What is man?

Discussions on the nature of being, existence, reality and knowledge. What is? How do we know?

Re: What is man?

Postby vivian maxine on March 16th, 2017, 2:12 pm 

Speaking of "us" and "them", have you considered how often and how quickly our "us" and our "them" change? One year we can be warring with "them". A few years later, they will be "us" and we'll be warring with those who were "us".
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Re: What is man?

Postby Athena on March 16th, 2017, 2:42 pm 

Eclogite » March 15th, 2017, 12:17 am wrote:
Neri » Sun Mar 12, 2017 7:16 pm wrote:Eclogite,

As the title suggests, my OP concerns the nature of man. I think this should be a matter of some interest.
I agree, but
1. It is far too extensive a topic to be properly addressed in a single thread. Therefore, to be productive some specific aspect of man should have been its focus.
2. Since it is of interest it would have been more productive to post observations that were not "a mix of unfounded assertions that are arguably mistaken and statements of the blindingly obvious".


Well, this thread is doing a whole lot better than my thread on Happiness and Democracy. Doesn't look like it needs improving to me.
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Re: What is man?

Postby wolfhnd on March 16th, 2017, 3:04 pm 

"It may even be a switch which is easier to flip in the white male according to the common profiling of serial killers."

That is a fairly racist statement :-).

https://link.springer.com/article/10.10 ... 1.93095.d8
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Re: What is man?

Postby Neri on March 16th, 2017, 3:16 pm 

Vivian,

You are correct. The sense of “us” and “them” is unstable both intrasocially and extrasocially.
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Re: What is man?

Postby Neri on March 16th, 2017, 3:25 pm 

Wolfhnd,

There is no difference between whites and blacks [or other racial groups for that matter] when it comes to violent instincts. Such things are common to all humans.
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Re: What is man?

Postby wolfhnd on March 16th, 2017, 4:33 pm 

Neri » Thu Mar 16, 2017 7:25 pm wrote:Wolfhnd,

There is no difference between whites and blacks [or other racial groups for that matter] when it comes to violent instincts. Such things are common to all humans.


Psychopaths are not necessarily physically violent, unfortunately the only reliable mass data may be related to violence. Sociological data is somewhat unreliable under the best of circumstances but it is all we have. That said I was not the one who injected race.
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Re: What is man?

Postby Eclogite on March 16th, 2017, 5:43 pm 

vivian maxine » Thu Mar 16, 2017 6:12 pm wrote:Speaking of "us" and "them", have you considered how often and how quickly our "us" and our "them" change? One year we can be warring with "them". A few years later, they will be "us" and we'll be warring with those who were "us".

Do you have a brother? :)
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Re: What is man?

Postby mitchellmckain on March 16th, 2017, 8:51 pm 

wolfhnd » March 16th, 2017, 2:04 pm wrote:"It may even be a switch which is easier to flip in the white male according to the common profiling of serial killers."

That is a fairly racist statement :-).

https://link.springer.com/article/10.10 ... 1.93095.d8


Incorrect. It may well be a myth and in error (I await your evidence) but it remains the case that the common profiling of serial killers says they are white males. Furthermore, your claim this is racist is as absurd as making such a complaint about facts concerning the predominance of sickle cell anemia being found among people of African decent. Our commitment to the ideal of equality of all races should not be so blind that we sacrifice simple objective facts like this. There may easily be historical reasons why different traits may be more common among one race than another. In the case of sickle cell anemia it is the protection it affords against malaria. I think it would be foolish to rule out the possibility that there is a similar factor at work to explain why "Statistically, more than 80% serial killers are white males." After all, this white male (myself), let alone anybody else, is hardly claiming this means white males are inherently more violent.
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Re: What is man?

Postby wolfhnd on March 17th, 2017, 2:11 am 

mitchellmckain your link has nothing to do with psychopathy. It is about profiling and misuse of data. On the other hand my link does clearly contradict your assertion that psychopathy is more common in white males. Start a new thread if you want to make that argument.
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Re: What is man?

