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zhao
18-10-2009, 08:53 AM
in a tangent from the Giving Up Coffee thread in which Chaotropic started telling amazing stories about his cryptozoological expeditions (http://dissensus.com/showthread.php?t=7792&page=4).


I think it's important that some things aren't grounded, aren't accepted, aren't codified, aren't nailed down. So, the important thing about my kind of cryptozoology, isn't finding things, necessarily, but simply that the act of looking allows other people to have faith that the world is larger than they've been led to believe. In the same way that surrealism does. It sortof sanctions dreaming. Does that make sense? It's like, somebody in the world has to be doing this, otherwise nobody is doing it, & that what a boring world it would be if nobody was doing things like this.

I dunno. Anyway, Zhau, that's why I do it. It totally relates to music. I'm serious.

it does make sense and i understand/agree with/am all for those reasons. but at the same time it also makes counter-sense: in the act of "destroying" the mysterious you want to remind the world of the mysterious.

and similarly the surrealist agenda is 2 fold like this: one can convincingly argue that the basic impulse is still to bring the dark to light, make the unseen seen, the "conquering" of the irrational by the rational mind. surely what is not seen or represented is the real frightening mysterious?

but i think the work of Gabriel García Márquez and Salmon Rushdie functions slightly or a lot differently from the above. and some films and music and art do too. i like the idea of making things which jolt people out of their routine, quotidian reality - and the fact that this is needed (very much so IMO) is testament to the sad (in melancholic sense) state of the world.

the reign of the rational in "the west" is ridiculous, boring, and fuels an absurd sense of smug self righteousness. it is horrific and laughable that people do not believe in the possibility of something if no photo has been taken of it, or if current level of scientific understanding can not explain it. people like to, and do, think that they are more or less standing on a complete set of knowledge about everything under and above the sun, and this is simply far, far from the truth. (add this to the list here (http://dissensus.com/showthread.php?t=5607&highlight=critique+science))

chinese medicine has maintained for 5 thousand years that the balance of the world and its inhabitants is being systematically destroyed, and that this is the main cause of all the collective sickness (environment, etc, etc etc etc) ---- too much light, not enough dark. too much reason, not enough intuition. too much thinking, not enough feeling. too masculine, not enough feminine. (but feminists, save your protests about stereotypes this and that - beside the point here)

with that said, does one need to have biology background to be in on this? let me know if you need a graphic designer/painter/dj along in russia next year i want find yeti!!! :)

DannyL
18-10-2009, 01:42 PM
That's one of the things I get out of magick - that broadening of the world and deepening of a sense of strangeness which is right there, and intimate with your life - it's also why I resist rationalist interpretations of these things ie. "it's all in your head".

nomadthethird
18-10-2009, 05:49 PM
in a tangent from the Giving Up Coffee thread in which Chaotropic started telling amazing stories about his cryptozoological expeditions (http://dissensus.com/showthread.php?t=7792&page=4).



it does make sense and i understand/agree with/am all for those reasons. but at the same time it also makes counter-sense: in the act of "destroying" the mysterious you want to remind the world of the mysterious.

and similarly the surrealist agenda is 2 fold like this: one can convincingly argue that the basic impulse is still to bring the dark to light, make the unseen seen, the "conquering" of the irrational by the rational mind. surely what is not seen or represented is the real frightening mysterious?

but i think the work of Gabriel García Márquez and Salmon Rushdie functions slightly or a lot differently from the above. and some films and music and art do too. i like the idea of making things which jolt people out of their routine, quotidian reality - and the fact that this is needed (very much so IMO) is testament to the sad (in melancholic sense) state of the world.

the reign of the rational in "the west" is ridiculous, boring, and fuels an absurd sense of smug self righteousness. it is horrific and laughable that people do not believe in the possibility of something if no photo has been taken of it, or if current level of scientific understanding can not explain it. people like to, and do, think that they are more or less standing on a complete set of knowledge about everything under and above the sun, and this is simply far, far from the truth. (add this to the list here (http://dissensus.com/showthread.php?t=5607&highlight=critique+science))

chinese medicine has maintained for 5 thousand years that the balance of the world and its inhabitants is being systematically destroyed, and that this is the main cause of all the collective sickness (environment, etc, etc etc etc) ---- too much light, not enough dark. too much reason, not enough intuition. too much thinking, not enough feeling. too masculine, not enough feminine. (but feminists, save your protests about stereotypes this and that - beside the point here)

with that said, does one need to have biology background to be in on this? let me know if you need a graphic designer/painter/dj along in russia next year i want find yeti!!! :)

I'm going to be content to leave this thread alone after this, but feminism is NOT beside the point here. Being essentialized into a force that someone equates with being 'irrational' is highly suspect and problematic in all kinds of ways and just not cool. At all. And I'm not going to pretend it is because some people want to believe in magic.

That's all I'm going to say about that.

On top of this, we've already gone through the fact that there's tons people don't understand now. Tons and tons. This is a bunch of weird false dichotomy weirdness.

Gavin
18-10-2009, 06:07 PM
in a tangent from the Giving Up Coffee thread in which Chaotropic started telling amazing stories about his cryptozoological expeditions (http://dissensus.com/showthread.php?t=7792&page=4).
the reign of the rational in "the west" is ridiculous, boring, and fuels an absurd sense of smug self righteousness. it is horrific and laughable that people do not believe in the possibility of something if no photo has been taken of it, or if current level of scientific understanding can not explain it.

I think the prevalence of new age beliefs, religion, creationism, conspiracy theories about Obama (people see his birth certificate and still DO NOT BELIEVE), etc. offers a rejoinder to this. Something like 75% of Americans believe in angels. Consumerism is underpinned by irrationality, that purchasing certain products will make you a better person. Europe may differ in some ways, but in the U.S. lay understanding of science has grown continually worse in the past few decades.

I think there are strong ideologies conditioning certain ways of believing (indeed, most people are NOT into seeing the weirdness of everyday life), but they are not exclusively rational/scientific.

zhao
18-10-2009, 06:48 PM
I think the prevalence of new age beliefs, religion, creationism, conspiracy theories about Obama (people see his birth certificate and still DO NOT BELIEVE), etc. offers a rejoinder to this. Something like 75% of Americans believe in angels. Consumerism is underpinned by irrationality, that purchasing certain products will make you a better person. Europe may differ in some ways, but in the U.S. lay understanding of science has grown continually worse in the past few decades.

I think there are strong ideologies conditioning certain ways of believing (indeed, most people are NOT into seeing the weirdness of everyday life), but they are not exclusively rational/scientific.

your observations are of course accurate. but they are on a different SCALE than my argument. what I am describing is on a scale of millennia, and not so much describing the particular irrational character of American consumers in recent years.

i don't disagree that america is ever sliding back toward the dark ages, which were of course not preferable to the age of reason.

and it is very much a product of the dark ages from which europe only emerged recently: this fear of the irrational and your, and Dawkin's, and Mr Tea's, and many other "progressives"' negative attitudes toward anything mystical and even denial of the "spiritual dimension".

nomadthethird
18-10-2009, 07:25 PM
Gavin, that's a really good point, and in fact, I was just talking to M. about this yesterday w/r/t the whole Bill Maher-vaccine debacle.

While Maher seems so good at identifying the ideological slant that's operating behind so many cultural phenomena (including global warming, fwiw), he seems completely unable to recognize the extent to which he's bought into the Bush administration's "belief is more important than reality" ideological imperative when it comes to vaccines.

Vaccines just feel wrong to him, so it doesn't matter how many people explain to him that there's no reason why pregnant women shouldn't get them, and that in fact it's very important that pregnant women get innoculated to H1N1 if they can, he just shrugs them off. Maher's last resort is to insist that, well, scientists don't know everything. There are things rationality and logic can't teach us.

This is *exactly* the ideology that ultimately justified the War in Iraq (Islam just feels wrong, the Iraqis have weapons of mass destruction--even if we can't prove it, we just KNOW they do!), that justifies teaching "ID theory" in schools, and which in fact is undermining every attempt to create a cogent majority of socialist-leaning democrats who believe reality isn't up for grabs.

Frustrating.

Mr. Tea
18-10-2009, 08:01 PM
Sigh. Round and round goes the machine of strawmannish misinterpretation, like the wheel of karma... ;)

Zhao, I've spoken at length about this before but I'll put it down once again just for good measure. Atheists and rationalists are, believe it or not, perfectly capably of appreciating great art and music, falling in love and feeling refreshed and renewed by standing on a mountain top and gazing out over the world in all directions. If you want to call this "spirituality" then I'm every bit as spiritual as you, I'd bet my last penny. The difference is just that I can appreciate that these feelings come from a sense of connection to the direct unmediated experience, rather than having to do with any ghostly Tao or Holy Spirit floating around the place - I think the phrase you used recently was "collective consciousness", which again is a mystical concept with no basis in reality so I'm prepared to treat it more or less as a synonym for God. Maybe for you, the direct experience is some kind of Tao or Buddha or immanent Spinozian God, but I reject this on the grounds that experience is by definition subjective and if there were no sentient beings around to experience things, there'd be no experience.

So please stop trying to characterise "people like [me]" as cold grey unfeeling automata or jackbooted ontological fascists, OK? Remember Dawkins' quote (edit: looks like it was actually Douglas Adams - maybe I heard Dawkins quote it once, or perhaps it was on one of his buses): "Isn't it enough to appreciate a beautiful garden without believing there are fairies living at the bottom of it?" - note that he nonetheless sees the beauty of the garden, and appreciates the garden as a wonderful thing in its own right as well as a micro-ecosystem of interacting species which exist because of the tendency of DNA to propagate itself. The two views are not incompatible. And who's to say he doesn't feel an even deeper connection to the garden than someone who sees it as an expression of divine creation or some grand cosmic pattern, as opposed to the result of blind chance and physical law?

Not that I think Dawkins is necessarily the best (un-)evangelist for atheism (irony intentional, before you leap in!), but I guess I am fundamentally on his 'side' here. Maybe a better figurehead is David Attenborough: I mean, how many people in the world could honestly be said to have a more "spiritual" connection to the various living creatures that inhabit it? Maybe your Dobe dudes or the various pockets of people here and there who live in comparable societies, I dunno. But Attenborough's an atheist through and through. Perhaps the real wonder and mystery comes about because all this beauty and terror (and even cosmic ridiculousness) that we see around us arises purely from impersonal physical law and the ineffable dictums of mathematics, rather than from some Godhead or irrational life-force? Perhaps, in the end, that's an even greater miracle?

Slothrop
18-10-2009, 09:05 PM
Gavin, that's a really good point, and in fact, I was just talking to M. about this yesterday w/r/t the whole Bill Maher-vaccine debacle.

While Maher seems so good at identifying the ideological slant that's operating behind so many cultural phenomena (including global warming, fwiw), he seems completely unable to recognize the extent to which he's bought into the Bush administration's "belief is more important than reality" ideological imperative when it comes to vaccines.

Vaccines just feel wrong to him, so it doesn't matter how many people explain to him that there's no reason why pregnant women shouldn't get them, and that in fact it's very important that pregnant women get innoculated to H1N1 if they can, he just shrugs them off. Maher's last resort is to insist that, well, scientists don't know everything. There are things rationality and logic can't teach us.

This is *exactly* the ideology that ultimately justified the War in Iraq (Islam just feels wrong, the Iraqis have weapons of mass destruction--even if we can't prove it, we just KNOW they do!), that justifies teaching "ID theory" in schools, and which in fact is undermining every attempt to create a cogent majority of socialist-leaning democrats who believe reality isn't up for grabs.

The word that you're looking for (and the Zhao seems worryingly close to an apology for) is "truthiness".

zhao
18-10-2009, 09:59 PM
the problem with the Dawkins' severely stunted world view, is that while making sound criticism of certain modern and indeed fucked up kinds of irrationalism, it denies the existence of the mystical dimension of existence, and its central importance in the life of humans.

there is a very sad, in the melancholic sense, breed of "progressives" whose experience of life is entirely limited to the rationalist upbringing that has shaped them, and are incapable of imagining other ways of life as being anything legitimate, much less desirable.

the very real world inhabited by the people Chaotropic has encountered, traditional cultures where the spirit world is directly superimposed upon the quotidian one, where everyday life is filled with wonder, mystery, and the miraculous --- this is a wonderful and rich life, whose wealth modern impoverished people can not understand or even imagine.

phenomenon such as televangelism and believing in angels are testament to the central need that people feel for the spiritual experience, except they have been cheated with a consumerist at best, fundamentalist brainwashed at worst, version of it. it is spirituality in candy coated pill form, while the real thing takes thinking for oneself and active, disciplined seeking of a higher plane.

but the real thing exists. and i feel sorry for those who don't realize that it does.

what you lot are responding to is the fucked up consumerist corrupted version of "faith", "superstition", and "spirituality", and you mistakenly think that that is all there is. pity.

you people will likely continue ignore what I'm saying, refuse to address important points like you did my response to Gavin above, and insist on having parallel conversations. and i understand that this is because you are incapable of allowing for the possibility of reality being far more complex and bigger than your precious newtonian rationalist universe. shame.

nomadthethird
18-10-2009, 11:26 PM
@Slothrop, yes, exactly! Forgot about that one, Colbert is a genius.


Sigh. Round and round goes the machine of strawmannish misinterpretation, like the wheel of karma... ;)

Zhao, I've spoken at length about this before but I'll put it down once again just for good measure. Atheists and rationalists are, believe it or not, perfectly capably of appreciating great art and music, falling in love and feeling refreshed and renewed by standing on a mountain top and gazing out over the world in all directions. If you want to call this "spirituality" then I'm every bit as spiritual as you, I'd bet my last penny. The difference is just that I can appreciate that these feelings come from a sense of connection to the direct unmediated experience, rather than having to do with any ghostly Tao or Holy Spirit floating around the place - I think the phrase you used recently was "collective consciousness", which again is a mystical concept with no basis in reality so I'm prepared to treat it more or less as a synonym for God. Maybe for you, the direct experience is some kind of Tao or Buddha or immanent Spinozian God, but I reject this on the grounds that experience is by definition subjective and if there were no sentient beings around to experience things, there'd be no experience.

So please stop trying to characterise "people like [me]" as cold grey unfeeling automata or jackbooted ontological fascists, OK? Remember Dawkins' quote: "Isn't it enough to appreciate a beautiful garden without believing there are fairies living at the bottom of it?" - note that he nonetheless sees the beauty of the garden, and appreciates the garden as a wonderful thing in its own right as well as a micro-ecosystem of interacting species which exist because of the tendency of DNA to propagate itself. The two views are not incompatible. And who's to say he doesn't feel an even deeper connection to the garden than someone who sees it as an expression of divine creation or some grand cosmic pattern, as opposed to the result of blind chance and physical law?

Not that I think Dawkins is necessarily the best (un-)evangelist for atheism (irony intentional, before you leap in!), but I guess I am fundamentally on his 'side' here. Maybe a better figurehead is David Attenborough: I mean, how many people in the world could honestly be said to have a more "spiritual" connection to the various living creatures that inhabit it? Maybe your Dobe dudes or the various pockets of people here and there who live in comparable societies, I dunno. But Attenborough's an atheist through and through. Perhaps the real wonder and mystery comes about because all this beauty and terror (and even cosmic ridiculousness) that we see around us arises purely from impersonal physical law and the ineffable dictums of mathematics, rather than from some Godhead or irrational life-force? Perhaps, in the end, that's an even greater miracle?

Seconded, every last word.

I've had all kinds of mind-expanding, mind-blowing moments working with and on science. The world still seems like a very mysterious place, full of things that need discovering and things that will probably never be fully understood. I'd go so far as to say I learn more everyday about what we don't know, and I have a much deeper appreciation for that now that I've opened my mind to the biological and physical sciences than I ever did before.

In fact, I have about five mind-expanding, mind-blowing epiphanies per second these days, it's truly amazing, and I'm glad I finally found something that makes life interesting and not-boring enough to feel worthwhile for me. (Took a long time...) I don't expect everyone to feel the same way I do--not everyone is going to geek out and spend hours reading and thinking about the discovery that sharks without vertebrae don't get cancer, in part because cartilage doesn't have blood vessels, and so we might be able to use this to lower our own cancer risk in the future, like I did the other day. But I do think the state of science education in the U.S. (and, from what I can tell, most of Europe) is appalling, and the ignorance that results is part of the reason why well-meaning people are so easily led to believe dangerous nonsense.

Another thing: I wasn't "raised" a "rationalist"...far from it, actually, I was raised by deeply religious people (although yeah my father was chemist but ALSO a reformed Jesus hippie) and was turned off from religion from day one by actually being exposed to it. This country is a deeply religious place, and is about as full of mystics as you're going to get in the first-world. I never believed a word of that shit and I never will. I don't believe that the son of a God-raped "virgin" is my Lord and savior, and I'm not bowing down to anybody, and I'm not going to suck all of the mystery out of the universe by pretending I've found the answers to all of the universe's mysteries through mental telepathy with a Sky Daddy and strict adherence to a Holy Book (insert choice here). I don't think there's anybody with a plan for anyone out there. We need to make our own plans.

I'm sorry for you Zhao, because for all of your pomo relativism, you sure can be a fascist about what people "should" believe. You think you've found the Holy Mountain, and you're the holiest one, and everyone else is just brainwashed, etc. etc. It's like paint-by-numbers at this point. We get it. Teh sceintis is teh big MEANIES they want to take my mystical worldview away. Go ahead and have it. Nobody cares. There are all kinds of people who think just like you. There are book stores on every corner in San Francisco full of books about the kind of rhetoric you spout. The things you are saying are not that original.

nomadthethird
18-10-2009, 11:44 PM
the very real world inhabited by the people Chaotropic has encountered, traditional cultures where the spirit world is directly superimposed upon the quotidian one, where everyday life is filled with wonder, mystery, and the miraculous --- this is a wonderful and rich life, whose wealth modern impoverished people can not understand or even imagine.

First of all, if the traditional cultures have a spiritual life based on mysticism, that IS their "quotidian" (which is just a latin word that means "daily" or "everyday") existence. For them, belief in spirits might seem (probably seems) as utterly banal as meteorology is to us.

What you are doing here is glamorizing/fetishizing another culture from an "etic" perspective... sort of like Orientalism, only in thise case, it seems like your target is Africa, not the East.

You do this a lot. There's no shame in liking African culture, liking African stuff, but Africa is not paradise on earth, and it never has been. There have been great things about living in Africa, and terrible things, just like there's great and terrible things about living in America.

nomadthethird
18-10-2009, 11:49 PM
And also, stop projecting. You have no idea whether Richard Dawkins, or anyone else you don't know for that matter, is "sad" or "melancholic."

That's just fucking ridiculous.

lanugo
19-10-2009, 12:58 AM
Mr. Dawkins is very much at peace with modern life:


Dawkins has the enthusiasm of a teenage geek for new technology. "I love my iPhone," he confesses. "I'm on my third already." Then he shows me another phone app, this time simulating Darwinian natural selection. As each generation of a populace is born, the appearance of the group of individuals on screen varies. As Sir David Attenborough walks past and says hello, I feel secretly relieved we aren't still laughing at the lager trick. "Do you find it difficult to switch off from technology?" "Aha, yes," he says with a dark chuckle, straightaway. And do you ever get in trouble for that? He laughs again.

Independent (http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/features/richard-dawkins-strident-do-they-mean-me-1796244.html)

Oh, and what ever happened to his plans to found a vacation camp for atheistic children? Did that ever happen?

Difficile est saturam non scribere.

padraig (u.s.)
19-10-2009, 01:51 AM
the reign of the rational in "the west" is ridiculous, boring, and fuels an absurd sense of smug self righteousness.

other people already pointed that rationalism doesn't reign in quote unquote the West so I won't bother repeating what they said. I could say that Western rationalism has fueled your education, your profession, the laptop you chatter away on, your DJ gigs, your entire existence as a self-described "urban nomad", and on & on, but what's the point? you are all the anarchopunk bands I grew up with, selling vinyl to pay for gasoline so you can tour around & shout about who much you hate consumerism and car culture, only in a different context with different things to shout about and different things to sell.


it is horrific and laughable that people do not believe in the possibility of something if no photo has been taken of it, or if current level of scientific understanding can not explain it.

I don't think you understand science, even a little. there is no such thing as an absolute 100% certainty. there are things which can be disproved. theories can change, unlike your endless diatribe about ancient wisdom, mystical this & wonderful which all falls into the category of things which are "not even wrong", as they say.


there is a very sad

I'm quite happy to be into science, actually, and so are most of the people I know who study or teach or work in a scientific field. if anything, science opens up your imagination to limitless possibilities. which is why it's especially ironic that you think it does the opposite.


this is a wonderful and rich life, whose wealth modern impoverished people can not understand or even imagine.

I wonder if you've ever been to a place where people don't believe in science. where having sex with virgins is supposed to be a cure for AIDS, for example. or simply to place where people actually are impoverished. I swear to god, sometimes I just cannot handle your exotification/fetishization of just about everything under the sun. it's only slightly less aggravating than your quest to create a false division between Rational Scientists & People Who Believe in Mystical Stuff.


and i understand that this is because you are incapable of allowing for the possibility of reality being far more complex and bigger than your precious newtonian rationalist universe. shame.

you are literally the most smug & arrogant man in the world. no, really.

nomadthethird
19-10-2009, 04:59 AM
Clearly, what's really going on here is the CERN thread unearthed some well-buried, unresolved conflict from childhood, when Zhao felt bullied by his parents' overly sterile, scientific, rationalist worldview (which he came to equate with and blame for their unloving and/or hurtful behavior toward him).

When we espouse views that remind Zhao of his parents' rationalism, which he found oppressive and limiting and stunting to his own development, wounds reopen, yadda yadda. He tends to fall into reactive patterns, and restages the earlier conflicts so he can be in a better position to "win" this time around.

