The symbolic world

For intuitive and critical discussions, from spirituality to theological doctrines. Fair warning: because the subject matter is personal, moderation is strict.

Moderator: Dan~

Re: The symbolic world

Postby felix dakat » Mon Dec 28, 2020 1:17 am

Yeah I wasn't aware that Freke is a YouTube guru. Like you said to me I'm reading so many books and watching so many videos, I don't think I can take on another at the moment. If there's a dearth of meaning in the secular world these days, there's also a glut of putative meaning on the internet. I'm still taking in a lot of Pageau and Vervaeke. Peterson's trying to make a comeback with another book. The way I see it, the symbolic world turns out to be an elaborated mandala of wholeness, "the structure of reality" as Pageau likes to put it. It is ontological in the sense that it articulates the structural unity of a way of being in the world.
The purpose of my life would seem to be to express the truth as I discover it, but in such a manner that it is completely devoid of authority. By having no authority, by being seen by all as utterly unreliable, I express the truth and put everyone in a contradictory position where they can only save themselves by making the truth their own.
Soren Kierkegaard– Journals, 432
User avatar
felix dakat
Janitor
 
Posts: 9151
Joined: Tue Dec 05, 2006 7:20 am
Location: east of eden

Re: The symbolic world

Postby felix dakat » Fri Jan 08, 2021 8:04 pm

Symbolism was much in evidence on Wednesday when the mob attacked the capitol in Washington. The Congressional leaders were awakened to their heroic duty by the defilement of the capitol, the sacred center of democracy by the chaotic mob from the margins of society summoned by deluded, power-drunk President Trump.
The purpose of my life would seem to be to express the truth as I discover it, but in such a manner that it is completely devoid of authority. By having no authority, by being seen by all as utterly unreliable, I express the truth and put everyone in a contradictory position where they can only save themselves by making the truth their own.
Soren Kierkegaard– Journals, 432
User avatar
felix dakat
Janitor
 
Posts: 9151
Joined: Tue Dec 05, 2006 7:20 am
Location: east of eden

Re: The symbolic world

Postby felix dakat » Sun Jan 10, 2021 12:49 am

The purpose of my life would seem to be to express the truth as I discover it, but in such a manner that it is completely devoid of authority. By having no authority, by being seen by all as utterly unreliable, I express the truth and put everyone in a contradictory position where they can only save themselves by making the truth their own.
Soren Kierkegaard– Journals, 432
User avatar
felix dakat
Janitor
 
Posts: 9151
Joined: Tue Dec 05, 2006 7:20 am
Location: east of eden

Re: The symbolic world

Postby Bob » Mon Jan 11, 2021 10:58 am

felix dakat wrote:Symbolism was much in evidence on Wednesday when the mob attacked the capitol in Washington. The Congressional leaders were awakened to their heroic duty by the defilement of the capitol, the sacred center of democracy by the chaotic mob from the margins of society summoned by deluded, power-drunk President Trump.

The numbers of groups involved show that this had been something that had been planned since the outcome of the vote was clear, with knowledge of Trump, and was intended to be far worse than it turned out to be. It was fortunate that the people in the capitol moved so swiftly and there were less people involved in the insurrection than originally planned. This could be a good sign that people on the right have begun to realise that this man is anything but a conservative. He does the things he says the left are doing, but I think that he isn't the brain behind it - there are others.
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.
TS Eliot
User avatar
Bob
Philosopher
 
Posts: 3565
Joined: Sun Dec 28, 2003 6:20 pm
Location: Germany

Re: The symbolic world

Postby Bob » Tue Jan 12, 2021 10:16 am

Like all concepts in ancient cosmology, space and time exist at different scales of reality. Therefore, the dominion of space may be symbolized by a box, a house, or simply as dry land on the cosmic scale. Similarly, the dominion of time may be symbolized by flooded versions of the above, such as a cup filled with wine, a flooded house, or a flooded world on the cosmic scale.

In this context, water symbolizes the confusion that mediates between heaven and earth, and the transformative influences of change. Importantly, this does not refer to any change whatsoever, but to losing the agreement between meaning and fact. In practice, this means falling away from familiarity into a world of uncertainty where everything appears foreign and strange.
Pageau, Matthieu. The Language of Creation: Cosmic Symbolism in Genesis (S.110). Kindle-Version.

Reading this I can’t help but think that we are in a time of change in which so much is swimming in a sea of uncertainty. There is a lack of solid ground for people to stand on and they grab anything that is floating by. The times are the result of the loss of substance in peoples lives and the rise of shallow soaps and bickering social media in the West as a diminished alternative.

The problem is that people will try to find a way ahead, even if it means hanging on to some conspiracy theory and finding an enemy. Consolidating around something meaningful became increasingly difficult with the Catholic Church losing ground because of the scandals, the impact of Islamic terror, “New Atheists” going on their bitter rampage, the spread of the evangelical as a fight against these developments, and the political agendas of prominent persons. What is the solution?

When reality is dominated by the spatial pillar, there is a clear connection between facts and their spiritual meaning, and life in the universe has purpose and direction. Conversely, whenever the bridge between heaven and earth is lost, spiritual principles fail to answer the enigmas of corporeal reality, and practical reality no longer expresses spiritual law (the facts no longer support the theory).

In the Bible, transitioning from the dominion of space to that of time is called “losing the land” and is experienced as “going into exile” and then “wandering in strange lands.” This comes in contrast with “seizing the land,” which is experienced as “returning from exile” and then “inhabiting the homeland.”
Pageau, Matthieu. The Language of Creation: Cosmic Symbolism in Genesis (S.110). Kindle-Version.

The question that arises now is how purpose and direction can be found without falling into the traps laid out before us. Finding the bridge between heaven and earth should be easy for Christians, albeit they have become a motely crew, split into factions and sides according to their tastes, unable to find the common ground – except in locating a common enemy.

