education that prepares the young to live under the Germany model of bureaucracy and what makes this really bad is they have no awareness of this.

    I am arguing like this because my own family does not share truths and this is extremely upsetting. My own family operates on beliefs that they get off of Facebook and they are so sure of themselves, no one will ever look for facts. They were not educated to think! Education for technology is for people with good memories, not thinking people, and it has nothing to do with transmitting a culture for democracy, unless you happen to be a good school district.

    We could say our nature depends on how we are educated. Human beings are very pliable and can be saints or sinners depending on their childhood. Doctors or soldiers, depending on their childhood.
  • Athena
    948
    The tendency to prejudge individuals and groups seems to be innate for humans, in part because quick categorizations proved advantageous for survival during Mammal evolution. But our advanced cognitive powers also allow us to quickly learn from our peers, who is to be trusted, and who is to be avoided. So human prejudice is both Innate and Learned. As for your other questions, read the book. :smile:

    Humans are wired for prejudice : https://theconversation.com/humans-are-wired-for-prejudice-but-that-doesnt-have-to-be-the-end-of-the-story-36829

    Innate or Learned Prejudice : https://alumni.berkeley.edu/california-magazine/fall-2015-questions-race/innate-or-learned-prejudice-turns-out-even-blind-arent
    Gnomon

    Beautifully worded. :clap:

    I have a huge preference for dumping the Bible and using science to understand our nature and I am delighted that you seem to be working with the more scientific understanding of our nature. I think everything in our lives around the world would be improved with a scientific understanding of our nature.

    I want to add to what you said, black birds also learn which humans are their friends and which humans should be avoided and they pass this information to each other, so our ability to do has nothing to do with our cognitive powers. HOWEVER, we can do something the rest of the animals can not do. We can see that German uniform or an allied uniform and we can spontaneously put down our weapons and share Christmas eve with our enemy, and return to war the next day. We have more choice over our actions and we can change what we think.

    The degree to which we have self determination and self control, depends on how we are raised and educated. Our culture and our time in history shapes who we are, and unlike the animals we can become aware of this and we can change what we think and how we behave.

    Essential is understanding, if we are raised to be conservative, concrete thinkers, we will be narrow minded and quick to defend what we believe. If we are raised not to be reactionary, but to think things through, and to think abstractly rather than concretely, we will be broadminded and not so sure of what we think we know. For this reason, the US is locked in culture wars and may destroy its democracy.
  • Jack Cummins
    494

    I do agree with your point that education, especially one that involves education is extremely important for the development of the potential human nature. This is because, as you say, 'Human beings are very pliable depending on their childhood.' This keys into the nurture aspect and I am sure that people are far better equipped to bring forth the positive side of potential if they receive the best education possible.

    However, even then, I do think that individuals vary so much and there is a 'herd instinct,' which Nietzsche described. You say that people can become, 'Doctors or soldiers, depending on their childhood,' Of course, the doctors and the soldiers have their blindspots too.
  • Gnomon
    1.1k
    Also, a human being saying that the human brain is the most complex thing in the universe is precisely how “biased” is defined. Perception declares it complex. But there is also perceptions that say it’s not.JackBRotten
    Some people use "perception" and "conception" interchangeably. But dictionaries make a key distinction : "Conception" is a mental interpretation of raw sensory "Perception". You seem to be using Perception to mean Prejudice or Bias or Misunderstanding. But that usage is itself biased toward Misconception.

    In my linked quote about the complexity of the brain, the "human" is an expert in his field. Are you accusing him of being biased toward human superiority? On what basis, other than that it disagrees with your "Perception" of human inferiority or mediocrity? :cool:

    Key Difference – Conception vs Perception : Perception is the ability to see, hear, or become aware of something through the senses and conception is the ability to form something in the mind and to develop an understanding. This is the key difference between conception and perception.
    https://www.differencebetween.com/difference-between-conception-and-vs-perception/
  • Athena
    948
    Of course, the doctors and the soldiers have their blindspots too.Jack Cummins

    That is a wise conclusion. :grin:

    Democracy is an imitation of the gods who argued among themselves just as humans do. Each god and goddess is a concept. For example when Athens was being torn apart with dissention, Apollo, the god of reason came into being and the war with Persia transformed Athena from an earth goddess who makes crops grow, to a goddess who teaches men how to rule themselves because Athens became a democracy so everyone would fight the Persians and for Athens.

