The Ism’s – a humorous explanation

After i did that post regarding my problems with a few things, lets get some other stuff going. I thought it may be interesting to talk about philosophy at its core.

Especially the “ism’s”. They are the paradigms that are the foundation of what people in this world believe. Everyone is basing his or her opinion on something like that; Even if you dont recognize it or deny it, you still do.

So, to explain those i got a quote from one of those forums im discussing things with other people:

Idealism: You have two cow thoughts. Who needs milk? That’s more than enough.

Panpsychism: You have two cows made up of thousands of cow particles. How this works, nobody knows.

Materialism: There are no cows, no milk, no you. Just atoms in the Void.

Dualism: You have two cows. You make a bunch of hamburgers, and now you have two infinitely precious cow souls which is way better than actual cows.

Creationist: Those cow fossils were put in the ground by Satan. Also, in the Garden of Eden cows gave out strawberry and chocolate milk.

Nondualism: By milking the cows, you are milking yourself….Stop snickering and get those filthy thoughts out of the One Mind!

Mysterianism: I think you have two cows, but I’m too lazy to check.

CSICOP: I saw the cows, milked them, and am now drinking the milk. Still, it’s too early to tell if you have cows.

Mediumship: I’m sensing your great grandfather had….a beloved cow as a pet….Oh, he was farmer? Lots of cows then – that counts as pets. What? Sorry, no refunds…

JREF: I won’t believe you have cows until I kill them and eat their meat. And you first have to make a check out to the “Amazing” Randi.

Dawkinsian: The cow only wants to pass on its selfish genes. Did I mention God sucks?

So lets explain those a bit more in detail. You may know one or the other already. Btw, some people may say that this isnt totally accurate, especially for materialism or stuff like that. My opinion is going form with that though.

Anyways, its starting with Idealism. You know, thats the stuff where everything is in consciousness. Therefore thoughts are enough. Its a form of monism. That means that there isnt anything else except things that are in consciousness. There is no separate objective world out there.

Panpsychism is getting more and more popular these days. Its basically descrbing that everything can be divided in its parts and everything got some sort of mind, soul or consciousness. Christof Koch would be one of those persons out there that believe in that. Note that human consciousness would also be a complex structure of many other things. I guess you could say that we achieve our level of consciousness due to the interaction of matter; matter would already be conscious, although the level of consciousness of a matter-particle would be on a primitive level.

Materialism? Do i need to explain that? Its the current mainstream paradigm; or well, its more like physicalism these days. Everything is matter or a interaction between several matter-parts. What is matter though? Well, who knows. There are explanations. But nothing explicit.

Dualism means that there are 2 several groups of things; a material group and a “soul” group. Science denies that kind of view these days; it was popular a few years ago(like, a few hundred years ago). William James was kind of a dualist, although im not totally sure there.

Creationism…well, thats basically what the church is talking about in some sort of way. The creation of everything due to a divine power. Although people laugh about that stuff these days it isnt like we can disprove that.

Nondualism.. monism. There is just one group. Idealism is propably something like that, just like materialism.

Mysterianism…everything is a mystery. Wooooo. I imagine that is the belief that we cant explain anything at all for real, even if we try.

CSICOP is a organisation for sceptics. In that case sceptics refers to people that are critical against everything. And with that i mean really everything. Im not sure if CSICOP is really like that, but they claim they are. Propably the guys that tell you that you can never be sure about anything at all.

Mediumship isnt really a philosophical group. Its more like people that like to believe in psi. Thats not really grounded in philosophy. You could categorize them in several other groups i guess. Although those people propably dont care about all that stuff. Btw, dont deny mediums and all that psi stuff just because it seems like pure madness. Theres a whole lot more going on than mainstream science tells us openly.

JREF is propably something like the new age fundamentalist organisation for atheists and all those other people that hold materialism/physicalism dear to their hearts. I personally would say they are on the same level than religious fundamentalists, but thats just me.

Dawkinsian..erf… i quote wiktionary for that:

“The concept of viewing genes as if they were the primary drivers and beneficiaries of the evolutionary process.” Its all about the genes. As the line above also states, it denies god.

Another philosophical view that didnt get mentioned is gnosticism. Thats basically about spritualism, although those guys think that they can achieve enlightment and stuff like that with being poor, sexual abstinence. Its also a approach that is related to a belief in god. The whole thing is a bit more complicated though. Dont blame me for not explaining that in detail right here.

These are not all views that are out there. Also its a bit of a humorous approach. Dont take everything serious. Even so, its a nice little overview of the most popular stuff out there.

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Neutral monism – neutral what?

Hi.

Lets dive deep into something philosophical. And with that i mean something really philosophical.

