But I take much of Freud's beliefs figuratively or downcast them outright. Empathy is a hell of a drug. I have learned how to naturally spit out some really mean- and really funny- jokes, but I still feel guilty on the in side when I do so. It's refreshing to be the leader of a face to face organization again. I am super excited about getting my home work done before the week's end this week. I found the courage to play a single player video game alone for the first time since November, and have good reason to deem that an accomplishment. Today I just might open Fruity Loops or Open Office for the sake of creative expression. I cast away my old routine only to accidentally adopt a new, less dignified one. True, it builds great character and knowledge, but it is more difficult to justify. Through social interaction and academia I have finally learned the key differences between morality and ethics. I am fighting to compromise my old routine with my new one. I have never before wished for school to remain in session so that I can avoid my art responsibilities. Instant-gratification habits are hard to break, even new ones, and empathy is a hell of a drug.
'I don't like you. I just like the way that I interact with you. You assist in my self-amusement.'
Pick your literal poison or otherwise and get addicted, because no thing says, 'Purpose,' like a wreckless, base desire. No. That was sarcasm. How is it that sarcastic individuals can get confused by a sarcastic response to a sarcastic statement or question? Willful ignorance runs deep, and so do the tunnels a certain some one gently carved through my very being and then suddenly left vacant and cold. These tunnels were not without their grand adornments, how ever, and many others have been attracted and now fill these tunnels nearly to the brim. The tunnels all stem from a special room, though, and no one seems to be able to fit in to it- not without trying. I can only assume that dat shit be custom, yo. The tunnels may collapse in time, and those that occupy them may have to bunk up or dig their own, but that room isn't going away. I keep the light off and only rarely dust it, often wishing I will simply forget that it is there.
'It's easy to fall in love. Remaining there is the hard part.'
It's strange. Hardly any situation makes me feel embarrassed or guilty any longer, and yet I still suffer from performance anxiety. When the performance begins, I am comforted and can even run it on autopilot. I hate surprises, but, if I do not know what is expected of me, the anxiety is less. On the one hand, on the other. Duality. I almost succumbed to the Feynd not long ago. Beauty is every where, you bastard. The music will always be there to remind me. Your path is now for ever more treacherous. Mine is mostly clear. I focus on changing habits to suit my desires. There are few questions left to answer during this chapter, and they are not frightening ones.
'Stop saying, 'I know how you feel.' How could any one know how an other feels?'
We can try, we can try. It is empathy that brings about social anxiety, and at the very least we will always have that challenge to overcome. It is a blessing, to love and hate others, to be able to easily tell our stories as meaningful ones. This brings forth a question of relativity: If we can't know peace without suffering, is it also true that we can't know love without hate? Common sense may say, 'No,' but why not? Is it because love and hate are only opposites as responses, not as feelings? In that case, it may be imagined that the opposite of love is 'without love'. To crave love without knowing what it is is possible. Per haps that is the balance. You can't feel in love without the desire. The opposite then is to be in that state of loneliness where you feel completely misunderstood, with no meaningful foundation of social comfort. That is far worse than hatred, and in this way it is fitting again.
I hadn't expected this post to contain much substance without, so I began with questions from philosophy and social psychology courses and my answers to them. Don't worry, I'm still a philosopher psychoanalyst, and I'll show you...
While philosophers like Parfit and Dennett raise some serious issues concerning the independent existence of the mind, soul or ego, it would seem, at least on a common sense level, that we mostly accept the independent existence of these entities. In our ordinary language, we talk sensibly about “changing our minds,” which has a meaning, which is quite distinct from “changing our brains.” If these philosophers were right, going to a psychotherapist would make as much sense as going to a fortuneteller. Do you believe that there is such a thing as spirituality? If so, how do you explain it? If not, do you believe that a purely physical description of humanity could give us a complete explanation of human behavior?
The psychotherapist/fortuneteller bit doesn't make much sense to me. In many ways, psychotherapy generates positive results based on causality of facts. This can be true regardless of whether there is an ego, soul, or any sort of distinct identity. Saying that psychotherapy is a sham if you can't apply it to a network of neurons as opposed to a singular ego is like saying that psychotherapy is a sham if you try to apply it to a group of people in stead of just one person. Regardless of target, you are still working with real brain functions. Per haps I missed the point, because the rest of the concepts were very clear to me!
I believe that spirituality is subjective and manmade. It is an art, very real, useful, and inspiring, but not necessary or concrete. I do believe that a purely physical description of humanity could give us a complete explanation of human behavior, though there are many details that we have yet to plot out and fully understand. I for a long time have agreed with the Bundle Theory's understanding of what the mind is, but I treat the information a little differently, I think. It is said that words like 'mind', 'ego', or 'soul' are used for the sake of our language, as if convenience of communication is the only reason for these titles. The concept of ethics collapses under this pretense, how ever. If there is no true concept of mind, who dies when we murder? How can one steal from an other or lie to an other, if there is no distinction between people? There are distinctions between minds; there are separate and personal desires. They might become a little confused in such situations as the computer that mirrored the human brain, but an understanding can still me met. Ethics requires a concept of specific minds, and intelligent life requires ethics. It may still just be a shorthand, but with a far greater purpose than for the sake of conversation.
