Vervaeke, Awakening from the Meaning Crisis

[quote=“citizenschallengev4, post:61, topic:10251”]
I hate to poke this meme, but to me it sounds like you’re saying a switch is a computer.
It’s beyond right or wrong.

No, I am saying that the network acquires an emergent awareness (consciousness) when it is processing data. When you are asleep, you may dream but that is purely internal and is not influenced by external input.

Beyond that I don’t think viruses have a place in this thread,
it’s an non sequitur.

I thought that the statement would agree with your philosophical perspective of evolved organisms and that we must include all available evolutionary data in order to understand the fact that earth itself is an organism that maintains a homeostatic control over the its own ecosphere.

Moreover, natural selection selects for durability and efficiency in a species’ relationship with its environment.

Let’s get back to the philosophy, which is what this thread is about.

As long as philosophies diverge , there can be no order. It is only when we agree on our observations, is when we may call that reality and can bring order into the hypothesis, for falsification. I don’t want to discuss viruses per se, but I believe their unique place in the hierarchy of living organisms bears mention.

It’s not that simple. Our dreams are about processing external experiences we collect during waking hours. Plus the internal part of your brain/mind continues monitoring external conditions, which can impinge on dream in a myriad of ways.
Ever sleep with a baby monitor and a breathing sleeping, to restless, baby at the other end? You’ll learn a thing or two about dreams and the real time world intermingling.
Or try sleep and dreaming with extremely high heat and humidity and low air circulation.

That’s why I’m easy with leap frogging past the old masters after a cursory review.

Real Earth bound sciences has demonstrated a great many real time facts, that simply remain off our radar to our everlasting detriment. I respect you, and enjoy our exchanges, still you are an example of that malady, especially since you keep reinforcing it with stuff like this virus diversion. Yes virus are part of evolution. What’s the point? What’s it got to do with better understanding our consciousness, mind?

As for earliest life, all this took place over extended periods of time, earliest life couldn’t have been anything like the life we moderns are expecting. Between pre-life and post-life, there must have been a confusing muddle beyond our ability to conceive it’s intricacies, at least not without looking through a different lens, than the current self-absorbed Abrahamic lens.

Again I believe this brings us back to the matter of limiting questions, and hubristic over expectations.

If single-celled organisms can communicate what about a galaxy of a 1000 trillion connected single cells?

What about it?

If you can’t (or don’t want to) grasp the difference between a single-celled organism communicating with itself and a 1000 trillion celled complex organism communicating with itself, and pondering their own self, against the backdrop of the universe,
then I really don’t know what to say.

C’mon, I am the one that introduced that very mindscape. Now you tell me I don’ t grasp the breath and scope of what that entails?

You may be off by about 30,000 years. It is more than likely that Homo Sapiens caused the extinction of the Neanderthals, who lived some 400,000 years before us, apparently in harmony with nature.

Homo Sapiens has always been very good at waging war and causing extinction of the natural environment wherever we settle.

New archaeology dives into the mysterious demise of the Neanderthals

Char from ancient fires and stalagmites in caves hold clues to the mysterious disappearance of Neanderthals from Europe.

For more than 350 000 years, Neanderthals inhabited Europe and Asia until, in a sudden change by evolutionary standards, they disappeared around 40 000 years ago. This was at around the same time the anatomically modern human Homo sapiens emerged from Africa.

Through this approach, the SUCCESS project reconstructed the paleoclimate (prehistoric climate) between 40-60 000 years ago. In contrast to ice-core analysis from Greenland, there were no data indicating catastrophic climate change in Italy, making it unlikely to have killed off the Neanderthals.

They closely examined a period of around 3 000 years when populations of Neanderthals and humans may have co-existed by excavating seven sites they once inhabited. They investigated the cultural and tool-making differences between the last Neanderthals and the first Homo sapiens in Italy.

Homo sapiens in Italy used specific types of technology including artefacts such as shell ornaments and projectiles like arrowheads.

In fact, SUCCESS unearthed the earliest evidence for mechanically delivered projectile weapons in Europe.

Weapons mismatch

Neanderthals would have found themselves at a severe disadvantage to their Homo sapiens relatives in terms of weapons technology. However, that meeting in Italy may never have happened.

Recently discovered remains in southern Europe show that at least one Neanderthal had been alive 44 000 years ago while the oldest Homo sapiens remains have been dated to 43 000 years ago. It is possible that they overlapped, but none of the current evidence shows that, Benazzi said.

Really? When? Where?
I can only recall you constantly bringing the discussion down to microtubules, that is the nanoscale, while avoiding the implication of the complete organism in action.

