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Author Topic: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"  (Read 18597 times)

wdmn

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #300 on: February 19, 2020, 08:15:15 PM »
Beautiful Soul Syndrome: how environmentalism gets stuck in Romanticism


"...the attitude of environmentalism, that there is a world that is separate from me; that nature exists apart from human society, is not only wrong, but dangerously part of the problem..."

In this lecture, Timothy Morton discusses the dualisms embedded in the concept of nature and the attitudes that come with it (the ways of seeing built into our ideas and presuppositions; the inherited aspect of thought which doesn't emerge from within the subject). Ironically, he argues, the "naturalisms" and "environmentalisms," which claim to overcome these idealistic dualisms,  conceal from themselves the very opposite attitude. Their nature speak repeats the attitude of Cartesian dualism between subject (mind) and object (external nature), that we have touched on in this thread.

This dualism sees consciousness as something fundamentally distinct from the rest of the universe, or material world, and tends to do so by privileging human consciousness. As we have seen in this thread, this privileging can be negative as well as positive. We can distinguish ourselves from other species (or races) by appeal to our consciousness, either by elevating ourselves, or by condemning ourselves, and we should recognize these as different sides of the same intellectual trap.

"thinking that you've exited consumerism might be the most quintessentially consumerist attitude of all. In large part this is because you see the world of consumerism as an evil world. You, having exited this world, are good. Over there is the evil object, which you shun or seek to eliminate. Over here is the good subject, who feels good precisely insofar as she or he is separated from the evil world. I am now describing Hegel's beautiful soul, who claims precisely to have exited the evil world."

"The problem is that the gaze that constitutes the world as a thing over there, is evil as such."

Part 1:


"The cold virus is a... twenty sided crystal. If you think the rhinovirus is alive, then you should probably admit that a computer virus is alive for all intents and purposes."

"A beaver's DNA doesn't stop at the end of its whiskers, but at the ends of its dam. A spider's DNA is expressed in its web"

"Dark ecology realizes that we are hopelessly entangled in the mesh of interconnectedness without any possibility of extricating ourselves. Dark ecology finds itself fully responsible for all lifeforms, because like a detective in a noir movie, it has realized that it's complicit in the crime."
« Last Edit: February 20, 2020, 07:26:02 AM by wdmn »

nanning

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #301 on: February 20, 2020, 07:22:44 AM »
Interesting wdmn, thanks.

The supremacy -> insanity of civilisation fantasy.
There is no dualism in living nature. Living nature is one and whole (difficult to put into human language).

Us and them (civilisation&living nature), outside and inside (the skull). Mind over body.

I disagree about the computer virus being live because it is completely abstract and therefore not real.
"It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly" - Bertrand Russell
"It is preoccupation with what other people from your groups think of you, that prevents you from living freely and nobly" - Nanning
Why do you keep accumulating stuff?

wdmn

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #302 on: February 20, 2020, 09:15:53 AM »
Nanning,

Glad you found it of interest. I was not intending to present Morton's positions as my own, but there is a lot of overlap, and he offers another way to think about some of these questions.

It's very difficult to reply to your post, because you use a lot of words as though they have an unambiguous meaning, and I would like to get you to think about them some more to help the rest of us understand, but it's difficult to know exactly where to start, and I also don't want this thread to become tedious.

I guess I would first call your attention back to the beginning of the lecture I shared in the previous post.

In Morton's lecture he discusses ideas as being coupled with attitudes. Attitudes, are, in a sense "as of yet unthought ideas," the unconscious accompaniments of our conscious thought. Once attitudes become conscious then they can be thought as ideas. This is not unlike the process of making our presuppositions conscious (which I started this thread talking about). In other words ideas that appear to be simple and straight forward rarely are.

I'd like to get a better understanding of 'living nature,' which you described in a previous post as "life + ecosystems, and nature as everything; the universe."

Life is, like most concepts, fuzzy at the edges. Morton alludes to this in the first lecture, including in the quote on viruses that you refer to. He doesn't say that a computer virus is alive (as you interpreted the quote), but rather that if you think that a virus is alive -- viruses don't reproduce themselves, but tell other cells to make copies of them -- you should probably accept that computer virus is alive (as they are replicated in a similar way). (As for your comment about computer viruses being abstract and therefore not real, we'd have to start another thread to sort out what you mean by that).

