Created by vs. Descended from?

Discussion in 'Religion Archives' started by Carcano, Apr 4, 2013.

  1. Balerion Banned Banned

    That's obviously untrue, since risk and reward are at the foundation of every religion. Indeed, without some kind of risk and reward, religious behavior is pointless.

    The point is that the psyche doesn't operate as if it is eternal, so self-preservation is a motivator for everyone on an unconscious level regardless of belief.

    What is that passage saying if not "Leave that alone, this is much better for you?" It's appealing to emotion and desire just like any other sales pitch.
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  3. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    The idea of an ego defense mechanism suggests that there is 1. an ego, and 2. that this ego is threatened and needs to be defended.

    All this in the context of the idea that the universe is a horrible, dangerous, threatening place in which one has to fight for one's position in it.

    And as long as the pursuit of personal benefit is conceived in the context of the universe being a horrible, dangerous, threatening place in which one has to fight for one's position in it, that limits the scope of said pursuit to attempts to avert the threats and dangers. Whereby these pursuits are bound to eventually fail, given that one has an understanding that the universe was there before one arrived into it, and will be there after one leaves it.

    IOW, if one conceives of life as the pursuit of happiness or personal benefit, that motivation in it carries its own defeat.

    Actually, the risk-reward system comes back to bad faith, or the conviction that one is actually an impostor, an alien in the universe, and that the universe is trying to destroy one.
    If one believes oneself to be an integral part of the universe, issues of risks and rewards don't enter the picture.
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  5. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    That assessment will depend on the stage of moral reasoning of the speaker.

    According to Kohlberg's theory, what you are describing would be on the lowest level of development of moral reasoning.

    Whose psyche doesn't operate as if it is eternal?

    Doesn't follow.
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  7. Balerion Banned Banned

    This is a bit of a non-sequitur, because moral reasoning is not synonymous with religious behavior, as religious behavior more often than not concerns itself with issues that are not related to morality (even if they claim it to be) such as certain injunctions for what to wear, or restrictions on diet. And regardless of one's reasoning for being altruistic, there is still a physiological reward for the behavior, so it's beneficial to the individual even if they believe the act to be selfless.

    Miranda Lambert. No, wait--David Duchovny.

    I'm sure there are outliers who are underdeveloped in certain areas of the brain and might not feel the same self-preserving drive, but certainly you've got a better point than that...?
  8. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    It may form "part" of it, but its certainly not too hard to find references that indicate it is far from perfectional.
    IOW religious practice may cast a broad net in order to appeal to a wide range of people (or more correctly, on account of their splayed desires, people may commonly pursue material goals while simultaneously adhering to some sort of religious framework) , but as far, normative behavior for achieving liberation goes, its pretty clear that one is expected to develop a more mature attitude to spiritual practice

    thats simply your material experience speaking - IOW this whole discussion pivots on the notion that there is a grander scale of existence, namely one not affected by the standard conditions of material existence (birth, death, old age, disease, etc). Granted that you may not personally accept it for whatever reasons, but at least for the sake of this discussion there doesn't seem to be much point in your not even theoretically entertaining it.

    IOW its a poor time of the discussion to fall back on something like "but that can't be true because god doesn't exist" or whatever.

    Well yes of course.
    Given that we are already quite familiar how to submit to base desires and get degraded at an exponential rate, its probably not a topic many people seek guidance in.

    However this reference is clearly establishing that hedging one's bets for a grand material existence tends to erode whatever efforts one has in store for spiritual life.
  9. Balerion Banned Banned

    I feel like you're missing my point. Perhaps I'm not being clear. Whatever religion or spiritualism dresses this "mature practice" up as, it's still nothing more than chasing down those things we want in this world--health, enlightenment, everlasting life. The only difference is that religion and spiritualism sometimes gives these desires different names and claims they lie beyond the grave.

    I'm actually not falling back on that. I'm saying that our minds objectively do not function as though we are eternal. You said that self-preservation is not a motivator for someone who believes they are eternal, and I'm telling you that everyone has survival instincts, regardless of their belief. It's why you experience pain and pull your hand away from the open flame, it's why you run from danger. Whether we actually are eternal is irrelevant to this point.

    You're presuming here that there is a spirit to be degraded, and that materialism is what does it. I can't really address this except by disagreeing. In any event, it doesn't really add anything to the discussion.

