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Delano

Knowledge as a belief system.

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I am fascinated that beliefs override knowledge. Perhaps it is not possible to be truly objective. There are no external objects and and the world exists in the minds. Which is way something is painfully obvious to you, but I can't grasp the concept.

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Del for the most part in our daily lives there is objective reality.  2 + 2 will always equal 4. 

 

People who refuse to accept that 2+2=4 because they believe it could be equal to something else, despite evidence to the contrary are going to have problems dealing with reality.  There are many people in this situation. 

 

Then there is of course the situation where an entire population believes something that is objectively false, proven to be untrue, yet the belief persists.  There are many such beliefs lthat fall into this category and they cripple a society. 

 

In fact we live in such a society where 2+2 does not equal 4.

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To me, the Catholic Church and its dogmas and rituals and symbolism is a prime example of a belief system that has its members in its grip, achieving this by instilling fear and guilt in them while not being overly concerned with factual knowledge.   Moreover, Catholicism is a prime example of religion in general, which revolves around blind faith. 

 

Math, however,  is a proven constant and its factual formulas are present in aspects of our lives that we are not even aware of, such as music which relies very much on equations.   Math further gives an element of predictibility to the chaos of the entire universe. 

 

I agree that reality is moreorless a subjective thing.  One way to cope with life is to view it in a way that makes us comfortable. If we are neurotic, of course, we view it in a way that satisfies our need to worry. If we are psychotic, we view it in a way that justifies our dysfunction.   All of this why getting outside of ourselves is important because it's a way to gain perspective.  Sometimes we have to be a spectator even when it comes to scenarios which we are a  part of. We have to step back and simply observe for a minute.   

 

But the ego is such a powerful influence in our lives, and not always a positive one and it doesn't like to be co-opted.  Buddhism seems to recognize this, which is why it promotes meditation as the path to achieving nirvana, the perfect state attained by transcending one's self.  Of course this is also a belief system but it does deal with taking a overview, and doing this does help to see the big picture.

 

The miniscule place I, as an individual, occupy in the universe is enough to make me realize that I am only important in my tiny personal sphere.  Others would argue that everybody counts and that the "butterfly effect" resonates throughout the world, and that if I bat an eyelash this can initiate change someplace, somewhere.  Or is that a figment of the ego? 

 

Who knows? And Who is Who?? :huh:

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Troy - Below is a link. There are some mathematicians who believe numbers were created by the human mind. You assumption about the reality of numbers is not a position, held by all mathematicians. In fact you may find the philosophy of mathematics an interesting topic.

Embodied mind theories

Embodied mind theories hold that mathematical thought is a natural outgrowth of the human cognitive apparatus which finds itself in our physical universe. For example, the abstract concept of number springs from the experience of counting discrete objects. It is held that mathematics is not universal and does not exist in any real sense, other than in human brains. Humans construct, but do not discover, mathematics.

With this view, the physical universe can thus be seen as the ultimate foundation of mathematics: it guided the evolution of the brain and later determined which questions this brain would find worthy of investigation. However, the human mind has no special claim on reality or approaches to it built out of math. If such constructs as Euler's identity are true then they are true as a map of the human mind and cognition.

Embodied mind theorists thus explain the effectiveness of mathematics—mathematics was constructed by the brain in order to be effective in this universe.

The most accessible, famous, and infamous treatment of this perspective is Where Mathematics Comes From, by George Lakoff and Rafael E. Núñez. In addition, mathematician Keith Devlin has investigated similar concepts with his book The Math Instinct. For more on the philosophical ideas that inspired this perspective, see cognitive science of mathematics.

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Cynique - I'll respond to your post over the next few hours.

Fairh had to be blind otherwise it is fact. And religion rest or require you to accept stories that are divergent from day - to - day reality. I also believe people need a philosophy/schema/probability function model of "reality"

The reason is that most people like the world to be rational. The mind requires order and if none exist it will create it. Most of what we call the world exists only in the mind. At most points in your life your memories are longer than the instance of now. So your current thoughts are a function of your memory. However memory is very plastic. Your mind can barely distinguish between a memory and an occurrence. You could argue that the body knows the difference. Although I don't think it's a convincing argument

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Cynique - What I find interesting is the strength of believe in Religion and the attempt to reframe life according to the precepts of a religious avatar/guide/guru. Whom to me appears as Super Man. While in the rest of your life you are trying to make sense understand or deal with what happens. I was going to say Buddhism is a philosophy but so are the other ways of organizing your life.

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Cynique - I often wonder why people can't see themselves, myself included. On second thought it makes sense. You are the only person to not to see your face. The world needs to make sense and be right. If you are not good it's best to be delusional until your breakthrough.

