The Most Fertile Path of Human Evolution: Intellect or Feeling?

  • Thread starter Les Sleeth
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  • #1
Les Sleeth
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I’d guess the majority of people participating at this site would say intellect. After all, isn’t that what most of us believe sets us apart from other animals? In fact, I am fairly certain there are those here who would say the ability to reason entirely distinguishes human consciousness.

My opinion is that the potential for quality of feeling is a far more fertile evolutionary path for human consciousness. Notice I emphasized both potential and quality. That’s because a human being can choose not to feel much of anything, and so quality might remain merely a potentiality. Some people purposely deaden their ability to feel; others may give it a low priority, putting it low on the list after all the stuff they have to do to survive, make money, think, raise kids, party, worry, etc.

So how can the potential for quality feeling be much of an evolutionary path? First, consider how dependent we are on feeling even on a functional level. If you think about it, the senses are “feelers,” it is the way we touch the world. We feel light, sound, taste, smell, heat, cold, pressure, etc. because of nerve sensitivity. We might add intuitiveness (whatever that is) as another basic feeling ability of some individuals. And how is life when we feel bad whether physically or emotionally?

Many people refer to the emotions as virtually the complete realm of human feeling, but that isn’t the realm of feeling I am talking about. Emotions certainly involve feeling, but emotions seem hard wired to survival issues and therefore not immediately under our control. It is, for instance, how we are wired and hormoned to feel fear or anger in certain situations, or how females are wired and hormoned to feel motherly love. But our emotions can invade our normal psychology too if, as we grow up, basic physical/psychological needs are threatened or denied, or our development is impeded. That potential for the distortion of emotions is usually what gives feeling a bad rap.

If the feeling entwined in the senses and emotions isn’t what I’m talking about, what is it? Well, I mean the feeling that evolves into appreciation, and THAT is very much a human thing. From sunsets to a child’s laugh, we are presented daily with opportunities to appreciate. And then think about all the types of connoisseurs in the human race. There are film appreciators, wine appreciators, hiking appreciators, music appreciators; there are appreciators of cheese, swimming, coffee, travel, history, sports, science, sex, science fiction, art, camping, massage, computers . . . you name it.

Other species can be observed appreciating, but none of them come remotely close to the level of appreciation humans are capable of either in breadth or depth. It’s ironic that so many animals are better equipped physically to appreciate. A dog for example is dozens of times more sensitive to smell than we are, but has no problem eating another dog’s feces or reingesting something he’s just vomited. So appreciation doesn’t seem all that dependent on how developed the senses are.

What does appreciation have to do with feeling? Choose something you appreciate greatly, experience it, and check yourself during the experience. What is most prevalent in every event, and I mean without exception, of deep appreciation? Feeling. Real appreciators are turned cold listening to someone explain/analyze something when they want to feel it experientially. I remember a film class I took in college where Cocteau’s “Beauty and the Beast” was shown. I was mesmerized, totally caught up in the magic of it, when about 30 minutes into it the professor started analyzing what each scene “meant” during the film. :mad: I wanted to punch him.

The deeper we feel, the better we can appreciate. The deeper and broader we appreciate, the happier we are. In fact, accomplished appreciators understand this so well, they start looking for stuff to appreciate. We crave it, need it, and want to be consumed by the feeling of total appreciation of life.

Isn’t love appreciation? Could an individual value appreciation so much he becomes pure love? :!) Someone like Jesus or the Buddha, for instance, did they achieve that? In that depth of appreciation, do we realize a new potential for humanness? I say yes, and that as a race we have a lot to learn about how our feeling nature can evolve us.

Of course, the emphasis of the human race now is much more on developing the intellect. Yet if everyone becomes geniuses, but we are discontent inside, then we my use our genius to vent our discontent on the world and others (e.g., Osama is pretty smart). In contrast, even a moderately intelligent human being, capable of quality appreciation, can contribute to making life better for himself and all others here. So which is more practical for us to give top priority?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
the_truth
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I don't believe there is a hedonistic imperative, if we were ruled by pleasure it would be like we were experiencing uncontrollable pain and we would cease to have free will or time to think how we want.

For the time being we should concentrate on eradicating poverty and allowing people luxuries that won't damage them as per normal. We should also focus on the range and complexity of things to experience learn and ponder over, art, music and philosophy. It is also logical for old people to get wasted on heroine if they want to as you should at least once experience complete exstacy, however not at the cost of your time at the start of your life when you need to work and not cut short the time you have to think and learn.

Pleasure is best taken in moderation.

As for logic vs feelings, logic should hold precedent over feelings always when you are thinking. There is no such thing as a gut feeling, try it yourself. You are always worse off than if you took the logical alternative.
 
  • #3
Les Sleeth
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the_truth said:
I don't believe there is a hedonistic imperative, if we were ruled by pleasure it would be like we were experiencing uncontrollable pain and we would cease to have free will or time to think how we want.

I have no clue what hedonism has to do with the theme of my thread. I think you have seriously misunderstood.


the_truth said:
It is also logical for old people to get wasted on heroine if they want to as you should at least once experience complete exstacy, however not at the cost of your time at the start of your life when you need to work and not cut short the time you have to think and learn.

Logical eh?


the_truth said:
Pleasure is best taken in moderation.

I wasn't talking about pleasure.


the_truth said:
As for logic vs feelings, logic should hold precedent over feelings always when you are thinking. There is no such thing as a gut feeling, try it yourself. You are always worse off than if you took the logical alternative.

There's no versus. Feeling and logic are two different realms, both very much needed. But what should we prioritize first? You are entitled to your opinion of course, but the way I see it, when people feel bad inside they vent it on the world no matter how logical they are. And if I had to choose between being brilliant or happy, I'd choose happy.
 
  • #4
luxv66
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Well you pretty much answered your own question. They both must be given equal priority. You simply cannot favor one over the other. Further, one can't exist without the other.

