Elayne Level 03
  • Member since Dec 5th 2018
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Posts by Elayne

    I agree with almost everything Cassius said, except for a slightly different take on the hypothetical being a purely logical argument. I take his formulation as a counterfactual, similar to when he said if all pleasures were distributed over the whole person and of the same intensity, they would all be the same -- there, he was asserting that pleasurable feelings _do_ have variety. Because of his observations.


    I think it's similar here-- by presenting a counterfactual, he is saying he hasn't observed such a strategy succeeding. That partying doesn't relieve fears of the supernatural-- according to his observations.


    Of course, yes, embedded in that formula is also the supremacy of pleasure as the goal, and his condemnation of the strategy because it fails at pleasure. But his point is more about his observation on the strategy and its failures than on logic and hypotheticals.

    Y'all is definitely one of my favorites words 😂. Although my parents were from Alabama, I was born in CA and didn't live here until age 7. So I initially used "you guys" but quickly adopted y'all... which, interestingly, feels much more inclusive of me as a woman. I know some people roll their eyes at objections to the universal male in language... but just imagine if someone said "you gals" and told you gals means everyone. If that would sound weird, then it gives you a hint of my feeling 😂. Just sign me "notaguy"!

    Cassius apophenia was correctly described by Matt -- it's not gullibility. It's like seeing a face in a piece of toast and having the sensation it means something. I say sensation because it's not a rational process-- it's much faster than that. It's our pattern recognition function. In diseases like schizophrenia, apophenia can be extreme-- the whole environment full of apparent signs and portents. But it happens to typical people also. If I saw the same article Matt saw, which I won't post bc political, a game designer described how a group was convinced some irrelevant wood shavings on the floor of a basement were in the shape of an arrow, so they tore into a wall expecting to find more clues. Great article!


    It's relevant to us here because pattern recognition is tricky for us. We all see more patterns than are present-- more cause-effect event connections. We blame the fast food place for a virus bc we ate there, etc.


    Smartphones and social media can amplify pattern errors. I'm sure Epicurus would have something to say!


    That article also discussed epiphany, the "aha" moment, as addictive. I can see that 😂. Maybe it would be a pleasure to be cautious with.

    Don -- use the whole context of the philosophy. Epicurus never places anything greater than pleasure. He is saying we can actually experience total-- perfect-- pleasure. That it's not abstract. The profligates are not going far enough! They are leaving some of their pleasure on the table.


    It is hard for people today to drop the middle path ideas they've been inculcated with. EP is not a middle path. It's a path of the most extreme, total pleasure, experienced by humans in reality. Epicurus could testify to it because he lived it.

    Don in the context of everything Epicurus said, he did not mean whatsoever to limit their desire for pleasure to something less than total bliss. That's why I wrote about what he was really talking about. You said you agreed, but it doesn't sound like you do. He wants for them to understand that they can actually achieve complete pleasure, instead of thinking it is infinite, requires infinite desires, and can never be experienced. He means it differently than how we would mean it today. Teaching them the limit means teaching them that they can both desire and achieve total bliss, in the real world. He would censure them for failing to desire and reach total pleasure-- because they are still anxious and partying has not relieved their fear of gods.


    He wants them to desire _more_ pleasure than they currently do-- not less.


    An analogy would be a coach cheering on a runner near the end of the race-- a runner who thinks the race is endless, even Sisyphean, impossible to complete, and may be giving up. Epicurus the running coach is saying guess what? You are only a few yards from winning, because the pursuit of the goal of pleasure has a finish line!! And to reach it, you need to know there is no reason to fear the gods or punishment in an afterlife.


    A pleasure pill that was truly as advertised, trustworthy, in a world with no threat to longevity, would be the wise choice. But I would need to see a huge amount of research.


    Cassius you said the only way for some people to be sure of something is if they can say it with internally consistent logic. Those kinds of people are Platonists. But they will never actually understand EP through logic, because EP is not primarily logical but experiential, evidentiary, and feeling based. So that doesn't do them any favors, to say that our philosophy is logic based.


    Remember that Elli has explained to us that his use of the term "reasoning" did not mean logic at all but _prudence_. Wisdom, which comes from experience. We must repeatedly bring anyone who wants to learn the philosophy back to their experience of life-- not logic.

    Don you did say PD10 was about taking responsibility though-- but that's only in service of pleasure. So that would not be a reason to turn down a true bliss for you pill in an environment free of threats, if you believed it was as advertised.


