Mod+ 274. DR. BERNARDO KASTRUP, WHY OUR CULTURE IS MATERIALISTIC

A snippet from: http://www.thebestschools.org/features/rupert-sheldrake-interview/
Rupert Sheldrake
You are right to raise this interesting question about the persistence of the materialist ideology despite the twentieth century revolutions in physics. I don’t think there’s a single answer for this. There are several different forces at play here.

One is that Enlightenment rationalism—with its belief in science, technology, and progress from the eighteenth century onwards—seemed to be confirmed by the transformation of society through science and its applications in technology. In the U.S. and in Europe, this ideology seemed to be reinforced by the development of steam power, the Industrial Revolution, and the continual appearance of ever more impressive technologies like airplanes, radio, television, computers, the internet, mobile phones, and all the triumphs of modern medicine and dentistry.

Most people believe in the power of science, and support its enormous prestige because these technological advances have such a large impact on their lives and are undeniably new, not being present in traditional pre-scientific societies. So, when the sciences appear to be so successful, there is little motive for questioning their ideological foundations.

Second—in Europe more so than in the United States—scientific materialism was taken to support an atheist worldview, and the motives for a mass adoption of this worldview were partly political. In nineteenth-century Europe, in Catholic countries the Roman Church was often allied with reactionary political regimes, and people who sought to overthrow the established order also wanted to overthrow the influence of the Church. Scientific materialism provided a very effective way of doing this. If scientific materialism can explain the world without the need for God, then it justified atheism, and atheism justified a complete rejection of the power of the churches as without any foundation other than dogma and illusion.

Once these habits of thought became well established in Europe—and also among the academic and intellectual elites in the U.S.—there was not much incentive for quibbling over the details of recent scientific discoveries. The general materialist picture was by then widely taken for granted.

Third, it’s an interesting paradox that while in the twentieth century physics became broader and more pluralistic, with different interpretations of cosmology and quantum theory, biology became narrower and more dogmatically materialist, particularly with the development of molecular biology in the 1950s and ‘60s.

Twentieth-century psychology was also heavily materialist, and in the United States the behaviorist school dominated the universities until the 1980s. It was then superseded by cognitive psychology, which treats the brain as a kind of computer, which is still mechanistic and materialist, but seemingly more plausible.

When combined with the enormous power and prestige that accrued to the sciences after the Second World War through massive government investment in the U.S. and elsewhere, there was little incentive for members of the scientific establishment to question or upset a convenient consensus that saw hundreds of billions of dollars flowing into the scientific enterprise, and sustaining very large numbers of scientific jobs. And that is still the situation today.

Finally, dogmatic materialists have effectively dominated the educational agenda and have had a strong influence on the media. First, they have promoted the idea that that any genuinely educated person must be a materialist, and anyone who isn’t must be superstitious, or stupid, or deluded. Secondly, skeptic and militant atheist organizations have mounted very effective, proactive, public relations campaigns, a contemporary example being the influence on the media by the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. For a discussion of these organizations, see the Skeptical About Skeptics web site.

Once a vast system is in place, on which many careers and a lot of personal prestige depend, it’s very difficult to change it quickly, just as an ocean liner cannot suddenly change direction. I think the best way to free up this system is to have several alternative sources of funding that enable different scientific approaches to be pursued, introducing pluralism into scientific research and education.
 
Here is my summary on how materialism is woven into the culture and economic system and human history in general...

Humanity originated as a tribal system where small communities shared everything and there was little if any private material property. Material possessions were limited to what one could carry. These tribal peoples had a form of spirituality that was often very connected with nature. This was the garden state. The mind was free but uninitiated into more complex realms of consciousness.

As farming and other technologies developed, cities formed which enabled improvements in efficiency, a stratification of labor, and trade. The small communal tribal system became untenable. The ability to accumulate material possessions led to inequalities which led to increasingly predatory behavior. Groups formed for protection and in doing so ceded some of their personal liberty to leaders for more forceful coordinated action. As cities expanded hierarchical systems of authority were formed such that progressively fewer people exerted progressively more control over larger and larger groups of humans. The desire of every human to be free and return to the garden state of his origin is in conflict with this hierarchical system of control making the pyramidal structure inherently unstable. A stable pyramid requires a delicate balance of top-down control and bottom up stigmergy. Every human has varying degrees of desire for comfort, control, freedom, as well as an empathetic capacity. The pyramidal structure naturally filters certain personality types to the top: those with low empathy and high desire for control. Every so often, the pyramid becomes unstable and a flip occurs where an empathetic self-sacrificial leader finds himself at the top. This empathetic leader allows those lower on the pyramid greater degrees of comfort and freedom which stabilize the pyramid. But time passes and the empathetic leader dies or is conquered by another and once again psychopathic types begin filtering their way to the top.