Postby Eclogite on March 17th, 2017, 9:16 am 

Neri » Thu Mar 16, 2017 7:25 pm wrote:Wolfhnd,

There is no difference between whites and blacks [or other racial groups for that matter] when it comes to violent instincts. Such things are common to all humans.

Would you agree that some individuals are more violent than others?

If so do you believe there is a genetic component to this greater tendency to violence? If so, do you have citations that would support that view? If not do you have citations that would support that view?

If you do believe there is a genetic component what is your evidence that this does correlate with some suite of other genetic traits, such as blood type, or the traditional "races"?

Or, more briefly, what is the evidence for your assertion?
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Re: What is man?

Postby Athena on March 17th, 2017, 10:39 am 

The distinguishing feature of homo sapien is he is the only animal that explains his behaviors. It is his reasoning powers that separate him from all other animals. This is one of the things that separates him from homo erectus, not his teeth. However, both are mammals and share much in common with other mammals. Both are social animals, however, the advanced social connections between homo sapiens do to his greater reasoning powers, explains why homo sapiens are so successful and home erectus is extinct.

http://www.differencebetween.com/difference-between-homo-sapiens-and-vs-homo-erectus/

Homo sapiens and Homo erectus are the modern man and one of the extinct species of man-like or hominids respectively. There are many differences between them,


An important difference is the ability to write and read books and therefore accumulate knowledge for thousands of years, making progress possible. Human cultures lacking this accessibility of information have not progressed that same as humans who are well educated. Humans who have developed science have gained a higher degree of control of their environment, and this makes them very different from all other animals.
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Re: What is man?

Postby Eclogite on March 17th, 2017, 10:42 am 

Neri » Thu Mar 16, 2017 5:57 pm wrote:Are you seriously contending that in the Second World War, the English in their millions did not consider themselves “us” and the Germans “them” in the sense that I described—or indeed that virtually all Germans had it the other way ‘round?
Were the Germans part of a hundred or so individuals known to "us"? No. Were the "us" who were threatened our friends and family? Yes.
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Re: What is man?

Postby mitchellmckain on March 17th, 2017, 10:43 am 

wolfhnd » March 17th, 2017, 1:11 am wrote:mitchellmckain your link has nothing to do with psychopathy. It is about profiling and misuse of data. On the other hand my link does clearly contradict your assertion that psychopathy is more common in white males. Start a new thread if you want to make that argument.


I made no such claims about the link or about psychopathy. The link is where the quote came from. If you want to fabricate an argument out of nothing then start a new thread, but I doubt I will join it.
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Re: What is man?

Postby Eclogite on March 17th, 2017, 10:58 am 

Athena » Fri Mar 17, 2017 2:39 pm wrote:The distinguishing feature of homo sapien is he is the only animal that explains his behaviors. It is his reasoning powers that separate him from all other animals. This is one of the things that separates him from homo erectus, not his teeth.
Are you suggesting that "all other animals" lack reasoning powers?

What is your evidence that the reasoning powers of homo erectus differed significantly from that of homo sapiens?

Athena » Fri Mar 17, 2017 2:39 pm wrote:However, both are mammals and share much in common with other mammals. Both are social animals, however, the advanced social connections between homo sapiens do to his greater reasoning powers, explains why homo sapiens are so successful and home erectus is extinct.
What is your evidence that the greater reasoning powers are responsible for the "advanced social connections"?

In what way are the social connections of humans more advanced than those of ants, or dolphins, or meerkats, or......?

What evidence do you have for the claim that homo erectus is extinct because of inferior reasoning powers?


Athena » Fri Mar 17, 2017 2:39 pm wrote:
http://www.differencebetween.com/difference-between-homo-sapiens-and-vs-homo-erectus/

Homo sapiens and Homo erectus are the modern man and one of the extinct species of man-like or hominids respectively. There are many differences between them,

Nothing in this rather juvenile link supports any of your assertions.

Athena » Fri Mar 17, 2017 2:39 pm wrote:An important difference is the ability to write and read books and therefore accumulate knowledge for thousands of years, making progress possible. Human cultures lacking this accessibility of information have not progressed that same as humans who are well educated. Humans who have developed science have gained a higher degree of control of their environment, and this makes them very different from all other animals.
Reading and writing have been absent from the skill set of homo sapiens time for the vast majority of their existence. Therefore, for the vast majority of the time, there was no difference in this ability between homo erectus and homo sapiens.
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Re: What is man?

