Myth as Meth

Discuss arguments for existence of God and faith in general. Any aspect of any orientation toward religion/spirituality, as long as it is based upon a positive open to other people attitude.

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Magritte
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Myth as Meth

Post by Magritte » Mon Sep 12, 2016 9:42 am

Here's a great little essay from R. Scott Bakker, a talented fantasy author and philosopher:

https://rsbakker.wordpress.com/2016/09/06/myth-as-meth/
What is the lesson that Tolkien teaches us with Middle-earth? The grand moral, I think, is that the illusion of a world can be so easily cued. Tolkien reveals that meaning is cheap, easy to conjure, easy to believe, so long as we sit in our assigned seats. This is the way, at least, I thematically approach my own world-building. Like a form of cave-painting.

The idea here is to look at culture as a meaning machine, where ‘meaning’ is understood not as content, but in a post-intentional sense: various static and dynamic systems cuing various ‘folk’ forms of human cognition. Think of the wonder of the ‘artists’ in Chauvet, the amazement of discovering how to cue the cognition of worlds upon walls using only charcoal. Imagine that first hand, that first brain, tracking that reflex within itself, simply drawing a blacked finger down the wall.

Traditional accounts, of course, would emphasize the symbolic or representational significance of events such as Chauvet, thereby dragging the question of the genesis of human culture into the realm of endless philosophical disputation. On a post-intentional view, however, what Chauvet vividly demonstrates is how human cognition can be easily triggered out of school. Human cognition is so heuristic, in fact, that it has little difficulty simulating those cues once they have been discovered. Since human cognition also turns out to be wildly opportunistic, the endless socio-practical gerrymandering characterizing culture was all but inevitable. Where traditional views of the ‘human revolution’ focus on utterly mysterious modes of symbolic transmission and elaboration, the present account focuses on the processes of cue isolation and cognitive adaptation. What are isolated are material/behavioural means of simulating cues belonging to ancestral forms of cognition. What is adapted is the cognitive system so cued: the cave paintings at Chauvet amount to a socio-cognitive adaptation of visual cognition, a way to use visual cognitive cues ‘out of school’ to attenuate behaviour. Though meaning, understood intentionally, remains an important explanandum in this approach, ‘meaning’ understood post-intentionally simply refers to the isolation and adaptation of cue-based cognitive systems to achieve some systematic behavioural effect. The basic processes involved are no more mysterious than those underwriting camouflage in nature. [...]
Bakker pursued a PhD in philosophy then decided to become a writer rather than make a career in academia. He still writes journal articles and speaks at conferences.

Met, this will be catnip to you, I think. :D
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Metacrock
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Re: Myth as Meth

Post by Metacrock » Mon Sep 12, 2016 11:17 am

I hate that idea. That is part of what I am most against.,
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Jim B.
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Re: Myth as Meth

Post by Jim B. » Mon Sep 12, 2016 11:52 am

Magritte wrote:Here's a great little essay from R. Scott Bakker, a talented fantasy author and philosopher:

https://rsbakker.wordpress.com/2016/09/06/myth-as-meth/
What is the lesson that Tolkien teaches us with Middle-earth? The grand moral, I think, is that the illusion of a world can be so easily cued. Tolkien reveals that meaning is cheap, easy to conjure, easy to believe, so long as we sit in our assigned seats. This is the way, at least, I thematically approach my own world-building. Like a form of cave-painting.

The idea here is to look at culture as a meaning machine, where ‘meaning’ is understood not as content, but in a post-intentional sense: various static and dynamic systems cuing various ‘folk’ forms of human cognition. Think of the wonder of the ‘artists’ in Chauvet, the amazement of discovering how to cue the cognition of worlds upon walls using only charcoal. Imagine that first hand, that first brain, tracking that reflex within itself, simply drawing a blacked finger down the wall.