Zhao: we are not your parents. We may be annoying science nerds, and Mr. Tea may be an MA in Physics, but we are not trying to purposely hurt you with our views. We're just being us because that's all we know how to do. We like you. Don't take it personally that we disagree with you. Don't assume we're sad or bitter or spiteful like your parents were. We're not your parents.

Thank you for understanding.

We <3 you. Just stop with the silly put downs.

zhao
19-10-2009, 06:28 AM
edit: quotation added


Clearly, what's really going on here is the CERN thread unearthed some well-buried, unresolved conflict from childhood, when Zhao felt bullied by his parents' overly sterile, scientific, rationalist worldview (which he came to equate with and blame for their unloving and/or hurtful behavior toward him).

When we espouse views that remind Zhao of his parents' rationalism, which he found oppressive and limiting and stunting to his own development, wounds reopen, yadda yadda. He tends to fall into reactive patterns, and restages the earlier conflicts so he can be in a better position to "win" this time around.

Zhao: we are not your parents. We may be annoying science nerds, and Mr. Tea may be an MA in Physics, but we are not trying to purposely hurt you with our views. We're just being us because that's all we know how to do. We like you. Don't take it personally that we disagree with you. Don't assume we're sad or bitter or spiteful like your parents were. We're not your parents.

Thank you for understanding.

We <3 you. Just stop with the silly put downs.



nomad you have no idea what i am talking about. because what i am talking about is outside of your world view.

i never said africa. when describing the close connection with a spirit world, i was mainly thinking of indonesia, thailand, india, and china where i was born and raised. so there is no "exoticizing" anything. i am praising the merits of "non-rational" or "meta-rational" ways of life, and the richness of experience it affords.

the condescension and hostility you display makes it clear that you yourself have some issues brought on by my posts. but i am not interested in discrediting you on personal terms, or reducing your thoughts and passions to results of abuse in your childhood.

so please stop this train of reductionist and patronizing personal attacks NOW, before things get out of hand again and you end up crying and running from the forum a 4th time.

zhao
19-10-2009, 08:13 AM
everyone who have responded thus far, Gavin, Padraig, Tea, Nomad, etc. (with the exception of DannyL, who seems to be on the same page):

i both appreciate and ABSOLUTELY AGREE with most of what you are saying -- but we are having a parallel conversation, and are talking about different things.

i am not for the irrationalism of the fundies, whether christian or muslim. i am not for killing in the name of religion, whether the inquisition or iraqi war.

what i am for is indetermincy, intuition, empathy, emotional logic, music, the sensuality of incense and ritual, the poetry of shadows, a spirit world interwoven with the everyday, folk tales like endless tapestry which saturates every aspect of life, the kind of culture which writers like Salmon Rushdie try to describe -- a non-rational (not the same as irrational) way of reading and experiencing the world, steeped in spiritual traditions which enrich in ways that modern (not only western) society has largely lost.

Padraig, i have not traveled nearly enough (and stories like Chaotropic's make me desperately want to), but i was born and raised in China, which did give me access to a reality which is different from the modern world. and having lots of friends from places like Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore and Morrocco, their cultures and experiences have always fascinated and inspired me, all of which informing what i am saying in this thread.

your accusations of "exoticization" is an empty and impotent one, for i have, since birth, always believed and felt the way i do today. and my passion for things difficult to place a finger on, for realms hidden from superficial glances, for that which words can not describe, only grows with the passing of each year.

my music is about this. it is about traditional, spiritual music from all over the world being both ancestral and directly connected to the electronic beats of today.

you can call it "exoticizing the other" if you want to. makes not the slightest of differences to me or the people who get it and appreciate it.

mixed_biscuits
19-10-2009, 08:24 AM
for a spirit world interwoven with the everyday

This is an interesting essay:

Alienation and Animism (http://medicalhypotheses.blogspot.com/2007/07/alienation-and-animism.html)


Animism is spontaneous, the ‘natural’ way of thinking for humans: all humans began as animistic children and for most of human evolutionary history would have grown into animistic adults. It requires sustained, prolonged and pervasive formal education to ‘overwrite’ animistic thinking with the rationalistic objectivity typical of the modern world. It is this learned abstraction that creates alienation – humans are no longer embedded in a world of social relations but become estranged, adrift in a world of indifferent things.


Animism is not a religious or philosophical doctrine, neither is it an ‘error’ made by people too young or too primitive to know better; animism is nothing less than the fundamental mode by which human consciousness regards the world. Consciousness just is animistic. And this perspective is a consequence of human evolutionary history.

DannyL
19-10-2009, 09:37 AM
where the spirit world is directly superimposed upon the quotidian one, where everyday life is filled with wonder, mystery, and the miraculous --- this is a wonderful and rich life

Zhao, do you not think there's any dangers in this though? At least, when such beliefs are acted out on a social level? I was reading "Mama Lola" by Karen McCarthy Brown (which is great and I'd unreservedly recommend btw) - it's an acocunt, biography really of a Haitian Voodoo priestess in New York by an academic who ends up become an initate herself. I was struck by the amount of times bad events were blamed on the malice of unspecified indviduals which was said to be operating through cursing. I've encountered this first hand as well - a friend of my Dad's, who knew of my interests in this kind of thing, told me he thought there was someone "working against him" when he was ill. Struck me as pretty paranoid really.

I guess what I'm saying is that I don't think I'd be happy in a world where these things are indulged on a social level. I'm happier with the secular, evidence based world view which we have in in contrast.

baboon2004
19-10-2009, 10:50 AM
I was watching one of the videos on another Dissensus thread of Mos Def vs Christopher Hitchens..Mos was talking about "everyone having a religion" (before Hitchens started being highly critical of him :slanted:) ie conceiving religion and spirituality (how that word has been devalued recently, unfortunately) as the way in which everyone has connection to something sacred, and not in a narrow sense.

It's true that life in "Western"/"Northern" countries can be annoyingly 'rational' sometimes, especially when this 'rationality' is underpinned in many by a blind faith in capitalism/profit motive as somehow unquestionable, which itself becomes a religion of sorts. Yet, as others have said, there are great things that have come from the scientific disciplines as they have come to be understood and used in the West.

Belief systems, wherever they come from, have positive and negative things that can be taken from them. To me, the fact that the West ended up in thrall to Rationality (to whatever extent you believe this is true) seems entirely contingent - if Africa or South Asia had become industrialised first (or rather, if Europe hadn't destroyed African industrail potential right at the critical point where it could have moved into an industrial age), then it's quite possible (highly probable, actually) things would be the other way around, so to speak. After all, there's a great deal of belief in the unseen in Western societies historically.

And theories such as gravity are themselves just theories postulating forces that we can't 100 per cent be sure exist and just account for the everyday phenomena we see, right? So equating science with cold rationality seems wrong in the first place - science can be beautiful itself.

In sum, surely there's room for both?

nomadthethird
19-10-2009, 02:23 PM
Oh, please, this thread is not even slightly insulting, it's just typical. It's full of the typical Zhaoisms everyone's accustomed to at this point.

The other time you mention I was getting harrassed by you in every thread I posted in, even those that had nothing to do with your pet topic. And since the moderators didn't really want to do anything about it, I decided it wasn't worth it to continue posting here until you grew up for second and realized you were being ridiculous.


i was born and raised in China, which did give me access to a reality which is different from the modern world.

China IS the modern world.


you can call it "exoticizing the other" if you want to. makes not the slightest of differences to me or the people who get it and appreciate it.

If it makes no difference to you, why do you go on these periodic rants where you have to insult or put down anyone who doesn't believe in your nebulous version of spirituality (which you still haven't defined, really, or explained, or proved how you 'practice' this and the rest of everyone else doesn't)? It always seems to follow on the heels of a few successful science threads, here.

nomadthethird
19-10-2009, 02:32 PM
i never said africa. when describing the close connection with a spirit world, i was mainly thinking of indonesia, thailand, india, and china where i was born and raised. so there is no "exoticizing" anything. i am praising the merits of "non-rational" or "meta-rational" ways of life, and the richness of experience it affords.


I think it's EXTREMELY condescending to call these ways "irrational". The medicine men of indigenous American tribes use "rational" treatments, including herbal ones that are still in some respects or to some extent used today. The things these people believe MAKE SENSE TO THEM. They are "rational" to them. They are not making up things that seem irrational in order to imbue the world with a more "magical" and "spiritual" dimension. In fact, just the opposite. They made up stories to make sense of the world as they encountered it through sense experience, empirically. Spirituality and ritual magic WERE 'science', in this sense of the term, before the significant findings of industrial and technological revolutions changed the face of science forever.

As for "condescending and hostile": I have avoided being condescending or hostile in this thread Zhao, but you sure have been, over and over. You started the thread with a bunch of arrogant, condescending, and hostile proclamations. Take a look at your own posts, for crying out loud.

nomadthethird
19-10-2009, 02:37 PM
This is an interesting essay:

Alienation and Animism (http://medicalhypotheses.blogspot.com/2007/07/alienation-and-animism.html)

A medical "paper" that cites Erowid?

Mr. Tea
19-10-2009, 03:39 PM
I think nomad could well be onto something about zhao's upbringing and its effects on his view of science - I've had similar thoughts in this direction myself.

Also, zhao is presenting a very rosy picture of what it's like to live in a world dominated by spirits and unseen forces, rather hand-picking a selection of cliches about spending every day spellbound in childlike wonder...let's not forget the kids ostracised from birth or even killed straight away because of a physical abnormality that must mean they're 'cursed', or the entire African village I read about where every inhabitant is a 'witch' and therefore forbidden from living among 'normal' people, or kids beaten almost (and sometimes actually) to death because they are 'possessed'...in other words, superstition doesn't have to be codified into a large organised religion to have a very negative effect on people's lives. Animist superstitions, upstart syncretic cults and so on can be bad too.

baboon2004
19-10-2009, 03:50 PM
I think nomad could well be onto something about zhao's upbringing and its effects on his view of science - I've had similar thoughts in this direction myself.

Also, zhao is presenting a very rosy picture of what it's like to live in a world dominated by spirits and unseen forces, rather hand-picking a selection of cliches about spending every day spellbound in childlike wonder...let's not forget the kids ostracised from birth or even killed straight away because of a physical abnormality that must mean they're 'cursed', or the entire African village I read about where every inhabitant is a 'witch' and therefore forbidden from living among 'normal' people, or kids beaten almost (and sometimes actually) to death because they are 'possessed'...in other words, superstition doesn't have to be codified into a large organised religion to have a very negative effect on people's lives. Animist superstitions, upstart syncretic cults and so on can be bad too.


my friend's first memory is of being chased by animists dressed as trees who were trying to kill his father.

nomadthethird
19-10-2009, 04:06 PM
Also, zhao is presenting a very rosy picture of what it's like to live in a world dominated by spirits and unseen forces, rather hand-picking a selection of cliches about spending every day spellbound in childlike wonder...let's not forget the kids ostracised from birth or even killed straight away because of a physical abnormality that must mean they're 'cursed', or the entire African village I read about where every inhabitant is a 'witch' and therefore forbidden from living among 'normal' people, or kids beaten almost (and sometimes actually) to death because they are 'possessed'...in other words, superstition doesn't have to be codified into a large organised religion to have a very negative effect on people's lives. Animist superstitions, upstart syncretic cults and so on can be bad too.

Padraig's example was good, I thought--sex with virgins cures AIDS. I'd add to it the other common practice, though: "sex with" (actually, rape of) infants to cure men with AIDS in sub-saharan Africa.

viktorvaughn
19-10-2009, 04:09 PM
Mate saying things like

and i feel sorry for those who don't realize that it does.

what you lot are responding to is the fucked up consumerist corrupted version of "faith", "superstition", and "spirituality", and you mistakenly think that that is all there is. pity.

you people will likely continue ignore what I'm saying

makes you sounds conceited, self-regarding, smug and presumptions and generally somebody who people flee from at parties. You may well say that doesn't bother you - fair enough.

baboon2004
19-10-2009, 04:11 PM
Padraig's example was good, I thought--sex with virgins cures AIDS. I'd add to it the other common practice, though: "sex with" (actually, rape of) infants to cure men with AIDS in sub-saharan Africa.

yeah - this is v v common in South Africa, from what I've heard.

viktorvaughn
19-10-2009, 04:12 PM
Padraig's example was good, I thought--sex with virgins cures AIDS. I'd add to it the other common practice, though: "sex with" (actually, rape of) infants to cure men with AIDS in sub-saharan Africa.

Exactly there are loads. Not to mention some of these delightful, spiritual and poetic non-rational places may have lashings of various forms of bigotry, lack of religious freedom, homophobia etc.

baboon2004
19-10-2009, 04:13 PM
Exactly there are loads. Not to mention some of these delightful, spiritual and poetic non-rational places may have lashings of various forms of bigotry, lack of religious freedom, homophobia etc.

But you'd also have to look at the ways in which colonialism encouraged and exacerbated some of these things, and simultaneously destroyed some very forward-thinking social and political practices in, for example, Africa.

viktorvaughn
19-10-2009, 04:14 PM
Mate saying things like

and i feel sorry for those who don't realize that it does.

what you lot are responding to is the fucked up consumerist corrupted version of "faith", "superstition", and "spirituality", and you mistakenly think that that is all there is. pity.

you people will likely continue ignore what I'm saying

makes you sounds conceited, self-regarding, smug and presumptions and generally somebody who people flee from at parties. You may well say that doesn't bother you - fair enough.

OK here is something more constructive (and I'm not taking the piss, genuinely interested).

I have an athsist outlook on the world as outlined by Mr Tea and I agree 100% with his first post. I'm not a scientist.

How practically, in real terms can I move more towards the model you describe. I mean real stuff that will improve my life, not just abstracts.

viktorvaughn
19-10-2009, 04:16 PM
But you'd also have to look at the ways in which colonialism encouraged and exacerbated some of these things, and simultaneously destroyed some very forward-thinking social and political practices in, for example, Africa.

You could of course do that yes. I'm just saying that painting a dreamland is childish.

But i think, as an example, India would still have homophobia had it not been colonised. Happy to be proven wrong though.

nomadthethird
19-10-2009, 04:22 PM
But you'd also have to look at the ways in which colonialism encouraged and exacerbated some of these things, and simultaneously destroyed some very forward-thinking social and political practices in, for example, Africa.

Yeah, there's a word for this...syncretism? Can't remember. Basically, it's a term for when colonialists come in and make the indigenous situation far worse than it was before. Happened in Thailand with the prostitution situation, in Australia when the Brits came storming back in and declared all of the second, third, and fourth wives of the indigenous folks "prostitutes", etc.

Most of us have discussed the idea with Zhao that agriculture stratified society in ways it hadn't been before. Most of us in this forum generally agree with this, even if we don't adhere to a strict Zhaoist version of events (which is a spiritualist extrapolation or appropriation of Jared Diamond's work). What more does he want? Everyone to bow down and say he is lord and master of the universe and everything he says is law?

I mean, he says he's not going to "reduce" this discussion to one about personal history and unresolved childhood conflicts, yet he stomps into numerous threads and declares everyone who disagrees with his New Ageism some kind of brainwashed drone who must have been raised in a Richard Dawkins worshipping moonie cult.

nomadthethird
19-10-2009, 04:22 PM
You could of course do that yes. I'm just saying that painting a dreamland is childish.

But i think, as an example, India would still have homophobia had it not been colonised. Happy to be proven wrong though.

There are all sorts of homophobic cultures pre-Europe. Judaism, for one.

baboon2004
19-10-2009, 04:23 PM
You could of course do that yes. I'm just saying that painting a dreamland is childish.

But i think, as an example, India would still have homophobia had it not been colonised. Happy to be proven wrong though.

I agree, dreamlands don't exist. But the extent to which slavery and then colonialism set African peoples against each other is of huge importance, as is the re-writing of history that expunged forward-thinking practices in certain parts of Africa (henceforth treated as monolithic) from history.

Don't know enough about the history of homophobia in India. but I don't think it's controversial to point out the impact of Church teachings on feelings in Jamaica towards homosexuality, to take an exampel that has of course featured many times on these pages.

viktorvaughn
19-10-2009, 04:25 PM
I agree, dreamlands don't exist. But the extent to which slavery and then colonialism set African peoples against each other is of huge importance, as is the re-writing of history that expunged forward-thinking practices in certain parts of Africa (henceforth treated as monolithic) from history.

Don't know enough about the history of homophobia in India. but I don't think it's controversial to point out the impact of Church teachings on feelings in Jamaica towards homosexuality, to take an exampel that has of course featured many times on these pages.

Yep for sure on both points.

baboon2004
19-10-2009, 04:28 PM
Yeah, there's a word for this...syncretism? Can't remember. Basically, it's a term for when colonialists come in and make the indigenous situation far worse than it was before. Happened in Thailand with the prostitution situation, in Australia when the Brits came storming back in and declared all of the second, third, and fourth wives of the indigenous folks "prostitutes", etc.


Syncretism - "Reconciliation or fusion of differing systems of belief, as in philosophy or religion, especially when success is partial or the result is heterogeneous." Hm, guess it depends whether syncretism includes enforced fusion.

One example that sticks in my mind is how the Dahomey (I think) had more equal (if different) social roles for women int eh 16th century than many European countries several centuries later. Once it became a full-on raiding and slaving state, this all went to shit.

Anyways, upshot is that ideas about African societies' 'different ways of doing things' partly come from a rewriting of history by Europeans.

viktorvaughn
19-10-2009, 04:31 PM
Coincidentally I went to a place in Benin (which is modern day Dahomey right?) which was a Catholic church mixed with a snake temple! It was great! Massive religious syncretism there.

nomadthethird
19-10-2009, 04:33 PM
Syncretism - "Reconciliation or fusion of differing systems of belief, as in philosophy or religion, especially when success is partial or the result is heterogeneous." Hm, guess it depends whether syncretism includes enforced fusion.

One example that sticks in my mind is how the Dahomey (I think) had more equal (if different) social roles for women int eh 16th century than many European countries several centuries later. Once it became a full-on raiding and slaving state, this all went to shit.

Anyways, upshot is that ideas about African societies' 'different ways of doing things' partly come from a rewriting of history by Europeans.

I think I'm reaching for another word that sounds similar...

zhao
19-10-2009, 04:37 PM
when i said it's rich life i did not say without social ills and many kinds of superstition is without very obvious and commonly known horrible consequences such as the virgin cure for AIDS.

that would be absurd.

what i AM saying is that the spirit dimension ALSO enriches life in many ways. which is a neglected area in common place anti-superstition progressive discourse.

pop culture reference point, don't Miyazaki cartoons give you a sense of wonder? those are adaptaions of ancient stories of ghost cities, demons and dragons, very similar to, because it is derivitive of, many tales i heard as a child -- and that is the China i mean, as modern as it is today, even after communism's attempts to wipe it out, much older sensibilities still survive there, and in some areas such as the humanities, saturate it.

saw an exhibition of indonesian spirit world artifacts like masks and such, and reading about them and their place in an entire world view, and it was so fascinating...

baboon2004
19-10-2009, 04:38 PM
Coincidentally I went to a place in Benin (which is modern day Dahomey right?) which was a Catholic church mixed with a snake temple! It was great! Massive religious syncretism there.

Yeah, Dahomey is Benin. The independent Republic of Dahomey existed from 1960-1975, apaprently - never knew that.

The Dahomey people were quite vicious though, it must be said:
"Four thousand Whydahs, for example, were sacrificed when Dahomey conquered Whydah in 1727. Five hundred were sacrificed for Adanzu II in 1791. The sacrifices for Gezo went on for days. Human sacrifice was usually done by beheading, except in the case of the king's wives, who were buried alive."

nomadthethird
19-10-2009, 04:44 PM
when i said it's rich life i did not say without social ills and many kinds of superstition is without very obvious and commonly known horrible consequences such as the virgin cure for AIDS.

that would be absurd.

what i AM saying is that the spirit dimension ALSO enriches life in many ways. which is a neglected area in common place anti-superstition progressive discourse.

pop culture reference point, don't Miyazaki cartoons give you a sense of wonder? those are adaptaions of ancient stories of ghost cities, demons and dragons, very similar to, because it is derivitive of, many tales i heard as a child -- and that is the China i mean, as modern as it is today, even after communism's attempts to wipe it out, much older sensibilities still survive there, and in some areas such as the humanities, saturate it.

saw an exhibition of indonesian spirit world artifacts like masks and such, and reading about them and their place in an entire world view, and it was so fascinating...

That stuff is fascinating even if you don't believe in spirits. Why does it have to be a binary opposition, us/them, this/that, either/or.

The point is that you don't have to believe in "spirits" to have a rich culture. There are plenty of rich cultural traditions and memes and such in cultures that don't believe in spirits. Russian constructivism is pretty damn cool and fascinating and it was made by athiests and communards.

viktorvaughn
19-10-2009, 04:45 PM
when i said it's rich life i did not say without social ills and many kinds of superstition is without very obvious and commonly known horrible consequences such as the virgin cure for AIDS.

that would be absurd.

what i AM saying is that the spirit dimension ALSO enriches life in many ways. which is a neglected area in common place anti-superstition progressive discourse.

pop culture reference point, don't Miyazaki cartoons give you a sense of wonder? those are adaptaions of ancient stories of ghost cities, demons and dragons, very similar to, because it is derivitive of, many tales i heard as a child -- and that is the China i mean, as modern as it is today, even after communism's attempts to wipe it out, much older sensibilities still survive there, and in some areas such as the humanities, saturate it.

saw an exhibition of indonesian spirit world artifacts like masks and such, and reading about them and their place in an entire world view, and it was so fascinating...

So how practically, in real terms can I move more towards the model you describe?

Yes i feel wonderment watching amazing movies, art, anime, sculpture and hearing music.
Yes i feel wonderment seeing nature in it's full glory.
Yes i am capable of love, passion etc like the next person.
Yes i am an atheist.

What should i do in my life practically to move more towards the model you describe. I am genuinely curious to see what i behind all the general poetic hyperbole.