The fascinating thing about the Gospels, even if you think of them as compositions of faith, is that the symbolism that is rife in them assists in finding that bridge. Christ is the model of holiness – that is a centre of the wheel around which we all revolve. This centre draws people together, rather than proposing a struggle against, a jihad, and lays down the rule of love – something very lacking at present. The self-inflicted exile is resolved by a Father who comes running towards the prodigal son, welcoming him back into the family. The son knew that he had forgone his rights and expected nothing. This is the vision of humility that has become so rare in our present day.
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.
TS Eliot
User avatar
Bob
Philosopher
 
Posts: 3565
Joined: Sun Dec 28, 2003 6:20 pm
Location: Germany

Re: The symbolic world

Postby felix dakat » Wed Jan 13, 2021 8:20 pm

Bob wrote:
Like all concepts in ancient cosmology, space and time exist at different scales of reality. Therefore, the dominion of space may be symbolized by a box, a house, or simply as dry land on the cosmic scale. Similarly, the dominion of time may be symbolized by flooded versions of the above, such as a cup filled with wine, a flooded house, or a flooded world on the cosmic scale.

In this context, water symbolizes the confusion that mediates between heaven and earth, and the transformative influences of change. Importantly, this does not refer to any change whatsoever, but to losing the agreement between meaning and fact. In practice, this means falling away from familiarity into a world of uncertainty where everything appears foreign and strange.
Pageau, Matthieu. The Language of Creation: Cosmic Symbolism in Genesis (S.110). Kindle-Version.

Reading this I can’t help but think that we are in a time of change in which so much is swimming in a sea of uncertainty. There is a lack of solid ground for people to stand on and they grab anything that is floating by. The times are the result of the loss of substance in peoples lives and the rise of shallow soaps and bickering social media in the West as a diminished alternative.

The problem is that people will try to find a way ahead, even if it means hanging on to some conspiracy theory and finding an enemy. Consolidating around something meaningful became increasingly difficult with the Catholic Church losing ground because of the scandals, the impact of Islamic terror, “New Atheists” going on their bitter rampage, the spread of the evangelical as a fight against these developments, and the political agendas of prominent persons. What is the solution?

When reality is dominated by the spatial pillar, there is a clear connection between facts and their spiritual meaning, and life in the universe has purpose and direction. Conversely, whenever the bridge between heaven and earth is lost, spiritual principles fail to answer the enigmas of corporeal reality, and practical reality no longer expresses spiritual law (the facts no longer support the theory).

In the Bible, transitioning from the dominion of space to that of time is called “losing the land” and is experienced as “going into exile” and then “wandering in strange lands.” This comes in contrast with “seizing the land,” which is experienced as “returning from exile” and then “inhabiting the homeland.”
Pageau, Matthieu. The Language of Creation: Cosmic Symbolism in Genesis (S.110). Kindle-Version.

The question that arises now is how purpose and direction can be found without falling into the traps laid out before us. Finding the bridge between heaven and earth should be easy for Christians, albeit they have become a motely crew, split into factions and sides according to their tastes, unable to find the common ground – except in locating a common enemy.

The fascinating thing about the Gospels, even if you think of them as compositions of faith, is that the symbolism that is rife in them assists in finding that bridge. Christ is the model of holiness – that is a centre of the wheel around which we all revolve. This centre draws people together, rather than proposing a struggle against, a jihad, and lays down the rule of love – something very lacking at present. The self-inflicted exile is resolved by a Father who comes running towards the prodigal son, welcoming him back into the family. The son knew that he had forgone his rights and expected nothing. This is the vision of humility that has become so rare in our present day.


Excellent. It appears that you are receiving a restored vision of the structure of reality. That's where we each need to begin. Without the vision people perish spiritually. Then we can take baby steps to live according to the vision we receive. To be able to live like this is a blessing in this time of the crisis of meaning. The logos is the light that shines in the darkness and gives meaning to everything. On a depth level it shines in the heart to give insight into our deepest parts to show us who we really are and how to proceed. The impact we can have on the world depends on where we are in the great chain of being. Jesus washed the disciple's feet. They didn't understand what he was doing. He was reconfiguring the world.
The purpose of my life would seem to be to express the truth as I discover it, but in such a manner that it is completely devoid of authority. By having no authority, by being seen by all as utterly unreliable, I express the truth and put everyone in a contradictory position where they can only save themselves by making the truth their own.
Soren Kierkegaard– Journals, 432
User avatar
felix dakat
Janitor
 
Posts: 9151
Joined: Tue Dec 05, 2006 7:20 am
Location: east of eden

Re: The symbolic world

Postby felix dakat » Tue Mar 09, 2021 1:47 am

To paraphrase Jonathan Pageau and Jordan Peterson: One of the constitutive aspects of how reality unfolds and how it appears to us is something like attention. Everything that appears to us in the world has an infinite amount of details. It has an indefinite amount of ways that you could describe it and angles from which you could analyze it.

Nevertheless the world appears to us through hierarchies of meaning. For example a cup or a chair. A chair is a multitude of parts. How is it that we can say that it is one thing? There's a capacity that we have to attend. It's something like a co-creation of the world. You can try to analyze the chair objectively but you end up with bean bags and stumps. You can sit on them and that's what unites them. Our object perceptions are projected modes of being. The objective world is ineluctably contaminated with utility and therefore with morality. The world manifests itself through attention and consciousness has a place to play in how the world reveals itself.

You can try to posit a world outside of that first person perspective, but it's a deluded activity. it's very difficult because you don't know what to make of something like time. Time has an in a ineradicably subjective element. There's duration. Time is kind of like the average rate at which things change. But duration is something like the felt sense of that time. If you take away the subjective element isn't clear what to do with time. Even physicists stumble over this. There is intermingling of value and fact. The world of fact is saturated inevitably with value.