    This speaks of the evolution of the development of human consciousness. The problem with having many gods is you get more and more gods as people become aware of new concepts. In Egypt this got totally out of control and Amenhotep's grandfather ordered a research of the achieves to find the true god. But back to Athens and democracy, it is growing consciousness as each concept, each point of view interacts with another.

    The point is the doctor and the soldier will have their blind spots and their different experiences and different points of view, and when they argue from these different points of view, new concepts can be realized and civilization progresses. Democracy is our shared consciousness. In contrast, Trump is attempting to establish a dictatorship where only those who say and do as he wants, hold the seats the power. There is a serious difference and it is disturbing that so many follow Trump.

    My thoughts appears to be wondering off the topic of human nature, so to pull it back on topic, my father, a very knowledgeable man who helped send Apollo to the moon, said we naturally avoid thinking when we can, and this seems more true of some than others. Thinking or not thinking goes with responsibility. Following a strong leader can mean avoiding the thinking and responsibility that a democracy demands. The Greeks would say, the god's chose the heroes, but only a small fraction of men agree to go on the journey of hero. Most are content to being like cattle, well cared for but with no responsibility. So what is our nature?
  • god must be atheist
    2.4k
    The cat is either dead or alive. Not both. Never both. Our inability to know the answer does not eliminate the possibility of an answer. If I look in the box and discern the status of the cat, but don’t tell you whether it’s alive or dead does that mean your lack of empirical evidence makes it alive and dead and the same time? No. This is the problem with Quantum Theory. The notion that what we personally perceive has a fundamental impact on reality itself. If a tree falls in the woods and you didn’t witness it then it doesn’t make a sound. However, if you are there then it does make a sound, unless your deaf. It both makes a sound and doesn’t make a sound. A perception so ridiculous it amazes me to no end how people still take scientists seriously and not question everything they utter.JackBRotten

    A bit of a Strawman, but hey, I can get tired of telling people what is wrong with their arguments.

    If you page back, the remark of the cat being dead and alive was made to point out that we only KNOW when we observe. You are saying the same thing, and in a way, you declare victory.

    My post was about how it is not NECESSARILY true that our species is the only one that considers itself the best of the best of the best. I gave reasons and arguments. You completely ignored those, and concentrated on the cat in the box analogy, because you've had for a long time a prepared opinion on that, and you did not mind voicing it.

    Whereas my post was NOT about the cat in the box... that analogy only aided my argument, and in the same vain you so carefully explained to me in your reply.
  • JackBRotten
    15


    Newsflash, you can’t toss in a concept into your argument that runs counter to that very argument and then be surprised when someone focuses on the incongruency. The cat in the box analogy has one specific use. Using for it for other means without specifically pointing out those means is precisely how mis-communication occurs. Next time, be more clear in your commentary.

    As an aside, if people could stop not only mimicking the term “straw man” but also stop misusing it that would be great.
  • JackBRotten
    15


    In my linked quote about the complexity of the brain, the "human" is an expert in his field. Are you accusing him of being biased toward human superiority? On what basis, other than that it disagrees with your "Perception" of human inferiority or mediocrity? :cool:

    First off, arguing the definition of words is a pointless endeavor as perception oft skews them. My use of perception aligns with the Webster’s definition. You can try calling it something else all you like. It doesn't change what it is, nor the fact you know what I’m referencing in my use of it as you’ve demonstrated. Call it conception if you want. All I care is that you understand the meaning of what I’m referencing.

    Secondly, the term “expert” is perceptual in nature. There are no degrees or certifications that provide any individual with a title of “expert”. It’s just a term given to people perceived to be well knowledged or who happen to specialize within a given area. I’m not arguing the definition of the word, just that it’s not something obtainable beyond perception. As the topic at hand is perception it’s only logical to point this out. Am I accusing a human being of being biased towards human “superiority”? Yes! Absolutely. 100%. You can disagree with this all you want, however the very nature of terms like “complexity” and “superiority” are entirely perceptual. As a different word they are “opinion” based.

    FACT or OPINION?