    I saw an article a couple of weeks ago about some major developments in aging research. It might become possible to stop aging. That wouldn't prevent death from injury, infection and so on, but it would increase longevity dramatically and reduce age related suffering. If I were convinced of the safety and effectiveness, I would take that kind of pill.

    Don then maybe I misunderstood what you said about "teaching us limits"-- because he didn't use it that way.


    Cassius You've lost me 😂. Pleasure being maximized at the absence of pain is not a logic statement at all. It's just a description of observed experience. If he had not felt complete pleasure at least a few times when he couldn't detect any pain, he would have no grounds for such a statement. It would just be a hypothetical.


    I knew he was correct when I read it the first time because it agreed with my experience. What he describes is simply a real, achievable condition. It does get interrupted for most if not all of us, but it isn't an imaginary ideal. It's a real experience! If it were not, I would likely have little interest in Epicurus.

    Cassius -- of course, we can't really even have conversations and think without any reasoning at all. However, a strong appeal of this philosophy to me is that logic is _nowhere_ in the Canon. It is a supplemental tool _only_. Primarily used for explanation to others, but not as the fundamental basis.

    I know we have different opinions on prolepses, but it is going too far to assert that the basic conclusions of EP must include contributions from logic that are not already established as evidence. That is adding logic to the Canon itself.


    I would stay instead that when it comes to applying logic, be sure to conform your logic to observations and not the contrary. We can't refrain from logic completely but in this philosophy it is secondary.

    Here's another analogy-- if our need for pleasure were like an infinitely large universe, complete pleasure could never happen for a human, not even for a second. We would always need more and more.


    But in contrast to his view of an unlimited universe, he taught that our capacity for pleasure does have a limit, the point at which all pain is removed and pleasure is full! So this is a good sort of limit to have. It doesn't reduce our pleasure, as if we need to moderate pleasure -- it makes pleasure completely blissful, no pill needed. He is saying we can be satiated. We are not doomed to endless dissatisfaction with incomplete pleasure.


    And I find by observation of my life that this is exactly true. It's not whatsoever a logic process for me but direct observation. Of course, as he acknowledged, pains do come in life which are unavoidable. But I have also had not just moments of feeling full pleasure but extended periods, and what disrupts that is _not_ inability to be satiated but a change in conditions. If I have eaten enough, I am not becoming disappointed with that satisfaction in a few hours, but my food gets digested, a change in conditions, creating hunger again.

    Don If the awareness of choosing is essential to bliss, then the bliss pill must provide that too-- if anything at all is missing from total pleasure, then it's not a total bliss pill, by definition! If someone else's bliss is not yours, and it's marketed as total bliss for you, then it's false advertising! That would go into my own reasons not to take it, lol-- I would not be convinced there could be a pill that would give complete bliss to a wide variety of individuals.


    I don't think you understand PD 10. If you take it in context with the entire body of writings, it is very clear Epicurus places nothing above or equal to pleasure. The problem is that the pleasures of the profligates not only produce more pain than pleasure but that they leave anxiety unaddressed, and thus they can't produce complete pleasure. They leave the pain of anxiety. And he is talking about limits not because of the modern concept of "knowing our limits." He is referring to the understanding that once you have removed all pain, you will be full of maximum pleasure, a real and wonderful feeling, and that we are not (as was argued in his time) forced to seek more and more pleasure endlessly, if there is no pain. He is saying complete pleasure can actually happen for humans.

    Ack. I think the article is pretty bad.

    She says the application of rationality must itself be enjoyable or no reason to do it-- untrue. If studying boring material for a test leads to passing a class and gaining access to a more interesting class, I would (and have) done it. That's basic EP, sometimes choosing a pain for greater pleasure.


    Self control reducing pain to others and the self? Basic misunderstanding that pain to others is painful to us (most of us), so it should not be listed separately. If we didn't care about them and there were no consequences from them, they wouldn't enter into consideration. It's empathy that causes us innate inclusion of their pleasure.


    She lists associations of consumerism without clearly linking those to the reader's pains. Lot of assuming there.


    Did Epicurus have security for "all" as a goal? I don't see that.


    We've discussed the bliss pill a lot. She's wrong that the person wouldn't be in reality-- the pill is real, so the effects and pleasure experiences are real. The problems we've identified are that hypotheticals don't contain real world details. If it really were continual pleasure, complete pleasure, there would be nothing missing. If it was boring or somehow unsatisfactory it wouldn't be bliss as advertised. If it felt unreal in an unpleasant way, it wouldn't be bliss. The flaws in her argument aren't a logical failure just a failure to remember pleasure is an actual feeling. She is substituting a reasoning process for the feeling.