Attention plays a part in the way the world lays itself out. (Phenomenal intentionality) The stuff that the world is made of is something like attention or consciousness which has a pattern. And that pattern is the same pattern as stories. They have identities. They have centers. They have margins. They have exceptions. And that's how stories lay themselves out. A story happens in time. An identity is broken down and then reconstructed. That's the basis of every story. That's a way for us to perceive the identity of things. If the world is made of this then our secular world is an aberration of every traditional worldview which saw what we today call consciousness (they called it nous or intellect) as part of how the world lays itself out. And it lays itself out in modes of being. It's not only that you engage in modes of being but modes of being have you, (encompass you).
The purpose of my life would seem to be to express the truth as I discover it, but in such a manner that it is completely devoid of authority. By having no authority, by being seen by all as utterly unreliable, I express the truth and put everyone in a contradictory position where they can only save themselves by making the truth their own.
Soren Kierkegaard– Journals, 432
User avatar
felix dakat
Janitor
 
Posts: 9151
Joined: Tue Dec 05, 2006 7:20 am
Location: east of eden

Re: The symbolic world

Postby Bob » Tue Mar 09, 2021 11:30 am

Hi Felix,
I heard something like this with both JPs and struggled with it a little. The reason is this: My experience of reality goes on in my head, fed by sensual input, but it is surely the reality of objects that I am experiencing and not just my attention that is creating it? The manifestation of reality, its materialization in my perception, is an indication of something being there, or not?

The second thing is detail. I know that things are in reality composite things, made up of parts down to the smallest atom, but I experience them as whole, single things. This is particularly true for living things, including plants. It is attention that causes me to take notice of these things, and differentiate between parts and wholes, between living and dying things.

I am reliant upon the air, but my senses only register its effect, otherwise it is invisible to me. My vegetative system causes me to breathe, whether or not I know what I am breathing. I wonder whether it was being forced to do things, by instinct or physical function, that was there first. Human beings, like all animals knew instinctively, that they lived off other life. Their detection of detail and pattern, much like infants, was a matter of discovery by growing attention.

In this way they discovered utility and then morality. There were things that should not be done because they were dangerous for individuals but also for collectives. Morality was probably simple to begin with, but it became subject to the developing world-view of the tribe and gained sophistication with time. An example is the sophisticated symbolism that Mathieu Pageau discovered in the Bible and explains in his book. The rising awareness of man’s special place within reality began to become authoritative, as well as the struggle with the duality of human existence (heaven and earth), which became the subject of stories, which grew into epics and mythologies.

I experience life as a story unfolding with other stories around me, with which I interact in varying degrees. These stories are identities, and the stories I read are (as you say) identities broken down and reconstructed, which gives me a larger experience base than my own existence and is the reason I read them. It is also formative, helping me to form an identity of my own, which helps me find meaning within my existence.

Just a few thoughts on what you wrote.
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.
TS Eliot
User avatar
Bob
Philosopher
 
Posts: 3565
Joined: Sun Dec 28, 2003 6:20 pm
Location: Germany

Re: The symbolic world

Postby Sculptor » Tue Mar 09, 2021 11:50 am

Bob wrote:Anybody familiar with Jonathan Pageau?
https://thesymbolicworld.com/videos/sar ... t-failure/


What value do you think this verbal has?
He said nothing to counter the "new atheists". All he tried to do is reframe to a place which did not speak to the problem of atheist or theism.
Whatever you want to take about the "symbolic world",; this is not about god.
Sculptor
 
Posts: 407
Joined: Thu Dec 17, 2020 10:52 pm

Re: The symbolic world

Postby Sculptor » Tue Mar 09, 2021 11:53 am

Bob wrote:I was asking a question, but seeing as there is only your reply, I will explain.

Jonathan Pageau spends time making (amongst other things) videos on symbolism in the world and how it effects our everyday life. He does this to point out that our lives are rife with symbolism but when people are pointed out that Christianity uses symbolism to explain its beliefs, it becomes “only” symbolism.

The link I posted was to a very interesting talk about how the New Atheists actually fail to address what Christianity is about, but what they think it is about. The thing is that we have narratives in our lives that explain the world for us.

This is such obvious goal post changing.
Science is a sumbolic world too. The difference is that is contains symbols of things that exist.
You can squirm as much as you like, Christianity can be whatever you want it to be, but its not about reality.
So why bother with it?
Sculptor
 
Posts: 407
Joined: Thu Dec 17, 2020 10:52 pm

Re: The symbolic world

Postby Sculptor » Tue Mar 09, 2021 11:55 am

What I see here is yet another attempt - a desperate attempt to impose meaning on the world, by the invention is myths.
Have the decency to admit it. But I'd rather you had the honestly to make myths from truth not invention.
Sculptor
 
Posts: 407
Joined: Thu Dec 17, 2020 10:52 pm

Re: The symbolic world

Postby Mad Man P » Tue Mar 09, 2021 1:35 pm

felix dakat wrote:The stuff that the world is made of is something like attention or consciousness which has a pattern. And that pattern is the same pattern as stories. They have identities. They have centers. They have margins. They have exceptions. And that's how stories lay themselves out. A story happens in time. An identity is broken down and then reconstructed. That's the basis of every story. That's a way for us to perceive the identity of things. If the world is made of this then our secular world is an aberration of every traditional worldview which saw what we today call consciousness (they called it nous or intellect) as part of how the world lays itself out. And it lays itself out in modes of being. It's not only that you engage in modes of being but modes of being have you, (encompass you).


I was with you up until this part... WE often pattern our stories to resemble our experiences, not the other way around.

The world is also not apprehended through stories, but mental models.

Our models are attempts at apprehending the pattern of our experiences, this is entirely a project driven by utility. In other words, we require of our models that they give us predictive power that we may intelligently engineer our own experiences, chart our own path through life... if I am about to be struck by a car and wish to avoid it, the correct course of action is not to put the car out of my mind completely, as a means of avoiding the collision... so I would say any model that frames the car as merely an entity in my mind is not only of no use, it's dangerous.

