Why are we here, An essay provoked by Golem XIv´s David Malones latest Documentary Series.
The four films are:
1) Meaning Seeking Beings
2) The Reality of Ideas
3) The Animal Within
4) The Moral Compass
Hi David I Look forward to finding a torrent in due course, looks fascinating.I really enjoyed the previews, stunning images, we expect nothing less from your lens. Rather silly that the Beeb or Channel 4 will not be showing it especially in these days of I Player on demand, it begs the question why did they air Hyper-Normalization, what is Curtis´s secret sauce?
I do not know why I am here at this moment in time, let alone who ,´´We´´are? or what ´WE´is? Who, where, when and why???. What everyone else is doing let alone why they are doing it ( personally I would not know where to start finding out).
Universals escape my possibility of imagination, let alone perception or understanding.
I do know that I find ideas endlessly fascinating and peoples opinions on ideas are also fascinating. Even scientific ´truths´ are open to interpretation the Ceteris Paribus and mutatis mutandis adjustment mechanisms always leave room for dogma or spin of one sort or another. Science is often said to be a-political detached a-moral even, I am not convinced that it ever is, any less than religion is both make truth claims to fundamental universal truths, both are absurd without faith/belief and rely ultimately on appeals to authority, peer review, peer pressure, coercion to the greater power. The greater power being the arbiter over premature life and death or prosperity or ruin ultimately, usually a soldier or magistrate, justice of the peace, priest or Academician or motley committee of or squad of the same, will back up the authority by the required degree of censure by the usual mechanisms of exclusion or elimination.
The scientific method is a means of enquiry which is more useful than the general class of knowledge claims we call Science, or scientific truths. Materialism is I think more to do with the conclusions and received `truths´ than the Process of enquiry or, “Scientific Method, which has proven to be an excellent method for making discoveries within bounded limits.
Does Science or more precisely the Scientific Method, do a better job than Art in communicating the essence of the unknown and perhaps unknowable or, at least the immeasurable? This question does, of course, open up preferences for figurative or abstract and a posteri or, a priori reasoning. All of which have their own sets of believers or followers, factions or fanatics.
I am also offended by the notion that one needs to be one or the other and that Materialism and Idealism are of necessity or custom mutually exclusive. I do not believe they are and there are more ways of being and acting than as through Matter or Thought in three dimensions of time and space.
Both positions alone, seem to lack an imagination for further dimensions beyond time bounded 3-dimensional commonplaces. The competition between the two is an intellectual dick waving competition, far be it from anyone to spoil the fun of those who wish to participate. Girls can play too but what they wave I will leave to each your own imagination.
Ordinary everyday matters of life’s necessaries are more important to my own lights, though.
It is these essential necessary areas where community leadership should stem from, stock taking is an empirical process which goes back to the foundation of mathematical and metrological tools applied to the question and problem of what do we have and how do we share it out?. Priests and medicine men have always justified divine rights of power structure elites to determine these questions and sadly what we are told we are here for by both sides of the binary Materialism Idealism debate lead to an implied notion that it´s all too hard for those who have cares regarding the necessities of life to begin to understand. The subtext to the metrological questions of, who gets what? Is, you get what you are given and be grateful for the beneficence of the powers that be. They know best because; God, Markets, Science or Maths, or, Elitist job creation .. etc, etc,etc.. the eternal appeal to external authority.
The most profound thing I think I have ever read is a short question posed in Neal Donald Walsh’s, Conversations with God. ´´What would love do now?´´.
At all breaking points in life there is one question to ask: what would love do now?
Love is not to retain the best of the other – but the best of your self.
For me how we act ( and the consequences of our actions ) is rather more important than why we act and through which mental / Physical processes we arrive at our decisions to act and with whose or which authority. Science, Philosophy, Meta-Physics, religion, Materialism, Idealism schools of thought none of those things will justify or make a wrong right, or the unfair or unjust fair or Just. Ultimately we all set our own standards of right and wrong, these are the things that keep us awake at night feeling anxious even when we know there is no possibility of Punishment. The ring of Gyges questions for which neither religion or science are any help. If we fail to live up to our own ideals our wish to make amends or frustration felt at not being able to undo what we feel we should have done differently, then what?
Science might give us drugs and Religion may give us absolution, but neither can help us sleep easily or prevent dreaming nightmares where we have offended against our own view of our better selves, hypocrisy and self-delusion only ever takes us so far we know when we are lying to ourselves, we feel it even when we do not admit it even to only our inner selves , our spirit level declines to borrow from the famous study by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett
How many choices at the end of the day are actually either or, Science or God, Evolution or Creation/Intelligent design?
