Mod+ 274. DR. BERNARDO KASTRUP, WHY OUR CULTURE IS MATERIALISTIC

Discussion in 'Skeptiko Shows' started by Alex, May 5, 2015.

  1. Bernardo Kastrup

    Bernardo Kastrup New

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    That healthy sandwich is a cluster of experiences in your mind. Your hunger is an experience in your mind. You can dream up the feeling of hunger and the eating of a healthy sandwich.

    The 'objective world' you are referring to isn't at all outside your mind, otherwise you wouldn't know anything about it. It's not independent of your mind; it's just independent of your personal volition. In other words, you can't change the 'objective world' merely by wishing it to be different. It's also a shared, as opposed to a personal, experience. But neither of these characteristics places it out outside mind. It's outside personal volition, not outside consciousness.

    Explaining how this can be so without the need to infer that the 'objective world' exists outside mind altogether is the body of my work. The links here may help:
    http://www.bernardokastrup.com/2015/04/social-media-policy-and-useful-links.html
     
  2. Bernardo Kastrup

    Bernardo Kastrup New

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    Also see this for a very, very brief overview:

     
  3. Johnny

    Johnny New

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    Sorry Bernardo, But it doesn't add up, If everything is simply going on inside my mind and there is no objective reality, then why is objective reality still the only place to get a decent meal.

    I can not simply just imagine a meal in my mind to take away my hunger, I must actually eat a meal which exists in the objective world, That is the only way to satisfy hunger.

    I fully understand the distinction you make when you say the experience of eating the meal exists in my mind, but the meal itself, has it's own independent existence outside of my mind. Although the experience eating the same meal could be different for many, it still has it's own independent existence outside of my mind.
     
  4. Bernardo Kastrup

    Bernardo Kastrup New

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    You are now asking me to explain my philosophical system from scratch. If I did it every time I was asked, my fingers would fall off from typing. :) So please have a look at my published work. I sent you already several links to free material in this thread, many of which address precisely these questions. Of course, the books are the best resource.
     
  5. Johnny

    Johnny New

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    No worries, Thanks for the effort, I did have a glance at the links and will try to follow up on them, But I do have a fair grasp of philosophical systems and was hoping for a brief explanation, nevertheless. That's fine. :)
     
  6. Bernardo Kastrup

    Bernardo Kastrup New

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    The video I linked above is the brief explanation! :)
     
  7. Johnny

    Johnny New

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    I will definitely try to watch it, I am unable to watch links on the computer at work, so will have to wait until later. Thanks.
     
  8. Arouet

    Arouet Member

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    I'm fine with that broad definition. I'm unclear though if it would include other feelings that MAL might find valuable at times such as feeling entertained, stimulated, joy, pain, excited, fright, etc. We don't need to posit that MAL experiences these feelings in the same manner that we do, only the possibility that MAL has feelings of some kind or another as a reaction to experiences and that MAL values the experience of those feelings even if it does't fall under your broad definition of learning.

    Would you agree that there are other options? Including that all the extra thinking is driving MAL mad, that MAL gets a kick out of our squabbles, or that MAL would be devastated if we become extinct.

    How do we avoid assigning to MAL properties and values that don't simply support our own personal preference?

    My point I think is that we should be careful with the approach that my way is good, and their way leads to disaster. A healthy society (and bet hedging for MAL) benefits from a diverse approach.

    I'm not suggesting to adopt an anything goes policy. Just some caution in assessing people with slightly different values. Especially given that in this framework whether giving praise or condemnation, judging or approving, we are all facets of the same entity.

    The bet hedging favours balance, imo.

    We can't say that we know for certain that there are self-reflective beings in other parts of the universe but many decisions that we make as self-reflective beings are based on incomplete knowledge. That said, especially as we become aware of more and more planets that as far as we can tell have the potential to house life, and given the age of number of planets in the universe, it seems a reasonable supposition that other such life either already exists in the universe, or will at some point.

    Just to be clear, even if we knew that MAL couldn't care less if humans continued to live or not I would still favour pre-serving this experiment! :)

    I may have jumped to a conclusion in your book when you wrote that idealism entailed that our minds likely continue to exist following bodily death. I think I assumed that you also meant that our minds pre-dated our bodily birth - with the brain filtering out our prior memories.

    I think it makes a difference, given other things you've written about how the system works, so I would appreciate the clarification.
     