Stories, that is to say a fabricated or curated series of events, can have a wide variety of purposes...
Most often they merely entertain by transporting us away to another place through imagination and making us believe it could be real.
Though nearly as frequently, we use stories to manipulate perception, whether stories about other people, ourselves, our tribe, nation or even the world...

Like telling the story of how Billy used to bully you in school, to get other people to dislike him, as you do.
Or stories about how your father was a tyrant and you never learned how to show love, to get people you hurt to forgive your bad behavior, through "understanding", while you do nothing to correct it.
Propaganda, where the purpose is to re-frame things in such a way, that you're the good guys and the other tribe are the bad guys, to excuse or encourage certain behavior.
Or religion where the weather, disease, or even the fate of your mind after your body dies is made a consequences of your behavior, or lack thereof... yet again as a means of modifying behavior.

To empower people with knowledge (useful models), your conveyance ought to prioritise utility, demonstrability and clarity... fabrications, metaphor and ambiguity are not the best tools for this job.
To motivate people, to modify their behavior... well... brainwashing, would be the best tool, if we had the tech... but for now, stories will do.

Don't get me wrong, stories are tools... very potent tools.
But their utility is far from restricted to conveying truth... nor are they even the best means of conveying truth.
They may well be, however, the best means we have of distorting truth... which we most often use to fool ourselves...

The sugar coating of what is effectively social engineering, in the language of "symbolism" or "spirituality" does nothing to change which loss is being lemented and renewal is wished for.
That of human behavior as when gripped by fabricated stories.

I cannot help but think that you cannot muster reasons that appeal to others, as to why they ought behave that way, when you are reduced to pushing the import of stories beyond all reason.
There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.
User avatar
Mad Man P
Philosopher
 
Posts: 2676
Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 7:32 pm
Location: Denmark

Re: The symbolic world

Postby Bob » Tue Mar 09, 2021 3:50 pm

Sculptor wrote:
Bob wrote:Anybody familiar with Jonathan Pageau?
https://thesymbolicworld.com/videos/sar ... t-failure/

What value do you think this verbal has?
He said nothing to counter the "new atheists". All he tried to do is reframe to a place which did not speak to the problem of atheist or theism.
Whatever you want to take about the "symbolic world",; this is not about god.

It’s a shame that you don’t investigate further, because Jonathan Pageau is very much a Christian (Greek Orthodox) and tries to find the Christian approach to the world.

Sculptor wrote:
Bob wrote:I was asking a question, but seeing as there is only your reply, I will explain.
Jonathan Pageau spends time making (amongst other things) videos on symbolism in the world and how it effects our everyday life. He does this to point out that our lives are rife with symbolism but when people are pointed out that Christianity uses symbolism to explain its beliefs, it becomes “only” symbolism.
The link I posted was to a very interesting talk about how the New Atheists actually fail to address what Christianity is about, but what they think it is about. The thing is that we have narratives in our lives that explain the world for us.

This is such obvious goal post changing.
Science is a sumbolic world too. The difference is that is contains symbols of things that exist.
You can squirm as much as you like, Christianity can be whatever you want it to be, but its not about reality.
So why bother with it?

You obviously have no idea about what we have discussed in this thread, so reading up could be an answer to your question.

But seeing as you did ask a question (although I don’t understand your concern) there is a book out by the brother of Jonathan Pageau, Mathieu, “The Language of Creation: Cosmic Symbolism in Genesis” in which is pointed out how the cosmology of the OT is largely symbolic and within that cosmology, understandable. It isn’t science, nor is it meant to be, but does still explain the situation of mankind in a manner that is coherent.
Sculptor wrote:What I see here is yet another attempt - a desperate attempt to impose meaning on the world, by the invention is myths.
Have the decency to admit it. But I'd rather you had the honestly to make myths from truth not invention.

You obviously assume that mythology is invention, but that isn’t what mythology is. It is a means of speaking about the situation of mankind in a way that people can understand and remember – by the use of stories.

This throws up the question of how do we understand our world at all? Science gives us knowledge, but we can’t just go through life with amassed facts, they have to make sense. We need meaning to make sense and that is where stories are far better. We understand our own lives largely as an unravelling story, and the lives we interact with in the same way. We see patterns in behaviour and structures, which give us an idea of how things will work out if we go down a particular avenue.

That is the value of stories – and therefore of myths.
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.
TS Eliot
User avatar
Bob
Philosopher
 
Posts: 3565
Joined: Sun Dec 28, 2003 6:20 pm
Location: Germany

Re: The symbolic world

Postby felix dakat » Tue Mar 09, 2021 4:35 pm

Bob wrote:Hi Felix,
I heard something like this with both JPs and struggled with it a little. The reason is this: My experience of reality goes on in my head, fed by sensual input, but it is surely the reality of objects that I am experiencing and not just my attention that is creating it? The manifestation of reality, its materialization in my perception, is an indication of something being there, or not?

The second thing is detail. I know that things are in reality composite things, made up of parts down to the smallest atom, but I experience them as whole, single things. This is particularly true for living things, including plants. It is attention that causes me to take notice of these things, and differentiate between parts and wholes, between living and dying things.

I am reliant upon the air, but my senses only register its effect, otherwise it is invisible to me. My vegetative system causes me to breathe, whether or not I know what I am breathing. I wonder whether it was being forced to do things, by instinct or physical function, that was there first. Human beings, like all animals knew instinctively, that they lived off other life. Their detection of detail and pattern, much like infants, was a matter of discovery by growing attention.

In this way they discovered utility and then morality. There were things that should not be done because they were dangerous for individuals but also for collectives. Morality was probably simple to begin with, but it became subject to the developing world-view of the tribe and gained sophistication with time. An example is the sophisticated symbolism that Mathieu Pageau discovered in the Bible and explains in his book. The rising awareness of man’s special place within reality began to become authoritative, as well as the struggle with the duality of human existence (heaven and earth), which became the subject of stories, which grew into epics and mythologies.