Perhaps there is a useful distinction to be made between Science and Technology and between God and mental well- being. If it works don´t fix it and if it feels good or does some apparent good then keep doing it. In this area Rupert Sheldrakes´ notions of habits in nature along with C S Pierces´ Agapism, take me down a path I am always happy to re-visit with either doubt or scepticism depending whether I am blowing in a Materialistic or Idealistic breeze that particular day. Perhaps the best thing to do with mind if we accept such a thing exists is to keep it (mind)open to the possibility for changing once we think we have made it up, or to accept the possibility of contradictions and being in two or multiple minds at once. What are our choices and how do we prioritise or rank them. All of this with the knowledge that we will never have all of the information we would like to overcome our doubt or scepticism. ( Back to Ceteris Paribus? )
There are then notions of received, accepted and popular wisdom, the things we take for granted, the ´Settled Science
´´or ´´Consensus ´´Viewpoint. Beware the thought Police neither the God Squad or the Science Mob have a monopoly on policing thought crime against their Dogmas and they all have plenty of Dogma to go around. Michel Foucault got at this notion of the In Group bias of what Polyani called the Science republic. It applies equally well to any formalised structure of allowed realities I find; secular, scientific, political or religious.
”I would define the episteme retrospectively as the strategic apparatus which permits of separating out from among all the statements which are possible those that will be acceptable within, I won’t say a scientific theory, but a field of scientificity, and which it is possible to say are true or false. The episteme is the ‘apparatus’ which makes possible the separation, not of the true from the false, but of what may from what may not be characterised as scientific.” Michel Foucault.
Tolstoy’s Yasnaya Polyana School, is an excellent read on Pedagogy, a primer as good as any before reading the equally easy to read although longer Pedagogy of the oppressed, by Paulo Frier. Science and A belief in God both come with optional flavours of epistemology, they are not mutually exclusive, one also finds this in Spinoza and Maimonides. Questions do not rest on what we have learned or what we might learn but on what use we derive from it and whether there are benefits in the application of the lessons we Learn or discoveries we claim to make.
´´Let those that deny the educational significance of the Bible, that declare it has outlived its usefulness, invent such a book, such stories, such explanations of the phenomena of nature, either from general history or from imagination, which should have such a recap- ion as the Bible ones have, and then we will agree that the Bible is superannuated .
Pedagogy serves as a verification of many, many vital phenomena, of social and abstract questions.Materialism will have the right to proclaim itself as victorious only when the bible of materialism shall have been written, and childhood shall have been educated according to this bible. Owen’s experiment cannot be regarded as a proof of such a possibility, any more than the growth of a lemon tree in a Moscow greenhouse is proof that it could grow without the open sky and the sun.I repeat it, my conviction, drawn perhaps from a one- sided experiment, is that the development of a child and a man is as unthinkable without the Bible as it would have been in Greek society without
Homer. The Bible is the only book for the elementary education of the young. The Bible, both in its form and in its con- tent, ought to serve as the model for all children’s manuals and reading books. A simple popular translation of the Bible would be the most popular of all books. The appearance of such a translation in our day would make an epoch in the history of the Russian people ´´ (YASNAYA POLYANA SCHOOL 253, Tolstoy, https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Yasnaya_Polyana_School)
One of the explanations about how applied knowledge or seeking contexts for knowledge through critical thinking is aptly demonstrated by Bateson in this passage from his introduction to the collection of essays, An Ecology of mind.
´´I used to teach an informal course for psychiatric residents in the Veterans Administration Hospital at Palo Alto, trying to get them to think some of the thoughts that are in these essays. They would attend dutifully and even with intense interest to what I was saying, but every year the question would arise after three or four sessions of the class: “What is this course all about?” I tried various answers to this question. Once I drew up a sort of catechism and offered it to the class as a sampling of the questions which I hoped they would be able to discuss after completing the course. The questions ranged from “What is a sacrament? ‘ to “What is entropy? ” and “What is play? ” As a didactic manoeuvre, my catechism was a failure: it silenced the class. But one question in it was useful: A certain mother habitually rewards her small son with ice cream after he eats his spinach. What 2 additional information would you need to be able to predict whether the child will: a. Come to love or hate spinach, b. Love or hate ice cream, or c. Love or hate Mother? We devoted one or two sessions of the class to exploring the many ramifications of this question, and it became clear to me that all the needed additional information concerned the context of the mother ‘ s and son’s behaviour. In fact, the phenomenon of context and the closely related phenomenon of “meaning ” defined a divisionbetween the “hard” sciences and the sort of science which I was trying to build. Gradually I discovered that what made it difficult to tell the class what the course was about was the fact that my way of thinking was different from theirs. A clue to this difference came from one of the students. It was the first session of the class and I had talked about the cultural differences between England and America—a matter which should always be touched on when an Englishman must teach Americans about cultural anthropology. At the end of the session, one resident came up. He glanced over his shoulder to be sure that the others were all leaving, and then said rather hesitantly, “I want to ask a question.” “Yes.” “It’s— do you want us to learn what you are telling us? ” I hesitated a moment, but he rushed on with, “Or is it all a sort of example, an illustration of something else?” “Yes, indeed! ” But an example of what´?´´.GregoryBateson.
