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PostSubject: Human Judgment   Wed Feb 18, 2009 5:14 am

In coming to terms with ones own existence it is obvious that not all are created equal and even individuals belonging to the same species, race, nationality, and family group display a difference between each other- not only on a purely physical level [height, weight, strength, speed] but on a mental one as well [intelligence, wisdom, knowledge, logic] - as to make the very notion of egalitarianism, a naïve idealists dream of a possible perfect utopia. Only the very optimistic amongst us still holds on to this antiquated idea of human parity and most recognize that nature is about progress through inequality, even though we may agree that a supposed facade of equality, under the rule of law, is necessary for civilization to proceed without conflict.
{Some would say that the mental characteristics of a person, I mention above, are just another aspect of their physical being, but that is a topic for another time and I will not deal with materialism or human duality here.}

It is easy to just explain mental inequality as just being an expression of a qualitative variation of intelligence or knowledge but that is a simplistic interpretation that does not take into account all the aspects of mental processes that participate in creating judgment and wisdom.

I am sure many of us know many “smart” people with many diplomas and labels of heightened intellectualism whom nevertheless seem to fall into childish errors or that behave in immature, irresponsible ways on such a consistent, predictable manner as to make us wonder how this is possible at all. Also the disparity of opinion between people of like mental ability and similar general experiences, coming from common cultural and social backgrounds raises the question as to how comparable minds can posses such diversely opposed views and perceptions. It is reasonable to assume that minds with relatively equal abilities using logic and having access to the same general information would come to common answers and a broad unanimity should be possible.

At first glance this phenomenon can be understood by taking into consideration the distinction of perspective by which each individual perceives reality. Since self is the only thing we can ever know for certain-if that- all other perceptions become a matter of subjective interpretation based on genetic predisposition and environmental infections. Logic itself becomes malleable in areas where experience based knowledge is non-existing or feeble such as when dealing with abstract ideas.

But what does perspective really mean and what are its effects on human judgment and opinion?

This is a question that if answered would shed light into the human psyche, explain the diversity of opinion in the world and enable us to deduce which opinion is more respectable, worthy of further consideration, objective and which is superficial, naïve, subjective and most probably erroneous. This is important, in my view, because we as mortal beings have so little time to formulate opinions; we cannot afford to waste it chasing after impossibilities or diverting our attentions to theories that are baseless and improbable except in instances where we wish to practice our imaginations.
{Important, that is, only for those interested in finding truth/reality and not for those just looking for comfort and safety to escape into and then scrambling to find justifications for doing so]

The quality of an opinion is not only the product of intelligence utilizing knowledge but an end result of a series of interlocking, interdependent psychological characteristics of the human animal and the effects of the psyche and environment, it exist in, upon it.

Intelligence is unquestionably vital and knowledge/information is essential in forming correct assumptions, but equally critical is an individuals personal experiences that shape judgment [first hand knowledge] and the fortitude of character [intellectual courage] to deal with many of the perceptions we may be exposed to and accept them.
The level we rise to in the categories of intelligence, knowledge, experience and courage- either through genetic chance or personal effort- sets up a level of awareness called wisdom which is the base on which judgment rests.

In generally encapsulating my position thus far I have deduced that:
INTELLIGENCE fed on KNOWLEDGE prejudiced by EXPERIENCE and COURAGE creates a mental disposition called WISDOM which gives birth to JUDGMENT which expresses itself through OPINIONS.

It would be helpful to analyze each of these pieces of our mental puzzle separately in order to understand them better and explain how one supports and influences the other.


INTELLIGENCE

Intelligence is a term most often used to refer to the minds analytical ability and its overall talent to deduce or induce effectively, given the information at its disposal.
It is a tool of reasoning which requires knowledge to reason by and experience to form logical rules and standards in order to measure reality with.

But intelligence alone is not enough to come to any correct conclusions unless it has access to dependable information through the senses or through indirect accounts and if it manages to maintain its clarity by avoiding the corruptive influences of emotion and ego that often divert its energies and cloud its focus.

