Human Paradox

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by coberst, Jan 24, 2009.

  1. coberst

    coberst New Member

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    Human Paradox

    The human paradox might correctly be said to be: Humans are the one member of the animal kingdom wherein many members consider themselves to be also a member of a supernatural kingdom.

    I define a paradox here to mean a common sense view of reality that is a logical contradiction, which presents a problem that cannot be solved but only ameliorated in some way through the process of our comprehending its nature.

    Because most, but not all, humans are possessed by this paradoxical world view we pay a heavy price due to our constant effort to preserve this “fantastic ambition” rather than understanding its source and making corrections accordingly.

    As a member of the animal kingdom we consume to live. We have an appetite and in feeding that appetite we often kill and consume other animals. We feel good after we consume and we will do whatever is necessary to continue to consume and to live. We have an absolute attraction to Eros, i.e. we have a consuming desire to do what is necessary to preserve our life.

    Good is that which promotes our life and evil is that which threatens our life.

    Eros drives us to a desire to live forever. Our brain has developed to the point at which we recognize that we will die but we are driven by the urge not to die.

    “Man transcends death not only by continuing to feed his appetites, but especially by finding a meaning for his life, some kind of larger scheme into which he fits…the “immortal self” can take very spiritual forms, and spirituality is not a simple reflex of hunger and fear. It is an expression of the will to live, the burning desire of the creature to count, to make a difference on the planet because he has lived, has emerged from it, and has worked, suffered, and died.”

    Many humans express this common sense view of belonging to a supernatural world through their religious belief; however, even those who are not religious are often captives of the mind/body dichotomy that is so prevalent in Western philosophy.

    I think that to deal effectively with this paradox we must become sophisticated enough to comprehend its source and to modify it at that point or not at all.

    What do you think?

    Quotes from “Escape from Evil” by Ernest Becker


     
  2. Paladin

    Paladin Purchased Bewilderment

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    Why does this behavior need to be modified?
     
  3. coberst

    coberst New Member

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    I think that one substantial consequence of this mind/body dichotomy is that today we are left with a Sunday-school morality as our guide for adaptation of relationships in a high tech world.
     
  4. Paladin

    Paladin Purchased Bewilderment

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    That seems a little cryptic, can you expand on that?
    For instance what is meant by "Sunday-school morality" and what type of relationships need adapting?
    Are you referring to inter-personal relationships? And do you see that these relationships are different in a high tech world as opposed to say, pre-industrialized society?
     
  5. coberst

    coberst New Member

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    Sunday school morality is meant to show a complete lack of sophistication in matters of morality whereas our technology is very sophisticated. Morality is about human relationships and our moral sophistication is equal to what it was 200 years ago whereas our technology has created a world wherein we are in each others laps.

    A species must adapt or perish and we lack the sophistication to match our world.
     
  6. Paladin

    Paladin Purchased Bewilderment

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    Well all right then, what would a more modern morality look like?
     
  7. coberst

    coberst New Member

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    Where, in American culture, is the domain of knowledge that we would identify as morality studied and taught?

    I suspect that if we do not quickly develop a science of morality that will make it possible for us to live together on this planet in a more harmonious manner our technology will help us to destroy the species and perhaps the planet soon.

    It seems to me that we have given the subject matter of morality primarily over to religion. It also seems to me that if we ask the question ‘why do humans treat one another so terribly?’ we will find the answer in this moral aspect of human culture.

    The ‘man of maxims’ “is the popular representative of the minds that are guided in their moral judgment solely by general rules, thinking that these will lead them to justice by a ready-made patent method, without the trouble of exerting patience, discrimination, impartiality—without any care to assure themselves whether they have the insight that comes from a hardly-earned estimate of temptation, or from a life vivid and intense enough to have created a wide fellow-feeling with all that is human.” George Eliot The Mill on the Floss

    I agree to the point of saying that we have moral instincts, i.e. we have moral emotions. Without these moral emotions we could not function as social creatures. These moral emotions are an act of evolution. I would ague that the instinct for grooming that we see in monkeys is one example of this moral emotion.

    We can no longer leave this important matter in the hands of the Sunday-school. Morality must become a top priority for scientific study.

     
  8. Paladin

    Paladin Purchased Bewilderment

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    Very good, and what then of ethics?
     
