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

Thanks for your comment. Yes, usury or charging interest on a debt or debt slavery is an old invention attested to by warnings against it in the Old Testament and other ancient texts. I'm not sure where exactly I stand on interest. On the one hand I can understand paying an interest rate on a loan: through interest you are paying for a service. However, perhaps this is the first step towards a slippery slope which eventually leads to the total corruption we see today. Perhaps it is better to not even take that first step and make charging interest on loans illegal. This would undoubtedly slow down economic expansion since those with capital would have no incentive to invest, but then again... making "economic expansion" the ultimate goal is misguided, but then again... if it becomes illegal in one part of the world, this will give advantage to another part of the world and/or to organized crime. So how do you stop the poisonous banking bud from blossoming? How in the world to you return the world to a simple honest money system? Can you have an honest money system if you permit lending with interest but forbid fractional reserve lending? It seems to me that the practice of fractional reserve lending is a huge unethical step towards corruption as it is essentially a pyramid scheme. But what is the solution? I'm not sure I know... other than the general solution of educating and raising the consciousness of the individual in hopes of one day crowd-sourcing a solution.



Thanks, and yes I agree the study of secret societies is fascinating and that the origins of some probably go back many thousands of years... perhaps even to the last great civilizations that built the sphinx and gobekli teppe and Machu PIcchu and other ancient marvels. Thanks to the democratizing power of the internet, many secrets have been spilled. I'm excited to see what new revelations will come out in the years to come.
It depends how you look at it. Are the banks providing a service or would customer be providing the banks an investment means. Perhaps the incentives could be based on co-op shares, fair and agreed upon loan payments, and, the most important rule, actual money, i.e. gold. Banks could only provide based on a physical net value. On a higher level states, corporations, countries etc..., GDP would be the fixed money in circulation. It would be far slower than a fractional system, but one hopefully regulated by reality, instead of the imaginary. I'm just guessing.

Very true, the internet has been a force equalizer, but it has also created a means by which a totalitarian Fascist police-state can spread it's tentacles into every individuals daily lives down to the second, anywhere and everywhere.

From my research it's clear that civilization is nothing more than a neo-Feudalism ruled over by a handful of ancient families. Where once it was kings, queens, lords, dukes etc..., we now have politicians, bankers, corporatist. And, of course, there are still serfs a.k.a. debt slaves. And all are ties into the secret societies. You just cannot get away from it and as fervently as pseudoskeptics want to label such things "tinfoil-hat" or "conspiracy theories" they are a disturbing reality.
 
I am beginning wonder about idealism. Objects depend on consciousness, but consciousness depends on objects. It is a house of cards ... a magicians trick ... an illusion.

http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.sg/2009/07/realizing-nature-of-mind.html
...
objects depend on the mind, so they’re empty, and the mind or consciousness or awareness depends on object so that is empty too, because it’s depending on something that’s empty. Anytime two things are mutually dependent, they have to both be empty.
...
And the Buddha in a lovely quote, said, “Consciousness, when examined, is empty, void, without substance.” Now if we just stop the quote there, that could sound like the vast, spacious, insubstantial Awareness. But he doesn’t finish there. He goes on to say, “Like a magician’s trick, like an illusion.” In other words there’s some hocus pocus going in the mind, and baadaabim baadaaboom – there’s awareness. And it’s a trick. It doesn’t actually exist as something real. Consciousness, the Buddha says, is like a magician’s trick, like an illusion, and in the formal Dharma language, it lacks inherent existence.
 
I am beginning wonder about idealism. Objects depend on consciousness, but consciousness depends on objects. It is a house of cards ... a magicians trick ... an illusion.

http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.sg/2009/07/realizing-nature-of-mind.html
I don't agree. There is an asymmetry between matter and mind. Mind (of some abstract kind) could create an illusion of a material universe, but as we have all discussed endlessly, matter can't generate mind.

Another aspect of that asymmetry is that while it makes perfect sense to talk of a mind being fooled by an illusion of physical matter, it makes no sense at all for Dennett to claim that we are fooled into the illusion that we are conscious!

However, as I often say, Idealism may only be obvious at a very deep level - it may be better to run with a flawed Dualism (like we run with the flawed combination of GR and QM) until gradually Dualism can give way to Idealism, because science seems to progress best with bridging theories - Newtonian physics simply had to precede modern physics, because without it, it would have been impossible to structure our ideas sufficiently to even think about QM etc.

I have moved the contents of your link to my Kindle to read later! Therefore this is not (yet) a response to anything written there.

David
 
Another aspect of that asymmetry is that while it makes perfect sense to talk of a mind being fooled by an illusion of physical matter, it makes no sense at all for Dennett to claim that we are fooled into the illusion that we are conscious!
It does sound a lot like what a materialist neuroscientist would say, but it is not a materialist statement. I asked about this elsewhere:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/dha...1150951254932089/?comment_id=1151592341534647
Buddhists do not believe that consciousness have a solely material cause. Mind and brain are interdependent but there are many causes, not just one. For example there are five causes (niyamas): http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/karma.htm Therefore from the Buddhist POV, consciousness is a process with many causes and conditions, and we are not limited to the materialist POV
If things aren't already confusing enough there's this:

http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2010/12/my-e-booke-journal.html
However when I said ‘No Awareness’ I don’t mean there is no awareness, or that there is just a blank, a nothingness. What I mean is that awareness, or the nature of mind, is empty of any entity – it is empty of a self, just like the word ‘river’ cannot be found to have an entity apart from the activities of flowing,
 
I guess my problem is (and maybe it is just semantic) is that
Buddhists do not believe that consciousness have a solely material cause. Mind and brain are interdependent but there are many causes, not just one.
implies that consciousness can have a materialist cause - i.e. that there are configurations of matter that cause consciousness - and that is something that is just as hard to understand as the standard materialist viewpoint that consciousness is solely created by matter!