    Vanilla ice-cream is superior to strawberry ice-cream?
    Whistling is very complex?
  • Gnomon
    1.1k
    All I care is that you understand the meaning of what I’m referencing.JackBRotten
    I assume that the "meaning" of your comments was to go on record that, as a layman, you doubt the opinion of of an "expert" on a topic that he studies professionally. That's OK, you're entitled to your opinion. But I happen to agree with his opinion. Regarding which "perception" is skewed or biased, I have my opinion on that too. 'Nuff said! :joke:

    "The greatest deception men suffer is their own opinions." —Leonardo da Vinci

    "Your Right to an Opinion Does Not Make Your Opinion Valid"
    https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/naked-truth/201706/your-right-opinion-does-not-make-your-opinion-valid


    First off, arguing the definition of words is a pointless endeavor as perception oft skews them.JackBRotten
    Defining terms is what distinguishes philosophical dialog from a squabbling argument. :smile:

    The beginning of wisdom is the definition of terms.” ___Socrates?
  • Jack Cummins
    494
    I agree with you that many people avoid thinking and that the way of the hero or heroine is for the few. I am not sure that this would change much even if people receive the best possible education. The reason for that is because it is easier and safer to follow the leaders.

    Thinking and finding a journey outside the common pathways is perilous and can be lonely. It can also be hard work.Perhaps the people who choose to think and question are those who do not fit in or who become dissatisfied with the status quo.

    It is as if many people do not choose to climb to the top of Maslow's top of the pyramid of the hierarchy of needs, to strive towards the need for self actualization. In fact, I found that in my nurse training Maslow's model, is often just used as a model for the basic care needs, with no mention of self actualization at all. This is different from Maslow's original picture because in 'Towards a Psychology of Being'.

    He emphasizes the role of peak experiences as being a possibility, but as one which occurs once the lower needs are satisfied primarily. But I do not think it has to be straightforward. For example, a person may follow artistic needs as a response to lack of love. But of course his model does make sense in the respect that if one was homeless or hungry, such factors would make creative work, not impossible, but difficult.

    But in response to your question about our human nature, we could say that part of our nature is about the basic physical and social needs. It may be suffering in the truest existential sense that may cause people to wake up, so I wonder if the antinatalists think about it. Suffering was the starting point for Buddha, and both Guirjieff, and Colin Wilson inspired by Guirjieff, spoke of how people get to the point of' choosing to 'wake up' from robot consciousness. But part of our nature is to stay as robots.
  • Book273
    78
    I find your topic of particular interest, it is something that has drifted through my mind for the majority of my life as I do not understand people in general and, traditionally, they do not understand me. In a nutshell, I make them nervous. I frequently need to check in with my wife asking "is this a people thing?".

    I have no real concept of "human values", at least as I have come to believe society suggests they are, and therefore find that "human nature" is an obscure topic.

    My observed experience of human nature is that people will generally be kind and considerate until it is no longer convenient. At that point they will justify their actions with any number of rationalizations. Man is inordinately attached to his meat suit and momentary convenience, far more so than his ethics or morality. The former will lapse far earlier than the latter, under most circumstances, with most people.

    In essence, human nature is that which the person is inclined to do without external motivations. What would you do when no one is watching? I believe one can change ones nature by expanding one's perspectives to be far more inclusive and considerate of other perspectives and values. This can be accomplished with a great deal of reading, contemplation and time. Lastly, one must be in a place where any change will not be opposed. (basic change theory)
  • Athena
    948
    ↪I agree with you that many people avoid thinking and that the way of the hero or heroine is for the few. I am not sure that this would change much even if people receive the best possible education. The reason for that is because it is easier and safer to follow the leaders.Jack Cummins

    :grimace: That depends on the leader. Following some leaders can be very destructive. Some of us think bad leadership in the US has lead to many avoidable deaths and extended an economic problem far beyond what would have followed better leadership. No doubt some think a god gives us our leaders and that we only need to obey. I am not one of those people.

    Thinking and finding a journey outside the common pathways is perilous and can be lonely. It can also be hard work. Perhaps the people who choose to think and question are those who do not fit in or who become dissatisfied with the status quo.Jack Cummins

    Athena is the goddess who taught men to rule themselves. Logos is the highest authority and we should seek to understand it and be careful about following others. When we have a sense of being one with the universe, loneliness is not a problem. And hard work leads to great satisfaction.

    It is as if many people do not choose to climb to the top of Maslow's top of the pyramid of the hierarchy of needs, to strive towards the need for self actualization. In fact, I found that in my nurse training Maslow's model, is often just used as a model for the basic care needs, with no mention of self actualization at all. This is different from Maslow's original picture because in 'Towards a Psychology of Being'.

