Friday, June 18, 2010

The Crude Psychic Maps of Postmodern Barbarians

One of the underlying themes of Pieper's Faith, Hope, Love is the loss of meaning that has occurred with respect to certain words that are of critical importance to the spiritual journey (which we touched on in last Wednesday's post). When this happens, it is analogous to certain features of a map being erased, or perhaps like a painting that gradually begins to fade.

Conversely, thanks to language, the map of (•) --> O can be as detailed as a google map that shows the address of every saint and sage along the way. Christianity has been here for a long time, and Western civilization even longer. And the Transdimensional Order of the Cosmic Raccoon is so venerable that it disappears into the mists of the mid-twentieth century.

That's a lot of map making. But with the gradually increasing materialization and quantification of our culture over the past several centuries, it is very much the case that our exterior maps are more detailed than ever, even while the interior ones have become sketchy and impoverished at best.

I say "at best" because when a map loses its features, it becomes a kind of canvas for the psyche to project upon. Prior to the development of systematic scientific discovery -- the discovery of discovery -- the situation was the reverse, in that our exterior maps were vehicles of psychic projection. People projected all sorts of mind parasites in the form of mythical beasts beyond the boundaries of the known world. It is similar to how liberals imagine that anyone outside their familiar territory is a greedy, racist, and homophobic monster, as seen below in the depiction of conservatives swimming beyond the shore of academia and the MSM:


I remember Terence McKenna discussing this in a lecture. He said that early spiritual adventurers were analogous to worldly explorers, in the sense that their first reports are very empirical, and discuss the flora, fauna, and climate of the region. Only with repeated testimony are we able to put the reports together and create something like a useable map. In other words, if one explorer has described the landscape of El Salvador, it won't be helpful to the person who lands, say, at Plymouth Rock.

Obviously, the problem is only more complex in the multidimensional world of the human subject. Here we confront Hayek's "knowledge problem," in that we are also dealing with a non-linear system that has an infinite amount of information. Imagine trying to "map the economy." We can do it, but only with very crude statistics such as GNP, or money supply, or rate of inflation. And no one can say how the variables will interact in real time, so the system is fundamentally unpredictable. Nor do these statistics say anything about particular individuals, and certainly not about their interior states.

People who are "surprised" that Al Gore should leave his wife are simply naive about the unpredictable nature of the complex system of the psyche -- very similar to those loons and crackpots who think they can predict what the weather will be like in a hundred years.

Now, it is impossible to navigate in the absence of a map, of some kind of representation of reality, even it is just the sun or stars. In the absence of a map, one can only wander this way and that. This is doubly true of a human life, in that, if you don't know where you're going, you're sure to get there. Alternatively, if you don't change directions, you're likely to end up where you're headed.

In space there are six directions, north, south, east, west, up, and down. In psychic space, all orthodox traditions testify to the existence an enduring world of vertical space that has an up and down, which is represented on our map by Ø <-- (•) --> O. But there are many well known features between (•) and O, on the one hand, and between (•) and Ø on the other.

The problem is, modern man has tossed aside the most useful maps of this territory, which condemns him to drifting around in hyperspace like a born again caveman following his appetites. In so doing, he is "discovering" things that were well known by our furbears, and, more often than not, confusing these mere features of the landscape with the destination. Not only that, but the postmodern neanderthal, or proglodyte, often confuses a psychic hellhole with a vacation spot, or even a place to set up permanent residence.

The modern university is testimony to this kind of perverse mapmaking. At the very least, spending four years at one of these institutions should result not just in a diploma -- or license to steal -- but in an adequate map of reality in order to conduct safe passage on the human journey.

But again, more often than not, the university graduate emerges with a map that is even worse than the one he came in with (cf. Obama). He will quite literally not know up from down or inside from out or Israel from Iran. For example, to internalize deconstruction is to say that there are really no objective maps, that all the maps are based upon power, and that the map means anything one wishes it to mean.

