Do metaphysical belief systems win on social climbing tools?

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Papus79
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Do metaphysical belief systems win on social climbing tools?

Post by Papus79 » November 12th, 2020, 9:28 am

This is an attempt at a 'truth vs pragmatism' question. To some degree, in a person's physical life, truth only seems to matter if it relates to physical consequences or, with those with more long-view and introspect, psychological long-term consequences. Past that what wins tends to be some combination of what it offers socially (ie. a big social network of resources), how quick and dirty its weapons are against other belief systems (ie. the one that can destroy nuance the fastest wins here), or - in the case of scientific materialism you have an intuitive bridge between many experimental outcomes and the worldview itself which ties it back to physical consequence.

I'm curious if anyone else wants to chew on this one - not with a particular hard direction in mind but rather excavating and detailing it. I'm leaving out memesis and memetic desire for now because that seems like it could just about apply to anything that conveys status.
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Re: Do metaphysical belief systems win on social climbing tools?

Post by Belindi » November 12th, 2020, 2:03 pm

There are accepted methods for deciding if a proposition is true or false.
Inductive reasoning yields probabilities not absolute truth. Depending on the importance to life of individuals or life of collectives probabilities range from very probable to slightly probable. For instance a new therapy will require more stringent testing than a new teaching method. Therefore sometimes practicality does influence what is considered to be actionable probability.

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Re: Do metaphysical belief systems win on social climbing tools?

Post by Terrapin Station » November 12th, 2020, 5:24 pm

One popular truth theory is the pragmatic theory of truth, of course . . . in which case there's no distinction between truth and pragmatism to be had.

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/truth-pragmatic/

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Re: Do metaphysical belief systems win on social climbing tools?

Post by Papus79 » November 12th, 2020, 6:30 pm

Belindi wrote:
November 12th, 2020, 2:03 pm
Inductive reasoning yields probabilities not absolute truth. Depending on the importance to life of individuals or life of collectives probabilities range from very probable to slightly probable. For instance a new therapy will require more stringent testing than a new teaching method. Therefore sometimes practicality does influence what is considered to be actionable probability.
By induction and probabilities do you mean projected return on investment? If so I'd agree.
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Re: Do metaphysical belief systems win on social climbing tools?

Post by Papus79 » November 12th, 2020, 6:44 pm

Terrapin Station wrote:
November 12th, 2020, 5:24 pm
One popular truth theory is the pragmatic theory of truth, of course . . . in which case there's no distinction between truth and pragmatism to be had.

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/truth-pragmatic/
I only have had a little contact with pragmatism but I'd have to assume that they're holding the lay definition of truth to mean what's useful rather than deleting and replacing the noumenal? I think that's where, when I look back at the first Sam Harris and Jordan Peterson debate when they circled on truth forever Sam was defending the noumenal and I'd agree with his assessment that it can't be fudged as when or if we decide to throw it away we still endure its consequences and if we perform the same inquiries again we arrive at the same results. I think Peterson's claims would be better stated that we have to elevate in importance that which is core to our survival - short of that no humans, possibly no higher consciousness to solve problems, in John Vervaeke terms failure to do that would be blowing path constraints similar to burning down one's house to cook lunch.

The framing of pragmatism that I think matches reality best is something like this - there are all kinds of facts, likely most (thinking of the wild array of higher order mathematics for example) that don't make contact with human evolutionary fitness payouts. We're most interested in the facts or truths which can be utilized for fitness. IMHO that has immediate ramifications for what we'd elect to pay attention to, it's also why we don't have many people out there fascinated by Lie groups and 10+ dimensional geometries unless they're mathematicians, mathematical physicists, or hobbyists in one of these areas. OTOH knowing about hydrocarbon combustion, knowing about how to align semiconductors up to make smaller and smaller switches, knowing that Uranium 235 is fissile - this is very much the low-hanging fruit with high reward on the societal level. That's applying the human eye to the universe which would make pragmatism a human priority triage.
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Re: Do metaphysical belief systems win on social climbing tools?