This pyramidal hierarchical system of control is maintained through violence and mind control. After several thousand years of history, many combinations, flavors, and variations of violence and mind control have been tried by various elites that have risen to the top of civilizations so that a science has been developed for the maintenance of the pyramid. Technology gave rise to the first miniature city-state pyramids and as new technologies arise and allow the expansion of the pyramid to potentially encompass the entire global population, the science of pyramidal control is being continually refined and expanded.

Materialism is a philosophy which stabilizes the pyramid. Materialism increases fear of loss. Fear of loss is what initially drove people to band together and cede their personal liberty to a guardian. Fear of loss limits risk-taking ventures to overturn the pyramid. Materialism increases fear of death which makes the threat of violence more effective. Materialism limits the ability to find greater meaning beyond a single incarnation so that pseudo-meaning is derived from one's place and function in the pyramid or one's ascension within the pyramid. Materialism reduces hope for a better system leaving the inhabitants of the base layers unmotivated or self-defeated and unable to overturn the system.

The less conscious the individual, the more easily that individual is controlled. The more conscious, open, knowledgeable, enlightened, empathetic, and hopeful the individual, the more difficult that individual is to control. The expansion of consciousness is a direct threat to the control structure. Therefore, those in control seek to maintain this control by keeping people in an unenlightened barely conscious state. Materialism is a great aid to their effort. Secret societies have served a dual purpose throughout history. In some cases, they have protected and preserved knowledge about the mental nature of reality from destruction. In some cases they have created roadblocks and hierarchies of their own to prevent the common man from breaking out of materialism and into an expanded understanding of reality. Since knowledge is power, the elites in control seek to monopolize this power and are often responsible for the destruction of knowledge, which ironically spurs the formation of new secret societies to protect that knowledge.

As trade expanded, a medium of exchange was needed to increase efficiency in the economic system. As shipping technology advanced, it became feasible to transport luxury goods for trade from around the world. This expanded form of trade required new forms of technology to increase trade efficiency. Enter the merchant banker and paper currency. Merchant bankers improved trade efficiency by reducing the need to carry around the weight and liability of precious metals. They also began to engineer forms of credit expansion through the fractional reserve system. Eventually Merchants and Bankers parted ways and the merchants kept to the relatively honest side of the business in dealing with materials and the bankers took the more esoteric path of dealing in the SYMBOL of the materials: currency. Since the ultimate nature of reality is mental and symbol and not material, banking is inherently an occult business. The naturally powerful and occult business of banking attracted a certain personality type and so a few hundred years ago, the bankers rose to the top of the new hierarchical pyramid. The few at the top dominate the mass at the bottom through the monopolizing of symbol and knowledge about the mental nature of reality while steering the masses way to materialism.

The bankers' invention of the fractional reserve system enabled them to control currency, the symbol of material wealth and power. It also created a debt machine (a pyramid scheme) that would collapse unless continually fed by more credit. The requirement for exponential increase in credit led to the banker's need to create exponential demand for their credit so that their money continued to be valuable. To create this demand, the bankers developed their slave laborers' materialistic tendencies programming them to want more and more and more stuff. Eventually the exponentially expanding debt system collapses, but the bankers orchestrate these collapses and therefore still manage to consolidate wealth through them.

In short: materialism is a natural tendency of human nature that first became a force when technology made tribal living obsolete. Materialism creates and maintains hierarchical systems of control which filter psychopaths to the top. Psychopaths understand how materialism affects the human psyche and use it to maintain control. As technology increases, the potential size of the pyramid increases, and the science of maintaining control must expand to incorporate this new technology. There is a short window where this technology can spur the mass expansion of consciousness and overturn the pyramid before the elites figure out how to use this technology to further solidify control and prevent the expansion of consciousness. From a historical perspective it is certainly a very interesting time to be alive!
this is great stuff!! really liked:
pyramidal structure naturally filters certain personality types to the top: those with low empathy and high desire for control

one other thing to factor in is the spiritual and pseudo-spiritual dimension. the Church (and all the other "Churches" throughout time) have used this hide-and-seek game with extended reality to further twist the game. this is often framed as non-materialistic.
 