Or, to internalize materialism is to say that there are no interior maps at all. Rather, if we can only obtain a detailed enough map of the exterior, that will automatically map the interior as well. Multiculturalism insists that the human map has no up or down, while moral relativism says that one man's map is another man's toilet paper (and vice versa).

As the old wise crack goes, the leftist dreams of systems so perfect, that no one will need to be good. This is no joke, for the essence of their pneumapathology resides in their defective map making -- the belief that all human problems can be located on their exterior map, and have nothing to do with morality. Problem with capitalism? It's a few greedy fat cats on Wall Street, as Obama said a couple of days ago. Problem with poverty? It has nothing whatsoever to do with the behavior of people who remain in poverty. There is no "map to success," such as staying in school, avoiding illegal drugs, and not having children out of wedlock.

Anyway, back to Pieper. In discussing human virtue, he is really describing the landscape between (•) and O, using detailed maps that have been preserved and developed over the past 2000 years or more. Again, virtue is "the steadfastness of man's orientation toward the realization of his nature, that is, toward good" and "an ennobling of man's nature that entirely surpasses what he 'can be' of himself."

To say that our orientation to the transcendental good allows us to surpass ourselves, is another way of saying that human beings are uniquely privileged to participate in the divine nature, so that the human adventure is ultimately a journey from image to likeness. This is where virtue, truth, meaning, happiness, and joy are all situated.

To be continued.....

28 Comments:

Blogger Northern Bandit said...

Problem with poverty? It has nothing whatsoever to do with the behavior of people who remain in poverty. There is no "map to success," such as staying in school, avoiding illegal drugs, and not having children out of wedlock.

Yesterday I was flagellating myself by listening to NPR. They were discussing the effects of single-motherhood on a vast scale. I was a bit taken aback when the host actually mentioned the statistic that 85% of prison inmates come from fatherless homes. Of course NPR's "solution" was some sort of vaguely defined "mentoring for fatherless youth" government program. It never occurred to them that a perfectly sound solution might be to simply promote the traditional nuclear family.

6/18/2010 09:02:00 AM  
Blogger James said...

Thanks Bob for your continued efforts to illuminate the territory. God bless.

6/18/2010 09:05:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Northern Bandit:

Truly, such an obvious landmark is off their map.

6/18/2010 09:08:00 AM  
Blogger black hole said...

This post with its extended metaphor of an internal spirit map is fascinating. It can lead one to ask, what is my map? Where am I?

The image of historical explorers/pathfinders of the internal world is apt and may explain the divergence in descriptions of differing locales in Psychotopia.

The critque of the leftist and materialist maps is unique and convincing; I've never seen it appraoched like that. Its puts my leftist beliefs on shaky ground indeed.

All around it is a brilliant post. I'll be back around to read more in the coming days.

Sorry about the unpleasantness of yesterday. I hope we can forget about all that.

6/18/2010 10:53:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

The modern university is testimony to this kind of perverse mapmaking. At the very least, spending four years at one of these institutions should result not just in a diploma -- or license to steal -- but in an adequate map of reality in order to conduct safe passage on the human journey..

On a similar note, DH was told by a professor upon first entering law school that "a legal education takes perfectly normal people and turns them into sociopaths." I would only add that these days, since an undergrad degree is required to get into law school, the transformative work is already half done.

6/18/2010 10:56:00 AM  
Blogger walt said...

"...the map of (•) --> O..."

Terrific analogy! This is my most favoritest B'obstuff. Yes, I feel the tingle.

...virtue is "the steadfastness of man's orientation toward the realization of his nature, that is, toward good" and "an ennobling of man's nature that entirely surpasses what he 'can be' of himself."

Inspiring!

Interesting thing about older maps is that they include "features" we no longer recognize, in part because we see them with "modern" eyes. Sometimes we have to stumble onto an experience before we realize what the map was pointing out.

Fine post, Bob.

