The true cause of cognitive stagnation

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by historicfuture, Nov 4, 2010.

  1. historicfuture Registered Member

    For the longest time I thought it was due mostly to thought-silencers, concepts like faith, reinforced by words like infidel and the like.

    Today however, I realize the true cause. It's human inertia. For some reason I can not fathom, if a human believes in something it takes a force great enough to stop that belief. And some peoples beliefs are moving so fast that forces of reason can't even budge them. Without religions we would just have something else to fill their place because of the need for people to hold onto their beliefs.

    I look forward to the day when logic dictates belief rather than belief dictating logic.

    And now a story:

    A young monk is wandering through the mountains, secretly being followed by his mentor. The young monk finds a lizard and plays with it, giggling, and ties a rock to the lizards waist with a string. He laughs, and seems to enjoy it, as the lizard writhes in pain to escape. The young monk does not realize that pain the lizard experienced. The next day the older monk ties a large rock to a rope and then to the waist of the young monk. He orders him not to take it off and to do his daily chores. The young monk suffers and is enlightened to the nature of pain and respect for animals. This builds his intuition so even if it's not a lizard next time, but a mouse, he knows that hindering it causes pain. So now the young monk knows pain, and the opposite that comes with it, non-pain, or pleasure. Later the older monk tells the young monk that for infinite pleasure, or happiness, he must worship the Buddha. This is indoctrinated into the boys mind much like the concept of pain was, and hence the boy cannot tell the difference that one thing is logical and the other is not. If someone were to approach this monk and tell him that the Buddha is just a fallacy, and does not give you eternal happiness, then how can you expect him to understand that and not get hostile, even if its only in his own mind, to your ideas?

    Well it's simple, to beat the mistaken belief you must move it with a greater force than it has on it already, and that's a very hard task. How do we know the Buddha is not real? There's millions of little logical ways to prove it - one being that in order for it to be true you have to have faith, which is just a fancy word for throwing away logic. And anything that throws away logic is just disarming you to install a belief inside you that cannot be easily shaken.

    It's a fucking disease the world over, and it's probably inside you right now.
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2010
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  3. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    You picked the wrong philosophy as an example. Buddhism is not a religion because it has no gods. The Buddha was just a mortal man like the rest of us, who was rather bright and perceptive and came up with some good ideas that have withstood the test of time--like Confucius, Archimedes and Thomas Jefferson. His ideas were not divinely inspired and when he died he stayed dead. He doesn't talk to people or change the course of their lives. They do that themselves by studying his ideas, testing them rationally, and deciding that they're pretty useful.

    Not only does Buddhism not stand in opposition to science, but it embraces science. Buddhist teachers encourage their students to use empirical observation, logical reasoning, experimentation, peer review, and the other cornerstones of the scientific method in their search for the truth. No Buddhist leader of any standing has any but the most respectful and enthusiastic words to say about science, because Buddhism is a search for truth and science is a fabulous tool to use in that search.

    I suppose people can "worship" the Buddha the same way some of us "worship" the Beatles because they contributed so much good to our lives at a time when we so badly needed it. But that's just love and wistfulness, it has no supernatural component. We know John and George were mere mortals like the rest of us, who are now dead, and they know the same is true of the Buddha.
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  5. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    What is cognitive stagnation?
    Is it an inability to learn new facts and skills? An impaired understanding of unfamiliar concepts? Being slow to change and adapt to new circumstances? Disinclination to question one's world-view?

    Is cognitive stagnation bad? Always?
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  7. woowoo Registered Senior Member

  8. jmpet Valued Senior Member

    Not to nit-pick, but this sentince does not sit well with me. No one worships Buddha, Buddhists meditate to become enlightened like Buddha.
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2010
  9. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Lots of religions have no gods, properly speaking. Taoism is another. The Navajo tribal religion, for an example not superficially resembling Buddhism (ask the more Western familiarized shamans, not the missionaries or culturally blinkered early anthropologists).

    Declaring something as universally and unquestioningly listed among the world's religions, for very good reason, to be "not a religion", is goofy. It's a religion by definition - "religion" is our name for such things.
    There are Buddhists who worship the Buddha. Most Buddhists might consider them mistaken, maybe, but they exist.
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2010
  10. Stoniphi obscurely fossiliferous Valued Senior Member

    Yep, just goes to show that there is always somebody that can totally screw up even the very simplest things if they try hard enough.

    The 4 noble truths:

    1) Each life contains both pleasure and pain.

    2) Much of our pain is due to what we attach to. (desire)

    3) We can control what we attach to. (desire)

    4) Employing the teachings of the Buddha is how to do that.

    There is no religion in those teachings, just practical, basic healthy lifestyle choices.
  11. Dredd Dredd Registered Senior Member

  12. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    The #1 definition in most dictionaries requires at least one god. The #2 definition settles for a vague belief in the supernatural. Many modern disciples of both the Dao and the Buddha downplay the importance of even vague supernaturalism.
    It may be common, especially in popular culture, but it's hardly "universal." My wife is a thoroughly rational Buddhist and only her pacifism (which far predates her Buddhism) would stop her from bonking you on the head for daring to call her "religious."
    Homo sapiens is, arguably, the one species whose forebrain has grown so large that we are uniquely capable of overriding the instinctive behavior programmed into our lower brain with behavior derived from reasoning and learning. It's ironic that so many of the institutions we have created, in our path of transcendence over both external and internal nature, reinforce our reptilian ancestry.
  13. Ophiolite Valued Senior Member

    I thought it was generally agreed that using dictionary definitions was pointless if one was attempting to hold an intelligent conversation.
  14. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    The Linguistics Moderator would hardly have been a party to such an agreement.

    The modern American English dictionary, of which there are several which rarely disagree over anything substantive outside of etymologies, is a record of how words are actually used in contemporary speech and writing, both formal and vernacular, as well as in jargon, dialect, law, religion and various professional and academic communities.

    The only way an "intelligent conversation" can be held is for all parties to agree on what the words mean. The dictionary tells us how they are used by reasonably well-educated people when they earnestly intend to avoid ambiguity and confusion, in all but the most arcane or profane conversations.

    What would be the point of using them differently, so that no one but the speaker/writer knows what they are intended to mean? English is one of the richest languages on Earth, in a class with Chinese, German and Japanese, and leaving eloquent and respected languages like Spanish in the dust. If we can't find a single word that has the precise meaning we need, the grammar, syntax and wordstock of English make it absurdly easy to build a phrase or a compound word that does have it, just like speakers of Chinese, German and Japanese do.
  15. Ophiolite Valued Senior Member

    Dictionaries do exactly as you say and that is my objection: they provide "a record of how words are actually used in contemporary speech and writing, both formal and vernacular." What they are singularily poor at is providing a record of how words are used in specialist contexts.

    A careful review of posts on sciforums and other such sites reveals many occassions when conspiracy theorists, creationists, or 'Einstein is wrong' nuts have sought to justify their position by reference to dictionary definitions. They have rightly been shot down in flames. That was the general agreement to which I referred.

    As linguistics moderator you should be aware of these important aspects of semantics and lexicopgraphy. It is disappointing, but not entirely surprising, that you are not.

    There has been a long running debate as to whether or not Bhuddism and certain other philosophies should be classified as religions. Applying a dictionary definition to argue for either side of the issue is trite and laughable. I trust your further comments on the matter, if any, will have more substance.

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