I experience life as a story unfolding with other stories around me, with which I interact in varying degrees. These stories are identities, and the stories I read are (as you say) identities broken down and reconstructed, which gives me a larger experience base than my own existence and is the reason I read them. It is also formative, helping me to form an identity of my own, which helps me find meaning within my existence.

Just a few thoughts on what you wrote.


The idea that your experience of reality goes on in your head--the egocentric dilemma--is the modern legacy of Cartesian mind body dualism. It's the modern story we were baptized into at birth. It's the cage we moderns are trapped in. Phenomenology is the key to get out of the cage. Pageau intuitively connects phenomenology with pre-modern Christian symbolism. Peterson explains why this is psychologically justifiable. But phenomenology is the ultimate do it yourself project. It is the return to first philosophy. Tacking it onto the natural attitude won't do.
The purpose of my life would seem to be to express the truth as I discover it, but in such a manner that it is completely devoid of authority. By having no authority, by being seen by all as utterly unreliable, I express the truth and put everyone in a contradictory position where they can only save themselves by making the truth their own.
Soren Kierkegaard– Journals, 432
User avatar
felix dakat
Janitor
 
Posts: 9151
Joined: Tue Dec 05, 2006 7:20 am
Location: east of eden

Re: The symbolic world

Postby felix dakat » Tue Mar 09, 2021 6:10 pm

Mad Man P wrote:
felix dakat wrote:The stuff that the world is made of is something like attention or consciousness which has a pattern. And that pattern is the same pattern as stories. They have identities. They have centers. They have margins. They have exceptions. And that's how stories lay themselves out. A story happens in time. An identity is broken down and then reconstructed. That's the basis of every story. That's a way for us to perceive the identity of things. If the world is made of this then our secular world is an aberration of every traditional worldview which saw what we today call consciousness (they called it nous or intellect) as part of how the world lays itself out. And it lays itself out in modes of being. It's not only that you engage in modes of being but modes of being have you, (encompass you).


I was with you up until this part... WE often pattern our stories to resemble our experiences, not the other way around.

The world is also not apprehended through stories, but mental models.

Our models are attempts at apprehending the pattern of our experiences, this is entirely a project driven by utility. In other words, we require of our models that they give us predictive power that we may intelligently engineer our own experiences, chart our own path through life... if I am about to be struck by a car and wish to avoid it, the correct course of action is not to put the car out of my mind completely, as a means of avoiding the collision... so I would say any model that frames the car as merely an entity in my mind is not only of no use, it's dangerous.

Stories, that is to say a fabricated or curated series of events, can have a wide variety of purposes...
Most often they merely entertain by transporting us away to another place through imagination and making us believe it could be real.
Though nearly as frequently, we use stories to manipulate perception, whether stories about other people, ourselves, our tribe, nation or even the world...

Like telling the story of how Billy used to bully you in school, to get other people to dislike him, as you do.
Or stories about how your father was a tyrant and you never learned how to show love, to get people you hurt to forgive your bad behavior, through "understanding", while you do nothing to correct it.
Propaganda, where the purpose is to re-frame things in such a way, that you're the good guys and the other tribe are the bad guys, to excuse or encourage certain behavior.
Or religion where the weather, disease, or even the fate of your mind after your body dies is made a consequences of your behavior, or lack thereof... yet again as a means of modifying behavior.

To empower people with knowledge (useful models), your conveyance ought to prioritise utility, demonstrability and clarity... fabrications, metaphor and ambiguity are not the best tools for this job.
To motivate people, to modify their behavior... well... brainwashing, would be the best tool, if we had the tech... but for now, stories will do.

Don't get me wrong, stories are tools... very potent tools.
But their utility is far from restricted to conveying truth... nor are they even the best means of conveying truth.
They may well be, however, the best means we have of distorting truth... which we most often use to fool ourselves...

The sugar coating of what is effectively social engineering, in the language of "symbolism" or "spirituality" does nothing to change which loss is being lemented and renewal is wished for.
That of human behavior as when gripped by fabricated stories.

I cannot help but think that you cannot muster reasons that appeal to others, as to why they ought behave that way, when you are reduced to pushing the import of stories beyond all reason.


Yours is the humanist myth. (Myth not in the sense of a fiction but rather a grand narrative.) Man creates himself. He freely generates theoretical models out of the thin air of formless experience. The all powerful "I" thinks therefore he is! The autonomous self-created man! The foundation of modernity! Self-deluded he imagines that he engineered his own emergence!

So let me present to counter-proposal. Being "I"s (I'm using I as a verb here). And Being "worlds". Thus being -in- the-world precedes and structures the theoretical modeling of which you speak.
The purpose of my life would seem to be to express the truth as I discover it, but in such a manner that it is completely devoid of authority. By having no authority, by being seen by all as utterly unreliable, I express the truth and put everyone in a contradictory position where they can only save themselves by making the truth their own.
Soren Kierkegaard– Journals, 432
User avatar
felix dakat
Janitor
 
Posts: 9151
Joined: Tue Dec 05, 2006 7:20 am
Location: east of eden

Re: The symbolic world

Postby Mad Man P » Tue Mar 09, 2021 10:08 pm

felix dakat wrote:Yours is the humanist myth. (Myth not in the sense of a fiction but rather a grand narrative.) Man creates himself. He freely generates theoretical models out of the thin air of formless experience. The all powerful "I" thinks therefore he is! The autonomous self-created man! The foundation of modernity! Self-deluded he imagines that he engineered his own emergence!

So let me present to counter-proposal. Being "I"s (I'm using I as a verb here). And Being "worlds". Thus being -in- the-world precedes and structures the theoretical modeling of which you speak.


I would love to give you a scathing retort, but I'm afraid you've straw manned me, as I have no trouble agreeing with the above.
In fact it seems so tangential to my post that I'm not even sure that was meant as a response to me...