    Yes, by laying out the risk and implying the reward. Without the initial conceit that there is a spiritual existence in which one can live well or poorly, there is nothing of value in these words. It's all boils down to whether the person wants paradise or something less than that.
  10. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    Then what do you make of the reference I gave earlier, explaining how worldly pursuits erode the necessary determination to adopt "mature practice"?

    actually I said its not a motivator for someone who is eternal.
    Survival instincts are simply exclusive to the world view based on the acquisition of opulence, as mentioned earlier.

    actually I am talking about how to degrade one's self and operate on an inferior level of performance.
    One doesn't require to be elevated to a sublime level to understand that its not something one requires special guidance in

    The problem is that if one is solely attracted to the notion of spiritual existence because they have a great material set up there (one gets to live nicely, no disease, death etc) one is effectively prohibited from attaining it due to "worldly desires".

    IOW a superficial attachment delivers a superficial result - namely relegation to the material world.
  11. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Nobody said it was.

    I said:

    A religious statement will be interpreted according to the stage of moral reasoning that person who is interpreting is on.
    Meaning that different people, who are each on different stages of moral development, will interpret the same religious statement differently.
    So the same religious statement can be understood in terms of punishment and reward, but it can also be understood in other ways.

    Skinner's ghost is still haunting ...

    You said:

    and that doesn't follow, because not everyone's psyche operates as if it wouldn't be eternal.
    Some people do in fact operate out of the conviction that they are souls in bodies, and that while the body grows old, grows ill and dies, the "psyche" - the soul - is eternal, and in and of itself not subject to aging, illness and death.
  12. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    One thing I don't understand, though:

    If karma (here to mean materialistically oriented actions) cannot affect one's spiritual life, then how can "hedging one's bets for a grand material existence tend to erode whatever efforts one has in store for spiritual life"?

    Obviously, one cannot but act, and so one does one thing or another. So one either does something for the sake of spirituality, or for the sake of materialism. In that sense, saying yes to materialistically oriented actions means saying no to spiritually oriented actions, and vice versa. And thus, simply by this principle of exclusivity of actions, one walks further along on one path or the other.

    But if karma (here to mean materialistically oriented actions) cannot affect one's spiritual life, wouldn't that mean that even if a person at some point mostly or exclusively dedicates themselves to materialistic pursuits, their spiritual level remains the same, without degenerating?
    (Although the point can be made that the person who prefers materialistic pursuits didn't have much of a spiritual attainment to begin with, so there isn't much that could degenerate.)

    And if one's spiritual level is something that needs to constantly be maintained and developed by constantly taking spiritually oriented actions (much like one has to swim or tread water in order not to sink), that would mean that spirituality is not something constant, persistent, permanent - much less immanent or inherent. - ? -

    While this latter seems to be in line with the idea that we jivas are contigent and marginal beings who can reside in either the material or spiritual plane, I do find it rather scary, as it makes spiritual life look like a parallel version of karma, as opposed to the free, careless, acting-in-line-with-one's-true-nature kind of being that I've come to associate with spirituality.
  13. Balerion Banned Banned

    Again, religious behavior does not always concern morality, so insisting that the value of religion must be based on whatever "stage" of moral reasoning a person currently occupies is a non-sequitur. You're clearly misunderstanding both my post and Kohler's theory.

    No idea what that's supposed to mean.

    The psyche as a soul does not exist. The psyche is the mind, and regardless of conscious rationalizations, the mind does not behave as if it were eternal. It behaves as if this life is the only one we have, and attempts to preserve it at great cost. As I explained to LG, this self-preservation instinct is why we run from danger, feel pain, and naturally seek comfort. And everyone does this, regardless of their spiritual beliefs.
  14. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member



    If this claim is based on the above, my question still stands.
    If it is based on the intended meaning of the word "psyche", then you're mistaken.

    Even if the bolded text is correct, how does this qualify the statement "the mind deos not behave as it it were eternal"?

    No one is denying that we have animal instincts. All creatures possess these traits to some capacity or other.
    The consciousness as you say ''naturally seeks comfort" and relief from these unwanted situations. The nature (as in ''naturally'') is a different nature than the
    animal instinct, otherwise you wouldn't have pointed it out. So if nature (as you see it) is all there is (the soul does not exist), then what is the nature of wanting to be ''comfortable''?
    Where does that come from?