DannyL
19-10-2009, 05:10 PM
One thing you could do is write down your dreams. I found this took me up to the limits of what is rational, in that there are seperate parts of me with distinct agendas that seems to know more than I do (consciously). You can say this is just my "subconscious" giving me messages - and I might agree with you - but the model of the subconscious to explain what happens isn't one I've encountered in any rationalist discourse. The model required would have to show the subconscious as very rich, very active, and capable of processing events and dispensing clear advice - it's much more than the dumping ground of the day's events with a few random Freudian impulses. It's still pretty alarming when you're given a clear message and then woken up at 4 in the morning. Well, the first few times anyway.

mistersloane
19-10-2009, 05:22 PM
One thing you could do is write down your dreams. I found this took me up to the limits of what is rational, in that there are seperate parts of me with distinct agendas that seems to know more than I do (consciously). You can say this is just my "subconscious" giving me messages - and I might agree with you - but the model of the subconscious to explain what happens isn't one I've encountered in any rationalist discourse. The model required would have to show the subconscious as very rich, very active, and capable of processing events and dispensing clear advice - it's much more than the dumping ground of the day's events with a few random Freudian impulses. It's still pretty alarming when you're given a clear message and then woken up at 4 in the morning. Well, the first few times anyway.

I think everyone should do dream experimentation for a while in their lives, it should be compulsory, like national service.

I found I was lucid dreaming within a month - going to bed excited by what I was going to do next, and got up to all sorts of things I couldn't do in real life, it was very interesting, especially as I always thought people who said they could control their dreams were lying up until that point. It gives you a weird version of reality for the time you're involved. I'm not sure it's healthy to do all the time though.

DannyL
19-10-2009, 05:26 PM
I'd agree re. lucid dreaming all the time. I wonder if you'd be tired if you did it constantly? Not switching your brane off.

I got a bit bored with it tbh - all I used to do was fly around and then shag someone.

scottdisco
19-10-2009, 05:37 PM
this is a bit OT but the whole lucid dreaming thing is something that is intriguing but i just wanted to share in bed last night around 2 or 3am, not asleep, and i had the most physical sensation for about two seconds of as if an invisible house-cat had jumped on my face, temporarily almost smothering me for a couple of seconds, that is the only way i can describe it. genuinely very weird.

(i have no cat, am slim and reasonably healthy, don't have any breathing/chest etc issues in the slightest.)

massrock
19-10-2009, 05:44 PM
(i have no cat, am slim and reasonably healthy, don't have any breathing/chest etc issues in the slightest.)
http://www.dissensus.com/showthread.php?t=4794

nomadthethird
19-10-2009, 05:46 PM
One thing you could do is write down your dreams. I found this took me up to the limits of what is rational, in that there are seperate parts of me with distinct agendas that seems to know more than I do (consciously). You can say this is just my "subconscious" giving me messages - and I might agree with you - but the model of the subconscious to explain what happens isn't one I've encountered in any rationalist discourse. The model required would have to show the subconscious as very rich, very active, and capable of processing events and dispensing clear advice - it's much more than the dumping ground of the day's events with a few random Freudian impulses. It's still pretty alarming when you're given a clear message and then woken up at 4 in the morning. Well, the first few times anyway.

Well, there's a difference between "unconscious" and "subconscious" in psychoanalysis.

But I'd be wary of dismissing the whole psychoanalytical discourse as overly "rational", especially if you don't have any experience with it. If anything, most "scientist" types (if there are indeed "types" of people who are more rational than others-- I'd question this, too) think psychoanalysis is far too preoccupied with the unconscious and "irrational" motivating forces that aren't physiological and biomedical.

Edit: Scott sounds kind of like sleep paralysis. I get "electric dreams" from my seizure meds (I think, not really sure to be honest). Really really bizarre.

scottdisco
19-10-2009, 05:58 PM
big big love to Massrock and Nomad re the paralysis, that sounds very likely

cheers guys, very interesting :cool:

actually my brother's partner gets this a lot, come to think

viktorvaughn
19-10-2009, 06:22 PM
big big love to Massrock and Nomad re the paralysis, that sounds very likely

cheers guys, very interesting :cool:

actually my brother's partner gets this a lot, come to think

yeah i get that every month on so. it's pretty scary! You know you are awake but can't move. I have found the more i have ahd it the less scary it is as you know what is happening. I also have this thing where sometimes for the first 3 or 4 seconds after i wake up whatever i am looking at my brain makes into a person, cloths on the floor, coats on the back of the door, furniture, shadows whatever.

DannyL
19-10-2009, 06:34 PM
But I'd be wary of dismissing the whole psychoanalytical discourse as overly "rational", especially if you don't have any experience with it. If anything, most "scientist" types (if there are indeed "types" of people who are more rational than others-- I'd question this, too) think psychoanalysis is far too preoccupied with the unconscious and "irrational" motivating forces that aren't physiological and biomedical.



Yeah, but that's just what I'm talking about - I haven't encountered many models - psychoanalytical, scientific or otherwise, that account for, or take seriously, the experiences I'm talking about.

padraig (u.s.)
19-10-2009, 06:40 PM
what i am for is indetermincy, intuition, empathy, emotional logic, music, the sensuality of incense and ritual, the poetry of shadows, a spirit world interwoven with the everyday, folk tales like endless tapestry which saturates every aspect of life

I don't see how any of that is mutually exclusive with science. intuition is a key facet of scientific inquiry. some of the other stuff, not so much, but no one (except you, accusing other ppl of saying it) has ever said that myths & folklore & whatever are bad in & of themselves.


you can call it "exoticizing the other" if you want to. makes not the slightest of differences to me or the people who get it and appreciate it.

well it's not your attitude (or mine) that really matters, is it. I'm just saying, for a dude who has, to paraphrase, "a bone to pick with colonialism", you get into some pretty sketchy areas. I'm sure it's all quite reverential & well-intentioned. anyway, whatever. it only bothers me when you use it (which isn't new, btw, Westerners appropriating bits & pieces of other cultures & shoving them all together into a decontextualized mess of misunderstanding) to accuse the dastardly villains of your strawmen Science/West/whatever of seeking to crush your spirit world in their grimly rational claws.


colonialism set [] peoples against each other is of huge importance, as is the re-writing of history

all undeniably true, but it is isn't as if things were "forward-thinking" specifically because b/c of being rooted in animism/tradition/spirituality/whatever nebulous forces Zhao is trying to get it. and, inversely, the flaws of the West weren't all rooted in rationalism. certainly some were/are in both (the transition from superstitious to pseudoscientific - pseudo mind you - anti-Semitism around the late 19th/early 20th century comes to mind) but not systematically in either case. which is the counter-argument you'd really need to be making.

grizzleb
19-10-2009, 09:24 PM
Yeah, but that's just what I'm talking about - I haven't encountered many models - psychoanalytical, scientific or otherwise, that account for, or take seriously, the experiences I'm talking about.What about quantum physics? You can shoe-horn in any old shite into that epistemological black hole.

I always found psychoanalytic discourse, though not without it's own problems to be good fun for talking about this sort of thing more than anything else. I wouldn't say the point is that it's 'accurate' in any scientific sense, more than it lets you look at things from a variety of viewpoints etc.

I lucid dream quite frequently, used to do it more when I took 5-htp regularly for depression. Was amazing, the richest most colourful things I've ever seen. Pretty awe inspiring, and you end up waking up laughing. Would recommend it to anyone.

DannyL
19-10-2009, 09:36 PM
I don't think introducing quantum physics into the debate helpful -see your second sentence. I don't think it's got any power to explain what I'm talking about.

grizzleb
19-10-2009, 09:37 PM
I was joking.

grizzleb
19-10-2009, 09:49 PM
well it's not your attitude (or mine) that really matters, is it. I'm just saying, for a dude who has, to paraphrase, "a bone to pick with colonialism", you get into some pretty sketchy areas. I'm sure it's all quite reverential & well-intentioned. anyway, whatever. it only bothers me when you use it (which isn't new, btw, Westerners appropriating bits & pieces of other cultures & shoving them all together into a decontextualized mess of misunderstanding) to accuse the dastardly villains of your strawmen Science/West/whatever of seeking to crush your spirit world in their grimly rational claws.
I think what's interesting about our current position, is that culturally, you can appropriate whatever you like and take it on as something that 'for you' is valid, we in the (and I know it doens't fully apply but hey) rational, scientific, west use culture as a formless base on which you can pick and choose what you like, and science sits untouched at the top. So you can be into american indian culture and pop idol without any clashes. You couldn't be (authentically) simply both a tibetan monk and an african tribesman, but with mediation from western cultural relativism you can dip your toes into all those waters and more. The problem is there isn't any 'authentic' cultural experience anymore, that is, opera is just fat people singing and a native dance is just people bashing drums, the sublime isn't there anymore, it all becomes twee and naive (when engaged in by people who truly beleive in it as viewed from the outside).

So culture becomes not important in looking for answers and becomes about some sort of personality/lifestyle choice, when culture really in many ways is authentically about the abscence of choice, or a shared choice of a community which evolves over time.

martin
19-10-2009, 09:57 PM
I tried writing down my dreams once. But multiple plane crashes, Hitler still being alive, a woman who can turn into a wheelbarrow at will. loads of fictional records (I still need to hear "Spiderman Goes Mad" by Prince Jammy) and endless trawls through massive office complexes / embassies didn't really bond into anything constructive for me. Lucid dreaming sounds like fun though, do you actually get physical sensations when you do it?

grizzleb
19-10-2009, 10:00 PM
That's an interesting question - where do your dreams usually take place? Borgesian infinite shopping malls are a common locale in mine.

Slothrop
19-10-2009, 10:05 PM
and, inversely, the flaws of the West weren't all rooted in rationalism.
Yeah, I think there's a definite conflation of rationalism (or at least empiricism), materialism (in both the technical and popular senses) and yer generic features of living in a specialized, urbanized, technology-rich society. I mean, I feel that I don't get enough connection with nature not because I don't believe in tree spirits but because I live in central london and do things with computers for a living.

And this is before we get into the vaguely early-20th-century mass-culture-theory view of the dull, sheep like working classes^w^w masses with their menial, joyless existence and dull inauthentic pleasures...

nomadthethird
19-10-2009, 10:06 PM
I think what's interesting about our current position, is that culturally, you can appropriate whatever you like and take it on as something that 'for you' is valid, we in the (and I know it doens't fully apply but hey) rational, scientific, west use culture as a formless base on which you can pick and choose what you like, and science sits untouched at the top. So you can be into american indian culture and pop idol without any clashes. You couldn't be (authentically) simply both a tibetan monk and an african tribesman, but with mediation from western cultural relativism you can dip your toes into all those waters and more. The problem is there isn't any 'authentic' cultural experience anymore, that is, opera is just fat people singing and a native dance is just people bashing drums, the sublime isn't there anymore, it all becomes twee and naive (when engaged in by people who truly beleive in it as viewed from the outside).

So culture becomes not important in looking for answers and becomes about some sort of personality/lifestyle choice, when culture really in many ways is authentically about the abscence of choice, or a shared choice of a community which evolves over time.

I think this is basically correct but also somewhat of an oversimplification. I don't think we lack "culture" or a coherent one that binds people together. I just think we lack indigenous culture(s) plural as we move more towards a global culture. There are bad things about this but there are good things about it.

grizzleb
19-10-2009, 10:13 PM
I think this is basically correct but also somewhat of an oversimplification. I don't think we lack "culture" or a coherent one that binds people together. I just think we lack indigenous culture(s) plural as we move more towards a global culture. There are bad things about this but there are good things about it.Yeah totally, I was trying to think that out more than anything else. I mean, I don't think it's all bad at all, just interesting how polymorphous culture is nowadays. The relationship between inauthenticity/authenticity is a pernickety one too.

You could argue the person who reads books about native indian american culture, owns a dream catcher (heh) etc is more authentically dedicated/appreciative of that culture than the people who are born into it who don't really think about it at all!

mistersloane
19-10-2009, 10:20 PM
I tried writing down my dreams once. But multiple plane crashes, Hitler still being alive, a woman who can turn into a wheelbarrow at will. loads of fictional records (I still need to hear "Spiderman Goes Mad" by Prince Jammy) and endless trawls through massive office complexes / embassies didn't really bond into anything constructive for me. Lucid dreaming sounds like fun though, do you actually get physical sensations when you do it?

Um good question, cant really remember? I remember doing all the things you shouldn't do - tried to kill myself, (woke up), burnt down my dream house, sacked my Guardian Angel. I dunno why I stopped it actually, I had a whale of a time. I was reading AJJ Ratcliff's History of Dreams at the time, and writing down all mine. I think cos I was concentrating on them so much during the day that it just naturally passes that you'll be more aware of being in the dream when you're asleep.

A good tip is to have a mnemonic so you realise you're dreaming - i.e if you take a lick of salt before you go to bed, chances are at some point in the dream you'll be thirsty, and then you remember that you had the lick of salt, and suddenly you realise you're dreaming. It's really beautiful.

nomadthethird
20-10-2009, 12:55 AM
I had a dream after reading this really great queer theory book with a chapter about necrophilia that I was in this part of a lab in the zinc mine where my father used to work, but as soon as you got underground, it blended into the Metropolitan Museum of Art. There were mummies there on display, with those really nice gallery lights shining on them.

Anyway, at a certain point, the "guide" I was with gave us all a piece of a mummy which we all ate and I remember very distinctly how realistic the texture was and the taste. I could feel the fibers that had made up the hard shell of some kind of wrapping, which had long since fused with the dead tissues, disintegrating in my mouth.

So really it was about eating dead people instead of sleeping with them, but still pretty wacked out especially because it was so vivid I can still remember the whole thing like it was a film I was in.

I don't know if the ancient Egyptians believed in eating the dead. Maybe I saw that on the History channel or something. Or on a Sun Ra film.

I notice that if I eat weird things before I fall asleep sometimes I get bad dreams.

Mr. Tea
20-10-2009, 01:33 AM
I notice that if I eat weird things..

What, like dead Egyptians?

pattycakes
20-10-2009, 03:18 AM
if you dont have any dead egyptians lying around, some nice old stinky blue cheese can work as a decent alternative

zhao
20-10-2009, 12:46 PM
funny how people get defensive and personally worked up (victor vaughn tries to attack my personality, nomad with her usual reductivist psych and character assassination, Tea egging her on, Padraig with the insults, etc) when i say a simple think like modern society has lost rich and wonderful dimensions of life, and that this loss has to do with the privileging of rationality since the Enlightenment in Europe and the suppression of spiritualist world views.

none of what i said is new, many thinkers like the Frankfurt School and the Situationists, etc, etc, have said things along these lines, that "modern life" lacks a sense of mystery. these notions are pretty common place in the critical tradition.


I could say that Western rationalism has fueled your education, your profession, the laptop you chatter away on, your DJ gigs, your entire existence as a self-described "urban nomad", and on & on, but what's the point? you are all the anarchopunk bands I grew up with, selling vinyl to pay for gasoline so you can tour around & shout about who much you hate consumerism and car culture, only in a different context with different things to shout about and different things to sell.

dissapointed to see this rudimentarily falty logic coming from you. according to this, if someone has a job he can not criticize capitalism. pure rubbish.



I'm quite happy to be into science, actually, and so are most of the people I know who study or teach or work in a scientific field. if anything, science opens up your imagination to limitless possibilities. which is why it's especially ironic that you think it does the opposite.

I wonder if you've ever been to a place where people don't believe in science. where having sex with virgins is supposed to be a cure for AIDS, for example. or simply to place where people actually are impoverished.

you falsely simplify my stance as "against science".

and predictably (not to mention borishly) you start with the Vigin Cure for Aids to demonstrate the backwardsness of superstitious society, insinuating that a close connection with a spirit world can pretty much lead to nothing but misery.

typical western conceit born of ignorance and fear.

you've been to Mexico, and i don't think you can deny (or maybe you can) that the spiritual traditions there make life very colourful, rich, and full of wonder. in ways that are lost in Strip Mall Culture. i'm sure there are some bad things about these older belief systems too, but i am addressing the good things in this thread, which are IMO largely neglected in "progressive" anti-spiritual doctrine.


Alienation and Animism (http://medicalhypotheses.blogspot.com/2007/07/alienation-and-animism.html)

"Animism is spontaneous, the ‘natural’ way of thinking for humans: all humans began as animistic children and for most of human evolutionary history would have grown into animistic adults. It requires sustained, prolonged and pervasive formal education to ‘overwrite’ animistic thinking with the rationalistic objectivity typical of the modern world. It is this learned abstraction that creates alienation – humans are no longer embedded in a world of social relations but become estranged, adrift in a world of indifferent things."

this is indeed interesting. thanks for posting. but of course nomad tries to dismiss it as "unscientific". what a bore.



What should i do in my life practically to move more towards the model you describe. I am genuinely curious to see what i behind all the general poetic hyperbole.

well this thread was not intended as 12 Steps To Introduce A Sense of Wonder and Mystery In Your Life, but that is of course a valid question. it's difficult in this day and age, where all mystery has been sucked out by compartmentalization or commodified, relegated to the area of "entertainment", and rendered impotent, but maybe:

bring back more ritual
go about life and fun with more of a trickster mentality
dress up as demons not on holloween
do inexplicable things without explanation
flash mobs
improvised music outside of concert halls
spontaneous dancing in public places
unplanned concerts
dadaist crazy shit
weird public sculptures
unofficial performance art
creativity outside official channels...



One example that sticks in my mind is how the Dahomey (I think) had more equal (if different) social roles for women int eh 16th century than many European countries several centuries later. Once it became a full-on raiding and slaving state, this all went to shit.

i have mentioned similar things before, in particular a letter from a first wave German collonialist in Africa to Europe saying


these people are so primitive, the leaders consult their women on major decisions!

which was of course seen as an attempt on my part to paint a fantastic African Utopia.

no, i am aware of the bad things about traditional cultures, all I'm saying is that there are ALSO amazing riches about them that modern life has lost (and practices more "advanced" than current thinking) -- and that these are not talked about nearly as much as the "evils of superstition".

and one of my fundamentalist beliefs is that science, as it advances, is absolutely not mutually exclusive with a spiritualist world view. many things such as ancient teachings on the interconnectedness of all things are being "proven" in quantum mechanics. etc.
jesus i'm spending way too much time on this.

padraig (u.s.)
20-10-2009, 02:14 PM
according to this, if someone has a job he can not criticize capitalism.

sure, but if that someone is an investment banker than their criticisms ring hollow &, further, don't make much sense. if you follow. or, if you don't - you are directly & heavily invested in the culture you rail against. & no one's forcing you to be either.

criticize all you want, just don't expect people to take you seriously when you do. have cake, eat it too, can't do both, etc


you start with the Vigin Cure for Aids to demonstrate the backwardsness of superstitious society, insinuating that a close connection with a spirit world can pretty much lead to nothing but misery.

no, that was only an example to counter your romanticization of "non-rational" cultures. there are, again, positives & negatives associated with each belief system.


you've been to Mexico, and i don't think you can deny (or maybe you can) that the spiritual traditions there make life very colourful, rich, and full of wonder.

there are many things there that make life colorful and rich. some of them are spiritual traditions. there are many things there that make life oppressive and awful. some of them are spiritual traditions.

padraig (u.s.)
20-10-2009, 02:27 PM
bring back more ritual...

well, yes, clearly having an unsanctioned dadaist dance party outside the Tate Modern would reintroduce the mysterious into our lives.

nomadthethird
20-10-2009, 02:28 PM
Since when is it an "insult" to suggest or admit that things from the past affect us? I'm nothing but forthright about my own "issues", for fuck's sake.

It's stuff like this that's just...oh dear:


typical western conceit born of ignorance and fear.

Huh?

Fear of what? Your cheesy insistence that dressing up in costumes is going to enrich our lives?

All of these people who insist that the only way to "happiness" or spiritual nirvana or whatever, utopia, is the further aestheticization of everyday life are just full of it. And by "it" I mean narcissism.

Lots of leftists do it. Zhao isn't the only one, even though, yeah, I realize the commies wouldn't probably think of him as one of theirs. But he's still on the spectrum hovering somewhere near anarchopunk.

How about using your time and money to help AIDS orphans and shutting the fuck up for a second until you do. Get a real project, and by real project I mean one that's not about making yourself full of "wonder" and childlike glee, but one that's about really making the world a better place for those who are underprivileged (and not exoticizing their miserable lives or telling them what revolution they should want to have because you think they should want it).

zhao
20-10-2009, 02:43 PM
Fear of what?

the irrational, non-rational, or what you perceive as that.

europe only emerged from the horrid backwards ways a few hundred years ago. and this fear of "superstitions" largely stems from that.

Pestario
20-10-2009, 02:45 PM
I'd agree re. lucid dreaming all the time. I wonder if you'd be tired if you did it constantly? Not switching your brane off.

I got a bit bored with it tbh - all I used to do was fly around and then shag someone.

I spent about a month trying to lucid dream and after a while I did have a few dreams where it felt like I had control but I had this sneaking suspicion that I was just dreaming that I was lucid dreaming. Is that possible? How would you tell the difference?

btw I did fly and shag people most of the time ha ha

nomadthethird
20-10-2009, 02:53 PM
the irrational, non-rational, or what you perceive as that.

europe only emerged from the horrid backwards ways a few hundred years ago. and this fear of "superstitions" largely stems from that.

For fuck's sake, the Catholic Church still owns a whole city over there that's the wealthiest nation in the world.

Superstition is alive and well in the West.

If there's anything to be "afraid" of, we've got it in our own backyard.

You make no sense. You are not making a coherent argument.

Mr. Tea
20-10-2009, 03:39 PM
when i say a simple think like modern society has lost rich and wonderful dimensions of life, and that this loss has to do with the privileging of rationality since the Enlightenment in Europe and the suppression of spiritualist world views.