  9. Nick_A

    Nick_A Interfaith Forums

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    Hi Coberst

    I don't want to appear depressing but I do believe the situation is hopeless. I even began a thread on it quoting the preface from Jacob Needleman's "Lost Christianity" and see people don't understand it. Discussions I've had in real life lead me to believe that people don't appreciate the danger we are in because of our human nature.

    http://www.interfaith.org/forum/the-modern-challenge-to-christianity-10468.html

    I'm also convinced that the cooperation you suggest is not wanted. As we are, we are primarily motivated by prestige which demands an inequality. We are unwilling to admit that we lack the consciousness necessary to live beyond the dominance of power and force.

    I believe that acquiring this understanding requires the esoteric essence of religion. Secularism including secular expressions of religion will invariabley lead to the struggle for power. I read a good article on it and must admit that it is the situation. Simone did her best to try and awaken people to the nature of social force but we are not ready to contemplate such things which would require us to impartially ponder beyond what Britney Spears is wearing. For the record I'll post this link to the nature of social force as a depressing influence since I cannot see anything changing before collectively hitting bottom and this process of hitting botom will be a horror we don't want to contemplate.

    Jim Grote: Prestige: Simone Weil's Theory of Social Force

    We must learn by experience but unfortunately are unable to do so. In spite of the finast platitudes, everything repeats.
     
  10. coberst

    coberst New Member

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    I think of ethics and morality as being two names for the same concept.
     
  11. coberst

    coberst New Member

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    Nick

    I think that religion is much of the problem and has little to do with the solution. Religion is what we tend to seek because we need the delusion found therein.
     
  12. Nick_A

    Nick_A Interfaith Forums

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    This is our essential difference. Where you see religion as a delusion, I believe the ESSENCE of religion is a normal response to man's potential for CONSCIOUS evolution. The essence of religion having initiated from above, or higher consciousness, devolves into society and becomes expressions of secularism Plato referred to as the "Beast."

    So while I agree with you that a lot of trouble is caused by the interpretations normal for these devolutions, any possible solution would require once again becoming open to conscious evolution the essence of religion is concerned with which I no longer think we are willing to do.
     
  13. Paladin

    Paladin Purchased Bewilderment

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    Most people make that mistake.
     
  14. coberst

    coberst New Member

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    I guess that is another good reason why we badly need a science of morality.
     
  15. Nick_A

    Nick_A Interfaith Forums

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    Coberst writes



    John 12 reads

    Is Jesus promoting good or evil?
     
  16. Paladin

    Paladin Purchased Bewilderment

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    We have the study of ethics, emotional intelligence studies and so on, but what does this do about the level of moral/ethical development of the human race?
    Religion provides a standard but by placing the locus of control outside the individual any real change becomes impossible.
    There are those who feel that ethics are a priori, and I would agree somewhat, depending on the level of development.
    I do agree that to rely on religion only would be a mistake for obvious reasons.
     
  17. Bruno's logic

    Bruno's logic Agnostic/Panthiest

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    I agree with coburst’s Opening post …..

    Religion should not be the place where humanity engages the essence of morality and/or ethics…. At some point in our evolution, and we are evolving physically, emotionally and mentally, there comes a crossroad where all sentient beings must stand back, stand down and stand up, so to speak, and take an honest look in the mirror…. With regards to history, morality ethics where we are from, where we are headed, who we are, who we want to be…. Etc…

    Just because humanity has believed in supernatural ,mythical and imagined beings does not mean that they exist…. Religion has been useful and destructive, I agree, But to say that our ancestors heard voices from God and/or Gods and that these voices any different from the voices of modern channeling is hypocritical to say the least… Just because something is old or was first developed in the olden days of our forefathers does not mean it is still relevant today.. or that it even was relevant in those days…

    The human paradox as Coburst describes it or as I call the human condition and or the human conversation is spot on…. We are only human after all and if and when we survive this stage of evolution we will still be human however we will have survived the birthing pains of the one and only infinite existence becoming self aware that it exists in an infinite space that is constantly changing and being reborn…. Born again…..

    When Humanity explores itself it is exploring infinite space…. Ethics is the study of moral standards and how they effect conduct . Religion does not investigate and learn about how to be human or even how to be divine….Religion dictates from a substandard position… Religion tells us how to live so that we may have everlasting life as something other than human….
    Science seeks out reasons why humanity should live by morals and values that will continue the human condition. The paradox is that the human condition is; self-aware space that has yet to take a good look in the mirror.
    ~Bruno
     

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