Concerning philosophy by school, by behavior, by implication or as a meme.
“Unmotivated seeing of connections” accompanied by a “specific experience of an abnormal meaningfulness”. — Klaus Conrad
3 aspects of Apophenia
- Confirmation bias – From a background of randomly distributed items; associating items that have no connection except that they fit the story you are already telling yourself.
- Rejection bias – Ignoring or denying information that DOESN’T fit the story you are telling yourself.
- Pareidolia – (less important, but related) A sensory stimulus which is interpreted by the mind as something else. For example being in the shower and the sound of the running water is interpreted as possibly your phone ringing. Or the faces seen in teapots, trucks and clouds. Or Jesus on a piece of toast.
“We do not have to visit a madhouse to find disordered minds; our planet is the mental institution of the universe.”
“When we treat man as he is we make him worse than he is. When we treat him as if he already was what he potentially could be, we make him what he should be.”
“I find the great thing in this world is, not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving.”
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, the providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way.”
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
William James was an American philosopher and psychologist, and the first educator to offer a psychology course in the United States. James was a leading thinker of the late nineteenth century, one of the most influential U.S. philosophers, and has been labeled the “Father of American psychology”. Among his most influential books are The Principles of Psychology, which was a groundbreaking text in the field; Essays in Radical Empiricism, an important text in philosophy; and The Varieties of Religious Experience. He coined the phrase “stream of consciousness” to describe the experience of the mind. He made an enormous contribution to understanding human behavior and to making psychological practice more pragmatic and empirically based. If there were “Baseball cards” for daring, dedicated and original thinkers, he would be Lou Gehrig. The linked article is a fun overview of his life and work. The Thinker Who Believed in Doing.
His theory of Self proposed that there are 4 distinct parts:
“The Constituents of the Self may be divided into two classes, those which make up respectively (a) The material Self; (b) The social Self; (c) The spiritual Self; and (d) The pure Ego.”
My focus here is his model of the Social Self which resembles my model of The Third Mind. The following is edited for relevance from his The Principles of Psychology:
“…Properly speaking, a man has as many social selves as there are individuals who recognize him and carry an image of him in their mind. To wound any one of these his images is to wound him. But as the individuals who carry the images fall naturally into classes, we may practically say that he has as many different social selves as there are distinct groups of persons about whose opinion he cares. He generally shows a different side of himself to each of these different groups. Many a youth who is demure enough before his parents and teachers, swears and swaggers like a pirate among his ‘tough’ young friends. We do not show ourselves to our children as to our club-companions, to our customers as to the laborers we employ, to our own masters and employers as to our intimate friends. From this there results what practically is a division of the man into several selves; and this may be a discordant splitting, as where one is afraid to let one set of his acquaintances know him as he is elsewhere; or it may be a perfectly harmonious division of labor, as where one tender to his children is stern to the soldiers or prisoners under his command.
The most peculiar social self which one is apt to have is in the mind of the person one is in love with. The good or bad fortunes of this self cause the most intense elation and dejection …unreasonable enough as measured by every other standard than that of the organic feeling of the individual. To his own consciousness he is not, so long as this particular social self fails to get recognition, and when it is recognized his contentment passes all bounds.”
“For, in fact, what is man in nature? A Nothing in comparison with the Infinite, an All in comparison with the Nothing, a mean between nothing and everything.”
– Pensees, Section II.72
Social network moralizing is a Punch and Judy show.
Listen to us, every fucking thing we say about politics and philosophy is about who is good and who is bad.
I believe many of the answers to the questions that sort of torment and enslave us are available one or two floors above where we do our thinking. I don’t especially mean it in a “spiritual” way as much as in a biological way.
You literally cannot ask or answer any question that isn’t shaped by your hardwired domesticated primate brain. You have free will, but only inside a box of rules.
It never includes a higher insight into why things like racism and war are clockwork for us. These are species quandaries, the well known and poorly understood “fine messes” we are perpetually getting ourselves into. Until we see how they really work and why they truly happen, nothing we say about them helps to change anything. The problem is that war and racism (for example) are aspects of our operating system, they are problems we are not supposed to answer.
Imagine if dogs had competing societies. They would totally relate to the idea”I’ll build a wall!”. Some would say “We need to do a lot more barking!” & some would say “We should all just roll in fish TOGETHER”. They would glamorize alphas and make fun of betas and deltas. They would make inappropriate “racist” statements about cats. And all of their damn Facebook comments would be about how “somedoggy” was or was not a good boy.
