Freedom Underground a subsection of the Free Individual. Freedom Underground will not interest those who are not already Free Individuals. If you are religious, belong to a political party or believe some social or political movement will provide you with freedom or the kind of life you think you want, Freedom Underground will not interest to you, except, perhaps, as a curiosity.|
Freedom Underground unapologetically declares with H.L. Mencken, "So long as there are men in the world, 99 percent of them will be idiots." As expained in, "Reality—An Introduction to Philosophy," "most people are ignorant, stupid, superstitious, and choose to be stuck in that condition." Such are those who make up the great mass of humanity. Such are not capable of understanding what true freedom is and could neither desire or achieve it if they did.
Have Your Say!
Please use the "Have Your Say," page to submit all questions, comments, or criticisms.
All of the following are notes and comments pertaining to individual freedom. They are not articles, but ideas and concepts rarely addressed by any intellectual source. They are provided only as a source of ideas for your owm individual thinking to consider. Most are recast from real conversations. The words and comments of others are always in Italics.
• The Reality Of Things—To the statement: "Physics tells us that ultimate reality is a place of no things, apparent reality is a place of things ..."
If, "ultimate reality is a place of no things," what exactly is it that physics studies, since it cannot be ultimate reality itself? It's absurd. Ultimate reality is the actual things that exist just as they are perceived, and all of science is nothing more than an explanation of what those actual entities and their nature are. If there were no actual entities, there would be nothing for physics to study.
The view you are espousihg is as mystical as any religion: "ultimate reality is some ineffable thing that can never be fully known but is the, "cause," of what only appears to be real." It's just another version of Platonic realism.
I know that's not what you intend or probably think what you say means, but the denial of perceived reality as actual reality is always some form of mysticism. Why are people so afraid that a cow is actually exactly what it appears to be and is as real as real can possibly be?
• Perceived Reality—To the statement: "We can only actually experience a fraction of reality."
And just how do you know about this ineffable stuff that is more than experienced reality if it cannot be experienced at all? Is it by some mystical revelation or the machinations of idealism? You call the belief that the reality one actually sees, hears, feels, smells, and tastes, naive, but believing in some totally unidentifiable thing which can never be described or detected sophisticated--but it just more mystic nonsense.
• Neuroscience Lie—To: "Science has thoroughly refuted naive realism by studying the human physiology especially neuroscience. This is established scientific fact."
Please provide a reference (just one will do) to the actual scientific experiments or tests that proved perceived reality is not all of reality there is. You just keep repeating the same lie as though saying it enough times makes it so.
All of neurology is a physical science that studies the physical neurological system that can actually be seen directly or via instruments. Neurology has never discovered anything other than what can be totally described and explained in terms of that which can be directly perceived.
I'm afraid you have let those perversions of neurology which the pseudo-science of psychology has tried to put over by attempting to use neurology to legitimize its own distortions.
• Not Everything Is Physical—To the question: "Now I'm puzzled and intrigued. If physicalism/materialism/naturalism is just the claim that only physical (etc) things exist, why is that a baseless superstition? Do you think any non-physical things exist? Any examples, and evidence for their existence?"
[This question was asked in reference to these two articles: "Not Everything Is Physical," and, "Physicalist Superstition."]
The problem is partly semantic. The word, "exist," is so often used in place of, "real," and, "real," is usually confused with, "exist physically." So:
By exist I mean anything that actually is, without regard to the nature of that which exists, or the context in which it exists.
By physical I mean anything that can be directly perceived (seen, heard, felt, tasted, smelled, or perceived by interoception) and has attributes that can be known indirectly from evidence that can be perceived (all the physical sciences) and has those physical attributes thus discovered (mass, size, energy, temperature, charge, momentum, etc.).
By real I mean anything that exists in any mode or context (from the physical to the fictional, and from ontological to the epistemological), so long as its actual mode of existense is specified, and it truly has that nature. For example apples exist physically because they have physical attributes that can be perceived or studied scientifically, but botany certainly exists as a discipline but has no physical attributes though it is itself a physical science. The knowledge that is botany has no physical attributes that can be perceived or scientifically studied. Botany does not exist at all except epistemologically.
Everything that exists epistemologically: language, logic, mathematics, all science, geography, history, literature, does not exist at all physically (as defined above) but all exist, even every fictional character, place, and event in literature exist epistemologically, but not physically, and fictions do not exist, ''really," unless the fact they exist as fictions is specified. Independent of human consciousness, however, there are no epistemological existents, but to deny they exist, because they are not physical, is just nonsense.
The consciousness which makes epistemological existence possible is not physical. It has no physical attributes that can be perceived or detected and studied by any physical means. I know a thorough-going physicalist will claim they are studying consciousness when examining the neurological system. I've studied all such claims (because I seriously believed there might be a physical explanation of the nature of consciousness), but of course was disappointed in that search, because all the physical sciences can study is that which has physical attributes, and consciousness has none: no color to see, sound to hear, no substance to feel, and no flavor or scent to taste or smell and of course it has no mass, size, energy, temperature, charge, or momentum.
When a neurologists studies the brain and neurological system, only the physical, chemical, electrical events can be detected, studied, or described. There is no physical means to study consciousness itself, the actual conscious experience of seeing colors, hearing sounds, feeling substance, tasting flavors or smelling odors. When a neurologist describes the physical events (such as those that occur in the optic nerve and "visual centers" of the brain, all that can be detected are physical events, but actual "seeing," cannot be detected. Those events are no doubt related to vision, but certainly are not vision itself. To just say vision somehow happens (or emerges) as a result of those physical events is hardly science and for anyone who wants knowledge, not guesses and hypotheses, such assertions are not satisfactory.