The common denominator for Science or God to be useful, is the degree of success to which both philosophical views can incorporate an ethical framework into their enquiries and of course in their ´Teachings´. Above all how they are applied and practised and not merely discussed. Ethical motivations are what are bound up in the Ancient Greek pursuit of Virtue or Arete. Arete is the pursuit of Virtue for virtues´ sake, not for status, for peace of mind, or Personal Proft. Only for the General well being of the demos? Art for art´s sake, money for god´s sake science for goodness sake.
Motivation or final causes as Aristotle would have it are very important and inform what we find, or allow ourselves to believe and in which contexts those beliefs will be admitted to others for what ever ´good´ beneft or effect. The teleological end or final purpose of scientific proofs or beliefs in god have merit according to how satisfactory their outcomes are, if we find that they harm us or others they require further definition as to the limits within which the purpose is specifically applied as a stop off point towards some ultimate good via some bad contradiction. Quines´ differences of degree and not kind in a way, this from Two dogmas of empiricism.
The Anthropocentric view that science and much organised branded religion takes for itself is as absurd as any geo-centric conception of aninfinitee cosmos is. This article on the BBC web site today wraps up the lack of humility, context or proportion that main stream science education habitually takes takes, science as propaganda and religion as propaganda, no thank you.
Entering a new age?Prof Alberti observed: “The reason these changes are important is because they change ecosystem function, therefore they have implications for human well-being.”This is because those changes affect, for example, biodiversity but also nutrient cycling, seed dispersal and water purification.”Prof Alberti and colleagues suggested that these changes meant that the alteration in the functions performed by the species, such as food production or the prevention of the spread of infectious diseases, would also be modified.”There have been a lot of studies on individual cities but there had been no studies that considered the global picture to identify a global urbanisation influence on evolution,” she added.”We live on an urban planet already. This is a change. that has implications for where we are heading in the future.”We are changing the evolution of Earth and urbanisation has a role, a signifcant role, in that.”
Polyani in his Republic of Science essay from 1962 makes this point and it is probably truer today than back then.My reading of this essay is that Science and religion are both Systems of mutual approval based upon traditional notions of Authority through acquired or leased status in support of over arching hierarchical power structures justifying Elite privilege.
´´Modern man claims that he will believe nothing unless it is unassailable by doubt; Descartes, Kant, John Stuart Mill and Bertrand Russell have unanimously taught him this. They leave us no grounds for accepting any tradition. But we see now that science itself can be pursued and transmitted to succeeding generations only within an elaborate system of traditional beliefs and values, just as traditional beliefs have proved indispensable throughout the life of society. What can one do then? The dilemma is disposed of by continuing to profess the right of absolute self-determination in political theory and relying on the guidance of tradition in political practice´´.
In all matters epistemological and philosophical I demure ultimately to C S Pierce and this made up quote from ´We Pragmatists ´
“Three modes of evolution have thus been brought before us: evolution by fortuitous variation, evolution by mechanical necessity, and evolution by creative love. We may term them tychastic evolution, or tychasm, anancastic evolution, or anancasm, and agapastic evolution, or agapasm. The doctrines which represent these as severally of principal importance we may term tychasticism, anancasticism,and agapasticism. On the other hand the mere propositions that absolute chance, mechanical necessity, and the law of love are severally operative in the cosmos may receive the names of tychism, anancism, and agapism.” — C. S. Peirce, 1893
And finally two poems.
Real Love reality is.
Self is Love, is Self Love is I, I Love
Look in myself, Love is within
Love thou, Thou Art Love Thou art other, you are love
love each other, We are Love look for Love, Love is Without.
Know love, Know each other. See Love, See Each Other.
Love is We , We are Love
Love each other, Each is Love
Love is Everything, Everything is Love. All is everything, Everything is Love Love everything, Love Everyone
Love Everything, Everyone is love
Love is Real, Real is Love. Love Reality, Reality is Real.
Reality is Love, Love is Reality
Reality is everywhere, Everywhere is Love
Love is the centre
Love has no Circumference.
Everywhere is the centre
The centre is soul, Soul is Love
The purpose is Love is The Purpose.
Love is the Heart .
infinite reality is Love. Infinity is Reality is Infinity
Love is Infinite, Infinity is Love
Be Love, be infinite. Love is infinity is Love is
The purpose of Love is .
Roger G Lewis 2013.
Reality is à slice of infnity,
Make sure you try a piece.
Plenty to go around
Add seasoning to taste
Theoretically Abstract constructs
Incompleteness and uncertainty Are in the nature of infinity
Falsifiability is in the nature of reality
Subjects of defined limits create reality
One can create or falsify ones own reality
Reality; as objective, subjective or abstract,
Is all an abstract construct relative to subjective limits placed on the infinite continuum.
There are many realities, but Only one infinity
Infinity encompasses all realities
Realities are faceted With infinite perspectives
Prescribed reality is not necessarily evident
Roger G Lewis.