Like a sculptors knife intelligence can facilitate an artist’s work with its sharpness but is not enough, in and of itself, to give rise to great art unless handled with a keen eye, a creative imagination, talent and a subtle hand.

This most precious of all human weapons has been often misconstrued and misidentified as being merely an accumulation of knowledge and the memorization and regurgitation of ideas. Ironically intelligence becomes more pronounced and important where there is an absence of knowledge and where information is shady and weak. It is in ignorance that it reveals its real power and displays how it has enabled man to become a dominating life form on Earth.

KNOWLEDGE

It is said that real knowledge is impossible and that all we have is sensual interpretations of presumably external, ephemeral phenomenon of which we can never be completely certain of. Despite this, these sensual events are all we possess -other than the awareness of self- and a first absolute assumption of a priori knowledge is a necessity if any further progress can be attempted.

The problems of perception are many and furthermore the weakness of our senses, even in comparison to other living beings, is well known to most of us, but the requirement of these sensual events, for the mind to formulate opinion, is unquestionable and fundamental.

Man attempts to circumvent this starting problem of uncertainty by utilizing the process of elimination through a comparison of sensual interpretations by different individuals, in diverse environments coming from a multitude of cultural backgrounds. This plurality of views on a single subject manages to filter out the majority of falsehood and subjectivity but does not eliminate it totally. Individual, social/religious, gender based, historical, racial contaminations may be eliminated in this manner but our species prejudices remain until we discover another intelligent species willing to give us another perspective to test our own.

Since certainty is virtually impossible as to what is real and what unreal we can, at the very least, achieve through empiricism a position of relative certainty within a reasonable constant doubt.

There are presumably two types of knowledge: a priori and a posteriori but more importantly knowledge is only as dependable as the source it comes from. If sensual experience based knowledge is questionable then knowledge that has come through second or third party experiences and accounts is much more so.
If intelligence is a sculptor’s knife or chisel then knowledge is his clay or rock.


EXPERIENCE

Some would say that experience is another term for knowledge and so must be included as just a sensual perception of events, but I will deal with experience here from a purely psychological perspective and show how a richness or poverty of first-hand experience based knowledge influences judgment.

It is, in my opinion, a human unfortunate trait that most individual minds learn primarily from personal mistakes and successes and not so much from another’s. No matter how many second-hand examples we are given or third-hand accounts we are exposed to, a human mind cannot understand an experience as fully or as deeply as when it goes through it itself.

This inability to empathically learn through third party experiences makes experience itself fundamental in the development of character and consequently judgment, since it determines a person’s general outlook on existence and creates a history from which strength and confidence can be drawn. Furthermore the types of experiences a mind is exposed to during its lifetime and especially during the early years, affects the overall quality of the mind and shapes the perspective from which it perceives.

For example, a person that has gone through negative, life threatening, traumatic experiences will be prone to be overly pessimistic, depressive, bitter and cynical while a mind lacking any such comparative negative experiences will tend to be naïve, superficial, overly-optimistic, demanding, selfish, arrogant and self-centered. A man that has never tasted defeat will assume he cannot be defeated and will exhibit the arrogance of one that has never been humbled. A man living a sheltered privileged life will undoubtedly remain an intellectual adolescent full of insecurities and expectations. [Here is a symptom that reveals the ailment of western civilization]

How, if and to what extent an experience affects judgment and character is somewhat determined by the individuals strength of character and ability to cope with diversity which is something that is mostly inherited.


COURAGE

Unavoidably human intelligence is guided and infected with emotion and ego. Our predispositions to a phenomenon due to past events and genetic history influence our general perception of it. If our overall perception is positive we will be inclined to be more open to it whereas if negative we will try to deny, explain it away or ignore it.
Similarly ego influences judgment by placing selfish concerns and personal perceptions on intellectual pedestals. [This is one of the reasons we are unable to learn through second party experiences].