No, I’m not off by 30,000 years, I’m talking about the modern post glacial era that saw the rise of complex civilizations and modern thinking and philosophizing. Of course, it’s built upon the rest of prehistory, but that’s another story.

True enough, but again, it’s not what I’m trying to discuss here.

Or, can you tie what your trying to discuss into modern humanity coming to grips with who we ourselves are - namely, evolved biological sensing creatures who’s consciousness is basically the inside reflection of our body dealing with itself and the world around it?

Regarding that paper, it has a provocative title,

New archaeology dives into the mysterious demise of the Neanderthals

But finished with no conclusions:

The questions about Neanderthals, such as why they went extinct, are very ambitious, said Mallol. ‘Those questions require that you first determine who they were and how they lived with a lot of information –– and we don’t have that information yet,’ she said.

With each new piece of information, archaeologists and scientists burrow deeper into the mystery of why our closest relatives suddenly disappeared while Homo sapiens managed to survive.

While scientists may struggle with pinpointing exactly how old homo-sapiens are, their presence had spread much further than Neanderthals in the period between 200,000 BC and 40,000 BC.

Homo sapiens were in Southern and Eastern Africa 200,000 years ago, eventually migrating north and inhabiting Eurasia up to 40,000 BC, Southeast Asia up to 70,000 BC, and Australia up to 50,000 BC.

Why did Neanderthals become extinct?

"Neanderthals became extinct around 40,000 years ago, although their DNA lives on in some humans. The exact reasons for their extinction are unclear. However, some of these reasons are thought to include increased competition from early homo sapiens, as well as interbreeding with them.

Moreover, the inability to cope with extreme conditions such as climate change and natural disasters is another reason they went into extinction.

The general consensus is that it is unlikely to have been one specific reason that caused their extinction, but rather a combination of many factors."

Are you saying it’s possible for humans to shake off that 10,000 years and start fresh? And if so, is that starting point the realization of evolution, of ourselves as evolved beings? That seems a bit contradictory to me, but even if it’s not, there’s a lot that would need to be fleshed out. What exactly do we teach children now? Do we tell them that the feelings they have of being connected to their parents aren’t real? That they are isolated minds, and their bodies are supplying them with incomplete information? Trying not to be too sarcastic, but I really don’t know what you are suggesting.

This idea of what the last 10,000 years left us with got me thinking. Wouldn’t be great if someone could have written as eloquently as Shakespeare at that time. Our brains haven’t changed that much, it’s the language that has improved, and we’ve tried some really dumb ways of living and seen how they failed. I don’t think those ancient wise men and witch doctors really believed what they were saying, not in the sense of the word “belief” as we use it today.

I think they understood the power of storytelling, and of energizing people’s natural ability of self-healing and self-reflecting. The hard part is passing on the ability to ride that fine line between creating a culture that is growing into being more in tune with reality, versus having the rituals and practices that can do that stagnate into a culture that thinks it IS in tune with reality and doesn’t need to grow. Look at the US Constitution for example. It was designed to be amended, and the founders themselves led the way with 10. But today, we can’t even get one that says everyone has equal rights.

Oh lordie, let’s not get all hung up on trivia. The past ten thousand years is humanity’s most significant, it’s the period when humanity went from an equal among animals and became the masters of the universe we have turned into.
That is all that’s about.

Where’s that one come out of anything I’ve been discussing?
What you are trying to say, let alone explain, with that?

I don’t know where that comes from either?
I don’t find it hard to believe they “believed” what they were saying, because they had no other point of reference, beyond wonder.

We went from belief formed from ideas and experience to hard evidence collecting and beliefs based on facts on a scale utterly unimaginable during all the previous eons of Earth and her creatures.

That too much is never enough?
That being concerned with oneself above all the rest is the way to get ahead in this world?
That we have an unbridgeable divide between our brains and bodies?
Tell me what is it we teach our children now? That we are so disconnected, lost even, because someone killed God? (sarc)

We don’t teach children that their mind is the inside reflection of what their body/brain is dealing with (itself and the world around us).

We don’t teach children that their body and brain is intimately connected to each other. Or that it’s the body/brain that produces our mind.

We don’t teach children to personalize our evolution, or the simple fact that we were born from Earth processes and in fact we are the cumulation of eons worth of natural experimentation and honing. Nor the significance of our mammalian body plan being our natural heritage.

Now I imagine you’ll tell me, but we do teach kids evolution!?
But do we?
There’s a huge difference between pointing at something we are told, and actually absorbing and internalizing the fact of it in a significant manner.