Of course "I" did not create myself...
I do not even (at least not consciously) generate my own thoughts, they merely present themselves.
I have observed, however, that I am capable of learning... that is to say adjust my mental "model" of the world and even myself.
When my expectations do not match my experiences and I fail to avoid causing myself or others needless suffering... that's usually when I know I there's stuff I need to learn.
If I am lucky and studious, I might yet get to know myself and the world better, so as to more intelligently navigate this existence.
A great aid in that effort is attempting to understand the nature of what "I" even am... currently the theory of evolution seems to be the most useful model for understanding how I came to be, what my nature and failings may be.
I expect neuroscience will one day shed a great deal more light on the matter.

So no, felix, I have no trouble whatsoever agreeing to your "proposal" that was counter to nothing I've said.
But I would argue it's healthy to question our assumptions and presuppositions. Evaluate them as though anew, to refine and shore up whatever errors there may be in what nature and nurture instilled in us.
Odin knows, neither forces add up to perfect designs, as the entire process relies on producing vast amounts of random waste and then killing off the most maladapted ones... until a lucky few remain only to do so again.
I'd rather not be the maladapted kind... if I can help it.
There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.
User avatar
Mad Man P
Philosopher
 
Posts: 2676
Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 7:32 pm
Location: Denmark

Re: The symbolic world

Postby felix dakat » Wed Mar 10, 2021 5:25 pm

Mad Man P wrote:
felix dakat wrote:Yours is the humanist myth. (Myth not in the sense of a fiction but rather a grand narrative.) Man creates himself. He freely generates theoretical models out of the thin air of formless experience. The all powerful "I" thinks therefore he is! The autonomous self-created man! The foundation of modernity! Self-deluded he imagines that he engineered his own emergence!

So let me present to counter-proposal. Being "I"s (I'm using I as a verb here). And Being "worlds". Thus being -in- the-world precedes and structures the theoretical modeling of which you speak.


I would love to give you a scathing retort, but I'm afraid you've straw manned me, as I have no trouble agreeing with the above.
In fact it seems so tangential to my post that I'm not even sure that was meant as a response to me...

Of course "I" did not create myself...
I do not even (at least not consciously) generate my own thoughts, they merely present themselves.
I have observed, however, that I am capable of learning... that is to say adjust my mental "model" of the world and even myself.
When my expectations do not match my experiences and I fail to avoid causing myself or others needless suffering... that's usually when I know I there's stuff I need to learn.
If I am lucky and studious, I might yet get to know myself and the world better, so as to more intelligently navigate this existence.
A great aid in that effort is attempting to understand the nature of what "I" even am... currently the theory of evolution seems to be the most useful model for understanding how I came to be, what my nature and failings may be.
I expect neuroscience will one day shed a great deal more light on the matter.

So no, felix, I have no trouble whatsoever agreeing to your "proposal" that was counter to nothing I've said.
But I would argue it's healthy to question our assumptions and presuppositions. Evaluate them as though anew, to refine and shore up whatever errors there may be in what nature and nurture instilled in us.
Odin knows, neither forces add up to perfect designs, as the entire process relies on producing vast amounts of random waste and then killing off the most maladapted ones... until a lucky few remain only to do so again.
I'd rather not be the maladapted kind... if I can help it.


Instead of a straw man, let's just say I misread you. And in the above I see a phenomenological description of being in the world from your point of view and some common ground. The theory of evolution can be read as model or origin myth that indeed at least partially explains why we are the way we are and do the things we do. From the angle of Genesis we have original sin from that of evolutionary psychology we have our primate nature.
The purpose of my life would seem to be to express the truth as I discover it, but in such a manner that it is completely devoid of authority. By having no authority, by being seen by all as utterly unreliable, I express the truth and put everyone in a contradictory position where they can only save themselves by making the truth their own.
Soren Kierkegaard– Journals, 432
User avatar
felix dakat
Janitor
 
Posts: 9151
Joined: Tue Dec 05, 2006 7:20 am
Location: east of eden

Re: The symbolic world

Postby Mad Man P » Wed Mar 10, 2021 10:28 pm

felix dakat wrote:Instead of a straw man, let's just say I misread you. And in the above I see a phenomenological description of being in the world from your point of view and some common ground. The theory of evolution can be read as model or origin myth that indeed at least partially explains why we are the way we are and do the things we do. From the angle of Genesis we have original sin from that of evolutionary psychology we have our primate nature.


I believe I understand now why what you're saying sounds insane to me.
You've redefined words like "myth" and "story" into such broad categories that history, science or even memory would qualify, any accounting of an event is story, if it spans a great amount of time it's "myth"...
I'm not sure why you've done this... the cynic in me can think of a few reasons, but let's not be too cynical... so I'll just voice the same warning I did a few posts ago, which you misread and consequently never addressed.

Clear, precise language and models are the tool to use if you wish to avoid confusion and actually comprehend, impart or merely record insight and understanding.
When you paint with as broad a brush as you have elected to do, even if you don't mean to, you run the risk of confusing yourself or others, by way of a false equivalency, where genesis is the same as the theory of evolution, as an example...

What's more, I imagine if we ever did have to recreate our mental models from scratch, our perception would be that existence is all one amorphous thing, until we take the time to sort it out... to understand it.
So trying to explain everything through a simple lense like "everything is just a story we tell" seems like a regression to ignorance... It's trivial to create such a lense and shoe-horn all the known world through it.
And while it might seem profound at first... It's actually completely devoid of any useful insight... it's no different than when a stoner, blazed out of his mind says "we're all one with the universe and eternity, man"
Which, in his defense, he probably thinks is profound due to a significant part of his brain not working...
There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.
User avatar
Mad Man P
Philosopher
 
Posts: 2676
Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 7:32 pm
Location: Denmark

Re: The symbolic world

Postby felix dakat » Wed Mar 10, 2021 11:26 pm

Mad Man P wrote:
felix dakat wrote:Instead of a straw man, let's just say I misread you. And in the above I see a phenomenological description of being in the world from your point of view and some common ground. The theory of evolution can be read as model or origin myth that indeed at least partially explains why we are the way we are and do the things we do. From the angle of Genesis we have original sin from that of evolutionary psychology we have our primate nature.