The human experience IS the combination of the two. It's like 7-UP. Take away the lime, it's just lemon. It's not 7-UP minus lime.
 
  • #5
hitssquad
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luxv66 said:
Well you pretty much answered your own question. They both must be given equal priority. [...] The human experience IS the combination of the two.
He was not talking about humans. He was talking about intentional evolution.
 
  • #6
Les Sleeth
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hitssquad said:
He was not talking about humans. He was talking about intentional evolution.

Right. I do realize the intellect is important, and maybe it is equal to the feeling I described. Mostly I am trying to say there is an aspect to us humanity hasn't given enough attention to developing, and that if we did we might find it has an evolutionary effect on consciousness.
 
  • #7
WeeDie
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If you by intelligence mean the rate of capability for rational thinking, I believe they are interconnected. One must value them both equally in order to get most out of any of them and I like to say that intelligence is what comes out of tweaking the harmony between the two.
I like to picture feeling as an higher order of intelligence that makes sense out of chaos like patterns while rationality makes sense out of lower orders of patterns.
I don't believe any of them serves the individual very good on them own and I don't believe that any of them are hardwired to serve the purpose of survival of the individual more then the other. Culture/environment conditions both reason and feeling and culture evolves integral with the individual, you can't separate the two because the whole notion of what it is to be an individual is conditioned by its culture/environment. The maps that reason work upon are cultural input and the environmental input that feelings are based upon are done through focused attention. Therefor none of them are complete so if one is _Intelligent_ on would use both of them in order to get more of the whole picture.
What is needed today is harmony between the two. Not mere rationality because your models is most likely all screwed up, and not mere feelings because they depend too much on conditioning based on bad logic.
I believe one can fuel the lower order rationality with energy, by listening to feelings which then also might lead one to find connections outside the maps of reason.
 
  • #8
luxv66
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Les Sleeth said:
Right. I do realize the intellect is important, and maybe it is equal to the feeling I described. Mostly I am trying to say there is an aspect to us humanity hasn't given enough attention to developing, and that if we did we might find it has an evolutionary effect on consciousness.


You can't avoid developing that appreciation. All of science and philosophy is based on appreciation of the elegance of theories, formulas, ideas etc. Even religion is based on this.

I don't think you can intentionally have more or less of one. They must exist in equilibrium. No matter what you do, you're probably using equal amounts of logic and appreciation.
 
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  • #9
Les Sleeth
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luxv66 said:
You can't avoid developing that appreciation. All of science and philosophy is based on appreciation of the elegance of theories, formulas, ideas etc. Even religion is based on this.

I don't think you can intentionally have more or less of one. They must exist in equilibrium. No matter what you do, you're probably using equal amounts of logic and appreciation.

I understand your point, but it doesn't fit my experience. If you have a sense of what I mean by "feeling," then I have to say it's only been by the active cultivation of it that I've been able to develop it beyond normal.

We go to school, and many of us spend years developing and training the intellect . . . I know I have. But how many people give that degree and quality of attention to developing their feeling nature? No, it is left behind the development of the intellect, and often far, far behind.

So I say we have NOT actually understood the potential of that aspect of us to help us evolve. Yes, we may use it as the normal part of being human, but I am talking about taking it a lot further, as well as suggesting that it may be just how humanity needs to evolve to keep from destroying everything.
 
  • #10
Les Sleeth
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WeeDie said:
If you by intelligence mean the rate of capability for rational thinking, I believe they are interconnected. One must value them both equally in order to get most out of any of them and I like to say that intelligence is what comes out of tweaking the harmony between the two.
I like to picture feeling as an higher order of intelligence that makes sense out of chaos like patterns while rationality makes sense out of lower orders of patterns.

I agree they are interconnected, and I like the intuitive interpretation you imply with how feeling can reveal patterns.


WeeDie said:
What is needed today is harmony between the two . . . by listening to feelings which then also might lead one to find connections outside the maps of reason.

I very much agree feelings can lead one to new insights. But I don't think what is most needed today is harmony between the two because, as I said to luxv66, I believe the development of our feeling nature is seriously behind our intellectual development. Harmonizing the two isn't going to fix underdevelopment.
 
  • #11
Royce
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Les Sleeth said:
I believe the development of our feeling nature is seriously behind our intellectual development. Harmonizing the two isn't going to fix underdevelopment.

Wouldn't truly harmonizing the two mean developing our feelings to match that of our intellect. Also isn't this one of the main reasons that we meditate.
Think about it. Really think about it. Meditation is at least partly about reaching harmony and balance. This is not possible if we have arrested developed feeling. Our feeling being out of balance and harmony and our feeling of being out of balance and lack of harmony is one of the things that leads us to meditation.
The reward of feeling more in harmony, in balance is that which keeps us meditating.
 
  • #12
Les Sleeth
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Royce said:
Wouldn't truly harmonizing the two mean developing our feelings to match that of our intellect. Also isn't this one of the main reasons that we meditate.
Think about it. Really think about it. Meditation is at least partly about reaching harmony and balance. This is not possible if we have arrested developed feeling. Our feeling being out of balance and harmony and our feeling of being out of balance and lack of harmony is one of the things that leads us to meditation.
The reward of feeling more in harmony, in balance is that which keeps us meditating.

Yes, that's one way to interpret "harmonize." For me, meditation is 100% a feeling practice; I even attain focus, not by will power, but by feeling and relaxing my way there. However I am not trying to reach harmony or balance, I am trying to become pure feeling and to let it take me where it wants to.

When I am most successful, I find my feeling side comes out slightly on top of my intellect, which is still there, but nice and tamed waiting for me to will it to do what I want, instead of blabbering on and on in my head whether I like it or not. That's why I've come to believe that union in meditation automatically creates the ideal conscious blending, or balance. But I still think, like I said to WeeDie, that for balance to happen most people need to elevate their poor neglected feeling side.
 