Most of us would agree that animals have minds simply because they display intelligent behavior. At the same time, most of us utilize an array of machines, which also exhibit intelligent behavior. A GPS receiver, for example, can direct us precisely to our destination with a soothing and intelligent sounding voice. Does this mean that it has a mind? Why should we not apply the same sort of reasoning that we use to posit a mind to our pet dog, to our GPS receiver, and come to the same conclusion, that it too has a mind or even a soul?
Debates can be had of free will, level of intelligence, the definition of intelligence, and ease of information processing. I imagine that an easy angle to this issue is that of motivation. Computers do not have a sense of self preservation. Computers do not react to outside stimulus for the sake of their own survival. That makes an easy distinction between, say, a dog and a GPS. The wonder returns when we compare modern robotics, such as light-weight, group operating flyers that are mindful of their environment to insects. Do insects have minds? Are robots that can avoid obstacles, maintaining zero contact with objects that could damage them, actually mindful? These robots are programmable, but so are insects (links below to both concepts). Now the concept of self preservation needs to be broken down, per haps. Can simply avoiding obstacles be considered self preservation? It can be said that the robots only avoid contact with obstacles because they are programmed to do so, while insects avoid crashing in to objects while in flight to stay alive. Do insects understand and appreciate the concept of life, though? Can all insects solve problems through cognition, or trial and error? From this perspective it is more difficult for me to form a conclusion. If I had to make a decision, I would decide that insects do not have minds simply because their brains are not complex enough to support them. Key elements of mind seem to be missing, and so robots comparable to insects do not have minds, either.
Activity Description Please discuss either: --whether you think religion has a positive or negative effect on morality or --whether you think whether the project of proving the existence of God is important.
I believe that religious dogma has a severely negative effect on morality and ethics when it outlines religious laws. Ethics are meant to be universal, not bound to one being's opinion, no matter how mighty. Morality is personal, and the same conflict arises when morals are not grounded on a personal level. When people are raised to take morality and ethics from a set of unquestionable laws, they do not understand the philosophy behind right and wrong. Concepts of right and wrong are most crucial in times of great anxiety and depression, and if some one's troubles cause some one to lose their faith, all hope of discerning right from wrong is lost. In secular society we have laws to prevent those who do not understand ethics from harming others. I feel that religious rules of morality are the same. Doing what is right out of fear or obedience or loyalty is not being righteous at all. It is simply following orders. While law may bring order, it does not raise good people, and I find that a society of good people is more valuable than an orderly one.
I don't think that it's an important endeavor to prove the existence of God. It's a matter of faith. The subject does interest me, and I pay attention to proofs for and against gods. I have yet to hear or read one that doesn't make me roll my eyes or laugh a little, and I was rather disappointed by the ones in the reading this week. I have heard more thoughtful ones from kids just entering college. I don't care how knowledgeable or powerful any being is, though. Whether or not any sort of god exists, I'm still going to live my life the way that I do. Any thing less would simply be being untruthful and unfaithful to my self. I don't respond well to threats from people who claim to have moral authority.
We distinguish between our dreams and reality, between our avatars and our personal identity and between what we watch on TV and how we respond to our "real" environment. How do you make these distinctions in our day-to-day lives? Why is it important for us to make these distinctions?
I, like most people, generally make these distinctions automatically based on old habits. It may seem a little backwards, in that case, to imagine that when I was younger it was much easier for me to 'lose my self' in fiction and my own imagination. Especially during my teenage years, when my emotions in dreams were far more intense than in my waking life. Lucidity and attachment were out of the question for me as qualifiers of what is real. My distinction between reality and dreams was challenged greatly during that time, and per haps consequentially that was when I developed a taste for metaphysical philosophy. Basically, I consider reality to be not the one with the most intense emotional stimulus and sense of adventure, but in stead what I perceive to be the most consistent and enduring. There are other methods which I use to distinguish fiction literature and film from reality, but this method even applies to those things. I can experience books and films ending; the real world doesn't just end without you. So far no avatar can compete with the sensory receptors of our brain, so I can safely assume that I am what is behind my vision and hearing etcetera.
It is important to make these distinctions for the sake of our identity and therefore sanity. I have been there, and being in a position in which you feel pressured to question your reality is highly detrimental to your self image and can distract from even the simplest tasks. In order to have a meaningful, goal oriented life, one needs to establish a sense of reality.
2. In your opinion, what are the most harmful social influences in America today? Why? be specific.
Decisive spirituality, such as religious rules, and any other strong emotional dogma that may keep us ignorant, intolerant of novelty, and divided. These things include any thing from racism, bad parenting, pseudoscience, and consumerism to most pop music and loads of Internet memes. Spirituality as a general concept is not necessarily bad, but no one should ever deny knowledge and accept conflicts of interest as eternal. The day one denies his or her ability to be wrong is the day he or she loses his or her humanity. Hatred should never be a rule, and neither should be condescension. Much of popular culture thrives on, reinforces, and creates stereotypes, and by definition stereotyping is a bad thing.
In response to an other's post on the subject of social influence:
Media was the first thing that came to mind as an answer to the second question for me, too. Much of popular culture is simply abhorrent and downright embarrassing. From discouraging critical thinking to encouraging prejudice, it's often a mess of all of our worst potential with none of our good. If aliens came to our country and analyzed and understood what our scholars provide for us separately from what our popular media provides for us, it would be like they were viewing two completely different societies, one searching for wisdom and the other throwing it away.