I believe I understand now why what you're saying sounds insane to me.
You've redefined words like "myth" and "story" into such broad categories that history, science or even memory would qualify, any accounting of an event is story, if it spans a great amount of time it's "myth"...
I'm not sure why you've done this... the cynic in me can think of a few reasons, but let's not be too cynical... so I'll just voice the same warning I did a few posts ago, which you misread and consequently never addressed.

Clear, precise language and models are the tool to use if you wish to avoid confusion and actually comprehend, impart or merely record insight and understanding.
When you paint with as broad a brush as you have elected to do, even if you don't mean to, you run the risk of confusing yourself or others, by way of a false equivalency, where genesis is the same as the theory of evolution, as an example...

What's more, I imagine if we ever did have to recreate our mental models from scratch, our perception would be that existence is all one amorphous thing, until we take the time to sort it out... to understand it.
So trying to explain everything through a simple lense like "everything is just a story we tell" seems like a regression to ignorance... It's trivial to create such a lense and shoe-horn all the known world through it.
And while it might seem profound at first... It's actually completely devoid of any useful insight... it's no different than when a stoner, blazed out of his mind says "we're all one with the universe and eternity, man"
Which, in his defense, he probably thinks is profound due to a significant part of his brain not working...


The stories that matter are never created from scratch. They follow archetypal patterns which are embedded in the human psyche. If you think I redefined myth and story then there's a large body of work in phenomenological study of mythology and narrative that you're apparently unaware of. Have you ever heard of Carl Jung or Joseph Campbell? Or how about James Frazier? And now we have the contributions of Jordan Peterson and Brett Weinstein ,the archetypal psychologists and more. Not to mention Husserl and Heidegger and the existential phenomenologists. Scientific models appear within the scope and structure of human consciousness not vice versa.
The purpose of my life would seem to be to express the truth as I discover it, but in such a manner that it is completely devoid of authority. By having no authority, by being seen by all as utterly unreliable, I express the truth and put everyone in a contradictory position where they can only save themselves by making the truth their own.
Soren Kierkegaard– Journals, 432
User avatar
felix dakat
Janitor
 
Posts: 9151
Joined: Tue Dec 05, 2006 7:20 am
Location: east of eden

Re: The symbolic world

Postby Mad Man P » Thu Mar 11, 2021 3:08 am

yet again... you did not address my post and instead "misread" it and went on this tangent...
At this point I have to wonder if perhaps there's a miscommunication or if perhaps you have no interest in a discussion

There is no archetypal story for the theory of nuclear decay rates, or the formulas for how to achieve a geosynchronous orbit with a satellite...
Yet they a perfectly comprehensible models, adopted and treasured by virtually every culture across the world and no force needed to be applied to make it so.

I repeat the now long forgotten post, that you still have not addressed...
If it does not impart predictive power... it's not knowledge.
And giving us predictive power, is the purview of models... not stories.
Stories serve a different function... one of greater interest to the humanities than to scientists.
If you're trying to change people's behavior and perceptions... stories are powerful tools.
If you want to know why they are such potent tools... you need a model for how our minds work.
There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.
User avatar
Mad Man P
Philosopher
 
Posts: 2676
Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 7:32 pm
Location: Denmark

Re: The symbolic world

Postby felix dakat » Thu Mar 11, 2021 4:44 am

Can something be metaphorically true but literally false?

“Where do your beliefs come from? There's a school of thought that sees religion as a mind virus that wastes the time and effort of human beings, but evolutionary biologist Bret Weinstein offers a more reasonable explanation: "belief systems have flourished because they have facilitated the interests of the creatures involved," he says. Religious people are evolutionarily fitter than non-believers, not because they are protected by a deity but rather because religion is a form of adaptive evolution. Religion is so widespread because it has massive survival advantages beneath the supernatural elements—that's what Weinstein refers to as "literally false and metaphorically true". For example, believing in heaven is literally false—there is no such place—but believing in it keeps your descendants in good standing in the religious community after you're gone, thus setting your lineage up to continue. The thought itself may be untrue, but the result of the thought is evolutionarily effective. "Despite the fact that human beings think that they have escaped the evolutionary paradigm, they’ve done nothing of the kind, and so we should expect the belief systems that people hold to mirror the evolutionary interests that people have," Weinstein says.”
The purpose of my life would seem to be to express the truth as I discover it, but in such a manner that it is completely devoid of authority. By having no authority, by being seen by all as utterly unreliable, I express the truth and put everyone in a contradictory position where they can only save themselves by making the truth their own.
Soren Kierkegaard– Journals, 432
User avatar
felix dakat
Janitor
 
Posts: 9151
Joined: Tue Dec 05, 2006 7:20 am
Location: east of eden

Re: The symbolic world

Postby Mad Man P » Thu Mar 11, 2021 12:57 pm

felix dakat wrote:Can something be metaphorically true but literally false?

“Where do your beliefs come from? There's a school of thought that sees religion as a mind virus that wastes the time and effort of human beings, but evolutionary biologist Bret Weinstein offers a more reasonable explanation: "belief systems have flourished because they have facilitated the interests of the creatures involved," he says. Religious people are evolutionarily fitter than non-believers, not because they are protected by a deity but rather because religion is a form of adaptive evolution. Religion is so widespread because it has massive survival advantages beneath the supernatural elements—that's what Weinstein refers to as "literally false and metaphorically true". For example, believing in heaven is literally false—there is no such place—but believing in it keeps your descendants in good standing in the religious community after you're gone, thus setting your lineage up to continue. The thought itself may be untrue, but the result of the thought is evolutionarily effective. "Despite the fact that human beings think that they have escaped the evolutionary paradigm, they’ve done nothing of the kind, and so we should expect the belief systems that people hold to mirror the evolutionary interests that people have," Weinstein says.”