I was amused by Max's response to Bernardo. Follow his argument to its logical conclusion, the only way to be spiritual would be give up everything. In which case, the most spiritual people on earth would be those who have nothing. In a sense, that's true: the psychological sense of not being attached to anything. In that sense, one could be a very rich person and still be poor in spirit, or a very poor person and still be materialistic.

Whatever, Bernardo's lifestyle appears to be quite modest and he's no longer very attached to things he doesn't feel he needs. Doubtless if some misfortune befell him and he became materially much worse off, he'd find some way to get by--as, I hope, would I--but what merit is there in possessing so little that life becomes a struggle for existence?

There are those in several traditions who do give up everything and become wandering mendicants focussed primarily on the overtly spiritual. Are they thus freed from attachment? Maybe some are, but not a few still experience spiritual dissatisfaction, and that's the key word, really. I won't say that Benardo has achieved spiritual satisfaction, if only because I don't know him well enough, but it seems plain to me that's what he's after; and he's on a path that is more likely to achieve it than are out-and-out materialists on the one hand, and ascetics on the other.

His seems to me to be a middle way, a balance between the spiritual and the secular which also has noble tradition, e.g. in some forms of Sufism, where it's recognised that asceticism has its own pitfalls: it might work for some, but for many, it won't. There's nothing wrong with having secular aims and aspirations or being a contributor to commercial enterprise, and balancing that with a rich inner life. Ethical commercial enterprise isn't a dirty word: through it, one can contribute to the general well-being of society as well as supporting one's own inner needs.

Here in Britain, most working-age people are de facto engaged in such activity, because a portion of our income (national insurance) is taken to fund the National Health Service, and, indeed, the rest of our taxes contribute to the common weal. It's fashionable these days for people to rant on about the evils of big business, and surely such evils do exist, but by the same token, business can do quite a lot of good simply by being engaged in productive activity--paying wages and supplying goods, not all of which are luxuries.

The capitalist framework has much to commend it, but like anything else, it's subject to abuse, sometimes egregious. Through law, we attempt to limit that abuse, though often after the horse has bolted. Ah well, our societies are imperfect, but I really can't think of anything better than capitalism for promoting the equitable distribution of wealth (and spirituality!).

At its best, it harnesses the energies of secular drives and leaves something over that can be used at public and personal discretion. It's still possible for most people to operate within it in an ethical and spiritually satisfying way--can that be said for other systems, such as Communism? Much less so, I would opine. Instead of constantly criticising it, we should be helping curb its excesses, and that's what Bernardo, in his own small way, seems to me to be doing: more power to his elbow, I say.
Thanks Michael!
Yes, I'm certainly not an ascetic in the sense that I have absolutely nothing against the convenience, comfort and safety that material goods can provide. I'm not fundamentally against material goods. My sole point is that our society has become pathologically addicted to them, to a point where we seek them beyond convenience, reasonable comfort or safety. We seek them as a bandaid for our psychological imbalances and neuroses, because we live under an academically- and media-endorsed metaphysics that denies the primacy of the psyche and tells us that matter is all that endures or has significance. It's the materialism-nurtured addiction that is leading us to catastrophe.
Cheers, B.
 
Regarding the exchange between Max and Bernardo, I find it amusing that one alter of MAL should feel the need to troll another, more intelligent alter of MAL. All of this to somehow provide a better understanding of itself. :)

If you keep stepping back and moving around to take different perspectives on things, eventually you find one that makes you laugh. I think I will stay here on this one. :D
There are so many nuanced subtleties and different doors for possible interpretations in this short text... cool :)
 
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18181791

The value of believing in free will: encouraging a belief in determinism increases cheating.