Post by Belindi » November 13th, 2020, 6:07 am

Papus79 wrote:
November 12th, 2020, 6:30 pm
Belindi wrote:
November 12th, 2020, 2:03 pm
Inductive reasoning yields probabilities not absolute truth. Depending on the importance to life of individuals or life of collectives probabilities range from very probable to slightly probable. For instance a new therapy will require more stringent testing than a new teaching method. Therefore sometimes practicality does influence what is considered to be actionable probability.
By induction and probabilities do you mean projected return on investment? If so I'd agree.
Your words and I accept.

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Re: Do metaphysical belief systems win on social climbing tools?

Post by Count Lucanor » November 14th, 2020, 11:53 am

Papus79 wrote:
November 12th, 2020, 9:28 am
This is an attempt at a 'truth vs pragmatism' question. To some degree, in a person's physical life, truth only seems to matter if it relates to physical consequences or, with those with more long-view and introspect, psychological long-term consequences. Past that what wins tends to be some combination of what it offers socially (ie. a big social network of resources), how quick and dirty its weapons are against other belief systems (ie. the one that can destroy nuance the fastest wins here), or - in the case of scientific materialism you have an intuitive bridge between many experimental outcomes and the worldview itself which ties it back to physical consequence.
I'm translating this as: "in a first instance, truth only matters at the individual level, and in a second instance, at the social level".

If so, I disagree. Right at the moment it matters at the individual level, the social domain is already present.

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Re: Do metaphysical belief systems win on social climbing tools?

Post by Papus79 » November 14th, 2020, 12:43 pm

Count Lucanor wrote:
November 14th, 2020, 11:53 am
I'm translating this as: "in a first instance, truth only matters at the individual level, and in a second instance, at the social level".

If so, I disagree. Right at the moment it matters at the individual level, the social domain is already present.
I wouldn't quite put it that way.

Maybe to try and hone in on the layer you're analyzing with this - first experience of life and subjectivity starts off relatively solipsistic, you could think of that as the primacy of childhood, and from there it's an assembly of datum for better functioning in the world, survival, to whatever degree Maslow's hierarchy points at a useful structure for mapping human goals there's a gradual effort to climb that hierarchy. The point to those last few sentences though - assessing truth is always ultimately a private matter first. I wouldn't say it only matters at the individual level, just that we don't really have shared subjectivity. To that end if it seems like I'm assembling this at the individual level first and bringing it out to the public sphere second it's because that tends to be the individual order of priority (kin selection can yield deep self-sacrifice at times but even there it has certain thresholds, ie. heroism happens but the day to day world and social structures aren't built on heroism).

What I'm trying to examine is the tug of war between noumenal third-person facts and pragmatism related to social issues. My sense is that the selective pressures for life causes pragmatic social truths (such as those which yield status to mating or, perhaps more broadly, yield workable social systems locally - such as religion) are often in zero-sum competition where the pragmatic truths will generally win in a sort of competition for human priority. I think from that end it's worth mapping that triage zone, ie. having some theory of what knowledge gets discarded vs. taken up as it relates to anything from the thriving of communities to individual social hierarchy climbing.

IMHO there are a lot of reasons to have a clear lens on this boundary and maybe the most important in my mind is it's a zone where a lot of grifting happens on political and social levels that wouldn't be possible if the common outlook was 'Yeah, but we don't like thinking of humans that way'. Going into the 21st century I worry that some of our self-examination taboos are hurting our resilience.
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Re: Do metaphysical belief systems win on social climbing tools?

Post by Papus79 » November 14th, 2020, 12:44 pm

Papus79 wrote:
November 14th, 2020, 12:43 pm
IMHO there are a lot of reasons to have a clear lens on this boundary and maybe the most important in my mind is it's a zone where a lot of grifting happens on political and social levels that wouldn't be possible if the common outlook was 'Yeah, but we don't like thinking of humans that way'. Going into the 21st century I worry that some of our self-examination taboos are hurting our resilience.
I meant to say 'wasn't', IMHO we need less of that not more.
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Re: Do metaphysical belief systems win on social climbing tools?

