Are there arguments for materialism?

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Re: Are there arguments for materialism?

Postby iambiguous » Thu Oct 28, 2021 7:03 pm

iambiguous wrote: … my point is not regarding what you or I or others are disenchanted about, but how and why we came to be disenchanted about these things and not those things. Disenchantment rooted existentially in dasein. And then those who become flummoxed when others aren't disenchanted with the same things that they are. Whether in regard to materialism on the religion and spirituality board or in regard to value judgments and identity and political economy on the philosophy or the society, government, and economics board.

As for "our loss of ecstatic experience" in a postmodern and utterly crass, materialistic flatland, we'll need contexts of course.

And what if what you experience ecstatically comes into conflict with what others experience ecstatically? Are you more or less an objectivist like some here? Or are you more or less "fractured and fragmented" as I am?


Bob wrote: Disenchantment is literally the breaking of a spell and has been understood as the liberation from illusion or false belief.


What false belief? Whose false belief? Yours or mine or theirs? For many reasons I would very much like to become disenchanted with a fractured and fragmented "I" in regard to my own drawn and quartered moral and political value judgments.

Bur how many objectivists among us would really like to become disenchanted with their own? What, and watch all of that psychological comfort and consolation wash away with them?

That's basically my contention here.

Bob wrote: But the meaning of enchantment has come to mean a feeling of great joy and attraction, especially because something is very beautiful. This shows that there is a bias at work here and that the term 'disenchanted' has been interpreted in a fundamentalist and materialist way, as if the world of magic were as real as physics, rather than being a fanciful description of a state of mind that we all experience from time to time but cannot adequately describe.


Again, we'll need an actual context. Who is enchanted or disenchanted with what? And how "for all practical purposes" does this play out in terms of actual consequences for others.

Whereas, from my frame of mind, this...

Bob wrote: I can’t see that our “being-in-the-world” would necessarily be the cause of disenchantment, but rather the over-rationalisation that has tended to consider romanticism a problem and not just another state of mind that has its place in our lives. Of course, if Dasein is our “being-toward-death”, and we submit to a very dark view of existence, like in any fairy tale, the black witch (or white witch in CS Lewis) will endeavour to spread thorns and thistles instead of flowers and shrubs (or “forever winter but never Christmas”).


...is not the direction I would tend to go in in discussing either enchantment or disenchantment in regard to either materialism or idealism. Dark or light in regard to the manner in which Heidegger construed Dasein is a very different assessment of phenomenal interactions than the manner in which I construe dasein: "I" in the is/ought world.

If i do say so myself.

iambiguous wrote:… Nazis can be creative, Communists can be creative, liberals can be creative, conservatives can be creative, Christians can be creative, atheists can be creative.

But what are they creating? Why this and not something else? How is creation itself not profoundly rooted in dasein? And what happens when their creations come into conflict?

Same with materialism and idealism. Different stokes for different folks. But how existentially does that come about? And what of those in their Coalitions of Truth ever intent on creating the next New World Order.


Bob wrote: Creativity is the ability to produce or use original and unusual ideas, so anyone can be creative in this sense. Hitler was a painter, although it is said that he was not particularly creative. However, his original and unusual ideas came later, and their destructive effect was recognised late. Here, creativity is obviously at odds with destructiveness. Constructiveness, formative processes, and productive ideas obviously have a part in creativity.


Or perhaps Hitler the painter is deemed "not particularly creative" because Hitler the Nazi was loathed by some who passed judgment on that. And from his frame of mind destroying one thing was only in the service of creating something better.

What I do then is to raise the philosophical/ethical question of whether in a No God World, creativity itself -- let alone morality -- can be grasped ontologically...teleologically?
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Re: Are there arguments for materialism?

Postby JackQ » Thu Oct 28, 2021 7:50 pm

Bob wrote:I remember how my very “down to earth” father was dismayed at my enchantment by classical music, my enthusiasm for the theatre, and the consequent reams of paper I wrote about stories from Greek mythology and romantic poetry. As an adult, I have also been met by stolen looks of scepticism when I have expressed my enthusiasm for cultural content.
From which age did you develop an enthusiasm for artistic passions, and what career did your father expect of you to take up instead? Which Greek myths in particular piqued your interest? Did you ever find yourself questioning your sanity when nobody seemed to be receptive to your ideals?

Bob wrote:Creativity is the ability to produce or use original and unusual ideas, so anyone can be creative in this sense.
I'd argue there is conscious and unconscious creativity. Employing original ideas in a creative manner is usually unconscious, still an imitative genius. Conscious creativity is the capacity for shaping things from extant, forgotten, and neglected ideas.

Bob wrote:Hitler was a painter, although it is said that he was not particularly creative. However, his original and unusual ideas came later, and their destructive effect was recognised late.
Didn't he argue that the inventive faculty has existed in the creative person from birth (not to mention the need for an external stimulus; Luke 4:44), along the lines of Job 32:7-9?

What would you consider original to him? As far as I can tell, most of his enemies only credited him with mastery of propaganda/oratory and employment of force/fanaticism.

Bob wrote:Here, creativity is obviously at odds with destructiveness.
Then is the use of destructive/mad genius no longer justified? What is your definition for the term genius?

But didn't Wagner and his friend Liszt first wreak havoc against musical conventionality before he could string the different art forms together?

Bob wrote:Constructiveness, formative processes, and productive ideas obviously have a part in creativity.
How about improvisation? The composer Wilhelm Furtwängler insisted that people not try to control the unpredictable too much, suggesting that the pursuit of perfection and tendency towards mechanization comes at the expense of creativity.
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Re: Are there arguments for materialism?