Abstract

Does moral behavior draw on a belief in free will? Two experiments examined whether inducing participants to believe that human behavior is predetermined would encourage cheating. In Experiment 1, participants read either text that encouraged a belief in determinism (i.e., that portrayed behavior as the consequence of environmental and genetic factors) or neutral text. Exposure to the deterministic message increased cheating on a task in which participants could passively allow a flawed computer program to reveal answers to mathematical problems that they had been instructed to solve themselves. Moreover, increased cheating behavior was mediated by decreased belief in free will. In Experiment 2, participants who read deterministic statements cheated by overpaying themselves for performance on a cognitive task; participants who read statements endorsing free will did not. These findings suggest that the debate over free will has societal, as well as scientific and theoretical, implications.

http://psp.sagepub.com/content/35/2/260

Prosocial Benefits of Feeling Free: Disbelief in Free Will Increases Aggression and Reduces Helpfulness
...
Abstract

Laypersons' belief in free will may foster a sense of thoughtful reflection and willingness to exert energy, thereby promoting helpfulness and reducing aggression, and so disbelief in free will may make behavior more reliant on selfish, automatic impulses and therefore less socially desirable. Three studies tested the hypothesis that disbelief in free will would be linked with decreased helping and increased aggression. In Experiment 1, induced disbelief in free will reduced willingness to help others. Experiment 2 showed that chronic disbelief in free will was associated with reduced helping behavior. In Experiment 3, participants induced disbelief in free will caused participants to act more aggressively than others. Although the findings do not speak to the existence of free will, the current results suggest that disbelief in free will reduces helping and increases aggression.

 
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Thanks Michael!
Yes, I'm certainly not an ascetic in the sense that I have absolutely nothing against the convenience, comfort and safety that material goods can provide. I'm not fundamentally against material goods. My sole point is that our society has become pathologically addicted to them, to a point where we seek them beyond convenience, reasonable comfort or safety. We seek them as a bandaid for our psychological imbalances and neuroses, because we live under an academically- and media-endorsed metaphysics that denies the primacy of the psyche and tells us that matter is all that endures or has significance. It's the materialism-nurtured addiction that is leading us to catastrophe.
Cheers, B.
Hi Bernardo,

I'm curious as to how you attribute value in your above assessment under an idealist framework.

I think I'm safe to assume that you assess the above scenario as an overall negative (please correct me if I'm wrong), but I'm wondering how you come to that assessment given the framework you set out in Materialism is Baloney.

In this framework (and please correct me if I'm misrepresenting it at all!), everything, including all of us, and the things we label as material, are experiences of Mind. Mind has been around for at least 14 billionish years over which time it has had a variety of experiences (including this discussion right now). While it is possible that Mind has had experiences similar to those we've been having over the last century or so on this planet for all we know this is the first time Mind has had these types of experiences.

So how do we assess these experiences under this framework in terms of positive or negative. Couldn't this "addiction" you describe simply be Mind's interest in its shiny new toy? I'm not being facetious here. Whether or not there are similar experiences Mind is having in other parts of the universe, I think its safe to presume that in a big chunk of the universe Mind's experiences don't involve the obsession over material goods. These experiences are presumably a tiny proportion of the entirety of Mind's experiences - whether measured over time or even just taking into account the experiences Mind is currently having.

Over the history of Mind's experiences as humanity there have been plenty of people who haven't had this material obsession - so we know that Mind has had those experiences. And Mind is currently having your experience of your current value system so it gets that too.

If we're trying to consider the issue from the perspective of Mind, it seems reasonable to presume that Mind would value having as wide a variety of experiences as Mind can. We know, for example, that Mind can feel boredom (because we feel boredom and we are an extension of Mind).

Really, this scenario really is just a good case example for the broadly discussion of how to assess value in the idealist framework writ large, which I don't recall being mentioned much in MiB. If this is a major topic in your upcoming book I don't want to steal its thunder and the discussion can wait until then! I can think of different ways to approach the issue, from different perspectives, and which lead to very different moral conclusions.
 
this is great stuff!! really liked:
pyramidal structure naturally filters certain personality types to the top: those with low empathy and high desire for control

one other thing to factor in is the spiritual and pseudo-spiritual dimension. the Church (and all the other "Churches" throughout time) have used this hide-and-seek game with extended reality to further twist the game. this is often framed as non-materialistic.
I think that fundamentalism in religion or science is basically an extension of naive realism, which is the starting point for all logical thought. Modern Materialism - even dualistic materialism with some sort of spiritual something out there somewhere - is scientific fundamentalism. Fundamentalism keeps people stuck in naive realism through appeals to authority regarding certain texts. Solipsism is the natural conclusion to all logical thought. From Solipsism, through a few basic leaps of faith aided by induction we are led back to monistic idealism where everything is mental. If all is mind, then all is symbol. If all is symbol, and symbol is a reflection or placeholder for something else which is also a symbol, then the universe is a hall of mirrors. It is mind exploring itself - or "playing hide and seek".
 