If nothing else, I know I am conscious with absolute certainty. I do not know with certainty that anyone else is, but I think it is unreasonable to think they are not. The only consciousness I can know, however is my own, because there is no way to be conscious of anyone else's consciousness. (That's why it's pointless to argue with anyone who denies consciousness. Perhaps they really aren't, or at least limited in that capacity.) And of course anyone claiming they are studying consciousness, like the entire pseudo-science of psychology, is a lying.
My consciousness, however, is nothing unnatural and would not be possible without the physical because it is an attribute only possible to living physical organisms, a perfectly natural attribute that life makes possible. Consciousness is not a thing, or substance, or entity. It is an integral attribute or property of some organisms. It is something an organism does (not has), it is the action of being aware, apprehending what the neurological system makes available to the organism to perceive.
There is nothing mystical or supernatural about consciousness. To deny it, because one wishes to evade any hint of superstition, however, is itself an unfounded superstition that reality somehow excludes in some mysterious inexplicable way any possible attributes except those that can be directly perceived of discovered by the physical sciences. It is a flat out denial of one's own undeniable consciousness.
But, ..., I'm not trying to convince you, only explaining why I cannot accept either the physicalist's or supernaturalist's premises, which I regard as a false dichotomy.
• What Really Exists—A short answer to a ratjer long comment on the previous entry: "You seem to be saying that there's a subset of what you call real things, which is non-physical real things. And you categorise what we call consciousness as a real, non-physical thing - a thing that can't be physically sensed, observed, studied or described.
"I think the problem with this is the mistake of blurring the distinction between the way things are and what we say about them. In this case, we use nouns to name things, so we conclude the abstract noun 'consciousness' must be the name of something. Then, since that thing is not physical, like a brain, we conclude it must be non-physical. And, hey presto, the fantasy of non-physical things seems to make sense.
"I think this is the superstition or delusion that has motivated philosophy since we began philosophising. The stuff of philosophy is supposed non-physical or abstract things: truth, knowledge, causation, identity, mind, consciousness, and so on. You say there's nothing mysterious or unnatural about them. And I agree - but that's because they aren't things of any kind, physical or non-physical. We just use these words (some of them very important, such as 'justice' and 'freedom') in various completely explicable ways."
I'm afraid you have confused me. On the one hand you say, "non-physical or abstract things: truth, knowledge, causation, identity, mind, consciousness, and so on ,,, aren't things of any kind, physical or non-physical."
It appears to me that you have used the word, "thing," with two very different definitions: in the first instance a kind of generic meaning identifying "whatever is," or, "just anythig." In the second instance you seem to meam, "entity," implying that anything that is not an entity does not really exists. I agree that only entities exist as independent existents, but attributes, relationships, and events (the action of entities) certainly exist, though cannot exist except as the attributes of, relationships between, and behavior of entities. I only that which is an entity exists, there are no attributes, relationships, or events--you would have to say force, charge, velocity, acceleration, temperature, polarity, momentum and mass, "aren't things of any kind, physical or non-physical," which of course they aren't if, "thing," means entity, but they certainly are not nothing, are they.
You're going to have to tell me what you mean by, "thing," before I can make head or tail of what you are saying. Just for the record, I do not say life, consciousness, or mind are things, as independently existing entities. An entity is whatever its attributes are, but its attributes are not things (entities or substances) and do not exist independently of the entities they are the attributes of. Life, consciousness, and mind are not entities, they are the attributes of some entities called organisms.
• Physical And Nonphysical—To the comments: I maintain that the attributes, relationships and actions of physical things (what we call events) are physical things, which can therefore be sensed. For example, the relationship 'taller than' is what we call a relationship between two physical things. That relationship isn't a supposed non-physical thing - what used to be called a universal. (That's a Platonist or neo-Platonist delusion.)
And what we call an event occurs in space-time, which is a sine qua non for physicalism. (I think the claim that supposed non-physical things or events exist entails belief in non-space-time existence, which is irrational.)
For some time, my standing question has been: what and where are supposed non-physical (or abstract) things, and in what way do they exist? And I'm looking for an answer that doesn't equivocate on the words 'thing' and 'exist'. Just calling them 'real' doesn't answer the question.
Of course, my aim is to expose a deep and persistent delusion which, as I say, comes from our mistaking what we say for the way things are.
You have no idea how much I'm tempted to respond to your last sentence with--"Unless, of course, if you say it," because you have just described how you think things are. But I'm not saying that, because our real difference is epistemological and what we mean by concepts.
In spite of the fact you correctly repudiate the absurd, "realism," of plato, you do seem to have a view of universals that is some kind of nominalism [I'm guessing, based on your assertion that, "attributes, relationships and actions ... are physical things."] The immediate problem with that view to me is it makes those things exist independently, as though there were free, "heaviness," "tallness," or "spinning," floating around without any heavy, tall, or spinning things. A physical entity can be what it is without contingency, but a relationship, attribiute, or an action cannot. There cannot just be tallness, a thing can only be tall relative to another thing, and there cannot just be heaviness, there must be a heavy thing, and there cannot just be action, there must be something that acts. Of course these relationships, attributes, and actions are physical, but to think of them as physical things in the same sense as apples, planets, stars, and galaxies are physical things is exactly the kind of platonic realism you deplore. They have no independent physical existence.