Postby felix dakat » Thu Oct 28, 2021 10:54 pm

I think I was the one to introduce the term disenchantment into the discussion. So I'll try to describe what I meant. Expression disenchantment I think was introduced by Max Weber to describe our modern condition . Before around 1500 people lived in an enchanted world in the sense that it was inhabited by spirits demons and moral forces. Science gave us a naturalistic explanation of the world. The new mechanistic science of the 17th century wasn't seen as necessarily threatening to God but it was to the enchanted universe and magic.
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.
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Re: Are there arguments for materialism?

Postby Bob » Fri Oct 29, 2021 6:37 am

JackQ wrote: From which age did you develop an enthusiasm for artistic passions, and what career did your father expect of you to take up instead? Which Greek myths in particular piqued your interest? Did you ever find yourself questioning your sanity when nobody seemed to be receptive to your ideals?

It started when I began to read continuously at about 11, starting with children’s books at primary level, I then found the school textbooks fascinating, which by modern standards were pretty dull. But on entry into secondary school, we had a teacher that managed to captivate an audience. He told stories about the Gods that depicted their quarrelsomeness in a way that would have had him executed in ancient Greece. He was very funny and encouraged us to take part in the school play, but also took us to a production that he was in, which was also a farcical portrayal of life on Olympus. I had a brief chance meeting with a German teacher years later, who told us an abbreviated version of the Nibelungen saga, which he also made very funny.

The reaction of my family and their friends irritated me at first, but I had always been a child who lived in his imagination, who was said to be "very impressionable" but who was left alone most of the time. It wasn't until I started dancing around the house and garden, listening for classical music on the radio, dressing up like Greek characters with bed sheets and writing all over my notebooks that I began to disturb the "peace and quiet" that was important when my father came home. I continued to read what I could get my hands on, which was strangely difficult for me in the 1960s, until we moved back into a larger family and Grandmother introduced me to Edgar Rice Burroughs, of whom she owned many books, including the Tarzan books. I hardly left the living room where the books were kept and was fascinated by the descriptions of the African jungle. Having already lived in Malaysia for two and a half years, the thought of foreign lands was simply magical.

JackQ wrote:I'd argue there is conscious and unconscious creativity. Employing original ideas in a creative manner is usually unconscious, still an imitative genius. Conscious creativity is the capacity for shaping things from extant, forgotten, and neglected ideas.

Of course, when you take into account the interaction that takes place between us, everything is imitative in some way. My notebooks at 12 years old were also full of stories that I had “borrowed” from memory, somehow thinking they were my own. Much of my imagination is based on memories, or experiences that made an impression. I have always said that I can see that my own creativity, which has been praised in the past, was only a plagiarism of things I have heard from other people. Also, my pictures had no real value to me because they were experiments, helping me to learn techniques. I gave them all away.

However, wherever it comes from, I’m sure that there are personalities that manage to see things differently and consequently try to portray this unique view of them. Van Gogh springs to mind, who although was painting the night sky, saw it somehow differently to the way most of us see it, even though it resonates somehow in us. There are also thoughts that go down paths that most people have been unwilling to go, whether because of convention or because it disturbs ones sensibility, that suddenly become a “solution”, as distasteful as they may be.

JackQ wrote:Didn't he [Hitler] argue that the inventive faculty has existed in the creative person from birth (not to mention the need for an external stimulus; Luke 4:44), along the lines of Job 32:7-9?

What would you consider original to him? As far as I can tell, most of his enemies only credited him with mastery of propaganda/oratory and employment of force/fanaticism.

I’m not aware that Hitler said that. But it may be true. My experience was that something sparked my interest in creativity at a certain point in time, previously I was caught up in the present. Yes, I think it is wise to ‘Let days speak, and many years teach wisdom.’ But it wasn’t wisdom that distinguishes Hitler, but the search for a scapegoat for his own troubles, and his grasping of the totalitarian mindset, which he, together with people of a similar attitude, was able to portray as a solution to the woes of the German nation, and rhetorically enforce them. He has become an archetype of that fascist mindset, who has since been imitated and praised by likeminded people.

JackQ wrote: Then is the use of destructive/mad genius no longer justified? What is your definition for the term genius?

But didn't Wagner and his friend Liszt first wreak havoc against musical conventionality before he could string the different art forms together?

What justifies destructive/mad genius of Hitlers kind? I can think of nothing. Even in the realm of nature, I can see nothing that could justify destructiveness of that kind. We are generally destructive, because we are unable to build perfection. We destroy usually to make place for new, better things, because the old has become unserviceable, instable and mouldy.

I think that to contradict conventionality isn’t destructive, unless you go out of your way to destroy all traces of it. Wagner and Liszt were leaving the paths of convention, not ripping them up.

JackQ wrote:How about improvisation? The composer Wilhelm Furtwängler insisted that people not try to control the unpredictable too much, suggesting that the pursuit of perfection and tendency towards mechanization comes at the expense of creativity.

Again, it depends on what you are trying to do. I believe that we build on the past, however good or original that past may have been seen by people. It doesn’t mean it is gone or bad, it just means that creativity has found another way and it will either be well received or not.

With regard to the pursuit of perfection and tendency towards mechanization, I think that nature is the example of perfection that I would follow, which has its cycles of coming and going, but also its examples of sustainability and stability. The mechanized copy of life doesn’t so much contradict creativity, but manages to extend the life span of imperfection, without a natural life cycle. We have rusting examples of abandoned mechanization lying about, with a decomposition rate of hundreds of years.
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Re: Are there arguments for materialism?

Postby Bob » Fri Oct 29, 2021 6:46 am

iambiguous wrote:What I do then is to raise the philosophical/ethical question of whether in a No God World, creativity itself -- let alone morality -- can be grasped ontologically...teleologically?

Well, go ahead ...
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Re: Are there arguments for materialism?