Do you think there's a synergistic relationship between materialism and our economic system? how do you think it might come into being and what does it say about what might lie beyond the materialistic paradigm?
Yes, materialism and capitalism are both dehumanizing. This is a problem because dehumanization leads to atrocities and crimes against humanity.

Materialism is dehumanizing - What could be more dehumanizing than reducing a person to a machine operating according to deterministic consequences of the properties of atoms and physical laws.
http://www.discovery.org/a/6301
By reducing humanity to their biological makeup, these Darwinian-inspired biological determinists contributed to the dehumanization process.
...
Human intent became irrelevant in interpreting human documents. Dehumanization thus spiraled even further downward, as all human values were construed as socially constructed.
...
Human rights are meaningless is a world of determinism or social (or individual) constructivism.​

Capitalism is dehumanizing - The problem of dehumanization is not unique to capitalism but capitalism does lead to dehumanization. If you ever worked for a corporation, you probably saw that workers are treated like objects and manipulated to improve profits by improving efficiency. For example, there is a common practice in the retail industry to treat workers like pieces of equipment to be turned on and off as needed by having them on call (which prevents them from finding a second job) but only calling them in to work if they are needed. And assembly lines treat workers as if they were cogs in a machine.

Corporate jargon reflects this dehumanization:
http://scholarsandrogues.com/2010/1...ployment-the-dehumanizing-toll-of-efficiency/
For example, ever heard any of these terms: “outsource,” “downsize,” “lay off,” “let go,” “headcount reduction,” “terminate,” “reduction in force”? These are all cleaner, emotionally sanitized ways of talking about firing a worker or group of workers. And when I say “firing,” that’s a slightly easier way of talking about taking away a worker’s ability to provide food and shelter, education and health care for him or herself and the spouses, parents and children who perhaps rely on that job for the basic necessities of life. When we go through an ROF, that’s considerably easier to think about than potentially putting an innocent child on the street, isn’t it? Even worse, we talk about “the last ROF round,” a linguistic structure that makes turfings not only sound natural, but routine. Like the seasons, or the cycles of the moon, or the start of a new school year or quarterly reports.​



Dehumanization leads to atrocities
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3915417/pdf/nihms-547993.pdf

Dehumanized Perception: A Psychological Means to Facilitate Atrocities, Torture, and Genocide?

Dehumanized perception, a failure to spontaneously consider the mind of another person, may be
a psychological mechanism facilitating inhumane acts like torture. Social cognition – considering
someone’s mind – recognizes the other as a human being subject to moral treatment. Social
neuroscience has reliably shown that participants normally activate a social-cognition neural
network to pictures and thoughts of other people; our previous work shows that parts of this
network uniquely fail to engage for traditionally dehumanized targets (homeless persons or drug
addicts; see Harris & Fiske, 2009, for review). This suggests participants may not consider these
dehumanized groups’ minds. Study 1 demonstrates that participants do fail to spontaneously think
about the contents of these targets’ minds when imagining a day in their life, and rate them
differently on a number of human-perception dimensions. Study 2 shows that these humanperception
dimension ratings correlate with activation in brain regions beyond the social-cognition
network, including areas implicated in disgust, attention, and cognitive control. These results
suggest that disengaging social cognition affects a number of other brain processes and hints at
some of the complex psychological mechanisms potentially involved in atrocities against
humanity.
 
Hi Bernardo,

I'm curious as to how you attribute value in your above assessment under an idealist framework.

I think I'm safe to assume that you assess the above scenario as an overall negative (please correct me if I'm wrong), but I'm wondering how you come to that assessment given the framework you set out in Materialism is Baloney.

In this framework (and please correct me if I'm misrepresenting it at all!), everything, including all of us, and the things we label as material, are experiences of Mind. Mind has been around for at least 14 billionish years over which time it has had a variety of experiences (including this discussion right now). While it is possible that Mind has had experiences similar to those we've been having over the last century or so on this planet for all we know this is the first time Mind has had these types of experiences.