  • #13
Royce
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Les Sleeth said:
Yes, that's one way to interpret "harmonize." For me, meditation is 100% a feeling practice; I even attain focus, not by will power, but by feeling and relaxing my way there. However I am not trying to reach harmony or balance, I am trying to become pure feeling and to let it take me where it wants to.

When I am most successful, I find my feeling side comes out slightly on top of my intellect, which is still there, but nice and tamed waiting for me to will it to do what I want, instead of blabbering on and on in my head whether I like it or not. That's why I've come to believe that union in meditation automatically creates the ideal conscious blending, or balance. But I still think, like I said to WeeDie, that for balance to happen most people need to elevate their poor neglected feeling side.

Yes. I agree; but the quote above, what you just said, goes to illustrate exactly what I said. The fact that it is our feeling that is emphasized shows that that is what we need to bring into balance.
We are too smart for our own good. We are too soon down out of the trees and not yet out of our caves long enough to have matured emotionally and as you put it "feeling" which is much more than emotions. Our intellect and technology have grown exponentially while our feeling(s) is still in the tribal or clan hunter gatherer stage. We are not yet civilized or mature enough to handle or cope successfully with our intellect or technology. This is one reason if not the main reason our society and world is so insane and irrational.
So far as I know meditation is the only way that we can individually reach some sense of balance and harmony. As it is as you say almost all about feeling and hence we grow and mature in our feeling(s), wisdom and life by becoming more balanced. We know what and how to think but we don't yet know how to feel about what we think, what feelings are appropriate and natural in these circumstances, what is really good or bad, right or wrong, true or false. As you point out so well feeling is at the core of our problems.
It is the imbalance of intellect versus feeling the gives us these schizoid and disassociated feelings.
This is a very hard subject for me to adequately put into words. You have identified a major problem for us as a species and as individuals. We are children with cars and guns on a runaway joy ride of our intellect. It is getting our feeling, maturity, wisdom, intuition, whatever to catch up with us that is becoming more and more crucial
 
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  • #14
Les Sleeth
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Royce said:
This is a very hard subject for me to adequately put into words.

I think you said it extraordinarily well.
 
  • #15
Royce
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Les Sleeth said:
I think you said it extraordinarily well.

Thank you. I wish that I felt that good about it. There is much left unsaid and what was said was, I feel, not really to the point nor got the point across; but, it was the best that I could do.
My biggest question is, was anything I said on subject of the intention and purpose of your original post in this thread?
(Sorry I couldn't continue the discussion last evening.)
 
  • #16
Les Sleeth
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Royce said:
My biggest question is, was anything I said on subject of the intention and purpose of your original post in this thread?

In the past, to avoid the common association of the word "feeling" with emotions, I've used the term "base sensitivity." In threads on what consciousness is, I've maintained that models such as those presented by Rosenberg or Chalmers are missing base sensitivity.

Why do I assert it is there? Because, as you know, I experience it when I achieve deep meditation. In the background, behind all the stuff our minds are involved in, sits a neutral plane of sensitivity. If a person can still the mind and be one with that base sensitivity, then when the mind starts to work it is very easy to see that mentality, or emotions, or whatever all arise out of that most fundamental plane of sensitivity.

The effect of excessive mental activity is to obscure that plane from consciousness itself; also, and this was part of my point here, excessive mentality diminishes conscious sensitivity in general because all its energy is tied up in the mind. When a person can allow consciousness to become still, then he discovers that a part of his being, a potential that's been there all along, suddenly comes to the forefront.

I look around and see most people unabashedly participate in and are consumed by their mentality, many of whom believe that is the way to all relevant knowledge, understanding, satisfaction, and success. Many too are discontent because of how they feel inside. Is it possible that mentality is incapable of satisfying a human being fully?

Maybe it is primarily through our feeling potential, not thinking potentials, that we can achieve a good feeling inside. Further, possibly our feeling nature offers new conscious insights because viewing reality with a relatively more quiet mind presents a substantially new perspective, one that emphasizes what is whole, one, unified (unlike normal mentality which is better suited to observe and understand "parts"). So heightened sensitivity ends up making even mentality more fruitful and satisfying.

To answer your question, you pointed to the potential of our feeling nature, and that is what I am doing too. I think it is difficult to get people to recognize just how much potential it holds because we are not raised to value and be curious about our sensitivity. We are raised to train and develop our intellect. It would be great if someday humanity recognizes how much potential there is through discovering what we feel, and are, before thoughts, emotions, opinions, likes and dislikes, personality, psychology . . . to discover that sweet quiet place that just "is" without having to do a single thing.
 
  • #17
loseyourname
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Les Sleeth said:
I understand your point, but it doesn't fit my experience. If you have a sense of what I mean by "feeling," then I have to say it's only been by the active cultivation of it that I've been able to develop it beyond normal.

We go to school, and many of us spend years developing and training the intellect . . . I know I have. But how many people give that degree and quality of attention to developing their feeling nature? No, it is left behind the development of the intellect, and often far, far behind.

So I say we have NOT actually understood the potential of that aspect of us to help us evolve. Yes, we may use it as the normal part of being human, but I am talking about taking it a lot further, as well as suggesting that it may be just how humanity needs to evolve to keep from destroying everything.

So are you talking about learning and cultivating the ability within individuals, or actual evolution? Until we can find a gene(s) responsible for the ability to achieve the experiences you have while meditating, intellect will always be the more fruitful path, evolutionarily speaking, as we know that intellect can actually be selected for. The other important thing to remember is that if we are simply trying to cultivate a more peaceful, happy humanity, then selecting for genes that promote peacefulness and happiness, and attempting to weed violent behavior and negative emotional responses out of the gene pool would probably be more fruitful. Doing this wouldn't necessarily have any impact on intellect or base-sensitivity (I'll use your term here, as "feeling" really doesn't do you justice; both happiness and violence are at their core 'feelings').
 
