Physiological necessity of bad ideas

The origins of the imperative, "know thyself", are lost in the sands of time, but the age-old examination of human consciousness continues here.

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Physiological necessity of bad ideas

Postby Gamer » Sat Dec 02, 2017 5:35 pm

There’s benefit from having a degree of neurological protection over useful beliefs, whether or not they are defensible upon rigorous and unbiased examination. There’s no perfect, complete and provable universal standard for all that is useful at the personal level - value judgements on usefulness include a large set of subjective and contextual needs and preferences that vary between individuals. Thus it’s perilous to judge another’s acts of belief and value formation too harshly, even if that belief doesn’t hold up to a degree of rational formal or informal scrutiny.

What is useful to society is another matter, and can be judged a bit more objectively, but only through a lens of majority consensus on which metrics and thresholds constitute value for society. Absent an objective science of values/morals, i.e. resolution of Hume’s is/ought dichotomy, any assertion or majority consensus on what defines “useful” for society is a priori undergirded with at least some personal value judgements mixed in with more or less consensus values.

The conclusion is each of us require a stew of beliefs that work for our physiology, setting, and personage, similar to how we often each need our own unique balance in our microbiome to achieve optimum health and mood.

Areas of the brain are implicated in belief formation & resistance to new evidence that threatens our current “belief biome.” While these mechanisms can lead to very bad and illogical ideas that cause harm, absence of these mechanisms could lead many to a worse harm, a form of existential vertigo with nothing anchoring their sense of value. This may explain why often the least biased among us — those of us eager to change our minds based on evidence — also tend to suffer from the most existential angst and a sick feeling of being unmoored that we must constantly battle with.

The human condition all but demands competing beliefs and irrational beliefs. This isn’t a problem of communication or logic nearly as much as it is a physiological reality of our species.

This isn’t to say conversation or rational and persuasive debate are pointless. Just that it may be valuable to properly demarcate where discourse ends and physiology begins. Ignoring these borders, or not acknowledging they exist, leads to a lot of sloppiness and (possibly) uneccesary misunderstanding, disconnection, hate and suffering.
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Re: Physiological necessity of bad ideas

Postby demoralized » Sun Dec 03, 2017 11:46 pm

I think the term "necessity" is a bit misleading as it applies to bad ideas

In a world with only good ideas, would I stop living? I don't think so

But really I think the term "bad ideas" is a bit of a misnomer - I'd agree insofar as that a 'bad idea' is rather a dissenting opinion or a habit stemming from diverse human experiences. E.g. physiological need of (dissenting opinions/relying on ones own experience, realizing that it differs from that of others)

Overall I agree
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Re: Physiological necessity of bad ideas

Postby Gamer » Sun Dec 10, 2017 1:18 am

The purpose of including bad idea and necessity was to encourage the reader to try to recall a recent idea they encountered that she thought was a bad one, and then to consider the possibility that the holding of this “bad” idea is necessary to the idea holder. Necessary doesn’t have to mean life or death, although life or death necessity certain could apply in several cases.

The point I’m really after is we tend to see ideas as free from physical constraints, mutable; as opposed to things like physical diseases, say cancer or diabetes. My point is that ideas — good or bad ones — may very well be physically necessary to the organism in some cases.

This is all a variation on a theme of mine regarding the importance of patience and empathy we should strive for when dealing with people who believe things we think are silly or wrong. Like Old Gobbo’s cloud buster.
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Re: Physiological necessity of bad ideas

Postby Fixed Cross » Sun Dec 10, 2017 3:14 am

This is not a toilet.
The strong do what they can, the weak accept what they must.
- Thucydides

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