But rather than trying to address all of the proverbs in your post, let's focus on living nature, because I would like to understand it so that I can be a better human being.

Are all humans part of living nature? If not, which humans are not part, and were they born that way?
Are viruses part of living nature? (Is rabies part of living nature?)
Are spider webs part of living nature?
Are rocks part of living nature? What about rocks created by being blown up by dynamite?
Is human shit part of living nature? Does it depend on what the human ate?
Is wine part of living nature?
Is a factory farmed chicken part of living nature?
Is a racehorse part of living nature?
Is oil part of living nature?
Is carbon dioxide part of living nature?
Are asteroids part of living nature?

I guess I'll start with those and see where we get.

kassy

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #303 on: February 20, 2020, 02:57:56 PM »
Oh a quiz.

Deleted ones yes.

Are rocks part of living nature?
No, some came from nature but it is dead nature.

Is wine part of living nature?
I tried mating wines but that never worked so nope.

Is oil part of living nature?
Nope, it´s dead nature.

Is carbon dioxide part of living nature?
Is hydrogen? No they are just building blocks.

Are asteroids part of living nature?
No.

Basically it is the biosphere including all things small and large. I included the viruses because they are all around. Also with our much better sampling techniques we are discovering things we did not even thing of. Recent discoveries included bacteriophages that include bacterial DNA and use it to manipulate the bacteria with it.

The computer virus can only live in our systems so that is not a good analogy. Also there is no proper virus...one that maintains itself. It is all tricks to get some data. 
Þetta minnismerki er til vitnis um að við vitum hvað er að gerast og hvað þarf að gera. Aðeins þú veist hvort við gerðum eitthvað.

wdmn

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #304 on: February 20, 2020, 03:11:56 PM »
Thanks Kassy.

It was not a quiz (since I don't know the answers), but an attempt to make sure I understand Nanning. I hope he will also respond, because I'm not so sure he would agree with you.

But since you answered...

Are fossils part of living nature?
Is a skeleton part of living nature?
Is a simple, human hut part of living nature? What about a condominium?

In any case, since you allow that all humans are part of living nature, then there's no problem as you'll grasp that human consciousness is also part of living nature.

Finally, you say: "a computer virus is not a good analogy because it can only live in our system..." Strange choice of words (live). Also, there are host specific viruses that can't "survive" outside of the host organism (system?).

kassy

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #305 on: February 20, 2020, 03:36:36 PM »
You can read exist for live in the last part. If we were to disappear of the planet the computer web would soon degrade and no computer virus would go anywhere. Rabies would be fine ofc.

The fossils are a record of the past (as was the oil).

Basically i resent the hair splitting.

You can look at the edges just like you can measure the UK costs with a better ruler but that does not mean anything in the real world.

There are real simple measures.

Amazon. Keep it or trash it?

Great Barrier Reef keep it or trash it?

Sibererian permafrost as a sink keep it or trash it?

There are many more examples but we should at least preserve most of them just so next generations can enjoy them too.

And then we are not even getting down to depressing stuff like soil erosion, aquifer depletion and all that.

General essay question: where is the line for what?
Þetta minnismerki er til vitnis um að við vitum hvað er að gerast og hvað þarf að gera. Aðeins þú veist hvort við gerðum eitthvað.

nanning

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #306 on: February 20, 2020, 05:07:55 PM »
wdmn, I've read your post with interest. Thank you for your questions and stating my definitions.
I have to say I'm sorry for not reading the lecture. These days I spend less time on the asif because I have more other interests to attend to.

I filtered these points from your post:
- 'living nature'
- computer virus abstract but alive
- The list of questions at the bottom

Very interesting questions. Some are about the definition of life. I will give my view. I have no 100% definition. Viri are what I struggled with but now I think they are part of life. Why divide life into just lifeforms. If it's able to multiply and interact with ecosystems it is alive because it is part of an ecosystem.

I sincerely wish that I'm able to steer your view and understanding. Very good feeling for me to have someone interested. I may fail in explaining my view and understanding but I value your curiosity.

You are welcome wdmn. Do you think this thread is the appropriate one?