Yeah, it all seems pretty hopeless, eh.
Though here again, not sure how that relates to the simple notions that I’m trying to discuss.

What you seem to forget is that the homo sapiens mind is not a result of gradual evolution, learning and adapting along the way

Our current brain is a result of a mutation that took the human mind millennia into the future without knowledge or understanding of the deeper natural evolutionary processes.

We lack the wisdom that comes with observation of the way things work over long periods of time. That is why, instead of nurturing earth, we are busily destroying it, due to our juvenile greed and lust for power.

We speak of going to the stars and terra-forming planets with hostile environments, while we cannot even maintain the ecosystem of an eminently hospitable planet under our feet. Who are we kidding? Ourselves, that’s who!

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Gradual is a relative term.

Not sure what you think I forgot. Ironically, this is the most harmonic post of yours I’ve read in a while. Harmonic in that reading through it, I agree with your words and can’t find anything to pick on.

I think YouTube is eavesdropping in on our dialogue, I got this nudge and it’s very cool talk by Brian Fagan and quite apropos to #66 because it discusses the same topic. I’ve been impressed by a couple of his book and found this a very interesting

Cro-Magnon: How the Ice Age Gave Birth to the First Modern Humans


March 29, 2012, at the Linda Hall Library of Science, Engineering & Technology Brian M. Fagan, best-selling author and professor emeritus of archaeology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, takes us on a journey into the late Ice Age world of the Cro-Magnons, the first full modern Europeans, who arrived in their homeland before 40,000 years ago. Who were these people? Where did they originate? And what made them different from earlier, more archaic human beings who lived alongside them?

Professor Fagan explores the complex and still mysterious relationship between the incoming Cro-Magnons and their Neanderthal neighbors, who became extinct about 30,000 years ago.

Was it climate change, brain power, superior technology, or sheer overwhelming numbers that marginalized the Neanderthals? The lecture ends with a brief look at the remarkable cave art of the late Ice Age, the earliest known artistic tradition in the world.
(though it’s a shame the videographer didn’t bother to show us the screen, we miss a good slide show.)

I’m asking you what you think. I know the world sucks. I’m letting you know that what I hear from you is that we need an appreciation of deep time, etc. That led to an awakening for you. Cool. So, how do you create that in others?

Ironically, this is what I’m saying you are doing. How do you/we make a culture absorb something in 150 years, that took X thousands of years to get assembled into a theory?

We went from belief formed from ideas and experience to hard evidence collecting and beliefs based on facts on a scale utterly unimaginable during all the previous eons of Earth and her creatures.

There’s a good place to start. How did we do that?

Of course, that’s why I say we have to do our own homework.

I’ve been chewing on that for a while.
I can’t create this in others.

I’ve been on my own passionate, engaged, proactive adventure, which has taken suggestions and sustenance from hundreds of scientists and writers and a lot of thinking and my life has been filled with dozens of uniquely personal epiphanies,

WIKI: : a usually sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature or meaning of something. (2) : an intuitive grasp of reality through something (such as an event) usually simple and striking. (3) : an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure.

Although, the big thing about an epiphany, is that it has a deep impact and induces a permanent shift in one’s outlook and attitudes.

All these people who’ve taught me went through their own series of epiphanies in order to accomplish their great insights and achievements. Today, there of hundreds of thousand of scientists and students and people, millions who know details a hundred times better than I do, whose acuity, intelligence, and communicate skills dwarf mine.
But most come out of the same old self-absorbed “Abrahamic Mindset” and its undercurrent infuses our society to this day.

I best I can hope for is developing an excellent “elevator pitch.”
That’s it really, then I hope it will resonate with some, they’ll run with it according to their own particular journey.

For me it’s all about the lens through which we view our reality. Perhaps a sort of metaphorical “Zen Koan” to catch people off guard in a good way, one that is truer to Physical Reality and scientific understanding than anything the Greeks, Chinese, Indians, middle-ages, or pre-moderns came up with.

One that inspires people to look at the knowledge they’ve acquired from this more inclusive (Earth, biosphere, evolution, heck our own bodies even) attitude that touches them on a personal level.

The only thing I can hope for is to share my experience as best I can.

I keep rewriting, and rewriting but to do that constructively requires good faith push back from folks such as yourself and Write. Oh, on a personal note finally, a couple days ago, I received serious detailed critique of my 4 essays plus my abortion piece, reviewed by a real professor of writing at $75/hr. I won’t be opening it until I’m back home in Colorado. That will require serious me focused time, I expect the critique will kick my ass, but I’ll keep getting up and doing better until I lick it (or my $500 will have been wasted).