  • #18
Les Sleeth
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loseyourname said:
So are you talking about learning and cultivating the ability within individuals, or actual evolution? Until we can find a gene(s) responsible for the ability to achieve the experiences you have while meditating, intellect will always be the more fruitful path, evolutionarily speaking, as we know that intellect can actually be selected for. The other important thing to remember is that if we are simply trying to cultivate a more peaceful, happy humanity, then selecting for genes that promote peacefulness and happiness, and attempting to weed violent behavior and negative emotional responses out of the gene pool would probably be more fruitful. Doing this wouldn't necessarily have any impact on intellect or base-sensitivity (I'll use your term here, as "feeling" really doesn't do you justice; both happiness and violence are at their core 'feelings').


I understand that the term "evolution" has been appropriated by those who believe anything that develops in biology happens via genes and natural selection. But Darwinistic evolution really wasn't my point since I don't agree that genes and natural selection can explain all that's evolved (but let's leave that for another debate). The word "evolution" predates it's application to Darwinism, and has a broader meaning. It is derived from the Latin word evolvere which means to unroll or unfold. In my Webster's Unabridged under "evolution," you don't get to the Darwinistic interpretation until definition 5b.

However, I probably could make the case that natural selection at least might favor those who are more inwardly content. What if, for example, at the point of human evolution only the body is dependent on genes to evolve, but human consciousness can bypass all that and learn to evolve itself? In this case, evolution itself has evolved to the point where a being has the ability to choose its own developmental path. Everything except genetic change corresponds to Darwinistic evolution, so we develop consciousness in a way that benefits us and humanity as a whole thus ensuring the survival of the species. Some say intellectual development is all we need, I am disputing that.
 
  • #19
loseyourname
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Les Sleeth said:
I understand that the term "evolution" has been appropriated by those who believe anything that develops in biology happens via genes and natural selection. But Darwinistic evolution really wasn't my point since I don't agree that genes and natural selection can explain all that's evolved (but let's leave that for another debate). The word "evolution" predates it's application to Darwinism, and has a broader meaning. It is derived from the Latin word evolvere which means to unroll or unfold. In my Webster's Unabridged under "evolution," you don't get to the Darwinistic interpretation until definition 5b.

I'm just asking if you're talking about encouraging traits that can be inherited, or traits that one must learn on one's own. Call it what you will.

However, I probably could make the case that natural selection at least might favor those who are more inwardly content. What if, for example, at the point of human evolution only the body is dependent on genes to evolve, but human consciousness can bypass all that and learn to evolve itself?

Then I ask the same question: Are you talking about an individual evolving to a higher state of being, or the entire species doing so? And if it is the entire species, would their higher state be heritable?

In this case, evolution itself has evolved to the point where a being has the ability to choose its own developmental path.

I see what you're saying, but I'm still becoming confused on the same point. Everywhere else, you seem to be talking about the evolution of the human species; that is, the selection of heritable traits (whether through genetics or whatever other means of heritability - I'm not being narrow-minded here). But here, you seem to be talking about individual development.

Perhaps I can clarify by making an analogy to the evolution of human intellect. There are two ways to evolve intellect. The first way is simply through education. One reads, one writes, one thinks, and passes on his thoughts to the next generation, allowing for the 'standing on the shoulders of giants' effect. Though it falls outside of what is studied in biology, this can still be considered a form of human intellectual evolution. The second way involves Darwinian means. Through some program of eugenics, the genes (or any other heritable unit, be they physical or not) that are responsible for human intellect are selected for, and the units that mar the human intellect are deselected out of the pool.

Let us now draw this analogy back to what you're talking about. There can be two analagous ways of encouraging the development of base-sensitivity. The first way is through personal training and the teaching of one's knowledge to subsequent generations. The second is through direct inheritance of an increased innate ability to be base-sensitive. When you use the word "evolution" to refer to the evolution of human consciousness toward increased base-sensitivity, are you talking about evolution in the first sense, or evolution in the second sense?
 
  • #20
Les Sleeth
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loseyourname said:
Then I ask the same question: Are you talking about an individual evolving to a higher state of being, or the entire species doing so? And if it is the entire species, would their higher state be heritable? . . . whether through genetics or whatever other means of heritability - I'm not being narrow-minded here).

I am talking about the individual and the species, it's just that in this particular situation, the species can only evolve if each of us does the work to make it happen on an individual level.

I don't believe base sensitivity has a genetic basis since I don't see it as physical. Heritable in some other way? Hmmmm, an interesting question. I wonder if the sensitivity for the entire human race were heightened, if a developing fetus, for example, might experience some effects of that. Once born and exposed to it from birth onward, then I can see that too having a developmental effect. Whether we can call that heritable I don't know.
 
  • #21
metacristi
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Les Sleeth said:
..................
Of course, the emphasis of the human race now is much more on developing the intellect. Yet if everyone becomes geniuses, but we are discontent inside, then we my use our genius to vent our discontent on the world and others (e.g., Osama is pretty smart). In contrast, even a moderately intelligent human being, capable of quality appreciation, can contribute to making life better for himself and all others here. So which is more practical for us to give top priority?


All 'inner parts' of our consciousness deserve equal attention, if we really want to attain a higher level of 'spirituality', enabling us to find a stable point of equilibrium (on long run) with both environment and the other human beings. As a matter of fact this is what all 'esoteric' doctrines involving 'intiation' required along time as a prerequsite for the candidate.