6/18/2010 11:28:00 AM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

New corp up and running as of today.

Ah, I love that smell of freshly washed lawyer!

6/18/2010 12:15:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"At the very least, spending four years at one of these institutions should result not just in a diploma -- or license to steal -- but in an adequate map of reality in order to conduct safe passage on the human journey."

I really like that imagery, goes especially well with past posts on colonizing inner landscapes.

6/18/2010 12:28:00 PM  
Blogger ge said...

just a note on the job recovery stimuli as they impact life where i am---my afternoon peace & privacy the last 2 days has been broken by the rare unwelcome knock on my open-breeze rural front door of 2 college guys in 'Environment-something' T-shirts, wanting to talk/hit me up for $ for 'the environment'... they are so barking up the wrong tree---I told them to look up BH!

[just joshing, glad to see you getting something from today's post]

wv=dosed

6/18/2010 02:10:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Rather, if we can only obtain a detailed enough map of the exterior, that will automatically map the interior as well.

Sort of like reverse engineering a software app.

That reminds me, I know Behaviorism is dead and stinking, but have they buried it yet?

6/18/2010 02:29:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I don't even know, although I suppose not, since "cognitive-behavioral" psychotherapy is all the rage. Being that it doesn't work in a shorter amount of time than traditional therapy, it is more cost-effective.

6/18/2010 02:38:00 PM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

ge:

Nevada just hit 14% "official" unemployment, which is worse than anywhere in Canada and most of Europe. On top of that BO is in the process of dealing a series of heavy body blows the the economy in the form of artificially induced energy shortages brought about through essentially banning all drilling, and attempting to take the country down the same "alternatives" path that has all but destroyed the economy of Spain.

Not for nothing are businesses looking elsewhere these days. A number of jurisdictions are substantially more business-friendly than the US is likely to be for a long time to come.

It's supremely depressing that one can get a streamlined business up and running in, e.g., Hong Kong far more quickly and efficiently than in the increasingly socialist US.

Plenty of conservatives think "it can't happen here". Well that's what they said about Japan in the 80s. What we're seeing is worse.

6/18/2010 03:06:00 PM  
Blogger anon said...

Behaviorism? It was killed off over 50 years ago by one of your favorite people: Noam Chomsky (full paper here):

I had intended this review not specifically as a criticism of Skinner's speculations regarding language, but rather as a more general critique of behaviorist (I would now prefer to say "empiricist") speculation as to the nature of higher mental processes... if the conclusions I attempted to substantiate in the review are correct, as I believe they are, then Skinner's work can be regarded as, in effect, a reductio ad absurdum of behaviorist assumptions.

Nowadays psychologists actually are allowed to think about thoughts and thinking, and to take into account the biologically innate ideas and capabilities of the brain.

Better not tell the radical empricist Van that his confused philosphizing puts him squarely in the stinking Skinnerian camp.

6/18/2010 03:06:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

anone said "Better not tell the radical empricist Van that his confused philosphizing puts him squarely in the stinking Skinnerian camp. But maybe he'd rather be there than with Chomsky."

'empiricist'? Me? Skinner? Chomsky?! Lol, what a moron. The thought of challenging your easy assumptions must be terrifying... poor aninny.

6/18/2010 03:21:00 PM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

anon:

biologically innate ideas

What could you *possibly* mean by this? Seriously, what do you think is being said with such a phrase?

6/18/2010 03:34:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

So anone is a fan of Chomsky... isn't that surprising? And yeah... nice quote... a regular purveyor of free will, that one. But asside from some interesting early ideas he had on linguistics, as a philosopher, he's a pure horror show.

Here's another couple for you, from a couple pieces of his rotted fruit I plucked about 4 years ago, to your original self, Nags, who also touted chumsky,

"" I dare say that if Bob or any of his obsequious "Bobbleheads" were to attempt to debate Chomsky on American foreign policy, THEY would undoubtedly be the ones made to look like ranting, paranoid fools. This is not to say that I agree with all or even most of what Chomsky says, but I respect the fact that he stays focused on issues ..."

