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Actually, what do you think the "Western mind" is, and why is quantum mechanics unacceptable to it?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Jan 2nd, 2008 at 03:51:44 AM EST
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This comes in several flavors.  Catholicism is the foundation, of course, drawing on both Aristotle (foremost) and Plato (secondly).  I will skip over Protestantism (even though I shouldn't, as it laid the basis for both individualism and Capitalism).  

In all forms of Christianity the material is a real (though denigrated) category.  The spiritual is thought to exist and is exhalted, but is separated from the material.  

The Modern West arises co-incidentally with modern science, which investigates public knowledge--that is, that which is publicly verifiable through demonstration or experiment.  This leaves out dreams and visions (the most important part of reality in many cultures), but at this point it does not pass judgment on them.  

By the 19th century certain ancient notions that had been adopted by Christianity as unalterable dogma were shown by science to be false in fact, leading to a war between Christian religion and science.  One consequence of the war was that science moved from non-study of the non-material, to active denial of the non-material.  Science adopted a wholly materialistic point of view.  

Several non-Western cultures blur the material-spiritual distinction.  The interest is not in how to separate them, but in how they relate--how they inform each other.  

If you were really non-materialist you would not be Western in mind.  

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Wed Jan 2nd, 2008 at 04:30:43 AM EST
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I'm entirely materialist, in that I have no idea what "spiritual" is meant to mean any more.  It doesn't make QM bother me: the world is what it is, not what I expect it to be.

Most of the "the West" is definitely not materialist - the problem is that they conflate their mythos with their logos and expect certainty when there is and can be none.  And they're afraid to say "I don't know".

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Jan 2nd, 2008 at 04:34:33 AM EST
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I thought so. ;)  

the world is what it is  

But WHAT is it?  I don't think we know.  A metaphysics is  one's underlying model for everything.  Are there metaphysics that actually work?  

This as an inquiry, not angst.  

And they're afraid to say "I don't know".  

"Don't know" is the starting point for Zen:  It is okay not to know--not at all the worst place to be.  ;)  

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Wed Jan 2nd, 2008 at 04:55:31 AM EST
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Are there metaphysics that actually work?

I'm not sure I really do metaphysics. I must informally at some level I'm sure, but I try not to take it too seriously, whatever it is.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Jan 2nd, 2008 at 04:59:31 AM EST
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But WHAT is it?

I don't know. I don't expect to.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Jan 2nd, 2008 at 05:00:43 AM EST
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"But WHAT is it?"

I've always had a fondness for an 'answer' provided in the Yoga Vasistha (India, 500 CE).

"The world is an impression left by the telling of a story."

by sandalwood on Wed Jan 2nd, 2008 at 09:58:49 PM EST
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What is impression, what is telling a story, what is a story?

My problem with such metaphors is that instead of being compelling for some insight, they are compelling for being antropomorphic, that is, referring to stuff we have 'innate sense of' and don't immediately think  of something whose meaning could be philosophically (or metaphysically) complicated itself.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Jan 4th, 2008 at 08:08:32 AM EST
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Some find such metaphors compelling, others do not. I think many approaches are required because any one approach by itself will always be deficient... it will leave something out for sure. In that sense, all approaches are akin to 'Art' because they are finite constructs which aim at shedding some light onto what is beyond them. Even our best scientific theories are artistic renditions as they address some aspects of reality while leaving others out.

In the classical Indian scheme, there are 6 complementary views... none of which paints the whole picture... these views are called:

Nyaya: Sets forth the rules and limits of thought/logic/language
Vaisheshika: Analysis (an ancient atomic theory is part of this approach)
Samkhya: An atheistic, dualistic approach which posits an essential difference between matter and mind
Yoga: Gnosis
Mimamsa: A theistic approach
Vedanta: Posits an essential non-duality

These are considered complementary approaches.

by sandalwood on Fri Jan 4th, 2008 at 11:10:08 AM EST
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Could you write about this?  It would be new and interesting to many of us, and deserves its own diary and thread.  

The Fates are kind.
by Gaianne on Fri Jan 4th, 2008 at 02:02:54 PM EST
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Thank you for your interest... I will begin to think about this in a diary format.
by sandalwood on Fri Jan 4th, 2008 at 02:22:15 PM EST
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In all forms of Christianity<snip>


Why does everyone insist that Christianity is some simple set of axioms? Christianity is not like dolls cut out of folded paper. We create god in our own image and that image shifts and changes with the individual and the time. Just to be clear here I am speaking of organised Christianity.

Christianity is not some fossil that has been dug out of the ground. Attitudes and ideas of today are found in the religions of today. Christianity in particular has fractured like a pane of glass dropped on the pavement. Like humpty dumpty there are those desperately trying to put it back together, and like humpty dumpty they will fail.

For a bunch of mathematicians, the lack of precision is surprising. Is this the quality of mathematical work? It is 99% true so we will call it universal?

There is a deeper problem than the 1% of Christianity that is not part of all forms of Christianity, and that is the way Christianity is changing. It is affected and altered by the same things that affect everyone. Today's Christianity is not the same as yesterdays. There are people who desperately cling to their vision of the past, but even they put forward a new version of their beliefs and myths. The landscape that they build their beliefs on has changed, so too must be what they build on that landscape.

Not all Christians dress in funny fashions that date from your grandmother, or great grandmother's time.

aspiring to genteel poverty

by edwin (eeeeeeee222222rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddd@@@@yyyyaaaaaaa) on Wed Jan 2nd, 2008 at 09:26:39 PM EST
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