The effects of the current systems [1]

This one is about something that is about a topic that is propably too big to write about in just one blog post. It is a large one.

Why is it a large topic? I want to write about the effects of the current materialistc and capitalistic system on us as humans, on our society and our lifes, feelings, motivations and goals. There is a lot of ground to cover. Thats why i will split this into several parts.

Lets start with an seemingly easy one: The effects of the current systems on our values. We humans value a lot of things in life. Everyone values something else. Many people seem to value their friends or their families. But there are other values aswell in life. And many of them, if not all, are alteast influenced by the systems we operate in when we live in this world.

When it comes to our values regarding families and friends we tend to believe that this is always just about the feelings that we have for them. This might be true for some of those relations, but many others work differently. I have seen that personally. This is often without any intention. People sometimes tend to define their relationships over the materialistic value that they can earn or that the person on the other end of the relationship already posses. In that case they seem to forget who those people are.

When it comes to the influence of the system on our values it is a bit more popular to know that they can have effects on our comprehension of what we like to have and what we need. The systems these days tend to suggest us from early on that we need certain things in life so that happiness could be achieved. The important thing there to make it actually work for a long time is that you have to move the goals. If you actually gained something in capitalism you are not done. Through advertisments and passive suggestions via social media or other media channels we see new things – and the goal is to make us want to buy those new shiny toys. Thats what it is all about. And that also defines our values as human beings. We value things that are new and freshly bought a lot more then those things that we already have bought. And we always need more. We learned it that way. More ownage means more happiness – thats how we know it, right?

But is that really true? Buying new things that we really dont need but we buy them anyways – is that bringing us any happiness at all? I personally believe this is not the case.

Surely you will be happy for a short while. You will play or work with your new ‘toy’ and you will see it as the new cool thing that you hold in high regards. But atsome point in time you will put it aside because theres the new cool thing in town that you really need. Theres a cycle at work there that got only one intention – to make you buy more so that capitalism can work. Materialism seems to be the motor to make it work here. Through materialism we value materialistic things highly. If we value those things we tend to buy them a lot. And if we spend that money to buy those things we participate in the cycle of the systems.

Sometimes we even buy things that we dont really like all that much too. What is the value in that? The value is that we think that we may need them at some point in time. The materialistic gain is important here. And after that the system strikes again – you are not satisfied with just that, right? You need to get more. And more. Its a vicious cycle and we are all part of it, including myself.

So, after all that rambling, what is the point, right? What am i trying to say?

Im trying to say that there is a cycle of the systems at work here. We are getting told that we need something, we buy it because we value materialistic things, we throw it away because it got old. Repeat.

And this is the effect of the current systems. Thats what we are expected to do to make it work. Like i wrote before, im no different. I participate too. You can try to get out of that cycle and i believe atleast partially it is possible for many for us. There can be values when it comes to friends and family that are indipendent of all materialism and capitalism. Money and materialistic worth shouldnt play any factor when it comes to the people that you love and like.

But when it comes to things like food, entertainment or things that increase our worth, it is rather hard if you dont want to live as a hermit somewhere on a mountain. Ads everywhere, especially if you are doing things on the internet. This is a problem of the fundamental values that we have. We would need to change our understanding of how our world should work. We would need to think that a lot less then that what we have right now is perfectly fine too. That it is fine to share with othes. That it is fine too that you dont have something that you personally own – maybe it is also fine to own it together with others.

This is also a problem of the ongoing seclusion of families and individual human beings. We tend to separte us from each other these days. There doesnt seem as much value anymore in doing things with other human beings. We also dont share as much anymore as we did many years ago. This is also a consequence of all of that; meanwhile it is also a reason for it. Personal materialistic gain seems to be the most important thing.

Maybe this will change again at some point. One can only hope. Surely i would need to change too. I personally am also a part of the machine. Im no different. It would also be very hard to change the way i think when it comes to certain things. My appartment is mine. My computer is mine. It seems weird at first hand to think that my computer is everyone’s computer.

This whole thing sounds a lot like communism, right? Atleast a tiny little bit. It also sounds a lot like Utopia. Things like that will be hard to achieve. As long as there are atleast 2 people on this planet one of them will want to own more then the other. Maybe it is part of human nature.

But we can hope, right? At some point in time the systems will change. They always do. When time passes things evolve to something else.

I wonder where our future will lead us.

How much freedom should people have?