What would you have said of Goebbels ability to say that the Jews were undermining the master race? He kept on point?

Chomsky was an apologist for Pol Pot, an excuser of 911, and all around condemner of America, he is... well perhaps Goebbels is going a bit far - at this point in time anyway, but at the very least he is an enabler of the evil to come.

Chomsky said of China, who's policies at the time (mid 1960's) were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of millions of it's own citizens:
"China is an important example of a new society in which very interesting and positive things happened at the local level, in which a good deal of the collectivization and communization was really based on mass participation and took place after a level of understanding had been reached in the peasantry that led to this next step. ""


And in a follow up, about chumpsky's tactics, which you emulate so well,

"Chomsky's tactics are nearly always the same - sparse context, carefully selected facts that encourage opposite meanings to be inferred than would otherwise be the case. As with the preceding quote where Japans already established atrocities and Proclaimed Imperialist intentions are not even mentioned, they are portrayed as if they were innocently minding their own business when all of a sudden they caught wind of the Evil American's desire to fry them in their huts. There is always some such context dropping and key equivocation in his statements that allows some perhaps unflattering fact of ours to be "just as bad as" some horrendous evil of theirs, thereby making America to seem the larger and more duplicitous evil."

And a last,

"Borrowing a little inspiration from Gagdad’s Bobbing for Neoligism’s, I think that with their weirdly mystic belief in the magical ability of List-icism to substitute for Free Will, they might be better termed Determimystics.

I find it’s tempting to say that that missing spark of choice is the physical intersection of YOU and Reality – Bob might say the intersection of the Vertical with the Horizontal."

And now it's just about time for me to head off to see Hamlet in Forest Park.

That'd be a good one for you to see, or read, anone, the first line "Who goes there?!" is tailor made for you to ask in the mirror.

6/18/2010 03:49:00 PM  
Blogger anon said...

"Innate ideas" may be a slight over-abbreviation; what there actually are are innate brain structures that support the development of certain ideas and disallow others. It's not a new idea itself. The alternative is to assume (as did Locke and other empiricists) that the mind is a blank slate whose contents are solely determined by experience. There are a lot of problems with the latter view, some of which Chomsky brings up.

Blank-slate models are often identified with the more utopian forms of leftist thought, so I'm somewhat surprised to see them apparently popular here.

Van: I don't suppose it would be possible for you to consider Chomsky's linguistics and psychology without having his politics interfere. I imagine you also don't accept Heisnberg;s uncertainty principle because he worked for the Nazis.

6/18/2010 04:33:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

anone, This may not have occurred to you, seeing as though you, as most leftists, seem to live entirely through the words of others... likely one of the reasons you never question those words, is that they were never yours to begin with... but your placing your carefully pruned word selections here, have little or no effect, because they have little or no meaning or substance behind them, and it's easily discoverable... for those with maps and a willingness to explore.

I don't say that, or anything else, in reaction to what you say, but because I've already read the ideas behind the ideas you're infected with. When you've actually read Descartes, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Rousseau, Godwin, J.S. Mill, Kant, Hegel, Pierce, Marx, Dewey, etc, spotting their rehashing's in fools like chumpsky & Rorty, is a fairly simple process.

And having read Aristotle, Plato, Cicero, Aquinas, Locke, etc, it's also not that difficult to spot where the error's in those rehashing's are, and why they are in error. And BTW, despite what you may have been told by professors, they are actually interesting to read, fun to examine and consider, exciting to compare and contrast - one hell of a lot more exciting than watching "Family Guy" or soccer.

You can call me an 'empiricist', and I suppose you must expect it to have an effect of some sort, maybe you think it will incantation like to 'cause' discomfort or feelings of error or guilt... who knows, but the only effect it has on me, and most of those here who know me, is a grin and shake of the head. Those who don't know me, but who do think on their own, if interested, can follow to my site and see for themselves... those who don't aren't of much concern either.