So how do we assess these experiences under this framework in terms of positive or negative. Couldn't this "addiction" you describe simply be Mind's interest in its shiny new toy? I'm not being facetious here. Whether or not there are similar experiences Mind is having in other parts of the universe, I think its safe to presume that in a big chunk of the universe Mind's experiences don't involve the obsession over material goods. These experiences are presumably a tiny proportion of the entirety of Mind's experiences - whether measured over time or even just taking into account the experiences Mind is currently having.

Over the history of Mind's experiences as humanity there have been plenty of people who haven't had this material obsession - so we know that Mind has had those experiences. And Mind is currently having your experience of your current value system so it gets that too.

If we're trying to consider the issue from the perspective of Mind, it seems reasonable to presume that Mind would value having as wide a variety of experiences as Mind can. We know, for example, that Mind can feel boredom (because we feel boredom and we are an extension of Mind).

Really, this scenario really is just a good case example for the broadly discussion of how to assess value in the idealist framework writ large, which I don't recall being mentioned much in MiB. If this is a major topic in your upcoming book I don't want to steal its thunder and the discussion can wait until then! I can think of different ways to approach the issue, from different perspectives, and which lead to very different moral conclusions.
Hi Arouet,
Well, it is indeed reasonable to say that all experiences are ultimately useful to mind-at-large at some level, insofar as something is learned from them. The experience of addiction, from this perspective, could reasonably be said to be useful, I think. But the key question for me is the relative price-benefit of different experiences. Is there more to be learned from a non-addictive relationship with ourselves and the world? Can we endure longer as a species that way, so to accrue more experiences and more learning at the end of the day? I dare think so. And I say this while being fully aware that my very efforts are just one more part of the great drama of the unfolding of mind-at-large, just like the addictive behaviors themselves.
As for what different value system Idealism would be more conducive to, in contrast to materialism, I'd refer especially to item 4 of the following essay:
http://www.bernardokastrup.com/2014/09/does-it-matter-whether-all-is-in.html
Cheers, B.
 
The materialistic version of humanism has humanity at the very peak of consciousness - which is weird conceit for folk who think it is nothing fundamental. How can you be proud of having the best epiphenomenon on the block?
Humanism has a lot of inconsistencies because it is not a natural philosophy, it is propaganda. Materialism has a lot of very negative influences on humanity, it is dehumanizing, it undermines morality, and it negates the very beneficial effects of spirituality and religion. In order to hide these detrimental effects of materialism, humanism was invented to paper over them by denying the benefits of religion and blaming religion for the very problems caused by materialism while promoting scientism as a cure for those ills..
 
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Hi Arouet,
Well, it is indeed reasonable to say that all experiences are ultimately useful to mind-at-large at some level, insofar as something is learned from them. The experience of addiction, from this perspective, could reasonably be said to be useful, I think.
I don't have any difficult conceiving that MAL would value what it learns from experiences. But I don't know why we would assume that learning is the only value MAL gets from experiencing things.

Think of yourself, Bernardo. No doubt you, as I, value the experience of learning. But my guess is that its not the only kind of experience you value. I'm guessing there are a whole bunch of experiences you value, and for different reasons.

Wouldn't one expect the same from MAL?

But the key question for me is the relative price-benefit of different experiences. Is there more to be learned from a non-addictive relationship with ourselves and the world? Can we endure longer as a species that way, so to accrue more experiences and more learning at the end of the day? I dare think so.
In the framework you laid out in your book you seemed to suggest that the death of a human body does not entail the death of the mind that was associated with that body. So what you really must mean here is not more experiences - but more experiences as a human. And by more you must mean more incarnations as humans, but not necessarily a greater variety of experiences as humans.

The experiences of mind through the species homo sapien are presumably a tiny fraction of the entire experiences of mind.

Some of us many have been around since near the beginning of time. Some of us may have had experiences as part of countless earth species that are now extinct. Some of us may have experienced being various life forms on a planet on the other side of the universe 2 billion years ago including at the time it was vaporised by a supernova. Some of us may be experiencing life on earth at the time the sun goes supernova.