  9. Hurmanetar

    Hurmanetar New

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    You could think of it like this: the healthy sandwich is a creation of your subconscious mind while the experience of eating it emerges into your conscious mind. This can be compared to a dream where the dreamer has a sense of subject/object duality yet all objects or other participants in the dream world emerge from the dreamer's subconscious.

    Another way to think about it is to ponder what exactly makes something "separate" from something else or separate from you. All boundaries are arbitrary creations of the mind. All identities are temporary organizations of symbols held together by the affinity of similarity.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2015
  10. Yes.

    A lot of our social problems might be due to the fact that empathic thinking and analytical thinking are mutually exclusive.
    http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/252241.php

    Brain Can't Empathize And Analyze At Same Time, New Study

    Scientists have discovered that the brain circuits we engage when we think about social matters, such as considering other people's views, or moral issues, inhibit the circuits that we use when we think about inanimate, analytical things, such as working on a physics problem or making sure the numbers add up when we balance our budget. And they say, the same happens the other way around: the analytic brain network inhibits the social network.

    Perhaps the study, led by researchers at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, in the US, and reported early online on 27 October in the journal NeuroImage, explains why some business leaders sometimes overlook the public relations consequences of their cost-cutting exercises.
    Materialism and capitalism (and scientism) cultivate analytical thinking while de-emphasizing empathic thinking. However Christianity emphasizes empathic thinking so it might hold a solution to the problems caused by materialism.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2015
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  11. Bernardo Kastrup

    Bernardo Kastrup New

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    Our mind survives certainly in the form of mind-at-large, our true identity, our true 'I am,' which wouldn't identify itself with any particular person or specific sets of memories. Perhaps even what Jung called the 'personal unconscious' (a personal, at least partly dissociated/differentiated segment of mind-at-large, different from the ego) survives -- and I do think it does. But even in that case, although a form of personal identity and personal memories would endure, it doesn't necessarily entail survival of the ego or reincarnation, though the latter would remain a possibility.

    What I am saying is that I don't know and remain open to the possibilities here. If we can consider certain NDE reports evidence, I think the 'personal unconscious' survives. To me, personally, this isn't too important, because of personal experiences I've had in which it became clear that my identification with my personal self is a delusion. The death of personal identity is like waking up from a dream and realizing you never were the dreamed-up character to begin with. Who would weep for that? :)

    The case for Idealism (at least my formulation) does not depend on these questions.
     
  12. Bucky

    Bucky Member

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    Bernardo would reply by saying ... outside of your mind but still in mind :) (mind-at-large)
    Idealism posits that everything that exists is a manifestation of mind-at-large, and ontological primitive just like matter (for materialists). So your mind and the sandwich are both part of mind-at-large :)

    The "illusion" in idealism is the sense of separation between things, the "illusion" in materialism is your sense of being conscious (which, by the way, still requires to be conscious!)

    cheers

    ETA: oops, didn't see the new posts ...
     
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  13. Johnny

    Johnny New

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    My problem would be, why can I not just imagine food and my hunger is satisfied, that would give weight to the idea that the meal is created subjectively in my mind, instead of of having to look for the meal in the objective world, where the meal exists independently of my mind.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2015
  14. Bernardo Kastrup

    Bernardo Kastrup New

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    The 'you' that you wish could imagine the sandwich into existence is a small dissociated complex of mind: the ego. Yet, the non-personal you, in the sense of your broader self -- mind-at-large -- is indeed imagining the sandwich when you eat it.

    That a small dissociated segment of mind-at-large cannot control the imagination of mind-at-large as a whole (which is what you are saying) seems entirely natural. Consider this analogy: when one has neurotic feelings or compulsions that one's intellect know to be entirely nonsensical, the intellect still cannot stop or change those feelings and compulsions (otherwise, nobody would have OCD, hypochondria, irrational phobias, etc.). Yet, the whole thing happens entirely in the person's psyche.
     
  15. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    You can't create. Mind at large can create, but not you--you have to work within the context of what it has created, which from your perspective are separate things. This is what you are calling the "objective world".

    If you could simply imagine food that you could eat--subjectively create it--then you would be in control of reality, and reality would pose no existential challenges: no opportunities to engage with it and to learn. Obviously, empirically, you can't do this. You perceive yourself having to interact with "objective" reality in order to obtain food. Well, you are surely interacting, but it only seems objective in respect of your current viewpoint. With respect to m-a-l, it's actually subjective: relative to m-a-l, there's only subjectivity and nothing is separate from anything else.