    He emphasizes the role of peak experiences as being a possibility, but as one which occurs once the lower needs are satisfied primarily. But I do not think it has to be straightforward. For example, a person may follow artistic needs as a response to lack of love. But of course his model does make sense in the respect that if one was homeless or hungry, such factors would make creative work, not impossible, but difficult.
    Jack Cummins

    I think you write of a state of maturity. For many of us, we do not have a good sense of self until 50 years of age or older. When we are young we can be painfully concerned about what others think of us and our position in society. Now that is natural! As social animals we need each other and our position in the group really matters! But as we age our brains literally transform. Hopefully, we have used them and encouraged the growth of neurons. Of course if we have not, neurons atrophy and the amazing thing that happens when we get older is not so amazing. As the neurons grow they reach each other and instead of accumulating facts as we do when we are young, we begin realizing the meaning of those facts in away not possible before because now more neurons are activated so the thought is bigger and deeper. But as I said, this is dependent on how we use our brains through out our life time. People who get through life referring the same Bible verses again and again and by choice remain narrow minded, will not experience amazing brain activity when they are older.

    I don't think Maslow had this understanding of neuron growth and how it changes our thinking when we age. Until recently, we didn't know our neurons keep growing and make new connections. In observing people he could gain knowledge but it was incomplete. It is observed, our thinking slows down and we will not learn how to use new technology as easily as youth does. But imagine having 10 neurons activated instead of 1 or 2 and then figuring out which brain message is the most important at the moment. From experience, I would say the complexity of our thinking in our later years, contributes to difficulty in learning new things and slower thinking. We have to forget the old to learn the new. I can hear my great granddaughter saying, "no, not that way grandma, this way". But she does not realize the importance of her decisions and why she needs to follow what the adults say. Fortunately, she is cooperative and receives more from her teachers than many children. Unlike many children in ghetto schools who do not trust anyone and are dealing with stresses and emotional problems that hinder their growth.

    In essence, human nature is that which the person is inclined to do without external motivations. What would you do when no one is watching? I believe one can change ones nature by expanding one's perspectives to be far more inclusive and considerate of other perspectives and values. This can be accomplished with a great deal of reading, contemplation and time. Lastly, one must be in a place where any change will not be opposed. (basic change theory)Book273

    :smile: I think you have explained the experience of no longer caring what others think of us. When we are young, life is what is outside of ourselves. As we age we accumulate life, and one day, we are looking inside to know what we want to know, not outside. For very sure we change as our perspective changes!

    I am not so sure of your last statement. :worry: I think today we are technologically smart but have lost our wisdom. While Trump is a smart mouth, Biden is not so sure, but will think about it, that is wisdom.
  • Jack Cummins
    494
    I think the question you ask, 'What would you do when no one is watching?'is a good one to ask to reveal to us the depths of our individual nature because it goes beyond the facade and pretence we maintain to pretend to others about being a 'good' person.
  • Fuckiminthematrix
    3
    I do not believe in 'good' or 'bad' to describe humanity, I believe each person has a complex make up and situations that arise can make people do questionable things but depending on society and context would be considered 'good' to some and 'bad' to others. I also believe human nature is an example of the society and times we live in. Human Nature constantly changes to the environment we are surrounded with, essentially human nature bare basics is to feed, reproduce and sleep. We have evolved since then and now human nature is cultivated and tailored to an individuals morals and experience.
  • 8livesleft
    62
    I think the question you ask, 'What would you do when no one is watching?'is a good one to ask to reveal to us the depths of our individual nature because it goes beyond the facade and pretence we maintain to pretend to others about being a 'good' person.Jack Cummins

    I think the answer to that is we'll do what's most convenient.
  • Jack Cummins
    494

    So are you suggest that when no one is looking 'we do what is most convenient.' I am interested in what you are saying because there are discrepancies between the public and private self, although I think there will be variations, as I prefer to avoid generalisations.

    But if it is true that when no one is looking we just do what is convenient what does that say about our innermost, private relationship with ourselves?
  • Pantagruel
    1.1k
    But if it is true that when no one is looking we just do what is convenient what does that say about our innermost, private relationship with ourselves?Jack Cummins

    Isn't this the core of Sartre's concept of bad faith?

