On 2/18/07, Tom Caylor <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
> On Feb 16, 8:18 am, "Stathis Papaioannou" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
> > If you built a model society and set its citizens instincts, goals,
> > laws-from-heaven (but really from you) and so on, would that suffice to
> > provide "meaning"?
> It would not provide ultimate meaning for two reasons...
My answer would have been that the beings would have no way of knowing the
difference between the provided meaning and "ultimate" meaning, and would
live their lives just as we live our lives, some of them atheists and others
theists. In other words, the idea of ultimate meaning can have no objective
or subjective consequences: you can honestly, deeply believe in it and this
belief can change the way you live your life, but it would do so even if it
had no basis in reality. A child might behave well in order to receive
presents from Santa Claus, but this has no bearing whatsoever on the
question of whether Santa Claus exists.
1) Logical reason, but still important and inescapable: If the source
> of meaning was from within the "system", i.e. the observable/
> controllable universe, then we can always ask the why question when we
> find the source. This is not acceptable as part of a scientifically
> observable causal universe, as it contradicts it. A closed system
> which is supposedly totally explainable will always have at least one
> fixed point that is unexplainable. This is the old positivism
> problem. This is actually part of the problem with a straw-man
> caricature god, in our image, i.e. any thing that we (as part of the
> universe) can think up.
You can always draw a circle around the system + externals and call it a
new, larger system: the universe, the multiverse, the plenitude, God + the
Plenitude, or whatever. Long before it was a problem for positivism it was a
problem for theism: Who made God? Who gives God meaning? Who tells God
whether his ethical principles are right or wrong?
2) Spiritual reason, but no less important and inescapable: Perhaps
> this one is more for people (like Bruno, and Jesse Mazer?) who accept
> the possible existence of difference levels of reasoning, based on
> different ways of "seeing" truth (a la G and G*). We just know
> somehow that there is something inexplicable about personhood. There
> is a hunger in us that wants to always ask the question why, a hunger
> for the meaning behind whatever layer of stuff we just discovered.
> Perhaps it's like looking for our true home, or for the reason why
> this is or is not our true home. It's like Neo in the Matrix. And
> there have been signs the meaning behind this existence poking in this
> existence now and then, and seen by different people. Yes, we can
> always imagine how someone could have thought these signs up, or
> interpretted them up, and thus explain everything back down to the
> purely logical level, dealing only with repeatable things. Like a 2-
> dimensional shadow world can make up laws that somehow explain the
> behavior of shadows and say that there are only shadows, but it is not
> seeing the whole reality.
I agree that there is something fundamentally inexplicable, irreducible
about first person experience, but you are basically challenging this idea
and saying there *can't* be any inexplicable things, hence God is postulated
to explain the inexplicable. But again, you are just delaying the
inevitable: how do you explain God's existence? How do you explain the
concept of necessary existence? How do you explain why God wanted to have
other conscious beings around, and why he decided to give just the amount of
evidence of his existence to those beings as he did? There are countless
such questions to which the answer is just, "I don't know, that's just the
way it is".
> On 2/16/07, Tom Caylor <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
> > > Yes. Now we're startin' to talk! I don't know much of the language,
> > > but I think that when people experience what some may call words like
> > > "enlightenment", "cosmic consciousness", etc. they are experiencing
> > > something that is really there. In fact, they use words like "seeing"
> > > reality as it "actually" is, etc. They speak of "wholeness" and
> > > "integralness".
> > Except that people would still have the same experiences whether or not
> > something were really there, just as they would still experience the sky
> > a dome whether or not it is in fact a dome. In other words, if you
> imagine a
> > being in a universe without meaning, cosmic consciousness, enlightenment
> > all the other significant things which are supposed to be there, but
> > otherwise the same physical laws etc., can you think of any reason why
> > a being would or wouldn't come up with the same ideas as humans have,
> > assuming similar evolutionary provenance?
> > Stathis Papaioannou
> This is like saying "If you imagine a being in a universe who cannot
> see the true reality of the universe, but with otherwise the same
> reality, can you think of any reason why such a being would or
> wouldn't come up with the same ideas as humans have, assuming similar
> evolutionary provenance?" If he/she cannot see the true reality, then
> the ideas would not reflect the whole reality, regardless of how he/
> she came up with them. The ideas may be locally useful, but as I said
> above, there is more to it than that. Humans are deeper than that.
There is a difference between personal meaning and empirical fact.
Generally, it is a good idea to base personal meaning on empirical fact: if
you think the world is flat, you might decide to stay home for fear that you
will fall off the edge, thus missing out on encountering foreign cultures.
However, you belief and its effect on your behaviour has no bearing on
whether that belief is true. You would stay home if you believed the world
was flat whether or not the world was actually flat. The mistake of some
kinds of theistic/ mystical thinking is to take the fact that a belief makes
you feel and behave in a certain way as evidence for that belief being true,
whereas you would feel and behave in that way even if that belief were not
in fact true.
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