An interesting account has Rudolf Steiner http://wn.rsarchive.org/Books/GA010/English/GA010_index.html. The interesting fact is that the method indicated there is valid, having benefic practical consequences, even if a form of strong physicalism-eg the identity theory of mind-is valid. In my view the esoteric tradition has a valuable 'hard core' which is fully compatible even with physicalism, for example the 'Guardian of the Threshold' of which Rudolf Steiner talks is not a delusion, though his interpretation might be wrong, it has some sort of 'existence' (being a novel emergent property of mind characterizing an even 'higher' state of consciousness) even under physicalism or property dualism (of course we should always keep fallibilism, there is no need to accept uncritically all of Steiner's conclusions but we must be always capable to 'read between the lines' sometime metaphysics can become the science of tomorrow).

So intellect, will, sentiment must all be developed equally, this is what brings us closer to that harmony at which the vast majority of humans, religious or not, have always dreamt along history (http://wn.rsarchive.org/Books/GA010/English/GA010_c06.html)...This is in our power, has always been as a matter of fact...Human beings (at least those mentally healthy) seem to have that inner capacity enabling them to evolve 'spiritually', to become better, irrespective of their genetic endowments and the true theory of mind...All that remains is to 'put at work' that capacity, by consciously 'guiding' the inner life...This has seldom happened so far, sadly valid for the vast majority of humans, but basically everyone can become an 'initiate'...
 
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  • #22
Les Sleeth
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metacristi said:
. . . An interesting account has Rudolf Steiner http://wn.rsarchive.org/Books/GA010/English/GA010_index.html. The interesting fact is that the method indicated there is valid, having benefic practical consequences, even if a form of strong physicalism-eg the identity theory of mind-is valid. In my view the esoteric tradition has a valuable 'hard core' which is fully compatible even with physicalism . . .

I didn't read his whole book, but Steiner wrote well and interestingly. Personally I don't see why someone has to believe anything ontological, whether physicalist or spiritual. One can just practice the inward thing, see what one sees, and leave theorizing out of it all.


metacristi said:
So intellect, will, sentiment must all be developed equally, this is what brings us closer to that harmony at which the vast majority of humans, religious or not, have always dreamt along history (http://wn.rsarchive.org/Books/GA010/English/GA010_c06.html)...This is in our power, has always been as a matter of fact...Human beings (at least those mentally healthy) seem to have that inner capacity enabling them to evolve 'spiritually', to become better, irrespective of their genetic endowments and the true theory of mind...All that remains is to 'put at work' that capacity, by consciously 'guiding' the inner life...This has seldom happened so far, sadly valid for the vast majority of humans, but basically everyone can become an 'initiate'...

I agree everyone can become what Steiner referred to as an "initiate," but I don't see in his philosophy the conclusion you've drawn that all aspects of consciousness (e.g., intellect, will, and sentiment) require equal development. In fact, he seems to say just the opposite, that inner development requires very special attention, at least far more than either will or sentiment which, in most psychologically healthy people, are naturally present in the right proportions. I'd would admit that the intellect is in another class from most other consciousness abilities in that it really can be trained and developed.

But I say that about feeling too. If you understood what I meant by our "feeling" nature, it wasn't sentiment or emotions. In my opening post I clearly distinguished what I called the "base sensitivity" of consciousness, or the feeling component of us that does, or can, accompany all other types of conscious operations. Because of that I see it as far more basic than all other conscious operations, and in fact as the most fundamental aspect of consciousness.

When given enough attention, that underlying sensitivity can reestablish it's prevalence as the foundation of consciousness, and my experience has been that it moves slightly ahead of all other consciousness operations, including the intellect. In other words, a person becomes a feeler first, and then a thinker. (That, of course, is in general because obviously there are times when one is doing something like solving a math problem where thinking temporarily assumes the top spot.)

So I don't think I can agree with you that all aspects of consciousness deserve equal development because I believe our feeling nature is more important to consciousness than any other aspect, and right now the most obscured. Yes, all aspects should be developed, but its the "equal" that I am disagreeing with.
 
  • #23
Royce
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Les, much of this is dated and I don’t know that any of it is still current. I am sure that you are familiar with it. I am also sure that I have written of this before.

Our brains are divided into two hemispheres, right and left. They are interconnected in males from left to right but in females they are connected both ways. (My daughter says that men were wired on a budget.) The left side of the brain is thought to be the analytical, logical reasoning side that uses sequential, linear, step by step thinking. I believe that it also the side where our speech center is. The right side is said to be more intuitive, artistic and conceptual thinking, the feeling side.

This two-way interconnection is thought to be why women are more intuitive, more in touch with there feelings and more artistic whereas men with their one-way connection are more logical, analytical, better at math and reasoning but less in touch with there feelings and less able to express or talk about there feelings. (As I am left handed, I saw a cartoon some time ago that said that right handed people think more with the left side of their brains and left handed people more with the right side; so, left handed people are the only ones in their right minds.)

The point of my bring all this up now is that our feelings are often thought of as hunches, gut feelings or intuitive. Also, meditation in my experience is almost always conceptual and not analytical thus right sided thinking, the feeling, intuitive side. Being males the only way that we can talk about this is by talking about our feeling which is difficult for us to do. I know that often when meditations I will receive a total concept and understanding about something but it will take me a long time before I can put it into words and come to know what it was consciously.

I also know that most of us can train ourselves to be more right sided just as we can train ourselves to learn music or art balancing our right and left sides our linear and conceptual sides and learn to express it better.

Some time ago while meditating I would consciously move my center of being, of thinking (?), of consciousness, from my left side to my right side and begin thinking and observing in complete concepts rather than step by step analytical reasoning.

This, I think, is more in line with what we are talking about when we are talking about our feelings rather than emotions or spirituality. We poor under-wired males just have a lot of trouble identifying and talking about our feelings, our hunches, our gut feeling, our intuition, or that it just feels right or wrong.
 
  • #24
hypnagogue
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Royce said:
Our brains are divided into two hemispheres, right and left. They are interconnected in males from left to right but in females they are connected both ways.