Postby JackQ » Fri Oct 29, 2021 2:14 pm

Reading:

Bob wrote:The reaction of my family and their friends irritated me at first, but I had always been a child who lived in his imagination, who was said to be "very impressionable" but who was left alone most of the time... He told stories about the Gods that depicted their quarrelsomeness in a way that would have had him executed in ancient Greece.
Ah, you started reading right around the time youth is most impressionable.

So your teacher had a way of bringing it all to life, coupled with humour? Did he by any chance inculcate a reverence for the stars, what is above us? Ah, you're familiar with how intolerant the Athenian citizens could be under the direct democracy model. But then it begs the question, how did Homer, who depicted quarrelsome deities and monstrous distortions, evade the fate which befell Sokrates, instead having divinity imputed to him and being established as a pillar of Greek poetry, even invoked by Plato?

mm I don't think that fateful encounter was mere coincidence (Schopenhauer dismissed coincidences as accidental). I recently met a guy who had memorable and timely encounters in his search for a solution to his paranormal problem. Great artists have always made the company of eccentrics, they seldom have the opportunity to befriend anyone in the cultured cliques.

Bob wrote:It wasn't until I started dancing around the house and garden, listening for classical music on the radio, dressing up like Greek characters with bed sheets and writing all over my notebooks that I began to disturb the "peace and quiet" that was important when my father came home.
Sounds like you had an ideal upbringing, a stark contrast to the Victorian lifestyle. I wasn't allowed to dress up for Halloween, coming from a religious background. It was enough for me to wear a sheet over my head... My interest in ancient Greece originated with a collection of Greek myths that I used to read alongside Goosebumps novels.

You mean you had trouble procuring books for reading? I'd only heard of Rudyard Kipling (who apparently praised Burroughs), though I watched the Tarzan film. You know, that reminds me of a quote from Richard Wagner's memoirs, where he was pleased that the German mind exhibited a tolerance for human virtues, no matter how foreign or peculiar it was. He remarked that this enthusiasm was tantamount to the ancient Greeks. They were either given over to philosophical and mystical excesses or eager to assimilate new knowledge, but often at the expense of political stability.

Interesting, it would never occur to people to stop themselves in their tracks and ask themselves, what would they be without all the knowledge and training they received from others? Speaking of impressions, I was literally about to ask what your earliest impulse which shaped your course of destiny was, but you seem to have already opened up to me about it. What was that something which dislodged you from your environment?

I hadn't heard of Van Gogh experiencing an epiphany. Thanks for sharing that tidbit.

"There are also thoughts that go down paths that most people have been unwilling to go, whether because of convention or because it disturbs ones sensibility, that suddenly become a “solution”, as distasteful as they may be." Such as?

Bob wrote:What justifies destructive/mad genius of Hitlers kind? I can think of nothing. Even in the realm of nature, I can see nothing that could justify destructiveness of that kind. We are generally destructive, because we are unable to build perfection. We destroy usually to make place for new, better things, because the old has become unserviceable, instable and mouldy.
But isn't nature, taken in itself, cold and ruthless? Schopenhauer drew attention to how the newly hatched individual tortoises could be brutally swept aside in huge swathes without any regard for their individual existence. He maintained that it was only the preservation of the whole species nature was concerned with.

Another example: mother birds encouraging their young to leave the nest. Dependency breeds resentment. Keeping children cooped up in a stuffy cage of views and expectations shoved down their throats so that the domineering parents could enjoy them for themselves and live on through them. Spending too much time back at home breeds ingratitude, the parents' defects become more noticeable, that you want to get out of there as much as possible, whereas somebody who is spends time away from their home feels a longing for it and looks upon their parents in a better light.

Anyhow, I'd refrain from calling it destructive/mad genius, that's a self-destroying notion, much like pantheism (Schopenhauer pointed out that it was merely a form of atheism. According to them, all things are as they should be, they say things like, "life is a test" and "it's all for the best", that we return to share new experiences with the world soul). One is either an uplifting genius or a pessimistic corrupter. Nietzsche btw questioned whether Schopenhauer was pessimistic since he liked to play the flute, but at other times, indicated that Schopenhauer could be hostile to life (on account of his pity ethics).

"We are generally destructive, because we are unable to build perfection." Actually, I would argue that we are obsessed with perfecting physical life at the expense of everything else. The natural outcome of maintaining pity ethics. Self-preservation, every man for himself. Ironically, Nietzsche was one of those prophets despite his idealistic beginnings.

Regarding the tendency to wage a destructive campaign: Since we cannot know exactly where to draw the line and when the conflict has been decisively settled, such a struggle is merely reduced to an unproductive war of attrition. George Bush's war on terrorism, an abstraction, furnishes the best example of its folly. Since there is no wholesome ideology (on the part of America and the Western governments) seeking triumph over an opposing hostile ideology, only superficial values which are at best skin-deep, the terrorists are not squashed but rather revitalized by the conflict while the West gradually grows worn out from it. There's less and less enthusiasm among the people for participating in these foreign conflicts.

I would also draw attention to the destructive attempts from the Left to topple statues of slave owners. By that logic, they'd have to also take down the Founding Fathers, eroding their country's foundation. Then there's the Judensau controversy back in 2019. As unsightly as it may be, removing it sets a frightening precedent for removing other statues, picking history apart until there's nothing remaining. As for the Right, they want to pursue a policy of language purification (complaining about foreign words, including English, in pop music. I mean if they don't like it so much, why not just stick with better music?), which also follows the same logic: when will they be satiated and where will it leave them? Why, they'd be unable to communicate with the world at large, misunderstandings would ensue. They'd end up in a state of alienation from the rest of mankind, a condition which afflicts modern fascists, incels, criminals, etc.