You know what I think is a rich and wonderful dimension of life? The Internet. No, seriously, for all the anime rape porn and 4chan and pointless MySpace pages and recruitment sites for white power dickheads and jihadis and whatnot, there's a universe of interesting, worthwhile stuff that most people would never have come across otherwise. Places like (at the risk of sounding corny) Dissensus. If "we" (meaning the developed world, "the West" or whatever) have lost things, it's only fair to recognise that we're gained things too, right? Culture doesn't have to be steeped in archaic tradition to have worth, you know.

And as others have pointed out, you're as intimately plugged into this world as anyone here. Maybe that's why you get so worked up about it: your po-mo insistence on having it both ways. Yet when we really get down to it, I think it's this insistence that is perhaps the most "Western" syndrome of all; the idea of having lost something immensely precious, which those lucky impoverished* spiritual people retain, and wanting to get back to it while at the same time hanging on to your blog and your laptop and your iPhone and your turntables...I know you were born in China but I think if someone were to slice you down the middle you'd have "Made in L.A." printed all the way through you like a piece of souvenir candy.



none of what i said is new, many thinkers like the Frankfurt School and the Situationists, etc, etc, have said things along these lines, that "modern life" lacks a sense of mystery. these notions are pretty common place in the critical tradition.

As I said in my first post in this thread, mystery is where you find it. There's no reason why anyone's life should be bereft of mystery if they have any sense of poetry in them at all. I still think lightning is cool as fuck even though I have a vague idea that it's caused by air currents and electric charge buildups, rather than because the sky god is angry. And I'm sorry but belief in electrons is not "equivalent" or "complimentary" to belief in sky gods. When you say "mystery" meaning "belief in spirits and unseen forces", I think you're in danger of confusing mystery with ignorance.


*Yes, before you say it, there may still be small groups of people here and there who live in 'original affluence', I'm not denying or dismissing it. But they're hugely outnumbered by people who live in slums and decaying townships.

baboon2004
20-10-2009, 04:07 PM
As I said in my first post in this thread, mystery is where you find it. There's no reason why anyone's life should be bereft of mystery if they have any sense of poetry in them at all. I still think lightning is cool as fuck even though I have a vague idea that it's caused by air currents and electric charge buildups, rather than because the sky god is angry. .

Indeed. I think it's reductive of humans' capacity to hold two ideas simultaneously (to be reductive, the 'mystical' and the 'scientific'), to suggest otherwise. That's one of the great things about being human, to see a thing from several entirely different perspectives, and not necessarily think them contradictory.

I think the popular image of the ovelry- rationalist, unimaginative scientist has a lot to answer for. It's a stereotype as any other.

And what about (to take a random example) Ghanaian physicists, for example - where do they fit into this debate?

scottdisco
20-10-2009, 04:11 PM
Indeed. I think it's reductive of humans' capacity to hold two ideas simultaneously (to be reductive, the 'mystical' and the 'scientific'), to suggest otherwise. That's one of the great things about being human, to see a thing from several entirely different perspectives, and not necessarily think them contradictory.

I think the popular image of the ovelry- rationalist, unimaginative scientist has a lot to answer for. It's a stereotype as any other.

And what about (to take a random example) Ghanaian physicists, for example - where do they fit into this debate?


Do I contradict myself?
Very well, then, I contradict myself;
(I am large—I contain multitudes.)

- Whitman

nomadthethird
20-10-2009, 05:51 PM
And what about (to take a random example) Ghanaian physicists, for example - where do they fit into this debate?

Thank you! Exactly.

Lydia Makhubu (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lydia_Makhubu) comes to mind (http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/282/5386/41).

grizzleb
20-10-2009, 06:14 PM
Thank you! Exactly.

Lydia Makhubu (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lydia_Makhubu) comes to mind (http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/282/5386/41).
They've been blinded, they don't appreciate the beauty of female circumcision and witch hunts.

zhao
20-10-2009, 06:27 PM
again, no one is saying scientists lack imagination. and no one said there are no scientists in Indonesia or Malawi. you are putting words in my mouth.

what i have been saying is modern society with its rationalist bias lacks many kinds of mystery and sense of wonder found in traditional cultures.

the worlds described by Salmon Rushdie, Italo Calvino, Gabriel Garc&#237;a M&#225;rquez, for instance. or the films of Apichatpong Weerasethakuls. i wish Chaotropic would relate more of his first hand experiences in Mongolia, Thailand, the Amazons. there are wonderful things about these different world views (as well as not so wonderful or downright fucked up).

i never said everything about life in these cultures is preferable to ours. all I'm saying is that there is a richness, a mystical dimension which is lost to us.

grizzleb
20-10-2009, 06:41 PM
again, no one is saying scientists lack imagination. and no one said there are no scientists in Indonesia or Malawi. you are putting words in my mouth.

what i have been saying is modern society with its rationalist bias lacks many kinds of mystery and sense of wonder found in traditional cultures.

the worlds described by Salmon Rushdie, Italo Calvino, Gabriel García Márquez, for instance. or the films of Apichatpong Weerasethakuls. i wish Chaotropic would relate more of his first hand experiences in Mongolia, Thailand, the Amazons. there are wonderful things about these different world views (as well as not so wonderful or downright fucked up).

i never said everything about life in these cultures is preferable to ours. all I'm saying is that there is a richness, a mystical dimension which is lost to us.
I'd say that that mysterious quality of other cultures is one ascribed by you from the outside, ignoring the short lives and drudgery that often occurs in such places. And that that mysteriousness/romance is alive in the west, precisley through those authors you namecheck. Calvino, Marquez et al are truly where that romance/mystery lies.

baboon2004
20-10-2009, 07:00 PM
again, no one is saying scientists lack imagination. and no one said there are no scientists in Indonesia or Malawi. you are putting words in my mouth.

the worlds described by Salmon Rushdie, Italo Calvino, Gabriel García Márquez, for instance. or the films of Apichatpong Weerasethakuls. i wish Chaotropic would relate more of his first hand experiences in Mongolia, Thailand, the Amazons. there are wonderful things about these different world views (as well as not so wonderful or downright fucked up).


fair enough - it was just a genuine question rather than a rhetorical question.

I WAY prefer Chaotropic's writings to either Rushdie or Calvino, I must say. Marquez I quite like. Who's the director you named - not familiar with him or her?

Mr. Tea
20-10-2009, 07:56 PM
Zhao, just what are you getting at here? That people with a rationalist world view are unable to appreciate fantasy or magic realist fiction? Or that a writer like Rushdie actually believes he inhabits a world full of ghosts and witches, directed by the ineffable forces of fate and prophecy, just because he writes novels in that kind of milieu?

zhao
20-10-2009, 08:59 PM
I'd say that that mysterious quality of other cultures is one ascribed by you from the outside, ignoring the short lives and drudgery that often occurs in such places.

if you say that you would be wrong. i grew up experiencing first hand a culture much closer to what i am talking about. and for the hundredth time i don't ignore anything. do you know how to read? one more time: i am not painting a picture of perfect spritualist societies. i am saying there are many good things about these cultures which are lost. well aware of the bad things.


Who's the director you named - not familiar with him or her?

Apichatpong Weerasethakul (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apichatpong_Weerasethakul)
http://i626.photobucket.com/albums/tt347/frank_tj_mackey/MysteriousObject.jpg http://www.asiaarts.ucla.edu/media/images/tropical&#37;20malady.jpg


And that that mysteriousness/romance is alive in the west, precisley through those authors you namecheck. Calvino, Marquez et al are truly where that romance/mystery lies.

Zhao, just what are you getting at here? That people with a rationalist world view are unable to appreciate fantasy or magic realist fiction? Or that a writer like Rushdie actually believes he inhabits a world full of ghosts and witches, directed by the ineffable forces of fate and prophecy, just because he writes novels in that kind of milieu?

you clearly have never been to India have you? do you think Rushdie invented everything in his books in his head? no. they are works which draw upon the rich mystical traditions in India.

i don't think you have a clue of what exactly i am describing. if you ever do go to a place like Java or Mongolia or India or parts of China, with an open mind, and stay a while and hang out with locals and absorb some of the local culture, you will experience for yourself. and if not, you will likely never understand.

grizzleb
20-10-2009, 09:02 PM
I find that sort of tourism a little repulsive tbh, so I won't be bothering.

Give the natives some nice dollars make them do traditional dances for you. Feel spiritual awakening. I prefer trying to find my way here...More difficult but more rewarding IMO.

pattycakes
20-10-2009, 09:24 PM
jeez, what a bitchfest

Mr. Tea
20-10-2009, 10:34 PM
you clearly have never been to India have you? do you think Rushdie invented everything in his books in his head? no. they are works which draw upon the rich mystical traditions in India.

Oh gods, here we go again...I wasn't talking about where Rushdie gets his inspiration from, and I'll ask you not to patronise me by talking about rich mystical traditions as if I was unaware of any such thing. The point is, they are myths, which is to say STORIES, which is to say NOT LITERALLY TRUE. I would guess that Rushdie, being evidently an extremely clever, knowledgeable and highly educated person of the modern world, is aware of this. That obviously does not compromise his ability to tell entrancing stories that draw on that tradition. The fact that I'm aware of it does not compromise my ability to enjoy those stories. Seriously, you have heard of the concepts of metaphor and allegory, haven't you?

And you can cope with the idea that it's possible to value and take an interest in people's myths and beliefs without literally believing in them? I'm interested in all kinds of old stories and legends, I find it fascinating, but I'm aware that stories and legends is exactly what they are.



i don't think you have a clue of what exactly i am describing. if you ever do go to a place like Java or Mongolia or India or parts of China, with an open mind, and stay a while and hang out with locals and absorb some of the local culture, you will experience for yourself. and if not, you will likely never understand.

Oh do me a fucking favour, mate. Sometimes you sound up yourself I think if I ever met you in the flesh you'd resemble a sort of human ouroboros.

nomadthethird
20-10-2009, 10:37 PM
again, no one is saying scientists lack imagination. and no one said there are no scientists in Indonesia or Malawi. you are putting words in my mouth.

what i have been saying is modern society with its rationalist bias lacks many kinds of mystery and sense of wonder found in traditional cultures.

the worlds described by Salmon Rushdie, Italo Calvino, Gabriel García Márquez, for instance. or the films of Apichatpong Weerasethakuls.

You do realize that you just said that modern societies lack wonder and imagination, then as examples of what those two qualities would be like you cited three contemporary writers, two of them distinctly "Western"-- right?

Apparently a sense of mystery and wonder are not completely "lost" to us...

nomadthethird
20-10-2009, 10:38 PM
i grew up experiencing first hand a culture much closer to what i am talking about.

You grew up in Communist China, bro.


they are works which draw upon the rich mystical traditions in India.


Ah yes. One of those rich traditions, where children who are born with serious medical conditions are denied treatment because the monkey gods would get angry that way.

zhao
20-10-2009, 10:44 PM
and round and round in circles we go...

nomadthethird
20-10-2009, 10:56 PM
Yeah, it's notoriously difficult to break through circular reasoning.

padraig (u.s.)
20-10-2009, 11:09 PM
i don't think you have a clue of what exactly i am describing. if you ever do go to a place like Java or Mongolia or India or parts of China, with an open mind, and stay a while and hang out with locals and absorb some of the local culture, you will experience for yourself. and if not, you will likely never understand.

and you wonder why you elicit such hostility. every time I want to be like "you know, I'm being too hard on Zhao" you bust out with one of these gems.

plus that shit is just awful. I'm sure the locals are just thrilled to have silly Westerners hanging around trying to "absorb their culture". going East for a spiritual quest is only the most trite, hackeneyed cliche in the playbook of New Age bullshit. seriously. if that's what reintroducing the mysterious into our lives is about, then count me the F out. jesus, it's even worse than the usual tropical fantasy escapist nonsense - at least those tourists are up front about the gross, commercial nature of what they're there for.

zhao
20-10-2009, 11:09 PM
I find that sort of tourism a little repulsive tbh, so I won't be bothering. Give the natives some nice dollars make them do traditional dances for you. Feel spiritual awakening.

The point is, they are myths, which is to say STORIES, which is to say NOT LITERALLY TRUE. I would guess that Rushdie, being evidently an extremely clever, knowledgeable and highly educated person of the modern world, is aware of this. That obviously does not compromise his ability to tell entrancing stories that draw on that tradition. The fact that I'm aware of it does not compromise my ability to enjoy those stories. Seriously, you have heard of the concepts of metaphor and allegory, haven't you?



Ah yes. One of those rich traditions, where children who are born with serious medical conditions are denied treatment because the monkey gods would get angry that way.


plus that shit is just awful. I'm sure the locals are just thrilled to have silly Westerners hanging around trying to "absorb their culture". going East for a spiritual quest is only the most trite, hackeneyed cliche in the playbook of New Age bullshit. seriously. if that's what reintroducing the mysterious into our lives is about, then count me the F out. jesus, it's even worse than the usual tropical fantasy escapist nonsense - at least those tourists are up front about the gross, commercial nature of what they're there for.

the irony here is that you all accuse me of unjustly painting a picture of western rationalists as insufferable uptight bores with no imagination, calcified pineal glands, sticks up their asses and nothing but negativity to share with the world, and yet you yourself do such a better job of it than i ever can. :D


jeez, what a bitchfest

hope it's at least marginally entertaining for you :D:D:D

padraig (u.s.)
20-10-2009, 11:12 PM
resemble a sort of human ourobos.

this made me laugh, quite a bit. (tho tbf I'm apt to start whinging on about politics & boring every f**ker at parties so hey) I think it's the obscurity of the reference.


Ah yes. One of those rich traditions, where children who are born with serious medical conditions are denied treatment because the monkey gods would get angry that way.

& this is wrong, very very wrong, but it made me laugh even harder.

padraig (u.s.)
20-10-2009, 11:15 PM
the irony here is

that you think you're being respectful to "rich", "mysterious" cultures by treating the people they belong to like mystical circus animals

Mr. Tea
20-10-2009, 11:58 PM
that you think you're being respectful to "rich", "mysterious" cultures by treating the people they belong to like mystical circus animals

http://www.istockphoto.com/file_thumbview_approve/2634771/2/istockphoto_2634771-hitting-a-nail-on-the-head.jpg

swears
21-10-2009, 12:05 AM
Hey you guys, what's going on in this thread, then?

scottdisco
21-10-2009, 12:12 AM
i got some very helpful information about sleep paralysis swears, i can tell you that much ;)

good to see you back, BTW!

Mr. Tea
21-10-2009, 12:16 AM
Zhao is proving that having been born in China is no impediment to being a dedicated Orientalist.

nomadthethird
21-10-2009, 12:23 AM
Hey you guys, what's going on in this thread, then?

Well, Swears, since you've been around for a while, you know it's gotta be one of two things:

1) Black Athena

or

2) The West has lost its way to the magical mystery tour that the East has been on for, like, forever

baboon2004
21-10-2009, 12:33 AM
Hey you guys, what's going on in this thread, then?

OT: The way you said that made me instantly think of Warren's comment in the last (brilliant) episode of This Life (oh, apart from that appalling reunion thing). Good work!

mistersloane
21-10-2009, 01:06 AM
OT: The way you said that made me instantly think of Warren's comment in the last (brilliant) episode of This Life (oh, apart from that appalling reunion thing). Good work!

I thought of the dormouse at the Tea Party, genius line swears.

CHAOTROPIC
21-10-2009, 01:43 AM
I think it's interesting that the more your try & nail down what's possible, the more it seems to squirm & twist away in the form of monsters, wonders, prodigies & anomalies. The interesting thing about actively searching for the anomalous, is you find it everywhere. People see strange things all the time. A zoologist can visit an area like the Kerinci highland jungle in Sumatra & see nothing but Muslim villages, tea plantations, &, maybe tigers. But the area is hopping with weird shit. I like to remain porous.

It's like, a psychiatrist burrows around & tries to map the topography of the mind. I'm trying to do the same with, what, mind in the world? Or dreams in the world. Which isn't to say that people don't really see stuff. Rather, the point isn't to find out if something is true or not, but to catalogue it, & hopefully, partake in it. It's another anomalous datapoint. Sahar the Weretiger is just as much an anomaly in Kerinci as he would be here.

Psychogeography is ...what ... a study of the resonances of a place, beyond the moment, beyond 'things'? I think cryptozoology does the same kindof thing. So I think you could call it 'psychozoology' & wouldn't be stretching the metaphor too far. I haven't written up my experiences yet because I fucking hate travelogues. Blah blah blah, holiday rubbish. The fact is, most of the people I talk to who really see weird shit, pygmy, herdsman, guide, they're just as shellshocked as me. When my team had a sighting of the Orang Pendek this year, Sahar the weretiger _cried for twenty minutes_.

Zhao, I think a zoology background might actually get in the way. The two guys who usually go with me, one is a naturalist, former zookeeper & professional cryptozoologist, the other is an astrophysics PhD & adventurer who spent two months of last year on holiday in Afghanistan. I studied architecture at Cambridge, wrestled for ten years & now work as a science writer & make dreadful music that everybody on this board would hate.

mistersloane
21-10-2009, 01:47 AM
& make dreadful music that everybody on this board would hate.

except mistersloane, wonk_vitesse and black tulip, certainly.

CHAOTROPIC
21-10-2009, 01:58 AM
except mistersloane, wonk_vitesse and black tulip, certainly.

I dunno, it's a bit self-indulgent, but ta :D

zhao
21-10-2009, 07:18 AM
I think it's interesting that the more your try & nail down what's possible, the more it seems to squirm & twist away in the form of monsters, wonders, prodigies & anomalies. The interesting thing about actively searching for the anomalous, is you find it everywhere. People see strange things all the time. A zoologist can visit an area like the Kerinci highland jungle in Sumatra & see nothing but Muslim villages, tea plantations, &, maybe tigers. But the area is hopping with weird shit. I like to remain porous.

It's like, a psychiatrist burrows around & tries to map the topography of the mind. I'm trying to do the same with, what, mind in the world? Or dreams in the world. Which isn't to say that people don't really see stuff. Rather, the point isn't to find out if something is true or not, but to catalogue it, & hopefully, partake in it. It's another anomalous datapoint. Sahar the Weretiger is just as much an anomaly in Kerinci as he would be here.

Psychogeography is ...what ... a study of the resonances of a place, beyond the moment, beyond 'things'? I think cryptozoology does the same kindof thing. So I think you could call it 'psychozoology' & wouldn't be stretching the metaphor too far. I haven't written up my experiences yet because I fucking hate travelogues. Blah blah blah, holiday rubbish. The fact is, most of the people I talk to who really see weird shit, pygmy, herdsman, guide, they're just as shellshocked as me. When my team had a sighting of the Orang Pendek this year, Sahar the weretiger _cried for twenty minutes_.


particular like what you say about the point not being "whether something is empirically true or not", but more to partake in the experience and the phenomenon.

and it is true anomalies are everywhere, much more than most people would like to admit, because they are disruptive of the neat little systems they have constructed.

zhao
21-10-2009, 07:21 AM
Zhao, I think a zoology background might actually get in the way. The two guys who usually go with me, one is a naturalist, former zookeeper & professional cryptozoologist, the other is an astrophysics PhD & adventurer who spent two months of last year on holiday in Afghanistan. I studied architecture at Cambridge, wrestled for ten years & now work as a science writer & make dreadful music that everybody on this board would hate.

well let me know if you need a painter/dj :D

zhao
21-10-2009, 07:30 AM
someone upthread (padraig?) said

there are good and bad things about every belief system
and all most people in the west want to do, as you lot have clearly demonstrated, is talk about the evils of "backwards", "spiritualist", "superstitious" cultures.

i am only trying to make things a bit more balanced and point out some of the wonderful things about mysticism in some traditional cultures. and of course this makes me, in your eyes, automatically an "orientalist" or "fake new age hippie".

whatever. this particular conversation grows tedius.

i know what i know. you don't believe me? why that is perfectly fine.

but i do hope someday sometime somewhere, Padraig, Tea, Nomad, something, some experience, undeniably outside of your world view, crosses your path. and i hope that you will be open minded and "porous" enough to notice and recognize it for what it is.

make fun all you want, your cynical sarcasm is commonplace and predictable.

(from memory)

Becoming Fluid
Becoming Porous
Becoming Music
Becoming Dance
Becoming Woman
Becoming Homeless
Becoming Schizophrenic
Becoming-Intense
Becoming-Animal
Becoming-Imperceptible

i see in many theorists' work an impulse to move away from stale rational heirarchical systems as they have been erected in the past few hundred years, i see a search for other logics, other modes of being beyond the ones proscribed by modern society. there is a connection here to the other world views which are more fluid and less cut and dry that i am talking about. whether you see it or not is not my problem.

one day i will embark on a journey
http://www.heall.com/images/in_search_of_the_miraculous_2.gif
but i think it started the day i was born.

mms
21-10-2009, 09:04 AM
someone upthread (padraig?) said

and all most people in the west want to do, as you lot have clearly demonstrated, is talk about the evils of "backwards", "spiritualist", "superstitious" cultures.

i am only trying to make things a bit more balanced and point out some of the wonderful things about mysticism in some traditional cultures. and of course this makes me, in your eyes, automatically an "orientalist" or "fake new age hippie".

whatever. this particular conversation grows tedius.

i know what i know. you don't believe me? why that is perfectly fine.

but i do hope someday sometime somewhere, Padraig, Tea, Nomad, something, some experience, undeniably outside of your world view, crosses your path. and i hope that you will be open minded and "porous" enough to notice and recognize it for what it is.

make fun all you want, your cynical sarcasm is commonplace and predictable.

(from memory)


i see in many theorists' work an impulse to move away from stale rational heirarchical systems as they have been erected in the past few hundred years, i see a search for other logics, other modes of being beyond the ones proscribed by modern society. there is a connection here to the other world views which are more fluid and less cut and dry that i am talking about. whether you see it or not is not my problem.

one day i will embark on a journey
http://www.heall.com/images/in_search_of_the_miraculous_2.gif
but i think it started the day i was born.

these are not balanced views, not being funny, but the people you accuse of cynicism etc, well they're the people who are trying to unravel, pull away from your polarisation and get to the more balanced views

I do kind of agree with you about mystery but i prefer lots of little mysteries, instead of great big mystery, its important to keep mysterious, it's boring to know everything, have an explantion for everything as some things just are, strange and chaotic and coincidental and thats pretty wonderful, and less neurotic than having to keep a check on them.