Do you have a reference to support this claim?

Royce said:
The left side of the brain is thought to be the analytical, logical reasoning side that uses sequential, linear, step by step thinking. I believe that it also the side where our speech center is. The right side is said to be more intuitive, artistic and conceptual thinking, the feeling side.

Not quite:

Turn to the small advertisements in many a Sunday magazine, says John McCrone, and you'll find something rather like this: "Are you good at logic, great at analysis and working out maths problems? Then you're probably a left-brainer . . . Want to get in touch with your intuitive, creative right brain and find a whole other you . . . "


Many a myth has grown up around the brain's asymmetry. The left cerebral hemisphere is supposed to be the coldly logical, verbal and dominant half of the brain, while the right developed a reputation as the imaginative side, emotional, spatially aware but suppressed. Two personalities in one head, Yin and Yang, hero and villain.

To most neuroscientists, of course, these notions are seen as simplistic at best and nonsense at worst. So there was general satisfaction when, a couple of years ago, a simple brain scanner test appeared to reveal the true story about one of neurology's greatest puzzles: exactly what is the difference between the two sides of the human brain? Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how you like your theories, the big picture revealed by that work is proving far less romantic than the logical-creative split, intriguingly complex and tough to prove.

http://www.rense.com/general2/rb.htm
 
  • #25
Royce
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I said that my information may be dated however the wiring of the two halves being differently wired is only a couple of years old and I saw it on either CPT, Nova or the Discovery Channel.
As to the right/left issue, I don't know, I only know what I read and see. I do think it rather difficult to believe that a "simple brain scan" can tell what's actually going on, activity yes, linear analysis or conceptual thinking, I don't think so. I simply quote the last line; "intriguingly complex and tough to prove."
 
  • #26
hypnagogue
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Royce said:
As to the right/left issue, I don't know, I only know what I read and see. I do think it rather difficult to believe that a "simple brain scan" can tell what's actually going on, activity yes, linear analysis or conceptual thinking, I don't think so.

If you're so skeptical of this result, why did you accept the old view?

Did you read the article? We deduce what the brain does not by simply scanning it, but by scanning it while subjects perform some cognitive tasks. So we can see what portions of the brain are more active for detail oriented tasks and which are more active for broader conceptual tasks. The pattern that appears to be emerging is that local, detailed tasks are handled more by the left hemisphere and broader, global tasks are handled more by the right hemisphere. However, this division of labor is more about processing styles than actual tasks. For instance, language is processed in both the left and right hemispheres, but the left specializes with low-level details like grammar and word choice, while the right analyzes things like intonation and emphasis of words.
 
  • #27
Les Sleeth
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Royce said:
I said that my information may be dated however the wiring of the two halves being differently wired is only a couple of years old and I saw it on either CPT, Nova or the Discovery Channel.
As to the right/left issue, I don't know, I only know what I read and see. I do think it rather difficult to believe that a "simple brain scan" can tell what's actually going on, activity yes, linear analysis or conceptual thinking, I don't think so. I simply quote the last line; "intriguingly complex and tough to prove."


I think I understand your point, that the brain tends to split detail jobs and generalist jobs.

I don't want to seem overly exact, but I have to say that I don't think the deepest experience of meditation has anything to do with the brain since that experience seems to separate one from one's body somewhat. Because of that, I have come to see the differentiation the brain does (aside from linking consciousness and body) as entirely dedicated to teaching consciousness how to think. Good thinking requires both receptivity to the whole and focus on the particulars, so it shouldn't be a surprise that the brain is generally organized that way.

If we are to contemplate that consciousness might be something not created by the brain, but inhabiting the brain to help consciousness develop as an individual and learn how to reason, then it isn't a wild theory that disassociating from the brain (as in meditation) reveals one's more basic nature.
 
  • #28
Royce
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hypnagogue said:
If you're so skeptical of this result, why did you accept the old view?

The "old view" has been around for a while and was widely accepted at one time.

Did you read the article?

I hadn't read the article at the time that I posted my reply. I have since read it and also did a quick google search for the interconnecting issue but was unable to find anything in the sort time that I had to look.

We deduce what the brain does not by simply scanning it, but by scanning it while subjects perform some cognitive tasks. So we can see what portions of the brain are more active for detail oriented tasks and which are more active for broader conceptual tasks. The pattern that appears to be emerging is that local, detailed tasks are handled more by the left hemisphere and broader, global tasks are handled more by the right hemisphere.

Isn't this saying about the same thing in different words?

However, this division of labor is more about processing styles than actual tasks.

Serial vs parallel, sequential, linear reasoning vs conceptual thinking maybe?

For instance, language is processed in both the left and right hemispheres, but the left specializes with low-level details like grammar and word choice, while the right analyzes things like intonation and emphasis of words.

Grammar and word choice is logical and mechanical while intonation and emphasis is more the art of writing or orating.

I don't disagree or dispute what you're saying only that it is proof that the old view is entirely wrong. I simply used the view to try to help explain why they are "feelings" on the edge of consciousness rather than complete conscious thoughts easily put into words and analyzed. I may be entirely wrong, way off base, but it is really moot anyway as it is not really on subject.
You post and article was interesting and informative and I thank you for it.
You obviously are much more informed and knowledgeable on the subject than I and I bow to your expertise
 
  • #29
Royce
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Les Sleeth said:
I think I understand your point, that the brain tends to split detail jobs and generalist jobs.

I don't want to seem overly exact, but I have to say that I don't think the deepest experience of meditation has anything to do with the brain since that experience seems to separate one from one's body somewhat. Because of that, I have come to see the differentiation the brain does (aside from linking consciousness and body) as entirely dedicated to teaching consciousness how to think. Good thinking requires both receptivity to the whole and focus on the particulars, so it shouldn't be a surprise that the brain is generally organized that way.

