Conscience

Theology, Religious Studies, religion, god, faith and other topics of a spiritual nature.

Conscience

Postby Nick_A on March 11th, 2019, 10:37 pm 

What is Conscience?

First a typical dictionary definition from Merriam Webster;

1a: the sense or consciousness of the moral goodness or blameworthiness of one's own conduct, intentions, or character together with a feeling of obligation to do right or be goodShe had a guilty conscience.
b: a faculty, power, or principle enjoining good actsguided by conscience
c: the part of the superego in psychoanalysis that transmits commands and admonitions to the ego


The natural question asks if conscience is a reflection of universal reality or social conditioning. Consider a universal reality first. Is the attraction to justice an attraction to a universal reality experienced as soul knowledge or strictly a societal value?

https://www.bu.edu/wcp/Papers/Anci/AnciBhan.htm

………………….Plato realises that all theories propounded by Cephalus, Thrasymachus and Glaucon, contained one common element. That one common element was that all the them treated justice as something external "an accomplishment, an importation, or a convention, they have, none of them carried it into the soul or considered it in the place of its habitation." Plato prove that justice does not depend upon a chance, convention or upon external force. It is the right condition of the human soul by the very nature of man when seen in the fullness of his environment. It is in this way that Plato condemned the position taken by Glaucon that justice is something which is external. According to Plato, it is internal as it resides in the human soul. "It is now regarded as an inward grace and its understanding is shown to involve a study of the inner man." It is, therefore, natural and no artificial. It is therefore, not born of fear of the weak but of the longing of the human soul to do a duty according to its nature…………………………..


The natural question here is why human being became abnormal and what if anything could allow our personalities to reflect normality or what is natural for the human soul or essence?

It does seem that as technology has advanced we have lost our collective capacity to open to intuition and what it reveals about normality.

“Knowledge has three degrees – opinion, science, illumination. The means or instrument of the first is sense; of the second, dialectic; of the third, intuition.”
— Plotinus


Modern science unconcerned with intuition sees its domain as the source of universal and human meaning. Can it? What do you think? Can a person FEEL value from scientific facts? If not we rely on society to be the arbiter of value. But it one of the chief characteristics of Man in society is defending hypocrisy, it is incapable of opening to feeling objective value in a universal context

Einstein developed this concept of the Cosmic Man only possible through opening to objective conscience.

http://www.williamhermanns.com/Cosmicman.html

1930
"Many people think that the progress of the human race is based on experiences of an empirical, critical nature, but I say that true knowledge is to be had only through a philosophy of deduction. For it is intuition that improves the world, not just following the trodden path of thought. Intuition makes us look at unrelated facts and then think about them until they can all be brought under one law. To look for related facts means holding onto what one has instead of searching for new facts. Intuition is the father of new knowledge, while empiricism is nothing but an accumulation of old knowledge. Intuition, not intellect, is the ‘open sesame’ of yourself." -- Albert Einstein, in Einstein and the Poet – In Search of the Cosmic Man by William Hermanns (Branden Press, 1983, p. 16.), conversation March 4, 1930

1948
"One never goes wrong following his feeling. I don’t mean emotions, I mean feeling, for feeling and intuition are one.” Albert Einstein, in Einstein and the Poet – In Search of the Cosmic Man by William Hermanns (Branden Press, 1983, p. 95. – conversation on September 14, 1948)


Conscience is a faculty within our being which enables us to FEEL objective value as opposed to indoctrinating or preaching subjective morality. Where consciousness can know facts, conscience can feel their objective value in relation to objective universal values which exist within us as a priori knowledge.

Assuming it is possible to remember soul knowledge, what would it take to do so?
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Re: Conscience

Postby Serpent on March 11th, 2019, 11:01 pm 

Is this another warm-up act for Gawd?
Pass.
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Re: Conscience

Postby Nick_A on March 12th, 2019, 12:23 am 

Serpent » March 11th, 2019, 11:01 pm wrote:Is this another warm-up act for Gawd?
Pass.


In a sense yes. Universal objective conscience is not possible without universal values initiating with an ineffable conscious source Plato called the GOOD and Plotinus called the ONE. They are not referring to a personal God but rather a source for universal laws beyond the limitations of time and space manifesting in matter. Einstein understood. He wrote

Every one who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe-a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble.

The scientists’ religious feeling takes the form of a rapturous amazement at the harmony of natural law, which reveals an intelligence of such superiority that, compared with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection.


A person with such experiential humility opens to their potential for objective conscience reflectin universal values
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Re: Conscience

Postby Scott Mayers on March 12th, 2019, 12:52 am 

Nick_A » March 11th, 2019, 11:23 pm wrote:
Serpent » March 11th, 2019, 11:01 pm wrote:Is this another warm-up act for Gawd?
Pass.