Also i find your noble savage goes spiritual kinda views paranoid and borderline racist like other ppl on this board, again they're hopeless stereotypes which denigrate for your own needs- also what are you really going to do about this, what is your journey, actually?
is it getting some books attending seminars and doing some laptop mixing or something, is this how you're improving this situation? Whats so mysterious about you?
These are weird views on the rational, nomad's point about these things being rational systems rings true, also worth pointing out that one measures a circle, beginning anywhere.


talking of ouspensky who you post a jpg of, ever heard any of gurdjeff's music?

Mr. Tea
21-10-2009, 10:02 AM
How's this for mysterious, then?

"The Bloop is the name given to an ultra-low frequency underwater sound detected by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration several times during the summer of 1997. The source of the sound remains unknown." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bloop)

Maybe there is in principle an explanation for this, and phenomena like it, that fits into our rational world view. Maybe there isn't and never will be. The former, if never found, is empirically indistinguishable from the latter. I love the idea that there's all this weird shit out there we can't understand or describe, it doesn't bother me at all (though zhao would apparently love to think it does).

Fits nicely into CT's cryptozoology thing, too. To say nothing of getting any self-respecting Cthulhu fan wet at the gills with blasphemous glee... :D

zhao
21-10-2009, 10:15 AM
ever heard any of gurdjeff's music?

yeah i love the massive piano box set (which are actually performed by a pupil of his), as well as the huge accordian collection (played by him i think). really subtle and beautiful. incidentally i was talking to Ilpo Väisänen quite a while back and he said the accordian CDs were on constant repeat at his home...

CHAOTROPIC
21-10-2009, 10:19 AM
How's this for mysterious, then?

"The Bloop is the name given to an ultra-low frequency underwater sound detected by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration several times during the summer of 1997. The source of the sound remains unknown." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bloop)

I'm just in the process of renaming my band & - no kidding - 'The Bloop' is right at the top of my list :D :D

zhao
21-10-2009, 10:22 AM
making the observation that life in many traditional cultures are saturated with the mysterious, mystical and occult compared to ours, which in many ways enrich (and in others restrict) life, does not equal exoticism or racism. :rolleyes:

zhao
21-10-2009, 10:34 AM
I'm just in the process of renaming my band & - no kidding - 'The Bloop' is right at the top of my list :D :D

got a myspace?

mms
21-10-2009, 11:18 AM
making the observation that life in many traditional cultures are saturated with the mysterious, mystical and occult compared to ours, which in many ways enrich (and in others restrict) life, does not equal exoticism or racism. :rolleyes:

the mysterious and occult is the default for alot of americans, not the mysterious and occult you want it seems.
whats a traditional culture i don't understand?

swears
21-10-2009, 11:28 AM
I like the idea of mystery, I used to to read the Fortean Times and books about "unexplained phenomena" as a kid, loved all that. I think I knew most of it was bullshit, but it was great in terms of being almost like modern-day folktales.

Everyone should have some mystery and magic in their lives: half remembered songs, melancholy/spooky feelings that you can't quite attach to a particular time or person, like grainy, overexposed video playing in your head. I was in the pub at the weekend and heard Fleetwood Mac's "Seven Wonders" over the crummy old stereo in there, and the chiming synth refrain brought back a flood of stuff like this to my mind.

DannyL
21-10-2009, 11:28 AM
Psychogeography is ...what ... a study of the resonances of a place, beyond the moment, beyond 'things'?

One of the reasons why Psychogeography is interesting is that it “makes strange” our everyday environment, often through the use of already available sources – historical documents, official papers, forgotten biographies - leavened with some personal experience, perhaps input from folklore and myth. You don’t have to go to Asia or Africa to encounter something a bit odd – it’s right on your doorstep – literally. I’ve been to India but I didn’t go on a spiritual quest, I always managed to find what I wanted right here. Bit uncomfortable with the projection of the mysterious onto Asian and African cultures. If you read any anthropological or comparative religious studies they are normally prefaced with accounts of how damaging this type of thinking has been, historically i.e. early Western Indologists projecting all their sexual fears onto Tantric practices – both prejudice and ignorance and part of the colonial power game.

mms
21-10-2009, 12:24 PM
I like the idea of mystery, I used to to read the Fortean Times and books about "unexplained phenomena" as a kid, loved all that. I think I knew most of it was bullshit, but it was great in terms of being almost like modern-day folktales.

Everyone should have some mystery and magic in their lives: half remembered songs, melancholy/spooky feelings that you can't quite attach to a particular time or person, like grainy, overexposed video playing in your head. I was in the pub at the weekend and heard Fleetwood Mac's "Seven Wonders" over the crummy old stereo in there, and the chiming synth refrain brought back a flood of stuff like this to my mind.

i buy it, it's great its a good read and takes a very fair hand, also covers things well with a historical perspective, dosn't get carried away and has good critical analysis as well as far out ideas.

baboon2004
21-10-2009, 12:34 PM
making the observation that life in many traditional cultures are saturated with the mysterious, mystical and occult compared to ours, which in many ways enrich (and in others restrict) life, does not equal exoticism or racism. :rolleyes:

what do you mean by 'traditional cultures' though? (Edit: sorry, I see mms already asked this). There are cultures based upon tradition in every country in the world - they're just traditional in different ways. You can still find the mysterious, mystical and occult in 'Western' societies if you look (just in different forms), and you can find rationalism and scientific enquiry in 'non-Western' societies. It's not a binary Culture-Nature world. There's tons of mystical folklore in the UK, for example, that lots of people still take notice of. Why do you think Stonehenge gets so many visitors? And certain forms of religion have to enter into this debate too, no? There's little more mysterious and mystical than something like speaking in tongues, after all... hell, mainstream religion is based upon folklore, and still has a pretty big following in the US.... (less so in the UK, must be said)

Contingent facts about the world led to Europe discovering gunpowder first etc, and therefore being able to exercise political and economic hegemony over the rest of the world, stymying African industrial development. Given different contingencies, Africa could have had the industrial revolution first (the continent had certainly done a lot of the groundwork by the time the Europeans fucked it all up), and it could have instantiated itself as the seat of the Rational, looking down upon Europeans with their essentialist Nature attributes and tales of Druids and magic stones. But that wouldn't mean that the African sense of the mysterious, mystical and occult would somehow be expunged from history - it would just co-exist in some form alongside science. As numerous people have said, there's not this neat separation between Science and the Mystical, between Culture and Nature. That's just colonial rhetoric that still informs many Westerners' thinking today about the 'backward' nature of the rest of the world, and allows the West to claim that AIDS became epidemic in Africa due to some supposed essential difference of Africans, and not because the Reagan administration delayed telling Africa about the imminent pandemic in the early 80s, until HIV cases had already reached critical mass in the continent.

Sorry for rambling. Point is - it seems to be human nature to essentialise difference between different societies, for various reasons (often to do with power structures, of course). But it's just doesn't allow for the true diversity within populations.

And (Chaotropic correct me if I'm wrong) searching for the Loch Ness monster in Scotland would be just as much a cryptozoological expedition as any in Sumatra. It's just interesting to go to Sumatra if you live in England! As Chaotropic said, the were-tiger guy is just as much an anomaly in Sumatra as he would be in the UK.

nomadthethird
21-10-2009, 12:40 PM
Psychozoology, or cryptozoology, as Chaotropic seems to be describing it here is an ethnological/ethnographic project, which does have an empirical basis.

It's a form of data collection, really. Unless there's no data collected and it's just for fun, which is possible, in which case, it's probably a cool hobby, but it's not professional cryptozoology, which would be a little different.

nomadthethird
21-10-2009, 12:44 PM
but i do hope someday sometime somewhere, Padraig, Tea, Nomad, something, some experience, undeniably outside of your world view, crosses your path. and i hope that you will be open minded and "porous" enough to notice and recognize it for what it is.


I was brought up with my grandmother reading my tea leaves for fuck's sake. I know all about your worldview.

Moving away from "rationality" is not that point in D&G, although moving away from hierarchical systems is. Herein lies your problem: you conflate the two.

DannyL
21-10-2009, 12:59 PM
You can still find the mysterious, mystical and occult in 'Western' societies if you look (just in different forms), and you can find rationalism and scientific enquiry in 'non-Western' societies.

The kind of "mysticism" (quotes 'cos I don't like the word) I'm most interested in is Hindu Tantra. I've shallowly dipped into the ocean of writing available, but any idea somehow "irrational", part of a binary against which you can contrast the West, is totally wrong . Reading someone like Ahbhivagupta for instance, is just as heavy as reading Betram Russell or Deleuze - he's logically consistent, extremly well argued and grounded in Eastern intellectual traditions that's totally invisble if we succumb to these cliches about the mystical East. IN fact, they are a product of intellectual traditions much older than ours - Abhinavagupta was writing in the 10th Century. It's as much as a challenge - if not more so - to read people like this as it is to grapple with any Western philosphies. The only way to make sense of it is if you totally reject these stupid binary divisions, and try and understand and value these things on their own terms.

zhao
21-10-2009, 01:00 PM
no time (have to design album cover) but just a small correction for now:


China discovering gunpowder first

nomadthethird
21-10-2009, 01:01 PM
You can still find the mysterious, mystical and occult in 'Western' societies if you look (just in different forms), and you can find rationalism and scientific enquiry in 'non-Western' societies.

The kind of "mysticism" (quotes 'cos I don't like the word) I'm most interested in is Hindu Tantra. I've shallowly dipped into the ocean of writing available, but any idea somehow "irrational" is totally wrong . Reading someone like Ahbhivagupta for instance - he's logically consistent, extremly well argued and grounded in Eastern intellectual traditions that's totally invisble if we succumb to these cliches about the mystical East. It's as much as a challenge - if not more so - to read people like this as it is to grapple with any Western philosphies. The only way to make sense of it is if you totally reject these stupid binary divisions, and recognise that's it coming from a completely different place intellectually, which has it's own challenges.

Bingo. Totally right. Wins thread.

How many times have I mentioned that I'm into tantra on here, at least as a general interest if not as a strict practice? And other forms of non-dualistic Hinduism from a philosophical perspective.

Quite a few. That's me, though, just dismissing every other rich tradition because I'm teh MEAN.

nomadthethird
21-10-2009, 01:04 PM
no time (have to design album cover) but just a small correction for now:

Yup, those unscientific, non-rational Asian folk, making sure they don't use science to discover things, so they can keep the world mysterious--that's ancient China for you!

baboon2004
21-10-2009, 01:07 PM
no time (have to design album cover) but just a small correction for now:

ah, fair enough, my bad! And China could've easily ending up colonising the Americas, for example, but for hisotrical contingency.

Okay then, discovering was incorrect - either way, the point that European hegemony over Africa proceeded from contingent military superiority.

baboon2004
21-10-2009, 01:11 PM
You can still find the mysterious, mystical and occult in 'Western' societies if you look (just in different forms), and you can find rationalism and scientific enquiry in 'non-Western' societies.

The kind of "mysticism" (quotes 'cos I don't like the word) I'm most interested in is Hindu Tantra. I've shallowly dipped into the ocean of writing available, but any idea somehow "irrational", part of a binary against which you can contrast the West, is totally wrong . Reading someone like Ahbhivagupta for instance, is just as heavy as reading Betram Russell or Deleuze - he's logically consistent, extremly well argued and grounded in Eastern intellectual traditions that's totally invisble if we succumb to these cliches about the mystical East. IN fact, they are a product of intellectual traditions much older than ours - Abhinavagupta was writing in the 10th Century. It's as much as a challenge - if not more so - to read people like this as it is to grapple with any Western philosphies. The only way to make sense of it is if you totally reject these stupid binary divisions, and try and understand and value these things on their own terms.

can add Arabic and Chinese (and no doubt many others') scientific discoveries to this too, as above.

random article to illustrate: http://www.saudiaramcoworld.com/issue/200703/rediscovering.arabic.science.htm#

mms
21-10-2009, 01:43 PM
Psychozoology, or cryptozoology, as Chaotropic seems to be describing it here is an ethnological/ethnographic project, which does have an empirical basis.

It's a form of data collection, really. Unless there's no data collected and it's just for fun, which is possible, in which case, it's probably a cool hobby, but it's not professional cryptozoology, which would be a little different.

yes all these things cryptozoology, ufo interest, ghosthunting etc, when the'yre not done by self serving egoists and wanna be phoney cult leaders, and the kind of people that come up with mad arguments in order to shun everyone else off as unspiritual, therefore illuminating themselves in the yellowish light of their own soliphism ahem...are mainly about investigation, witness collection, proof, myth collection, historical background, geography, background, possible explanation. A range of methods ( the fun part) to try to come to a sense of conclusion or many.

And yes britain like most other countries is full of these things, the big british one i guess is big cats.

Just wondering what you do when you see something deeply mysterious, do you just sit back and admire it?

Mr. Tea
21-10-2009, 01:47 PM
The tags list for this thread includes "sweaty anal sex" (is there any other kind?) and "broad cumbucket". Now THAT'S mystery.

padraig (u.s.)
21-10-2009, 02:17 PM
i am only trying to make things a bit more balanced and point out some of the wonderful things about mysticism in some traditional cultures.

no, you also have a weird obsession with claiming that anyone who doesn't agree with you is some variety of close-minded, bigoted, etc. as well as advancing asinine, nonsensical arguments in the most arrogant manner possible.

let me be as clear as possible

you are not blowing anyone's mind with your incredibly lame, patronizing, 4th-rate take on spiritualism. you're soft-peddling some sophomoric version of all the same stuff we're supposed to be having our minds blown by. no one here is waiting for a Road to Damascus mysticism moment but you, b/c you're the only one who's so incredibly insecure about it.

it's particularly offensive b/c, once again, it's some arrogant Western dude claiming to speak for the traditional, or the indigenous. or whatever. you don't even know anyway. I guess it would be worse if you weren't so utterly clueless about how awful 90% of what you say sounds.

grizzleb
21-10-2009, 02:29 PM
I'm starting to feel sorry for zhao, that was internet abuse of the highest order.

zhao
21-10-2009, 02:53 PM
don't feel sorry for me! i'm not the one that should watch his blood pressure :)

if padraig wants to read a bunch of imaginary bullshit into my simple statements and get worked up about it that's his problem.

(was i ever trying to "blow minds"? no. did i claim to "speak for" anyone? no.)

i like some aspects of "superstitious" "spiritualist" culture, and think life would be richer with them. if that offends some people's progressive liberal sensibilities, well that's just too bad :D

people got their issues, if spewing bile makes them feel better, i'm all for it.

i know what i know. i love what i love. my inspirations inform my art, my convictions guide me through life. i will continue to seek and to create, and no amount of negativity and hate can change that.

mms
21-10-2009, 03:20 PM
don't feel sorry for me! i'm not the one that should watch his blood pressure :)

if padraig wants to read a bunch of imaginary bullshit into my simple statements and get worked up about it that's his problem.

(was i ever trying to "blow minds"? no. did i claim to "speak for" anyone? no.)

i like some aspects of "superstitious" "spiritualist" culture, and think life would be richer with them. if that offends some people's progressive liberal sensibilities, well that's just too bad :D

people got their issues, if spewing bile makes them feel better, i'm all for it.

i know what i know. i love what i love. my inspirations inform my art, my convictions guide me through life. i will continue to seek and to create, and no amount of negativity and hate can change that.


yes as long as the whole experience has helped with your development as a superior being thts all good.

baboon2004
21-10-2009, 03:21 PM
i like some aspects of "superstitious" "spiritualist" culture, and think life would be richer with them..

I think everyone here does have some fascination for the Mysterious, really - there's fairly unanimous agreement on that point. But (i) the Mysterious bleeds into the Rational (physics is a great example of this, as is what DannyL says on this page), and, (ii) even if they are taken as discrete concepts, both are present all over the world, with no one region/continent having a privileged position upon either of them.

DannyL
21-10-2009, 03:42 PM
Actually people like Richard Dawkins (I kind of hate the way his name gets used in every one of these debates, as if one always has to think about and genuflect to his opinion) do seem to have a marked hostility towards the mysterious and the irrational. I was really enjoying his Unweaving the Rainbow until a slightly mad section where he claims the X Files functions as propaganda for "the irrational" and compares it to racism. That's not a man who is comfortable with mystery.

I would genuinely love to hear what he makes of something like surrealism.

DannyL
21-10-2009, 03:44 PM
Not saying that about anyone here though, obvs.

And on reflection that book does spend too much time railing against his perceived ideological enemies - Blake and various others who advocated a romantic, anti-science position.

scottdisco
21-10-2009, 03:48 PM
Not saying that about anyone here though, obvs.

And on reflection that book does spend too much time railing against his perceived ideological enemies - Blake and various others who advocated a romantic, anti-science position.

on his personal enemies tip, when Dawkins is bad, he's very bad. politically i've seen him write some foul stuff.

baboon2004
21-10-2009, 03:49 PM
until a slightly mad section where he claims the X Files functions as propaganda for "the irrational" and compares it to racism. .

I always suspected the X-files was mad racist.

But seriously, you could take a worse example than the massive popularity of the X-Files (not all of it was down to Gillian) for the thirst for and openness to the Mysterious among the Western public. Simple example, but i think a good one.

zhao
21-10-2009, 03:50 PM
Actually people like Richard Dawkins do seem to have a marked hostility towards the mysterious and the irrational. I was really enjoying his Unweaving the Rainbow until a slightly mad section where he claims the X Files functions as propaganda for "the irrational" and compares it to racism. That's not a man who is comfortable with mystery.

yep. that is what this thread was partially addressing.

i enjoyed one of his book on evolution too - had some good things to say about the dominance of "the discontinuous mind" - been meaning to make a post about that actually.

zhao
21-10-2009, 03:54 PM
But seriously, you could take a worse example than the massive popularity of the X-Files (not all of it was down to Gillian) for the thirst for and openness to the Mysterious among the Western public. Simple example, but i think a good one.

sure... but commodified and relegated to the sphere of "entertainment", and thus rendered largely impotent, and the sense of mystery alienated from other aspects of life -- not intimately entwined in, and inseparable from, everyday life, like in many of the cultures i refer to (exoticize, romanticize, whatever LOL).

baboon2004
21-10-2009, 03:56 PM
can you give some examples?

zhao
21-10-2009, 03:58 PM
Not saying that about anyone here though, obvs.

And on reflection that book does spend too much time railing against his perceived ideological enemies - Blake and various others who advocated a romantic, anti-science position.

it is people like this who create the bullshit dichotomies of this or that, science vs. religion.


the trendy religion-hating among "progressives" bent on blaming all of humanity's ills on spiritual practices world wide, while naming science as some kind of infallible way forward, is a view equally myopic, a position just as simple/closed-minded and solipsistic as those of the ignorant fundamentalist freaks these rationalists rail against.

no, what we need more of in the world is not more order, rigidity, anal retention. what we need more of is empathy, connection, intuition, mystery, sensuality. which is NOT institutional, organized religion. the Church (of which ever faith), for all its absurd anti-rationalism, actually operates according to the bureacratic rigidity of the hyper-rational, hierarchical, corporate/government model based on domination and subjugation.

what we need, is what organized religion is a corrupt bastardization of: the return of a much, much older de-centered, non-hierarchical, non-patriarchal spirituality. and with it, social organizing principals based on localized, perhaps mobile, closely knit, self reliant and self sustainable communities.

baboon2004
21-10-2009, 04:02 PM
sure... but commodified and relegated to the sphere of "entertainment", and thus rendered largely impotent and the sense of mystery alienated from other aspects of life -- not intimately entwined in, and inseparable from, everyday life, like in many of the cultures i refer to (exoticize, romanticize, whatever LOL).

Ok, what about the strongly-held religious views that exist on my mother's side of the family (my mother is also a physicist, as it happens), that do impinge upon everyday life? It's not entertainment, it's a world view. How is that alienated from the mysterious aspects of life, given that it's grounded in things that can never be proved or seen?

And, crucially (correct me if i'm wrong) you haven't given any examples of the kind of everyday practices that you're talking about during this thread. it's all very well to bat down other people's examples, but if you don't provide any yourself, then this debate is taking place on an unequal platform.

mms
21-10-2009, 04:05 PM
Actually people like Richard Dawkins (I kind of hate the way his name gets used in every one of these debates, as if one always has to think about and genuflect to his opinion) do seem to have a marked hostility towards the mysterious and the irrational. I was really enjoying his Unweaving the Rainbow until a slightly mad section where he claims the X Files functions as propaganda for "the irrational" and compares it to racism. That's not a man who is comfortable with mystery.

I would genuinely love to hear what he makes of something like surrealism.


yes hes annoying cos he basically dismissive of things that can't be explained even if they are carried out with rigorous scientific testing of the kind he uses to validate his arguments.
I saw an interesting article from a scientist who had been being working within some area of anomalous science, esp or something like that and dawkins had invited him on telly to ridicule him but then decided not to etc... . I really wish he wasn't the poster boy for rationalism cos he's so little fun, so unscientific in some ways.

viktorvaughn
21-10-2009, 04:08 PM
Ok, what about the strongly-held religious views that exist on my mother's side of the family (my mother is also a physicist, as it happens), that do impinge upon everyday life? It's not entertainment, it's a world view. How is that alienated from the mysterious aspects of life, given that it's grounded in things that can never be proved or seen?