Bob wrote:I think that to contradict conventionality isn’t destructive, unless you go out of your way to destroy all traces of it. Wagner and Liszt were leaving the paths of convention, not ripping them up.
It certainly seemed that way (destroying musical conventions) to their contemporary savants, they thought it was the end of the musical world. But it's also true that opposing conventions isn't a merit in itself. Same holds true for devotion and asceticism.
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Re: Are there arguments for materialism?

Postby iambiguous » Fri Oct 29, 2021 6:57 pm

Our exchange here...

iambiguous wrote:
iambiguous wrote: … my point is not regarding what you or I or others are disenchanted about, but how and why we came to be disenchanted about these things and not those things. Disenchantment rooted existentially in dasein. And then those who become flummoxed when others aren't disenchanted with the same things that they are. Whether in regard to materialism on the religion and spirituality board or in regard to value judgments and identity and political economy on the philosophy or the society, government, and economics board.

As for "our loss of ecstatic experience" in a postmodern and utterly crass, materialistic flatland, we'll need contexts of course.

And what if what you experience ecstatically comes into conflict with what others experience ecstatically? Are you more or less an objectivist like some here? Or are you more or less "fractured and fragmented" as I am?


Bob wrote: Disenchantment is literally the breaking of a spell and has been understood as the liberation from illusion or false belief.


What false belief? Whose false belief? Yours or mine or theirs? For many reasons I would very much like to become disenchanted with a fractured and fragmented "I" in regard to my own drawn and quartered moral and political value judgments.

Bur how many objectivists among us would really like to become disenchanted with their own? What, and watch all of that psychological comfort and consolation wash away with them?

That's basically my contention here.

Bob wrote: But the meaning of enchantment has come to mean a feeling of great joy and attraction, especially because something is very beautiful. This shows that there is a bias at work here and that the term 'disenchanted' has been interpreted in a fundamentalist and materialist way, as if the world of magic were as real as physics, rather than being a fanciful description of a state of mind that we all experience from time to time but cannot adequately describe.


Again, we'll need an actual context. Who is enchanted or disenchanted with what? And how "for all practical purposes" does this play out in terms of actual consequences for others.

Whereas, from my frame of mind, this...

Bob wrote: I can’t see that our “being-in-the-world” would necessarily be the cause of disenchantment, but rather the over-rationalisation that has tended to consider romanticism a problem and not just another state of mind that has its place in our lives. Of course, if Dasein is our “being-toward-death”, and we submit to a very dark view of existence, like in any fairy tale, the black witch (or white witch in CS Lewis) will endeavour to spread thorns and thistles instead of flowers and shrubs (or “forever winter but never Christmas”).


...is not the direction I would tend to go in in discussing either enchantment or disenchantment in regard to either materialism or idealism. Dark or light in regard to the manner in which Heidegger construed Dasein is a very different assessment of phenomenal interactions than the manner in which I construe dasein: "I" in the is/ought world.

If i do say so myself.

iambiguous wrote:… Nazis can be creative, Communists can be creative, liberals can be creative, conservatives can be creative, Christians can be creative, atheists can be creative.

But what are they creating? Why this and not something else? How is creation itself not profoundly rooted in dasein? And what happens when their creations come into conflict?

Same with materialism and idealism. Different stokes for different folks. But how existentially does that come about? And what of those in their Coalitions of Truth ever intent on creating the next New World Order.


Bob wrote: Creativity is the ability to produce or use original and unusual ideas, so anyone can be creative in this sense. Hitler was a painter, although it is said that he was not particularly creative. However, his original and unusual ideas came later, and their destructive effect was recognised late. Here, creativity is obviously at odds with destructiveness. Constructiveness, formative processes, and productive ideas obviously have a part in creativity.


Or perhaps Hitler the painter is deemed "not particularly creative" because Hitler the Nazi was loathed by some who passed judgment on that. And from his frame of mind destroying one thing was only in the service of creating something better.

What I do then is to raise the philosophical/ethical question of whether in a No God World, creativity itself -- let alone morality -- can be grasped ontologically...teleologically?


...reduced all the way down to this:

Bob wrote:
iambiguous wrote:What I do then is to raise the philosophical/ethical question of whether in a No God World, creativity itself -- let alone morality -- can be grasped ontologically...teleologically?

Well, go ahead ...


I shall.

Join me here -- https://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtop ... 5&t=186929 -- if you dare! :wink:
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Re: Are there arguments for materialism?

Postby Bob » Sat Oct 30, 2021 12:13 pm

JackQ wrote:Ah, you started reading right around the time youth is most impressionable.

So your teacher had a way of bringing it all to life, coupled with humour? Did he by any chance inculcate a reverence for the stars, what is above us? Ah, you're familiar with how intolerant the Athenian citizens could be under the direct democracy model. But then it begs the question, how did Homer, who depicted quarrelsome deities and monstrous distortions, evade the fate which befell Sokrates, instead having divinity imputed to him and being established as a pillar of Greek poetry, even invoked by Plato?

I’m not sure how Homer survived but I would say that Socrates was a cantankerous fellow, despite him being wise. He seemed to want to annoy his accusers to make a point. I read somewhere that Plato didn’t like Homers work and thought it made fun of the gods. But no, my teacher didn’t have a reverence for the stars – or at least I didn’t hear it.

JackQ wrote:mm I don't think that fateful encounter was mere coincidence (Schopenhauer dismissed coincidences as accidental). I recently met a guy who had memorable and timely encounters in his search for a solution to his paranormal problem. Great artists have always made the company of eccentrics, they seldom have the opportunity to befriend anyone in the cultured cliques.

I have seen the encounter as a key moment for me, which unfortunately, wasn’t followed through and shortly after my big break, going on tour around the polytechnics, “dancing” expressively and spontaneously to classics, we moved away and I went to a new school next to a railway works, where no such inspiration was to be found. The library was small and locked, the countryside far away, and my school journey through a highly industrialised area and underneath loud, hammering, railway bridges of steel.

