Search Results

Search results 1-20 of 25.

  • Susan, I think the key thing is that any such consciousness would be materially based. The mind is what the brain does-- so the beings most advanced in pleasure, wherever they are, are necessarily made of matter also, not disembodied. I agree they don't necessarily have to resemble humans. What they get pleasure from could be completely different from our own pleasure. Pleasure is how we are ranking them, not any other feature-- so when we say they are "greater", that doesn't mean that they are …
  • "Bigger or more profound" than the human mind-- if that means more effective at gaining and maintaining pleasurable lives, it would be Epicurean. Although I find awe to be one of the pleasures and can imagine feeling awed in the presence of a supremely pleasure filled being, the profundity isn't in the being-- it's how I feel in the presence of something incomprehensible. That incomprehensible sensation can be pleasurable, but it's not the way I would rank the beings as gods. That would rest on …
  • Susan, yes! You are getting exactly to the heart of what people confront in themselves, in order to understand this philosophy. We have been so indoctrinated to think "worthy of reverence" must refer to some quality other than pleasure. People resist letting go of it. Indeed, it makes them squirm. Setting anything other than the feeling of pleasure as the measure of greatness means you have got virtue ethics mixed up in there. The feeling of reverence is a pleasure. But our having that feeling d…
  • I'll throw in here that one of the activities stimulating the strongest pleasurable feeling of reverence in my own body is holding a newborn... the opposite of big and profound, lol. Newborns have gained little skill at deliberately achieving their own pleasure-- they are not godlike in that way. They have an innate preference for pleasure, along with some innate behaviors to get their needs met, like crying to be fed or held. But I still experience a deeply pleasurable wonderment and awe when h…
  • That's definitely relevant! A couple of thoughts... first, he sticks to what a noble human is. Not a universal quality for all beings, but a species he knows about and is one of. Then he ties the definition to a feeling, specifically the feeling of reverence, which keeps it from being abstract. If accepted as a definition, it makes the word "noble" useful for communication, whereas an idealistic use results in confused communication. To be fully pleasure filled, I think a human would need to exp…
  • Ah, interesting, Susan-- I actually don't think it is something in the baby, the music, or the aurora, any more than I think the pain of a hot pepper is in the pepper. Sure, capsaicin is in the pepper, but for birds it isn't painful. I think all feeling responses are properties of the subject doing the feeling, and that similar stimuli will often bring about similar feelings because we are in the same species. I don't think the Aurora Borealis, absent an observer, contains anything that would un…
  • Oh, cool, Wikipedia actually has an interesting entry... the last section says vastness could be the primary thing that triggers it. In which case it is still relative to our ability to comprehend, not inherent in whatever we are perceiving. There's a possibility it strengthens social hierarchies. That especially interests me, because I am fascinated by the whole guru phenomenon. If someone perceives that vastness in a charismatic leader, this does tend to lead to extreme hierarchies where peopl…
  • I'm fine with moving it to public. Susan, one thing I'd say is that the sensation of awe as connectedness with something "greater" (which is still, IMO, a type of vastness-- vastness not necessarily only meaning physical size) does not mean that there _is_ some attribute of the thing in question which belongs to a _being_. Humans have awe in response to inanimate objects too, and it is not evidence that during those moments, there is some other consciousness we are contacting or intuiting. The s…
  • Susan, the senses and the feelings are different, or Epicurus wouldn't have considered them separately. Although I have called it the "sense" of awe, awe is a feeling, not a true sense. A feeling does not tell us the pepper is red-- it is not that kind of data. It tells us our feeling about a situation-- it does not give us descriptive data of the kind you are describing, such as that you are contacting an "intelligence" which also perceives you. If we start saying that feelings tell us about ph…
  • It becomes extremely problematic to say that experiences while taking psychedelics are somehow more accurate perceptions of reality than how our brains perceive minus psychedelics... we would have no way to distinguish between accounts people have of extraterrestrial encounters, hallucinations during schizophrenia, etc, and what we perceive ordinarily. It is the same argument people in various religions use, that they have directly experienced the Christian god specifically, and that this is evi…