And, crucially (correct me if i'm wrong) you haven't given any examples of the kind of everyday practices that you're talking about during this thread. it's all very well to bat down other people's examples, but if you don't provide any yourself, then this debate is taking place on an unequal platform.

here you go

bring back more ritual
go about life and fun with more of a trickster mentality
dress up as demons not on holloween
do inexplicable things without explanation
flash mobs
improvised music outside of concert halls
spontaneous dancing in public places
unplanned concerts
dadaist crazy shit
weird public sculptures
unofficial performance art
creativity outside official channels...

let the great life changes commence.

nomadthethird
21-10-2009, 04:54 PM
yes as long as the whole experience has helped with your development as a superior being thts all good.

The narcissism is like a brick wall.

Slothrop
21-10-2009, 04:55 PM
here you go

bring back more ritual
go about life and fun with more of a trickster mentality
dress up as demons not on holloween
do inexplicable things without explanation
flash mobs
improvised music outside of concert halls
spontaneous dancing in public places
unplanned concerts
dadaist crazy shit
weird public sculptures
unofficial performance art
creativity outside official channels...

let the great life changes commence.

Not much of that is incompatible with a fundamentally rationalist outlook, IMO. Part of the problem with this thread has been the equation of 'scientific rationalism' (or empiricism or whatever) with staidness, lack of imagination, lack of a sense of fun, materialism, urbanism, all that sort of stuff.

This comes back to something Tea quoted in his first post - "isn't it enough to see that the garden is beatiful, without pretending that there are fairies at the bottom of it..."

nomadthethird
21-10-2009, 04:56 PM
here you go

bring back more ritual
go about life and fun with more of a trickster mentality
dress up as demons not on holloween
do inexplicable things without explanation
flash mobs
improvised music outside of concert halls
spontaneous dancing in public places
unplanned concerts
dadaist crazy shit
weird public sculptures
unofficial performance art
creativity outside official channels...

let the great life changes commence.

We have that, it's called Bushwick, Brooklyn, and it's not that mysterious. It's just a bunch of annoying, rich, narcissistic spoiled brats who never had to have a real job.

Except now they dress up as zombies instead of demons.

STN
21-10-2009, 04:57 PM
We have that, it's called Bushwick, Brooklyn, and it's not that mysterious. It's just a bunch of annoying, rich, narcissistic spoiled brats who never had to have a real job.

Except now they dress up as zombies instead of demons.

off-topic but christ i am sick of zombies.

massrock
21-10-2009, 04:57 PM
When I was learning programming as a kid I enjoyed writing little Biomorphs (Blind Watchmaker) programs as per Dawkins. I found something quite magical about it. :)

scottdisco
21-10-2009, 05:01 PM
here you go

bring back more ritual

i do this.

i call it "cleaning my teeth", "buying a newspaper", and "coffee first thing"

massrock
21-10-2009, 05:04 PM
I'm finding it hard to see what the issue in this thread is exactly. Is it do with 'mysteries', or 'a sense of wonder', or with what is and isn't considered 'real'?

Cos obviously science has been trying quite hard to make mysteries go away for a long time and that's quite useful but at the same time there are obviously loads of gaps in what can be 'explained' by 'science'.

Like knowledge is a sphere and as it increases in size so does the surface area of contact with the unknown. I read that somewhere, it's a good image I think.

nomadthethird
21-10-2009, 05:05 PM
it is people like this who create the bullshit dichotomies of this or that, science vs. religion.

the <strike>trendy religion-hating</strike> criticism of religious dogma among "progressives" bent on <strike>blaming all of humanity's ills</strike> dismantling the patriarchical, androcentric, misogynistic, and sexist beliefs inherent in nearly <strike>on spiritual practices</strike> every religion world wide, while naming science as some kind of <strike>infallible way forward</strike> imperfect but vastly preferable method of understanding the universe and coming to an understanding of a "generic" human subject, is a view <strike>equally myopic</strike> that, while it has its flaws, is anchored firmly in the ability to remain plastic and change over time as new information comes to light. In this sense, it is a position <strike>just as simple/closed-minded and solipsistic as</strike> that is fundamentally opposed those of the ignorant fundamentalist <strike>freaks</strike> dogmatists these rationalists rail against.


Fixed that for you.

nomadthethird
21-10-2009, 05:07 PM
I'm finding it hard to see what the issue in this thread is exactly. Is it do with 'mysteries', or 'a sense of wonder', or with what is and isn't considered 'real'?

Cos obviously science has been trying quite hard to make mysteries go away for a long time and that's quite useful but at the same time there are obviously loads of gaps in what can be 'explained' by 'science'.

Like knowledge is a sphere and as it increases in size so does the surface area of contact with the unknown. I read that somewhere, it's a good image I think.

Not even sort of true. Not even vaguely true. Full of a bunch of tired strawmen.

woops
21-10-2009, 05:08 PM
You know what I think is a rich and wonderful dimension of life? The Internet. No, seriously, for all the anime rape porn and 4chan

4chan is very ritualistic. Anime rape porn erm, probably is too.

scottdisco
21-10-2009, 05:11 PM
Fixed that for you.

brilliant, Nomad. absolutely brilliant.

nomadthethird
21-10-2009, 05:12 PM
yes hes annoying cos he basically dismissive of things that can't be explained even if they are carried out with rigorous scientific testing of the kind he uses to validate his arguments.
I saw an interesting article from a scientist who had been being working within some area of anomalous science, esp or something like that and dawkins had invited him on telly to ridicule him but then decided not to etc... . I really wish he wasn't the poster boy for rationalism cos he's so little fun, so unscientific in some ways.

First, Dawkins is by far not my favorite guy in the world, I've never read a single book by the guy, although I've read *about* his work and I've read his website. That said, he's not unscientific in the least.

There are uneducated people in the world who watch TV and that is basically where they get their information from, period. Shows like X-Files make it seem like there *could be* ghouls and apparitions. There aren't any. There is no proof of any. And most people who claim that they have some kind of "scientific" spin on the paranormal are total quacks and whack jobs and snake oil salesmen.

From a scientist's perspective, it's very sad to watch people exploit the ignorance of the poor for their own financial/personal gain.

scottdisco
21-10-2009, 05:18 PM
my brother's partner (the one who suffers a lot from all sorts of sleep paralysis stuff) told me once they have read quite a bit that a lot of bedroom-set alien abduction claims/stories are quite possibly related to sleep paralysis and those sorts of issues. they explained very persuasively, clearly, and in depth (rather than me just mentioning it in a cursory sentence), but there might be something in that.

i always felt The X-Files (all the great televisual reasons aside!), if it had much extra-aesthetic appeal, was of course an interest in the paranormal, but also a distrust of govt/conspiracy theories, all that.

mixed_biscuits
21-10-2009, 05:29 PM
I think sleep paralysis has been proposed to have been the cause of succubus/incubus experiences too.

scottdisco
21-10-2009, 05:32 PM
I think sleep paralysis has been proposed to have been the cause of succubus/incubus experiences too.

sign me up for some of that!

Mr. Tea
21-10-2009, 05:42 PM
I think sleep paralysis has been proposed to have been the cause of succubus/incubus experiences too.

Absolutely: yesterday's 'demon'/'hag' is today's 'alien'.

Anyway, I'd like to take zhao up on this:


what we need more of is empathy, connection, intuition, mystery, sensuality...

All of which are possible without believing in ghostly unseen forces manipulating the physical world when our backs are turned, aren't they? So I can't feel "empathy" or "sensuality" because I think the universe is by and large amenable to understanding in terms of science? That's pretty insulting - we're just back to your stupid cold-unfeeling-rationalists stereotype.

scottdisco
21-10-2009, 05:48 PM
sorry this is for Tea :p

http://www.canalred.info/public/Fondos_Pantalla/3d/Sexy%20Robot%203d.jpg

nomadthethird
21-10-2009, 05:49 PM
Remember how Henry VIII killed all those wives (in part) because they failed to give him sons? Remember how throughout history women have been blamed when a son isn't produced, or when infertility strikes a couple?

Well, it was science that forever laid that one to rest. It's the spermatozoa/spermatogonia that determine the sex of an embryo. Females only contribute gametes with X chromosomes, it's up to the male's gametes to determine whether an X or a Y will join the ovum's X to form either a girl or a boy, respectively.

So thanks to science, no more putting women to death because they fail to produce sons.

It's also scientific research that proved that, in 50% of cases, it's the male in a couple who is largely responsible for their infertility.

So thanks to science, no more blaming women for being "barren", "dry", "frigid", etc., then divorcing them and leaving them to starve or stoning them to death, whichever comes first...

Mr. Tea
21-10-2009, 05:58 PM
sorry this is for Tea :p

[sexy robot lady]

Phwaor, check out those cyber-buns! :D

padraig (u.s.)
21-10-2009, 06:35 PM
that was internet abuse of the highest order

I only hand it out when the recipient is so richly deserving. I'm done, though. there's no breaking through that kind of self-delusion. I'm sure the weretigers of Borneo will appreciate Zhao's "eclectic" DJ sets, anyway.


i always felt The X-Files (all the great televisual reasons aside!)

you know I'm with you 110&#37; there Scott! anyways, the whole point was they had a scientist to reign in Mulder's wild flights of fancy. a smoking hot scientist, of course. hotter than the sexy robot, even.

massrock
21-10-2009, 06:42 PM
Not even sort of true. Not even vaguely true. Full of a bunch of tired strawmen.
Pish.

Don't waste my time with this useless trollish kind of response.

grizzleb
21-10-2009, 07:13 PM
Flash mobs haha.

mms
21-10-2009, 07:50 PM
First, Dawkins is by far not my favorite guy in the world, I've never read a single book by the guy, although I've read *about* his work and I've read his website. That said, he's not unscientific in the least.

There are uneducated people in the world who watch TV and that is basically where they get their information from, period. Shows like X-Files make it seem like there *could be* ghouls and apparitions. There aren't any. There is no proof of any. And most people who claim that they have some kind of "scientific" spin on the paranormal are total quacks and whack jobs and snake oil salesmen.

From a scientist's perspective, it's very sad to watch people exploit the ignorance of the poor for their own financial/personal gain.

thanks i understand that the x files is just a tv show, i am an adult.
No this guy was a scientist a genuine bona fide paid up one working in some area of esp or something, not ghouls and ghosts which isn't what i said at all in the first case.

massrock
21-10-2009, 07:52 PM
This comes back to something Tea quoted in his first post - "isn't it enough to see that the garden is beatiful, without pretending that there are fairies at the bottom of it..."
I don't think this quote is much use.

First of all does it make any strict kind of sense to say that most people who claim to see fairies are 'pretending'? Some might be of course, but it doesn't sound like a very precise description or understanding of the phenomenon to me. OK, it's obviously a flip dismissal but no good as an example of rationality.

Then if you are going to make this kind of statement as if it somehow explains everything you would have to show that you can explain what 'seeing' is and what the perception of 'beauty' is.

So all it's really saying, without being able to explain any further, is that it can be enough to stand and behold, which I think you'll find is what a good many 'mystics', monks and other philosophers maintain.

grizzleb
21-10-2009, 07:57 PM
This thread is a dead end I think...

Anyway I think it's a Douglas Adams quote and was 'believe' rather than pretend btw.

massrock
21-10-2009, 08:06 PM
Anyway I think it's a Douglas Adams quote and was 'believe' rather than pretend btw.
Heh, that's entirely different isn't it.

Dead end, yeah well of course you never know, but that's kind of what I was saying earlier. Just because we live in a scientific technological society doesn't mean there isn't mystery or wonder nearby if you want to look for it.

grizzleb
21-10-2009, 08:12 PM
Heh, that's entirely different isn't it.

Dead end, yeah well of course you never know, but that's kind of what I was saying earlier. Just because we live in a scientific technological society doesn't mean there isn't mystery or wonder nearby if you want to look for it.Yeah, thats what most people have been saying. I'm amazed daily at the world in general. I think this song kinda sums things up...

<object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/zSgiXGELjbc&hl=en&fs=1&"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/zSgiXGELjbc&hl=en&fs=1&" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>

mistersloane
21-10-2009, 08:56 PM
The tags list for this thread includes "sweaty anal sex" (is there any other kind?)

Yup

mistersloane
21-10-2009, 09:01 PM
I had a dream after reading this really great queer theory book with a chapter about necrophilia that I was in this part of a lab in the zinc mine where my father used to work, but as soon as you got underground, it blended into the Metropolitan Museum of Art. There were mummies there on display, with those really nice gallery lights shining on them.

Anyway, at a certain point, the "guide" I was with gave us all a piece of a mummy which we all ate and I remember very distinctly how realistic the texture was and the taste. I could feel the fibers that had made up the hard shell of some kind of wrapping, which had long since fused with the dead tissues, disintegrating in my mouth.

So really it was about eating dead people instead of sleeping with them, but still pretty wacked out especially because it was so vivid I can still remember the whole thing like it was a film I was in.

I don't know if the ancient Egyptians believed in eating the dead. Maybe I saw that on the History channel or something. Or on a Sun Ra film.

I notice that if I eat weird things before I fall asleep sometimes I get bad dreams.

I don't really do other people's dreams but...

Necrophagia was/is a way of symbolically taking the power of your enemy/the person you love/some random stranger for yourself, the mummy represents the queer theory book.

Either that or Albert Fish better look out cos you're after his record. I think killing and eating theorists would be very satisfying.

nomadthethird
21-10-2009, 11:38 PM
Dead end, yeah well of course you never know, but that's kind of what I was saying earlier. Just because we live in a scientific technological society doesn't mean there isn't mystery or wonder nearby if you want to look for it.

Massrock, why is it that you always come into a thread really late, and then restate what people have already been saying throughout the whole thread, and then insist this is somehow a new insight that other people just don't get?

It's really a pattern with you.

Mistersloane: that makes sense to me.

nomadthethird
21-10-2009, 11:45 PM
Pish.

Don't waste my time with this useless trollish kind of response.

Don't waste mine with your typically poorly worded, vague posts full of 8th-grade caliber discussion points.

grizzleb
21-10-2009, 11:48 PM
Hehe, we're all smart here. Although I am technically retarded; I was born with an extra chromosome.

nomadthethird
22-10-2009, 12:15 AM
Hehe, we're all smart here. Although I am technically retarded; I was born with an extra chromosome.

Not necessarily, depends on which one...

If you have two YY you are "supermale"...

nomadthethird
22-10-2009, 12:19 AM
Yeah, thats what most people have been saying. I'm amazed daily at the world in general. I think this song kinda sums things up...

<object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/zSgiXGELjbc&hl=en&fs=1&"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/zSgiXGELjbc&hl=en&fs=1&" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>

I'm going to go ahead and disagree with Sagan on the whole thing about understanding the number one being really heady and deep and hard to do.

Even individual cells (which don't have brains or neurons or anything) can count.

grizzleb
22-10-2009, 12:23 AM
I wish I was supermale, nomad, I really do... :(

Regardless of Sagan's scientific aptitude, he does a mean beatbox.

massrock
22-10-2009, 12:52 AM
Massrock, why is it that you always come into a thread really late,
What business is it of yours at which point I choose to contribute to a thread? Is there a schedule?

and then restate what people have already been saying throughout the whole thread,
As with any other reasonable person what I say and think will probably at times be in partial or complete agreement with the opinions of others. Er, why the fucking fuck not?

The point in this case, as if it needs justifying to you in any way, is, in part, to offer my take on the discussion and to lend support to a point of view in my way, just as others have. I think that's often how group debates work towards some kind of resolution or a clearer understanding - similar things may be expressed a number of different ways and approached from different angles. But again what fucking business of yours is it how I or anyone else chooses to contribute here, unfounded personal attacks aside?

Actually I was of course paraphrasing what I myself had already said. Which is funny because when I did say what was essentially the same thing then, you described it as "Not even sort of true. Not even vaguely true. Full of a bunch of tired strawmen.", without any kind of explanation or engagement. Now it's what everyone is saying, hmm.

Your original response was pointless and almost entirely nonsensical and you know it so now you're pathetically lashing out. You could have just ignored my post, or even read it properly but you had to type some cheap useless dismissive reply before even thinking and now you're crying and acting like a dickhead.

So it's kind of amusing that while my original post was more or less taking issue with what the OP (who you've disagreed with throughout this thread) seemed to be getting at, you've sort of lent support to his argument. Well of course you haven't really, but it does demonstrate for the billionth time how sometimes people aren't really engaging with what's on the page in these discussions, just busy fighting phantom enemies or perpetuating old grudges.

and then insist this is somehow a new insight that other people just don't get?
So let me get this straight, somehow according to you I am in some special category where I may not express a similar opinion to other people and agree with them? I'll try and be more consistently contrarian in future. :rolleyes:

You've got problems. And don't worry I absolutely realise this is in no way 'a new insight that people just don't get'.

It's really a pattern with you.
A pattern you think you see.

But then I suppose we do all have our patterns of behaviour, eh yesmad?

Mr. Tea
22-10-2009, 02:39 AM
I'm sure the weretigers of Borneo will appreciate Zhao's "eclectic" DJ sets, anyway.




hotter than the sexy robot, even.

Is it me or is Dissensus turning into The Mighty Boosh?

massrock
22-10-2009, 03:45 AM
Don't waste mine with your typically poorly worded, vague posts full of 8th-grade caliber discussion points.
I see. Well not to belabour this, and recognising that there is no requirement to justify or explain for your sake, it does kind of amuse me to do so and might even be useful, so...

That post, you see, employed the device of an informal, gently mocking and slightly self-effacing tone. Indeed this was partly in reflexive acknowledgement of the state of the discussion at that point and with awareness of what could usefully be contributed.* It also, I must confess, utilised elements of not only deadpan humour but metaphor as well, so I can see how you might have had trouble parsing the subtler intent and meta level of comment. Not that I was aiming for subtle.

* I think it's clear to anyone with a bit of sense and/or disheartening experience that there are limitations to what can fruitfully be tabled in the context of an internet discussion board with its attendant political karma and cast of characters, not to say this one isn't better than many. Hence the near inevitable descent into horseplay, surrealism and/or flame-war of many threads, perhaps especially some of the most potentially interesting ones. A bit of a shame maybe but there you go. Now fuck off, ya dummkopf.

massrock
22-10-2009, 03:54 AM
I think what is required is a der-brain smiley. That and a shrug smiley. I believe these in combination could save a lot of time and unpleasantness.

luka
22-10-2009, 07:31 AM
The tags list for this thread includes "sweaty anal sex" (is there any other kind?) and "broad cumbucket". Now THAT'S mystery.

thought i should make a contribution, no matter how small....

zhao
22-10-2009, 07:55 AM
it is sometimes telling which points people choose to side step:

Actually people like Richard Dawkins do seem to have a marked hostility towards the mysterious and the irrational.



... spend too much time railing against his perceived ideological enemies - Blake and various others who advocated a romantic, anti-science position.

it is this neo liberal fear of what they perceive to be as the irrational, and dismissal of any value to spiritual teachings, which i think is deeply problematic and worrying.

(edit)

it is people like this who paint an absurd dichotomy in their simplistic model of the universe based on ignorance and fear.

i have always maintained that science and spirituality are not mutually exclusive. especially since last century quantum mechanics has been describing a universe of energy patterns, making us question the usefulness of distinctions such as the one between the "animate" and "inanimate", and so on. and i think as science advances, we will see more of a convergence between its fields and ancient teachings, some of which well in the area of "superstition".

and laughable are the silly buggers in this thread who get all worked up when i say stuff like this. they are so insecure that they get rude and resort to mud slinging and name calling in their childish attempts to discredit me.

whether the above is complete nonsense or not, why are you getting all huffy and puffy about it? :D if i really am just some smug idiot who knows not what he is talking about, why are you going blue in the face trying to dismiss my points? why are you wasting your time at all?

i guess you are so emotionally invested in a particularly rigid definition of "science" that you feel like you have to defend it against "spiritualists" like me. LOL.

zhao
22-10-2009, 08:01 AM
I'm sure the weretigers of Borneo will appreciate Zhao's "eclectic" DJ sets, anyway.

just one minor example of how these people childishly attempt to belittle and condescend.

i'm sure they would like my dj sets, padraig, and for your info, so does Kode9.

baboon2004
22-10-2009, 09:26 AM
"bring back more ritual
go about life and fun with more of a trickster mentality
dress up as demons not on holloween
do inexplicable things without explanation
flash mobs
improvised music outside of concert halls
spontaneous dancing in public places
unplanned concerts
dadaist crazy shit
weird public sculptures
unofficial performance art
creativity outside official channels..."

for most of these - rave culture in the UK??

DannyL
22-10-2009, 09:41 AM
Not much of that is incompatible with a fundamentally rationalist outlook, IMO. Part of the problem with this thread has been the equation of 'scientific rationalism' (or empiricism or whatever) with staidness, lack of imagination, lack of a sense of fun, materialism, urbanism, all that sort of stuff.

This comes back to something Tea quoted in his first post - "isn't it enough to see that the garden is beatiful, without pretending that there are fairies at the bottom of it..."

You could always cultivate a relationship (talking with them, leaving offerings) with the fairies, acknowledging that they may not be real, as a way of deepening your relationship with the garden:

http://www.redsandstonehill.net/theart.html

DannyL
22-10-2009, 09:52 AM
William Blake is a threat to humanity? he who inspired countless writers, poets, artists, film makers that stretch across the centuries? his work is standing in the way of progress? I'm sure if Dawkins had his way all those paintings and poetry would be burnt. all of Tarkovsky's films and all the amazing Islamic architecture destroyed

He doesn't ever say Blake's a threat to humanity. Neither does he advocate the destruction of art and culture. You really are putting words in his mouth.

zhao
22-10-2009, 10:08 AM
William Blake is a threat to humanity? he who inspired countless writers, poets, artists, film makers that stretch across the centuries? his work is standing in the way of progress? I'm sure if Dawkins had his way all those paintings and poetry would be burnt. all of Tarkovsky's films and all the amazing Islamic architecture destroyed

He doesn't ever say Blake's a threat to humanity. Neither does he advocate the destruction of art and culture. You really are putting words in his mouth.

ok i may have been exaggerating. but he is certainly against what Blake stands for, and sees him and those like him, as you yourself said, as "ideological enemies".

pattycakes
22-10-2009, 11:58 AM
i have always maintained that science and spirituality are not mutually exclusive. especially since last century quantum mechanics has been describing a universe of energy patterns, making us question the usefulness of distinctions such as the one between the "animate" and "inanimate", and so on. and i think as science advances, we will see more of a convergence between its fields and ancient teachings, some of which well in the area of "superstition".