This time i want to talk about another philosophical question: “How much freedom should people have?”.

This is a rather important question these days. Terrorism is everywhere, security and controls are thightening up and laws are limiting a lot of the things we can do (and rightfully so in many cases!).

There is another question that is propably related to that: “Can we be free at all?”, which is even more intriguing in my opinion since it begs a lot more the question of what freedom actually is. And that is something one can’t simply answer like that.

After a quick search on the internet there are a lot of descriptions of the word freedom, e.g.: “The absence of necessity, coercion or constraint in choice or action”. Which kinda opens up a lot more question than it actually answers. Do we really need to do things, is there any necessity at all ever to do anything?

One could argue for out biological needs as human beings here; we ‘need’ to eat, drink, all that stuff. But is that really necessary? I’d say no. It is just that we need to live with the consequences of our actions then; in this case this would mean the reduction of the functionality of our biological functions or later on death. Obviously this opinion is subjective.Everyone is free to think differently here.

Another question coming from that definition is related of the word choice – do we really chose what we do? This is heavily connected to the philosophical system you want to believe in and your pov on the matter of free will. Is there really any free will?

And really, there is no right or wrong there. A lot of things could be right here – e.g. I can try to argue from a science pov as much as as I want, but the matter won’t be resolved any time soon. Our choices could be the results of our biological body – components interacting with each other through chemical and electronical signals; they also could be the result of our personality or our consciousness as seperate entities trying to make a choice somehow. I’m not the one who will answer this and as much as others are trying to do so it propably won’t be happening anytime soon (There are of course lots of other theories, opinions and all of that to this topic out there!).

This kinda show some tiny little bits of how the word freedom is connected to various other issues out there. But of course this won’t stop us from answering the question, right?

For the sake of finding some sort of answer, let’s argue from the pov that humans actually can choose – that’s how the law does it aswell. I could never argue in court that im not being guilty because i got no free will as a being. So granted we as humans chose ourselves, there are still lots of questions left. The law is actually a good point there – where is the line when it comes to laws that limit us in our actions and how much effect do they really have?

E.g. there is a lot of talk out there regarding terrorism right now. Obviously we need to protect us against that. The question is how? In some places there is a discussion going on to change the law of assembly. Leeaving the question if that would really help aside, chaing laws like that would really limit our freedom. But maybe they do so because humans tend to do bad things sometimes if they can – one could argue for and against this for hours. The important point here is, laws limit our freedom. That leaves us as individual human beings a lot less choices to make in life. Related to that I actually believe that as long as there are 2 humans left on earth, 2 humans will argue with each other so that one of them can tell the other one what she/he should do. So even if there wouldn’t be a state and the laws of that, humans can’t be fully ‘free’ because of human nature. There are still choices that we can do ourselves, like what we want to eat and stuff like that.

So after me rambling about a lot of stuff I guess there is some sort of freedom for us humans these days; it is limited though. How much freedom everyone actually should have is something that depends on personality, beliefs and morals. It is also a question that should consider what I was going on about in this post, freedom isn’t really freedom.  And it could already limited by what we are.

Though there propably is a line that limitations and restrictions should never cross. I dont’t want to ask others what I should wear; I want to eat what I like and I want to believe what I want to believe in. As long as I don’t hurt others with it there shouldn’t be a problem, though sometimes there still should be limits. I never want to see my co-workers naked at work as a rather drastic example for that.

So, no definitive answer this time. Freedom isn’t easy – people tend to define differently what they should allowed to do and what not. So, everyone actually wants to be able to do a lot more than he/she should be able to do.

Is it worse to fail at something or never attempt it in the first place?

Something that i posted somewhere else before. Seems good enough to repost it here though. Enjoy!