P.S. I do agree with kassy's first post.
"It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly" - Bertrand Russell
"It is preoccupation with what other people from your groups think of you, that prevents you from living freely and nobly" - Nanning
Why do you keep accumulating stuff?

wdmn

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #307 on: February 21, 2020, 07:07:32 AM »
Kassy,

It's not hair splitting. I directed my post at nanning to get a better sense of what he's talking about. My follow up to you was similarly an attempt to understand your logic. Ideas matter.

Of course we agree on what should be kept. The point is that so far we've not been effective at getting the required changes, and many, many people still see environmentalism as something unattractive. So what's wrong? Is it partially due to the way we're thinking about our problems?

As for your virus claim, are you suggesting that nothing goes extinct in "living nature"? Of course not, your hypothetical rests on humans disappearing from the planet. But if we disappeared so would cows, and chickens, and racehorses. And beaver dams would stop existing if beavers disappeared, and Taenia pisiformis would disappear if canids disappeared. Realizing the severity of our situation is accepting that "living nature" is not something balanced and harmonious, but that many landscapes are literally built on the skeletons of extinguished life forms (coral reefs, for example), and our cars fuelled by organic remains. There is and never has been any guarantee of our survival. Even if we were to give up the sort of civilization nanning has problems with and all live like the tribes of the Amazon.


Nanning,

I'm wondering whether you consider human cities -- for example -- as a kind of ecosystem? And if they emerge out of living nature, (the work of humans), how can you exclude them? Is it simply, as kassy has suggested, that they would not exist without humans? Yet you accepted spider webs as part of living nature, even though they would not exist if spiders went extinct.

It's the appropriate thread as long as you keep in mind how what your saying relates back to the topic.

As for you not having a 100% definition, that is to be expected. Perhaps that points to the fact that "living nature" is not a thing (it doesn't actually have a referent), but rather a concept that we use, and we can use it in various ways, just as the definition of "person" has changed over time to include women (see "the persons case"). We could also call it an idea, and we can examine the attitudes we have that go with it, such as whether we still take it as something "holistic" if we are unable to identify with certainty what is part of it and what is not!
« Last Edit: February 21, 2020, 07:18:54 AM by wdmn »

nanning

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #308 on: February 21, 2020, 08:21:04 AM »
Are you comparing computer viri with cities with "they would not exist without humans?". I don't understand that comparison because cities are not abstract.

I don't consider cities (with humans living in it) as part of living nature ecosystems i.e. as a lifeform because a city-system doesn't give anything back, it only takes and is not based on DNA. Modern cities have waste i.e. something outside of living nature that can't be broken down by life.
Cities are an unnatural form of human organisation because nobody in the group knows everybody else and it is based on farming with technology which means exercizing supremacy over living nature which makes insane, is destructive and means outside of living nature. Humans should be nomadic in places where it's too cold in the winter. Just like the rest of living nature.

Termite hills are also a construction by lifeforms but is not part of living nature because it can't be eaten. Spider webs can be eaten. Many lifeforms manipulate non-living nature.

The definition of life I gave in my previous post is pretty much 100%.
"Why divide life into just lifeforms. If it's able to multiply and interact with ecosystems it is alive because it is part of an ecosystem."
Human language is inefficient, incomplete and ambiguous so the above definition is dependend on the interpretation of words like "multiply" and "interacting".


I don't understand wdmn, what's the difference between "a thing", "a concept" and "an idea" in this context?

Quote of your last sentence:
"examine the attitudes we have that go with it, such as whether we still take it as something "holistic" if we are unable to identify with certainty what is part of it and what is not!"

It becomes completely clear once you go back to paleolithic technology in a small nomadic group. It is about not having supremacy and not using technology to overrule living nature's constraints. i.e. humans cannot fell a tree or kill a mammoth. It is also about not killing other animals for anything other than food. Humans are not predators and the current insane fantasy culture of civilisation is the believe that we are 'technological' predators. That fantasy has been extremely destructive to all ecosystems and to human psyche.