JackQ wrote:Sounds like you had an ideal upbringing, a stark contrast to the Victorian lifestyle. I wasn't allowed to dress up for Halloween, coming from a religious background. It was enough for me to wear a sheet over my head... My interest in ancient Greece originated with a collection of Greek myths that I used to read alongside Goosebumps novels.

My “upbringing” was instigated by a mother who was completely overburdened by three boys, who needed tranquilizers because I was out of control, and a father whose career in the army was coming to abrupt end due to deafness. My younger brother tried to follow me and ended up nearly breaking his back after falling from a tree that I had climbed. It didn’t help that I carried him home. As long as I was out in the countryside, I used up my energy. In the new environment, I just shrivelled up. I didn’t go to school because it bored me and tried to go to the town library, where I was ushered out and told to go to school. So I found a lane that took me out of town, into the surrounding countryside, which led to an appointment with the educational psychologist, who confirmed my boredom.

JackQ wrote:You mean you had trouble procuring books for reading? I'd only heard of Rudyard Kipling (who apparently praised Burroughs), though I watched the Tarzan film. You know, that reminds me of a quote from Richard Wagner's memoirs, where he was pleased that the German mind exhibited a tolerance for human virtues, no matter how foreign or peculiar it was. He remarked that this enthusiasm was tantamount to the ancient Greeks. They were either given over to philosophical and mystical excesses or eager to assimilate new knowledge, but often at the expense of political stability.

Yes, Rudyard Kipling was one of my early reads, but the Tarzan films were a disappointment. In the new environment I read the science fiction classics that my father had been reading and they just blew my mind, and he couldn’t cope with the questions I had. Having had the negative experience in the town library, I ended up reading what I could get my hands on. In my CSE exams, the only marks I got were in English Literature and Geography.

Richard Wagner was an antisemitic bigot, despite his huge contribution to the arts, and influence. His ideas regarding the German mind reflect those sentiments. The German people were enthusiastic because his music re-awoke the national identity that losing WWI and the punishment of the reparations had damaged. He wanted Germany to return to glory of the national state of 1871 (the Deutsches Kaiserreich), which was regarded as the unification of Germany, the Reich being established constitutionally as a federation of monarchies, each having entered the federation with a defined territory. This pomposity was of course not uncommon amongst other European monarchies, including Britain, whose Empire was a global hegemon, which Germany dreamt of equalling by expansion into the east. We all know how that went.

JackQ wrote:Interesting, it would never occur to people to stop themselves in their tracks and ask themselves, what would they be without all the knowledge and training they received from others? Speaking of impressions, I was literally about to ask what your earliest impulse which shaped your course of destiny was, but you seem to have already opened up to me about it. What was that something which dislodged you from your environment?

I think I’ve answered this above …

JackQ wrote:"There are also thoughts that go down paths that most people have been unwilling to go, whether because of convention or because it disturbs ones sensibility, that suddenly become a “solution”, as distasteful as they may be." Such as?

Well, the “Endsolution” of Hitler comes to mind, not just to inter the Jews, but to exterminate them.

JackQ wrote:But isn't nature, taken in itself, cold and ruthless? Schopenhauer drew attention to how the newly hatched individual tortoises could be brutally swept aside in huge swathes without any regard for their individual existence. He maintained that it was only the preservation of the whole species nature was concerned with.

Another example: mother birds encouraging their young to leave the nest. Dependency breeds resentment. Keeping children cooped up in a stuffy cage of views and expectations shoved down their throats so that the domineering parents could enjoy them for themselves and live on through them. Spending too much time back at home breeds ingratitude, the parents' defects become more noticeable, that you want to get out of there as much as possible, whereas somebody who is spends time away from their home feels a longing for it and looks upon their parents in a better light.

You made an interesting transition there from birds to children, but the images were fluent. I left the nest at 18 and was in another country where I would end up living permanently at 19. It was this cut that enabled a restart to some degree.

I’m not sure that we can regard nature in that way, as being “cold and ruthless” because that is being without pity or compassion, which are attributes of sentience, of having the capacity to feel. I have come to understand nature as germination and spreading of life in its many forms. Its only intention is to live and reproduce that life, whether as weeds in my garden, or in the many life-forms we see. I believe there is an inherent consciousness in each life form, restricted to the needs of that life form, which culminates in sentient beings. Fortunately, not everything is sentient. You only have to imagine being a cockroach to see that, if everything were sentient in the way we are, that would be infinitely cruel.

JackQ wrote:"We are generally destructive, because we are unable to build perfection." Actually, I would argue that we are obsessed with perfecting physical life at the expense of everything else. The natural outcome of maintaining pity ethics. Self-preservation, every man for himself. Ironically, Nietzsche was one of those prophets despite his idealistic beginnings.

And physical life can’t be perfection in the sense of completion because it is limited. It is becoming different things at different stages, but in the end it is “dirt to dirt”. I go to the gym and watch the bodybuilders work on their sculpturing of their body and think, okay, but you have to feed that and keep it up, but in the end you’ll look like flabby Schwarzenegger. I work on reducing my weight through strength, and run more than pumping, but I know that I am losing the battle and I am just putting off the inevitable. The bodybuilders will also lose their battle, but I think I will be less frustrated.

JackQ wrote:Regarding the tendency to wage a destructive campaign: Since we cannot know exactly where to draw the line and when the conflict has been decisively settled, such a struggle is merely reduced to an unproductive war of attrition. George Bush's war on terrorism, an abstraction, furnishes the best example of its folly. Since there is no wholesome ideology (on the part of America and the Western governments) seeking triumph over an opposing hostile ideology, only superficial values which are at best skin-deep, the terrorists are not squashed but rather revitalized by the conflict while the West gradually grows worn out from it. There's less and less enthusiasm among the people for participating in these foreign conflicts.