Now I'm going to say something you will really disagree with. There is no such thing as, "space-time," except as a concept. I agree with Einstein that space-time is just a way of picturing relationships between actual physical things, their positions, motions, and accelerations. There is no, "stuff," "space-time," but it is an excellent way of picturing the true properties and behavior of physical entities, and it may be the best possible, but it certainly is not the only one.
And that also answers the question: "what and where are supposed non-physical (or abstract) things, and in what way do they exist?" Ask that about your supposed, "space-time?" What are its physical attributes ("what," and, "how," does it exist) and were does it exist (everywhere)? There is certainly a concept for, "space-time," and as the identification of certain physical relations and behavior it works very well, but it only exists as a concept, a mental identification of a collection of propositions describing some phenomena in a conscious mind, but sans a conscious mind does not exist at all."
• Concepts and Spacetime—To the comment following the previous: I think the Platonist/nominalist debate over so-called universals is instructive. It seems to me they both mistake talk about, say, heaviness for talk about some kind of thing - a so-called universal - then argue about whether that supposed thing does or doesn't exist. The original problem is, as it were, a nomenclaturist view of language: the expression 'heavier than' names something - now what is that thing, and does it exist? The answer is: of course heaviness doesn't exist in the way that apples, etc, exist. But to conclude heaviness must be a non-physical or abstract thing is absurd."
Then we need a new word for, "thing," because there certainly is a relationship between physical entities which are different in weight and one that weighs more than another is called, "heavy." Heaviness is only a collective term meaning all cases of one thing being heavier than another. It is a concept for a collection of concepts, not things as you seem to mean, but certainly not nothing.
I certainly understand why you object to calling such collective concepts things. Perhaps part of the difficulty is the fact epistemologists do not seem to understand (or fail to emphasize the fact) all concepts that do not identify actual physical phenomena are metaphorical and must use some concepts of the physical for those metaphors. The word, "in," describes a physical relationship, but the concept, "in," is used metaphorically to identify context all the time where there is no physical relationship at all as, "in the field of pedagogy, language is important," for example. No one thinks that language is some kind of, "thing," inside another, "thing," called pedagogy.
Additional comment: "I think the claim that a thing can exist as a concept in a mind is a wonderful demonstration of the tangle we get into when we mistake what we say about things for the way things are."
Well I hope I've explained that, "in," in the phrase, "a concept in a mind," has nothing to do with a geographical location or physical position or implies the, "mind," is some kind physical container. It only means a concept only exists withing the context of a mind (whatever you think a mind actually is), and sans minds, there are no concepts.
Additional comment: "I think the claim that a thing can exist as a concept in a mind is a wonderful demonstration of the tangle we get into when we mistake what we say about things for the way things are. Far from answering my question - what and where are supposed non-physical (or abstract) things, and in what way do they exist? - it merely assumes their existence, which begs the question and explains absolutely nothing."
Of course, because they do not exist in some physical location, but they are not just assumed to exist because you just used a whole parcel of them.
Additional comment: "Mentalist talk - about minds containing mental things and events - is and has always been metaphorical. And in its normal context it's unproblematic. But look what happens when we take the metaphor literally: outside minds, what we call space-time (physical reality) doesn't exist. Voila: we're down the rabbit hole with the craziest idealists."
Exactly. I totally agree. The problem is hypostatization (reification). To a very great extent, its the source and ground of all forms of idealsim, mysticism, and superstition.
As for, "space-time," as the explanation and description of all actual physical phenomena, the physical phenomena it explains exists without any contingency, and within the limits of current knowledge is correct, but as for the explanation itself, (all the math. measurements, "pictures," and models) to attribute independent existence to that is reification.
• Spacetime Not Material—To the comment: "What is space-time?, By Adam Mann published May 20, 2021, "A simple explanation of the fabric of space-time," https://www.livescience.com/space-time.html." [Meant to document that space-time is a thing or substance.]
If you are going to read these, "comic book," versions of science, at least pay attention to what is written. The very first paragraph explains:
"The famous physicist Albert Einstein helped develop the idea of space-time as part of his theory of relativity. Prior to his pioneering work, scientists had two separate theories to explain physical phenomena: Isaac Newton's laws of physics described the motion of massive objects, while James Clerk Maxwell's electromagnetic models explained the properties of light, according to NASA."
Everyone who learns a little physics misunderstands, that most of the concepts of physics do not identify actual entities or substances as they actually exist, but are, "models," or, "metaphors," which use the attributes of actual physical existents (like waves and particles) to illustrate or picture what is going on at a physical level that cannot be seen or actually perceived.
Take the model of the atom for example:
Atoms are a method used by scientists to, "picture," or, "illustrate," the nature of the chemical attributes of actual physical entities. There are no atoms, "in themselves," only atoms as a means of describing the chemical properties of physical things. At one time, atoms were, "pictured," as, "particles," like tiny round pellets, then as little balls with other balls imbedded in them, or miniature, "solar systems," like the Rutherford and Bohr models.
