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Throughout all the cultures in the world there is the concept of spirits

by Jim Kata
Tags: concept, cultures, spirits, world
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alt
#19
Mar6-12, 07:14 PM
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Quote Quote by nitsuj View Post
I can tell how you're defining "real" here, but look at the comment's context this way. (not that I read the whole post, just your quoted part)

If Joe believes in spirits but his friends don't you can't say "it might as well be real". If Joe and all his friends believe in spirits I think you can say "it might as well be real.".

Said differently if Joe's culture believes in spirits, and it's in bedded in the social structure of "daily life" I think that it (spirits) might as well be real.

Physical currency (bills & coins) might as well be valuable. It that sense "it might as well be real".

Funny enough I feel it must be said, I don't believe in ghosts...anymore. as a kid with an impressionable imagination & seeing an "Unsolved Mysteries" episode with fantastic special effects had me convinced ghosts were REAL! But only where dark & in old cruise ships, castles & attics.

Another take on "it might as well be real"; From marketing class an example of poor marketing - product marketed as "Monster Spray" used to keep monsters away, sells poorly due to the obvious reason of it also makes the issue "more real".
Sure, look, the ancient Greeks believed in 12 gods residing on Mt Olympus - worked for them, I suppose.

And we believe an inert substance such as gold has great value .. works for us !

I can't bring myself around however, to conclude that just because many people believe in, say ghosts in our society, that ghosts may as well be, or are, real.
alt
#20
Mar7-12, 07:54 AM
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Quote Quote by alt View Post
Sure, look, the ancient Greeks believed in 12 gods residing on Mt Olympus - worked for them, I suppose.

And we believe an inert substance such as gold has great value .. works for us !

I can't bring myself around however, to conclude that just because many people believe in, say ghosts in our society, that ghosts may as well be, or are, real.
So, again, and to touch on the OP's point more fully, just because (say) half the people even in our culture believe ghosts are real, doesn't make them real, nor does it make them just about real, nor can we say they may as well be real.

If you really believe this not to be the case, you have to explain why.
nitsuj
#21
Mar7-12, 08:39 AM
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I hear ya alt, and I agree with you that they are not actually real. But for some of those who do believe, "it might as well be real."

I am splitting hairs by being able to accept for some people "it might as well be real" has real life consiquences as if "it" were real. (an even more grey area -> length contraction "might as well be real")


(on a side note I'd argue that gold is valuable, while we only have "faith" in the value of paper bills/ cheap metal coins; of course gold is "over valued" in this context)

For sure you understand my point of "might as well be real" having real life consiquences.

You're right, that doesn't make the imagined real.

The comment "it might as well be real" is a terrible way to try and validate a belief in something that is not real, and I think that is how the author presented it.
Jim Kata
#22
Mar7-12, 01:20 PM
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The comment "it might as well be real" is a terrible way to try and validate a belief in something that is not real, and I think that is how the author presented it.
I think Ryan said it best when he said something to the effect that spirits are real experiences if not experiences of the real. This is closer to what I was trying to convey by saying they might as well be real. I'm sorry that I am not better with words and that this statement was contentious, but the fact that it was contentious I think touches on the fact that sometimes it is hard to discern between the perception of the observer versus the reality of the observation.
apeiron
#23
Mar7-12, 03:32 PM
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Quote Quote by Jim Kata View Post
This is exactly my point. In my definition of reality there is room for things that can not be measured. I'm not saying these things are physical manifestations. I'm saying just because something is imagined or hallucinated does not mean it is of no value. If you were to have a spiritual experience while on ayahuasca that changed your perception of the world, would you trivialize it because it wan't "measurably real"? I don't know what value to place on dreams or hallucinations, but since we spend one third of our lives asleep and a good portion of that dreaming, I think we should place some value on these things. In the end, all we will have of our lives is our memories and other thoughts stored in our mind.
I think a less confused way to put it is to make a distinction between our ideas and impressions, or if you prefer, our long-term memories and current states of perception.

Everything we know about reality boils down to perception. And perception in turn is about an interaction between our general ideas about what should be "out there" and immediate impressions of what might be out there.

So given the same sensory input - like a light in the sky - we can have a very different impression of it, depending on the idea being used to frame it. UFO or sea gull catching the sun on its back, for instance.

Now ghosts and spirits would be a general idea. A way we could frame our experiences. And so would be a rational scientific outlook that says instead there are no such things, and any impression of such would be mistaken on closer examination.

Note that both versions of reality have a tendency to want to confirm their prejudices. So ghost-believers will look for evidence that ghosts are real. Rationalists will look for evidence they are fakes or illusions.

So as you say, we only have our mental models of reality. And they are real to us to the extent that they are some over-arching idea into which we attempt to integrate our impressions. If you have an animistic view of reality - where you think everything else is alive and mindful, just like yourself - then that is why "through out all cultures" there is a tendency to frame impressions in this manner.

Science comes along and offers its own better general model. But it is still just an idea. (But OK, a much better idea ).

Then what about vivid dreams and hallucinations? These are more impressions than ideas. That is, they are less about an organised projection of our beliefs on current sensory input - the kind of top-down interpretation that shapes up impressions of experiencing a ghost or UFO - and more about raw bottom-up sensory patterning that forces itself upon us in an uninterpreted feeling way.

The higher levels of functioning are switched off in some fashion, and so we get a shifting, unstable, play of confused imagery.

Afterwards, we may then take these unorganised experiences and try to assimilate them to our general ideas. So we may either believe that was a brief trip into the spiritual plane, or a brief trip into a disorganised brain state.

As a further point, most people cannot accurately introspect on their dream states because they have the "wrong idea" about what to expect. They try to impose a more story-like and flowing structure on dream imagery than actually exists.

It takes practice and knowing what to expect to experience dreams as the collection of meaningless instances - a disconnected succession of sensory frames - that they are, rather than to try to read them as the kind of continuous experience that a reality should present to our senses.
alt
#24
Mar8-12, 08:20 AM
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Quote Quote by nitsuj View Post
I hear ya alt, and I agree with you that they are not actually real. But for some of those who do believe, "it might as well be real."

I am splitting hairs by being able to accept for some people "it might as well be real" has real life consiquences as if "it" were real. (an even more grey area -> length contraction "might as well be real")


(on a side note I'd argue that gold is valuable, while we only have "faith" in the value of paper bills/ cheap metal coins; of course gold is "over valued" in this context)

For sure you understand my point of "might as well be real" having real life consiquences.

You're right, that doesn't make the imagined real.

The comment "it might as well be real" is a terrible way to try and validate a belief in something that is not real, and I think that is how the author presented it.
I think we're just about on the same, emmm .. wavelength now. One point about your gold / paper money comment though.

The value of gold is still not an intrinsic one.

A caveman would be better off with a wad of bankbills while trying to light a fire. Hmm, on second thoughts, he might actually be better off with a bar of gold - particularly if he wanted to wallop his neighbour over the head with something ..


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