I guess I feel that even Buddhism suffers from the same problem as other religions - you aren't supposed to rethink - only reinterpret! Having said that, I am sure the various Eastern religions can tell us a lot.

aside

I find articles on Buddhism extremely hard to read because they a stuffed with foreign words. Put like that, it sounds a rather narrow point of view, but I thought about it somewhat. The real problem is many words obviously lose a lot in translation - let's take an example taken from Wikki:
Samyama (from Sanskrit संयम saṃ-yama—holding together, tying up, binding). Combined simultaneous practice of Dhāraṇā (concentration), Dhyāna (meditation) & Samādhi (union). A tool to receive deeper knowledge of qualities of the object.
It is just about impossible (at least for me) to keep all that in my head every time I meet the word Samyama (just one word picked at random) , and so what I absorb from such a text is very imprecise. I wonder if anyone else encounters the same problem.

I know there is an analogy with science, for example, here is one definition of Eigenvalue (taken from GOOGLE's define: feature):
each of a set of values of a parameter for which a differential equation has a non-zero solution (an eigenfunction) under given conditions.
This is equally hard to understand if you don't know what it means already, but one typically encounters these words one at a time, and each is illustrated by some examples (in a decent textbook). This brings out the full meaning, which a glossary never does!

David
 
I guess my problem is (and maybe it is just semantic) is that

implies that consciousness can have a materialist cause - i.e. that there are configurations of matter that cause consciousness - and that is something that is just as hard to understand as the standard materialist viewpoint that consciousness is solely created by matter!
Hearing creates consciousness of sound. You need a brain to hear.

http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.sg/2009/07/realizing-nature-of-mind.html
In English we have a noun, “Awareness”, “Consciousness”, a noun, and nouns have a way of giving something a kind of sense of independent reality – it’s a clock, a thingy. It’s a thingy. And because Awareness or Consciousness is a noun, it seems to be a thing, a thingy. Pali apparently is more of a verb based language. When we think of what Awareness means, well it’s Awareness Of something, rather than Some Thing, some substance, it’s Awareness Of something. Putting it in verb terms, we could say it’s knowing. Consciousness or Awareness means knowing. Now, knowing needs a known, ok. For there to be knowing there has to be something that’s known. And if there’s a known, it needs knowing. So vice versa. Knowing needs a known, and a known needs knowing.


I guess I feel that even Buddhism suffers from the same problem as other religions - you aren't supposed to rethink - only reinterpret! Having said that, I am sure the various Eastern religions can tell us a lot.
With Buddhism, there are modern people who have the same realizations that the religion speaks about so we don't have to rely on ancient texts or dogma. Buddha said you should not believe something because he said so, you should only believe what you can verify for yourself. But not everyone can verify Buddha's realizations.
aside

I find articles on Buddhism extremely hard to read because they a stuffed with foreign words. Put like that, it sounds a rather narrow point of view, but I thought about it somewhat. The real problem is many words obviously lose a lot in translation - let's take an example taken from Wikki:
The problem I have is that the words in the original texts often have multiple meanings and in some places a word means one thing and in another it means something else. There is debate among modern scholars over what the texts really mean. The best way around that is to find living people who have realized the same thing and ask them about it. But different people explain their realizations differently. There is some truth in there somewhere but I am still trying to figure out if it is talking about cosmology or subjective psychology. I don't know how to objectively test it. Even if you experience it yourself, how do you know if it is an illusion or not? I think you run into a problem like the eye can't see itself, or Godel's theorem - can the mind really understand itself?
 
Right - well if this is more of a statement that relates to the transmission model, then I agree.
The problem I have is that the words in the original texts often have multiple meanings and in some places a word means one thing and in another it means something else. There is debate among modern scholars over what the texts really mean. The best way around that is to find living people who have realized the same thing and ask them about it. But different people explain their realizations differently. There is some truth in there somewhere but I am still trying to figure out if it is talking about cosmology or subjective psychology. I don't know how to objectively test it. Even if you experience it yourself, how do you know if it is an illusion or not? I think you run into a problem like the eye can't see itself, or Godel's theorem - can the mind really understand itself?
I suspect conventional science would have exactly the same problems if it hadn't developed a number of symbolisms - algebra, chemical formulae, etc to get round the ambiguity of modern language.

Perhaps I am not so much talking about ultimate understanding, but more mundanely, just pinning down what someone is saying!

However, getting back to Idealism, I don't think it is possible to rule out the idea that reality is ultimately made of one thing - mind. There don't seem to be any good theoretical arguments against it - no equivalent of the Hard Problem. However, I get the impression that Bernardo is sort of stuck with nothing but metaphors to keep him going. It seems clear to me that there can be much understanding to be had from a Dualism, and that focussing on Idealism right now is a bit like worrying about atoms in the early days of microscopy.

David
 
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I still have some doubts about the coherence or at least plausibility of all of this, at least as compared to the dualistic paradigm, but I won't express them until I've read more and thought more
Well, after consideration, that which I have to contribute after all is summarised here: http://www.skeptiko-forum.com/threa...nterview-w-bernardo-kastrup.4089/#post-121596. As I wrote there: a few years back, I came up with an extensive critique which, whilst useful to mine for relevant thoughts, I don't think is appropriate (accurate enough) to publish.
 
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