The war on terrorism ignores the reason why terrorism arises in the first place. In many cases it is the materialistic expansionist policies of the West (which is now getting competition from the East) that have threatened the traditional existence of non-industrial nations. We tend to ask rhetorically, “Who wouldn’t want our affluent society?” and we assume we know the answer. The destructive campaigns are driven by the arms industry who persuade governments that there is a shelf-life on their products, which have to be used or go to waste. The bombardment of Afghanistan, for example, did nothing to weaken the Taliban’s standing in the country. Instead, it probably sowed the seeds that led to their rapid return when the West declared their intention to leave. If we have gone in with supplies to relieve hunger, brought technology to enable wells to be drilled, enabled farmers to plant and sell something else that heroin, it may have had more chance of success.

JackQ wrote:I would also draw attention to the destructive attempts from the Left to topple statues of slave owners. By that logic, they'd have to also take down the Founding Fathers, eroding their country's foundation. Then there's the Judensau controversy back in 2019. As unsightly as it may be, removing it sets a frightening precedent for removing other statues, picking history apart until there's nothing remaining. As for the Right, they want to pursue a policy of language purification (complaining about foreign words, including English, in pop music. I mean if they don't like it so much, why not just stick with better music?), which also follows the same logic: when will they be satiated and where will it leave them? Why, they'd be unable to communicate with the world at large, misunderstandings would ensue. They'd end up in a state of alienation from the rest of mankind, a condition which afflicts modern fascists, incels, criminals, etc.

I agree completely …
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Re: Are there arguments for materialism?

Postby Bob » Sat Oct 30, 2021 12:14 pm

iambiguous wrote:Join me here -- https://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtop ... 5&t=186929 -- if you dare! :wink:

I should have made one word clearer GO!
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Re: Are there arguments for materialism?

Postby JackQ » Sun Oct 31, 2021 8:51 am

Bob wrote:I would say that Socrates was a cantankerous fellow, despite him being wise. He seemed to want to annoy his accusers to make a point.
Well, bursting people's bubbles was needed in his days. Character defects like harsh language and rudeness are the natural outcome of being isolated from people and duking it out with aggressors. The humanist freethinker Voltaire adopted the lie as a principle, along the lines of jesuitism. The question is whether Sokrates delighted in being provocative and sought to humiliate his accusers by being right.

Bob wrote:I read somewhere that Plato didn’t like Homers work and thought it made fun of the gods. But no, my teacher didn’t have a reverence for the stars – or at least I didn’t hear it.
The opinion of the Platonists was that Homer was a charlatan, for he blurred out the distinctions between reality and fiction by representing the deities with coarse personalities and motives, but they could still appeal to him since he was a sufficiently public authority figure and popular with the masses, unlike Xenophanes, that Voltaire of old.

Well, I suppose your teacher's humour would've similarly conveyed a sense of proportion. I'm reminded of Thomas Beecham's influence over Berta Geissmar. Geissmar mentions in her memoir that during WW1, Germany managed to maintain its artistic and cultural life. They never brought up the subject of war, but the artistic sphere seemed stimulated. This was also the case for the Soviets during WW2.

That new school environment sounds hellish. I've had to put up with noise pollution for upward 20 years, it grates on my nerves. Excess sleep deprivation.

Incidentally, I met an user last week who mentioned being bored with school and tried to walk out on it, they were corroborated by a psychologist and permitted to opt for a private school on account of their intelligence.

English and Geography were my best subjects, Math and Gym were my worst.

Richard Wagner:

Bob wrote:Richard Wagner was an antisemitic bigot, despite his huge contribution to the arts, and influence. His ideas regarding the German mind reflect those sentiments.
I think that's an unfair characterization, although it's true that the artist must necessarily reflect the people's sentiment, which is how Lenin could justify appropriating Tolstoy for his cause. Look up the articles The Curious Case of William Shirer and Richard and the revolutionaries.

Aaron Copland indicated that only a man who has no connection with the people is afraid of compromising his artistic integrity on account of a composer's disagreeable views. In his scathing work, Wagner practically idealized Ludwig Borne. He also put in some good words for Berthold Auerbach in his memoir (his falling out with the latter was over his indecisiveness, with him choosing not to publicizing his views on Wagner's neglected poems, even after speaking with Wagner's friends, who had encouraged him to go through with it). A great man like Gustav Mahler could vouch for him his whole life and even dared performing Wagner's works better than his contemporaries.

Original to his work was a contribution he made after seeing anti-Semitic catchphrases being flaunted around arbitrarily, doing injury to the whole musical sphere. By furnishing a formulation for what they were groping for, he put a decisive end to that abuse and it may be argued that he helped reign-in his zealous anti-Semitic peers.

It mustn't be overlooked that Wagner was influenced by Schopenhauer, who was in turn influenced by Buddhism and Hinduism. Wagner's music isn't purely Germanic and sensual, but also Buddhic and ennobling.

Bob wrote:Well, the “Endsolution” of Hitler comes to mind, not just to inter the Jews, but to exterminate them.
Ah, that solution. I thought you were referring to things like Charlemagne's forced conversions of pagan dissidents.

Nature:

Yeah, Plato employed similar bird analogies, I'm just following his lead. I don't understand how nature taken itself could be considered a sentience yet a cockroach somehow has none. I'll agree that nature sees to it that all beings live and reproduce, but I'll also add that she wishes that the healthy spread their magnetism/electricity to those fitted to receive it.

Bob wrote:I believe there is an inherent consciousness in each life form, restricted to the needs of that life form, which culminates in sentient beings.
You mean like the pre-Sokratic philosopher Thales?
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Re: Are there arguments for materialism?