Zhao, have you ever come across a book called The Music of Life by sufi Hazarat Inayat Khan? If you're into this^ stuff then I think it might be right up your alley. He talks a lot about science, mysticism and spirituality via music. I couldn't recommend it highly enough.

1 (http://www.inch.com/~ari/hik1.html) 2 (http://www.rhythmweb.com/khan.htm) 3 (http://www.amazon.com/Music-Life-Khan/dp/093087238X)

he has some other books too but this is the only one i've read.

nomadthethird
22-10-2009, 12:34 PM
What business is it of yours at which point I choose to contribute to a thread? Is there a schedule?

As with any other reasonable person what I say and think will probably at times be in partial or complete agreement with the opinions of others. Er, why the fucking fuck not?

The point in this case, as if it needs justifying to you in any way, is, in part, to offer my take on the discussion and to lend support to a point of view in my way, just as others have. I think that's often how group debates work towards some kind of resolution or a clearer understanding - similar things may be expressed a number of different ways and approached from different angles. But again what fucking business of yours is it how I or anyone else chooses to contribute here, unfounded personal attacks aside?

Actually I was of course paraphrasing what I myself had already said. Which is funny because when I did say what was essentially the same thing then, you described it as "Not even sort of true. Not even vaguely true. Full of a bunch of tired strawmen.", without any kind of explanation or engagement. Now it's what everyone is saying, hmm.

Your original response was pointless and almost entirely nonsensical and you know it so now you're pathetically lashing out. You could have just ignored my post, or even read it properly but you had to type some cheap useless dismissive reply before even thinking and now you're crying and acting like a dickhead.

So it's kind of amusing that while my original post was more or less taking issue with what the OP (who you've disagreed with throughout this thread) seemed to be getting at, you've sort of lent support to his argument. Well of course you haven't really, but it does demonstrate for the billionth time how sometimes people aren't really engaging with what's on the page in these discussions, just busy fighting phantom enemies or perpetuating old grudges.

So let me get this straight, somehow according to you I am in some special category where I may not express a similar opinion to other people and agree with them? I'll try and be more consistently contrarian in future. :rolleyes:

You've got problems. And don't worry I absolutely realise this is in no way 'a new insight that people just don't get'.

A pattern you think you see.

But then I suppose we do all have our patterns of behaviour, eh yesmad?

First, you've posted far more than your fair share of quick and dismissive posts. Plenty of them. So where you get off acting all huffy about that... I don't know. You also post about seven or eight nonsense posts to every one that makes any kind of sense. Your posts read like they're made by someone who is severely stoned or something.

And no, Massrock, what you said in your first post in this thread, the first two-thirds of it, was just patently false. I could go through and explain why, or you could think about why this might be the case on your own, in light of all the things that have already been stated and suggested in the thread. If you *really* need me to hold your hand through that, I will. But let's save some time and effort for everyone and let YOU do some of the work, shall we?

"Crying"...huh? What? Being a "dickhead"...maybe. I'm telling you I don't like you as a poster. I never have. I don't think you're as charming as you think you are, and I think every thread you contribute to devolves rapidly into shit like this. I don't pretend to be charming, or friendly. I just say what I mean.

And, of course, I see you've gone to your plan C: there's nothing clever or subtle about anything you've said here, although that's usually what you claim when anybody questions what you've said.

nomadthethird
22-10-2009, 12:36 PM
just one minor example of how these people childishly attempt to belittle and condescend.


Zhao, would you like me to cut and paste all of your "belittlings" of everyone else from this thread? They outnumber everyone else's by a long shot, I think. Pretty impressive, given how many people ganged up on you for this one.

zhao
22-10-2009, 01:07 PM
Zhao, have you ever come across a book called The Music of Life by sufi Hazarat Inayat Khan? If you're into this^ stuff then I think it might be right up your alley. He talks a lot about science, mysticism and spirituality via music. I couldn't recommend it highly enough.

1 (http://www.inch.com/~ari/hik1.html) 2 (http://www.rhythmweb.com/khan.htm) 3 (http://www.amazon.com/Music-Life-Khan/dp/093087238X)

he has some other books too but this is the only one i've read.

wow wow wow this looks amazing! thanks!


Pretty impressive, given how many people ganged up on you for this one.

as someone just noted in a PM, it's always the same few people who take issue with my posts: you, Tea, Padraig, and a couple more less vocal ones.

i guess you people have a problem with my "tone". which admitted can be strong, but it's to make a point, usually in opposition to what i perceive as injustice.

i make bold statements, yes, that is right. and i'm not going to apologize for or stop making them.

massrock
22-10-2009, 01:47 PM
And today at the special olympics...

what you said in your first post in this thread, the first two-thirds of it, was just patently false.

Or as you put it earlier,

Not even sort of true. Not even vaguely true. Full of a bunch of tired strawmen.
Let's see, can your statements, aside from their inaccuracy, even be said to make actual sense in the context?

The first third of that post consists of one personal subjective statement and one multiple choice question addressed to the OP's position, which I guess by implication are together rhetorically asking if there is really a dichotomy here. So I would say that logically neither of these types of sentence are things you can meaningfully call 'untrue'. Nor I believe can we identify any viable candidates for the title of 'strawman'.

The second third is basically a statement to the effect that while science provides us with more and more useful models and systems for working with and predicting phenomena, there remain as always many places to find mystery and wonder if you wish to. Would you care this time to outline how you interpret this as 'not even vaguely true' or identify where you see your 'strawmen'? Preferably without relying on petty hair splitting semantic squabbling. Or shall we just save time and agree that you were talking out of your arse?

Finally for the sake of completeness let's consider the third part of that post. This was a borrowed metaphor, I suppose saying something about the ever expanding or fractal nature of knowledge. We can of course question the relative veracity of this idea, I've got no problem with doing that, you might for instance believe that one day 'we' will know all there is to know. Maybe you think you do already. ;)

massrock
22-10-2009, 01:54 PM
Could it be, nomad, while we are getting personal, that your thinking is sometimes characterised by an overly polarised style that has trouble finding conceptual space for ambiguity, 'vagueness' and metaphor? Kind of seems that way. Or is it just that you were getting het up because you thought somebody might yet again be blaspheming against your religion? Don't kid yourself that you are representative of good scientific attitudes when you come out with that stuff, or that I am in any way criticising 'scientists' or denying the value of the application of science, heck I use it myself! I don't see that zhao has been either, incidentally, contra some of the defensive responses on this thread.

baboon2004
22-10-2009, 02:06 PM
Is it me or is Dissensus turning into The Mighty Boosh?

nope, it's turning into rent-a-cyber-argument

nomadthethird
22-10-2009, 02:32 PM
nope, it's turning into rent-a-cyber-argument

Where if Zhao doesn't Godwin a thread within the first few posts, he Blake's Laws it to death.

nomadthethird
22-10-2009, 02:33 PM
Could it be, nomad, while we are getting personal, that your thinking is sometimes characterised by an overly polarised style that has trouble finding conceptual space for ambiguity, 'vagueness' and metaphor? Kind of seems that way. Or is it just that you were getting het up because you thought somebody might yet again be blaspheming against your religion? Don't kid yourself that you are representative of good scientific attitudes when you come out with that stuff, or that I am in any way criticising 'scientists' or denying the value of the application of science, heck I use it myself! I don't see that zhao has been either, incidentally, contra some of the defensive responses on this thread.

Could it be that I can actually make arguments in a clear manner that makes some kind of sense while some people think equivocation and ambiguity is somehow tantamount to profundity?

I am not "het" up, I just don't like you. You come into a thread that has a bunch of good posts with actually pointed claims and clear, concise arguments in them and post this:


I'm finding it hard to see what the issue in this thread is exactly. Is it do with 'mysteries', or 'a sense of wonder', or with what is and isn't considered 'real'?

Cos obviously science has been trying quite hard to make mysteries go away for a long time and that's quite useful but at the same time there are obviously loads of gaps in what can be 'explained' by 'science'.

The "issues" in the thread are very clear. Crystal clear. Zhao is thinking in binaries. He is accusing people who do not subscribe to his particular brand of New Ageism of being x, y, and z. (Usually "brainwashed" is his favorite...) He has quite a long history of tantrums to this effect. And of cyber-stalking people in an attempt to evangelize them in the ways of Exoticizing the Other.

Science has not been trying to make "mysteries" go away, per se. It's been trying to examine the natural world. If some things people previously thought were mysterious have happened to be debunked, it's not because science is overdetermined in favor of debunking mysteries, although, yes, I realize this is what the tard brigade insists MUST be true of scientists.

Even all the Sagan exhibits A, B, and C in the world notwithstanding.

nomadthethird
22-10-2009, 02:47 PM
I am in any way criticising 'scientists' or denying the value of the application of science, heck I use it myself! I don't see that zhao has been either, incidentally, contra some of the defensive responses on this thread.

I don't give a damn whether you "deny the value of science." I really couldn't care less. But Zhao was on here purposely trying to rankle people, he JUST admitted as much when he said this:


i make bold statements, yes, that is right. and i'm not going to apologize for or stop making them.

No, they're not bold, they're asinine, to borrow a word from Padraig. If you're going to make "bold" statements, be prepared to get "bold" ones in return.

As for Zhao not "denying" the value of what he perceives to be a "rationalist" way of looking at things, here are some quotes from this thread alone. (There are plenty more where this came from.)


and it is very much a product of the dark ages from which europe only emerged recently: this fear of the irrational and your, and Dawkin's, and Mr Tea's, and many other "progressives"' negative attitudes toward anything mystical and even denial of the "spiritual dimension".

the problem with the Dawkins' severely stunted world view, is that while making sound criticism of certain modern and indeed fucked up kinds of irrationalism, it denies the existence of the mystical dimension of existence, and its central importance in the life of humans.

there is a very sad, in the melancholic sense, breed of "progressives" whose experience of life is entirely limited to the rationalist upbringing that has shaped them, and are incapable of imagining other ways of life as being anything legitimate, much less desirable.

but the real thing exists. and i feel sorry for those who don't realize that it does.
you people will likely continue ignore what I'm saying, refuse to address important points like you did my response to Gavin above, and insist on having parallel conversations. and i understand that this is because you are incapable of allowing for the possibility of reality being far more complex and bigger than your precious newtonian rationalist universe. shame.

typical western conceit born of ignorance and fear.

Oh yes, but you've got this thrown into the thread:


again, no one is saying scientists lack imagination.

Right after this was written:


breed of "progressives" whose experience of life is entirely limited to the rationalist upbringing that has shaped them, and are incapable of imagining other ways of life as being anything legitimate, much less desirable.

Sounds sorta like he's saying "rationalistical" scientists have no imagination here...

zhao
22-10-2009, 02:57 PM
As for Zhao not "denying" the value of what he perceives to be a "rationalist" way of looking at things

right. i am denying the value of rationality. altogether! there is no use for logic or the scientific method what so ever! :rolleyes:

this is exactly what i've been saying all along. :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

i think a few of your marbles have rolled away nomad

nomadthethird
22-10-2009, 03:00 PM
And today at the special olympics...

Or as you put it earlier,

Let's see, can your statements, aside from their inaccuracy, even be said to make actual sense in the context?

The first third of that post consists of one personal subjective statement and one multiple choice question addressed to the OP's position, which I guess by implication are together rhetorically asking if there is really a dichotomy here. So I would say that logically neither of these types of sentence are things you can meaningfully call 'untrue'. Nor I believe can we identify any viable candidates for the title of 'strawman'.

The second third is basically a statement to the effect that while science provides us with more and more useful models and systems for working with and predicting phenomena, there remain as always many places to find mystery and wonder if you wish to. Would you care this time to outline how you interpret this as 'not even vaguely true' or identify where you see your 'strawmen'? Preferably without relying on petty hair splitting semantic squabbling. Or shall we just save time and agree that you were talking out of your arse?

Finally for the sake of completeness let's consider the third part of that post. This was a borrowed metaphor, I suppose saying something about the ever expanding or fractal nature of knowledge. We can of course question the relative veracity of this idea, I've got no problem with doing that, you might for instance believe that one day 'we' will know all there is to know. Maybe you think you do already. ;)

The strawman was the characterization of science as an enemy of the mysterious. This strawman had alread been pretty well dismembered earlier in the thread before you posted.

I said that two-thirds were untrue and characterized by strawmen. So the untrue parts are the first and last paragraphs. The second one I have no problem with logically, but as I clearly stated later, people had already made that point several times in the thread.

The third part of the post...ever-expanding AND fractal? Are you serious right now? "Relative veracity"? I already said very early in the thread that science teaches us as much about what we don't know as it does about what we do. But your metaphor made no sense. I like metaphors. I just prefer metaphors that make some kind of sense.

nomadthethird
22-10-2009, 03:02 PM
right. i am denying the value of rationality. altogether! there is no use for logic or the scientific method what so ever! :rolleyes:

this is exactly what i've been saying all along. :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

i think a few of your marbles have rolled away nomad

Zhao, read your own posts. Re-read them. Go back and re-read what you actually wrote. We have proof. You can't really pretend you didn't say it.

You didn't "deny" the "validity" of rationality altogether, nor did I claim that you did. You posted a long string of insults on purpose to annoy a certain few people. Don't be upset because they answered in kind. Be a good sport about it.

I don't think you ever had any marbles to begin with, Zhao.

zhao
22-10-2009, 03:03 PM
and saying some progressives can not imagine that life in a "superstitious" society has some advantages

equals

saying scientists have no imagination.

none what so ever! :D

nomadthethird
22-10-2009, 03:05 PM
and saying some progressives can not imagine that life in a "superstitious" society has some advantages

equals

saying scientists have no imagination.

none what so ever! :D

No, I didn't say that...but you have implied, over and over in the thread, that people who are into science simply cannot understand or value culture and art on the same plane that YOU can. The dimension of "imagination", you said, has been lost in our lives due to "rational" thinking and the scientific worldview.

It's absurd. I'm done. I've said what I want to say.

massrock
22-10-2009, 03:41 PM
Science has not been trying to make "mysteries" go away, per se.

The strawman was the characterization of science as an enemy of the mysterious.

Aw, it's a figure of speech, a mildly jocular one, it's not pejorative or dismissive though and is clearly not presented as an exhaustive description of scientific theory and practice. :rolleyes: It doesn't mean to say that science is an 'enemy of the mysterious', as if it makes sense to speak of such a thing, it's simply a way of saying that in doing science we 'seek' to discover more reliable and applicable ways of modelling certain phenomena. And yes, in a sense some mysteries do 'go away'. Did I say this was not desirable?

ever-expanding AND fractal
Yes why not, we can think about advances in knowledge and expanding fields of knowledge in both of these ways if we choose. Metaphor again, poetic license, multiple descriptions. Got a problem with that? Oh yeah you do. :p

Relative veracity
Well obviously this is your petty interpretive inflexibility again, but the way I think about it metaphors can more properly be said to possess relative veracity rather than absolute veracity. :)

your metaphor made no sense.
Hmm, well it's an image. It's not mine, I can't remember where I got it from, but I think it illustrates something, and I thought I'd put it out there. Sorry you were offended enough to put digits to keyboard. You say it doesn't make sense to you but of course something like that does require imagination to extract some meaning from. LOL.

massrock
22-10-2009, 03:48 PM
nope, it's turning into rent-a-cyber-argument
There is something sort of relevant here to do with modes of cognition, don't you think?

Oh maybe not.

baboon2004
22-10-2009, 03:57 PM
i should've added to that statement "....which is preferable to it turning into the Mighty Boosh". Noel Fielding has the most punchably smug 'comedic' face this side of David Walliams. The other one is funny though.

zhao
22-10-2009, 04:03 PM
i should've added to that statement "....which is preferable to it turning into the Mighty Boosh". Noel Fielding has the most punchably smug 'comedic' face this side of David Walliams. The other one is funny though.

i guess i'm a bit like howard?

Mr. Tea
22-10-2009, 04:17 PM
they are so insecure that they get rude and resort to mud slinging and name calling in their childish attempts to discredit me.

You'd do well not to bang on about "childish name-calling" when one of your main arguments in this thread is how much better you are than someone with an ordinary 9-5 office job because you smoke weed and mix some records occasionally.

Nothing wrong with either of things, of course - it just doesn't make you Alan Watts, is all.

grizzleb
22-10-2009, 04:30 PM
I think that a reasonable point to make is that people like Dawkins et al DO think that religion has absolutely nothing of any value to teach us, and taking up issue with that seems fair enough to me. Beyond that it's just nonsense.

zhao
22-10-2009, 04:35 PM
one of your main arguments in this thread is how much better you are than someone with an ordinary 9-5 office job because you smoke weed and mix some records occasionally.

man these guys straight from Mexico city man,
doods just opened up a little taco shop just down the street from me!
DanzigerStr. and Duncker man!
ain't even gon lie.
dont give a fuck essay!
BOOOM!!
know wut i'm sayin?
you know how much i been jonesin for that shit for so long yo...
shit is UNFUCKWIDABLE!!!
straight PIMPIN.
reppin that special sauce HARD yo!
they got pumpkin burritos!
PUMPKIN BURRITOS!!!

damn!!!

Ima go eat like 12 right now.
watch me.

http://420.thrashbarg.net/lol_que.jpg

nomadthethird
22-10-2009, 04:54 PM
You'd to well not to bang on about "childish name-calling" when one of your main arguments in this thread is how much better you are than someone with an ordinary 9-5 office job because you smoke weed and mix some records occasionally.

Nothing wrong with either of things, of course - it just doesn't make you Alan Watts, is all.

I'm beginning to suspect weed smoking has more to do with this thread than "modes of cognition" as such do.

It's not even a personal thing. I couldn't stand potheads when I was a junkie, and I can't stand them now. The things that come out of their mouths... the way their brains pointlessly cycle back and forth between the wishy-washy ass-ends of a "middle ground" where utterly mundane, trivial concepts/insights live, and which they are chemically induced into finding very profound and deep...

The endless repetition of the same talking points...

The way their sense of "humor" doesn't connect up with the social vibe a good percentage of the time...

nomadthethird
22-10-2009, 04:58 PM
Not that there aren't things to criticize about other drug cultures, of course...just that one always particularly bothered me, even when I still enjoyed smoking weed a whole lot.

swears
22-10-2009, 05:17 PM
I don't think "the west" is all that rational though. A good example is drug laws: they're more to do with outdated morality and "sin" than harm-reduction. "Look at these junkies enjoying themselves, this will not do!"

We're probably too tolerant of religion tbh. No other organisation could get away with widespread child abuse the way the catholic church has, for example.

zhao
22-10-2009, 05:20 PM
PUMPKIN BURRITOS!!!!

(that is exactly what Im talkin about Swears you clueless little fucker)

swears
22-10-2009, 05:32 PM
Yeah, well. You said the west is too rational and I said we're not rational enough. Maybe this deep paradox is over my clueless head. You know where I stand, anyway.

scottdisco
22-10-2009, 05:33 PM
will they do you pumpkin tacos?

zhao
22-10-2009, 06:05 PM
will they do you pumpkin tacos?

probably can... really nice guys. 2 Mexican and 1 Australian. especially since i just made them an mp3 CD full of great classic Latin music. but i don't see much point as the Burrito is much better for pumpkin methinks... for tacos i prefer the traditional lamb, beef, or pork.

Josef K was the one who told me about the place, we went there last week... he must be in Israel by now...

zhao
22-10-2009, 06:07 PM
Yeah, well. You said the west is too rational and I said we're not rational enough. Maybe this deep paradox is over my clueless head. You know where I stand, anyway.

and if you read the thread a little more you will see where i stand, and it's not exactly against your position.

nomadthethird
22-10-2009, 06:23 PM
especially since i just made them an mp3 CD full of great classic Latin music.

lol

I'm sure you mean well, Zhao, but the Mexican dudes probably know more about classic Latin music than you ever will.

Not that you mean to do it always, but I don't think you realize how some people might misinterpret your enthusiasm for their culture as condescension..."cultural tourism"...

zhao
22-10-2009, 06:43 PM
lol

I'm sure you mean well, Zhao, but the Mexican dudes probably know more about classic Latin music than you ever will.

Not that you mean to do it always, but I don't think you realize how some people might misinterpret your enthusiasm for their culture as condescension..."cultural tourism"...

they asked me to make it for them.

first time in there i remarked "oh Calle 13" when it came on their system, and they were like "you know calle 13?" i told them that i djed and we started talking about music... Jose Luis, old Mexican drinking songs... rumba salsa reggaeton... and that was when they asked me to give them some more Latin stuff because they were running out of things to play in the shop.

i like your positivity nomad. always assuming the best and looking for opportunities to be nice. your warmth and charm is inspiring.

Mr. Tea
22-10-2009, 06:59 PM
lol

I'm sure you mean well, Zhao, but the Mexican dudes probably know more about classic Latin music than you ever will.


Well not necessarily - I mean it's hardly as if the average English person has an encyclopaedic knowledge of Purcell, Elgar and Vaughn Williams. They were probably just pleased to meet someone with an interest in music from their culture.

But yeah, the wider point about "cultural tourism" still stands - the idea of treating the world's cultures as a sort of candy pick'n'mix from which you can effortlessly sample* this or that tasty treat (more effortlessly today than ever, of course) as it pleases you is problematic, though not really in a way I can concretely put my finger on. Ultimately it's better than people having no interest in anything that goes on outside their own little bubble, I suppose.