In a sense yes. Universal objective conscience is not possible without universal values initiating with an ineffable conscious source Plato called the GOOD and Plotinus called the ONE. They are not referring to a personal God but rather a source for universal laws beyond the limitations of time and space manifesting in matter. Einstein understood. He wrote

Every one who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe-a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble.

The scientists’ religious feeling takes the form of a rapturous amazement at the harmony of natural law, which reveals an intelligence of such superiority that, compared with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection.


A person with such experiential humility opens to their potential for objective conscience reflectin universal values

If you feel you need to quote the authority of Einstein, can you at least provide a reference directly to his work and not others writing about what he said or did not say? I doubt the quotes, but even worse, find any appeal to authority about expertise using 'heroes' of the apparent enemy's thoughts is being dishonest. It would be like if I sought out a quote by some accepted Scripture of your religion to demonstrate they don't support the validity of its contents. I can find such a potential quote that even MAY be true about a biblical author but that got misinterpreted through time as something different. Would my own interpretation about such a potential quote suffice to dislodge those who claim their God said and meant something distinctly different?

The word, "intuition", for instance, used in science, refers to the inevitable hardwiring effect of one who had prior experiences, proof, or learning about something that can make one assume without further reference to how they learned. The act of walking, for instance, is learned with great effort and practice as a child. But we forget the initial experiences as the brain hardwires a shortcut path to actively walk without thinking. This KIND of 'intuition' is at best what Einstein would support. You are transferring the understanding of 'intuition' to mean some innately genetic feature of 'knowing' WITHOUT experience. This is faulty equivocation of the distinct definitions of "intuition".

Do you have some better example of your own to argue for why we may have some 'universal' sense of conscience that doesn't rely on others supporting claims?
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Re: Conscience

Postby TheVat on March 12th, 2019, 9:56 am 


The word, "intuition", for instance, used in science, refers to the inevitable hardwiring effect of one who had prior experiences, proof, or learning about something that can make one assume without further reference to how they learned. The act of walking, for instance, is learned with great effort and practice as a child. But we forget the initial experiences as the brain hardwires a shortcut path to actively walk without thinking. This KIND of 'intuition' is at best what Einstein would support. You are transferring the understanding of 'intuition' to mean some innately genetic feature of 'knowing' WITHOUT experience. This is faulty equivocation of the distinct definitions of "intuition".



Well put. Intuition, in the cognitive sciences, is usually construed as something not different from logic, but rather an insight in which a great many logical and associative steps are climbed swiftly and without conscious attention to each of them.
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Re: Conscience

Postby BadgerJelly on March 12th, 2019, 10:38 am 

Maybe Nick is just referring to a general feeling of awe and insignificance in the face of the unfathomable? That at least is what I took from Einstein’s words because he doesn’t appear to be discussing what is or isn’t a priori but rather what lies outside of our current comprehension.

To know that we don’t know is humbling.
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Re: Conscience

Postby charon on March 12th, 2019, 11:04 am 

I'm fairly sure conscience has nothing to do with religion or God. The word, like the word, consciousness, means to know. It doesn't matter very much what, but to know.

Knowledge is the result of experience. Everything we think arises from the knowledge that we have. Without any knowledge at all it wouldn't be possible to think.

So when we say our conscience pricks us, because we've done something wrong or made a mistake, it must be related to knowledge. That must be so unless we care to attribute conscience to some sort of divine origin, which I'd rather not.

That knowledge might be fairly mundane, like remembering we left some task undone, or related to behaviour, that we said or did something wrong to another person.

The point is that this all takes place within the boundaries, the confines, of our consciousness. Our consciousness is also everything we know. That knowledge is always of the past, never the actual present. When we say we know something, it's something which has already happened, even if only a second ago.

So there's no conscience of the present, it's always of the past. I don't think anyone would disagree with that. It relates to actions, or the lack of them, in the past.

So what's the problem or the issue with conscience? Why shouldn't we have conscience? It's really only memory and that's essential otherwise we'd be dead.

It's also useful because it gives us a chance to put things right. We can, usually, go and correct our mistake and what is wrong with that?

So I'm not sure what the problem with conscience is.
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Re: Conscience

Postby Nick_A on March 12th, 2019, 11:36 am 

Charon wrote: "Knowledge is the result of experience. Everything we think arises from the knowledge that we have. Without any knowledge at all it wouldn't be possible to think."

Vat and Scott refer to genetics as in learned moving responses. Conscience for me is objective emotional awareness of value. It isn't learned but rather remembered since it always has been a property of universal existence.