I agree that meditation has little or nothing to do with the organization of the brain. As I said above in my reply to hypnagogue, I am merely trying to explain why we have these "feelings" rather than them being complete conscious reasoning thought easily put into words and analyzed.

If we are to contemplate that consciousness might be something not created by the brain, but inhabiting the brain to help consciousness develop as an individual and learn how to reason, then it isn't a wild theory that disassociating from the brain (as in meditation) reveals one's more basic nature.

Agreed. As I have said before in other post, I think of the brain as the hardware and consciousness as the software. Neither can function without the other and the brain it the interactive interface between our mind and consciousness and our bodies or the physical world.
 
  • #30
loseyourname
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Royce said:
Grammar and word choice is logical and mechanical while intonation and emphasis is more the art of writing or orating.

Are you sure of this? First off, just a tiny little detail problem: writing doesn't involved intonation and emphasis. Those are purely aural qualities. They can be expressed through descriptive writing attached to the speech itself, as in "'That sunset sure is gorgeous,' he said reverently," but it is still a description of tonal quality, not of the word itself.

More importantly, though, there are plent of examples where intonation and emphasis (more precisely, accent) actually has an effect on word choice. In many languages, there are abundant examples of words that are grammatically and syntactical identical, but take on different meanings depending on how they are voiced. Basically, what looks like exactly the same two words on a page can actually be several different words. The other thing to bring up is that accent and pitch can change in many languages across different inflected forms of the same word root. That is, the way a word sounds is actually part of the grammatical and syntactical value of the word.

All in all, I don't think it's quite so simple as saying that one is purely a logical construct and the other is an artistic quality of language. If you look at the early dialects of classical Greek, especially the Homeric dialect, the grammar and syntax rules themselves contribute to the artistry of the language. Words almost always end in vowel sounds, and syntax does not depend upon word order, but rather entirely upon inflection, in order to facilitate the composition of oral poetry. The rules of the language almost seem custom designed to enable one to express any thought, or any sentence, through song as easily as through exposition or prose.
 
  • #31
Les Sleeth
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Royce said:
I agree that meditation has little or nothing to do with the organization of the brain.

Since I wrote this to you, "I don't think the deepest experience of meditation has anything to do with the brain since that experience seems to separate one from one's body somewhat," I have been thinking about it a lot. This is a little off topic :redface:, but I thought you might find it interesting.

As you know I've talked extensively about union in the past, where consciousness seems to unify into a single integrated experience. After I wrote that above, it occurred to me that if the brain really does compartmentalize an area of consciousness in order to teach it to think, as well as connect it to the body, then full union would have to separate one from the body (i.e., brain) a bit.

Coincidently, his morning I had such an experience in meditation, and then went for a walk in vineyard where I live. The Pacific Ocean is just a few miles away, and had deposited fog in the valleys that roll off in the distance. Whew! My mind really went still suddenly, lifted up, and I felt like I and that whole beautiful landscape had become one huge experience. It was so consuming, all I could do was stand there and be part of it.

When that happens, it is hard to conclude that such a large experience is just one's own consciousness, it's too big! Personally I think that kind of experience is why people begin feeling like there is a much larger consciousness present everywhere they occasionally get to join with.
 
  • #32
Les Sleeth said:
If we are to contemplate that consciousness might be something not created by the brain, but inhabiting the brain to help consciousness develop as an individual and learn how to reason, then it isn't a wild theory that disassociating from the brain (as in meditation) reveals one's more basic nature.
I think you need a new word for what you call "consciousness not created by the brain". It is confusing to call the non-brain created entity "consciousness" that then helps another entity that you also call consciousness develop. Clearly, your second-consciousness is the well known brain faculty, which is a realistic entity possessed by living organisms, that acts to process the material provided external to it (whether from the senses, or other parts of the brain not part of second-consciousness). But now you include in the equation a helper to second-consciousness, perhaps what can be called first-consciousness (unless you know another name already applied), and these two entangle to form a union. I think this possible, because duality is just so common in existence, and helpers are well known (e.g., the co-enzyme helps the enzyme which helps the protein, glouns help hold together the quarks, etc.). But, do you then hold that second-consciousness can never function without first-consciousness helper ? or that the two always form a union of action ? -- this is not clear to me, seems like it could go both ways.

FYI, your theory of the first-consciousness is similar to the view in physics that there are hidden variables within real entities. In the typical hidden variable model, that which exists is described in the same manner whether observed or not. Thus, your first-consciousness concept if viewed as a quantum wavefunction of a hidden variable, must have very unique properties, e.g., it must connect with every other particle in the universe, be entirely invisible, and travel faster than the speed of light. And, there is some experimental evidence from what is called Bell's theorem that all efforts to eliminate faster than speed of light character of hidden variable waves must fail. I take this from the book Quantum Reality, 1985, Nick Herbert.

Also, could you please help me understand your argument by giving an example of where this potential hidden variable entity (non-brain created first-consciousness) comes from (since not from the brain)--(1) is it external to the body initially then built bit-by-bit over time (but then it seems we would have a problem that it is in fact brain created), or did it come to be put in the brain as a whole by some external creator, or perhaps not put directly into the brain, but into the fertilized egg and it just hangs out until second-consciousness is formed during development of fetus ?--(2) or, perhaps it is initially created internally in some other organ of the body, perhaps within the kidney, or the liver, but I find this hard to accept ?

Finally, are you aware of any papers that document the mental process of meditation as occurring in a realistic form "disassociated from the brain"--this is a new concept for me--if meditation is not within the organ called the brain, where exactly does it occur ? Or are you just saying that meditation (as a form of first-consciousness) is a hidden variable type mental process (that then connects all existence) that occurs in a different area of the brain than the mental actions of second consciousness ? -- which is very clear to understand biologically if not philosophically.
 