Postby Neri on March 17th, 2017, 3:01 pm 

Eclogite et al,

The question of whether or not there is a racial component in Psychopathy or ASD [as variously defined] has been treated by me, with citations, in the topic posted by Edy opened August 4th 2016, “American Justice is a Crime”(in the Ethics Section of this forum). I invite you to read it.

These issues are not really germane to the present inquiry. However, I will point out some salient facts.

There is a difference between the medical profession (psychiatry) and the social psychologists on the question of how certain individuals lacking a sense of right and wrong in an intrasocial setting should be diagnosed. Because each camp presents different definitions of this condition, the statistics regarding a racial component vary accordingly. Diagnoses using either definition have not been particularly effective in predicting whether or not a prisoner will commit further crimes if released.

The normal condition for a human is to have a sense of right and wrong in a society he considers himself to be a part of [“us”] but not necessarily to have such a sense where those considered “them” are concerned.

Clearly, it is decidedly not normal to have absolutely no sense of right or wrong--which is to say no sense of “us”-- where everyone, even the closest relatives, are considered “them.” Whatever the exact definition, such people constitute an infinitesimally small percent of the general population in any social group. It is not clear why this morbid condition exists. It may be a genetic aberration or something learned. No one knows.

It should be understood that none of this means that people of this sort are more violent than others. All humans are capable of appalling violence. It only means that they are less internally constrained to do violence intrasocially.

The incidence of crimes of violence [which in most cases does not involve psychopathy or ASD] varies slightly by race, with blacks in the US having a somewhat higher rate. Still, a very small percentage or blacks or whites commit crimes of violence.

In the case of the present high murder rate among black youth in the City of Chicago USA, the matter is clear. We see the quite normal “us” and “them” mentality at work.

These young people have a normal sense of “us” regarding the gang to which they belong. That is, there is a sense of right and wrong within members of the gang [which predictably takes the form of the so-called “golden rule’” as previously explained]. Further, they have a sense of “them,” with the consequent sense that right or wrong does not apply to “them.” It appears that this social fragmentation is based on nothing more that the fact that the gangs have different territories. This too is quite human.


Eclogite,

It was not necessary that all Englishmen meet every single German in order to identify all Germans as “them” during World War II. They were identified by their language, their uniforms their weapons and their physical locations.

I think you will agree that English soldiers killed Germans to whom they had not been formally introduced and that such a thing occurred many thousands of times.

The same may properly be said from the point of view of the Germans.
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Re: What is man?

Postby Eclogite on March 17th, 2017, 4:55 pm 

Neri » Fri Mar 17, 2017 7:01 pm wrote:Eclogite,
It was not necessary that all Englishmen meet every single German in order to identify all Germans as “them” during World War II. .
They did not need to meet any of them. That is the entire point. Since they were not met, they were automatically "them". It was more difficult for those who had met Germans to make that classification. Just ask the Mitford sisters.

Neri » Fri Mar 17, 2017 7:01 pm wrote:I think you will agree that English soldiers killed Germans to whom they had not been formally introduced and that such a thing occurred many thousands of times.

The same may properly be said from the point of view of the Germans.
Precisely. You may be within a hair's breadth of grasping the point.
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Re: What is man?

Postby Neri on March 17th, 2017, 5:56 pm 

Eclogite,

If you are making the point that “us” does not have general application within a nation state but that “them” has such an application to those outside of such a state, your position is even more ridiculous that I supposed.

The rise of nationalism has in fact given “us” an extremely wide application. This whole business of “us” and “them” is a kind of belief. Virtually all Englishmen have the conviction that they belong to the same group (which in this case is a nation state) because of national borders, common language, history and culture. The same is true of the Germans and of the members of any other nation state for that matter. Indeed, an “us” group can be very small, very large or anything in between.