I'd like to get your opinion on Meno's Paradox which deals directly withe remembrance. Where morals may be indoctrinated and learned, conscience is remembered. Here is a description of Meno's Paradox. I'm not asking you to believe it but just to consider it as a legitimate possibility. If true for example the value of respect for life and its cycles isn't learned but rather remembered.

https://faculty.washington.edu/smcohen/320/menopar.htm

Socrates has told us he knows how to reject faulty definitions. But how does he know when he has succeeded in finding the right definition? Meno raises an objection to the entire definitional search in the form of (what has been called) “Meno’s Paradox,” or “The Paradox of Inquiry” (Meno 80d-e).
The argument can be shown to be sophistical, but Plato took it very seriously. This is obvious, since his response to it is to grant its central claim: that you can’t come to know something that you didn’t already know. That is, that inquiry never produces new knowledge, but only recapitulates things already known. This leads to the famous Doctrine of Recollection...............................
...................................

If conscience is indeed a priori soul knowledge which can be remembered? Einstein wrote in part:

The individual feels the futility of human desires and aims and the sublimity and marvelous order which reveal themselves both in nature and in the world of thought. Individual existence impresses him as a sort of prison and he want to experience the universe as a single significant whole. The beginnings of cosmic religious feeling already appear at an early stage of development, e.g., in many of the Psalms of David and in some of the Prophets. Buddhism, as we have learned especially from the wonderful writings of Schopenhauer, contains a much stronger element of this.

The religious geniuses of all ages have been distinguished by this kind of religious feeling, which knows no dogma and no God conceived in man's image; so that there can be no church whose central teachings are based on it. Hence it is precisely among the heretics of every age that we find men who were filled with this highest kind of religious feeling and were in many cases regarded by their contemporaries as atheists, sometimes also as saints. Looked at in this light, men like Democritus, Francis of Assisi, and Spinoza are closely akin to one another.

How can cosmic religious feeling be communicated from one person to another, if it can give rise to no definite notion of a God and no theology? In my view, it is the most important function of art and science to awaken this feeling and keep it alive in those who are receptive to it.

-- Albert Einstein, Science and Religion, NY Times, November 9, 1930. <-- Click for complete essay.
...............................................................

IMO, this cosmic religious feeling leads to the emotional experience of conscience which is remembered as we obtain a more conscious understanding of the reality of the wholeness of our universe

Do you accept the potential for what Plato described as recollection? If you do, is there any reason to object to the potential that conscience is part of recollection?
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Re: Conscience

Postby PaulN on March 12th, 2019, 1:09 pm 

You have provided zero evidence for your stipulation that conscience is innate, or that there is a soul, or that it's a "property of universal existence." The bulk of your post sounds like some kind of vague mystical handwaving. And you seem to ignore decades of studies and research into early learning and Piagetian stages of devleopment that have shown conscience as very much a result of learning and interaction with others.

A good deal of conscience arises from an empathic sense developed in early life, regarding the feelings of others and how our actions affect them. Not from airy-fairy mystical blather like "understanding of the reality of the wholeness of our universe."

TBH, I don't understand why this thread hasn't been dumped in the Religion section.
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Re: Conscience

Postby hyksos on March 12th, 2019, 1:27 pm 

Modern science unconcerned with intuition sees its domain as the source of universal and human meaning.

Modern science does not do that -- at all.

Conscience is a faculty within our being which enables us to FEEL objective value as opposed to indoctrinating or preaching subjective morality.

What you are describing has a name, it is called Subjective Relativism. It is covered by about chapter 2 of any given ethics textbook. And it is abandoned by chapter 4. Instead of "indoctrinating" the theory or "preaching it" as you say, an education at a university will tell you that it exists. Then likely also tell you that Subjective Relativism is unworkable as an ethical theory.

Where consciousness can know facts, conscience can feel their objective value in relation to objective universal values which exist within us as a priori knowledge.

As far as I can make out , you have presented an entirely new ethical theory built around feelings of guilt. There is nothing necessarily wrong about this idea on its face. You have pitted your homebaked theory against an opponent who is somehow adopting Subjective Relativism. You are having a little sparring debate with someone who is not present on this forum.

I think this thread would proceed in a more fruitful manner, if you could identify or even name the person who adopts Subjective Relativism, in the same way you have named Albert Einstein as a proponent of intuition. You could then compare the two frameworks. Otherwise you risk doing something very destructive, likely assuming everyone who posts here is an ironclad devotee to Subjective Relativism.
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Re: Conscience

Postby Nick_A on March 12th, 2019, 3:27 pm 

PaulN » March 12th, 2019, 1:09 pm wrote:You have provided zero evidence for your stipulation that conscience is innate, or that there is a soul, or that it's a "property of universal existence." The bulk of your post sounds like some kind of vague mystical handwaving. And you seem to ignore decades of studies and research into early learning and Piagetian stages of devleopment that have shown conscience as very much a result of learning and interaction with others.

A good deal of conscience arises from an empathic sense developed in early life, regarding the feelings of others and how our actions affect them. Not from airy-fairy mystical blather like "understanding of the reality of the wholeness of our universe."

TBH, I don't understand why this thread hasn't been dumped in the Religion section.