Instead of talking about all the heavy stuff in the world i want to talk about some questions that are floating around in life in general. Most of these questions are propably something many people already did ask themselves before.So, after all the heavy stuff that i wrote about in my philosophical introduction posts im actually taking break there before im going to continue to talk about philosophical systems and so on. Instead of that im going to talk about some questions that are floating around in life that. Most of these questions are propably something many people already did ask themselves before.
You know, stuff like what is matter or what is a number or why we humans just cant describe some things, as hard as we might try.
I actually searched around a bit on the internet to find some good questions that one could talk about. There are tons of those out there, no mistake about that, but you need to ask them correctly before you can analyse the problem they are describing.
One of these questions is e.g.:”Is it worse to fail at something or never attempt it in the first place?”
A solid question. A common one aswell. I mean, everyone was atleast once in her or his life at a point where he/she failed and did ask him- or herself: ‘Why did i try this?”. Similar to that most people propably already pondered before certain discussions if they should do it and what would happen if they would fail.
But what is actually worse here?
In general people will tell you that you should try something even if you fail. People did it before when i wasnt sure if i should do something, others will propably experience the same all the time. Its kinda like when you dont even try you cant be successful. Which is correct in its own way. If i apply for a job i actually need to give them my application if i want the job. On the other hand, if i dont apply i cant fail. Which sounds like a argument from defeatism. Defeatism is basically when you accept your loss without even struggling. Though i would see this differently here.
You see, this basically comes down to ‘Can i do this or can i not?’. And i personally believe that it is important for humans to accept the fact that we have boundaries that we can not surpass at this very moment in time. There are things a human can not do at certain moments in time, like traveling through space without a space suit or traveling through time (atleast for now i guess, who knows?).Additionally to that, there are things for every human being out there that he or she can not do as an individual right now. Those boundaries change all the time, obviously. As a baby i cant write a computer program, doesnt matter how hard i try. As an adult i will never understand the perspective of a baby. I just cant do it. Im too far gone from that to ever understand it again. The same goes for every other thing out there. There are things that we can do and there are others that we cant. Understanding that and knowing my own boundaries is a good step in actually using this to your advantage. I mean, this sounds so very negative, right? All of it. There are things you just cant do right now and thats all there is to it. But thats where your advantage kicks in.
If you just rely on mere chance to achive your goals your chances of actually failing at something are propably rather high. But knowing your boundaries can help with that. First of all, this would allow you to improve. As you might have noticed, im always writing about how there are certain things one can not do right now. Its important that this describes a certain point in time. It doesnt tell anyone anything about other points in time like e.g. the future. That leaves room for you to actually taking advantage of the situation. Minimize the chance to fail. Change the boundaries that you know of.Secondly, it lowers your risk of failing unexpectedly. This is kind of the worst feeling, right? You try something, you fail just like that. It did seem so good and it should have been fine. But it wasnt. Thirdly, knowing your boundaries actually furthers the cause of knowing yourself, something that sometimes doesnt get the attention it deserve these days. You like it or not, boundaries are a part of you. They can tell you a lot about yourself and who you are.
So in the end, my answer to that question would be an answer from rationalism. Dont let emotions or anything like that guide your decisions when it is important. Try to rationally decide if a problem or anything like it is something that lies inside of your boundaries. Obviously you still could fail then. There are no guarantees. But i will always take failing after consciously thinking about the problem at hand and deciding im capable to solve it over blindly running into my demise.

forums related to metaphysics

The random philosopher is back!

I took a rather long break from writing about philosophical stuff. I actually had some problems figuring out what i want to believe in. To be honest, i still dont know. There’s way too much stuff going on out there in this world to actually believe in certainity. Even so, i got something today that i’d like to discuss.

You know, i was surfing through various internet forums regarding philosophy, psi and all that stuff in the last few months. There are lots of those out there – many of them are really really bad. Especially if you search for something that isnt so close to the mainstream opinion its getting really really hard to find a place where people try to discuss seriously.

Well in the end i found 2 places that i did stick to. Let me tell you about those.

Firstly, http://www.skeptiko.com .

The forum got a nasty reputation in sceptic circles, just like the podcast. Im not saying that this is totally unjustified – theres certainly a lot of biased opinion there. But well, who is without bias, right? If you take your time to acquaint yourself with the opinion of the person who’s producing the podcast and you are able to dig through his opinion you get a lot of good stuff out of it. As a note on the side, its obviously a proponent-podcast. Dont exepct pro-materialism or pro-physicalism opinions here, even so people like Shermer, Coyne or Churchland where on the podcast. Even so, the mentioning of these names shows atleast that widely known people were engaged in discussions here.

Thats the podcast. The forum to that…ah well. Thats a different story. I heard it used to be a lot better a year ago. I joined it like in autumn last year. Its actually nearly equally divided when it comes to opinions. Theres one half that believes in psi and all those things and theres the other half that doesnt. The latter group dominates like 1-2 sub areas of the forum due to a restriction on several parts of the forum for sceptics. Certainly a good idea – i imagine that proponents sometimes just want to discuss among themselves without any snarky comments.

