Mod+ 277. FRANK HUGUENARD, BEYOND MIND=BRAIN

Discussion in 'Skeptiko Shows' started by Alex, Jun 2, 2015.

  1. Alex

    Alex New

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  2. There are several connections. Part of the problem is that due to the structure of the brain, the brain cannot engage in analytical thinking and empathic thinking at the same time. When people are fooled into adopting the scientific materialist world view and its dependence on reductionist logic, it rewires their brain via neuroplasticity and makes the brain unbalanced with an excessive capacity for analytical thinking and a stunted capacity for empathic thinking. This makes people callous and prevents them from seeing the hard problem of consciousness. which hinders belief in our spiritual nature. This callousness is the cause of many of the problems in the world today and the lack of belief in spirituality turns us into consumerists because we become focused on measures of success in this earthly life: material objects that represent wealth and power. Widespread belief in the life review, reincarnation, and the lower levels in the afterlife might cause an improvement in behavior. But even if you are born into a religious family and believe in God and the afterlife, those beliefs don't protect you from the effects of unbalanced analytical thinking. You will still be callous and you won't really comprehend the implications of spiritual beliefs. Examples of this include Calvinism and the historical wealth and abuses of the Papacy. Therefore, proving materialism false beyond any pseudo-skeptical doubt won't solve the whole problem. The problem is not entirely due to scientific materialism it is due in part to Scientism (over dependence on analytical thinking) which would persist even if materialism were proven false beyond any pseudo-skeptical doubt. The solution to this is not to give up analytical thinking but to develop our ability to engange in empathic thinking so that it balances our capacity for analytical thinking.

    There is also the problem of dehumanization:
    More evidence of the link between scientific materialism and consumerism comes from the fact that people tend to give up consumerism when they give up scientific materialism and become spiritual.

    Another link is that the tools of science are used to make us materialistic.

    But capitalism doesn't have to be selfish. And eliminating scientific materialism would not be a complete solution to the world's problems. Too much analytical thinking would still be a problem in modern society even if no one believed in materialism. You see this in parapsychologists who doubt the afterlife. Part of the solution is to develop empathic thinking. Capitalism seems to be the best economic system given the failings of humanity, and if humanity were less selfish, capitalism would work even better.
     
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  3. Hurmanetar

    Hurmanetar New

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  4. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    Alex's question at the end of the interview:

    What is the connection, if any, between scientific materialism and materialistic consumerism?
     
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  5. Dominic Bunnell

    Dominic Bunnell New

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    Alex asks about the link between materialistic consumerism and scientific materialism.

    Materialistic consumerism is about the joy of FEELING superior to other people because you have better gadgets, cars and homes than they do. It's about the DESIRE to get more and more money and stuff because you enjoy the fact that other people envy you. It's about delighting in the fact that you
    get to CHOOSE from 20 different kinds of shampoo. In short, consumerism is all about human emotions, choices and desires, and as far as I can see it has no connection with the idea of biological robots in a meaningless universe, or with the deterministic Newtonian clockwork universe.
     
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  6. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    What is the connection, if any, between scientific materialism and materialistic consumerism?

    This question was raised quite recently on Skeptiko and I wasn't sure that there was a direct connection. The standard rubric is that if you believe in a meaningless universe, then what the heck, you may as well live for now and buy all the crap you can to try to keep yourself happy for the short time you're here.

    However, thinking back to times when scientific materialism wasn't the dominant paradigm, although there were fewer people with money, those that had it tended to flaunt it. They sometimes spent it in glorifying God in the hope of future reward in paradise, and sometimes in buying things to display their power and wealth, or on armies to defend their fiefdoms. Ostentatious consumerism doesn't depend on scientific materialism: history tends to gainsay that.

    Something that Hugenard hinted was that at times of paradigm shift, one can expect the worst excesses of dogmatism to come to the fore: witness the views and actions of ISIS on the one hand and militant materialists on the other, which, while very different in their modalities of expression, do perhaps represent a similar motivation: the desire for things not to change, in fact for them to regress to mythical times of perceived greater surety.

    Meanwhile, those who are seeking paradigm shift aren't totally immune: there can be a degree of stridency in their reaction to militant materialism.

    All in all, we are living in interesting times and things may well have to get a lot worse before they start to get better.
     
  7. Saiko

    Saiko Member

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    You're 100% correct. It's been explained a few times but Alex, and a few others, persist in seeing them as one and the same. This confusion seems to happen a lot when there's one term used to describe different things.
     
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  8. Bucky

    Bucky Member

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    Yes! Yes indeed. Human beings have been materialistic way, way before materialism became a philosophy.