This is how atoms are modeled today:
Atoms are no longer pictured as tiny particles, but more as, "clouds," or, "waves," as in the Schrodinger (or quantum) model of an atom. They are all only models, however, and have no existence of their own except as explanations of the chemical nature of real physical entities which actually exist on their own and can be seen, heard, felt, smelled, and tasted. Atoms are, in fact, just very useful fictions invented to help scientist picture what are only properties and not actual entities at all.
Or Maxwell's, "magnetic fields," or Newton's, "gravitational field," or light being pictured as both a particle, (to describe it's quantum properties), and as a wave, (to describe it's wave-like properties).
When it was first discovered that light could be described as a wave, scientitsts assumed a light (or electro-magnetic) wave had to be a wave of something which it would have to travel through the way sound travels as a wave through a medium. If there were such a medium, everything would be emersed in it, including the earth, in which case, light traveling through that medium would travel at different speeds depending on which way the earth was traveling through that medium. The medium was call the, "luminiferous aether," and the hypothesis was called the, "aether theory of light." In the late 1800s, Michelson, and Morley handily proved light travels at the same speed in any direction. There is no aether.
Einstein actually used the word, "aether," when first describing the gravitational field within general relativity, but that word was soon replaced by the geodesic description now known as, "space-time." Einstein himself said of that "aether," cum, "space-time," model, no "substance" and no state of motion can be attributed to it.
There is no more an actual thing, "space time," than there was, "luminiferous aether." "Space-time," is only a model, an elaborate metaphorical description that helps to picture or illustrate how actual physical existents behave relative to each other, but there is no actual stuff or thing, "space-time."
Here's a question to ask yourself. If, "space-time," were actually some kind of substance or stuff, how could anything travel through it without friction?
• Imagining The Impossible—To the statement: "One cannot imagine that which does not or never existed."
God grief what a silly thing to say! Every religion, 95% of philosophy, and almost all ideologies are entirely made up impossibe nonsense and people actually believe them.
And of course history is an endless parade of fictional stories including non-existent people, places, and events that never did and never will or could exist.
Just think of all the impossible perpetual motion machines that have been imagined, even designed and patents applied for.
Anything imagined that does not actually exist is impossible, because nothing can both exist and not exist.
• Concepts Only Exist In Minds—To the statement: "Mathematical numbers and physical laws existed before the first man realized that they must exist."
Physical existents that can be counted and measured exist, and those physical entities have natures which the sciences can discover and call, "laws," or, "principles," of the physical sciences. But mathematics, and all of science, like language and logic, only exist as the creations of human minds. Sans human beings, there is no mathematics, no science, no language, no knowledge, and no meaning or purpose.
• Academic Jargon—To several comments: "Philosophical jargon is explicit and precise. Academic disciplines usually have their own jargons."
Jargon does not excuse saying what is not true.
I'm very familiar with academic, "jargon." It is all intentional obscurantism and obtuse language intended to sound profound, but it is only obfuscation couched in undefined and meaningless words that one, "kinda sorta," understands, all meant to put over some nonsense called philosophy or some social/political abomination. Academic jargon is the exact opposite of scientific jargon. The purpose of scientific jargon is to make it possible to identify and explicate the unique concepts of science. The purpose of academic jargon is create pseudo-concepts with intentionally obscure and confusing meanings that can be used to put over just anything.
The moment you begin to read or hear something infected with academic jargon, such as, "paradigm," "dialectic," "trope," "egoism," "core commitments," "synergy," "emergence," "holism," "gestalt," "hegemony," "coherence," "critical thinking," "model," "mode," "perception," "peer review," "rubric," "transcend," "normative," "altruistic," "heteronormative," "nadir," "telelogical," "gestalt," "predicated," "redolent of," "kitsch," "post modern," "neoclassic," "gouache," "homiletics," "linguistics," or "paleo...." you know what you are reading is either a lie or worthless.
Sure, most of those words have legitimate meanings and uses outside academia, but when they come from some academic's mouth, pen, or keyboard, they are devoid of meaning and have no other purpose than to make some absurd, inane, or insipid nonsense sound or look profound or important.
To another comment: "Whether you like it or not many good men work in academia, and try to make the world a better place, and precisely are ranged against obscurantism."
Unfortunately the term, "academia," is a huge umbrella and a great deal falls under it, including those institutions that specialize in STEM disciplines (a "jargon," acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) which are not what I'm referring to as, "academia." I'm sure there are many, "good men," involved in the STEM areas of education.
As for everything else that falls under the rubric of academia, it is worse then ignorance which turns true knowledge into specious nonsense such as sociology, evolutionary psychology (and a host of other [pseudo-sciences], environmentalism [which began as ecology], geo-politics, philosophy, and religion, for example. Those who receive money for promoting such absurdities are not good men.
Anther comment: "You are deliberately limiting your options by condemning jargons. You yourself could learn jargons if you wanted to, and then you could argue with specialists. I don't know what you work at but most specialisms including manual ones use jargons."
It's a bit presumptuous to make judgments while admitting, "you don't know," don't you think?
I never repudiated or disparaged the use of jargon at all. Among other things I was a technical writer, and managed technical publications for several IT, Telephony, and electronics firms which required the use of language and terms specific to those fields (i.e. jargon). Such terms are not only well defined and specific, but must be to fulfill the purpose of making the concepts they identified useful.
Every industry and discipline has their own, "jargon," which is valuable to those fields, but much jargon is just the opposite, not intended to make ideas cogent, but to obscure clear understanding or to promote pseud-concepts that mean nothing, like those in theology, most religions, most philosophy, what is wrongly called the, "humanities," and all of academia that is not STEM.