  • At any rate, I do not see a correlation between the "blessed beings" Epicurus described and the frequent religious intuition of connecting with a vast intelligence "behind" the inanimate parts of the universe. Epicurus goes to great trouble to assure his students that material phenomena do not require a coordinating intelligence or any type of divine intervention to happen. And we have just finished a section of Lucretius where he gives his reasoning as to why the "soul" cannot persist outside t…
  • There is room for different interpretations of the prolepses. I personally always look at anything Epicurus says to see if I agree with it-- if he says something I think is scientifically either too far of a conjecture or already falsified by evidence we have today, it doesn't bother me to say I disagree. IF Epicurus had proposed that prolepses could be used in isolation, minus sense evidence or at least inferences consistent with sense evidence, then I would say oops, Epicurus, on that proposal…
  • For me, on the prolepses-- I think they give us extremely valuable and accurate information about ourselves, about our species, about how our brains work, and that is reality. I do not think we could know these things about ourselves any other way, because the prolepses are experiential. So I don't have any quarrel with counting prolepses in the Canon, as long as we also do not stray from evidence of our senses. I think our recognition of a spectrum type pattern of "most to least" tells us there…
  • I love the feeling of awe. Although some describe it as containing an element of fear, that is not the case for me, and I suspect that may be partly related to my lack of belief in the supernatural. Here's a short description of some research on animism in adults. I knew about animism as a predictable developmental phase in children because of my work, but I was also aware through observation that many adults retain at least some vestiges. The way it manifests can be as subtle as just a sensatio…
  • This is an interesting article about many facets of religious (here equated with the supernatural) belief and our neurology-- discusses our HADD, hypersensitive agency detection, which had evolutionary advantages even if factually inaccurate. That's what I'm talking about with vestigial animism, the HADD. The rudimentary basis for religion. Midway through, there's a bit about humans using god concepts to back up their moralities. Which we need to take care to avoid in EP. We have recognized that…
  • The bbc article I tried to paste in comment above-- idk why it didn't show up. Don, evolutionary biologists think our innate sense of justice is symmetry. Tit for tat. Babies go through a phase where they love to hand items back and forth-- endlessly, lol. It's different from innate empathy where they don't like to see harm, but it winds up connecting for many... not all. The prolepsis of justice for some adults includes empathy and for others, it remains more of a straight symmetry situation.
  • One of the difficulties in quoting the texts is that cases can be made for conclusions out of alignment with the philosophy as a whole, if one is not cautious. Although I like DeWitt, I don't consider him necessarily accurate on every single issue, and I feel most confident taking the PDs, VS's, and letters as a whole than I do working from his quotes. I could quote Epicurus on specifics about elementary particles which have clearly been shown incorrect by experimental data. If I insisted someon…
  • Don, one thing I always remember is that it was against the law upon pain of death to refuse to participate in worship and rituals. No doubt in those rituals, things were said which completely went against Epicurus' description of the gods, because the prevailing religions went against his framing. We don't have his explanations for his choice, but I would guess he didn't feel like being put to death over it. I'd happily chant with supernaturalists if someone said they'd kill me if I didn't. I'm…
  • Cassius, one of the most frustrating things about constructed meaning for me was always that it was so flimsy... I could never make existentialism work if I _knew_ I was "making my own meaning", because having to make it meant it wasn't real in some way. Theologies about supernatural gods do the same thing to people. They get dumped unprepared into a world suddenly devoid of meaning. People who study neuroscience are among the highest percentage atheist groups, because they learn how we fool our…
  • One more thought-- a philosophy that puts so much emphasis on observation of nature could never be expected to keep the exact details of how things work the same. Change in those details is embedded in the origin of the project. This is not neo-Epicurean, because that would mean things like deciding virtue is absolute, without evidence, or that Epicurus wasn't really talking about pleasure, etc. Nothing about re-examining the prolepses is neo, because we are probing nature, as Epicurus did. It r…