Have you ever noticed how serious writing and rewriting is downright pugilistic on an emotional level? Those last four essays I shared here, that was my last best solo shot, too spent to pick it up again, at least not without a push. So our back and forth this past week, or so, has been awesome, as training and warm up for getting back in the ring again, though that won’t be for another week or so. Gotta keep grooving on another amazing reality, kids growing up, topped off my a stop off at my own daughter’s before heading home.

What a long strange and magical trip it’s been. :v:

I know what you mean. I had a good 10K walk in the woods today. A good recharge.

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Too bad, I thought it was brilliant. It came from me. It wasn’t a response to anything you said, but part of what I was trying to get you to understand. I think it’s funny that people (not necessarily you), will easily come up with theories about how religions were made up by powerful people to control others, but claim there are “true believers”, or lack sympathy for the people being controlled.

Anyway, here’s a story. I went to Indiana University. It has an eight-story tall library, up on a hill, it’s impressive. Sometimes I would go and just poke around in the stacks. I found a book with a story about a shaman training a student. They were on their way to visit a sick woman and stopped by a stream. The Shaman picked up some rocks and selected a few. At the woman’s, he waved them around then gave her one and told her to hold it for a few minutes each day and concentrate. He also told her to have some broth and get rest.

After they left, he told the student there wasn’t any magic in the rock, that she just needed something to focus on besides being sick and concentrating would maybe enhance her immune system. You can’t tell someone they are getting a placebo. I don’t remember what the book was, but you can find things like this throughout history, priests and magicians who admit to knowing about psychology and the power of belief.

If you ask me, the scientific revolution was more about the weakening of the government/religion power base coinciding with an increase in valuing propositions and speech. People asked the clerics to prove themselves throughout history, but they were killed for it, or just forced out of the community (which was a pretty harsh punishment at the time). The idea of science was there for a long time, other forces had to come together to make it part of education, politics, and common sense.

Okay rereading it perhaps I can guess where it’s coming from.
Add a few words at the end and it could be even more brilliant.

I think you’re touching on the difference between awareness that comes from interacting with nature,
as opposed to scientific data and facts knowledge which is cold and sterile and that gets transmitted through writing, as opposed to experienced.

I’m going to have to save reading the rest of your comment til tomorrow I need to go to sleep.

Have a good one.

True enough.

Justing having someone to take the time to let you know they care, a little human touch; an ear that listens; eyes that care, it makes big differences.

Right, I’m sure that such concentration helps one’s actual insides rally and focus the bodies defenses. Most injuries and even illnesses are pretty near self healing, so the trick is to help the body along, it’s already figured out how to cure itself most of the time. Doesn’t mean it can’t be overwhelmed by stuff turn deadly.

My nurse practitioner twin likes to point out:

“Mind over matter is important, but matter matters.”

Kids that hate school tend to get sick and more often, whereas kids that enjoy going to school, go to school. Mild maladies are fended off, rather than indulged.

Or the lonely and semi-lonely, having an interested human come by, spend some time, lend an ear, and eye that pays attention and cares - that’s been documented to go a long way in improving vigor and mental health.

Most all of us, getting to know a new interesting person, be it a love interest or someone of mutual whatever interests, or circumstance, or simply harmonious personal vibes, meeting and getting to know that other person make a real if often subtle difference within our bodies and how healthy we feel and are (within reason).

Understanding the mind is the inside reflection of what the body is doing and feeling, helps make sense out of that.

If you ask me, the scientific revolution was more about the weakening of the government/religion power base coinciding with an increase in valuing propositions and speech. People asked the clerics to prove themselves throughout history, but they were killed for it, or just forced out of the community (which was a pretty harsh punishment at the time). The idea of science was there for a long time, other forces had to come together to make it part of education, politics, and common sense.

Sure, and all of that belongs to our mindscapes, even if it’s fruits are physical.

All of human behavior and institutions and such, reside beneath the actual scientific project, namely, striving to understand the physical universe we exist within, and the bodies we inhabit, as objectively as possible.

One could scream with indignation, that it’s this mindscape stuff that dictates our lives, so I’d better take it real as death. Sure, ironically that’s precisely what the Abrahamic self-absorbed lens is all about.

But, I’m an Earth Centrist and have acquired a refined lens thanks to grasping something fairly out in the open, at least for all educated folks with a reasonable understanding of Earth and medical sciences.

Human Mindscape ~ Physical Reality divide.