Post by Count Lucanor » November 14th, 2020, 2:45 pm

Papus79 wrote:
November 14th, 2020, 12:43 pm
Maybe to try and hone in on the layer you're analyzing with this - first experience of life and subjectivity starts off relatively solipsistic, you could think of that as the primacy of childhood, and from there it's an assembly of datum for better functioning in the world, survival, to whatever degree Maslow's hierarchy points at a useful structure for mapping human goals there's a gradual effort to climb that hierarchy.
Assuming that while being at the mother's womb, a human will not have any subjective connection with the mother and her surrounding social environment, subjectivity and social connection is certainly starting off at the time of birth, not any time later in life. And most, if not everything that develops from there in terms of individual mental life, is shaped by that social environment. There is no period of life in which the individual stands isolated with his own self. Their private matters are already "contaminated" with social influences, other people's perspectives necessarily enter in relationship with one's own. We have shared subjectivity from the start, because life is mostly intersubjective experience.
Papus79 wrote:
November 14th, 2020, 12:43 pm
What I'm trying to examine is the tug of war between noumenal third-person facts and pragmatism related to social issues. My sense is that the selective pressures for life causes pragmatic social truths (such as those which yield status to mating or, perhaps more broadly, yield workable social systems locally - such as religion) are often in zero-sum competition where the pragmatic truths will generally win in a sort of competition for human priority. I think from that end it's worth mapping that triage zone, ie. having some theory of what knowledge gets discarded vs. taken up as it relates to anything from the thriving of communities to individual social hierarchy climbing.
If I understand well, you're trying to examine how individual rationality (personal subjectivity) plays against social conventions, where you see the social fitness of a belief system being prioritized over the individual's purported direct access to reality (truth). I'm afraid such an inquiry will find quickly a dead end, because as explained above, there's no separation between the individual and the social domain, and no direct access to the facts of reality, it is always an intersubjective construction, very much dependent on the conventions for assessing truths. I wouldn't call this pragmatic social truths, as if opposed or differentiated from some other types of truths. But of course, as societies become more complex, it cannot be expected that a unified, perfectly cohesive belief system, prevails. Most often, there are many ideas going around, sometimes directly opposed and expressing different group perspectives, influenced by particular local conditions that range from the closest family circles to extended communities. Surely, their cultural practices (including their systematic methods of inquiry) can get to meet each other and find common grounds, so as to become widely accepted truth-seeking strategies (science, philosophy) and at the personal level, one can choose to adopt their truths as universally or relatively valid. But still socially agreed conventions.

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Re: Do metaphysical belief systems win on social climbing tools?

Post by Papus79 » November 14th, 2020, 3:22 pm

Count Lucanor wrote:
November 14th, 2020, 2:45 pm
Assuming that while being at the mother's womb, a human will not have any subjective connection with the mother and her surrounding social environment, subjectivity and social connection is certainly starting off at the time of birth, not any time later in life. And most, if not everything that develops from there in terms of individual mental life, is shaped by that social environment. There is no period of life in which the individual stands isolated with his own self. Their private matters are already "contaminated" with social influences, other people's perspectives necessarily enter in relationship with one's own. We have shared subjectivity from the start, because life is mostly intersubjective experience.
Actually I see some pretty good ground for constructive disagreement here as it's forcing me to flesh out the parameters of my thinking on this.

I'd disagree from the standpoint that, especially under age three or four, there's so much noise in the system and such fundamental neurological systems coming online that the character of who and what you are is, other than potentially (and another can of worms we can get to later) epigenetic memory from parents, what you have a personality that comes from order of developmental operations as these fundamental survival sets are coming online.

Is your subjectivity cross-contaminated from birth? Sure, as much as the physical environment you're in frames your observations from the time that your eyes work well enough to make observations. On the other hand when your priorities are learning to walk and learning to speak, and just trying to get even enough linguistic syntax to ask for food, drink, help, or attention the nuances of politics your parents have won't be there. You will have imitation of their lower-level behaviors and it will likely contribute to their politics feeling natural as you grow older but suffice to say, for each person, there's a uniqueness - for them at least - to their own individual umwelt in that it's their umwelt and no one else's. It's also part of how empathy can be a difficult thing to teach if one's mirror neuron growth isn't the greatest.