Doesn't really matter... dinner's late... waiting to leave for the play and figured I might as well drum my fingers on my keyboard as on the table.

It's just curious... what must your internal maps look like?

Shudder... 'There be dragons!'.

wv:fughthu
New Yorker with a lisp

6/18/2010 04:42:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

anone splorfed "are innate brain structures that support the development of certain ideas and disallow others."

What an f*ing retard... ahve you actually considered what that idea would require?

And yes, I've considered the opposite, and no Locke didn't have it right, but wasn't egregiously wrong... as are you.

And if you read my post (as if!), you've have noticed, that yes, I did read Chompsky, and liked some of his ideas... only later did I discover that his errors, more and more as I looked, meant that he really was chumpsky - far more in error than ever was correct.

"Who goes there?!"

ME! FLYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY

6/18/2010 04:56:00 PM  
Blogger anon said...

What an f*ing retard... ahve you actually considered what that idea would require?

Yes. Have you ever considered what the opposite of that idea would require?

As for calling you an empiricist, I recall you advocating a blank-slate model of the mind awhile back. Can't find it now, so if I imagined it, well, apologies.

6/18/2010 06:38:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

anone said “…are innate brain structures that support the development of certain ideas and disallow others…”

Heh. I wonder what brain structures support eh development of dangling participles, and which don’t? A minimum neuronal structure certainly must be there to support the depth of thinking man is capable of, but to say that some structures support, form, cause or lead to some or any particular ideas or sorts of ideas, is a first level sophistry which eventually leads to either ‘turtles all the way down’ , a homunculus or a designer with such poor coding practices that he had to hard code the basics to get it to fire up.

“As for calling you an empiricist, I recall you advocating a blank-slate model of the mind awhile back.”

Although it’s most associated with empiricism, Tabula Rasa doesn’t mean you are an empiricist. Empiricism tends towards nominalism, and an embarrassing blanking out when it comes to Qualities, as well as a mania for quantification which leads smack dab into the dead end of Humian skepticism.

I won’t even try to condense into a comment or four how a mind can begin from a blank slate without straying into empiricism, too much Shakespeare under the stars (very well done, btw, congrats to the SFSTL) to focus on this or even hunt up any links, but in the unlikely event that you (!) or someone else is interested, look in the sidebar of my site for a couple series of posts “Reasons of Reason” and “What are words for?” but here from somewhere in the way back machine of the Outlook filter, a couple years ago I noted that empiricism has lots of problems, not least of which is,

“…, that it leaves out who and what the understanding is understood by. The processor. Us. I. Reason is not a product of sense perception, the sense perceptions only provide the materials it reasons with. Attention, is not a product of the senses, it is the awareness directed over a sustained period. Awareness is not a product of the senses - it requires sensory input to have something to be aware of, but that is not the same thing. Through conscious awareness, we select what is to be the object of our attention, but consciousness is not us, it is what WE use to engage awareness. WE are, and we are not reducible to the substance of sensory input or synaptic algorithms. I don't believe that we, the "I" is merely the echoing process of perceptions perceiving themselves. It is a root, beneath which we cannot successfully look under.

But it is not possible to say that "I", the "Soul", or "Consciousness" is a proper starting point for philosophy, nor its tool, rationality nor reason. Because without something to be conscious of, there would be nothing to be conscious of - there would be no reasoning, no rationality, know nothing.

That brings us around to Existence being the proper root of Philosophy, rather than rationality, or consciousness.

Existence comes first, nothing else follows without it.
And what exists, exists as something, it has Identity.
Consciousness would be unable to be conscious of anything, without them.

Existence comes first, but nothing can be thought, said or done, without all three being referenced, either explicitly or implicitly; they are Axioms of a triune nature, with Existence being the primary….”


(yawn) 'flights of angels sing thee to thy rest....'