• Human Purpose And Agreemeht—To comments:
"Something that you write in the essays you posted made me remember what Richard Weaver wrote about those *metaphysical dreams of the world* that all men have. Can one actually operate without a *metaphysical dream*? I have concluded that one cannot. There must be, in each person, some overarching Idea about what the world is and what its purpose is, and thus what our purpose is, in this world."
Of course everyone, implicitly, if not explicitly, has their own world view of what reality is and what their place in it is, but Weaver's suggestion that the ulltimate purpose of one's life must be something outside the individual's own life is a fundamental mistake. It places the purpose of an individual's existence in something else, such as God, society, the future of mankind, nature, or some mystical manifest destiny, but there are no purposes, values, or meaning except those those conceived by individual human beings. Sans individual human beings, there are no purposes, values, or meaning. It is one's own life and the successful pursuit of it as a human being that is the purpose of one's life and key to all that is worth living for.
To another comment: "So when you say "everyone is different and has their own mind which they must use to the best of their ability to understand the truth" I cannot but agree, in a general sense, except insofar as if everyone has their private, personal view that is as tendentious as they may be, how will they communicate? and how will they ever arrive at agreements?
"If we cannot arrive at agreements on these larger levels, my assumption is that mechanisms created for the purpose of managing people and systems will inevitably be given the power to *unify* but through mechanisms of control, not of freely chosen use of will.
I have never understood why people think disagreement is a problem or why they think there is any difficulty in individuals finding agreement. On most things that are important to human intercourse their is enormous agreement. Everyone who uses the same language, buys and sells using the same currency, shops for clothing and goods at a mall, or does almost an job for which others pay them do all those thing with tacit agreement in endless areas.
It seems to me, disagreement which does not involve any kind of aggression or uninvited interference in anyone else's life is never a problem.
I can see no problem of agreement. I see a huge problem in those who believe that anything justifies forcing others who happen not to agree with them to behave in a way they would like. It is that belief that is the cause of all government oppression.
• Individualism And Unconditional Loce—To the comment: "Let's say that you encounter a stranger who is introduced to you for the first time, and because you love unconditionally, and because of the benign social circumstances of your meeting, you treat him with the default respect and love that all humans unconditionally deserve, independent of their dualistic ways still unknown to you, ways that will cause feelings in you, feelings that may prejudice you against what they say or do."
I treat all others with respect and since I never judge others on any basis other than what they actually do and demonstrate themselves to be, I make no assumptions about any acquaintance except, until demonstrated otherwise, they are decent human beings worthy of my regard for their person and dignity.
To, "love," someone or extend any other uninvited attention toward someone you don't know, however, is presumptuous. They may not want your unasked for love and may very well rightly resent it as intrusive, which it would be.
Most people are worthy of love, and I love almost everyone, because I find value in almost everyone, but if I loved everyone indiscriminately and unconditionally it would turn love into a meaningless sentiment and insult to those loved. Love that actually means something cannot be unconditional.
To an additional comment: "I don't think it's possible to not love them if you loved them before they became big and difficult."
By love I mean the evaluation of someone else as a value to me, someone who is worthy of my respect, admiration, and desire to enjoy and be with. If you are talking about some sentimental feeling and calling that love, I suppose you could say I still love the son who has intentionally done so much physical and emotional harm to those who loved him, including his siblings, most of his friends and his own children, in the sense that it grieves and saddens me that he wasted so many opportunities extended to him and ruined his own and others lives.
There is something insidiously wrong with those who love something, no matter how evil, just because of some genetic relationship.
Please do not get the impression my love for my children is determined by any judgement on my part about how they choose to live their lives. I judge no one else's life, even those who live in ways I would abhor. So long as any individual does not intentionally do harm to anyone else, I'm delighted that they can enjoy their life, if they can, and applaud whatever success and happiness they achieve.
• Thinking For Oneself—To the statement: "Of course I am dissatisfied with my life but now at least I know why. ... knowing the vertical inner direction to becoming human often provides the inner direction to gradually escape the prison of Plato's Cave ...."
The real reason for you discontent is allowing someone else's teaching to determine what you think. You were not born believing the world of direct experience was an illusion. Some deceitful teacher somewhere had to convince you of that sophic lie (perpetuated by every philosopher from Plato to Kant and every religious teacher) to put over a belief in some mystic reality that no one can be diretly conscious of or ever truly know. And most people settle for that view and wonder why they are dissatisfied with life.
Then to the follow-uo comment: "It is an interesting assertion, certainly, and a very broad one. To have this position, to think as you do, gives you a Cat Bird's Seat out of which entire realms of thought and ideation have come. From that seat you can reject all of it. And I suppose that this is what you are really on about -- defining a will-to-reject (to use a quirky turn of phrase). I suggest that your inclination would need to be closely examined, not simply accepted.
It is all therefore 'deceit' and leads, according to what you propose, to 'dissatisfaction'. So the source of dissatisfaction is in having the wrong way of thinking about this. The cure? To start thinking in some other way which, of course, you suppose (because this is your core assertion) that you can successfully explain."
But a fully satisfying life of achievement and success is available to anyone who will not settle for someone else's teaching and chooses to use their own mind to discover what is true, but it's a very difficult life that is demanding and dangerous, and most people are afraid of it.