The 1-2 areas where sceptics are allowed, well… its rather typical. Sceptics pretty much flood the sections with stuff like “i dont believe in this, theres no proof for that…” and so on and so forth. If you are into that, go for it. I actually stopped writing there; its not helping at all to engage in discussions with people that arent even considering other opinions. I really tried that before; i actually can understand their opinions quite well. I used to (and sometimes i still do) believe vividly in these opinions aswell. Its rather hard for me to get away from them btw. Even so, just clobbering others with your opinion instead of enganging in serious discussions wont get you anywhere. No one is willing to budge just a tiny little bit there; and if you are willing to do that you will get “eaten” by them. Give them one finger and they’ll take the whole hand. But thats just my take on that.

A second forum i’d really enjoyed visiting in the last few months is the forum of bernardo kastrup: http://www.bernardokastrup.com/

He got a blog where hes writing about his opinion on all sorts of philosophical questions. As much as i know hes a idealist – you know, hes believing that everything is in consciousness. He got a google group attached to his blog website.

To be honest, im not visiting that forum enough. They are discussing about highly interesting things there while being quite nice to each other. I rarely see a worthless discussion over there. And if your question isnt too weird you will actually get honest answers. Note though that the people there are NOT all idealists. They value the fact that everyone there is free to keep his or her own belief. Its a rather unique community that helps Kastrup to discuss his opinions and to talk about his books. Even so, its highly sophisticated from time to time. I cant keep up with many of those discussions there and sometimes i believe their discussing about things that are too far away from reality.

Got to add to that, i really enjoy Kastrups google group because there are no “extremists” there. There are materialists (atleast there used to be, i dont know about right now), sure, but those guys arent bad if they engage in a normal way with you.

Even so, thats it for now. There are tons of interesting topics there and i used to pick some lines or posts from those forums to discuss about them here. Maybe ill do that again. Lets see. If you really like to engage in serious discussions and you are not sure about what you should believe i suggest Kastrups forum and blog. Really good stuff.

And well, if you want to work for your information a bit more and engage with sceptics that are used to discussions with proponents, use the first forum i mentioned.

Parapsychology online course Presentation 1

Hi.

Just noticed that those great people from the parapsychology course uploaded their second video to the ongoing course:

I sadly dont have the will to sit through all those courses every evening. Will try to watch a few of those presentations this weekend though. They are certainly interesting, although i admit that it could bet tiresome to sit down for that every evening after work.

Speculations about certain arguments for specific philosophical paradigms

Hi guys.

I got a bit of time on my hands, thats why ill write down a few of my thoughts again.

This time i like to talk about the “evidence” from materialistic and physicalistic believers (atleast one or two arguments from them since i like to stray of a bit). Stuff that is highly emphasized by them. Note that i call them believers on purpose. Many of them arent sceptics at all. If i would want to talk about those guys that are really sceptics i’d call them like that. No, i wanna talk about that stuff that is brought forward every time someone mentions arguments against alternative theories from other philosophical viewpoints like idealism or dualism, e.g. the filter model. There are also things that are speaking for those theories out there; thats not the topic for this blog post though.

So, what is this “evidence” that im talking about here? Many materialists are blurry about that. You got to poke them a bit to get a decent answer to that. Be careful there though, since many dont appreciate it when you ask for reasons. Thats not a materialistic phenomena though; many people out there just want to spout out a opinion. They get all angry and stuff if you ask them why. But luckily enough there are also those people out there that do want to answer here. That means that there are things that non-materialistic believers have to ponder about. Some of them are not as easy to dismiss. I wouldnt and wont call them evidence though, simply because there isnt anything like real evidence out there in my opinion. Thats kind of wobbly, i know that. Even so, it seems the most reasonable point of view for me. No evidence, just interpreations of certain data. Im 100% sure that i can interpret every piece of data out there in atleast two kind of ways. Just because i say that cheese is tasty doesnt mean that you have to say the same, right? Thats pretty much the same. Also note that scientists are also interpreting research data. If one scientist states that milk is bad for us it doesnt have to be true. Even so, the mechanics the scientist discovered that are related to milk could be real. The effects and conclusions though could be different.

Keep that in mind when you think about scientific facts as evidence.