I wish you'll find it interesting what I have written and that it fuels your curiosity. Please don't have the form of the answer in your head. Ideas from civilisation cultural bias generally do not reach outside of this bias and that is where the answers lie. First one has to strip the bias away :).
If you want to understand the culture building you're in, you have to step outside and investigate from the outside. The 'alien' perspective (alien to civilisations cultures). 'Step outside' is really very difficult.
"It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly" - Bertrand Russell
"It is preoccupation with what other people from your groups think of you, that prevents you from living freely and nobly" - Nanning
Why do you keep accumulating stuff?

wdmn

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #309 on: February 21, 2020, 08:57:22 AM »
Nanning,

Limits of living nature: can be eaten by some organism. So spider webs and human faeces yes, but buildings and termite mounds no.
And what about steel structures, don't they rust away? Or wooden structures?
Even plastics break down with enough time, so that seems like a bad criterion.
Cities are part of our DNA in the sense that we are able to build them because of the creatures that we are.

I don't need to know what you mean by multiply or interact, because those are commonly used terms, whereas "living nature" is something you understand but I don't.

However, spider webs don't multiply without spiders, just as termite mounds don't multiply without termites. So it seems that your definition is not 100%... since you've also been forced to add the criterion that the thing can be eaten if it is to be considered part of living nature.

Not all animals leave areas during winter. Some animals hibernate. Others stay active throughout the winter, even in the coldest locations (penguins, caribou, arctic foxes, snowshoe hare, wolverine...).

So cities are unnatural because no one knows everyone else. And yet this "unnatural" phenomenon has been multiplied repeatedly throughout human history, and is interacted with not only by humans but by a bunch of other animals too (raccoons, squirrels, hawks, pigeons, rats, butterflies, plants, etc etc.); and it has been built by something which is part of living nature. So living nature "gives birth" to unnatural things?

I used "thing" to mean a materially existing, distinguishable object (so I pointed out that it has no "referent"). I used concept and idea interchangeably in the context.

It seems strange that you should privilege one baseline in the history of a species. Doesn't living nature change? (But of course it does, since we have changed and we are part of living nature).

If the technology humans use to "overrule living nature's constraints" were made by members of living nature, then it seems that living nature itself has provided the means to "overrule its constraints." And so maybe those aren't really "living nature's" constraints, but your own? Maybe "living nature" is itself "unnatural"? Maybe it includes in it the vary things that you want to separate off as evil?

As far as my ability to strip away my bias, I wish you would help me with it. But since language is insufficient, can you recommend some other ways? Should I move out of a city and live in a forest? (I've already done that). Should I do a bunch of hallucinogens? (I've already done that). Should I spend time with indigenous peoples? (I've already done that). Should I smoke a shit ton of weed? (I've already done that). Should I plant a garden? (I've already done that). Should I practice meditation? (I've already done that)... Am I lost cause?

nanning

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #310 on: February 21, 2020, 09:22:25 AM »
Thanks for replying. Alas, I have not been succesful in transferring meaning. I observe wild divergence. I need some time to respond to the above. In the meantime here is an interesting article and appropriate here.
FYI. From a different context than this thread, but the underlying mechanism is the same.

Humans are hardwired to dismiss facts that don't fit their worldview

https://phys.org/news/2020-01-humans-hardwired-dismiss-facts-dont.html

"A human being's very sense of self is intimately tied up with his or her identity group's status and beliefs. Unsurprisingly, then, people respond automatically and defensively to information that threatens their ideological worldview. We respond with rationalization and selective assessment of evidence—that is, we engage in "confirmation bias," giving credit to expert testimony we like and find reasons to reject the rest."


"Unwelcome information can also threaten in other ways. "System justification" theorists like psychologist John Jost have shown how situations that represent a threat to established systems trigger inflexible thinking and a desire for closure."


Edit: civilisation humans are not part of living nature and you are not a 'lost cause'.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2020, 09:28:37 AM by nanning »
"It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly" - Bertrand Russell
"It is preoccupation with what other people from your groups think of you, that prevents you from living freely and nobly" - Nanning
Why do you keep accumulating stuff?

Aporia_filia

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #311 on: February 21, 2020, 10:40:39 AM »
I feel closer to wdmn. Nanning sounds more like classic math, where definitions and results are clearly defined. But today we know limits are not that clear, the main advances are through statistics and reducing uncertainties like in AI. We cannot account for every possible flip of butterflies' wings.
Took me a while to recover the article I'm linking. I find it very wise, but as usual not a perfect Truth.
We feel self fullness when our genes and our mind are happy, both of them. Our genes are used to live within small groups of people, used to being active, used to be surrounded by natural stimulus... Then there are constraints like tending for the less energy demanding solutions (like using stereotypes, or donkeys, or confirmation bias).
Something as complex as a human can radically change in his/her behavior depending on the size of the group. We tend to create a Civilization as soon as the conditions are favorable for a population boom (can anybody find an example where this hasn't happened?). It is what happens when rolling a chaotic equation.
Enjoy the article, a lot of 'Paradise' world.