6/18/2010 11:27:00 PM  
Blogger anon said...

I wonder what brain structures support eh development of dangling participles, and which don’t?

That we don't know, but certain more basic functions of grammar have been traced to particular parts of the brain like Broca's area and the frontal operculum. Under current (Chomskyian) linguistic theory, there is an innate universal grammar, and particular languages parameterize it in different ways (for example, the distinction between whether a language is head-initial or head-final is a parameter -- English is head-initial, whereas Japanese is head-final).

Although it’s most associated with empiricism, Tabula Rasa doesn’t mean you are an empiricist.

Well...roughly speaking, it does mean that. Either ideas are in the brain through nature (biology) or nurture (experience). In reality, it's both, as the example of language above indicates. But if you believe that the mind starts out as a blank then you necessarily believe that everything there is learned through experience, ie, empiricism. Or God writes it there with a magic pencil.

6/19/2010 09:45:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

anone said "Well...roughly speaking, it does mean that."

Within that 'Roughly', you still peer so closely at the details, and you miss the full picture. Empiricists do believe that all knowledge comes from experience, as do I, but from that they soon go on to the conclusion that none of that knowledge derived from our experiences can actually have any relation to reality, which I wholeheartedly deny.

As I noted here, Hume summed up the empiricists dead end with,
"When we run over libraries, persuaded of these principles[meaning skepticism], what havoc must we make? If we take in our hand any volume; of divinity or school metaphysics, for instance; let us ask, Does it contain any abstract reasoning concerning quantity or number? No. Does it contain any experimental reasoning concerning matter of fact and existence? No. Commit it then to the flames: for it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion.""

Rationalists can't deal with quantity and Empiricists can't deal with quality, and the reason why is that they have both disconnected themselves from reality, which is the only things which can unify them. The answer they both miss is that they have only glimpses of one side of the issue, what is needed is a uniting of both into a full picture, and that can only happen when they admit that the senses do connect us to reality as (that amount of it which we perceive) it is, and our human method of managing that information, our conceptual nature, allows us to derive our knowledge of reality from what it truly is.

It IS, and we can know it - everything else follows from that, and liberty is dependent upon that. The denial of that, from either end, will eventually lead into one form of tyranny or another. From a persons metaphysics, follows their esthetics and politics.

Gagdad did several posts not too long ago on empiricism and nominalism which you ought to look up... they (empiricism and nominalism) are dead ends which are right up your alley.

"That we don't know, but certain more basic functions of grammar have been traced to particular parts of the brain like Broca's area and the frontal operculum. "

Sagan's "Broca's Brain" was one of my favorite books as a kid (14? 15?), and "Dragons of Eden" and I can't tell you how many different books on the brain (yeah, weird kid, that along with English history, Western's, King Arthur, The Fountainhead and Darwin... loved it), but you'll also note that the brain is extremely plastic, and in many cases of extreme injury, most areas we've identified as 'the' are for something, can be found rewired into other area's taking those functions over.

We are wired to reality, and within some surprisingly wide ranges, the nature of our brain enables it to reform it's own structure to accommodate that connection - we are not separate from the world around us, physically or mentally, but that doesn't mean that some form of deterministic materialism follows - quite the opposite.

I won't pretend to know the full answers, but I can grasp the errors, and confusing what some structures enable, with what they enable, is a big one. I went through much of my stab at the mechanics of the matter here.

(P.S. You almost sounded rational here... careful... imagine the consequences)

6/19/2010 11:58:00 AM  
Blogger anon said...

roVan -- empiricism is much broader than Hume's extreme skepticism. And you don't address the basic problems tabula rasa theories of mind, whether or not you want to call them empiricist or not (or maybe you do in your insanely long blog posts -- sorry, life is too short).