There is simply no reason for beauty for example to arise as an animal necessity. it requires a higher origin that has become repulsive for some to consider. That is why those like Simone are so valuable. They keep the perennial truths alive in the world.

Proof is only for those with the need and the courage to make efforts to Know Thyself so as to have the experience of oneself. Plato, Plotinus, Einstein, and Simone Weil express far more than secularized religious concepts. The only way I cn feel if Simone Weil is right in the intro to the Need for Roots is through self knowledge. That is proof

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/questionofgod/voices/weil.html

Draft for a Statement of Human Obligation
Profession of Faith

There is a reality outside the world, that is to say, outside space and time, outside man's mental universe, outside any sphere whatsoever that is accessible to human faculties.

Corresponding to this reality, at the centre of the human heart, is the longing for an absolute good, a longing which is always there and is never appeased by any object in this world.

Another terrestrial manifestation of this reality lies in the absurd and insoluble contradictions which are always the terminus of human thought when it moves exclusively in this world.

Just as the reality of this world is the sole foundation of facts, so that other reality is the sole foundation of good.

That reality is the unique source of all the good that can exist in this world: that is to say, all beauty, all truth, all justice, all legitimacy, all order, and all human behaviour that is mindful of obligations.

Those minds whose attention and love are turned towards that reality are the sole intermediary through which good can descend from there and come among men.................................


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Re: Conscience

Postby charon on March 12th, 2019, 7:11 pm 

Nick_A » March 12th, 2019, 4:36 pm wrote: is there any reason to object to the potential that conscience is part of recollection?


I've already said it's based on knowledge, which is memory. That's what recollection means. If I couldn't remember anything I'd done there wouldn't be any conscience about it.
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Re: Conscience

Postby davidm on March 12th, 2019, 7:53 pm 

There is a reality outside the world, that is to say, outside space and time, outside man's mental universe, outside any sphere whatsoever that is accessible to human faculties.


Only by really directing the attention beyond the world can there be real contact with this central and essential fact of human nature.


Hmm! So there is a reality outside the world, outside any sphere whatsoever that is accessible to human faculties, that we can make real contact with?

I’ll be damned!
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Re: Conscience

Postby Nick_A on March 12th, 2019, 9:46 pm 

charon » March 12th, 2019, 7:11 pm wrote:
Nick_A » March 12th, 2019, 4:36 pm wrote: is there any reason to object to the potential that conscience is part of recollection?


I've already said it's based on knowledge, which is memory. That's what recollection means. If I couldn't remember anything I'd done there wouldn't be any conscience about it.


Yes but do you believe in a priori knowledge that is independent of all particular experiences and can be remembered or just a posteriori knowledge, which derives from experience and can also be remembered?
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Re: Conscience

Postby Nick_A on March 12th, 2019, 9:50 pm 

davidm » March 12th, 2019, 7:53 pm wrote:
There is a reality outside the world, that is to say, outside space and time, outside man's mental universe, outside any sphere whatsoever that is accessible to human faculties.


Only by really directing the attention beyond the world can there be real contact with this central and essential fact of human nature.


Hmm! So there is a reality outside the world, outside any sphere whatsoever that is accessible to human faculties, that we can make real contact with?

I’ll be damned!


You don't have to be damned. Just think Plato's divided line. Simone refers to the greater quality of reality above the line. Intuition can reveal what the senses limited to existence below the divided line cannot
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Re: Conscience

Postby BadgerJelly on March 12th, 2019, 10:00 pm 

Nick -

You cannot know what you cannot know. Furthermore by saying this we’re referring to a known idea.
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Re: Conscience

Postby Nick_A on March 13th, 2019, 1:08 am 

BadgerJelly » March 12th, 2019, 10:00 pm wrote:Nick -

You cannot know what you cannot know. Furthermore by saying this we’re referring to a known idea.


Yes but when did you know it. Do you believe in a priori knowledge and soul knowledge which can be remembered?
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Re: Conscience

Postby BadgerJelly on March 13th, 2019, 3:14 am 

Nick_A » March 13th, 2019, 1:08 pm wrote:
BadgerJelly » March 12th, 2019, 10:00 pm wrote:Nick -

You cannot know what you cannot know. Furthermore by saying this we’re referring to a known idea.


Yes but when did you know it. Do you believe in a priori knowledge and soul knowledge which can be remembered?


If you mean “soul” as in angels and all that stuff, simply put, no. Knowledge without experience isn’t knowledge - in the sense that it is a carefully crafted term from which we’ve learned, in philosophical jargon, to be very careful with in defining teh context of its use. In Kantian terms it is meaningless and I’m with Kant in the use of the term “knowledge” in this “a priori” sense. That is whatever is innate must be brought forth into the world to have any meaning in and of itself anyway (so its a trick fo language more than anything).

To attempt to explain this a little better (I often miss out the obvious when explaining!) he said something akin to “no content without meaning, and no meaning without content” - poor paraphrasing maybe but I hope it captures the point well enough?