"In order to respond to questions about hunter-gatherer life in general, which were raised by my last post. As regular readers of this blog know, I have in previous posts commented on hunter-gatherers' playfulness; their playful religious practices; their playful approach toward productive work; their non-directive childrearing methods; and their children's playful ways of educating themselves.

In all of those posts, I emphasized the egalitarian, non-hierarchical nature of hunter-gatherer society. In today's post, I present three theories as to how hunter-gatherers maintained the egalitarian ethos for which they are justly famous. I think all three of the theories are correct. They are complementary theories, not competing ones; and they are all theories about culture, not about genes."

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/freedom-learn/201105/how-hunter-gatherers-maintained-their-egalitarian-ways

wili

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #312 on: February 21, 2020, 12:01:01 PM »
I find these discussions a bit tiresome, circular, self-serving, and more sophistry than philosophy.

Western (and now world) industrial society pretty much defined itself by being not just non-natural, but avidly anti-natural. And nature in turn was pretty much defined as everything that wasn't a direct part or product of industrial society.

For members of said society to suddenly turn around and say...bbbbut...every thing is natural, so industrial society is natural, so all is well and good in the world. It's just semantic whiplash.

Kinda like someone who has been an avid and active racist for decades who reads an article about the non-existence of race in genetics, and then declares, 'See, I can't be a racist, 'cause there IS no such thing as race,' as he then goes back to his same old racist ways...

But very intelligent people do tend to find very clever ways to rationalized their ingrained thoughts and behaviors, and I don't expect that I will alter that trajectory here, so probably won't engage on this topic again for a while.
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

nanning

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #313 on: February 21, 2020, 05:16:44 PM »
Good post in general wili, but.. tiresome? Then why do you read it. And why comment?

I am trying to convey my research results (theories and understanding) from 10hrs/day 4 years of hermitage for some time now and wdmn shows interest in part of it, and I am thankful for that. Sorry if you are not entertained. You would expect ME to find it tiresome after all this time in not succeeding, and again and again observing the same confirmation biases, wild divergences and other effects from civilisation bubbles and its insane culture (wetiko).

I'm the expert in this Aporia_filia, so 'feeling closer' to whomever means you aren't getting 'it'. I have the alien perspective, you're welcome to ask questions. I am a scientist.


link to my first post:
https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,2688.msg199280.html#msg199280
"It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly" - Bertrand Russell
"It is preoccupation with what other people from your groups think of you, that prevents you from living freely and nobly" - Nanning
Why do you keep accumulating stuff?

wdmn

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #314 on: February 22, 2020, 12:25:52 AM »
@Aporia_filia

Thank you for the interesting link. Just to make myself clear, nowhere did I suggest that nothing could be learned from hunter gather societies. Unfortunately nanning's solution -- a "natural" world where we don't live in communities unless we know everyone else in that community -- means the death of ~7.5 billion people.

@ nanning
"Humans are hardwired to dismiss facts that don't fit their worldview" is a biological way of stating what I've been stating in various ways through this thread, and which you somehow are unable to see might also apply to you. I.e. there are unconscious attitudes that accompany our ideas, and unconscious presuppositions that our conscious ideas rest on. I have been asking people to consider their own, including you and make them fully conscious by answering questions and thinking about the logical problems that arise...

Are you also hardwired in this way nanning?

As for me, please tell me which facts you think that I am dismissing? So far our conversation has been conceptual. I've used a few empirical facts (about how virus' replicate, etc) but which facts have you presented that you feel I have dismissed due to a hardwired bias?


@wili
Interesting that you say that, as I've linked to works from two well known and influential philosophers, while referring to the work of one of the most important philosophers in the western tradition. I have also drawn on arguments from a book of philosophy on the subject, and these are topics that you will find in any philosophy of ecology text.

