Human Paradox

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Human Paradox

Postby coberst on January 24th, 2009, 4:19 pm 

Human Paradox

The human paradox might correctly be said to be: Humans are the one member of the animal kingdom wherein many members consider themselves to be also a member of a supernatural kingdom.

I define a paradox here to mean a common sense view of reality that is a logical contradiction, which presents a problem that cannot be solved but only ameliorated in some way through the process of our comprehending its nature.

Because most, but not all, humans are possessed by this paradoxical world view we pay a heavy price due to our constant effort to preserve this “fantastic ambition” rather than understanding its source and making corrections accordingly.

As a member of the animal kingdom we consume to live. We have an appetite and in feeding that appetite we often kill and consume other animals. We feel good after we consume and we will do whatever is necessary to continue to consume and to live. We have an absolute attraction to Eros, i.e. we have a consuming desire to do what is necessary to preserve our life.

Good is that which promotes our life and evil is that which threatens our life.

Eros drives us to a desire to live forever. Our brain has developed to the point at which we recognize that we will die but we are driven by the urge not to die.

“Man transcends death not only by continuing to feed his appetites, but especially by finding a meaning for his life, some kind of larger scheme into which he fits…the “immortal self” can take very spiritual forms, and spirituality is not a simple reflex of hunger and fear. It is an expression of the will to live, the burning desire of the creature to count, to make a difference on the planet because he has lived, has emerged from it, and has worked, suffered, and died.”

Many humans express this common sense view of belonging to a supernatural world through their religious belief; however, even those who are not religious are often captives of the mind/body dichotomy that is so prevalent in Western philosophy.

I think that to deal effectively with this paradox we must become sophisticated enough to comprehend its source and to modify it at that point or not at all.

What do you think?

Quotes from “Escape from Evil” by Ernest Becker
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Postby Celestia on January 24th, 2009, 9:04 pm 

coberst wrote:Many humans express this common sense view of belonging to a supernatural world through their religious belief; however, even those who are not religious are often captives of the mind/body dichotomy that is so prevalent in Western philosophy.

We each have our own ways of dealing with this dichotomy, of course. I'm not a religious person, and I do happen to believe that at bottom the mind/body dichotomy is illusory. At the same time, though, and speaking as one who is particularly psychologically minded and who has devoted considerable study to the various ways of "mind," it's clear to me, anyway, that this basic human tendency to dichotomize and to conceive the world in dualistic ways has survival value for the species as a whole, otherwise this particular adaptation wouldn't have evolved. Will this always be the case? Who's to say, but there's no denying that this sort of mentality has contributed substantially to all fields of human knowledge and ways of life.


coberst wrote:As a member of the animal kingdom we consume to live. We have an appetite and in feeding that appetite we often kill and consume other animals. We feel good after we consume and we will do whatever is necessary to continue to consume and to live. We have an absolute attraction to Eros, i.e. we have a consuming desire to do what is necessary to preserve our life.

Joseph Campbell from The Power of Myth: "...So the essence of life is this eating of itself."


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Postby coberst on January 25th, 2009, 4:19 am 

Celestia

I think that one substantial consequence of this mind/body dichotomy is that today we are left with a Sunday-school morality as our guide for adaptation of relationships in a high tech world.
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Postby Celestia on January 25th, 2009, 9:35 am 

I do hear you, coberst. Yet what you say "we are left with" I don't view as necessarily misguided or as an end point, but as part of a continual process of change that includes the ideas that humans adopt to make sense of and find meaning in the world. True, regardless of one's particular orientation in the here-and-now, it can seem as if the rest of mankind is slow to catch on and get with it, so to speak. But the global history of ideas that led up to modern times is what it is, and there's no discounting or discarding those ideas but only reframing or amending them. I feel the frustration, too, at times given the current battle of ideas and what I deem to be negative consequences arising from this; then I take a deep breath and a step back, and remind myself that there's no changing human nature, and that we have many admirable qualities and guiding ideas to make the most of, too. Patience... ;)

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Re: Human Paradox

Postby AntonArtaud on January 25th, 2009, 2:02 pm 

coberst wrote:Human Paradox

The human paradox might correctly be said to be: Humans are the one member of the animal kingdom wherein many members consider themselves to be also a member of a supernatural kingdom.