When London was bombed, all Englishmen (except for the occasional sociopath and mental defective) believed that they had been wronged whether or not they had ever been in London or knew anyone who lived there. In fact, they were so enraged that they supported the fire bombing of German civilians by the RAF.

When the American fleet at Pearl Harbor was bombed, the entire nation was incensed, even those who had been staunch isolationists. Of course, virtually all Americans believed that they had been grievously wronged whether or not they actually knew any of the people who were killed or maimed in the attack. For obvious reason, they were not all that upset when England was previously bombed.
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Re: What is man?

Postby Neri on March 17th, 2017, 6:33 pm 

Eclogite,

If, in some form, you are making the extremely naïve argument that people would never consider another as belonging to “them” if they actually knew that other person, you are amply refuted by the historical record.

In the American Civil War, for example, brother killed brother simply on the basis of whether they were unionists or abolitionists. That sort of fratricide is not uncommon in civil wars.

Many people consider that they are “us” by virtue of a shared political conviction. Such people have been known to brutally murder those who did not share that conviction even if they knew the victim quite well. In recent history, this has been particularly true of the fascists and communists.
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Re: What is man?

Postby Eclogite on March 17th, 2017, 8:52 pm 

Neri,

you are eloquently refuting several positions that I have not taken and do not intend to take. I shall attribute this to my poor explanatory skills. Let me try to determine where the roadblock lies.

Do you accept that our ancestors evolved in relatively small tribal communities, of the order of a few hundred members?
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Re: What is man?

Postby Neri on March 17th, 2017, 10:37 pm 

Eclogite

Our ancestors evolved as families and extended families (clans), then grew into tribes, then into groups of allied tribes, then into kingdoms, then into empires and finally into the modern nation states.

At every stage of this progression, the sense of “us” and “them” persisted. That is, the idea that we belonged to a group (“us”) and that others did not (“them”) never changed, even when the size of the group became progressively larger and we no longer were acquainted with every member of the group.

That sense of “us” and “them” exists to this day in the context of nation states—the sense of “us” being called nationalism.
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Re: What is man?

Postby Eclogite on March 18th, 2017, 7:09 am 

Neri » Sat Mar 18, 2017 2:37 am wrote:Eclogite

Our ancestors evolved as families and extended families (clans), then grew into tribes, then into groups of allied tribes, then into kingdoms, then into empires and finally into the modern nation states.

At every stage of this progression, the sense of “us” and “them” persisted. That is, the idea that we belonged to a group (“us”) and that others did not (“them”) never changed, even when the size of the group became progressively larger and we no longer were acquainted with every member of the group.

That sense of “us” and “them” exists to this day in the context of nation states—the sense of “us” being called nationalism.

Brave, definitive assertions. Please provide citations relating to ongoing scale up in size of "accepted group".
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Re: What is man?

Postby Athena on March 18th, 2017, 9:56 am 

Eclogite » March 17th, 2017, 8:58 am wrote:
Athena » Fri Mar 17, 2017 2:39 pm wrote:The distinguishing feature of homo sapien is he is the only animal that explains his behaviors. It is his reasoning powers that separate him from all other animals. This is one of the things that separates him from homo erectus, not his teeth.
Are you suggesting that "all other animals" lack reasoning powers?

What is your evidence that the reasoning powers of homo erectus differed significantly from that of homo sapiens?


I have said animals think. I have also said there is a difference between thinking and reasoning.

My evidence that the reasoning powers of homo erectus and homo sapiens was significantly different is the extinction of homo erectus.

Evidently, Neanderthals also did not have the reasoning powers to win the competition for a place on earth. It was the second migration of homo sapiens out of Africa that succeeded.

I don't have time for details at the moment.

If you want to argue my points please present any reasoning that is contrary to what I have said.
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Re: What is man?

Postby Neri on March 18th, 2017, 11:59 am 

Eclogite,

When I have the time I will provide you with a bibliography on world history, anthropology and primate behavior so that you may educate yourself on the “bloody obvious.”
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Re: What is man?