You seem to have completely misunderstood the ideas I've presented (both my own and those of others). No one is saying that "all is well and good in the world." Where did I say that? In fact, all it does is repeat your own attitude back to you: you've conflated "natural" as the non-human with "natural" as a moral concept. You're then assuming that the move of renaturalizing humans also means assigning a moral status (that of "good") to humans and our practices. No where have I done that, nor have the philosophers who I have referred to. Those are your own attitudes showing through. You're not reading carefully enough.

From my first post in this thread I've pointed out that there are different uses/meanings of 'natural,' including the standard one that means everything not created/made by humans and external to us. That is obvious. To see how I problematized this concept refer to pretty much any of my posts in this thread. Or to put it in a different way, as the post on Morton's lecture above discusses, ideas come bundled with attitudes, which are like unconscious ideas that we haven't thought clearly yet. So what are some of the attitudes that come with seeing nature in the standard usage? Are the problematic? Do they contradict what we've learned from the sciences since Darwin? If so what does that mean for the way we've been thinking about our problems? What are the consequences for environmentalism?

If you don't find those questions interesting then avoid the thread.

nanning

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #315 on: February 22, 2020, 05:16:51 AM »
Great post wdmn.

"Are you also hardwired in this way nanning?"

I was. I've changed my wiring. Neuroplasticity.
I've hunted down the errors and inconsistencies of my brain and of the programmed culture's effects in my brain.
I've peeled away the bias layers of civilisation culture and have found the fundamental erroneous unnatural choices of its traditions. The 'outside'.

I don't have many hard facts wdmn. I bet other philosophers didn't have hard facts as well. Many things I have written have subsequently been ignored. Heedless.
What's different from other philosophers throughout (pre)history is that I have calibration! i.e. I don't reason from within the civilisation cultural bubble. I have found reality.
That took A LOT of effort. Please don't underestimate the amount of effort. It is impossible for others to just 'see' what I mean because they can't see through the civilisation bubble. It really is like safety-glass: You don't see it and can't step outside it.
The views of civilisation culture have hardwired humans' brains since early childhood. All that is seen as normal is hard wired.
This can be changed via neuroplasticity but needs a lot of courage, effort, intelligence and curiosity.
Note: I'm not an academic scientist and am not good with that specific language. It is easy to dismiss my texts because they don't 'sound' proper academically scientific.

Example:

Fact: humans are not monogamous by nature so should not bond for a long time.
Consequences:
- Fathers are unnatural.
- Family and houses are unnatural.
- Men don't have a natural purpose in this culture.
- Women, mothers and children (who are young vulnerable humans) have to put up with a men who's the boss over them.
- Inheritance is unnatural.
- Empire is unnatural.
- Private material accumulation is unnatural.
- Every family behaves like a separate secretive tribe.
The consequences go much further than the above.

These are just the effects of 1 wrong turn very long ago.


We have been discussing a definition of life which is not my research.

You write to wili: "You're not reading carefully enough". That's true for many people. My texts are very condensed with much information. Single words can have a lot of meaning. When you have read my sentences, can you say to yourself "yes, I have understood all these words"?

Dear wdmn, I have problems with too many subjects simultaneously. In real and natural human communication i.e. talking to each other face to face, only one subject is under discussion at a time.

May I suggest we continue with just 1 clear subject so it's easier to stay focussed on a small part and build from there. I think it's the only way this can work.
"It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly" - Bertrand Russell
"It is preoccupation with what other people from your groups think of you, that prevents you from living freely and nobly" - Nanning
Why do you keep accumulating stuff?

Aporia_filia

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #316 on: February 22, 2020, 10:06:45 AM »
Quote
You seem to have completely misunderstood the ideas I've presented (both my own and those of others). No one is saying that "all is well and good in the world." Where did I say that? In fact, all it does is repeat your own attitude back to you: you've conflated "natural" as the non-human with "natural" as a moral concept. You're then assuming that the move of renaturalizing humans also means assigning a moral status (that of "good") to humans and our practices. No where have I done that, nor have the philosophers who I have referred to. Those are your own attitudes showing through. You're not reading carefully enough.


Agree, wdmn. Wili is suffering from his own bored way of "rationalizing his ingrained thoughts and behaviors". When using that racist example he is projecting his own hate and contempt. Very common with religious people.
But he's still a good fella.

nanning, I feel myself more away from civilization than you. That's probably why I sound harsh. And yep, there are some understanding problems.

oren

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #317 on: February 22, 2020, 04:28:49 PM »
Quote
Fact: humans are not monogamous by nature so should not bond for a long time.
Let's agree to disagree.

wili

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #318 on: February 22, 2020, 07:16:57 PM »
"When using that racist example he is projecting his own hate and contempt. Very common with religious people."

 ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D

Thanks for the laugh.

At least I'm still a 'good fella'!  :)

And, yes, if you all want to keep going around in your lovely little circles here, be my guests. I will try to butt out. I have not read every single word in the thread, so my apologies if missed a subtlety or two. But, having taught related material at the college level, I find much of the conversation a bit sophomoric, and some of of the tropes seem tiresome because I have heard them so often from others.

(And for what it's worth, I don't happen to be particularly religious, not in any conventional way, anyway. And I would characterize myself more as an obnoxious anti-racist than a 'good fella,' but that would really take the conversation in a different direction)

And I agree with oren...there is very little that we can say about 'human nature' that can be defined as 'fact.' Being preconditioned to living within human society with societal constraints of various sorts, including generally against sleeping with just anyone, is, I would say, one of the few things we can say with some certainty about 'human nature.'
« Last Edit: February 22, 2020, 07:31:34 PM by wili »
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

Aporia_filia

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #319 on: February 23, 2020, 09:59:41 AM »
Thanks god you laughed, Wili !!!  :D
And I agree with you and Oren about human facts. There are lots of physical and social constraints, but every single person is different, so let anybody be their own (without damaging others).

nanning

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #320 on: February 23, 2020, 05:14:18 PM »
Quote
Fact: humans are not monogamous by nature so should not bond for a long time.
Let's agree to disagree.

Of course not. This is not a matter of opinion.
"It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly" - Bertrand Russell
"It is preoccupation with what other people from your groups think of you, that prevents you from living freely and nobly" - Nanning
Why do you keep accumulating stuff?

oren

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #321 on: February 23, 2020, 07:53:26 PM »
Your opinion as fact, mine as baseless opinion. Fine by me.

wdmn

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #322 on: February 24, 2020, 12:17:57 AM »
Wili,

Since you have taught this at college, please enrich the discussion by raising it above the sophomoric rather than calling the arguments sophistic.


Nanning,

You seem to have a very low opinion of the ability of other people to think.

"Science: enrichment and impoverishment. One particular method elbows all the others aside. They all seem paltry by comparison, preliminary stages at best. You must go right down to the original sources so as to see them all side by side, both the neglected and the preferred (CV 61)."

That is a quote from Ludwig Wittgenstein, one of the greatest philosophers of the 20th century, and someone who has influenced me tremendously. Do you really think that the great philosophers are idiots? Philosophers have been undermining the "normal" and the "standard" for 2.5 thousand years!

A fundamental part of this thread is the point that our reasoning relies on unconscious presuppositions, and that they could be thought of as a kind of mythology that is inherited; i.e. we always reason within a system. As Hegel says, the unconscious attitudes that are part of these "normals" come to consciousness over time. That is the work of philosophy!

Calling fathers "unnatural" is clearly a moral judgment. Monogamous fathers are part of "living nature;" we find them in all sorts of animal species, including cranes, which are ancient. Do you now see how you've slid between using 'natural' in one way, and 'natural' as a moral category? You could probably present a compelling argument that monogamy is immoral through a consequentialist ethics. Similarly you could do the same with many of the practices of our current civilization. But you have not even made an attempt to present your reasons in this form. All you do is insult your interlocutors, assuming that they are unable to grasp something that you yourself are unable to articulate. When pressed to make yourself more clear, you lash out, calling us wetiko, and saying we just don't get it (without addressing the arguments that we've presented). It's tiresome. I will respect your views and accept that I am likely wrong in a million ways, but I will not grant you correctness before you've even been able to state clearly what you mean.

« Last Edit: February 24, 2020, 12:58:50 AM by wdmn »

Ranman99

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Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« Reply #323 on: February 24, 2020, 03:11:18 AM »
And just by comparison there is an interesting little read -- I preferred the audio about 5 hours in length. Jed's - Theory of Everything. Good for a Sunday afternoon hammock ride!!!  8)

Made me laugh out load. The dead guys are cool too of course.

https://www.wisefoolpress.com/toe/
Randy Fitton