Less simply put, it depends by what you mean by “soul knowledge,” “believe,” and “knowledge”. I think ideas live in thruogh others so in some sense of the term “soul” they live on the work of others - more akin to the use of “spirit” in the phrase “spirit of the time”.

If you’re suggesting we can remember past lives, or there is such a thing as an actual organised-religious-type human soul ... no again. I’m not one for “blind belief” and I’ve gone over these ideas before and found them to be void of any evidence.

Then there is the existence of this idea of a “human soul” as mentioned above. This interests me as a concept that is apparent on a global scale, as does the concept of god. These interest me as concepts only though. That is not to say I don’t regard them as deeply important to human culture for quite obvious reasons - historically they’ve played a role in the development of human societies (and there so something of a “universal appeal” to them; “appeal” may not be the best term tbh).
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Re: Conscience

Postby charon on March 13th, 2019, 3:17 am 

Nick -

do you believe in a priori knowledge that is independent of all particular experiences and can be remembered


No. If it's knowledge then it's already been known. That's what knowledge means. Otherwise where would it come from?

(Bearing in mind that knowledge need not be first-hand. It can also be reading about something or being told about it. For example, I've never seen a crocodile in real life but I have knowledge of them from books, films, etc).
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Re: Conscience

Postby davidm on March 13th, 2019, 2:36 pm 

Nick_A » March 12th, 2019, 7:50 pm wrote:
davidm » March 12th, 2019, 7:53 pm wrote:
There is a reality outside the world, that is to say, outside space and time, outside man's mental universe, outside any sphere whatsoever that is accessible to human faculties.


Only by really directing the attention beyond the world can there be real contact with this central and essential fact of human nature.


Hmm! So there is a reality outside the world, outside any sphere whatsoever that is accessible to human faculties, that we can make real contact with?

I’ll be damned!


You don't have to be damned. Just think Plato's divided line. Simone refers to the greater quality of reality above the line. Intuition can reveal what the senses limited to existence below the divided line cannot


Nick, Weil writes that “There is a reality outside the world, that is to say, outside space and time, outside man's mental universe, outside any sphere whatsoever that is accessible to human faculties.

If this is so, then this reality outside the world is, by definition, also excluded from intuition, which is a human faculty that she herself claims cannot reach this reality outside space and time!

So, obviously, she contradicts herself, and is not to be taken seriously.
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Re: Conscience

Postby Nick_A on March 13th, 2019, 3:04 pm 

BadgerJelly » March 13th, 2019, 3:14 am wrote:
Nick_A » March 13th, 2019, 1:08 pm wrote:
BadgerJelly » March 12th, 2019, 10:00 pm wrote:Nick -

You cannot know what you cannot know. Furthermore by saying this we’re referring to a known idea.


Yes but when did you know it. Do you believe in a priori knowledge and soul knowledge which can be remembered?


If you mean “soul” as in angels and all that stuff, simply put, no. Knowledge without experience isn’t knowledge - in the sense that it is a carefully crafted term from which we’ve learned, in philosophical jargon, to be very careful with in defining teh context of its use. In Kantian terms it is meaningless and I’m with Kant in the use of the term “knowledge” in this “a priori” sense. That is whatever is innate must be brought forth into the world to have any meaning in and of itself anyway (so its a trick fo language more than anything).

To attempt to explain this a little better (I often miss out the obvious when explaining!) he said something akin to “no content without meaning, and no meaning without content” - poor paraphrasing maybe but I hope it captures the point well enough?

Less simply put, it depends by what you mean by “soul knowledge,” “believe,” and “knowledge”. I think ideas live in thruogh others so in some sense of the term “soul” they live on the work of others - more akin to the use of “spirit” in the phrase “spirit of the time”.

If you’re suggesting we can remember past lives, or there is such a thing as an actual organised-religious-type human soul ... no again. I’m not one for “blind belief” and I’ve gone over these ideas before and found them to be void of any evidence.

Then there is the existence of this idea of a “human soul” as mentioned above. This interests me as a concept that is apparent on a global scale, as does the concept of god. These interest me as concepts only though. That is not to say I don’t regard them as deeply important to human culture for quite obvious reasons - historically they’ve played a role in the development of human societies (and there so something of a “universal appeal” to them; “appeal” may not be the best term tbh).



Good response.

I mean “soul” and soul knowledge as described by Plato during a discussion on justice

https://www.bu.edu/wcp/Papers/Anci/AnciBhan.htm

Plato realises that all theories propounded by Cephalus, Thrasymachus and Glaucon, contained one common element. That one common element was that all the them treated justice as something external "an accomplishment, an importation, or a convention, they have, none of them carried it into the soul or considered it in the place of its habitation." Plato prove that justice does not depend upon a chance, convention or upon external force. It is the right condition of the human soul by the very nature of man when seen in the fullness of his environment. It is in this way that Plato condemned the position taken by Glaucon that justice is something which is external. According to Plato, it is internal as it resides in the human soul. "It is now regarded as an inward grace and its understanding is shown to involve a study of the inner man." It is, therefore, natural and no artificial. It is therefore, not born of fear of the weak but of the longing of the human soul to do a duty according to its nature.