  15. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    So. Who's Kohler?

    BF Skinner, one of the big names of behaviorism. Also known as rat psychology.

    Yup, rat psychology.
  16. Balerion Banned Banned

    I think they make faucets.

    Skinner is not known as rat psychology. And his work taught us a lot about human behavior.

    It's human psychology, wynn.
  17. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    That's the level of your paying attention, yeah.

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    Maybe behaviorism is not associated with the term "rat psychology" where you are ...

    It's "human" psychology based on the human study of rats, pigeons, dogs and monkeys, but mostly rats.
  18. Balerion Banned Banned

    I mistyped Kohlberg's name. Sue me.

    If by "where you are," you mean "the real world," then yeah, you're right. Loons with no clue what they're talking about might call it that, though.

    Do you also refer to medicine as "rat" medicine because it is tested on rats? Do you think it is any less viable because it is tested on non-human species? What evidence do you have to support this belief? Anything? C'mon, make an effort for once. I'll even give you a day to study so you can pretend to have an original argument.

    And humans. I guess you haven't gotten that far in his Wiki, which appears to be the sum-total of your awareness of the man.
  19. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    You didn't just mistype his name. You mistyped it as you were once more misrepresenting what I said.

    Google "rat psychology." It's a derogatory term, and it's not used much (although it used to be common enough in European academia a couple of decades ago).

    Sure, they did some studies on humans. After they have gotten their ideas and basic convictions from studying rats.
  20. Balerion Banned Banned

    Sorry, LG, your post got lost among the drivel. Thanks for replying, and sorry for the delay.

    Not to nitpick, but if you're referring to the Bhagavad Gita passage, it didn't actually explain how such pursuit eroded anything, it simply made the claim that it does. Also, the "mature practice" is nothing more than devotion to the Supreme Lord, which is simply abiding by the rules. I feel like you're trying to gussy it up as something more than that.

    To your question, I would say that the injunction to abandon "material" behaviors and adopt "spiritual" ones is merely sleight of hand. They're just defining the material behaviors they don't agree with as "material," while labeling the ones they want you to duplicate as "spiritual," but they're appealing to the same desires that drive our "material" pursuits in the first place.

    But again, the truth claims are incidental to the last point, which is that they're simply appealing to your materialistic desires, whether it's eternal life, knowledge, or wealth.

    Again, whether they are eternal or not is irrelevant to this discussion. All that matters here is belief.

    But again, it's not exclusive to a world view. If you feel pain, you have survival instincts. If you feel fear, you have survival instincts. If you jump at loud noises, you have survival instincts. Everyone has them. You might be conflating this with fear of death, which can be overcome with belief that one is eternal in nature, but note the key word there: overcome.

    In any event, you're missing the point; the passage is setting out a clear risk for those who partake in a certain behavior, and a reward for those who behave otherwise. It's the very foundation of the faith--without appealing to fear and to desire, it has no legs.

    No, that's not what it's saying at all. It has defined certain behaviors as corrupting or ill, and set out an alternative group of behaviors that are deemed proper. It's not saying you shouldn't value comfort, disease, everlasting life; in fact, it's relying on the fact that you do, otherwise there would be no reason to follow the rules. It's simply telling you that a particular set of behaviors is the correct way to fulfill those desires.
  21. Balerion Banned Banned

    I didn't misrepresent anything. You, again, attempted to forward an argument you don't fully understand. You are the definition of a Wikipedia Warrior, and I have no interest in playing along with your intelligence fantasy.

    I'm well aware that you used the term pejoratively. I'm also aware that you haven't any idea what you're talking about, and are relying on your own quasi-theism as the basis for your disagreement with his proposals. Which is why I'm not surprised you've dodged the question of "rat medicine."

    Skinner was a psychologist, so his education was in human psychology. The usage of animals as surrogates in scientific testing, whether it is behavioral or medicinal or otherwise, is common. You only have a problem with this because you believe humans to be fundamentally unique, which is based on (again) your quasi-theism, not any actual evidence or research.
  22. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member


    Yet another round in a rat maze with Balerion.

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  23. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    LG -

    What say you to this?

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