Well, so, a few of those arguments of materialists out there that seem to favor their theory are related to our brain. Our thoughts, memories and our consciousness seem to be related to it; the materialistic theory is that those things are not just related to the brain, they are based on it. Some even say that consciousness and those other things emerge from the lump of matter we call our brain. Many who are not used to thinking about that stuff propably will say now “of course! It seems reasonable like that!”. Ask yourself though: Is that correct?

Propably the strongest argument for the materialistic theory of ourselves out there is that we can damage our brains and with that change our personalities and our consciousness. I have to admit here, i never experienced brain damage myself. I got hit a few times on my head, but i dont believe that i actually got influenced by that. Even so, there are certainly cases where peoples behaviour did change after they got brain damaged. Thats in fact one of the strongest arguments for the materialistic theory. Propably.

But does that really point us to a neurological explanation of ourselves? Of course i cant go on and say “absolutely no”. I dont believe in facts, remember? 🙂

Even so, ill try to think about that a bit right now. The whole thing can be easily explained with e.g. a soul-based theory. The body just restricts our minds there. If our brain gets damaged, our mind just cant express itself as good as before anymore.Idealism also got no problem with that since everything is in consciousness there. It would be just a restriction placed upon ourselves for unknown reasons.

If we try to “analyze” it from a more material-related view though, that kind of stuff seems rather intriguing. Can we verify that the consciousness/mind of those persons did change due to the damage? We cant “measure” consciousness or anything related to our subjective experiences until this very day; i atleast dont know of any scientific method to do that. Note that EEG’s and stuff like that only measures our brainwaves; those correlate to our thoughts and stuff like that. Even so, we cant produce a thought by just feeding in electronical signals. We also cant “decode” a thought by recording and analyzing brainwaves. Electronic signals seem to only show us that our conscious activities are somehow connected to our brain. That does fit in many theories out there.

Point is, we cant verify the change in the mind of a person unless we take the behaviour of the persons body into account. That means that the mind could still be intact. The only person who would know about that for real is the person we try to verify. We simply dont know what the truth here is.

Another thing that is rather weird about that argument is the very fact that according to that theory the whole brain is based on matter. What exactly is matter? I know that materialists usually counter that with questions like what is consciousness, but lets stay focused here. Consciousness could be many things; the main point related to consciousness though is propably self-awareness. I’d personally would also take thoughts and memories into account there.

Lets ask that again though: What is matter? A construct of many smaller parts, called Atoms, huh? Well there may be is more to that. Matter connects to each other and forms our bodies and everything we know (according to the materialistic theory of course). How can matter do that? Remember that matter got no specific properties in materialism. If we try to assign those kind of things we are drifting of into something different (panspychism? Not exactly propably). If we break the whole thing down to bin quantities, well – there are plenty of quantum operations happening, everywhere, all the time. They happen all around us. Some scientists even suggest that they are happening inside of us aswell. You propably know that already, but quantum physics are rather weird and i wouldnt dare to explain those. I obviously cant. Even so, matter is filled with operations. Various strange properties of those quantum operations allow for various new theories (->Quantum Soul). If materialism tries to take QM into account it got a huge hurdle to take. Due to certain rules and properties of QM there are open doors for all sorts of new theories. I dont believe that materialism or physicalism imply those. Surely, there are materialistic theories for that aswell that take those things into account. You can argue for ages here. I hope you saw though that it isnt as easy as many suggest to just say “well we are dead matter and thats everything there is”. If we look at matter a bit more closely we notice that matter  isnt such a definite thing as many suggest. It gets all wobbly and relative if we try to break it down. Especially when it comes to Quantum Mechanics nothing seems to be set in stone. A very fascinating field of science.

And that pretty much shows us what we are in for when we try to explain our reality. We can make it easy for ourselves and state a theory and be happy with that. However, if we examine the implications and everything related to that a bit further though we notice that my point of view of there not being a single fact out there might be not all that wrong (: So much room for speculations though. Dont even dare to believe that you know anything about reality! We humans can only see the tip of the iceberg.

Parapsychology online course introduction

Hey.

So i was talking about that parapsychology course a while ago.

They put up their introduction to parapsychology on youtube. Hopefully the other videos will follow. I had no time (and to be honest, i was lazy as well) to follow the other lectures till now. Even so, you can rewatch them afterwards. You just have to join the course.

Anyways, the video:

It explains a few fundamental things about parapsychology like a bit of the history or what belongs to parapsychology and more importantly what doesnt belong to it. The people that are talking are propably a bit hard to understand, but well, i blame the internet for that.