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I read a book that said that God created us to learn. Kind of like having kids, they teach you about you.

I think you definitely matter and you want to have an effect. People are listening for a reason, you have a corner for a reason

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Hey Del, I'm really limiting our reality to what we can actually observe.  In other words we know some very strange thing occur at the quantum level. But we would would never experience these things during "our daily lives".    We can also conceptualize a 4th spatial dimension and write formulas to represent it but during the course of our day the 4th dimension may as well not exisit.

 

When I refer to objective reality I'm not talking about anything that we can not observer or interact with.  This means that 2 + 2 = 4

 

I don't doubt that mathematical thought is a "natural outgrowth of the human cognitive apparatus". Indeed I would through religion is too. But one is based upon reality and the other is based upon faith, which are to very different things. 

 

Sort of like Obama getting the Nobel Peace Prize (faith) and he ultimately presides over multiple wars and killing God know who with remote controlled death machines (reality).

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Troy was the link to long to read?

I'll paraphrase since your mind is the interface between you and the world. And the mind doesn't exist in the physical world. I am assuming that only physical thinks reside in the physical world. So there us mo reality for the individual outside of memory and sense perception.

Numbers and colors may not be real. You can see two items but you can't see two, it is a relationship between objects in a set. Things are colored but the color is not independent if the object.

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I would disagree with your equation you are talking about a concept. X + Y = 4 = 2 + 2

2 people + 2 people = 4 people is a statement about reality. You can have any fraction in the concept and it is valid. You can't have a fractional person in reality.

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Two is a word a relationship a concept it is not a real thing. Okay what is two made of, wn infinite number of numbers. What real thing is made of infinite items.

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You did not provide a link (it did not display). 

 

Del our peceptions are everything.  There are perceptions which can be agreeded upon by most observers. 

 

If I have two apples and you give me two more, we all know how many apples I will then have. 

 

All of the stuff about perceptions and the mind being an interface to the world is interesting, but not very practical day to day. 

 

Sure you can have half a 1/2 person, they just may not live very long.

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That's exactly the point. The entire world is an idea based on assumptions. Even concrete is mostly empty space but we don't generally see it that way. Numbers are symbols, words are symbols, ideas are concepts. This is the stuff that makes you. What are the real bits.

Yoyr mind tells you lots of things.

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I don't believe anything is real, you believe a symbolic expression is real.

Okay I am being absurd and you are being illogical. Continue with your idea.

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I find what both you and Troy say quite interesting and very deep, Delano.  This in itself would seem to involve some kind of a commonality.    When you two agree on something, what is the significance of that?  Is life just a series of entities imagining things which sometime intersect with what others are imagining, enabling a semblance of understanding which altho real, tends to be subjective? Does this overlapping of imagination link us all and make us a part of a whole, a whole that represents the mind of  whomever it is that imagined us? Is life, indeed, a dream within a dream???? :o    

 

When we attempt to translate our theories into  words, is something lost in the translation? I believe so. The one exception to this possibility would seem to be the phrase "it is what it is". This assertion is infallible.

 

I would venture to say that we are dealing in a world of tangibles and intangibles which collide because what the intangibilities of sight and hearing perceive about a tangible object is filtered through the individual's brain.  :wacko:   So if blue is designated as the color a certain object, and when asked to identify the object "blue" in color, everybody asked to do so, selects the same object, what does this prove? Before I can even finish typing the answer jumps in my head.  My blue may not be your blue but we are accepting the term blue to describe what our set of eyes see on a regular and consistent basis.

 

As for chaos, I am very open to the idea that chaos may be order and order is chaos. Also, I remember hearing somewhere that Geometry is the language of the universe and that it would be the likeliest way for Earthlings to communicate with Aliens from another planet. I don't remember the reasoning behind this.  

 

I find all of this mind boggling.  I contemplate whether the spaces between the words groping for enlightenment are where the "god" concept would fit in.  No wonder people satisfy their mystification with the simplistic myths at the core of religion. This further brings to mind something else I once read about a discipline called the "Woo" principle, which claims that  all answers to the unknown are contained in "Woo" an abstract receptacle of all knowledge to which humans are not privy. This was assumed to be pacifying because it hints that nothing is unknown; it's just unknown to us... :blink:   

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Cynique - I think the link is unconscious. It doesn't reside in space and us also outside of time. Luke the creator/creators.

So underneath I believe we are linked with everything in this universe. The sum of which is the ultimate.

Since this link is not physical yes

we are dreaming.

It could be that Geometry is a color equivalent. If they got here they would probably understand geometry. Numbers are considered a universal in a way language is not. Although I don't think this has to be true. It could just be another symbolic subset of our type of thinking.