  • #33
Les Sleeth
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Rade said:
I think you need a new word for what you call "consciousness not created by the brain". It is confusing to call the non-brain created entity "consciousness" that then helps another entity that you also call consciousness develop. Clearly, your second-consciousness is the well known brain faculty, which is a realistic entity possessed by living organisms, that acts to process the material provided external to it (whether from the senses, or other parts of the brain not part of second-consciousness). But now you include in the equation a helper to second-consciousness, perhaps what can be called first-consciousness (unless you know another name already applied), and these two entangle to form a union.

Imagine the Pacific Ocean is conscious. It is conscious as a whole, but also each "point" you might touch on the ocean is conscious but only generally so because it has always been part of the whole thing.

Let's say the whole consciousness wanted individuate a "point" within itself, and to do that the whole decides that created the appearance of separation is the best route. So the whole freezes some of itself, creates little compartments inside the frozen part, and then inserts that "point" of itself it wants individuate into the frozen part. Once inside, the generally conscious point is made "self-aware," because it experiences separateness from the whole where it originated. It isn't really separate, it is just unawareness of the whole situation.

Similarly, let's say there is some vast plane of consciousness that has helped bring about biology so it could emerge through the nervous system. Some humans learn a technique for disassociating from the nervous system and thereby experience the whole situation they originated from, and that they have been part of all along. In this model there aren't two types of consciousness, there are simply whole consciousness and point consciousnesses. "Union" would be described as the conscious experience of this singularity.


Rade said:
Thus, your first-consciousness concept if viewed as a quantum wavefunction of a hidden variable, must have very unique properties, e.g., it must connect with every other particle in the universe, be entirely invisible, and travel faster than the speed of light. And, there is some experimental evidence from what is called Bell's theorem that all efforts to eliminate faster than speed of light character of hidden variable waves must fail. I take this from the book Quantum Reality, 1985, Nick Herbert.

I can't see how base consciousness has anything to do with physics other than it is housed by the physical system temporarily, and apparently organized and individuated by it (i.e., via brain functions).


Rade said:
Also, could you please help me understand your argument by giving an example of where this potential hidden variable entity (non-brain created first-consciousness) comes from (since not from the brain)--(1) is it external to the body initially then built bit-by-bit over time (but then it seems we would have a problem that it is in fact brain created), or did it come to be put in the brain as a whole by some external creator, or perhaps not put directly into the brain, but into the fertilized egg and it just hangs out until second-consciousness is formed during development of fetus ?--(2) or, perhaps it is initially created internally in some other organ of the body, perhaps within the kidney, or the liver, but I find this hard to accept ?

I would rather not model the "whole" thing again. If you look at my profile, you can find some threads I've done in the past modeling it. I can't say I know anything about it for sure. All I really have to go on is the experience I described to Royce. Like you, I am a curious fellow and enjoy trying to figure out how the universe works. I don't dispute physics, and I don't believe in anything supernatural. However creation works, it seems to all be fully natural (in the sense of developing according to laws). But one "not" my inner experience has convinced me of is that I am not essentially a product of physicalness even if I have been given considerable structure by it.


Rade said:
Finally, are you aware of any papers that document the mental process of meditation as occurring in a realistic form "disassociated from the brain"--this is a new concept for me--if meditation is not within the organ called the brain, where exactly does it occur ? Or are you just saying that meditation (as a form of first-consciousness) is a hidden variable type mental process (that then connects all existence) that occurs in a different area of the brain than the mental actions of second consciousness ? -- which is very clear to understand biologically if not philosophically.

There are papers on types of meditation, but no papers I know of documenting the kind of "union" meditation I am talking about. I believe there are plenty of reports of consciousness disassociating from the body, but there is no consensus about what really occurs. Hypnagogue was just arguing to me that such first-person beliefs are unreliable, and in the case of trauma, sickness, mental instability, drugs, etc. causing a sense of body separation, I agree. But if you practice a natural method that results in a certain experience over a 30 year period, and there is a 3000 year old history of others achieving the same thing, then that adds more credibility IMO.
 
  • #34
Royce
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loseyourname said:
Are you sure of this? First off, just a tiny little detail problem: writing doesn't involved intonation and emphasis.

Yes I'm sure of it. Grammar and word choice are normally mechanical and logical. It can't be any other way or we couldn't communicate with each other. Grammar and word choice can be artistic but that is not normal. The fact that it is different gives it special meaning and emphasis. Writing and speaking is an art and is also mundane everyday boring stuff. A good speaker or story teller is a delight to listen to just as a good book is a delight to read while a textbook or a financial report can be torture to endure.

It, they can be both and probably often are which is one reason that activity can be seen in both hemispheres at the same time. We have to be able to understand what is being said as well as appreciate the beauty of the art.
 
  • #35
Royce
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Les Sleeth said:
it occurred to me that if the brain really does compartmentalize an area of consciousness in order to teach it to think, as well as connect it to the body, then full union would have to separate one from the body (i.e., brain) a bit.

I agree. While I never lost my identity or consciousness I often have felt disconnected or free (beyond) from my body.

It was so consuming, all I could do was stand there and be part of it.

When that happens, it is hard to conclude that such a large experience is just one's own consciousness, it's too big! Personally I think that kind of experience is why people begin feeling like there is a much larger consciousness present everywhere they occasionally get to join with.

I wonder if this was the same kind of experiences that I have had when I felt, sensed, the presence a high power or order of being that I took to be God or god head. I know that I wrote of this long ago to you soon after we first joined PF. Anyway I am happy for you and delighted to here of your having such an experience. It is overwhelming and will never leave you as you know. It will take weeks for you to fully realize and understand better what has happened (At least it did and does for me). It can be life changing.
If the experience that you described is the same kind as I have had you can see where most of my sense of wonder and awe of the World and Universe comes from.
 

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