    This has always been the cornerstone of my beliefs.
  • Jack Cummins
    494

    I think it is the gist of his philosophy. I have read La Nausea. I plan to read Being and Nothingness at some stage, but have not managed it yet.

    One quote I love is,
    'People who live in society have learned to see themselves in mirrors as they appear to friends. Is that why my flesh is naked?
    You might say- yes you might say, nature without humanity...Things are very bad: I have it, the filth, the Nausea.'
  • Pantagruel
    1.1k
    One quote I love is,
    'People who live in society have learned to see themselves in mirrors as they appear to friends. Is that why my flesh is naked?
    You might say- yes you might say, nature without humanity...Things are very bad: I have it, the filth, the Nausea.'
    Jack Cummins

    I believe "reciprocity" is the pivotal concept. I think, in the mode of bad faith, whatever limitations you place upon your generosity to "the Other," that is a limitation that you place upon yourself.

    Funny thing, I was goaded into taking on Sartre's Critique of Dialectical Reason last year by way of a fairly heated debate on this forum. And if I hadn't been so "motivated" I wonder if I could have even finished it.
  • 8livesleft
    62
    But if it is true that when no one is looking we just do what is convenient what does that say about our innermost, private relationship with ourselves?Jack Cummins

    When you posed the question, I immediately thought of the stoplight scenario where you're in an intersection with a red light. Nobody's around, no cameras, empty street, do you go or wait?

    Another scenario would be where you maybe find yourself hungry and penniless and you come across a bakery with bread but no people. Do you get a loaf for yourself or do you wait for the owner to beg for food?

    Or say you're at home in quarantine, do you try to learn new skills like a new language, take up an art, find work you can do at home or do you simply relax and wait for quarantine to end or your savings to get used up?
  • Jack Cummins
    494
    There are so many varieties of experiences of being alone. In the first you describe most people would ignore the red light as no one is likely to be affected. In the second one it is unlikely that the theft will affect anyone badly. The last one of being alone in some social distancing and taking up new hobbies and relaxation is the way many people have coped in positive ways this year.

    So, you were really supposing a better side of human nature than the one conjured up by your words. My imagination comes up with far different ones: the people who drink alcohol and take drugs secretly, work hard when the boss is watching but slack off when unsupervised and those who have secret sexual affairs, and endless other possibilities. Perhaps I have a grim picture.


    But I have seen so many aspects of the darker side of human nature....
  • 8livesleft
    62
    So, you were really supposing a better side of human nature than the one conjured up by your words. My imagination comes up with far different ones: the people who drink alcohol and take drugs secretly, work hard when the boss is watching but slack off when unsupervised and those who have secret sexual affairs, and endless other possibilities. Perhaps I have a grim picture.Jack Cummins

    Well, I'm sure those things occur as well but the fact that most consider those as "deviant" behaviors tells me that it's not the norm or default.

    And as I've said, those things you mentioned like doing drugs, getting drunk, having affairs, etc... require considerable effort in procurement, implementation as well as post-binge recovery - not to mention the high risk of getting caught as well as the penalties involved.

    And so, people that tend towards these things, in my opinion, have possible issues (such as possible abuse, environmental pressures, neglect etc...) that are causing them to behave negatively. These are not normal circumstances.
  • Jack Cummins
    494

    Perhaps I come from a different world to you because I have most certainly seen the darker side of 'normal'. And I really don't whether your view is the more common experience and whether or not mine is the deviant one?
  • Jack Cummins
    494

    Yes, I am still thinking about your response and how it compares to my experience. It probably depends on where one lives in the world and also the social groups one mixes in.

    Living and working in London, I have not lived a particularly sheltered life and it will be interesting if others on the forum read this, because our social contexts affect our lens of perception.

    So, the latest question to add to the human nature debate is whether readers of the forum have been witness to the darker side of human nature.
  • Pantagruel
    1.1k
    If I want to get a sense of the darker side I just read some Dickens. We live in a utopian paradise compared to those Victorian workers man.
  • Jack Cummins
    494

    In some respects I agree with you but I have seen the subcultural aspects of life. I have spent time in Camden, mixed with the downtrodden and walked around London in the middle of the night, so perhaps I have seen too much...
  • Pantagruel
    1.1k
    Yes. I shot speedballs at 4 am with strangers in the late eighties at the height of the AIDS epidemic, so I know something of subcultures myself.
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