According to one segment of an innovative technology we function on these two levels to preserve our bodies and human identity.

That is, we have innate capacities to maintain bodily existence and our mental being as a specific identity.

If we separate these two functions and explain them separately, many physiological and social issues are understood.
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Re: Human Paradox

Postby coberst on January 25th, 2009, 5:00 pm 

AntonArtaud wrote:
coberst wrote:
According to one segment of an innovative technology we function on these two levels to preserve our bodies and human identity.

That is, we have innate capacities to maintain bodily existence and our mental being as a specific identity.

If we separate these two functions and explain them separately, many physiological and social issues are understood.


I am convinced that we repress our dread of mortality and in this effort we often create avenues of deception and one of these avenues is the creation of a "life after death" illusion.

Aristotle said that all men seek happiness. Freud said that the goal of the pleasure-principle is happiness. Man’s desire for happiness sets at odds to the reality-principle. It is the reality-principle that propels the world into tomorrow. Humans naturally seek what they wish but “reality imposes on human beings the necessity of renunciation of pleasures”.

Therein lay the rub and the rub is called repression.

Freud says that the whole edifice of psychoanalysis is constructed on the theory of repression—the essence of society is the repression of the individual--the essence of the individual is repression of him or her self—Freud’s theory is that the phenomena dreams, neurotic symptoms, and errors are caused—i.e. the principle of psychic determinism—they are meaningful because this means there is purpose or intention—“since the purport of these purposive expressions is generally unknown to the person whose purpose they express, Freud is driven to embrace the paradox that there are in a human being purposes of which he knows nothing, involuntary purpose”—i.e. unconscious ideas.

Neurosis is “the disease called man” Nietzsche. “Neurosis is an essential consequence of civilization or culture.” Brown

“Between “normality” and “abnormality” there is no qualitative but only a quantitative difference, based largely on the practical question of whether our neurosis is serious enough to incapacitate us for work.” The difference between “neurotic and healthy is only that the healthy have a socially useful form of neurosis.”

Freud defined psychoanalysis as “nothing more than discovery of the unconscious in mental life”—the other hypothesis is that “some unconscious ideas in a human being are incapable of becoming conscious to him in the ordinary way, because they are strenuously disowned and resisted by the conscious life”.

Norman Brown tells us that to comprehend Freud one must understand “repression”. “In the new Freudian perspective, the essence of society is repression of the individual, the essence of the individual is repression of the self.”

Freud discovered the importance of repression when he discovered the meaning of the “mad” symptoms of the mentally deranged, plus the meaning of dreams, and thirdly the everyday happenings regarded as slips of the tongue, errors, and random thoughts. He concludes that dreams, mental derangements, and common every day errors (Freudian slips) have meaningful causes that can be explained. Meaningful is the key word here.

Since these psychic phenomena are unconscious we must accept that we have motivation to action with a purpose for which we are unconscious (involuntary purposes). This inner nature of which we are completely unaware leads to Freud’s definition of psychoanalysis as “nothing more than the discovery of the unconscious in mental life.”

Freud discovered that sapiens have unconscious causes which are hidden from her because they are disowned and hidden by the conscious self. The dynamic relationship between the unconscious and conscious life is a constant battle and psychoanalysis is a science of this mental conflict.

The rejection of an idea which is one’s very own and remains so is repression. The essence of repression is in the fact that the individual refuses to recognize this reality of her very own nature. This nature becomes evident when it erupts into consciousness only in dreams or neurotic symptoms or by slips of the tongue.