We're talking unfathomable numbers of experiences through possibly hoardes of life forms spread out through at least one universe, possible more. When talking about these kinds of scales how do we measure cost-benefit? And why presume that our discarnated minds will prefer to keep on going as humans rather than try out some other species on this or other parts of the universe?

Why presume everyone has the same goals with each experience module? Maybe the people who are currently focussed on the things you negatively referred to above might say when discarnated " ok, we spent a lot of time over the last 4-5 millennia focussing on our spirituality. Let's take a break for a century or two - now pass me that iPad!"

My point comes down to, in the idealistic framework that you presented in MiB it seems to me that it is experience itself that is valued - not necessarily any particular experience. MAL experiences a universe in motion, characterised by change. The goal may not be to find THE ultimate experience but rather to continuously find new experiences to have.
 
...I don't know why we would assume that learning is the only value MAL gets from experiencing things.
Oh, I see where you are coming from. I meant 'learning' in a very broad sense: the becoming self-reflectively aware of what is experienced. In this sense, learning is more than just intellectual understanding, but also the self-reflective contemplation of one's e.g. emotions. As such, all experiences can be part of this broad learning process. This is what I meant.

...what you really must mean here is not more experiences - but more experiences as a human.
Yes, I think the human body-brain system is the image of a particular configuration of mind-at-large. That configuration could be seen as a kind of mental skill evolved over aeons: the skill of self-reflective awareness, i.e. the ability to know that you know. As such, the destruction of our ecosystem and the end of the human race would represent the dissolution of that mental skill and at least the delaying of all it could bring to mind-at-large. In a sense, it would be a kind of lobotomy. That's why I think we could do better than destroying ourselves out of ignorance, preserve ourselves instead, and deliver on all the potential of self-reflective awareness over aeons to come.

And by more you must mean more incarnations as humans, but not necessarily a greater variety of experiences as humans.
Incarnations evoke dualism, so I will refrain from agreeing here, even though I think I understand what you mean. I think both more experiences, and a greater variety of experiences, in the field of human self-reflection are important.

The experiences of mind through the species homo sapiens are presumably a tiny fraction of the entire experiences of mind.
But they are, insofar as we know today, uniquely self-reflective, as opposed to mostly instinctual. I see self-reflection as the telos here, not just experiences as such.

We're talking unfathomable numbers of experiences through possibly hoardes of life forms spread out through at least one universe, possible more. When talking about these kinds of scales how do we measure cost-benefit?
For as long as we do not know of the existence of other inhabited planets with self-reflective alters of mind-at-large, I think it's prudent to preserve this self-reflection experiment here on Earth, so to leverage this unique -- insofar as we know -- configuration of mind-at-large and the potentials it entails.

And why presume that our discarnated minds will prefer to keep on going as humans rather than try out some other species on this or other parts of the universe?
Several allusions of reincarnation here, which is not entailed or required by Idealism (although something analogous to reincarnation is allowed by it in principle). What the dissociated alters of mind-at-large prefer is somewhat irrelevant. The process of dissociation is probably fueled by archetypal patterns at the level of mind-at-large (i.e. Jung's 'collective unconscious') itself.

Maybe the people who are currently focussed on the things you negatively referred to above might say when discarnated " ok, we spent a lot of time over the last 4-5 millennia focussing on our spirituality. Let's take a break for a century or two - now pass me that iPad!"
Your hypothesis requires that some degree of dissociation (i.e. individual identity) is preserved after physical death, which may well be the case for all I know. Either way, what you seem to assume is that it is those dissociated alters that drive the process based on their individual will. I don't think that is so. I think the process is driven by collective archetypes totally transcending individual volition. The telos here is not the goals of individuals, but the irresistible attractive force (the 'itch') of an archetype.

The goal may not be to find THE ultimate experience but rather to continuously find new experiences to have.
Yes, I think the goal is to bring ever more experiences -- and variety thereof -- into the fold of self-reflection. And, as far as we know today, human beings are the only oases of self-reflection out there. Destroying the human experiment out of sheer stupidity would, in my view, be like performing a lobotomy on mind-at-large for no good reason.
 
If I understand correctly, you evoke monism but in the spiritual aspect instead of a materialistic aspect.
Would that be correct?
I evoke monism in stating that all reality unfolds in consciousness (even though not in your personal dissociated awareness alone). As such, consciousness is the sole ontological primitive, everything being reducible to patterns of excitation of consciousness. I reject the need to infer a material world outside consciousness to make sense of reality.