Scientists have been explaining for a number of years that race as people think of it doesn’t exist. What we think of as race is just a moment’s snapshot of human traits, reinforced by locality, conditions and culture. Traits that are selected for over time till they have a general sort of look. These traits are as changeable as a cloud over time. That time would be generations long in human terms but the enormous human genome can supply as much variety as people decide they want (to mate with).
But it is deep in humans to identify down to their very soul with their local conditions and customs and repel “outlanders”. It is our literal nature.
A better name for these defended traits is “culture” if we recognize culture as a very serious “this is me, don’t fuck with it” business. The word “racism” isn’t getting us anywhere and the reason is that it isn’t accurate. Admitting that it’s culture and fear of being “dissolved in otherness” leaves us no closer to an obvious solution. Am I really obligated to love other cultures? If so, why? And what if that love is unrequited?
Culture creates a context that evokes behaviors and styles. The phenotypes of people in a given culture probably have something to do with cultural preferences and styles. It’s like studying nature/nurture within a single family, how do you know where one leaves off and the other begins? People initiate the culture and then to a degree, the culture maintains a certain style of people…that maintain the culture!
We all have a culture and we all feel stressed when placed in one that does things very differently. That culture is not wrong for being different and we are not wrong for feeling stressed. If you’ve been lifted out of your Monopoly game and dropped into a game of “Hey, that’s my fish!” or “Twister”, you won’t be feeling quite yourself…literally. You have stepped outside yourself…you are a molecule of your own culture, far from home. This is why “travel is so broadening” it is basic brain stretching and it can feel good or horrible depending on the various players.
Think about the early 20th century immigrants who entered New York City through Ellis Island from all over Europe. These droplets of different cultures rolled as quickly as possible straight for the “Little [insert country here] Neighborhood”. There they could fuse with a tiny colony of their own people; the people whose cooking smelled right, whose voices sounded normal. An ethnic neighborhood might be as small as a single block and kids had to be careful coming and going because if they got caught on the wrong side of the street they’d be behind enemy lines. Even later when groups were more settled and established there’d still be for example an Italian neighborhood bordered by Polish and German neighborhoods. Finally second to third generation kids would identify generally enough as American to not make a point of staying in the neighborhood.
These European immigrants were obviously more acceptable to the white and European based mainstream culture of America. The borders of difference were relatively permeable from both sides and group after group eventually became “Normal People” to standard America. Who found it harder? People whose features weren’t European. Asians found the borders unyielding and the other side of the border all too often, dangerous. But the virtual walls around the many Chinatowns and Japan towns were well maintained from the inside as well. Ethnic neighborhoods are reality islands created by pressure from inside as much as out. Continue reading
An incomplete list ~
- A municipal code: the naming of sins, the punishments that follow.
- The rules of forgiveness and mercy. An official cultural conscience. An opening for individual conscience, and a wall limiting it. The technicalities, loopholes, and escape clauses from conscience.
- Shelter from fear. The source of fear.
- Awakening. Sleep.
- A road to power. Reliable safe employment.
- Government. Bureaucracy, Police.
- A creation story or myth. History.
- Business. Charity. Club. Social scene.
- Virus. Immune system.
- The explanation of people. A pricing guide to their worth.
- Hypocrisy. Sincerity. Strength. Weakness.
- Criteria for goodness.
- Bullying. Protection.
- The roles of men and women. Expectations. Obligations.
- A cultural pheromone granting or denying access.
- Reform. Corruption.
- A safe hiding place for evil.
- Poison. Antidote.
- Social glue. Social tar pit.
- Buckets of black and white paint for black and white thinkers.
- Justification for all acts and assertions. An excuse.
- Context. A Map. A path.
- The opiate of the masses.
- Home. Family. Enemy.
- Carrot. Stick.
If a person describes themselves as Religious, all they have told you is that one or more of these things is important to them.
- some recognizable “racial” traits?
- a leadership structure?
- a standard of beauty?
- a spiritual / religious framework? And some sort of representative (priest, shaman) role?
- stories they like to tell?
- unique styles of clothing?
- an attitude towards outsiders?
- some sort of roles for men and women?
- a story about death?
- richer and poorer? Or higher and lower caste?
- a warrior/defense group?