A healthy ego will always perceive self as superior and the other as inferior even if it will at times admit to some inferiorities and inadequacies in order to appear to itself and to others as fair, objective, humble and reasonable [social indoctrination].

More often than not the need for self acceptance is interpreted by the insecure ego as self-love [love is always blind to truth] which justifies an unearned egotism and arrogance.
What is needed here is the ability to extricate oneself from perception thusly eliminating the control of both ego and emotion on judgment. This of course is almost humanly impossible to do completely- no matter how fervently eastern philosophies claim to be able to- but the degree of selflessness we achieve in formulating opinion determines our accuracy.
The first and most important ingredient in extricating oneself from the subject being evaluated is courage; it is the sum of the strength of character and intellectual honesty that enables the mind to accept as true the perceptions that are detrimental to it and to accept the limits and weaknesses by first acknowledging their existence.
Self awareness and self-acceptance is the first stage towards a general full awareness; this is only possible through the admittance of ones failings and strengths with no exaggeration either way.

Courage is just as important as intelligence and knowledge in creating sound judgment. It makes it possible to perceive what is, as much as is humanly possible, without being thwarted by what we wish there to be or what we hope there is.

Intellectual honesty through courage is often overlooked when assessing the ingredients of good judgment; it is the one thing that can turn an intellectual into just another babbling fool adorned with diplomas and titles of achievement but acting only as a surrogate mouthpiece for old ideas, either afraid to challenge preconception and institutions or unable to go beyond the work of others.


CONCLUSION

Intelligence, knowledge, experience and courage are interlocked, mutual dependant aspects of what we term wisdom. This predisposition to possibility without succumbing to imagination and instinct allows the mind to be open to new hypothesis without wasting time on improbable, illogical, delusional supposition.

Wisdom focuses the human mind upon probability and eliminates the thinning of human energies on infinite possibility; it does not deny or exterminate any theory but evaluates importance and widens the level of perspective multiple views.
Through this process human judgment is shaped and its accuracy is determined by how high or low we measure-up on the scales of intelligence, knowledge, experience and courage.

The opinions that spring out from our judgment are, inevitably, ones whose consequences we must live with. Whether we run from truth/reality or ignore it is irrelevant; we cannot escape it. No religion, mythology, philosophy or ideology can protect us forever from reality, they can only postpone our suffering or placate its horrible effects by inebriating us or anesthetising our sensual perceptions. The only one real way to deal with truth and reality is to face it.

How accurate our opinions are is relevant in the amount of negatives we are exposed to in the course of our lifetime. How often we are disappointed or surprised by reality; how often we blame others for our own failings and try to escape into fantasy is a good way to measure how reliable our judgment is.
At first the price of awareness may be one we are unwilling to pay and the negativity and loss of stability, comfort and ego may be terrifying to contemplate but through its acceptance real strategies can be formulated to overcome the negatives.

The power of self-awareness and acceptance of reality as it appears will always lead to long lasting contentment in the end if it is utilized correctly.

“You gotta go through hell to get to heaven” as the song says.
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PostSubject: Hypersensitivity   Wed Feb 18, 2009 5:15 am

The question often comes up in my thoughts:
What makes a philosophical mind what it is?

Or put another way:
What creates wisdom?

The debate of nurture-or-nature can only lead to an admission that both participate in the creation of a human being to some varying unspecific degree. Genetics certainly determine the potentials of every being but the environment decides where on the scales of potential a human being weighs in.

I may have the potential to become 7 feet tall but an environment with poor nourishment or a childhood accident or illness may force me to only become 6 feet tall.
The more interesting question is: What characteristics combine to lead to a greater degree of awareness?

As I’ve written in another essay [‘Human Judgement’], wisdom is the combination of intelligence [analytical ability], knowledge [second hand experience], personal experiences [first hand experience] and, most importantly of all, courage [intellectual integrity].