All of that being more of a detour though - I'm making an argument that there are 3rd person facts, or 3rd person truths, that are indifferent to society and individual beliefs - a bit like miasma theories of disease or beliefs about 'bad air' or bathing being the cause of disease in the European middle ages didn't change the actualities of virus behavior (well - left all kinds of wonderful vectors open) anymore then Rhonda Byrnes can manifest a Porsche by thinking about it.
Count Lucanor wrote:
November 14th, 2020, 2:45 pm
If I understand well, you're trying to examine how individual rationality (personal subjectivity) plays against social conventions, where you see the social fitness of a belief system being prioritized over the individual's purported direct access to reality (truth).
I'd disagree with that interpretation.

Starting with that third person, external, set of facts that we're getting some traces of with our senses, we ourselves process those datum because there's no one else to see them for us. Obviously there are text books, scientific and mathematical papers, nature shows, museums, longform Youtube videos of college lecture series, all sorts of ways to get second-hand information, it's still your own brain compiling that against what you already know or have experienced to sort your way through it.

From that - what I mean by metaphysical systems winning by their social climbing tools, quite often our needs - as a species of animal - trump our need to live by veridical truth. The need to have viridical truth at the expense of human needs is often taken as a sign that a person is a 'nerd', or going further it's a sign that they might be on the autistic spectrum.
Count Lucanor wrote:
November 14th, 2020, 2:45 pm
But of course, as societies become more complex, it cannot be expected that a unified, perfectly cohesive belief system, prevails. Most often, there are many ideas going around, sometimes directly opposed and expressing different group perspectives, influenced by particular local conditions that range from the closest family circles to extended communities. Surely, their cultural practices (including their systematic methods of inquiry) can get to meet each other and find common grounds, so as to become widely accepted truth-seeking strategies (science, philosophy) and at the personal level, one can choose to adopt their truths as universally or relatively valid. But still socially agreed conventions.
So yes, this is much more in line with what I'm examining and my argument would be that quite often the veridicality of those truth systems has less importance, in the totality of one's life, than how many people that belief system either puts you in the good graces of, helps you surpass on the socioeconomic ladder, or both.

I'm not suggesting this as a 'should', if anything I'm suggesting this as someone whose tended to shop around for ideas, whose crossed national borders for my favorite genres and pieces of music rather than a perpetual churn of this week's top 40 from my specific city or region, and I've noticed just how strange - and even isolating - it can be for people (I've seen that isolation for others) when they take on beliefs that don't match their local culture, and it often comes at certain social and economic costs to the person whose opting not to conform at that level. Sometimes they're lucky and said difference match drives for entrepreneurship or athletic achievement, at which point very few can argue with the results they're getting, but past that when people seem to tune out ideas better than those of their tribe rather than swapping out rotted boards with new ones in their tribe's knowledge, I really get the impression that the preference is to keep the same beliefs for endearment to one's tribe and all of the benefits that come with that over weighing ideas from first principals. At earlier phases of human evolution when we were in lifelong groups of less than 150 thinking from first principals and challenging traditions based on that would have been suicidal, and I think we still have plenty of hangover from that.

When then, way further down the road, leads back to my OP question - do metaphysical beliefs and their cultural stickiness or endurance have more to do with their social utility than their veridical truth? The overthrow of the pagan mysteries and mathematics in late antiquity by Christianity and Islam seems to be one bold example showing that public appeal and range of cognitive grasp is much more powerful than whether or not a handful of elites have some philosophies in 4th century CE that could have kicked off the Renaissance, Enlightenment, and scientific revolution 1,200 years early if they'd ensconced better with power or had some more compelling or useful exoteric story for the broader illiterate populace of the time.
People aren't fundamentally good or fundamentally bad, we're fundamentally trying to survive. It's the environment and culture which tells us what that's going to be.

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Re: Do metaphysical belief systems win on social climbing tools?