Postby Bob » Sun Oct 31, 2021 4:54 pm

JackQ wrote:The question is whether Sokrates delighted in being provocative and sought to humiliate his accusers by being right.

Well, considering he thought of himself as a midwife, the birthing process is quite arduous.

JackQ wrote:The opinion of the Platonists was that Homer was a charlatan, for he blurred out the distinctions between reality and fiction by representing the deities with coarse personalities and motives, but they could still appeal to him since he was a sufficiently public authority figure and popular with the masses, unlike Xenophanes, that Voltaire of old.

I’ve read that there were two brief characterizations of Xenophanes by Plato, otherwise only fragments, which make a classification difficult, but also that he was a travelling poet who criticised the stories about the gods told by other poets and encouraged his fellow citizens to respect the gods and work to safeguard the well-being of their city. Interesting that you see him as an ancient Voltaire. I looked it up and found he was also a reflective observer of the human condition, a practitioner of the special form of ‘inquiry’ introduced by the Milesian philosopher-scientists, and a civic counsellor. Quite a man.

I’m not an expert of Greek classics in any way, despite their early influence on me via my teacher, but as I said, the change of venue led to a dark phase in which I was virtually disconnected from my source of inspiration and found no equivalent.

JackQ wrote:Well, I suppose your teacher's humour would've similarly conveyed a sense of proportion. I'm reminded of Thomas Beecham's influence over Berta Geissmar. Geissmar mentions in her memoir that during WW1, Germany managed to maintain its artistic and cultural life. They never brought up the subject of war, but the artistic sphere seemed stimulated. This was also the case for the Soviets during WW2.

I’m impressed with your knowledge of what went on in Germany, but your being reminded of such a prominent relationship surprises me. WW1 was to a large degree a war of cultures, despite the interrelationship of the royal families throughout Europe, and similarities. The British had maintained an Empire for such a long time, spread out all over the globe, and Germany had a few colonies that weren’t particularly impressive, but also wanted to be an empire (Reich). At the time, the Jewish population were just as enthralled by the idea as anyone else, and was also the opinion that the “Dichter und Denker” of Germany qualified them as a great nation, despite a latent antisemitism (after all many of these great people were Jews).

JackQ wrote:
Bob wrote:Richard Wagner was an antisemitic bigot, despite his huge contribution to the arts, and influence. His ideas regarding the German mind reflect those sentiments.
I think that's an unfair characterization, although it's true that the artist must necessarily reflect the people's sentiment […]

I think that there has been a lot of inquiry done in Germany in form of “Antinazification”, and though it is right to acknowledge his achievements “… his relationship to Judaism was one of the most precarious aspects of his character. In a letter to Franz Liszt of 18 April 1851, he confessed that his "resentment of this Jewishness" was "as necessary to his nature as gall is to blood". Over the years, this resentment took on more and more features of a persecution mania that was not covered by any facts (his main opponents were almost never Jews, but conversely he repeatedly received significant support from Jewish friends, mentors and supporters), so that one can speak of a downright obsession. Nowhere is it expressed more clearly than in Wagner's letter to King Ludwig II of 22 November 1881, in which he confesses: "that I consider the Jewish race to be the born enemy of pure humanity and everything noble in it: that we Germans in particular will perish because of them is certain, and perhaps I am the last German who has known how to maintain himself as an artistic person against the Judaism that already dominates everything".”
https://www.bpb.de/apuz/160065/richard- ... semitismus

JackQ wrote:Aaron Copland indicated that only a man who has no connection with the people is afraid of compromising his artistic integrity on account of a composer's disagreeable views. In his scathing work, Wagner practically idealized Ludwig Borne. He also put in some good words for Berthold Auerbach in his memoir (his falling out with the latter was over his indecisiveness, with him choosing not to publicizing his views on Wagner's neglected poems, even after speaking with Wagner's friends, who had encouraged him to go through with it). A great man like Gustav Mahler could vouch for him his whole life and even dared performing Wagner's works better than his contemporaries.

Original to his work was a contribution he made after seeing anti-Semitic catchphrases being flaunted around arbitrarily, doing injury to the whole musical sphere. By furnishing a formulation for what they were groping for, he put a decisive end to that abuse and it may be argued that he helped reign-in his zealous anti-Semitic peers.

It mustn't be overlooked that Wagner was influenced by Schopenhauer, who was in turn influenced by Buddhism and Hinduism. Wagner's music isn't purely Germanic and sensual, but also Buddhic and ennobling.

Having read that you have read his biography, you may have other information than I do. But the influences around at that time were many, definitely more than immediately after WW2, and then they came more from the West.

JackQ wrote:Yeah, Plato employed similar bird analogies, I'm just following his lead. I don't understand how nature taken itself could be considered a sentience yet a cockroach somehow has none. I'll agree that nature sees to it that all beings live and reproduce, but I'll also add that she wishes that the healthy spread their magnetism/electricity to those fitted to receive it.
Bob wrote:I believe there is an inherent consciousness in each life form, restricted to the needs of that life form, which culminates in sentient beings.
You mean like the pre-Sokratic philosopher Thales?

Well, I would point out that you did quote me as saying that I believe there is an inherent but restricted consciousness in each life form. Sentience is for me a higher awareness or self-awareness, but I concede that they are both used as synonyms. It goes back to the discussion of metaphysical idealism earlier in the thread, with consciousness being the “ground of being” as it were, out of which all matter emerges, including all creatures.
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Re: Are there arguments for materialism?

Postby iambiguous » Sun Oct 31, 2021 5:37 pm

Bob wrote:
iambiguous wrote:Join me here -- https://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtop ... 5&t=186929 -- if you dare! :wink:

I should have made one word clearer GO!