As far as I can see, you seem to think that repeating your devotion to "Reality" over and over constitutes a philosophy of mind. Sorry, it doesn't. With some exceptions which don't interest me, everyone believes in reality. The question is what it is, what we are, and how it and we are constituted so that knowledge is possible. And acknowledging the evolved biological nature of our brains and their capabilities seems like the best way to do that, a way that undermines some of the fruitless philosophizing that hasn't really answered any questions for 2500 years.

Speaking of that -- the postmodernism that you people hate without bothering to understand it is driven largely by the realization that reality, especially social, politcal, and aesthetic reality, is much harder to get a handle on than was previously thought. Although it's inspired a lot of nonsense, that basic insight seems sound to me. People get lost in their representations. Modernism was driven by the assumption that "science" and rationality could answer all questions; postmodernism is by comparision humble. I usually don't have much truck with that stuff, but I'm finding that if you guys hate something, then their must be something to it. Maybe next I'll start watching Rosie O'Donnell.

6/19/2010 02:08:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

anone said "(or maybe you do in your insanely long blog posts -- sorry, life is too short)."

You don't want to read my long blog posts. I get that. No problem, sometimes I wish I didn't need to write them.

"empiricism is much broader than Hume's extreme skepticism."

Yes it is, Locke was no Hume, but Hume is where that line of thought eventually leads, and that is what I am concerned with. With Philosophy, it's not enough to appreciate its aims and claims, if where they lead to is destruction, intellectually and physically, the fact that they began as expressing an interest in intelligence, rights or some other seeming praiseworthy sentiment, is irrelevant.

Locke was a brilliant guy pursuing fundamentals and purposes as best he could with the tools and assumptions he had at hand, but once empiricism showed itself for the false trail it was, that's it. Once the structure is known, there's no buying into just a portion of it and stopping there, that's even less possible than being a little bit pregnant.

"As far as I can see, you seem to think that repeating your devotion to "Reality" over and over constitutes a philosophy of mind. Sorry, it doesn't."

Oh man, I couldn't ask for a better example of a leftist's habitual dodge of reality than that, thank you!

You don't like my positions and don't want to examine them or spend the time necessary to examine them. Fine. But having decided, before bothering to take the time to examine the evidence, based only on your emotional evaluation, you then proceed to characterize what you know nothing about, on the basis of what you want the 'reality' to be. And then claim that I'm the one lacking it!

"With some exceptions which don't interest me, everyone believes in reality."

Priceless.

"And acknowledging the evolved biological nature of our brains and their capabilities seems like the best way to do that, a way that undermines some of the fruitless philosophizing that hasn't really answered any questions for 2500 years..."

Lol... I can imagine just the level of investigation you've given to the matter... what... a semester or two of Philo 101? Dennet and Dawkins? Gene Machines? Answers... heh, answers with little or no relation to reality beyond that of the fictions you deny it with. Gotta love it.

"The question is what it is, what we are, and how it and we are constituted so that knowledge is possible."

Those are the questions, that isvery good, and having identified that 2,500 years of philosophizing have produced no answers... the conclusions you've come to are... what exactly?

Come on, don't be afraid, do it 'on your terms', I mean, it's not like I expect you to relate to reality... but then again, maybe you'll surprise me.

Give it a shot.

6/19/2010 04:09:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

anone said "...the postmodernism that you people hate without bothering to understand it ..."

Splorf! Talk about projection! Unlike yourself, I've 'wasted the time' looking into the opposition, because while it may be correct to call the many variations of postmodernism hateful, anti-western and anti-Reality, and that is correct, I wouldn't know it unless I'd investigated it myself, and that isn't good enough for me.

I've actually read Heidegger, derida, foucault and a number of others, and I've sat through numerous audio & video lectures by their ilk, expressing their 'beliefs' and how they impact other 'truths' such as the full course of this disgusting little pomofo prof, Hubert Dreyfus, at Berkeley as he practiced his ministrations upon a class full of helpless students. The countless little digs and inflections at just the right moment to undercut an idea... he's quite good at it... like watching an intellectual Jack the Ripper. Ugh.