And the additional comment: "There is of course an element of truth in this: some people do live solely, and without even a will to examine more closely, the structures that determine how they see.
To say 'use one's own mind' is a tricky statement. You evidently have 'used your own mind' in such a way that you wind up in reductions of vast scale. In your own mind you can reject it all. But is that a positive result? I am not convinced. But perhaps if you reveal more it will be made more clear and I might go along with you."
Now you have raised for me a personal dilemma. On the one hand, I'm always delighted by other's interest in the ideas I embrace, and, because I really do enjoy others and intercourse with them, I am always willing to explain my views. But I have no interest in convincing anyone else to agree with or adopt my views, because I know everyone is different and has their own mind which they must use to the best of their ability to understand the truth.
So long as you understand, I'm only explaining my views, not evangelizing, I'll try to explain what is, in fact quite simple, not at all, "tricky," but certainly not easy.
Using one's own mind simply means never accepting the teaching of any supposed authority, expert, or academic without understanding how or why that teaching is true. One can certainly learn from others and is how most of what we know is learned, but learning is not simply accepting what is taught, it requires one to use their own mind and ability to reason to know why what they are taught is correct or true.
But, as I said, it is not easy, because thinking is hard work. It means being ruthlessly careful not to allow any feelings, desires, impulses, or irrational fears to affect one's reason. It means learning all one can about as many things as one possibly can. It means never evading any evidence of any kind and never allowing any idea that contradicts evidence to stand. It means never allowing any contradictions in one's thinking or beliefs. It means one must be an autodidact, polymath, and frequently a polyglot as well. It usually means one will end knowing things and believing things few others do and may very well be resented for it.
But thinking for oneself does not mean rejecting anything out of hand. It only means not committing to any view until one's best reason, based on available evidence, has convinced them it is true. Most of the things I identify as untrue are based on what I've studied--every major Western philosopher, most Eastern religions, all the Christian theologians, the physical sciences, most economic and political theories, etc. etc. [I've had over 80 years to do it. My wife and I read over 200 books a year. We consider that average and we know others who put that number to shame.] I do not come to my views lightly.
I have learned that most of what most people believe is simply not true and often plainly false. When I began to examine why most of humanity embraces beliefs that are neither logically nor evidentially possible I discovered most human beings do not really want to know the truth, because the truth describes a reality they do not like.
Here, I'm beginning to sound like I am promoting my views. I'm really not, just trying to explain what they are. To that end, and only if your interested I add the following:
"Ideology: Hatred Of Reality", an article describing why most people hate reality so embrace some ideology.
To illustrate that thinking for oneself is not unique in the world, but very rare, here are some, offhand, I regard as truly original thinkers: Leonardo da Vinci, Peter Abelard, Voltaire, Emilie du Chatelet (Voltaire's mistress and mathematic genius who translated Newton and corrected his works), Robert Heinlein, H.L. Mencken, Ayn Rand, Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain), Benjamin Franklin, Oscar Wilde, Thomas Edison, George Bernard Shaw, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary Shelley, and her mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, Ray Bradbury, Marie Curie, Mary Ann Evans (George Eliot), Dorothy Thompson, Rose Wilder Lane, Isabel Paterson, Oriana Fallaci, Lillian Hellman, Dorothy Parker, as well as all those individualists I've listed in my old article: "Only Individuals" (2016)
• Religion Promotes Racism—To the question: "So are you claiming that you have never committed the sin of racism?"
The, "sin of racism?" What is that?
If racism is a sin, the entire Bible and Christian religion are dripping with sin. The Bible and Christian religion are as racist as any book or religion in this world, putting CRT to shame. According to the Bible, God's entire way of dealing with human beings is based on race and hereditary characteristics. The God of the Bible invented racism, third only in evil to his first invention, government, and his second invention, war.
Please don't respond to this if you're too dense to understand the rhetoric.
And to a related comment: "Please don't use rhetoric, if you don't understand the difference between it and dialectic. Your message is, indeed, rhetoric....in the most debased sense, of course."
"Dialectic?" Really? Shades of Hegel.
Well, I knew you wouldn't understand it. You embrace all that vile book teaches, and I'm being totally literal. The Bible glorifies war and genocide in almost every book. Every Old Testament war was ethnic in nature pitting one people against another because of the genetic (different forefather's) background. The New Testament uses the rhetoric of war, instruments of war, and agents of war (soldiers) to picture how those who worship God should live. It's all about war, even so-called, "war in heaven."
With the possible exception of the Koran, no book (and no religion) promotes war more than the Bible and Christianity. If it were not for a belief in the so-called after life, most wars would be impossible for governments to wage. It would be difficult to get young men to throw away their lives fighting for a government if they knew the life they were throwing away was the only one they were ever going to have.
With few exceptions, (some Amish, Quakers (Friends), and Adventists), every Chirstian denomination support and promote militarism and war, wholesale slaughter and destruction that makes individual crimes petty in comparison.
As for racism, the entire New Testament is filled with ethnic evaluations of individuals and separates the entire world genetically. Only the Bible refers to an entire ethnic group as being selected by God.
That's the truth without rhetoric.
And to this additional snide comment; "Got anything to say about 'solving racism'?"
Well, personally I do not know anyone who has any so-called, "problem with racism," and I know an awful lot of people personally. I don't know you personally, so don't know if you have a problem with it or not. I don't.