If for you consciousness=spiritual realm, then yes, your assessment is correct in that sense.
 
I evoke monism in stating that all reality unfolds in consciousness (even though not in your personal dissociated awareness alone). As such, consciousness is the sole ontological primitive, everything being reducible to patterns of excitation of consciousness. I reject the need to infer a material world outside consciousness to make sense of reality.

If for you consciousness=spiritual realm, then yes, your assessment is correct in that sense.
Ok, How would you respond to this quote of Groucho Marx.


I am not very fond of reality, But it's still the only place to get a decent meal.

- Groucho Marx

My intention is to show that when we get hunger pains, only the objective material world can satisfy that pain,
Thoughts please
 
Ok, How would you respond to this quote of Groucho Marx.
I am not very fond of reality, But it's still the only place to get a decent meal.
- Groucho Marx
My intention is to show that when we get hunger pains, only the objective material world can satisfy that pain,
Thoughts please
I don't reject reality. I reject the inference that reality is outside consciousness and that what we experience is a brain-generated reconstruction of that reality. Color, flavor, the feeling of hunger, the warmth of fire and love, the concreteness and hardness of a rock, all these things are experiences in consciousness which I, more than merely not rejecting, embrace as the fundamental reality. If anything, what I am saying reinforces the reality of hunger pains. When you satisfy your hunger pains with food, you are indulging in certain mental processes that have the qualities of experience, not in an abstract dance of atoms outside experience.

You seem to implicitly assume that 'reality' can only be outside consciousness (the 'objective material world'), which is precisely the point in contention. It isn't really your fault: we are all so immersed in materialist 'explanations' that we mistake them for self-evident facts.
 
I don't reject reality. I reject the inference that reality is outside consciousness and that what we experience is a brain-generated reconstruction of that reality. Color, flavor, the feeling of hunger, the warmth of fire and love, the concreteness and hardness of a rock, all these things are experiences in consciousness which I, more than merely not rejecting, embrace as the fundamental reality. If anything, what I am saying reinforces the reality of hunger pains. When you satisfy your hunger pains with food, you are indulging in certain mental processes that have the qualities of experience, not in an abstract dance of atoms outside experience.

You seem to implicitly assume that 'reality' can only be outside consciousness (the 'objective material world'), which is precisely the point in contention. It isn't really your fault: we are all so immersed in materialist 'explanations' that we mistake them for self-evident facts.

You seem to implicitly assume that 'reality' can only be outside consciousness (the 'objective material world'),

No I don't assume this, I don't think that at all, And I am a very spiritual believer, Only what I don't understand is how you advocate monism in a purely immaterial sense,

I can understand that the taste of food is a purely subjective reality, but the food itself, is in the objective world. How do you get around that?
 
I can understand that the taste of food is a purely subjective reality, but the food itself, is in the objective world. How do you get around that?
I don't see what's to get around... What do you mean by 'the objective world'? If you mean experiences that unfold autonomously, in the sense of being outside the control of your volition, then yes, there are such experiences. It's still all in consciousness, just outside personal volition. Even Jung called the 'collective unconscious' the 'objective psyche,' in the sense that experiences there unfold totally outside the control of personal volition, but still in mind alone.

This may help:

http://www.bernardokastrup.com/2014/05/the-top-10-most-fallacious-arguments-of.html

Again, what do you mean by 'objective world'?
 
I don't see what's to get around... What do you mean by 'the objective world'? If you mean experiences that unfold autonomously, in the sense of being outside the control of your volition, then yes, there are such experiences. It's still all in consciousness, just outside personal volition. Even Jung called the 'collective unconscious' the 'objective psyche,' in the sense that experiences there unfold totally outside the control of personal volition, but still in mind alone.

This may help:

http://www.bernardokastrup.com/2014/05/the-top-10-most-fallacious-arguments-of.html

Again, what do you mean by 'objective world'?
I'm not sure what you mean and will need time to go over what you said with a fine comb,

But the objective world is a simple concept understood by many, It is the opposite of the subjective world, It is the world that exists independently from your mind, Such as the big hearty healthy sandwich that fills you up when you get hungry,

That your consciousness alone is not able to satisfy, the solution must come from the objective world. Outside of your mind.
 
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