But these characteristics are not enough, by themselves, to create wisdom. An environment full of challenges and diversity, to ensure the emergence of cognitive fortitude, is essential as well. A mind existing in relative safety and contentment inevitably becomes pampered and gullible, as we all know in our western culture, for intelligence and its product wisdom, is a result of need more than anything else. Yet ironically, leisure is also essential in focusing the mind on subjects other than personal survival and the demands of the physical world.
So, I suspect that a perfect balance between a demanding life and one containing some leisure is necessary to shape a flexible mind but not even this is enough to explain why wisdom is found in one person and not in another given a similarity in genetic and environmental conditions.

An added factor to be considered is the hypersensitivity or hyperawareness of particular individuals to a greater degree of sensual input.
This idea that perception of detail leads to a deeper understanding of ones surroundings is burdened with the ‘chicken or egg’ dilemma: Is sensual hypersensitivity [awareness of details] the cause of intelligence, given the increase of information needing processing or is intelligence the cause of hypersensitivity, given that a higher intelligence is not content with superficial interpretations and facades but searches for information that will go beneath surfaces to the core of the perception?
[Here we can find the roots of scepticism due to the inability of a mind to tie up all the loos ends a hypersensitive perception is asked to consider forcing it to doubt its own perceptions.]

The before mentioned hypersensitivity has an interesting social consequence as well.
In individuals, where deeper awareness is detrimental to their well-being because of a lack of courage to accept what the mind perceives or because of some other psychological ailment, it can lead to insanity, suicide or isolation [the nerd effect]; it can also lead to spirituality, fragility, religion, and a complete denial of what is perceived; the mind will do anything to survive, even lie to itself or grab onto any hope.

Here a distinction must be made between delusion created through ignorance or an absence of perceptive depth [the vast majority of mankind] and delusion created through perceptive depth and denial or dissatisfaction with what is perceived [usually found amongst intellectuals that have experienced a loss or a tragedy, that have reached old age, that have faced their own mortality and vulnerability in some way or have come to realize that science and philosophy only lead to more questions and few answers. These sometimes refer to themselves as ‘born again’, when they return to Christian spirituality, but more often find solace in more mature spiritual outlets, such as eastern philosophies {Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism etc} and new age mysticism].

In these cases hypersensitivity often turns to fragility and forces the individual to become an outcast from the environment it finds itself in, coming across to others as bizarre, weird or eccentric, as compared to the average mind, and sometimes forcing the individual to become an exile from life itself; either by motivating the individual to escape disillusionment and dissatisfaction through death or the denial of living [Nihilism, Pessimism, Buddhism, Christianity] or through social isolation, solitude and extreme asceticism.

This disillusionment or seclusion is felt by all hypersensitive minds to some degree. It is hard to participate in environments, whether natural or artificial, when a deeper understanding or awareness of their underlying mechanisms is perceived and it is also difficult to remain interested and engaged in environments that lack substance or that hide superficial ulterior motives.

For example a simple average mind may find the game of ‘Monopoly’ engaging and meaningful enough to spend a lifetime playing it but to a deeper thinker the simplicity of the game quickly loses meaning and interest in the playing of it wanes as interest in the underpinnings of the rules and the predictability of the die rolls or the psychologies of the players involved becomes more interesting than winning or losing. Then the game ceases to be fun or something to judge yourself by and the mechanics become more fascinating; the chances of landing on specific squares, the determining factors on who wins and who loses, the coloration schemes of the board, the psychological tricks practiced by the players to increase winning potential, the interpersonal playing dynamics, the balance of the game itself and so on.

This is when the player removes himself/herself from the game itself and becomes a disinterested objective observer of it even while he/she may be participating in it.
Now replace the game of ‘Monopoly’ with the game of life and you see the beginning of intellectual distance and apathy.