    20th century consumerism is a very recent phenomenon and I think it transcends any specific philosophy. The cornucopia of goods, products and stuff that has flooded the richest countries in the past 60 years is a true novelty. We have changed our standards of living at breakneck speed and we don't seem to be willing to slow down, quite the contrary. We have created a self-feeding monster that will grow even more with the emerging countries aspiring to the same standards of life.

    It's the first time in the history of human kind and, as history tells us... we need to crash and burn to learn our lessons. I don't think it will be different this time, if not for the possible repercussions of such crash(es).

    Btw... I live in most catholic of the catholic countries. Ninety-some % of the population is catholic here, so hey... we shouldn't be so horribly materialist as more secular countries right? Nope, not a chance in hell :D
     
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  9. Saiko

    Saiko Member

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    "the intellect can only operate at the five senses level."
    Incorrect obviously. If that were the case no one could assess/discuss their beyond-physical experiences. The intellect can only assess what it's presented with. It is not a method for knowing.

    "Our structures are built on materialism. Our economic structures, our social structures…all that’s built on materialism."
    No, no, no and no. This is becoming a dogma for you. And , even in the usage of materialism to mean placing primary importance on material possessions, it isn't correct. Strongly affected by - yes. Built on? No.
     
  10. Saiko

    Saiko Member

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    What's so strange about conflating the two is the the dictionary gives clear and different defintionS. Merriam-Webster:

    materialism
    noun ma·te·ri·al·ism \mə-ˈtir-ē-ə-ˌli-zəm\
    : a way of thinking that gives too much importance to material possessions rather than to spiritual or intellectual things

    philosophy : the belief that only material things exist


    ------
    IOW one can be both spiritual and materialist (in the Material Girl sense) .Of course that's been common in known human history. So I have no idea why anyone would start confusing the two.
     
  11. Hurmanetar

    Hurmanetar New

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    Why is it so hard to understand that the belief that only material things exist would cause people to place too much importance on material things as opposed to spiritual or intellectual things?
     
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  12. Alex

    Alex New

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    to good not to re-post:

     
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  13. Hurmanetar

    Hurmanetar New

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    You seem to have missed the point and are in fact reiterating the point. People can and do assess/discuss their beyond-physical experiences using the intellect, but since the intellect is typically fed with information through the 5 senses, it often fails when applied to information obtained outside those 5 senses.

    I would agree that the philosophy of materialism did not precede the human tendency to place too much importance on material possessions. However; the philosophy of materialism came into vogue at the same time that technological developments (shipping, industrial revolution, fractional reserve lending, military industrial complex) enabled a vast expansion in the ability to accumulate and protect material possessions. The philosophy of materialism supports the institutions and corporations that control our world.
     
  14. Alex

    Alex New

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    great point. maybe this is the connection.... the illusion of control.
     
  15. Alex

    Alex New

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    point taken. I guess I'm coming at this from a non-dual/enlightenment perspective. i.e. we're creating this material world out of consciousness (in some way I don't completely understand, but hints emerge from those who have experience with extended consciousness). scientific materialism reinforces the false reality of "the world is made out of stuff." consumerism further exaggerates this misconception.

    but I'm starting to think that maybe you and others are right... maybe there's no real difference between now and consumerism of the 1700s. I mean, feel the buzz of unboxing a new android phone, but that's probably no different then what people experienced 300 years ago going to the city.
     
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  16. soulatman

    soulatman Member

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    For me, there is a HUGE connection between "Materialism" as a world view / philosophy (incorporated in this schema is the Biological Robots concept of human existence), and our economic attitudes and policies, political structures, scientific communities and spiritual life (or lack thereof).

    When Bucky remarked that "Human beings have been materialistic way, way before materialism became a philosophy" I think that the point Alex and Frank were getting at is being entirely missed. That humans have been "materialistic" since before those apes from 2001 threw a bone into the air is not in contention. I think the important point here is that throughout all periods in history, humans have wrestled with their materialistic and covetous tendencies, but that the various prevailing paradigms for any given period or culture in history will to a greater or lesser extent have tempered human attitudes, and therefore human made institutions that govern human life (economic institutions, educational, artistic, social, religious / scientific ec).

    For example, the North American Indian tribes did not have a system of land ownership, and such a concept was foreign to their understanding of both themselves, and the universe they inhabited, and of course what the land represented. Doubtless, many of them would and could still have been highly materialistic and petty minded when it came to their possessions and ambitions, however this would inevitably have been GREATLY tempered by their overarching world view, and understanding of their position in the universe.

