To: nonserv@etext.org
Subject: Re: [nonserv] questions
From: David McDivitt <david@nonspiritual.com>
Date: Mon, 29 Mar 2004 19:16:24 -0600

If there existed one and only one model for "what is", we could all speak in terms of that model, debate, and challenge one another with falsifiability of premises. Those who entreat "physicalism" as their model can easily do that with each other. A "realist" is a bigot, posturing with nothing but authoritarianism and name dropping, who seeks to impose a physical model on others who do not agree with that model. Two problems enter into this. One, there is the problem of interpretation. The realist discounts this problem through authoritarianism, whatever assumed social position, and circular reasoning such as it is, because it is, because it is. The other problem regards falsifiability. Falsifiability is not valid across models, but only works in context of the same model, with same use and definition of terms.

What is there then to judge whether a given model is true? Nothing. People often use premises of one model in an attempt to prove or disprove another model. To avoid this one must at least acknowledge there are other models, which most realists are incapable of doing. This is why they are bigots.

Rather than seek to show whether a given model is true it is better to view to what extent a given model is intellectually survivable. This means assessing what good the model does for those who use it. Assessing good means attributing value. Attributing value implies morality. It is for this reason moral philosophy represents the highest, or most abstract, form of intellectual thought, discounting or reducing all other forms of thought. By saying this I am not proclaiming what is right or correct, but am making the observation all intellectual discourse eventually comes to a debate over what premises are right, and why they are right. That is moral dialog. People may not be discussing sex, but they are discussing correctness of each other's statements.

Myself, I do not believe in reality nor do I believe there is a fixed, indisputable reality. Reasons for this are differences in interpretation, and as a rebellious individual, often do not agree such and such is this way or that based solely on someone's social position. I realize when someone says something there is not always time to put that one through the third degree and dissect his or her logic. Neither may he or she want to do that. Society would never move forward. We would never get anywhere. To some extent, for the sake of brevity, some sense of authority is justified. We therefore have what I refer to as "effective reality", and it is contemporary, only.

The best example of this is religion. Whether or not god exists is not the issue, but how dynamic religion is as a metaphysical model. Does it adapt well to change? Does it easily incorporate new premises and concepts as the need becomes available? No. As technology moves forward, more and more people set religion aside because they are constrained by it, and it would seem the intellectual coefficient of those who hold on to religion becomes less and less. This is not to say any one person is stupid, but statistically speaking, religious people who are also intelligent become fewer in number all the time. To a die hard theist certain things are very real, and that reality cannot be reduced away. They also have the right to have whatever reality. So we are not debating what is and is not real, but what metaphysical model is more intellectually survivable.

For a final stab at realists, is it necessary for us to have a single, all encompassing model? No it is not. We do not have one now. We have never had one. What we have had are a number of people at any given time who seek to impose their will intellectually on everyone else. And we have those who rebel against such authoritarianism. Let this filter down and find representation in whatever aspect of life being debated. I will grant certain ways of thinking work, and work well, but anyone has the right to challenge at anytime.

For instance I do not like the "big bang" theory. To assert all space and time reduces to a single monolithic point is ridiculous. At one time Earth was seen as the center of the universe, too. Such a premise is quite egocentric. As more of the deceitful intransigence of religion is flushed out of science, we have less need for any "point of origin". If not fixated so much on this need for identity, the universe would be seen to have many flows, with many centers.

A different model than physicalism, which represents the universe as however many physical objects, discovered or not, is a logic-based model not tied to any expressed physical properties. This is what I favor. Moreover, humans in my opinion are intellectual beings, who live at all times in the abstract. Why does such a thing mean what it means, and why is significance given this or that idea? It is not that we like flowers, but the "idea" of flowers. Which type of flower is better and why? As life is seen as logical or intellectual in nature, rather than physical, mankind will evolve to the next level of existence, which is the destiny of man. Computer technology is the beginning of that new existence, not because of digital science, but because in that realm people are free to pursue logical premise after logical premise after logical premise without restraint, and such emulates the way the human mind has been functioning several thousand years. Computers are not magic, but facilitate the manner of thinking and existence we already had.

Getting to the "pleasure principle", yes I think Buddhist monks were happy setting themselves on fire. They did it for some reason. Why does anyone do anything? Masochists do seemingly stupid things. The only way to understand masochism at all is to analyse why such weird behavior is pleasurable to those who do it. I like to sit on my ass when I have opportunity. Some would say I exhibit self defeating behavior not in line with my true potential. Who is to say?

>From: Svein Olav Nyberg <xxxx@nonserviam.com>
>Date: Mon, 29 Mar 2004 07:41:34 +0200
>Cc: nonserv@etext.org
>David McDivitt wrote in a fit of keyboard madness:
>>To me the pleasure principle is "what people do" for any reason: reacting,
>>avoiding stress, seeking nebulous happiness, etc.
>So whatever people do, it's "pleasure principle"? I fail to see how
>this connects to the real world if the "pleasure" in "pleasure
>principle" is even remotely connected to what we mean by that word in
>everyday usage. When that infamous vietnamese buddhist monk sat fire
>to himself back in the days of the vietnam war, how did he maximize
>his pleasure in so doing? Can you really say this was a result of the
>"pleasure principle" without some serious philosophical-conceptual
>>For instance in a behavioristic psychological model, people
>>"behave", and they do so for whatever reason.
>I don't have similar problems with "behave".
>>My point is that through negativism and depravity-of-man concepts,
>>we blind ourselves from seeing life as it is.
>I agree with you on that; but I failt to see where the unselfish
>space aliens enter the equation: So what if some aliens behaved
>totally unselfishly? Why should that make humans "depraved"? It is
>buying into that part of the argument that looks silly to me. No the
>assertion that there might exist living beings out there who do not
>behave selfishly or with regard to their own individuality.
>After all, if you are human, then trying to live up to a Life Qua
>Space Alien is surely even more absurd than what we already criticize
>on this list, namely trying to live up to Life Qua Man.

Return to things I've written