Another metaphor:
Heightened awareness is like a sensitive lens that is able to absorb much more information than a less sensitive lens is and so risks destruction with every perception.
Many misinterpret this heightened sensitivity as fragility because they themselves are not aware of the multitude of information a hypersensitive mind is burdened with as compared to what they are aware of. A blind lens will be oblivious to a sudden sharp light and will perceive the more sensitive lenses reaction to it as a result of exaggeration or fragility.

Nevertheless I have concluded that intelligence, knowledge, experience and courage when added to an environment full of diversity, challenge and leisure are crucial for the emergence of wisdom that results in a hypersensitivity to detail that may lead to fragility or empowerment depending on the psychological strength of the individual.

How wisdom is used is determined by individual interests yet the common direct consequence of heightened awareness is a relative amount of isolation caused by the difficulty of being understood by individuals that lack the depth to comprehend where you are coming from, an inability to participate in mundane superficial social/religious/cultural practices to the degree that average minds do, a spiritual uniqueness caused by a resentment of popular, conforming attitudes that mimic each other and a desire to control rather than to be controlled.
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PostSubject: Imagination   Wed Feb 18, 2009 5:16 am

Let us begin with questions before we attempt to provide sufficient reasoning as an answer, and then let us hope this is enough.

What is the difference between man and beast?

Many would deny that there is much of a difference, wanting to give reasons and justifications for man’s behavior.
Others would say that there is hardly any similarity to even posit such a query seriously, wanting to flatter themselves and escape the ramifications, no doubt.
But, for me, one of the few glaring differences between any average man and any animal – not that man is not one, of course – is the strength and quality of his imagination and all the byproducts that stem from this inherited blessing and/or curse; even man’s self-flattering idea that he is different than an animal and special, because of this, is due to man’s ability to exist, using his imagination, on another dimension of experience, beyond the immediate and the obvious.
It is but a difference in degree of consciousness that can either result in living in the moment or in timeless thinking.

It is imagination that offers the advantage of ‘intelligence’ which man exploits to the point of dominance and it is imagination which helps man contemplate him self on a level where he finds nothing there to call an identity and no meaning to grab onto for guidance and, subsequently, dives head-first into the abyss of self-loathing, self-doubt and despair.

Imagination is this double-edged sword that requires talent and strength to forge, not to mention the luck of the genetic draw, finesse to wield without cutting yourself on its cold steel, and the courage to bring it to bear with precision and effectiveness.

But what is this advantage that results in both dominance and nihilism?

First of all, and let us get this out of the way beforehand, imagination is a survival mechanism; a method of projecting probability into the forefront before it becomes immediate with its challenge. It is later on and once it has beaten-off all major competitors and threats that the mind can turn it into a form of distraction, entertainment and mental masturbation, the creations of which can be bought and sold or used as a favored method of escaping the very reality it was meant to cope with.

In my, not so humble, view the ability to imagine is a product of the very nature of consciousness. It is not different from consciousness or other than consciousness, but consciousness itself inflated and projected both forwards and backwards along time’s endless flow; it is a way of compensating – sometimes overly so – for the mind’s deficiencies and limitations by exaggerating or minimizing mental models.

But what is consciousness?

Consciousness is stream-of-thought fed by and dependant upon sensual stimuli to construct abstractions of perceived phenomenon, using genetically established methods and experiential effects (usually along the path-of-least-resistance), the sum of which are referred to as ‘the world’ or ‘reality’. These abstractions are simplified, generalized models constructed by using the interpretations and analysis of sensual stimuli interpreted by the mind; the accuracy and effectiveness, of which, depends on how many perceptual details are incorporated within these models and how many perceived phenomena they can explain or make comprehensible using them.
The accuracy and effectiveness of these interpretations determining, in turn, the fate of the organism the mind serves.

Am I making myself clear?

No?

Okay then, we can also think of them as metaphors of perceived phenomena which depend on constructing artificial absolutes so as to make experience comprehensible by translating them into symbolic data that can be stored as memory or experience or knowledge, and which can then be analyzed, passed-on, shared and used for the alleviation of need or towards any practical goal.
Genetics, therefore, is the storage and passing forth of successful survival and behavioral strategies, becoming patterns of activities and thinking and a common heritage - essence.