    Now, we on the other hand, have been force fed a diet of philosophical materialism for a seriously long time now in the western so called "scientific" world view. From that comes the notion that the universe is meaningless. You are meaningless (you are nothing more than a flesh machine, the result of a strange fluke in the cosmic roll of dice). Your love for others is pointless (unless it has survival value in propagating the all important DNA). So, there is nothing we are here to learn, to experience, or to do under materialism except pass on our DNA, so the resulting flesh machines can pass on their DNA ad infinitum (ad absurdum). All the art, culture, relationships, philosophising, introspection, wars, and strivings of humanity are nothing more than a peculiar side effect of DNA's blind march forward in a blind and meaningless universe.

    This bleak version of the reality and meaning of life is inevitable if we have as our foundation the philosophy of materialism. It will also shape our drives in life. Gone are the age old notions that virtues have any real value in themselves (such as patience, compassion, contentment etc), and their only use is as an expedient means to acquire more of what we our selves want (be it money, sex, power , possessions, fame etc). if all the above is the case (and I assure you, at it's deepest level it is and must be), then of course our financial institutions, educational systems, artistic tastes, notions of social responsibility, and spiritual attitudes will invariably be forged out of this foundational world view we each have bought into (or been force fed).

    To put it simply.
    People feel life is meaningless. People feel life is short. people feel life is unfair (all driven by the prevailing paradigm).
    People invent reasons to live (acquisition of things which convey enjoyment, prestige, power etc), people try to acquire as much as poss as quickly as they can as life is short, and people do it unfairly, because afterall life is unfair. These people run our financial institutions, our governments, our schools, our ADVERTISING industry etc. All born from a single mistaken assumption that there is a really existing material universe completely independent from us, blind to us, and we blind to it, and we are a mistake in the random bangs and crashes of this materialistic fluke.
     
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  17. Subsistence agriculture, which is what most people did in Europe in 1700, is not consumerism. You have to have vast amounts of wealth made possible by scientific progress and capitalism before you can have consumerism. Poor people don't buy new stuff, they repair, repurpose and reuse old stuff. The concept of "disposable" is a modern invention made possible by science and capitalism. You won't find disposable diapers in a civilization where the people don't have disposable income. Acquisitiveness is not the same as consumerism. A bird attracted to stealing shiny objects is acquisitive, but you need science and capitalism before the bird can be conditioned to feed coins into a vending machine. Consumerism involves psychological conditioning and manipulation by advertising and other means to encourage and direct acquisitiveness along desired channels.



    People might be naturally acquisitive, but there has to be a consumer economy before their acquisitiveness can lead them into the consumerist rat race. Scientific progress and and capitalism lead to consumerism because there is no other way to raise the standard of living high enough for consumerism to exist. Scientific progress leads to scientific materialism because of the influence of analytical thinking on brain development as I wrote above. Scientific materialism gives a philosophical justification for unbounded unabashed acquisitiveness. When people become spiritual they often give up the rat race and their acquisitiveness seems to dissolve. A technologically advanced capitalist society who's members are genuinely spiritual, would be very different from the civilization we have today.
     
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  18. Bertha Huse

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    tomorrowpic.jpg


    My Best,
    Bertha
     
  19. Saiko

    Saiko Member

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    Whoa! Are you also that confused? Employ that logic you claim to favor.

    But let's start with clarity. What you cite is a distortion of the argument. The argument at hand is that "placing primary importance on acquiring physical possessions is solely driven by and rooted in the philosophy that only the physical exists" IOW that a knowledge of the actuality of non-physical existence automatically prevents or reduces placing the primary importance on acquiring physical possessions." That argument is false. And can be seen by simply looking at known history. Not to mention many current instances.

    Now back to the logic. First of all that you mentioned intellectual shows that you're reaching. Many philosophical materialists are among the most intellectual of people. So we'll go to "spiritual". If one believes B doesn't exist it is illogical to say that one is not placing enough importance on it. Additionally, if one truly believes only the physical exists one is just as likely to find a focus on acquiring possessions to be dangerous and stupid. That is why many staunch philosophical materialists are environmental activists, people who advocate a small human footprint, animal conservation, etc.

    Please wake up and think before simply attempting to bolster confused viewpoints. Spiritual does not mean touchy-feely, nice, caring, etc. It simply means being aware of the spiritual, the non-physical.
     
  20. Saiko

    Saiko Member

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    ??? The only difference is that a consumer economy guides most people to acquire by purchasing things rather than bartering or taking by force. It's also no the point. The point is that some, including Alex, are confusing two different usages of therm materialism.
     
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