Post by Count Lucanor » November 15th, 2020, 8:38 pm

Papus79 wrote:
November 14th, 2020, 3:22 pm
Count Lucanor wrote:
November 14th, 2020, 2:45 pm
Assuming that while being at the mother's womb, a human will not have any subjective connection with the mother and her surrounding social environment, subjectivity and social connection is certainly starting off at the time of birth, not any time later in life. And most, if not everything that develops from there in terms of individual mental life, is shaped by that social environment. There is no period of life in which the individual stands isolated with his own self. Their private matters are already "contaminated" with social influences, other people's perspectives necessarily enter in relationship with one's own. We have shared subjectivity from the start, because life is mostly intersubjective experience.
Actually I see some pretty good ground for constructive disagreement here as it's forcing me to flesh out the parameters of my thinking on this.

I'd disagree from the standpoint that, especially under age three or four, there's so much noise in the system and such fundamental neurological systems coming online that the character of who and what you are is, other than potentially (and another can of worms we can get to later) epigenetic memory from parents, what you have a personality that comes from order of developmental operations as these fundamental survival sets are coming online.
I can see we fundamentally disagree on our understanding of early child cognitive development and the role of social systems in shaping it since birth. From Vygotsky and Piaget we know there are stages in that development and not until 3 or 4 years children can interact with the world with enough competence and skills to survive on their own. But we also know that early attachment to their primary caregivers is key for shaping personality through emotions and this bonding ultimately helps develop their social behavior. I found a brief description of what I'm talking about here:

Monkeys and Morality: Crash Course Psychology

In any case, no matter how underdeveloped one may think neurological systems are during early childhood, it would be difficult to press hard the notion that there's complete detachment from the social environment and that the child lives in a cognitive bubble, alone.
Papus79 wrote:
November 14th, 2020, 3:22 pm
Is your subjectivity cross-contaminated from birth? Sure, as much as the physical environment you're in frames your observations from the time that your eyes work well enough to make observations. On the other hand when your priorities are learning to walk and learning to speak, and just trying to get even enough linguistic syntax to ask for food, drink, help, or attention the nuances of politics your parents have won't be there. You will have imitation of their lower-level behaviors and it will likely contribute to their politics feeling natural as you grow older but suffice to say, for each person, there's a uniqueness - for them at least - to their own individual umwelt in that it's their umwelt and no one else's. It's also part of how empathy can be a difficult thing to teach if one's mirror neuron growth isn't the greatest.
As far as I know, what you call priorities are very unlikely to show up in an infant without the parental stimulation and other early social experiences. The few feral children that have survived have often not shown any basic skills like walking upright and even the ability to learn a language (the critical period hypothesis). And of course, learning of sociability skills is something more than receiving information, that is, communication of verbal ideas, there are other communication processes going on from our senses perceiving and reading the signals of the environment where other agents move, too. That surely shapes our subjectivity early on.
Papus79 wrote:
November 14th, 2020, 3:22 pm
All of that being more of a detour though - I'm making an argument that there are 3rd person facts, or 3rd person truths, that are indifferent to society and individual beliefs - a bit like miasma theories of disease or beliefs about 'bad air' or bathing being the cause of disease in the European middle ages didn't change the actualities of virus behavior (well - left all kinds of wonderful vectors open) anymore then Rhonda Byrnes can manifest a Porsche by thinking about it.