The reason I mentioned Christianity and the Bible is because they are both racist, and I do not believe it is possible to embrace either without being a racist. Since racism is an individual problem, one solution would be for those individuals who would like to cease being racist to get rid of all their racist superstitions (religion) and dependence and racist books for their beliefs. That would, "solve," a lot of racism (and other problems as well).
It's not going to happen and I'm not trying to promote it. Just explaining how what I wrote addresses the racism question. Racism will never be eliminated so long as most people embrace some religion that teaches there are differences in the value of individuals determined ethnically, genetically, or any other arbitrary categorization or classification, which almost all religions do.
• Evidence Only Source Of Knowledg—Only knowledge based on actual evidence available to anyone to observe or study is true knowledge. Evidence may be anything that is directly perceived (seen, heard, smelled, tasted, felt, or experienced internally as interoception), anything that can be observed indirectly with instruments (telescopes, microscopes, oscilloscopes or other mechanical or electrical devices), or deduced by reason from such direct evidence (e.g. science), as well as one's own conscious perception and identification of that evidence (i.e. one's own mind).
To which the comment was made: "Actually that is ONLY where knowledge starts."
That's right. Stopping there is what is wrong empiricism and why I was careful to say, "based on," evidence, because it is reasoning about the evidence that produces knowledge. The danger is all those sophists and philosophers who base their knowledge on anything other than evidence resulting in mysticism and superstition.
Nothing else is knowledge. Nothing based solely on what anyone else claims or teaches no matter how much authority or expertise they are supposed to have is knolwedge, it is gullibility. Nothing based solely on one's feelings, fears, desires, sentiments, impressions, or any experience for which there is no identifiable cause, such as those things called "inspiration," "revelation," "instinct," "mystic insight," "a priori," "hunches," "divination," "faith," or, "gut feelings," are knowledge, they are superstition. Nothing based on what is popularly accepted, consensus, what most people believe, tradition, or the culturally accepted is knowledge, it is prejudice and credulity.
This is the comment to that: "Obviously with this list - if that is all you have, then you cannot bring about any knowledge. But knoweldge that is useful has to include some of these things to arrive at truth, you can't do with with observations alone. Obvously revelation mystical insight diviniation and sentiment are crocs of shit - but most scientists would accept most of the other things listed here as aids to bring observations to coherence."
You are right that some scientists do accept some other things, besides evidence, as the basis for their reasoning which is why so much that goes by the name, "science," today is nonsense.
Out of curiosity, which of those things in my list do you think are valid sources of reason? [Of course that quesstion was never answered.]
• Women In Philosophy—To the comment: "As it appears, women have been structurally excluded from philosophy, both from within and from the outside (history)."
The real reason there are no women in philosophy is because women are not as gullible as men and have never fallen for the nonsense that is put over as, "philosophy."
Since Mrs. Plato discovered her husband was demented and believed in some mystical existence that no one can see or perceive that is more real than the house she was keeping for him, and the meals she was getting for him and the bed they slept in, she, and all other normal women, dismissed the folly of their "sophisticated," husbands for what it was.
When Mrs. aristotle discovered her idiot husband thought she had fewer teeth than he had because he was too dense to simply ask her to open her mouth so he could count her teeth, she learned to ignore all his philosophical nonsense, with a few chuckles behind his back. So long as he provided for her and didn't complain too much, she could put up with his nonsense.
So it has always been. Only ignorant men are worried that women aren't interested in their absurd philosophical nonsense.
• Exceptional Individuals—Throughout all history and today there have been and are exceptional individuals who are never part of or support any political or social organization or system, are never members of any collective or movement, who live their lives as they chose, never a threat to anyone else, and always benevolent in all their relationships with others.
To which the comment was made: "I assuming you mean 'people like you' :lol: What about all the people who don't fit this profile?"
You will have to ask them. I cannot judge how anyone else chooses to live their life or what is right for them. Everybody is different and there is no one way for human beings to live, which is what is wrong with every social/political system that attempts to force everyone one to live the same way and according to someone's idea of how society is supposed to be.
Those I described, do not fit any profile, they are just individuals who have chosen to be totally responsible for their own lives, guided by their own best reason, demanding nothing of anyone else, totally willing to succeed or fail on their own merits. Exceptional does not mean better, just different. I'm sure if you ask anyone of those who have chosen to live by their own lights they would say it was better for them, because it is the only kind of life to them that is worth living.
To which comment was made: "You are delusional. There are plenty of eccentrics who also understand that we live in a community and that co-operation makes our lives possible."
Whoever suggested otherwise? It is the exceptional individual who is the least difficult to deal with in any community and the most valuable contributor because he refuses to have any relationship with others that is not totally voluntary, in which every individual participates by choice to their mutual benefit. The individuals I described in any community only offer whatever products or services they produce in exchange for whatever products and services others have produced, neither seeking or desiring anything they have not produce or earned by their own effort. While enjoying others, especially others' success, they never interfere in anyone else's life uninvited. Those eccentrics are the most beneficial and the least harmful in, and the most worthy of enjoying and capable of contributing to any society. What do you think cooperation is?
• Naive Realism—To the comments: "Electromagnetic energy has no color outside the brain. The brain converts light waves into colors and images. Every sense that the mind perceives is a representation created by the brain." and, "Electromagnetic energy has no color outside the brain," and, "The brain converts light waves into colors and images."
Well, electromagnetic energy certainly has no color inside the brain.