We consider an idea or an opinion superior when it exhibits a far more detailed and accurate assimilation of shared perceptions within its models, and we call them probable the ideas and opinions that have practical applications or that can result in successful survival and adaptive strategies.

Consciousness is the awakening of an organism, or an emerging temporal unity as I often call it, to the flux, which can then result in the awakening of self to itself as an incomplete manifestation of this temporal flux – an awakening of self to self, as if it were a separate manifestation of temporality and just another phenomenon abstracted into aesthetic form. This self-awakening, we can call self-consciousness, is produced by the mind distancing itself or separating itself from itself, as one piece turns-in on itself to see and to know the remainder. This process is no different than Becoming itself, as it is a piece of time separating and distancing itself from the rest of the flux, turning back towards the rest of the temporal flow to find itself using negation and comparison – back because experience is always the looking into the past of established abstractions or manners of interpreting and analyzing sensual stimuli– so as to know it.

Because temporality is ongoing and it never coalesces into anything substantive or completed, the emerging consciousness is always left behind by the flow itself. Its knowledge and experience is a looking back or inwards into the abstractions gathered and assimilated into models. The instance it conceptualizes the world, the world, as it has been conceptualized, has ceased to be.
The flow of time is relentless.
The abstractions of what is called ‘real’, in other words, are mere snapshots or simplified generalizations of temporal flow, which result in the illusion of an absolute and the delusion of a beginning insinuating an end, where there are none.

These abstractions - created by interpreting and ordering sensual stimulations - become models which the mind uses to navigate reality and this constant flow of time – the flux. These models are then analyzed for patterns that will help the mind predict the future or prepare for it.
And so the organism is always playing catch-up to the temporal flow we call ‘change’ - adaptation.

If we take the human insight concerning the nature of the universe and its increasing entropy as a fact, then we can only conclude that this fragmentation will result in human consciousness falling further and further behind the temporal flow, leaving man in a state of confusion as the mind will become increasingly unable to simplify and order sensual stimuli or to find patterns using them – and we would describe this state as chaotic.

In fact our very understanding of our universe as being in a state of fragmentation – the forces of nature themselves being divided – is the very definition of entropy. Everything declines and perishes because the disordering momentum is faster or requires less effort than the ordering resistance to it.
We can think of life and consciousness as this resistance.

But let us return to imagination…

Given the before mentioned we can then define imagination as being the projection of the mind’s abstractions and perceived patterns into the unknown so as to compensate for this growing disparity between conceptualization and temporal flow.
Our ‘looking back’ or our ‘lagging behind’ can then find there hints or small repeating rhythms of regularity that might help the mind exceed its own limitations by foreseeing the interactions of the flux.
This is why we admire those that demonstrate ‘timeless thinking’ and whose abstractions can adequately exceed some of the mind’s limitations.

A side-effect of this imagination can be a spiritual awakening to one’s own essence, as a yet to be completed phenomenon, destined to perish before an end is reached. But also this projecting ability can result in the sensation of leaving the still incomplete ‘self’ behind and the relief of escaping in an imagined greater Self – often conceptualized as completed by using the simplified, generalized abstractions not as metaphors but as literal ‘objects’ or ‘things’ or ‘substances’ or ‘ideals’; here the diluting of a consciousness inside multiplicity, offers an escape from the attrition and hatred of time – in essence a self-hatred. This illusionary escape is constructed by projecting abstractions plainly and by combining them into fantastic allusions to the non-existent or the absent.

Compassion and the illusion of selflessness are such projections of abstracted self-awareness.
In ‘compassion’ the mind imagines itself in the others place and it imagines the other’s emotions and sensations, taking up his perspective by using his own. This projection of self is effective only in as much as the other exhibits similarities to the one’s the individual perceives in him self or identifies with.