A false belief can be behaviorally advantageous... if I think there's a tiger in the bush and run away, I might not get stung by the snake that was there.
Don't know that I'd call that "metaphorical truth" though, that seems a lofty title for a false belief.

Also, felix, seriously... what's going wrong in our communication, do you think?
What do you think I've said, to which the above is a counterpoint?

Me, myself and I wrote:Don't get me wrong, stories are tools... very potent tools.
But their utility is far from restricted to conveying truth... nor are they even the best means of conveying truth.
They may well be, however, the best means we have of distorting truth... which we most often use to fool ourselves...

The sugar coating of what is effectively social engineering, in the language of "symbolism" or "spirituality" does nothing to change which loss is being lemented and renewal is wished for.
That of human behavior as when gripped by fabricated stories.

I cannot help but think that you cannot muster reasons that appeal to others, as to why they ought behave that way, when you are reduced to pushing the import of stories beyond all reason.


Where do you detect an incompatibility between what Bret uttered and what I've said above?
There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.
User avatar
Mad Man P
Philosopher
 
Posts: 2676
Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 7:32 pm
Location: Denmark

Re: The symbolic world

Postby felix dakat » Thu Mar 11, 2021 1:43 pm

Could Life be a game with winners and losers? And dialogue could be a game within that game: a contest with point --"counterpoint". Each contestant could think of himself as a hero standing for the truth. The one who thought of himself as a winner might even get a serotonin boost. Or maybe that's already a story you're embedded in. Perhaps you're playing the game even when you're not conscious of it. What do you think?
The purpose of my life would seem to be to express the truth as I discover it, but in such a manner that it is completely devoid of authority. By having no authority, by being seen by all as utterly unreliable, I express the truth and put everyone in a contradictory position where they can only save themselves by making the truth their own.
Soren Kierkegaard– Journals, 432
User avatar
felix dakat
Janitor
 
Posts: 9151
Joined: Tue Dec 05, 2006 7:20 am
Location: east of eden

Re: The symbolic world

Postby Mad Man P » Fri Mar 12, 2021 5:19 am

felix dakat wrote:Could Life be a game with winners and losers? And dialogue could be a game within that game: a contest with point --"counterpoint". Each contestant could think of himself as a hero standing for the truth. The one who thought of himself as a winner might even get a serotonin boost. Or maybe that's already a story you're embedded in. Perhaps you're playing the game even when you're not conscious of it. What do you think?


I must admit that my suspicion, though the possibility now seems quite remote, was that there's a miscommunication and we're simply talking past each other.

It's possible, since in your hypothetical I'm not aware of mere competitive point scoring being my motivation, that you might be correct... that lack of awareness is consistent with my experience.
Though it's worth noting that this hypothesis seems unfalsifiable shy of a sudden shift into agreement on my part.

But if in fact you suspect that's what's happening, that certainly might explain why you would be dismissive or flat out ignoring the critiques of the perspective you've expressed.
You know... because the motivation for their presentation is point scoring, it's not really worth engaging with the arguments...

It just seems like there are easier and more honest ways of expressing "I don't wanna listen to you if you disagree with me"
The gaslighting and armchair psychoanalysis just seem functionally superfluous... but granted, make for a creative flourish.
There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.
User avatar
Mad Man P
Philosopher
 
Posts: 2676
Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 7:32 pm
Location: Denmark

Re: The symbolic world

Postby felix dakat » Fri Mar 12, 2021 6:24 am

Mad Man P wrote:
felix dakat wrote:Could Life be a game with winners and losers? And dialogue could be a game within that game: a contest with point --"counterpoint". Each contestant could think of himself as a hero standing for the truth. The one who thought of himself as a winner might even get a serotonin boost. Or maybe that's already a story you're embedded in. Perhaps you're playing the game even when you're not conscious of it. What do you think?


I must admit that my suspicion, though the possibility now seems quite remote, was that there's a miscommunication and we're simply talking past each other.

It's possible, since in your hypothetical I'm not aware of mere competitive point scoring being my motivation, that you might be correct... that lack of awareness is consistent with my experience.
Though it's worth noting that this hypothesis seems unfalsifiable shy of a sudden shift into agreement on my part.

But if in fact you suspect that's what's happening, that certainly might explain why you would be dismissive or flat out ignoring the critiques of the perspective you've expressed.
You know... because the motivation for their presentation is point scoring, it's not really worth engaging with the arguments...

It just seems like there are easier and more honest ways of expressing "I don't wanna listen to you if you disagree with me"
The gaslighting and armchair psychoanalysis just seem functionally superfluous... but granted, make for a creative flourish.


Yes well we're still playing the game aren't we? And how can we engage in dialogue and not? A game is a kind of story, and the dialogue is a kind of game. I'm sure you're aware of that the art of dialogue came from the Greeks. And the Greeks did love their games. Plato's Socrates was the supreme hero of the dialogue who defeated many an opponent with his claim of knowing nothing.

And what are the special sciences in this kind of story/game? In the game of games they are tools to be used for winning. But often in that game and more particularly in dialogue they're specialized tools--weapons for defeating one's opponent. The sciences serve the story/game not the other way around. And that's true both for the dialogue and for the meta-story which is life.
The purpose of my life would seem to be to express the truth as I discover it, but in such a manner that it is completely devoid of authority. By having no authority, by being seen by all as utterly unreliable, I express the truth and put everyone in a contradictory position where they can only save themselves by making the truth their own.
Soren Kierkegaard– Journals, 432
User avatar
felix dakat
Janitor
 
Posts: 9151
Joined: Tue Dec 05, 2006 7:20 am
Location: east of eden

PreviousNext

Return to Religion and Spirituality



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users