We really are evolved biological sensing creatures, the cumulative sum of billions of years worth of ongoing biological engineering and honing via evolution.
Creations of Earth’s processes.

(That also puts all of pre-atomic age philosophy into an entirely new light, one that modern philosophers ought to start explicitly recognizing.)

PS. Citizenschallenge: Watching Flames, Pascal Bruckner Fiddles, fanaticism of the apocalypse

I imagine I’d be more circumspect with my intro these days, but then again, sometimes sharp edges are justified, even if they irritate.


Watching Flames, Pascal Bruckner Fiddles, fanaticism of the apocalypse

December 28, 2014

Over at my WUWTW blogspot one of the most visited posts is “Pascal Bruckner’s “Fanaticism of the Apocalypse” - A Citizen’s Response” dated June 18, 2013 which still receives a surprising number of regular viewings. This prompted me to google his name and see if anything special was going on these days, doesn’t seem to be, but I did read another article (ironically posted the day before my first critique) based on his book “Fanaticism of the Apocalypse” that I found disappointing and shallow. Not a reflection of our real world situation at all.

Worst is Bruckner’s seeming insistence that all this concern about what’s happening to our climate is some frivolous fad and that all we have to worry about is our worries. Most disconnected from the reality of global trends and quite frankly begging for a rebuttal, which I am providing, until someone with more intellectual horse power has the nerve, or interest, to take on the great French thinker Monsieur Pascal Bruckner.

I reprint the full text, neither having, nor asking for permission, because Pascal puts himself out there as a great thinker trying to influence the masses, also considering this was posted at The Chronicle of Higher Education, it seems only proper that they allow his words to be examined with a skeptical eye.

For me, a prime example of the “Abrahamic mindset,” not seeing beyond his own self-absorption.


I stumbled on these today 5/29/23 and they seem to fit in pretty well with my perspective:

We live in a community of knowledge. Everything we do depends on knowledge that is both inside our head as well as out in the world and in other people’s heads.

Steven Slomen1, author of Knowledge Illusion: Why We Never Think Alone

The key to the origin of the human condition is not to be found in our species exclusively, because the story did not start and end with humanity.

E. O. Wilson, The Social Conquest of Earth

Only humans and social insects can build and manage large-scale societies according to complex economic decision rules.

Alright, my months of being away from home half the time are over, so I finally moved on to the Chapter 23. It’s a doozy.

He makes a rare, flat out statement that both the idea of the mind as a blank state, and the movement of Romanticism were wrong. He moves on to Nietzsche and Schopenhauer, but this series will probably never get to a “this is what is right” point. Either that or it will be weak. He keeps talking about psycho-technologies for accessing meaning, but I’m not sure he knows how to teach those, he’s too academic. But, the exercise is still valuable.

Here’s why. He exposes the problems of things like believing that we can access reality via math. After a few minutes of intro, he asks the question, why does math work at describing reality? It takes a few more minutes to answer, basically, it’s because that’s what the mind needs to shape the reality that is actually there. Our mind can’t grasp quantum realities and relative time through our senses, so it needs a filter, a framing.

There are still problems with this view, and it doesn’t solve the problem of how we find meaning, but it gets off the island of “I think therefore I am”. The Romantics were in a similar place to what I find problematic with @Write4U’s themes. We can’t know if we live in a mathematical universe if we are experiencing that universe as a controlled hallucination. Math might get us to a complete understanding of everything someday, and we might all be able to not only DO the math but EXPERIENCE the results, but we aren’t there yet. Knowing that we don’t know is the only honest interpretation we have for now.

I believe you are missing the point .

  1. The universe doesn’t give a hoot if we understand the universe’s own generic mathematics. It’s
  2. Our consciousness allows us to observe and experience the results of Universal maths via controlled hallucination.

Proof: The Higgs Boson.

But this runs much deeper.

Are you with me?
New model explains origins of empathy

Mafessoni and Lachmann posited that animals, including humans, can engage in the act of simulating the minds of others. We cannot read other minds — they are like black boxes to us. But, as Lachmann explains, all agents share almost identical “black boxes” with members of their species, and “they are constantly running simulations of what other minds might be doing.”

This ongoing as-actor simulation is not necessarily geared toward cooperation: it’s just something humans and animals do spontaneously.

An example of this process is represented by mirror neurons: it has been known for some time that the same neurons engaged in planning a hand movement are also used when observing the hand movement of others. Mafessoni and Lachmann wondered what the consequences would be if they were to extend that process of understanding to any social interaction.

Since i never mentioned the universe caring about anything, I’d say you are missing the point