Soul knowledge is what is natural for the soul. The reason we don’t feel soul knowledge is because One has become three: the tripartite soul

Thus, after criticising the conventional ideas of justice presented differently by Cephalus, Polymarchus, Thrasymachus and Glaucon, Plato now gives us his own theory of justice. Plato strikes an analogy between the human organism on the one hand and social organism on the other. Human organism according to Plato contains three elements-Reason, Spirit and Appetite. An individual is just when each part of his or her soul performs its functions without interfering with those of other elements. For example, the reason should rule on behalf of the entire soul with wisdom and forethought. The element of spirit will sub-ordinate itself to the rule of reason. Those two elements are brought into harmony by combination of mental and bodily training. They are set in command over the appetites which form the greater part of man's soul. Therefore, the reason and spirit have to control these appetites which are likely to grow on the bodily pleasures. These appetites should not be allowed, to enslave the other elements and usurp the dominion to which they have no right. When all the three agree that among them the reason alone should rule, there is justice within the individual.


The three parts of the collective human soul, essence, or inner man, live in opposition. We can think one thing while emoting on another and sensing something different There is no inner unity so must live through imagination. Naturally under this condition we are as closed to conscious self awareness as we are to the experience of objective conscience. We get in our own way so turn in circles
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Re: Conscience

Postby Nick_A on March 13th, 2019, 3:26 pm 

Nick, Weil writes that “There is a reality outside the world, that is to say, outside space and time, outside man's mental universe, outside any sphere whatsoever that is accessible to human faculties.

If this is so, then this reality outside the world is, by definition, also excluded from intuition, which is a human faculty that she herself claims cannot reach this reality outside space and time!

So, obviously, she contradicts herself, and is not to be taken seriously.[/quote]

Well Albert Camus did write in regards Simone: "Simone Weil, I still know this now, is the only great mind of our times and I hope that those who realize this have enough modesty to not try to appropriate her overwhelming witnessing.

For my part, I would be satisfied if one could say that in my place, with the humble means at my disposal, I served to make known and disseminate her work whose full impact we have yet to measure."

I'll stick with Simone.

Intuition makes allows us to experience the direction leading to the forms but since we are creatures of reaction within creation, we cannot grasp what is outside it as we are.

Plotinus used the word dunamis as the results of forces we experience within the world initiating with the ONE.

“Knowledge has three degrees – opinion, science, illumination. The means or instrument of the first is sense; of the second, dialectic; of the third, intuition.”
— Plotinus



You would probably believe that the dialectic is a higher form of intellect than intuition but is it?
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Re: Conscience

Postby davidm on March 13th, 2019, 3:49 pm 

Plato and Aristotle were both full of shit. That’s OK — they are justly hailed as great thinkers because they were trying valiantly to unravel the mysteries of the world. But they lacked the knowledge that we have now. They had no giants’ shoulders to stand on.

I doubt that nowadays any serious thinker takes Plato’s forms seriously, and Aristotle’s physics has been entirely discredited.

Simone Weil strikes me as having a lot in common with Dostoevsky. Both started out as political leftist revolutionaries who thought that Man by dint of rational effort could build some kind of Utopia through political means. Both learned that this cannot be done — Man is fundamentally irrational; anti-reason. There will never be a utopia, and this has a lot to do with the fact the world is at bottom naturalistic: red in tooth and claw.

Both then drifted into some species of mystic Christianity. A pity, that. Christianity is the greatest snare and delusion of all, much worse even that Marxism. Nietzsche articulated all of this: Christianity is nihilism.

But Dostoevsky seems to have been a much more sophisticated thinker that
Weil, and always questioning his own beliefs. This is exemplified by his masterpiece, The Brothers Karamazov, which is, at bottom, an extended colloquy between theism (specifically, Christianity) and atheism.

Dostoevsky’s Father Zosima exemplifies one form of Christianity’s answer to atheism (The City of God rebutting the City of Man; Jerusalem vs. Athens): You can’t change the world through political means. You can only change the world by changing yourself. To the extent that each person changes him or herself for the better, then so will the world be changed for the better. (I think this is right.)

Dostoevsky juxtaposes Zosima against Ivan Karamazov, the political revolutionary and militant atheist who maintains that even if God exists, he wants no part of God — he returns, as it were, God’s ticket to heaven. In the chapter penultimate to the Grand Inquisitor, Ivan explains that the completely needless suffering of children already invalidates God’s moral authority. Later, of course, Ivan meets the Devil, and finds him to be a shabby, dowdy little man who yearns for surcease from suffering as much as anyone else — but, Satan maintains, he is the necessary minus sign, without which everything would simply cease to be — good cannot exist without evil, even as white cannot exist without black.

