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> The Cost of Stayin Alive!
coberst
post Apr 17, 2010, 04:56 AM
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The Cost of Stayin Alive!

I once asked a professor of philosophy “what is philosophy about?” he responded “philosophy is a radically critical self-consciousness”. It took me thirty years to understand this statement.

I shall take a “radically critical self-conscious” look at the question of longevity in these troubled times.

My generation and my children’s generation have not prepared my grandchildren’s generation for the mess that we are leaving to them. One easily understood aspect of this mess, though not the most important, is the massive debt past generations are leaving to future generations.

The tea party’s clamor about public debt makes this matter obvious to us on a daily basis. Has the tea party taken a radically critical self-conscious look of this problem? I think not, but who would claim that these people are intellectually sophisticated?

Imagine that instead of a tea party we faced daily the much publicized clamor of reasoned judgment by an older generation of intellectually sophisticated citizens.

A person who has lived 75 years, such as me, might ask him or her self “is every additional day of life for me worth $100 to my family?”


I receive about $1,500 a month in social security or $50 a day. I am adding another $50 a day to cover other costs such as health care and the consumption of the earth’s natural resources. This $100 a day does not include other costs that my family will endure as a result of my dieing slowly over the remainder of my life.

I put this on a family values basis because we American citizens have learned to hide reality from our conscious considerations. If we put it on a national basis we will not comprehend the reality of the situation.

I can think of only one way that we old folks can pay our way sufficiently to justify living longer than 75 years. The way that old folks can pay their way is by preparing themselves to become intellectually sophisticated before they are old (just as we prepare financially for old age) so that they can provide to society a storehouse of networked understanding to help fellow citizens to make good judgments regarding matters of culture and government.


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IamThat
post Apr 18, 2010, 01:51 AM
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I shall take a “radically critical self-conscious” look at the question of 'self' itself. Perhaps through that we may find another way of 'justifying' living longer or shorter.

I completely agree with your final statement {so that they can provide to society a storehouse of networked understanding to help fellow citizens to make good judgments regarding matters of culture and government....as well as all else}.

Returning to radically critical conscious look at the self - what do we really see? Personally, I see no individual or distinct person, apart from a conglomeration of thought, ideas, beliefs and memories which I equate into a 'person', 'a folk', an 'individual', a 'me' or an 'I' - known by a certain name.

If I am radically critical or my assumptions about the self - I will have to say that 'self' is not an entity but a concept. It is so convincing because it appears to be held within the container of the body - that is birthed and dies. Again, looking at it radically and critically - we can not say with complete certainty that the body actually contains the self - as an unchanging entity, that is separate and distinct from anything else.

I do not know much philosophy nor see any mess - we are leaving our children in. They way, as it appears to me, to deal with the mess - is to get out of the mess.

The first way we get out of the mess is in our own 'self'. It is the self that is conscious of the mess. What if there was no self to be conscious of the mess? What if within the consciousness the self, the mess, and non-mess were appearing and subsiding as any perception appears and disappears.

If and when consciousness can dis-identify itself from the self and what appears in, and to the self - then the consciousness has un-entangled itself from the appearances.

What do we do then?

Well, there is no one to do anything. There is no one to think about the cost of living or dying. The costs may still be there but there is no one (apart from occasionally arising and subsiding self) who sees it as problematic.

Self can not understand self while it is entrenched in its ideas and thoughts of itself. As long as we take ourselves to be character in the movie that we are watching we will suffer with the turmoils of the character. For self to be conscious of itself - it has to step out of itself - if it makes sense.

That is true objectivity.

And it is only a truly objective storehouse of understanding that we as old and young folks can leave for the culture, society and all - which will truly 'justify' our being on the earth - if there is such a thing as justifying anything!!!
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coberst
post Apr 18, 2010, 04:23 AM
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Iamthat

I think you might find the book Philosophy in the flesh to be interesting.

SGCS (Second Generation Cognitive Science) informs us that the “utilitarian person, for whom rationality is economic rationality—the maximization of utility—does not exist. Real human beings are not, for the most part, in conscious control of—or even consciously aware of—their reasoning.”

In the 1970s a new body of empirical research began to introduce findings that questioned the traditional Anglo-American cognitive paradigm of AI (Artificial Intelligence), i.e. symbol manipulation.

This research indicates that the neurological structures associated with sensorimotor activity are mapped directly to the higher cortical brain structures to form the foundation for subjective conceptualization in the human brain. In other words, our abstract ideas are constructed with copies of sensorimotor neurological structures as a foundation. “It is the rule of thumb among cognitive scientists that unconscious thought is 95 percent of all thought—and that may be a serious underestimate.”

Categorization, the first level of abstraction from “Reality” is our first level of conceptualization and thus of knowing. Seeing is a process that includes categorization, we see something as an interaction between the seer and what is seen. “Seeing typically involves categorization.”

Our categories are what we consider to be real in the world: tree, rock, animal…Our concepts are what we use to structure our reasoning about these categories. Concepts are neural structures that are the fundamental means by which we reason about categories.

Human categories, the stuff of experience, are reasoned about in many different ways. These differing ways of reasoning, these different conceptualizations, are called prototypes and represent the second level of conceptualization

Typical-case prototype conceptualization modes are “used in drawing inferences about category members in the absence of any special contextual information. Ideal-case prototypes allow us to evaluate category members relative to some conceptual standard…Social stereotypes are used to make snap judgments…Salient exemplars (well-known examples) are used for making probability judgments…Reasoning with prototypes is, indeed, so common that it is inconceivable that we could function for long without them.”

When we conceptualize categories in this fashion we often envision them using spatial metaphors. Spatial relation metaphors form the heart of our ability to perceive, conceive, and to move about in space. We unconsciously form spatial relation contexts for entities: ‘in’, ‘on’, ‘about’, ‘across from’ some other entity are common relationships that make it possible for us to function in our normal manner.

When we perceive a black cat and do not wish to cross its path our imagination conceives container shapes such that we do not penetrate the container space occupied by the cat at some time in its journey. We function in space and the container schema is a normal means we have for reasoning about action in space. Such imaginings are not conscious but most of our perception and conception is an automatic unconscious force for functioning in the world.

Our manner of using language to explain experience provides us with an insight into our cognitive structuring process. Perceptual cues are mapped onto cognitive spaces wherein a representation of the experience is structured onto our spatial-relation contour. There is no direct connection between perception and language.

The claim of cognitive science is “that the very properties of concepts are created as a result of the way the brain and the body are structured and the way they function in interpersonal relations and in the physical world.”


Quotes from Philosophy in the Flesh by Lakoff and Johnson

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IamThat
post Apr 18, 2010, 06:31 AM
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Sure Coberst. I am impressed by your grasp on the state of development in the field of cognitive sciences. As all sciences evolve - in another 100 years we will know even more about how perceptions, reasonings and language and the world interact.

So what?

My point was simply this: Are you free?

You may find Adyashanti interesting. I am not allowed to post URL, but you can Google it if you are inclined to.
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coberst
post Apr 18, 2010, 11:59 AM
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Why does the challenge of becoming intellectually sophisticated frighten everyone so?
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