Latest post of the previous page:
Hello, Gurdur. Hope you're recovering well. I wish I could convince you that my ire really doesn't get aroused simply by someone disagreeing with me.Gurdur wrote:No. At the risk of arousing your ire again, no.
I completely agree with you about the distancing. But I would make a distinction between the self as a kind of all-encompassing collective, comprising all the various functions and processes and events and states of the brain, conscious and unconscious, and interactions with the rest of the body, etc., and the self as a subjective experience. The latter is a rather flighty thing, I think, with our sense of self constantly changing, as different elements of our selves come into focus, and others fade into the background, or we consciously distance ourselves from them, as you say. But there are also elements of the self that are pretty much permanently hidden from our conscious experience, so we don't have the opportunity to focus on them at all, and yet they are important determining factors in the choices we make. And I do agree that people can and do change themselves. But only, in my view, when they are equipped to do so, when their own desires, beliefs, attitudes, emotions, etc. enable them to, when the circumstances allow them to, when they have access to the right kind of help, etc. In other words, a person's ability to change him- or herself is determined by things that are beyond his or her control.Gurdur wrote:Such statements are unhelpful to those who actually have pressing needs to understand their own thinking, and they're only vague claims with no applicable outworkings, and no base to them. This kind of obscurancy ("nothing left over that isn't part of the self") just simply doesn't align with everyday reality. In reality, there are constantly many parts of us we distance from our selves (deliberate spacing there), whether it's dead skin cells or parts of our thinking; and in the best of cases, we do that distancing to actually help ourselves. Whether to change the way we think, which people can actually do and sometimes do do, or to change the way we behave, and so thereby change the way we think. Obviously if one has a bad emotional pattern to one's thinking, it is part of "them", of their self, and yet they can and do sometimes manage to change and eliminate it, i.e. they change themselves. Essential for some.
The point I was trying to make, and I admit I wasn't making it very clearly, is that if one changes the way one sees the self [---][/---] less as a single, constant thing, and more as something that's complex and multifaceted and internally at odds and constantly changing [---][/---] it becomes difficult to envisage the self as a thing with agency, as we usually understand it, a thing that can do something like choose or decide. The idea of free choice becomes less meaningful in that context. But I would agree that it continues to be meaningful in the context of our own relatively stable subjective experience of the self.Gurdur wrote:As for your claim about not being able to make free choices, again, it simply does not accord with reality.
Absolutely.Gurdur wrote:People have varying degrees of freedom as to making choices, and providing them with the tools and above all a knowledge of the possible options of different thinking and means to find for themselves even more options is essential for many; those in therapeutic need, for example.
Again, I agree.Gurdur wrote:People, whether you like it or not, do make free choices, and freedom is a continuity, not a sharp differentiation. The idea is to constantly increase one's freedom, and that is incredibly important to those who lack it.
I can't resist quoting Walt Whitman: "Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes."Gurdur wrote:I do find it odd how you contradict yourself ...
No, I wasn't contradicting myself there at all. First, there's nothing contradictory about identifying a particular event or change as harmful and not seeing the agent that (most directly) caused that event or change as morally responsible for it. I can bemoan the effects of the windy weather on my garden, "blaming" it in that limited sense, without feeling that it deserves resentment or anger or punishment. And in any case, despite my use of the admittedly pejorative word "religiots", I didn't say anything to imply that the influence of religion on the word "evil" was malign, or even mistaken. I happen to have a personal preference for the older, more everyday meaning of "evil", but I don't feel resentful about the way the meaning of the word has changed, and I am content to put up with the current meaning, complete with its religious connotations.Gurdur wrote:... on the one hand, you claim no free choices, all is the self, etc., on the other hand you claim a malign or mistaken influence from the religious, when if what else you are saying is correct, then you cannot be blaming the religious, since they're all part of the great grand causality of it all, eh?
I'm not sure what "outworkings" are, and for me it's still too early to know what applicability these ideas might have, if any, but I'll readily admit to the vagueness. Still, I'm not trying to sell anything. I haven't invested anything in these ideas, and I'm not so wedded to them that I'm incapable of changing my mind. I'm still exploring them for myself.gurdur wrote:We've talked this a couple of times, and you object to my manner of challenging these statements; yet I regard such statements in much the same light as I regard homeopathy, that is to say, vague claims which really have no effective outworkings or applicability.
I'm not sure what you're asking here, exactly, or why.Gurdur wrote:How much toleration do you yourself give homeopathic claims, Emma?
Hmm. I make that five things. I am very grateful to animist and thundril for their responses to your post, and they have both helped me to feel confident that you are wrong, in at least some of your charges. I don't believe that I "push these claims often". The topic has cropped up a few times, and I have joined in, and expressed my ideas as I understood them at the time (though they have changed over the years), but I don't "push" them any more than anyone else "pushes" their views when they express them. I know that I have a strong interest in examining these ideas, and although I haven't always got around to doing enough of the necessary reading, and progress is slow, I am learning, and gradually refining my views. I certainly do not object when my views are challenged. In fact, I love it when my views are challenged. I'd be thoroughly disappointed if my views weren't challenged. Animist and I do occasionally get irritable with each other, but it generally blows over pretty quickly, and it's all fairly amicable really. I did once overreact to something you said to me, Gurdur, but I subsequently apologised for that overreaction, and I also did attempt to engage in a friendly, cooperative manner with your objections to my arguments. I even thanked you for making me examine them more carefully. I'm not sure what you mean by my showing "no such compunction to others". What should I be showing compunction about?Gurdur wrote:As said, we've talked these things, and one thing really strikes me; you push these claims often, but you have no interest in really examining them, you object when they are challenged, you do not try actually dealing with objections, and yet you show no such compunction towards others.
Oh, how on earth am I supposed to respond to that? Gurdur, you present me as a pretty dreadful person in your previous sentence, and now you say more things that are frankly insulting, despite the fact that you and I haven't had a discussion for some time, and the last one we had didn't really end too badly, all things considered. And you're jaundiced by my response to your post before I've even made it! Sheesh! If you had been a little friendlier, I would have loved to have had a discussion with you about emergent properties, or the ways in which the self-observing, self-altering brain/self can actually change itself. But can you honestly blame me for feeling somewhat disinclined to engage with you right now?Gurdur wrote:I am mainly after what accords with a humanist range of values; and humanism is an ethical choice. Constantly hearing such claims as "no free choices" and "no free will", without any scientific basis to those claims, and a rather poor grasp of causality (the complete ignoring of emergent properties, for one thing, the complete ignoring of how the self-observing, self-altering brain/self can actually change itself), well, you know, it gets up the nose, since it leads nowhere useful, it achieves nothing. I would be all interest should in fact there be shown applicable and useful results -- whcih there aren't, which is why cognitive psychology still exists and develops, or why ethics is an ongoing concern, or for that matter why we have political elections and democracy. I'm only too aware from the past we're not going to have any real discussion from this, merely yet again a restatement of claims, and that rather jaundices me, so I'll leave it at that. But seriously, your claims are not above challenge, just as mine are not, just as anyone's are not; and seriously, have you thought actually of trying to both make a more scientific basis, which includes rigorous examination and discusssion, and also making the claims more applicable in outworkings for the (wo)man in the street?