I suspect that Dostoevsky died a Christian atheist: Jerusalem and Athens fused in one body and soul.
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Re: Conscience

Postby Nick_A on March 13th, 2019, 5:16 pm 

David, is it possible that your fight is actually against Christendom as opposed to Christianity? How many actually know what Christianity is?

“The supernatural greatness of Christianity lies in the fact that it does not seek a supernatural remedy for suffering but a supernatural use for it.” ~ Simone Weil


Who knows what this means? Maybe at some point we can discuss how kierkegaard distinguished between Christianity and Christendom. Kierkegaard wrote:

People who perhaps never once enter a church, never think about God, never mention his name except in oaths! People upon whom it has never dawned that they might have any obligation to God, people who either regard it as a maximum to be guiltless of transgressing criminal law, or do not count even this quite necessary! Yet all these people, even those who assert that no God exists, are all of them Christians, call themselves Christians, are recognized as Christians by the State, are buried as Christians by the Church, are certified as Christians for eternity.

(quoted in Protestant Thought in the 19th Century by Claude Welch p.294)


Christendom has done away with Christianity, without being quite aware of it. The consequence is that, if anything is to be done, one must try again to introduce Christianity into Christendom.

ibid p.295



I understand why people are so hostile against what they believe to be Christianity. I just know that the fight isn't against Christianity but Christendom or man made Christianity. Kierkegaard got it right
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Re: Conscience

Postby Nick_A on March 13th, 2019, 7:49 pm 

I see how the conscience thread and the Simone Weil: science and Religion thread have become part of the Religion Board. Since when has science become a religious issue much less conscience? It just shows how little is understood about either. It does seem as though when concepts are misunderstood they become both online and in life associated with meaningless words like religion when not clarified. It is just part of human nature to diminish what we do not understand
.

Think for a moment; why wouldn't the Simone thread be part of the Science board since it includes science? It would be considered insulting to science yet both are paths with the goal of truth. Conscience as associated with intuition is metaphysics. The sad fact is that both conscience and the vertical path of religion when identified as objective are considered to be fantasy and should be associated with the term religion which without clarification becomes meaningless. It makes one wonder if the educated as a whole will ever become open to what Plato described as above the divided line and the limitations of our senses.
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Re: Conscience

Postby Nick_A on March 13th, 2019, 8:03 pm 

David

Simone Weil strikes me as having a lot in common with Dostoevsky. Both started out as political leftist revolutionaries who thought that Man by dint of rational effort could build some kind of Utopia through political means. Both learned that this cannot be done — Man is fundamentally irrational; anti-reason. There will never be a utopia, and this has a lot to do with the fact the world is at bottom naturalistic: red in tooth and claw.


Quite true, Simone was a dedicated Marxist admired by leon Trotsky who died a Christian mystic. But her dedication to truth and her skills at conscious attention enabled her to experience what reconciles Christianity and secularism. She wrote:

Humanism was not wrong in thinking that truth, beauty, liberty, and equality are of infinite value, but in thinking that man can get them for himself without grace. ~ Simone Weil


Amazing that one so young could be so deep. She leaves us to ponder what grace is and in what way it nourishes human being so as to make higher values the norm
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Re: Conscience

Postby davidm on March 14th, 2019, 11:06 am 

Nick,

What is the difference between Christianity and Christendom? I don’t know. It sounds as if it could be rhetorical hair-splitting. Is Christendom supposed to be the institutionalization of Christian mystical experiences? Perhaps this is plausible — Christ allegedly said to pray in private, not make a big show of it — but who knows? How can one tell?

Did Christ even exist? I don’t know. Do you? It’s funny that he was born of a virgin, performed a number of miracles, preached his great ministry, and then died and was resurrected, but — there are no contemporaneous eyewitness accounts of any of this. Nor did Christ write anything down, so far as anyone knows.

Christianity should probably really be named Paulism, because it came from Paul long after Christ was dead.

I believe that Dostoevsky, like Weil, was basically a Christian mystic, but what does that actually mean? I don’t know. Do you? Keep in mind that the mystic tradition is not confined to Christianity, and eastern mysticism actually predates it. Islam has its own mystic sect — sufis. Are all these mystics actually in touch with some transcendent realm, or are there merely able, by various means, to attain altered brain states? I don’t know. Do you? Scientists have studied the brain states of those having mystical experiences and they do indeed exhibit altered brain states, different from workaday brains. Does this mean something truly significant? I don’t know. Do you? After all, the brain is always being altered by experience. Mystical experiences are also induced by drugs like ketamine and LSD. People who fall down a k hole have reported breathtaking mystical experiences, including speaking with entities from higher realms, invisible in ordinary life. The near-death experience has been induced, with drugs, in people who are not near death at all.