Postby Neri on March 18th, 2017, 12:40 pm 

Eclogite,

You should provide a clear explanation of your position with any facts you may have to support it, so that I can better target my citations. You should also cite authority to support your theory—whatever that theory may be--even if you may find it insulting to do so.
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Re: What is man?

Postby Eclogite on March 18th, 2017, 12:46 pm 

Neri » Sat Mar 18, 2017 3:59 pm wrote:Eclogite,

When I have the time I will provide you with a bibliography on world history, anthropology and primate behavior so that you may educate yourself on the “bloody obvious.”
That is unnecessary. I have an extensive library on primate behaviour, modest material on anthropology and reasonable world histories, with a strong bias towards World War II and Hitler. What I have asked you for is specific research that establishes, or at least points strongly towards, your contention that - despite a couple of million years adjusting our instincts to work effectively in small tribes - we managed to transform those basic instincts within a few thousand years.
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Re: What is man?

Postby wolfhnd on March 18th, 2017, 6:58 pm 

Athena » Fri Mar 17, 2017 2:39 pm wrote:The distinguishing feature of homo sapien is he is the only animal that explains his behaviors. It is his reasoning powers that separate him from all other animals. This is one of the things that separates him from homo erectus, not his teeth. However, both are mammals and share much in common with other mammals. Both are social animals, however, the advanced social connections between homo sapiens do to his greater reasoning powers, explains why homo sapiens are so successful and home erectus is extinct.

http://www.differencebetween.com/difference-between-homo-sapiens-and-vs-homo-erectus/

Homo sapiens and Homo erectus are the modern man and one of the extinct species of man-like or hominids respectively. There are many differences between them,


An important difference is the ability to write and read books and therefore accumulate knowledge for thousands of years, making progress possible. Human cultures lacking this accessibility of information have not progressed that same as humans who are well educated. Humans who have developed science have gained a higher degree of control of their environment, and this makes them very different from all other animals.


The evidence is pretty clear that first the culture and then the brain. The same is true of the teeth. Culture of course cannot exist unless it can be transmitted so yes communication is a key component.
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Re: What is man?

Postby Neri on March 18th, 2017, 10:54 pm 

Eclogite,

Honestly, I have no clue what you are talking about. I get the distinct impression that you have not read my posts with a view to comprehending them.

I have nowhere contended that primitives have adjusted “[their] instincts to work effectively in small tribes.” What do you mean by “effectively”—effective in surviving or in doing what? If in surviving, then their instincts were up to the task without need of adjusting.

In fact, there was no adjusting done by primitives living in tribes. They were cooperative to those within the tribe because they were sensed as “us.” They were brutal, cruel and homicidal to competitive tribes, for they were sensed as “them.” These same instincts were at all times operative and are so today.

If you are attempting to resurrect the tired and tattered notion of the “noble savage” as some sort of buttress for the anarchistic contention that humans are by nature kind, loving and cooperative and would be so today but for corrupt and coercive social institutions—then, you should consult your extensive library to discover the true facts.

As examples, you might want to consider the habits of the North American Comanche Tribe or the headhunting tribes of Borneo. You will find that they were indescribably brutal to their adversaries [who, by the way were themselves just as vicious and homicidal]—in much the same way that the English and Germans treated each other in the last Great War.

[Headhunting continued in Ireland and the Anglo-Scottish marches until the end of the Middle Ages. Demonstrating the superficiality of civilization, American troops in the Pacific Theater of World War II cut off Japanese heads then sold or kept them as souvenirs; and Australian and British special operatives of Z Special Unit retained the services of the Dayak of Borneo, a headhunting tribe, who collected the heads of hundreds of Japanese.]

The difference between warring tribal communities and so-called civilized nation states seems to be more a question of the killing capacity of their weapons than any difference in the desire to slaughter as many of the enemy as possible.

It should be clear that I have not contended that “we managed to transform those basic instincts within a few thousand years.” On the contrary, I have maintained that there has been no change in the size and constitution of the human brain over the millennia and that we are essentially the same genetically since our primitive beginnings.

I have said that our native blood lust has been suppressed within the social group (toward those considered “us”) but this has always been so. It is a case of one instinct for a time overshadowing the other, depending upon the circumstances. Both the “us” sense and the “them” sense are native to our species and have ever been so.
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Re: What is man?