The unconscious is illuminated only when it is being repressed by the conscious mind. It is a process of psychic conflict. “We obtain our theory of the unconscious from the theory of repression.” Freud’s hypothesis of the repressed unconscious results from the conclusion that it is common to all humans. This is a phenomenon of everyday life; neurosis is common to all humans.

Dreams are normal phenomena and being that the structure of dreams is common to neurotics and normal people the dream is also neurotic. “Between “normality” and “abnormality” there is no qualitative but only quantitative difference, based largely on the practical question of whether our neurosis is serious enough to incapacitate us for work…the doctrine of the universal neurosis of mankind is the psychoanalytical analogue of the theological doctrine of original sin.”

Quotes from “Life against Death: The Psychoanalytical Meaning of History” Norman O. Brown
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Re: Human Paradox

Postby Mattering on October 6th, 2018, 9:05 pm 

Most people cannot think without clichés; and you usually can't notice the clichés you use without being a ravenous reader - both for and against your emotional attachments.

A cliché which too many people can't get away from derives from the Romantic period, from Nietzsche, for example.

The notion, for instance, that humans are consumers, has been narrowly defined as "physical" consumption i.e. eating. But wait: are we not information consumers as well? And can we not "indulge" a particular feeling state - and indulgence = consumption?

There is also a well-attested to phase transition in humans where the attractors/values/social affects which organize our functioning are related to as an object-in-itself. Jung's archetype captures something of this idea, although he overly-generalized the archetype to the point that people like the original poster unconsciously regurgitate cliches about what human nature is.

There is, simply speaking, two human natures: an ideal mode, and a suboptimal mode. The ideal mode is made in symmetry, which is a feedback process involving material culture, social relationships, emotional regulation (automatic brain dynamic between hemispheres) and narrative processes (what the self psycholinguistically asserts to be real). Since every human is doing the same thing, you get a "tragedy of the commons" problem, where each party seeks to regulate a feeling of coherency through enforcing (projecting) a value system into conversations which, in turn, biases/structures the mind of the other into a symmetrical response.

Getting to the root of things requires a mature metaphysics based on the actual sciences - not Nietszche or romanticism. "Oracular philosophy", as Popper called it, needs to be challenged when it occurs, otherwise the users of this cliche way of thinking will keep assuming there is nothing fundamentally harmful about conveying incoherent and irrational messages about how reality works.

So, between the ideal and suboptimal lies the issue of the "divine". What the philosopher Eric Voegelin called "intramundane gnosticism" is the sort of mentality/spirituality which motivates society today. Voegelin accurately predicted where this short-sighted pleasure-hungry selfishness would lead i.e. 'apocalypse' - the end of a society.

What Voegelin didnt understand, but would fully appreciate if he were told it, is that there are complex developmental processes happening between the above mentioned four ontological scales particularly around the issue of 'being recognized', or having your motivational state complemented by another's response.

Since we are REFLEXIVE creatures ho unconsciously reproduce in an automatic way guesses about what things mean - we must understand that our first inclination towards thinking is wrong; our cognitive mind is not as simple as our physical procedural body: our cerebellum links us in a perfectly synchronized way with our physical world - so much so that our mind is 'freed up' to think whatever we want. The qualities of the physical environment and my sensing body are completely 'linked; in basketball, for instance, my body performs calculations that are beyond my ken - impressive stuff. All I have to do is emphasize simple symmetry/balance dynamics in my movement, and my body does the rest.

The mind is not like this. It is always acting through social attachment dynamics, and so, everything we say in speech is potentially modifiable by insecurity processes, and since we live in a almost religiously competitive society, everyones brain (specifically the amygdular processes) is unconsciously being trained at an automatic level to dissociate threats and focus on idealizations.

Since this is the basic process of human cognition, it is not too difficult to imagine a society based in nurturing producing a level of affectivity and body-mind continuity that doesn't depress or channel information/emotion in overly-constrained ways, as this world does. Minds borne in safety are subtle and intelligent; minds borne in threat are stupid and deficient; always jumping-the-gun and not recognizing the intelligence of patience.
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