In ‘selflessness’ the mind finding no completed self inwardly, runs outwardly into a projected whole to find an identity and then associates itself with this ‘whole’ to such an extent that it is willing to give-up the incomplete selfness of the inadequate more intimate self for the survival of an imagined, and therefore abstracted and simplified into a perfect absolute, greater Self.

Using imagination man can release himself, even if temporarily, from the limitations and implications of his temporal character. He feels diluted in a sea or he projects his identity forwards and backwards, inflating it to include multiple others into a ‘greater self’.

Fantasy works in this manner in all areas. All myths and fantastic beings are amalgamation of the known into the unknown and the taking of them as actual, when no phenomena can support them as ‘real’.
If the mind is sufficiently discouraged or dissatisfied with his conceptualizations of reality, or the abstractions derived directly through sensual stimuli, or if he lacks the talent or the training to adequately interpret and analyze the abstractions sensual stimuli bombards it with, he will opt to replace them with these combinations that are not supported by sensual awareness, as a means of coping and a means of finding what is missing in them.

How would one discern the difference between fantasy and fact?

Well, nobody can ever be absolutely certain if his observations, and the opinions derived through them, are total figments of his imagination and constructs derived through combining different abstractions of sensual stimulations, or if they are the abstractions themselves, corresponding to actual phenomena and the stimulations to his sense organs they produce.

One way to weed out the former from the latter is through the comparison, of said opinions and abstraction, with those of another or the comparison of said opinions and abstractions with the ongoing stream of sensual information we are constantly bombarded by or the comparison of said opinions and abstractions with the outcome of the predictions these opinions and abstractions imply.

The universe doesn’t care if we see it or interpret it correctly. In the end we live by the abstractions we create and interpret the world with.
Their accuracy has a direct impact on our successes and failures.

It’s only with human intervention, where much of natural selection and nature in general, is quarantined and softened, that error does not become a death sentence and wrong interpretations begin to populate human interactions.
This increase in ‘forgiven error in judgment’ corresponds with an increase of stupidity and idealized reality, often reaching the absurd.
In the end the social self-correcting mechanism of decadence comes to bring nature back to its equilibrium and punishes mankind for daring to usurp her ways.

The only weapon in man’s arsenal against nature – especially his own - is technology.
Society is built around innovation and all the byproducts it then attempts to correct.

But we’ve strayed too far, so let us return for one last word.

The basic fact is that the difference between a dream and reality is that the dreamer requires someone to protect him against reality so as to continue dreaming; otherwise his fantasy is ended, while he rests in ignorant bliss: The end.
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PostSubject: Intuition   Wed Feb 18, 2009 5:17 am

The sensual world excites the mind and showers perception with a constant flow of stimuli needing constant analysis.
What we call reality is a shared amalgamation of sensual interpretations in a consistent state of alteration that requires steady vigilance and unceasing appraisal.

The amount of information we are continuously assaulted by can be presumed to be similar, within genetic groupings and comparable environments, but the amount of information being processed, and in this way, becoming consciously noticeable, is determined, on an individual basis, by the sensual acuity, the mental fitness, the multitasking resilience, and the analytical rapidity of each, that could increase or decrease the degree of awareness.
Nevertheless, it would not be a leap in logic to assume that much of what is sensually available gets lost in the stream of perception and many details vanish in a flow of receptivity; some of it impacting the mind through subconscious means, that is sometimes called intuition, and that falls under the umbrella of psychology.

The lines of contention have been clearly drawn between those that believe in the conscious powers of the human mind, that place all their faith in science, and those that believe in the existence of impenetrable realms of reality, which allow for mysticism and spirituality.

Within this realm, of human unawareness, lie the frontlines of religious dogma and belief.

Pragmatists, like William James, believed that
“….there is no such thing as ‘consciousness’, as a way of overcoming the opposition between mind and matter without giving predominance to either.” according to Russell.