Traditional accounts, of course, would emphasize the symbolic or representational significance of events such as Chauvet, thereby dragging the question of the genesis of human culture into the realm of endless philosophical disputation. On a post-intentional view, however, what Chauvet vividly demonstrates is how human cognition can be easily triggered out of school. Human cognition is so heuristic, in fact, that it has little difficulty simulating those cues once they have been discovered. Since human cognition also turns out to be wildly opportunistic, the endless socio-practical gerrymandering characterizing culture was all but inevitable. Where traditional views of the ‘human revolution’ focus on utterly mysterious modes of symbolic transmission and elaboration, the present account focuses on the processes of cue isolation and cognitive adaptation. What are isolated are material/behavioural means of simulating cues belonging to ancestral forms of cognition. What is adapted is the cognitive system so cued: the cave paintings at Chauvet amount to a socio-cognitive adaptation of visual cognition, a way to use visual cognitive cues ‘out of school’ to attenuate behaviour. Though meaning, understood intentionally, remains an important explanandum in this approach, ‘meaning’ understood post-intentionally simply refers to the isolation and adaptation of cue-based cognitive systems to achieve some systematic behavioural effect. The basic processes involved are no more mysterious than those underwriting camouflage in nature. [...]
Bakker pursued a PhD in philosophy then decided to become a writer rather than make a career in academia. He still writes journal articles and speaks at conferences.

Met, this will be catnip to you, I think. :D
I haven't read the article, but the excerpt sounds kind of reductive (maybe it's 'meant' to be "post-intentional"?) and behavioristic.

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Re: Myth as Meth

Post by Magritte » Mon Sep 12, 2016 5:50 pm

All y'all ought to read it. He's saying things you'll disagree with, but from a slightly different perspective. He's a bit Nietzschean in that he takes an attitude of "oh dear, this isn't good at all" towards his ideas and futurism.

For example, he fears we're headed towards a "semantic apocalypse" if we're not already there in some sense:

https://rsbakker.wordpress.com/2011/06/ ... pocalypse/

Seriously, read that, because he crystallizes what I think is a very real existential threat, coming from ourselves, from our knowledge of ourselves, and from our nascent and existing technologies.
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Re: Myth as Meth

Post by Metacrock » Tue Sep 13, 2016 12:02 am

Magritte wrote:All y'all ought to read it. He's saying things you'll disagree with, but from a slightly different perspective. He's a bit Nietzschean in that he takes an attitude of "oh dear, this isn't good at all" towards his ideas and futurism.

For example, he fears we're headed towards a "semantic apocalypse" if we're not already there in some sense:

https://rsbakker.wordpress.com/2011/06/ ... pocalypse/

Seriously, read that, because he crystallizes what I think is a very real existential threat, coming from ourselves, from our knowledge of ourselves, and from our nascent and existing technologies.
That is a lot like Marcuse in his on liberation phase. Also reminds me of Ftiz Mouthner and maybe Rorty
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Re: Myth as Meth

Post by Metacrock » Tue Sep 13, 2016 12:02 am

Magritte wrote:All y'all ought to read it. He's saying things you'll disagree with, but from a slightly different perspective. He's a bit Nietzschean in that he takes an attitude of "oh dear, this isn't good at all" towards his ideas and futurism.

For example, he fears we're headed towards a "semantic apocalypse" if we're not already there in some sense:

https://rsbakker.wordpress.com/2011/06/ ... pocalypse/

Seriously, read that, because he crystallizes what I think is a very real existential threat, coming from ourselves, from our knowledge of ourselves, and from our nascent and existing technologies.
That is a lot like Marcuse in his on liberation phase. Also reminds me of Ftiz Mouthner his view concrete gesture mined by Joyce and Becket, and maybe Rorty
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Re: Myth as Meth

Post by Magritte » Thu Sep 15, 2016 7:23 am

Metacrock wrote:
Magritte wrote:All y'all ought to read it. He's saying things you'll disagree with, but from a slightly different perspective. He's a bit Nietzschean in that he takes an attitude of "oh dear, this isn't good at all" towards his ideas and futurism.