Starting with that third person, external, set of facts that we're getting some traces of with our senses, we ourselves process those datum because there's no one else to see them for us. Obviously there are text books, scientific and mathematical papers, nature shows, museums, longform Youtube videos of college lecture series, all sorts of ways to get second-hand information, it's still your own brain compiling that against what you already know or have experienced to sort your way through it.
This obviously takes us back to the old problems of the theory of mind since Descartes, Berkeley, Kant and so on until these days. I have debated this extensively and I'm not going to spend too much on it this time, but I'll state my basic idea: we don't have and cannot have a direct access to "external" reality (I'm putting that on quotes because I don't believe in the internal/external division in theory of mind). We only have direct access to our perceptions and subjective representations, but we do have sort of an indirect access to objective reality. And that indirect path goes by the name of philosophy and science.
Papus79 wrote:
November 14th, 2020, 3:22 pm
From that - what I mean by metaphysical systems winning by their social climbing tools, quite often our needs - as a species of animal - trump our need to live by veridical truth. The need to have viridical truth at the expense of human needs is often taken as a sign that a person is a 'nerd', or going further it's a sign that they might be on the autistic spectrum.
I'm not completely sure what you mean there. There's evidently an anti-intellectual movement growing in direct proportion to the expansion of mass culture and its dynamics of power in capitalist society. In this society, using Bourdieu's terms, social capital cashes in on cultural capital, which helps in organizing social hierarchies, but individual cultural capital is itself dependent of an organized industry that tends to promote the shallowest elements of human existence. So, I don't think it's a problem of the systems of ideas themselves, which anyway had been associated in the past with status symbols and social hierarchies and that didn't represent a problem in terms of their intrinsic cultural value.
Papus79 wrote:
November 14th, 2020, 3:22 pm
I'm not suggesting this as a 'should', if anything I'm suggesting this as someone whose tended to shop around for ideas, whose crossed national borders for my favorite genres and pieces of music rather than a perpetual churn of this week's top 40 from my specific city or region, and I've noticed just how strange - and even isolating - it can be for people (I've seen that isolation for others) when they take on beliefs that don't match their local culture, and it often comes at certain social and economic costs to the person whose opting not to conform at that level. Sometimes they're lucky and said difference match drives for entrepreneurship or athletic achievement, at which point very few can argue with the results they're getting, but past that when people seem to tune out ideas better than those of their tribe rather than swapping out rotted boards with new ones in their tribe's knowledge, I really get the impression that the preference is to keep the same beliefs for endearment to one's tribe and all of the benefits that come with that over weighing ideas from first principals. At earlier phases of human evolution when we were in lifelong groups of less than 150 thinking from first principals and challenging traditions based on that would have been suicidal, and I think we still have plenty of hangover from that.
I can relate to that, since most of my life I have been on that other side of dissent and non-conformism. And I know what you mean that it comes at certain social cost. But having wandered there so much time, I also discovered the falsehood and convenience for social capital of counterculture, so that it can go hand in hand with mainstream culture to make people conform. You might notice that tribes come with different colors and symbols, but behind all of the differences there's a common base that protects the root system, and the rebels turn out to be far more conservative than what their symbols show. We are now supposed to be living in a more diverse and rich culture, where originality and the value of difference is promoted, but there's a sociological explanation to this: all of this happens in the domain of consumption of goods and services, cultural identities can be bought at a shop, so in the end all this apparent diversity is designed to helps sales.

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Re: Do metaphysical belief systems win on social climbing tools?

Post by Papus79 » November 15th, 2020, 10:28 pm

Count Lucanor wrote:
November 15th, 2020, 8:38 pm
I can see we fundamentally disagree on our understanding of early child cognitive development and the role of social systems in shaping it since birth. From Vygotsky and Piaget we know there are stages in that development and not until 3 or 4 years children can interact with the world with enough competence and skills to survive on their own. But we also know that early attachment to their primary caregivers is key for shaping personality through emotions and this bonding ultimately helps develop their social behavior. I found a brief description of what I'm talking about here:

Monkeys and Morality: Crash Course Psychology

In any case, no matter how underdeveloped one may think neurological systems are during early childhood, it would be difficult to press hard the notion that there's complete detachment from the social environment and that the child lives in a cognitive bubble, alone.
This could be a lot of self-extrapolation, my own experience of life up until five, and in particular my read of what was coming in new to me, was very different to my infant or early childhood self than it would be to my adult self. Buildings like churches, libraries with upper floors or governmental dome roofs, a lot of this really looked lofty to me, I remember watching Bill Alexander or Bob Ross paint and being fascinated by the places they could take people with a paint brush. I remember going to science museums and seeing flourescent minerals under black lights, going to planetarium shows, or going to the local natural history museum and being guided through the different dinosaurs that existed at different time frames. What really caught my fascination was the solar system, the planets and their moons, various nebula and galaxies, I was devouring that stuff in 1st grade with what I could almost describe as Sagan-esque wonder.