Yeast converts sugar into alcohol. The process can be perfectly explained. Unless you can explain the process by which the brain supposedly converts light waves into colors and images you are simply asserting what you would like to be true with no evidence whatsoever. To claim any process produces a particular result it is necessary explain exactly how that process works or you are just making stuff up.
To the additional comments: "Every sense that the mind perceives is a representation created by the brain."
"There are only unclear inputs in the environment. The brain clarifies the inputs by changing them into images, smells, tastes, tactile senses and sounds. TV's don't produce images and sounds. TV's produces energy which the brain converts to images and sounds.
"You can not determine smells based on molecules because molecules have no smell but the brain represents molecules as having smells. So, if your nose senses a lemon molecule, you would not know what that was unless your brain converted it into a smell. The smell is the brains representation of the lemon.
"The same is true of images, sounds, tactile senses and tastes. None exist in the world but all have a representation created by the brain.
"Science has determined that none of the inputs have an understandable meaning without the brain."
The brain doesn't create anything. It only responds to neurological input making it available to be perceived. There are no senses, colors, sounds, feelings, smells or tastes or images in the brain, just chemical/electrical events.
And you are prepared to explain how the, "brain," knows beforehand exactly how all those, "inputs," should be organized to turned them into intelligeable experiences that accurately represent what is perceived. I'll consider your explanation when you have done that.
In the meantime, since it is being assumed the colors I see are just made-up by the brain (though no one is interested in explaining how that is accomplished), and all I see is nothing more than patches and configurations of color, when I look in a mirror and see my head, all I'm seeing a bunch of colors organized in a certain way I call my head, but actually is just made up by my brain. But since that is all it is, and not actually something, and the brain that is supposed to be creating all that I see is supposed to be inside that non-existent head, how .... If you can think, you can see the problem. Either the head I see is a real thing exactly as it looks, or there is no head, no brain, and nothing to make up what is supposedly seen. [See, comment "to, head," below.]
To and additional comment: "Your thinking seems to be a form of naive realism. I know that representative realism is a scientific fact."
There is something insidiously wrong with the necessity to disparage one's view of reality being exactly what it is perceived to be as, "naive," while pushing the view that reality is some mystical thing that can never be truly known because it is only, "made up," by the brain as sophisticate. It is sophisticated, that is, pure sophism.
If, "ultimate reality is a place of no actual perceiveable things," what exactly is it that physics studies, since it cannot be ultimate reality itself? It's absurd. Ultimate reality is the actual things that exist just as they are perceived, and all of science is nothing more than an explanation of what those actual entities and their nature are. If there were no actual entities, there would be nothing for physics to study.
The view you are espousing is as mystical as any religion: "ultimate reality is some ineffable thing that can never be fully known but is the, "cause," of what only appears to be real." It's just another version of Platonic realism.
I know that's not what you intend or probably think what you say means, but the denial of perceived reality as actual reality is always some form of mysticism. Why are people so afraid that a cow is actually exactly what it appears to be and is as real as real can possibly be?
But the comments continue to insist: "Reality is only represented by your mind. The cow is represented in your mind by an image. The image is not the cow. The image is a likeness but the image is not the cow. The image doesn't have the weight of the cow nor the hide of the cow nor the functions of the cow. The cow is what it appears to be. But the image is only a depiction of the cow.
"I don't deny that perceived reality is a representation of reality."
What cow? If the cow I see is only an image in my brain, why would there have to be a cow? And, if the cow I see is only an image in my head, what is seeing that image. My television produces an image but someone must be in the room to see. Who/what is in the brain to see the image it produces?
Either there is a cow I am seeing (else there is nothing to have an image of) or there is no cow (and the brain just makes it up out of whole cloth). Which is it?
Additional comment to head above: "Mental representation in the brain remains an unresolved issue. How the brain transforms light waves into colors is unknown. Neuroscientists have tracked the paths of the various senses but when they get to the end, they are stumped. Without being able to see how that happens they have a dilemma. Is it the brain that creates colors or is it the mind?"
Last time I checked, "unresolved issue," was just a euphemism for, "we haven't the slightest idea," and I think it is foolish to base one's beliefs on what one has no idea about and must just assume without any evidence except wishful thinking.
Neuroscience is only able to describe what the physical neurological system does (and actually has done well at that so far, but has a long way to go). Neuroscience is a physical science, like all sciences, and is only able to study the physical. Consciousness is an attribute of physical entities called organisms, but is not a physical attribute. No physical science can study what cannot be directly perceived or discovered based on what can be directly perceived (using instruments, for example). Consciousness is perception and the physical is what consciousness perceives, but no one can perceive consciousness itself--not their own or anyone else's. (We know we are conscious, because we are, just as we know we see, because we do, but we cannot be conscious of (see, hear, smell, taste, or feel) or consciousness just as we cannot "see our seeing," or, "anyone else's seeing." Science cannot study what cannot be seen or detected directly or indirectly by perception.)
The whole, "problem," is the assumption that conscious must have a physical explanation, but there is absolutely no logical or evidential reason for that assumption beyond the desire of some philosophers for it to be so (and the irrational belief that just because all attributes of physical entities are not physical attributes it automatically implies some kind of dualism. It doesn't.) The neurological system is obviously the aspect of an organism that makes possible for it to perceive its environment and own internal states, but it does not, "produce," that conscious perception, it only makes it available to be consciously perceived.