*ha, unintened pun there!

zhao
22-10-2009, 07:02 PM
you know, nomad, you have on many occasions expressed disdain for my musical project. you have time and again used "cultural tourism", "exoticization", "orientalism", and even "racism" to describe my involvement in music from around the world.

you are of course welcome to think what you like, but i would like to tell you that many times i have met people who come from the place that produced the music i was playing, and every single time, with out exception, they have been over joyed to hear their beloved songs so far away from home.

when i opened up for Namibian Kwaito singer Gazza, among the people who came up to the dj booth were Kenyans, Tanzanians, Ghanaians, people from Mozambique... all beside themselves with delight at hearing music from their home land, and said that they wished they could hear it more often in Germany. one Kenyan man told me the last time he heard this particular song it was over 15 years ago... with this... look in his eyes.

likewise i have met people from Turkhia this way. from Egypt. from Venezuela. Cuba. my trumpet player is from Cuba, and he originally got in contact with me, because he was into what i do.

in short, you are the ONLY person that has EVER seen my musical project the way you see it.

not saying that it's not a valid way to look at it. just saying.

mixed_biscuits
22-10-2009, 07:34 PM
I appreciate that science brings us closer to unveiling the nature of systems that, comparatively speaking, are more true, but I disagree with the assumption that the 'fit' between these and human nature is necessarily better than that between our nature and those systems that we create ourselves.

padraig (u.s.)
22-10-2009, 07:45 PM
"cultural tourism", "exoticization", "orientalism" "racism"

I don't know about Nomad but I'm not referring to your music, at least not specifically. I mean, it's a little off-putting how much like to pat your own back for playing records from Africa (or wherever) but, whatever, DJ's are crazily egotistical almost by definition, so. (man, seriously tho, I can't believe you namechecked Kode9 as some kind of cred thing - no offense but that was hella corny)

I'm talking about qualities you attribute to various concepts like "indigenous" or "traditional" and, by extension, the people who stand in for them. it's all encapsulated in that insane statement you made to Tea about going to Indonesia or somewhere, & soaking up knowledge or some kind of vibe from the locals. as if they're just standing around waiting for you to show up so they can impart their spiritual wisdom to you. before you get hella defensive like always & start exclaiming that that's not what you mean at all, step back for a minute & think about it. or you could just keep repeating that "haters can't keep me down cos I KNOW I'm spreading the light" mantra. whatever, I guess.

padraig (u.s.)
22-10-2009, 08:00 PM
I appreciate that science brings us closer to unveiling the nature of systems that, comparatively speaking, are more true, but I disagree with the assumption that the 'fit' between these and human nature is necessarily better than that between our nature and those systems that we create ourselves.

whose assumption are you disagreeing with? and what is this assumption, exactly? how is science separate from "those systems we create ourselves"?

this is another thing people bring up about science. there is no such thing as "more" or "less" true in absolute terms. there are things which are right, until they aren't, and things which can be proved and/or disproved. what there isn't is some kind of meta-commentary things being more or less right (unless it's the personal opinion of an individual scientist).

mixed_biscuits
22-10-2009, 08:08 PM
Science isn't a system, it's a procedure that systematically unveils/erects systems. But I would say it has a will-to-truth, whereas I prefer a will-to-utility and am happy to accept manifestly untrue propositions if they are more useful. For instance, I might be happy to accept the false or undecidable idea of God to help anchor ethics, as we may be better off with the ethical-system-as-conceived-with-the-idea-of-God than not.

zhao
22-10-2009, 09:17 PM
I'm talking about qualities you attribute to various concepts like "indigenous" or "traditional" and, by extension, the people who stand in for them. it's all encapsulated in that insane statement you made to Tea about going to Indonesia or somewhere, & soaking up knowledge or some kind of vibe from the locals. as if they're just standing around waiting for you to show up so they can impart their spiritual wisdom to you. before you get hella defensive like always & start exclaiming that that's not what you mean at all, step back for a minute & think about it. or you could just keep repeating that "haters can't keep me down cos I KNOW I'm spreading the light" mantra. whatever, I guess.

sometimes the best, perhaps only way, to gain knowledge about a world view entirely different from one's own, is by going to that place, and only by doing so can one have experiential knowledge, which is of course the best kind. you can read some dude on the internet ramble on semi-coherently about a life saturated with a sense of mystery and wonder, of house spirits and forest spirits and jinns taking possession of a friend, and it all sounds pretty stupid; and only by living and breathing in a place where these things are just the normal everyday can one truly appreciate this other reality, and feel one's own perception and beliefs shift.

reality is perception: to experience a change of reality it is not enough to merely look at different things, the eyes themselves have to change. and to see the world through different eyes can signal a profound change in the person.

moving to the US when i was 12, i experienced this, in many ways profound, shift in reality, and was myself changed forever. i know, experientially, how much room there is for one's perspective to shift -- and to understand the mystical world view of, say, india, you pretty much have to go live there for a while. and if you keep an open mind and a pure heart, you will probably see some crazy motherfucking shit outside of your previous notions of what is possible, outside of your old reality.

whatever you want to ascribe to what i'm saying, "cultural tourism" or "exoticization" or "orientalism" or "racism", these are all in YOUR head and your head alone. (well and Nomads')

lanugo
22-10-2009, 09:41 PM
Optogenetics: Brain/Internet Interface (http://www.wired.com/magazine/2009/10/mf_optigenetics/all/1)


They’d shown that a beam of light could control brain activity with great precision. The mouse didn’t lose its memory, have a seizure, or die. It ran in a circle. Specifically, a counterclockwise circle.


They now had an On switch for neurons. But in the brain, it’s as important to inhibit neurons as it is to make them fire. As with computers, 0 is as crucial as 1; they needed an Off switch, too. When Boyden finished his PhD, he took an appointment at MIT and began hunting for it. He found there was a bacterial gene, halorhodopsin, that had properties suggesting it could do the opposite of channelrhodopsin. In 2006, Boyden inserted halorhodopsin into neurons and exposed them to yellow light. They stopped firing. Beautiful.



The counterclockwise-running mouse was something new — a triple fusion of animal, plant, and technology — and the students knew it was a harbinger of unprecedentedly powerful ways to alter the brain. For curing diseases, to begin with, but also for understanding how the brain interacts with the body. And ultimately for fusing human and machine.

Mindblowing article! Maybe futuristic transhuman technomysticism is the way to go?

nomadthethird
23-10-2009, 01:22 AM
Science isn't a system, it's a procedure that systematically unveils/erects systems. But I would say it has a will-to-truth, whereas I prefer a will-to-utility and am happy to accept manifestly untrue propositions if they are more useful. For instance, I might be happy to accept the false or undecidable idea of God to help anchor ethics, as we may be better off with the ethical-system-as-conceived-with-the-idea-of-God than not.

Yes, because, obviously, believing in gods has made the world such an ethical place.

QED, as they say.

Ever see the videos of dogs running out into traffic on the freeway to save other injured dogs?

Do you think the dogs do that because they believe in god, or because it's the right thing to do? Because most mammalian species are hardwired this way?

nomadthethird
23-10-2009, 01:26 AM
you know, nomad, you have on many occasions expressed disdain for my musical project. you have time and again used "cultural tourism", "exoticization", "orientalism", and even "racism" to describe my involvement in music from around the world.

you are of course welcome to think what you like, but i would like to tell you that many times i have met people who come from the place that produced the music i was playing, and every single time, with out exception, they have been over joyed to hear their beloved songs so far away from home.

when i opened up for Namibian Kwaito singer Gazza, among the people who came up to the dj booth were Kenyans, Tanzanians, Ghanaians, people from Mozambique... all beside themselves with delight at hearing music from their home land, and said that they wished they could hear it more often in Germany. one Kenyan man told me the last time he heard this particular song it was over 15 years ago... with this... look in his eyes.

likewise i have met people from Turkhia this way. from Egypt. from Venezuela. Cuba. my trumpet player is from Cuba, and he originally got in contact with me, because he was into what i do.

in short, you are the ONLY person that has EVER seen my musical project the way you see it.

not saying that it's not a valid way to look at it. just saying.

I have not given a second thought to your music, ever in my life. You are the one who seems eager to mention it. It hadn't really crossed my mind.

From what I can tell from what you're saying in these few posts, it does seem to be a general extension of your worldview, though. Pomo eclecticism.

If you like that sort of thing, go for it. Whatever.

mixed_biscuits
23-10-2009, 01:36 AM
Do you think the dogs do that because they believe in god, or because it's the right thing to do? Because most mammalian species are hardwired this way?

I completely agree that we behave ethically because empathy for others is hard-wired in us, but in the absence of the guidance of instinctive fellow-feeling one would want compelling reasons to step into the breach. And these reasons can be made more compelling than they would otherwise be if founded on useful untruths: eg. immutable, eternal human 'rights,' God wishes it so etc.

Mr. Tea
23-10-2009, 02:05 AM
The one possibly imaginary thing I think it might be 'useful' to believe in is free will. God(s), not so much.


I completely agree that we behave ethically because empathy for others is hard-wired in us, but in the absence of the guidance of instinctive fellow-feeling one would want compelling reasons to step into the breach. And these reasons can be made more compelling than they would otherwise be if founded on useful untruths: eg. immutable, eternal human 'rights,' God wishes it so etc.

Raising the rather thorny question, "whose God?"...

Room with a view
23-10-2009, 06:59 AM
i'm mysterious as and i'd like to keep it that way. maybe next time i could reincarnate as Way Mysterious jr.

mixed_biscuits
23-10-2009, 08:35 AM
The one possibly imaginary thing I think it might be 'useful' to believe in is free will. God(s), not so much.

Well look, if, by way of the scientific process, free will is shown to be an illusion, we not only would be better off believing in free will for the purposes of social order (in order to justify the justice system as it currently stands), we would also still not be able not to believe in our own personal free will - there would be a fundamental disconnect between what we know to be the case and our own subjective experiences (as even current adherents of the no-free-will-theory still act as if they and everyone else has at least a modicum of free will). This is one way in which an unravelling of the mysterious might lead to alienation.

So, generally speaking, there are limits to the extent to which we can act on the conclusions of science and rational enquiry and argument. Another example: say that, by virtue of science establishing that the universe is infinite and through the process of logical argument, it was taken to be true that our personal actions cannot be said to be ethically good or bad (infinitarian ethics) (http://philpapers.org/rec/BOSTIC), there is no doubt that we would decide to trump the scientific, rational process and ignore these conclusions (a kind of political correctness, if you will) as the behaviour then expected of us would go against the inherent grain of our nature - we would not be able to bring ourselves to act as if we actually believed it to be true (more alienation). This already happens: we attenuate or ignore the truth claims of science if we decide that they are generally unhelpful or if we cannot bring ourselves to act on them, and this is not necessarily a bad thing to do!

DannyL
23-10-2009, 08:54 AM
[QUOTE=Mr. Tea;209336]The one possibly imaginary thing I think it might be 'useful' to believe in is free will. God(s), not so much.

QUOTE]

You should have a look at this book, Mt Tea
http://www.happinesshypothesis.com/ (can lend it you if you want). One of the best books I read last year.

It's one of those positive psychology (science of happiness) books but is really very, very good. he writes very persuasively about the benefits of religion based on his work in social psychology - the science is pretty rigourous as far as I can tell. Apparently, science has proven that religious beliefs make one a lot happier! Stick that in your bunsen burner, Richard Dawkins. In terms of community involvement, positive effect on emotion, charitable works, and ummm I guess "ontological grounding" - and more besides.

I like the books because he's an atheist but one who can write about religion without being condescending or aggressive. He can see other people's perspectives pretty clearly even if he disagrees (of possible relevance to this thread!). he writes very well on the sacred/secular divide in the US.

Zhao, one of the things I don't like about your argument here is it's a bit of an appeal to privelged experience - you seem to be implying that unless someone has had the experience of moving across cultures they can't understand what you are saying. If you are going to base your statements on an experience most people haven't had or don't have access to - well, no wonder it's getting a bit circular.

zhao
23-10-2009, 10:05 AM
Zhao, one of the things I don't like about your argument here is it's a bit of an appeal to privelged experience - you seem to be implying that unless someone has had the experience of moving across cultures they can't understand what you are saying. If you are going to base your statements on an experience most people haven't had or don't have access to - well, no wonder it's getting a bit circular.

yeah i understand what you're saying... and you're right it's a bit solipsistic. but... sometimes there is simply no other way... shrug.

padraig (u.s.)
23-10-2009, 11:00 AM
you will probably see some crazy motherfucking shit outside of your previous notions of what is possible, outside of your old reality.

yes, and most if it has to do with poverty & struggle (*interspersed w/joy & small triumphs & the million things that make up day-to-day life anywhere - the point being people are 3-D, not cardboard spiritual cutouts), not fucking magic and spirits. lots of Mayans practice a syncretic version of Catholicism mixed with bits & pieces of their traditional religion, but mostly the dudes I met worried about weather & the price of corn. like, wouldn't it be cool if we could get paid more for our crops so we didn't have to leave our families & go find work in cities or the U.S.? oh yeah & if the women didn't have to walk hella far to the river to get water every day? dudes were devout but sacred power or whatever was, yunno, a bit down on the list of concerns. OTOH, you can afford not to give a shit about any of that & focus on your own "journey", so, hey. just don't kid yourself that it's anything other than tourism.

it's like you miss the whole point of magical realism. all you see is the magic & you forget the realism half of it. fuck, what is Garcia Marquez if not political? Calvino was a disillusioned Communist. even Rushdie wrote a book about the Sandinistas. meanwhile, you'd like us all to have a dance party and dress up in stupid costumes.

far more serious people (http://www.amazon.com/Absence-Sacred-Failure-Technology-Survival/dp/0871565099) have (http://books.google.com/books?id=q5FgUMJP87IC&dq=arun+saldanha+psychedelic+white&printsec=frontcover&source=bl&ots=5ofT7Isvb6&sig=3f0iS5kn5bKnyF343R6FqgGnffY&hl=en&ei=eXrhSuTkC5H6MP321L4B&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CAsQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=&f=false) been (http://www.press.uchicago.edu/presssite/metadata.epl?mode=synopsis&bookkey=3640795) saying it far better than you for a long time.


these are all in YOUR head and your head alone.

oh yes, the oldest Internet trick in the book (& your go-to move); reversing what someone says & claiming that it actually applies to them. though it in this case, it does. it should be in your head, too - esp. for a dude who's so truth-to-power anti-colonialism & all.

zhao
23-10-2009, 11:09 AM
yes, and most if it has to do with poverty & struggle, not fucking magic and spirits. lots of Mayans practice a syncretic version of Catholicism mixed with bits & pieces of their traditional religion, but mostly the dudes I met worried about weather & the price of corn. like, wouldn't it be cool if we could get paid more for our crops so we didn't have to leave our families & go find work in cities or the U.S.? oh yeah & if the women didn't have to walk hella far to the river to get water every day? dudes were devout but sacred power or whatever was, yunno, a bit down on the list of concerns. OTOH, you can afford not to give a shit about any of that & focus on your own "journey", so, hey. just don't kid yourself that it's anything other than tourism.

it's like you miss the whole point of magical realism. all you see is the magic & you forget the realism half of it. fuck, what is Garcia Marquez if not political? Calvino was a disillusioned Communist. even Rushdie wrote a book about the Sandinistas. meanwhile, you'd like us all to have a dance party and dress up in stupid costumes.

far more serious people (http://www.amazon.com/Absence-Sacred-Failure-Technology-Survival/dp/0871565099) have (http://books.google.com/books?id=q5FgUMJP87IC&dq=arun+saldanha+psychedelic+white&printsec=frontcover&source=bl&ots=5ofT7Isvb6&sig=3f0iS5kn5bKnyF343R6FqgGnffY&hl=en&ei=eXrhSuTkC5H6MP321L4B&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CAsQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=&f=false) been (http://www.press.uchicago.edu/presssite/metadata.epl?mode=synopsis&bookkey=3640795) saying it far better than you for a long time.



oh yes, the oldest Internet trick in the book (& your go-to move); reversing what someone says & claiming that it actually applies to them. though it in this case, it does. it should be in your head, too - esp. for a dude who's so truth-to-power anti-colonialism & all.

hey padraig.

this thread.

this one right here.

you know which one?

this one.

this thread.

here.

this one ------ is about the magic.

i have started other threads about the realism (http://dissensus.com/showthread.php?t=8628&highlight=congo).

comprende???

zhao
23-10-2009, 11:15 AM
and OF COURSE others have said it much much better than me!!! :D

i have noted this earlier in the thread! that what I'm saying is nothing new!!

seems like you just want to be negative to be negative, like the others in your

League of Joyless Lemon Suckers.

those are good links though, 2 i didn't know about before. so thanks.

padraig (u.s.)
23-10-2009, 11:26 AM
yes, & even there you can't keep yourself from having a go at today's "supposedly enlightened" world. like the war in Congo was/is not awful on it's own terms but b/c it blows our civilized Western western minds. seriously bro, what the F ever.


it upsets people's investment in the idea of progress: that this level of brutal carnage is happening in today's supposedly enlightened world (largely perpetrated by children nonetheless) goes against all the ideas of the progressive decrease of violence in human history. a notion completely ludicrous in my estimation: that of the movement from a barbaric past toward a peaceful and "civilized" future.


seems like you just want to be negative to be negative, like the others in your

nah I just don't suffer fools who persist in their foolishness. the difference btwn you & those dudes is that they put serious time & effort into what they do, instead of moaning about how much they'd like to go on mystical journeys from the keyboards of their laptops.

zhao
23-10-2009, 11:33 AM
seriously Padraig,

you are not stupid, and politically we pretty much completely agree.

but what ever your problem is, what ever issues in your life is ramming that big stick up your ass, i hope you get over it soon.

zhao
23-10-2009, 11:36 AM
nah I just don't suffer fools who persist in their foolishness. the difference btwn you & those dudes is that they put serious time & effort into what they do, instead of moaning about how much they'd like to go on mystical journeys from the keyboards of their laptops.

see what kind of stupid shit that stick up there is making you say?

hahaha... i am a GRAPHIC DESIGNER and a DJ dude! I am not an author or an ethnographer or a cultural anthropologist!

you don't have a problem with this thread, you have a problem with that big stick up your ass dude!

padraig (u.s.)
23-10-2009, 11:42 AM
right, well, if we're just down to schoolyard insults then that's that.

best of luck with your journeys. (sincerely, I mean)

(& just tbc I doubt that "politically we pretty much agree". on some things I'd guess but other things not. which is fine, of course)

zhao
23-10-2009, 11:45 AM
thanks man! :D

martin
23-10-2009, 12:14 PM
It's weird how you never see flying carpets anymore.

nomadthethird
23-10-2009, 01:23 PM
I completely agree that we behave ethically because empathy for others is hard-wired in us, but in the absence of the guidance of instinctive fellow-feeling one would want compelling reasons to step into the breach. And these reasons can be made more compelling than they would otherwise be if founded on useful untruths: eg. immutable, eternal human 'rights,' God wishes it so etc.

Exhibit A: The Inquisition.

Humans as a species have been believing in gods for thousands of years, and it doesn't seem to be making the world a very ethical place.

Human rights are a very different concept from God, there are ways to derive human rights that aren't via natural law ("god-given").

What "God"/gods ends up being is an Ego-Proxy in the Sky/forest/whatever, used as an excuse for one group to dominate another, where God is ultimately a Law-Giver whose dictates are employed as a means of social control (which usually has an unduly negative effect on women and minorities in this society).

Many psychologists have done experiments about what happens to ethics in communities where people are raised without concepts like "God" and human rights, and people behave almost identically if not better than they do in cultures like ours. This lead to an interesting theory about mechanisms of social control: people who believe that in the absence of these strict absolute control mechanisms all hell would break loose are saying more about their own prurient lusts and imaginations than they are "humanity's".

nomadthethird
23-10-2009, 01:38 PM
Well look, if, by way of the scientific process, free will is shown to be an illusion, we not only would be better off believing in free will for the purposes of social order (in order to justify the justice system as it currently stands), we would also still not be able not to believe in our own personal free will - there would be a fundamental disconnect between what we know to be the case and our own subjective experiences (as even current adherents of the no-free-will-theory still act as if they and everyone else has at least a modicum of free will). This is one way in which an unravelling of the mysterious might lead to alienation.

So, generally speaking, there are limits to the extent to which we can act on the conclusions of science and rational enquiry and argument. Another example: say that, by virtue of science establishing that the universe is infinite and through the process of logical argument, it was taken to be true that our personal actions cannot be said to be ethically good or bad (infinitarian ethics) (http://philpapers.org/rec/BOSTIC), there is no doubt that we would decide to trump the scientific, rational process and ignore these conclusions (a kind of political correctness, if you will) as the behaviour then expected of us would go against the inherent grain of our nature - we would not be able to bring ourselves to act as if we actually believed it to be true (more alienation). This already happens: we attenuate or ignore the truth claims of science if we decide that they are generally unhelpful or if we cannot bring ourselves to act on them, and this is not necessarily a bad thing to do!

This is a weird argument.

Science has already obliterated the notion of "free will." It's long gone.

But that doesn't mean people don't need to act and make important, difficult choices everyday. What most people are talking about when they talk about "free will" is this necessity, the need to make tough choices and be able to act meaningfully in the world. No need to dress it up in Jeebusite nonsense, although, if you really want to, go ahead.

Folk psychology isn't going anywhere, if that's what you're worried about. At least, it's not going away fast enough for my liking.

Room with a view
23-10-2009, 02:02 PM
Many psychologists have done experiments about what happens to ethics in communities where people are raised without concepts like "God" and human rights and people behave almost identically if not better than they do in cultures like ours....
who'd they experiment on and which culture were they from ?



Science has already obliterated the notion of "free will." It's long gone.


huh...where'd it go ? i musta slept in that day. got a link please ?



Humans as a species have been believing in gods for thousands of years, and it doesn't seem to be making the world a very ethical place.

nothing is as it seems and is that compared to the time when humans didn't believe. you know this how ?