Well, the invitation is still out there. [-o<
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Are there arguments for materialism?

Postby felix dakat » Tue Nov 30, 2021 7:39 am

In the Phaedo by Plato, Socrates says " I heard someone who had a book by Anaxagoras out of which he read that mind was the disposer and cause of all and I was quite delighted at the notion of this which appeared admirable." Socrates went on to say that he was disappointed that Anaxagoras didn't develop that proposition further.

24 centuries later with the development of modern physics, the physicist Max Planck said "I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative of consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything we talk about, everything we regard as existing postulates consciousness."

13 years later, 3 years before he died Planck went further. He said, "as a physicist and therefore as a man who spent his whole life in the service of the most down to earth science namely the explication of matter, no one is going to take me for a starry-eyed dreamer. After all my exploration of the atom then let me tell you this there is no matter as such. All matter arises and exists only by virtue of a force which sets the atomic particles oscillating and holds them together in that tiniest of solar systems the atom. We must suppose behind this force a conscious intelligent spirit. This spirit is the ultimate origin of matter."

Max Planck quoted by Iain McGilchrist on YouTube video and verified on Google and Wikipedia.
Last edited by felix dakat on Tue Nov 30, 2021 5:59 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Are there arguments for materialism?

Postby promethean75 » Tue Nov 30, 2021 10:09 am

"Everything we talk about, everything we regard as existing postulates consciousness."

I must confess, sir, that I find this talk of 'consciousness' most confusing, and can't be quite sure what the gentleman means.

However, if the gentleman were to point at a fellow awaking from a coma, for instance, and say 'he has gained consciousness', I believe I would understand. But I can make no sense of the use of this word to represent an object you or I might possess. The notion is strangely Cartesian.
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Re: Are there arguments for materialism?

Postby felix dakat » Tue Nov 30, 2021 2:55 pm

Consciousness is reading these words.
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.
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Re: Are there arguments for materialism?

Postby Bob » Tue Nov 30, 2021 5:17 pm

felix dakat wrote:In the Phaedo by Plato, Socrates says " I heard someone who had a book by Anaxagoras out of which he read that mind was the disposer and cause of all and I was quite delighted at the notion of this which appeared admirable." Socrates went on to say that he was disappointed that Anaxagoras didn't develop that proposition further.

24 centuries later with the development of modern physics, the physicist Max Planck said "I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative of consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything we talk about, everything we regard as existing postulates consciousness."

13 years later, 3 years before he died Planck went further. He said, "as a physicist and therefore as a man who spent his whole life in the service of the most down to earth science namely the expiration of matter, no one is going to take me for a starry-eyed dreamer. After all my exploration of the atom then let me tell you this there is no matter as such. All matter arises and exists only by virtue of a force which sets the atomic particles oscillating and holds them together in that tiniest of solar systems the atom. We must suppose behind this force a conscious intelligence spirit. This spirit is the ultimate origin of matter."

I have bought the “Matter With Things” already and I must say that his book carries on his arguments from the “The Master and his Emissary” without actually repeating his last book, despite still arguing from research on the relationship of the right and left hemisphere of the brain. He says that the brain cannot “emit” consciousness, but instead “permits” consciousness. By that he means that our brains are interactive facilities for consciousness. He rejects “naïve” Idealism, but what he is saying sounds a lot like what Kastrup is saying.
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Re: Are there arguments for materialism?

Postby felix dakat » Tue Nov 30, 2021 5:56 pm

The nature of human thought is such that at the bottom of everything that is explained there must be a first principle that remains unexplained. So far for science that takes us to the quantum level. Max Planck and some other physicists that studied the quantum phenomenon first hand concluded that mind was a better candidate for the first and irreducible principle than matter.
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.
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Re: Are there arguments for materialism?

Postby felix dakat » Tue Nov 30, 2021 6:09 pm

Speaking of consciousness I equate that with the logos which in the prologue to the Gospel of John the author states is the light which enlightens every human being. That's the light of consciousness in which Rene Descartes saw clear and distinct ideas like "I think therefore I 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.
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Re: Are there arguments for materialism?

Postby Bob » Wed Dec 01, 2021 7:24 am

felix dakat wrote:The nature of human thought is such that at the bottom of everything that is explained there must be a first principle that remains unexplained. So far for science that takes us to the quantum level. Max Planck and some other physicists that studied the quantum phenomenon first hand concluded that mind was a better candidate for the first and irreducible principle than matter.

This remains to be the mystery of our existence and something that causes us to ponder on the nature of existence for millennia, which over time has provided us with thousands of ideas, metaphors, allegories, symbols, mythologies, legends, and traditions. And still we are confronted with materialism in many forms, despite many voices like those you have mentioned, pointing out the fact that it is a dead end.

felix dakat wrote:Speaking of consciousness I equate that with the logos which in the prologue to the Gospel of John the author states is the light which enlightens every human being. That's the light of consciousness in which Rene Descartes saw clear and distinct ideas like "I think therefore I am."

Yes, I can equate with this, and I am coming to think that it really is down to how we think, what hemisphere we give preference to, that defines our way in the world, how we interact, how open-minded we are, and how generous we are intellectually. The world seems to be manoeuvring itself steadily into a corner, instead of figuratively spreading out into the vastness that is becoming ever more apparent.

The was a time when the candle in the dark was representative of how a person felt themselves to be. The single light of assuredness in the vastness of unknowing was saying that something to hold on to was desperately needed, but now we are in denial of the fact that this vastness of ignorance still exists. It is like the failure to accept the shadow, or the pathological unacceptance of the lame arm, by a patient with a right hemisphere haemorrhage. We fail to accept that we are still in this darkness, and we are blocking out the light that is available to us.
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