For that, let me quote someone from your average discussion forum about all the weird things out there. Its about the philosophical system called neutral monisim(Before i start, in case you dont know – monism means that there is just one thing out there. Thats different to stuff like dualism, where there are two things.).

“The way I choose to express it myself is that reality is like a fractally recursive dialectic of (perhaps infinitely) regressing mirror repeats of an essential act of “relation,” where said relations are called out of a kind of fibrous All_Potential. This universal activity of “relating” is somehow ontologically active in the exact way that gives to the actualized realm a “sense of presence,” utlimately culminating in our Mind-World dialectic. However, even the most basic (discernible) instances of the relation are already capable of “detecting” in some sense the other partner or end of that dialectic relation. In other words, as I have expressed before, and as the article I linked expresses, there aren’t really any “things”…what exists is a stack of relations, perhaps finite, perhaps infinite. The quantum process of “observation,” whether by ourselves or by lesser systems, seems to me precisely the enactment of this process of actualizing relation…called out of All_Potential.”

That sounds pretty weird, right? Atleast to me it did. Not because i agreed or disagreed – it just that this stuff is in some way so abstract, i have a hard time understanding what this guy wants to express with that.

Anyways, before we analyse that, what is neutral monism anyways?

Basically, this:

“In philosophy of mind, neutral monism is the view that the mental and the physical are two ways of organizing or describing the same elements, which are themselves “neutral”, that is, neither physical nor mental.[1] This view denies that the mental and the physical are two fundamentally different things. Rather, neutral monism claims the universe consists of only one kind of stuff, in the form of neutral elements that are in themselves neither mental nor physical; these neutral elements might have the properties of color and shape, just as we experience those properties, but these shaped and colored elements do not exist in a mind (considered as a substantial entity, whether dualistically or physicalistically); they exist on their own.”(Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neutral_monism)

So, there is only one thing, and thats some sort of neutral stuff that contains mental aswell as physical things. Matter of fact, there isnt anything mental or physical at all. Those neutral things are not something that is getting created in our mind (idealism in some forms is talking about consciousness being fundamental to our world; that wouldnt be true in that case since the neutral elements would be fundamental). If im allowed to interpret it in that way (and im sure that other people disagree with that) – to me its some sort of neutral materialism. It denies the mental(and the physical too, i know) and its saying there is just one kind of elements; there are not the material we know, i got that, but they still seem to be “material” in some sort of sense – just different than that what we understand as material these days. Anyways…

The first quote of this blog post is a quote from a user that is pretty sure of him finding his own notion of neutral monism. Hes doing so by changing those somehow magical neutral elements to relations; but not just that. Hes going to that point where hes saying that there arent any objects or anything that could be in relations to each other; no, there are just relations that relate to each other. Hence everything would be described as relations. So, humans would be just a bunch of relations, related to each other. Your consciousness for example wouldnt be a “thing” – its a group of relations. If you take normal materialism here, well, that one is telling you that your consciousness is also a group of relations – but those relations are materialistic things related to each other. Relations between relations versus relations between objects.

So thats what that guy is basically implying. Of course, in case you are wondering, that whole thing is purely philosophical discussion. Unlike others who are trying to explain their theory with the world that we are seeing neutral monism is based on philosophical assumptions. If you are saying right now “wait, the others like materialism, idealism, whatever are doing the same”, well, you are right. But atleast to me personally their theories are closer to the subjective reality we experience. And well, from the very same wikipedia-article that i quoted before – if you might wanna read why neutral monism isnt as popular as others: Its basically because of the neutral elements. Its actually weird to think about something that is the base of everything we know, but at the same time we cant say anything about it for real. The first quote above tried to get rid of that problem with the notion that relations are the neutral element – even so, that doesnt help at all.

What can we say about relations? Well, just as much as about neutral elements, cant we? What is a relationship in that sense exactly? My mind would tell me that a relationship is a connection between 2 things. I could also ask the question: What does that relation relate to? Well bla, the first quote stated that they relate to another relation, dummy. Thats actually a infite loop of relations. But being the guy i am, i would ask: How do those relations look like? How can i imagine them? You cant say that those relations describe the properties between some things, because there are no things. Therefore, no properties. And thats what i was talking about – we are not capable of thinking of a notion for those kind of relations since all relations we know are between “objects”. And i cant really imagine a definition for relations that would fit the situation here(i mean, sure, go on and tell that you claim that relations without objects are possible – you wont find any way of proving that though. Btw, i account for humans as objects here). Therefore, i highly doubt that relations are the neutral element.

If there is any neutral element at all – well, i dont know. Could be. For all that i know, it could be everything. It could be consciousness – therefore, consciousness would be fundamental. But thats up to what you want to believe.