If religion is a path to truth like science, as you say, why are there more than 4,000 religions, including sects, in the world, often in literally violent disagreement with one another? Sunnis and Shias have been literally at war for more than a thousand years! Christianity, too, is schismatic. Protestants, evangelicals, Catholics, Baptists, and other self-defined Christians all vigorously disagree on what Christianity is, what it means. Who’s right? How can you tell?

In science, we can test hypotheses against observed reality. One can’t do that with religion.

What is Weil’s “grace”? I don’t know. Do you? So far as I can tell it’s just a word that different people will invest with different meaning.

It’s why I love Dostoevsky. His magisterial Brothers Karamazov seems to be a prolonged argument with himself cast on a grand, epic stage.

His Christian mystic Zosima is a beautiful, admirable character — so much so that when he dies, all the folks around him believe that because he was a saint, his body will not rot, so they don’t do anything to treat it. And then, in a classic bit of Dostoevsky comedy, his body, in open casket … rots, and stinks up the joint, but everyone pretends not to smell the decay. What is D saying here? Is the scene intended to mock the idea of saints and the supernatural? Or is it more subtle — to mock secular (mis)interpretations of the supernatural and the sublime? Who knows? Maybe even Dostoevsky didn’t know what he meant. His great Grand Inquisitor scene has been the subject of volumes of study and disagreement.
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Re: Conscience

Postby davidm on March 14th, 2019, 11:59 am 

“The supernatural greatness of Christianity lies in the fact that it does not seek a supernatural remedy for suffering but a supernatural use for it.” ~ Simone Weil


This seems to be Dostoevsky’s view as well. It is the theme of his novel Crime and Punishment.

But there is a different, more parsimonious view. Suffering is in the very nature of things because all animals, including humans, must compete for limited resources. The natural world is all that there is, and it is red in tooth and claw. I have a watched a video online, more than three minutes long, of two lions eating a living warthog. The lions are devouring the warthog from the bottom up. They have already eaten both its hind legs and have pretty much gutted it, the animal’s intestines spilling out to be devoured, and they have shorn off its back. And yet, here’s the thing — the warthog is not only still alive, it is still conscious, and still struggling to escape!

Only its front legs remain, and it is pawing at the ground in a futile effort to get from under the lions that have pinned it, and every time the two lions take another bite of what is left of the hog’s body, it SCREAMS!!!!!!!!

This goes on for more than three minutes. The video starts in the process of the pig already nearly half-devoured, and ends with it still screaming. Who knows how long it took the hog to mercifully pass from this world, for its suffering to end?

In another video, I have looked into the eyes of a zebra being eaten alive by a pack of jackals or hyenas or some such. The zebra, through half-eaten, was also still conscious, and the suffering in its eyes is only replicated, in art, by the eyes of the horse in Picasso’s Guernica.

I have seen another zebra fording a stream, wherein an alligator or crocodile literally rips its guts out. Nevertheless, the zebra makes the shore, and it runs around, its entire stomach literally lying on the ground, suspended by thin bloody threads, its eyes wild with agony!

Why are these animals being eaten, and why, even when half-eaten, are they not only still alive, but actually conscious? Evolution! Predators evolved to chase and eat prey, but prey also evolved to be tough, as they had to be in order to have any shot at survival. Unfortunately, this evolved toughness comes with a downside: They are so tough they are still conscious, and keep on kicking, even after they are half eaten.

Tell me, Nick, what kind of God would make a world like this?

But these horrors are easily, parsimoniously explained by metaphysical naturalism.
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Re: Conscience

Postby charon on March 14th, 2019, 12:10 pm 

David -

what kind of God would make a world like this?


Absolutely, for once I completely agree with you.

But these horrors are easily, parsimoniously explained by metaphysical naturalism.


Ah, you're not allowed to say that. When I tried it I was told I was 'rejecting philosophy' :-)
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Re: Conscience

Postby davidm on March 14th, 2019, 1:09 pm 

I’ve also seen a pregnant elk paddling in water, surrounded, on shore, by wild dogs of some kind. The elk is on the verge of giving birth. Exhausted, it finally approaches shore, even though the dogs are waiting for it, licking their chops. Even before the elk gives up and leaves the water, the dogs bound in, seize it by its neck and back, and drag it onto the shore. They proceed to tear to pieces, and one of the dogs, or jackals, or whatever the hell they were, rips open its womb, and it drags out the about-to-be born sentient baby elk, its slender legs kicking vitally, and then it cavorts off with its prize, seemingly gloatingly, and devours it alive!

Now let’s speak no more of Weil, or Dostoevsky, or third-trimester human abortions, or whatever. If God exists, he’s an evil bastard. Can you imagine some all-powerful and all-knowing Author of All of This looking down at what He wrought and — what? Guzzling beer and laughing?
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