Postby Athena on March 19th, 2017, 2:23 am 

wolfhnd » March 18th, 2017, 4:58 pm wrote:
Athena » Fri Mar 17, 2017 2:39 pm wrote:The distinguishing feature of homo sapien is he is the only animal that explains his behaviors. It is his reasoning powers that separate him from all other animals. This is one of the things that separates him from homo erectus, not his teeth. However, both are mammals and share much in common with other mammals. Both are social animals, however, the advanced social connections between homo sapiens do to his greater reasoning powers, explains why homo sapiens are so successful and home erectus is extinct.

http://www.differencebetween.com/difference-between-homo-sapiens-and-vs-homo-erectus/

Homo sapiens and Homo erectus are the modern man and one of the extinct species of man-like or hominids respectively. There are many differences between them,


An important difference is the ability to write and read books and therefore accumulate knowledge for thousands of years, making progress possible. Human cultures lacking this accessibility of information have not progressed that same as humans who are well educated. Humans who have developed science have gained a higher degree of control of their environment, and this makes them very different from all other animals.


The evidence is pretty clear that first the culture and then the brain. The same is true of the teeth. Culture of course cannot exist unless it can be transmitted so yes communication is a key component.


Well, I wasn't going to post until after resting, but I am so grateful for agreement, I will say so now.

I think there is so much to be said about the importance of environment, social organization, contact with people who are different, and the development of language and numbers. Just having the body and brain mass of a human, does not equal being someone who can manage in our modern cultures. And when that is unavoidable, aboriginal people have been known to die because they could not adjust to new culture. Small children can be socialized to function in any culture, but mature humans may find it impossible to adjust.

http://www.heretohelp.bc.ca/visions/aboriginal-people-vol5/aboriginal-mental-health-the-statistical-reality

there are serious concerns about mental illness and social ills such as substance abuse, addiction, suicide and violence among Aboriginal people and communities. The imposition of European culture and the loss of indigenous culture, lifestyle and self-determination is seen as a major cause of health and social problems in the population.


This video gives an explanation for why aboriginal people tend to do so poorly when their way of life and cultures is destroyed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wfcro5iM5vw
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Re: What is man?

Postby Athena on March 19th, 2017, 10:00 am 

Thus, we enjoy blood sports such as prize fighting and cage fighting, bull fights and the like. We go to car races, secretly hoping that drivers will be killed or seriously injured. We delight in violent films—the more violent the better. We devour plays and novels that depict murder and mayhem in excruciating detail.


The quote is from the OP. Does everyone agree with it?

I don't find anything in myself that enjoys any of that. I love mysteries but not the ones about someone being killed. The mysteries I love are the mysteries of life, wanting to know of ancient man-made structures and of the people who made them, or exactly what is protein and what is oxygen? What would be like to see the world through ancient Mayan eyes? What can we know intuitively? But the above- no thank you, I don't want that in my life, and it troubles that some people do.

I think our different notions of what we want is a problem for me in the forums. While some to love attacking, I am very concerned about respecting and trusting one another. While some focus on empirical correctness, I am focused enjoying our humanness which is for me caring about one another. It is not right to think that OP statement is true for everyone. It is not true of everyone.
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Re: What is man?

Postby Athena on March 19th, 2017, 10:23 am 

Eclogite Honestly, I have no clue what you are talking about. I get the distinct impression that you have not read my posts with a view to comprehending them.


There is a difference between thinking and reasoning. We do not start out capable of understanding complex concepts. Early in US education teaching was done by the Conceptual Method, training children to think in increasingly more complex concepts. That method of teaching was replaced with the Behaviorist Method which focuses on memorization and short term thinking. How we think depends on how our brains were prepared for thinking.

The education we had was good our democracy and people getting along without living in a police state. That is having liberty because of shared morals and education for good moral judgment. The education coming out of the 1958 National Defense Education Act is good a Military Industrial Complex, and it appears Trump is the ideal leader for this. We do not all think the same. I stress, how we think depends on how we are taught to think.
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