What glitters and dazzles to us, or inspires the heck out of us at that age tends to lose its luster. Before that happens these impressions do set a kind of emotional resonance, slightly before that and for the deeply formative years (like ages 3 to 5) everything else is deeply creoled in such a way where its your emotional impression of things, especially aesthetic qualities, that are leading you at that point and accordingly that gives you something of a home base that lasts largely the rest of your life. A side note on this, and it's referring back to music, it's interesting to listen to Boards of Canada and their nostalgic look backward at what seems like the sort of 70's synth landscapes of their childhood programming (I was in Michigan at that age and we were close enough to Windsor to be getting Canadian broadcast). I also remember the very heavy, chunky synth music of the early 80's, TV station call signatures, DBridge captured some of this in Rendezvous. I bring all of that up because it's an example of artists reaching back to that 4-7 or 4-8 range emotional boiler plate that sort of made them 'them'. Certain things will make me feel very at home where someone else would start twitching and ask if I can turn it off.

We may still disagree on some points here (it might be less than perhaps our differences in word choice), but there's some point or more likely gradient of points in personal development at which - at least for some people - enough self-reference to that home base and enough building off of it and then deliberate consideration of things from first principals, particularly when it gets to the degree of what some developmental psychologists would call 'self-authoring', something I would say I did a lot of (had to in order to survive certain times of my life), these are places where you take your own identity in your hands to whatever degree possible. Where the confines of society put a limit on that perhaps is what concepts are available in the broader catalog of literature, what psychotechnologies (meditation, psychedelics, ritual, etc.) are available for digging deeper into your own nuts and bolts, and while it's generally less intrusive since it's after the fact rather than a lack of a starting point - you do have the person who you need to be, socially and outwardly, day to day which puts some limit conditions on what you can be (though I'd debate that with enough ingenuity you could still keep your inner world more free than not).

Count Lucanor wrote:
November 15th, 2020, 8:38 pm
This obviously takes us back to the old problems of the theory of mind since Descartes, Berkeley, Kant and so on until these days. I have debated this extensively and I'm not going to spend too much on it this time, but I'll state my basic idea: we don't have and cannot have a direct access to "external" reality (I'm putting that on quotes because I don't believe in the internal/external division in theory of mind). We only have direct access to our perceptions and subjective representations, but we do have sort of an indirect access to objective reality. And that indirect path goes by the name of philosophy and science.
Right, so what leavings of objective reality we have are thin gruel and the best we can hope for is that when we learn things or change our minds that we can be less wrong than we were before. If you do believe there's an objective world then we're with each other so far.

Also I'd agree that philosophy and science are our best shot, just that when those two things leave the handful of nerds who care about them for their own sake, or for taking aim at veridical truth, these things tend to fall into pragmatic use.
Count Lucanor wrote:
November 15th, 2020, 8:38 pm
I'm not completely sure what you mean there. There's evidently an anti-intellectual movement growing in direct proportion to the expansion of mass culture and its dynamics of power in capitalist society. In this society, using Bourdieu's terms, social capital cashes in on cultural capital, which helps in organizing social hierarchies, but individual cultural capital is itself dependent of an organized industry that tends to promote the shallowest elements of human existence. So, I don't think it's a problem of the systems of ideas themselves, which anyway had been associated in the past with status symbols and social hierarchies and that didn't represent a problem in terms of their intrinsic cultural value.
What I think I'm really getting at here - there isn't any reason to believe that absolute reality or absolute truth corresponds to human flourishing, it's something where in the grand scheme of things the broader landscape of reality 'just is' and in being so it's indifferent to us. Our senses already heavily edit and filter incoming information to keep it relevant to our ability to both survive the needs of the day and get our genes into the future. I think those exigences or existential pressures/demands will cause certain philosophies or ideas to win out over other not based on veridical truth value but social utility. To an extent this can't be avoided - we have biological constraints which means we need to have certain orders of priority in what we pay attention to, without that we rack up opportunity costs that are unacceptable like falling off a cliff reaching for a penny on a ledge. What I worry about however is that there's a zero-sum contest between philosophic truths that would make the world better for everyone if they were willing to use them but other metaphysical belief systems or idea sets (sometimes tribal portfolios of belief) which are more directly beneficial to the individual holding them than to go for the set of axioms that it more true, less wrong, whatever we'd like to call of it if we want to be careful with our wording but they won't do it because in a set of zero-sum games power and leverage mean more than truth.
Count Lucanor wrote:
November 15th, 2020, 8:38 pm
You might notice that tribes come with different colors and symbols, but behind all of the differences there's a common base that protects the root system, and the rebels turn out to be far more conservative than what their symbols show. We are now supposed to be living in a more diverse and rich culture, where originality and the value of difference is promoted, but there's a sociological explanation to this: all of this happens in the domain of consumption of goods and services, cultural identities can be bought at a shop, so in the end all this apparent diversity is designed to helps sales.
Yeah, it's hilarious. People just find brand new ways to conform in lockstep. It's the 'outsider group x' uniform.