"Although it's inspired a lot of nonsense, that basic insight seems sound to me."

Please, enlighten me as to what your understanding of that is. Pretty please.

"...the realization that reality, especially social, politcal, and aesthetic reality, is much harder to get a handle on than was previously thought..."

Only those who write off 2,500 years of philosophizing as fruitless, meaning they didn't bother to actually examine any of it themselves, ever thought it was easy to 'get a handle on'. Your problem is that you want answers as outcomes, results, guarantees which can excuse you from the responsibility of having to conform to (... wait for it...) Reality, rather than putting in the physical, intellectual and spiritual work of considering the fundamentals yourself and of deriving sound principles from them and applying them in your life - without any guarantees.

Sad. Sorry, but there are no guarantees, and taking the opposite tack of saying nothing can really be known other than the fact that biology has programmed us through our genes, "the DNA made me do it!", isn't a substitute.

"Modernism was driven by the assumption that "science" and rationality could answer all questions..."

No, that was the packaging, and I'm not surprised you looked no deeper than that, but modernism was driven by an unsound and irrational metaphysics which proclaimed that reality was ultimately unknowable, preposterously combined with the assumption that nothing other than "rational scientific answers", and by that it meant quantifiable, were of any value or use. It was and is wrong on a great many levels, some of which I've gone to great lengths to point out how and why, but I'm sure you'd rather take your own assumptions of what those are, rather than dare examining them yourself.

'Reality'. As if.

Postmodernism, btw, accepts the same fundamentals of modernism, they just shucked off the modernists ill-gotten sense of assurance, left over from the Classical Liberal culture, and flipped the head of the irrationalist's coin over so that it's showing their bare tails up. You, like your postmodernist brethren, simply conclude that, based upon a near identical form of metaphysics, that you can't even claim to know anything at all - except for that - and the fact that we're preprogrammed by an incompetent DNA.

"Maybe next I'll start watching Rosie O'Donnell."

No need. No doubt you implicitly understand her already.

6/19/2010 04:19:00 PM  
Blogger anon said...

I've actually read Heidegger, derida, foucault and a number of others

I'm really impressed. I'd be more impressed if you gave signs of having understood any of them.

I was never much of a fan of Herbert Dreyfus. But I wonder why you would sit through a whole course worth of lectures by someone you consider "disgusting"?

As I've probably said before, I don't consider philosophy completely useless. At its best, it can promote incisive thinking about fundamental issues. But in your case, you may have read tons of the stuff but all it's produced is ranting and incoherent spluttering. You've wasted your time, and now you're wasting mine.

6/19/2010 09:18:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

anone said "I'd be more impressed if you gave signs of having understood any of them."

Funny, I was thinking the same about you.

"I was never much of a fan of Herbert Dreyfus. But I wonder why you would sit through a whole course worth of lectures by someone you consider "disgusting"?"

I didn't know that about him before, only after. You see, I'm sure this is an asspounding thought to a leftist, but try to pay attention, you see by actually listening to those you don't agree with, there is a possibility that you might,

a) discover something you hadn't suspected beforehand, perhaps even that you yourself have been in error (and that has happened more than I'd like to admit),
b) you might find that your suspicions were true and now you actually know what you only suspected before (part of that mysterious regard for reality thing),
c) you might find that out things are worse than you suspected.

As I said, it's one thing to conclude you are correct without actually knowing so, and another to investigate, learn, and then actually know what before you only suspected.

Something you've demonstrated quite clearly will never happen to you.

"But in your case, you may have read tons of the stuff but all it's produced is ranting and incoherent spluttering."

Again, the word arrangements of a practiced assumer are of little significance, but they do provoke a smile... though at times, I'll admit, there's a sadness that follows along with it. For you.

"You've wasted your time, and now you're wasting mine."

Oh come now, don't be humble, you've done that all on your own.

6/19/2010 10:10:00 PM  

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