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Sat May 2, 2015, 12:57 PM

 

The Lab Coat Limit

I'm always fascinated that people can swallow such concepts as quantum foam without a hint of burp-back, or contemplate the theory of MEPP (the Maximum Entropy Production Principle) without protest, despite its pervasive aura of teleology - and yet run screaming for the exits when someone speculates that mind may not actually be generated by the brain.

Contemplating "dangerous thoughts" like unavoidable self-caused human extinction is all fine and dandy, but when the "lab coat limit" is reached where support from traditional science stops, further exploration ceases and the mind snaps shut like a bull's arse in fly season.

Yes, the idea that there is something we could call "mind" that exists independent of our particular neuronal arrangement is gaining some scientific support. So what? Who really cares if we can shoehorn that idea into a 250-year-old socially entrenched materialist worldview? The only reason people need to do that, as far as I can tell, is to ensure that their social status as "good thinkers" isn't jeopardized.

The great-ape's evolved social instinct for group membership is so strong that it makes us perform all kinds of damaging mental and physical contortions simply to ensure that we don't get ostracized.

Of course we all have psychological blind spots and limitations that come from our particular combination of personal history, environment and genetic shaping. I'm not excluded. I still balk when someone asks me to consider chem-trails or aliens in government for example, even though they are just ideas. As such they are intrinsically harmless and may be useful to contemplate. The best I can do at the moment is to recognize that I have a boundary in those areas, and work to overcome it.

If anyone is interested in doing similar work with their own boundaries, I can heartily recommend two books. The first has many of the qualities of a textbook, while the second is more like a work-book full of delightfully playful belief-stretching ideas.

The more formal book is "Why Materialism is Baloney" by Bernardo Kastrup. Despite its insouciant title, the book is a serious philosophical work. Kastrup extends the idealism of Hegel, Schopenauer, Bishop Berkeley and theoretical physicist Amit Goswami into the realm of everyday experience, using modern language. If you're in the right place, as I was when I read it, it's a paradigm-shifting book.

The best companion work-book I can recommend is my friend Timothy Scott Bennett's science-fiction novel "All of the Above". That book helped me recognize the inherent irrationality of my resistance to ideas that are considered beyond the pale by the materialist community, and started me on the road that is leading past this point today.

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Reply The Lab Coat Limit (Original post)
GliderGuider May 2015 OP
malthaussen May 2015 #1
GliderGuider May 2015 #2
malthaussen May 2015 #3

Response to GliderGuider (Original post)

Sat May 2, 2015, 01:06 PM

1. "There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio...

... than are embraced in your philosophy." Still, while keeping a bit of an open mind to things not in your current philosophy, you shouldn't be afraid to call something nonense if you think it is. Otherwise, you really are just trying to preserve your cred as a thinker.

-- Mal

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Response to malthaussen (Reply #1)

Sat May 2, 2015, 01:13 PM

2. But before calling nonsense on something

 

It helps to ask yourself why you think it's nonsense...

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Response to GliderGuider (Reply #2)

Sat May 2, 2015, 01:18 PM

3. The important thing is to articulate your reasons, yes.

Something which is rarely done these days. I especially like the people who have an attitude of "I don't have to explain myself to you." At best, paternalistic and authoritarian. A friend once told me she believed one should have at least three reasons for thinking something, or the thought wasn't worth wasting time on.

I have discovered over many painful years, though, that asking "why" is often a sure-fired way to get someone's back up. They always assume I disagree and am trying to trap them. On no acquaintance at all.

-- Mal

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