A couple things I'd put this down to:

1) Rene Girard's ideas of memetic desire and imitation. Nearly all, if not all, identities are built from imitation, I think of it to be a mark of adulthood when someone does actually depart from that and start constructing their own ideas but one find that this is still rare even with all of the tools available. Rene also suggested that many people don't know what they want until someone else convinces them that they want it, I'm not sure how much of this might just be getting exposed to new things and not having a frame of reference until it's available verses how many people genuinely need that as stated.

2) It doesn't pay, at least in the evolutionary sense, to really 'not conform' so you have to figure out which basket of BS and mixed truth-with-falsehood looks the least unappealing or most aesthetically pleasing. That's not saying people shouldn't, just that they'd have to feel like they're the intellectual or spiritual equivalent of a LaBron James or Kobe Bryant to feel like they could do so without it being their downfall.

To that last point some people really will be inescapably different either through brutal internal ethics, certain developmental experiences (Gad Saad's childhood experiences of the Lebanese civil war come to mind here), certain circumstances that made it necessary to be so, whatever the case may be that's always a double-edged sword in that you may shine quite brightly but you'll also tend to hang in a void of sorts and if people can't immediately tell what kind of person they're dealing with. For people who can't tell what they're seeing it's safer at a glance to alienate and miss out potentially on some really interesting or worthwhile people in some cases than give someone who doesn't have themselves together social or emotional access to them.
People aren't fundamentally good or fundamentally bad, we're fundamentally trying to survive. It's the environment and culture which tells us what that's going to be.

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Re: Do metaphysical belief systems win on social climbing tools?

Post by Pattern-chaser » November 16th, 2020, 12:05 pm

Belindi wrote:
November 12th, 2020, 2:03 pm
Inductive reasoning yields probabilities not absolute truth. Depending on the importance to life of individuals or life of collectives probabilities range from very probable to slightly probable.
Methinks you overstate the merits of induction. The probabilities you refer to only exist in theory; the actual, numerical, probabilities are incalculable. I.e. they cannot be evaluated. So they don't really exist. Induction is, at best, educated guesswork. It has no formal grounding or justification. I don't suggest that we don't use induction; we use all sorts of approximations, if they prove useful. But let's not try to pretend it is more than it is? 👍
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Re: Do metaphysical belief systems win on social climbing tools?

Post by Belindi » November 16th, 2020, 2:53 pm

Pattern-chaser wrote:
November 16th, 2020, 12:05 pm
Belindi wrote:
November 12th, 2020, 2:03 pm
Inductive reasoning yields probabilities not absolute truth. Depending on the importance to life of individuals or life of collectives probabilities range from very probable to slightly probable.
Methinks you overstate the merits of induction. The probabilities you refer to only exist in theory; the actual, numerical, probabilities are incalculable. I.e. they cannot be evaluated. So they don't really exist. Induction is, at best, educated guesswork. It has no formal grounding or justification. I don't suggest that we don't use induction; we use all sorts of approximations, if they prove useful. But let's not try to pretend it is more than it is? 👍
I don't pretend induction is more than it is. Induction ranges through the commonsense of someone who is not quite stupidly drunk, through the inductive process used by a puppy learning how to get on with other dogs, through the inductive process of a student of one of the human sciences, to an experienced craftsman.

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