The ‘Oxford Companion to Philosophy’ says this about James’s positions:
“…James distinguishes between the ‘I’ and the ‘Me’.
The ‘I’ being the ultimate thinker and the ‘Me’ being the object of all those concerns we call selfish and which the ‘I’ seeks to preserve.” and it goes on:
“…conceptual thought cannot do proper justice to reality. This arises largely from the fact that concepts can only provide a static picture of a world which is essentially dynamic.”

Bergson, another pragmatist, contends that: “…duration is time as experienced by consciousness and perhaps Bergson’s most important insight is that we don’t experience the world moment by moment but in a fashion essentially continuous, illustrated by the way we hear melody.” and according to Russell’s understanding of his positions: “…Bergson believed that our intellect, having been fashioned by practical needs, ignores all the aspects of the world which it does not pay to notice, and is in fact an obstacle to the apprehension of truth. We have, he thinks, a faculty called ‘intuition’ which we can use if we take the trouble, and which will enable us to know, in theory at least, everything past and present, though apparently not the future.”

“Utility, for Bergson, is the source of error, while truth is arrived at by a mystic contemplation from which all thought of practical advantage is absent.”

Russell finding disagreement with these positions, being himself one that embraced science as the highest form of truth, says this in closing:
“It has been generally regarded as the business of philosophy to prove the great truths of religion. The new realism does not profess to be able to prove them, or even to disprove them. It aims only at clarifying the fundamental ideas of the sciences and synthesising the different sciences in a single comprehensive view of that fragment of the world that science has succeeded in exploring.”

It is disturbing for Russell, and for all wanting to place all of their faith on the powers of logic and reason, to deny reason its highest due.
Yet, that the fragment of the world, science has successfully explored, is but a fragment of the world human perception is aware of, and still further, only a possible fragment of a larger universe that remains hidden from view, cannot be easily neglected.
But this should not entice us into utilizing our imaginations in the creation of fictitious caricatures of realities and beings that placate personal anxieties and fulfill silent wishes.

All human beings experience the influential prerogatives of intuition and instinctual receptivity.
I would say that there is a separate logic to intuition that sometimes comes into confrontation with the logic of the rational mind.

The confrontation often arises from the contradicting strategies between intellectual and instinctive acuity even while the fundamental motivations underlying them are all the same.
Where reason and logic seeks survival and growth through the acquisition of power utilizing knowledge and understanding towards that end, instinct seeks survival using the primordial strategies of communion, natural selection and procreation.

The root motivation, of any mind, is its desire to overcome mortality and death and its own helplessness and vulnerability in an existence it has little control of.

The affecting influences of intuition can be more readily appreciated in how they express themselves in sexual desire and attraction, sometimes usurping the standards of contemplative thought.
No matter how much reason and logic we apply the drive to copulate and the criteria of mate-selection remain unhindered by them.
Instinct has its own set of rules.
It concerns itself in preserving the self through its association with a greater whole and its judgment is preoccupied with sacrificing individual interests to the interests of the species.

The values instinct utilizes for its judgments are ingrained in human psychology and their dictations cannot be ignored, no matter how many structures of morality and virtue are constructed.
Each time we meet a member of the opposite sex we subconsciously involve ourselves in an assessment of their genetic fitness long before we make any other assessment about them.
A thousand subliminal messages are intuitively gathered, analyzed and stored and our judgments begin forming a positive or negative disposition that will infect all others that will come later on, through a more essential analysis.

For men the standards are more lax, owing to their relative small personal costs in the procreation mechanism, making them both less burdened and more expendable, whereas for women the standards become more exacting and crucial, owing to their large personal costs in gestation and childrearing.

For this reason, I believe, women developed a more acute sense of intuition and are governed mostly by unreasoned perceptions and analysis.
Their opinions may lack the clarity or the structure of reasoned thought but they possess the advantage of instinctive awareness that makes them more able to cut through the quagmire of critical thought and get to the inherent root of every subject.
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