I am experimenting with my definition of reality. I am using a looser concept of the way the world works. It has changed my beliefs about the world is organized

it dies feel more dream like. It id also very confronting. Since I can see my motivations very clearly.

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The Brother that shot up all those folks in DC heard voices.  Were those voices "real"?  To him they were.

 

We are machines, barely senitient, incapable of perceiving, let alone comprehending things that are unknown and perhaps unknowable.  The smartest person who ever lived would be analogous to a single celled organism understanding the math required to explain general relativity.

 

It is fun to talk about the quantum, spiritual, religious, and metaphysical world, but given our behavior the point will be moot unless we do something about global warming, poverty, relgious fundamentalism, imperialism, racism....  unless of course you think our understanding of these things will have some bearing on our ability to handle the physical world.  I'm all ears.

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I'll give you an example. The industrialization of China. Too many cars in the city. The solution was to encourage bike riding. The affluent not keen in riding a bike. It reminds them of poverty or China before development. So they marketing high end expensive bicycles.

No you happen to be more self motivated than others. However if you want to change behavior sometimes it helps to know what drives it. It perhaps not but it us the way I think.

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When I was a kid I fell on some rise bushes. I had cuts on my arms. I had some cuts that didn't hurt until I saw them.

Thw world I inhabit is less real than yours or I have less ambition than you do.

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((Pioneer takes a couple of puffs from his pipe, sips on a hot cup of coffee, and ponders the subject while watching Zacharia on GPS......))

 

 

I am fascinated that beliefs override knowledge. Perhaps it is not possible to be truly objective. There are no external objects and and the world exists in the minds. Which is way something is painfully obvious to you, but I can't grasp the concept.
 

 

I....I uhhh.....I think I'm going to go back to the original idea of this thread and graft another branch on this tree, lol.



What is knowledge?

What do you really know?

I have my own system of categorizing information and one of it's foundations is accurately separating beliefs from knowledge.

If I've experiened or observed it myself....it's knowledge to me.
If I haven't experienced or observed it.....it's just a belief of mine that may vary in intensity.

 

 

For example,
I don't KNOW that China exists....I haven't been there and I haven't actually seen it myself from any distance.
I BELIEVE it exists from the books I've read and the people i've met, but I don't know for sure.

I KNOW Mexico exists because I've been there to not only observe it but experience it.

 

Do you KNOW the Sun is appx 93 million miles away from Earth?
Or did scientific books you trust relate the information to you and you accept it as fact without dispute?

How do we KNOW how fast light travels?
The speed was determined at a time when light was considered the fasting thing in existance, so by which method did they compare it to in order to measure it?

 

There is a big difference between knowledge and belief, however you really don't KNOW everything you think you do...lol.

 

KNOWING this difference has kept me out of a lot of trouble.

 

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I came across an interesting theory. The embodied mind theory. It states that numbers and hence mathematics is an invention of the human mind. High means that numbers/mathematics is a belief system. So this means that any science that uses mathematics is on shaky ground. People believe in science without understanding it. And will actually use science to further their argument. I am trying go do less of this myself. Although I try to be critical, although I find objectivity difficult with subjects I care about. Even scientific can be unscientific in their belief systems. You can know by the following: experience; being told or shown; thinking or intuition. I think experience is the least reliable, intuition probably the most. However this is my personal Einstein used to say about science, God doesn't play dice. There has to be order in the laws of science. Which may not be true from our limited perspective.

Apparently you brain makes up what you see on a regular basis. Visually you have a blind spot in the center of your vision but your brain fills it in.

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I gravitate toward toward the reliability of instinct.  We are one of many embodiments of the universe, a microcosim of it, solidified into matter. Knowledge is an instrinsic part of our brains.  it is already there for our mind to discern and discover. The external world is an environment that acts as a filter through which experience must pass.  This is a developmental process. Instinct is spontaneous and spawns intuition.  

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Well, semantic subjectivity has permeated this exchange.  To me, intuition is an extension of instinct, not a separate reaction.  And knowing is innate awareness and the results of applying it determine whether the response is belief or intellectual.  

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It was such a beautiful, cloudless, blue-skied autumn day that venturing outside  for my daily walk was not something I had to exert myself to  do. 

 

Strolling along down the quiet deserted street, there was not another soul around, just scampering squirrels and flitting birds. Falling leaves of red and gold wafted in the balmy autumn breeze.   