    Most wouldn't take it bc in real life, we use pain as a warning of tissue damage, and this pill might severely shorten our lives if we had no way to know our appendix was rupturing, etc. It would require not just a bliss pill but total safety from all life-shortening harm that we would lose our ability to notice. Most of us also wouldn't necessarily trust such a medication without extensive testing. If we had a way to stop all harm and threat of harm, then we wouldn't need the bliss pill anyway 😂.


    Although we can't increase the height of pleasure past the limit of removal of pain, most people do want to extend the area under the curve, longevity-- we want to continue our pleasure. So this bliss pill would be a risky move.


    I don't find this a justification for chains of logic. Instead, although there are some pragmatic issues, mainly she seems to forget pleasure is a feeling.


    On the political side, she has confused EP with social utilitarianism. Not the same. In EP we would expect to see people trying to max their pleasure, including their vicarious pleasure at that of others, probably by a negotiation process, making justice contracts.

    Don I think maybe I see what you are doing. Yes, a mental process, cognition, can _also_ cause pain or pleasure! That was one of Epicurus' major themes, that pleasure is both through the sense organs and through various thoughts, such as memories. If the reaction to thoughts is desirable, something we enjoy, it is a felt sensation-- a feeling. Not the thought itself but a response to the thought. Happiness for most is a feeling of pleasure, whether or not a thought is what triggered it. I feel happiness as a strong wave of pleasure in my body.


    Here is the cause of pleasure with painful hot peppers-- it is not cognitive. The pain fibers are being stimulated and this triggers the release of endorphins. For some people more than others. I'm not a fan, lol. I get enough pleasure in ways that don't make me cry 😂.


    It's possible that the apparently simultaneous feeling of pleasure in one part of the body and pain in another is just extremely rapid attentional task-switching-- but if so, it is so rapid that it is too fast for us to consciously experience sometimes, and feelings are experiential. I have felt simultaneous pain and pleasure-- not mixed (a different thing), but both seemingly at once. It is similar to vision-- neurologically, I am not really seeing the wide field of objects I experience seeing simultaneously. But because that very rapid process of filling in the whole field is impossible to experience consciously, I experience the act of seeing the whole visual field.

    But elements _are_ the same thing as modern atoms. There are carbon atoms. Hydrogen atoms-- not "atoms" but actually atoms. I think by the quotation marks you used, you are thinking that's metaphorical, but it isn't. I don't get why you wouldn't make an analogy between ancient atoms and modern atoms but you would for ancient atoms and modern elements which are the exact same thing as modern atoms. Or are you saying something else and I'm being dense, lol?


    This issue with atoms combining to make molecules happens also with the elementary particles, which are the building blocks for the parts of atoms and thus both atoms and ultimately molecules. That makes them just as reasonable a candidate for analogy, plus they have the indivisibility (we think).

    I think you're making it more complicated than it is. I'm just talking definitions. All language is necessarily an abstract representation, including when it comes to feelings. I am saying that most people, including me, use the word happy to communicate a feeling of pleasure. Not a thought or analysis but a simple feeling.


    There are many words for pleasurable feelings of various types, which shouldn't be surprising considering the huge numbers of ways our brains can be affected by various pleasurable neurotransmitters. There is serotonin, oxytocin, different endorphins and endocannabinoids, along with a variety of receptors for each in different parts of the nervous system. All of which can be combined in a huge variety of proportions, locations, and intensities!


    I'm not sure why you don't agree that awareness of having had sequential pleasure would be painful if the person thought they weren't supposed to feel pleasure? That happens all the time with people in repressive religions, with sex. They feel guilty, sometimes simultaneously with pleasure.

    Awareness of sequential pleasure would be nothing if not for the fact that such awareness itself is pleasure, and I am quite certain I myself experience it as a feeling 😃 and not a cognition.


    If a person felt guilty about pleasure, awareness of sequential pleasure wouldn't feel happy but painful.


    I do think Platonism has penetrated culture sufficiently that there are some people who define the word conceptually. But I stand by my assertion that most ordinary people, non academics, "feel happy" rather than "think happy."

    I did a poll once of my FB friends on whether happiness is a feeling or a concept. They said feeling except for one person. The songs "Don't worry, be happy", "If you're happy and you know it clap your hands"-- these are feeling songs. To use it abstractly is a philosophy attempt to denigrate feeling by saying your happy feeling isn't real happiness-- you should seek an abstract ideal instead. It's the ivory tower against the people, trying to make life esoteric 😂. That's Platonic, to make it abstract.


    I use it the way ordinary people do, as an expression of a pleasurable feeling.