    Its awareness of reality (i.e. itself) is without differentiation. Only through alters is it able to experience awareness of awareness (i.e. a kind of differentiation); to experience the sensation of uncovering its potential for expression. Through us, it is evolving into something that in certain states is able to get a glimpse of itself--something that it itself can't do--and coming to appreciate itself.

    To repeat: we are the means whereby m-a-l can come to appreciate itself. Without us, it would still exist and be no less what it is: but with us, it can experience (i.e. be aware of being aware of) something of what it is.

    We aren't things so much as processes. Sandwiches, human beings, stars, molecules etc. are processes--which may interact--occurring within m-a-l. Some of those processes have the capacity to self-reflect.

    All of the processes actually exist whether or not they have that capacity. You go to sleep and wake up to a world that retains many of the characteristics it had before you fell asleep: the process that is the half-eaten sandwich still remains on the plate, albeit by now possibly gone a bit mouldy. The processes that are mountains look just the same, albeit that over long periods of time, they are eroding. No process, including oneself, stays exactly the same: it changes from moment to moment, however much or little, because of interaction with other processes occurring in m-a-l.

    I find that thinking in this way helps me get a different appreciation of reality and avoid thinking in terms of objectivity/subjectivity, i.e. dualism. For many purposes, e.g. communication, dualism is a useful approximation. But when we try to talk in a certain way, it confuses the issue. For instance, I could have said that when we start to talk about things in a certain way... but realised that "things" in that sentence belongs to the dualistic mode of expression.

    Unfortunately, it's very hard, maybe impossible except perhaps in allegory, to talk Idealistically. Perhaps this is why religious texts resort to the use of stories, parables and poetic modes of expression that shouldn't be taken literally.
     
  16. Is it materialism specifically that has all those negative consequences or is it too much analytical thinking and too little empathic thinking? Is materialism the cause of unbalanced analytical thinking? Or does unbalanced analytical thinking predispose one to belief in materialism? Either way, is the cause physiological?

     
  17. Bernardo Kastrup

    Bernardo Kastrup New

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    Guys, because of time constraints, I will be reducing my participation in this thread. Will come back and have a look in a week or so, hopefully! Thanks for all the great feedback and criticisms; both appreciated. Cheers, B.
     
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  18. Hurmanetar

    Hurmanetar New

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    This is the same problem in the dream. As long as you do not know you are dreaming, you have limited free-will and feel as if you are somewhat of a victim or observer of your circumstances. Once you realize you are dreaming, you become lucid and your level of control over the "objective" environment increases. If this reality is akin to the dream, then when we become "lucid" or enlightened or start to recall our greater identity outside of this reality, we might gain additional control over this "objective" reality. Such a person who recalls their true identity in this manner might feel as if he is the son of god and could hypothetically not only imagine a sandwich and be satisfied, but could multiply fishes and loaves and feed five thousand. All religions are replete with stories of enlightened characters bending the rules of reality at will. There are anecdotes of such miracles still occurring to this day. Perhaps this is because such people have partially awakened while still dreaming this reality.

    Suppose you could choose to have a lucid dream every night when you go to sleep and you could have complete control. At first you might wish to dream of ever pleasure and every wonderful thing you could imagine. As soon as you desired it, you would have it. Suppose you could continue dreaming thus for an infinite time. Eventually you might get bored with mere pleasure and wish for an adventure - perhaps something dangerous. This might give you a limited thrill, but knowing that this is still a dream limits the degree of emotional experience you can have. Only when you decide to give up more control and forget your identity outside of the dream can you become full immersed in your dream world and experience the full depth of possible experiences. Suppose you went on exploring like this for an infinite period of time until eventually you dreamed the very life you are living now.
     
  19. Johnny

    Johnny New

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    I 'can not' imagine the sandwich or any meal into existence if I am hungry.



    I don't really understand what you are talking about. That's not to say what you are saying isn't correct or true, I don't know if it is or isn't, I can't understand what you are saying.
     
  20. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    You really need to check out the overview of Bernardo's work here:

    http://www.bernardokastrup.com/2015/04/social-media-policy-and-useful-links.html

    To get through it all will take a little time, but you should understand better if you will take the trouble to read it. If you only look at one thing in it, check out:

     

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