 

The sun was at my back, and looking down at the sidewalk as I leisurely made my way, I spied my shadow and stopped short, suddenly riveted. Tranfixed,  I stared at this perfect silhouette of me for an eternity of seconds, and it was like my spirit was renewed.  The validation the sun had enabled was somehow reassuring.  From a distance of 93 million miles it  had  beamed down its rays, giving rise to a simple phenomenon that had proved my existence.  :)

 

Knowledge or belief?  I opt for the first choice.  B)

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I never get enough of watching the Science Channel.  I am really on its wave length.  Their shows about the universe and everything that pertains to its origins and its forces and its mysteries just rivet me. The programs also venture into philosophical areas that pit science against religion.  

 

One such recent presentation really resonated with me because I have always harbored  a personal belief that what religion has personified as a bi-polar old man in the sky keeping a  eye on everyone, is really an entity with origins in the mind, and that the god power resides within us not, not heaven.  

 

Well, there are schools of thought  which do, indeed, play around with this idea, and they postulate that there's an area in our brain which if electronically stimulated will trigger an awareness of an omnipresence that comforts, guides  and empowers us,  and that the main function of this presence is first to quell our anxiety about the inevitability of death and second, to help us cope with the obstacles that life is fraught with.   

 

The researchers  who espouse this theory obtained these results by testing volunteers who considered themselves agnostics.  These people were isolated and seated in a completely  dark room and wired up with a helmet designed to probe a certain area of their brains.  They were then instructed to just relax and sit there in the dark until their minds cleared.  Their brain waves were being monitored and once they went flat,  a certain area of their brain was stimulated via the helmet they were wearing. When later interviewed about what they  experienced during these sessions, the subjects of this experiment  typically reported that after they dissolved into the darkness and cleared their minds,  they sensed a gradual emergence of this comforting non-judgmental presence which they felt was "there for them". It was also concluded that out of a need to believe, people can subconcsciously evoke this reaction independently of electrical stimulation and when they do so, they tend to put it in the context of an existing religion

 

I have an open mind as to whether this is fact or belief but I find it an intriguing subject; just as provocative as the idea that life is just a series of random events.  

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Those must have been some really sophisticated and highly evolved people they experimented on.  Few people can actually "clear" their minds.  Try it, it is not easy -- maybe impossible. 

 

I would like to see that episode.  Do yo know if it was a new broadcast or an old one rebroadcast?  If you tell me when it came on I might be able to check your local list to get more detail.

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Most of the programs on the Science channel are reruns dating as far back as 2010.  To elucidate further, the episode in question explained its theory and then focused on one participant in particular.  I don't know when or if it will be rerun anytime soon.  They usually run episodes 2 or even 3 times in one day and then go on with another rotation of past seasons. I think I watched this one on Wednesday.

 

And, actually, this isn't the first time I've heard of experiments like this.  Practictioners of the paranormal have long conducted these kind of sessions.  But scientists previously dismisssed them as hokum.  The whole idea is that being alone with oneself in the dark over a period of time can shift you into another dimension and enable your mind to produce visions and sensations; this is where the question of reality kicks in.  Who is to say whether what people experience in a certain setting isn't real???

 

Scientists have also postulated the idea of a "god gene" which influences how human's brains are wired and that there is an innate primitive instinct for man to believe in a higher good and that this serves as a survival mechanism to buffer the tribulations of our stark existence   This mind-set is stronger in some than others.

 

Nirvana is a state of perfect bliss, achieved by totally clearing the mind, transcending the body, and becoming one with the universe. Chanting helps clear the mind which is one reason Buddhists do it. So with a great deal of discipline, some people apparently can make their minds a blank. 

 

I have tried doing it in experimenting with self-hypnosis as a tool for exploring reincarnation.  Alone in the dark in a relaxed state, I was able to start at 10 and slowly count backwards and then sustain a period of concentrating on an open door to pass through in search of past lives. My mind wasn't blank but it was solely occupied with what I intended to fill it with.  BTW, all that materialized was a vision of walking on a dirt road through a field of wild flowers...  I still consider reincarnation a strong possibility.  I definitely feel I've been here before and that a lot of my cynicism is leftover from experiences in another life. 

 

I live around the clock and tend to be a night owl, and this I do know:  Darkness is a world unto its own.  And as far back as I can remember I've always felt that I have an invisible companion who is my BFF.

 

The mystery continues...

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I am challenging mu beliefs about what reality is. What I find is the less meaning I put on reality the more fluid it becomes and I just observe the outcomes. The problem with this fluidity is that my sense of self becomes transient as well. Which does facilitate introspection and self awareness. It is uncomfortable.

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Cause and effect is infinite.  We do have to stay in touch with ourselves, even to the point of clinging  to our identity lest it be dissipated in multiverses.    The specter of whether we actually exist is always looming in the background. We just have to keep reminding ourselves of what Descarte declares:  "I think; therefore I am". 

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