For example, he fears we're headed towards a "semantic apocalypse" if we're not already there in some sense:

https://rsbakker.wordpress.com/2011/06/ ... pocalypse/

Seriously, read that, because he crystallizes what I think is a very real existential threat, coming from ourselves, from our knowledge of ourselves, and from our nascent and existing technologies.
That is a lot like Marcuse in his on liberation phase. Also reminds me of Ftiz Mouthner his view concrete gesture mined by Joyce and Becket, and maybe Rorty
I don't really know Marcuse - there's an online copy of On Liberation that I might have a look at. It's pretty utopian about science and technology, isn't it? Bakker is much more downbeat about technology.

Mauthner I've never heard of, I searched and found an article on your blog! Will look into it when I have a minute.

Rorty, hmmm. I can see how his idea of pulling together on the basis of our common humanity - "solidarity" - parallels what Bakker is saying about post-Enlightenment morality having our needs and desires as its backbone - but these things are precisely what Bakker is saying we're on our way to annihilating - we're destined to lose that commonality by virtue of our endless self-tinkering.

Are you familiar with Jonathan Haidt? He talks about how modern Western moralities are "thin" and non-Western traditional moralities are "thick", i.e., we're primarily concerned with basic harm and benefit, whereas traditional moralities are also very concerned with hewing to customary behaviours. You can see the same thing with liberal and conservative worldviews. I'm just reading The Righteous Mind now, it's very good.
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Re: Myth as Meth

Post by Metacrock » Fri Sep 16, 2016 12:05 am

Magritte wrote:
Metacrock wrote:
Magritte wrote:All y'all ought to read it. He's saying things you'll disagree with, but from a slightly different perspective. He's a bit Nietzschean in that he takes an attitude of "oh dear, this isn't good at all" towards his ideas and futurism.

For example, he fears we're headed towards a "semantic apocalypse" if we're not already there in some sense:

https://rsbakker.wordpress.com/2011/06/ ... pocalypse/

Seriously, read that, because he crystallizes what I think is a very real existential threat, coming from ourselves, from our knowledge of ourselves, and from our nascent and existing technologies.
That is a lot like Marcuse in his on liberation phase. Also reminds me of Ftiz Mouthner his view concrete gesture mined by Joyce and Becket, and maybe Rorty
I don't really know Marcuse - there's an online copy of On Liberation that I might have a look at. It's pretty utopian about science and technology, isn't it? Bakker is much more downbeat about technology.
No Marcuse is not a techno guy. He says human sexuality is being re-programmed by productions and consumerism and technology is part of that. the point is we are obidient sheep who can't think.
Mauthner I've never heard of, I searched and found an article on your blog! Will look into it when I have a minute.
Linguist wrote before WWII. Beckett and Joyce liked him, He was a lot like Derridia in some ways. He said language goes in phases where it becomes so abstract that it loses meaning and connection with the people. it has to be restarted with concrete gesture,

what all of them had in common was the things you inked to seemed to say as Rorty did that there are too many good descriptions, reality has no anchor since elaborate deceptions can be realistic.

Rorty: not one true view too many good candidates no one of them gains traction

Marcuse: we are programmed by the materialistic trappimngs of society so we can't break out of the truth regime

Mouther: Language (thus thought) becomes so abstract it can't dispel the illusions of the truth regime, we have togo back ot the concrete like starving,
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Re: Myth as Meth

Post by met » Fri Sep 16, 2016 4:54 pm

Magritte wrote:Here's a great little essay from R. Scott Bakker, a talented fantasy author and philosopher:

https://rsbakker.wordpress.com/2016/09/06/myth-as-meth/
Human cognition is so heuristic [MY EMPH] in fact, that it has little difficulty simulating those cues once they have been discovered. Since human cognition also turns out to be wildly opportunistic, the endless socio-practical gerrymandering characterizing culture was all but inevitable. Where traditional views of the ‘human revolution’ focus on utterly mysterious modes of symbolic transmission and elaboration, the present account focuses on the processes of cue isolation and cognitive adaptation. What are isolated are material/behavioural means of simulating cues belonging to ancestral forms of cognition
Met, this will be catnip to you, I think. :D
IMO, the problematic word for him there is 'heuristic', which almost inevitably would infer some preceding purpose or intention (even if that 'intention' preexists and dominates the individual organism)? (Catherine Malabou also pursues this tact in a slightly different context in her book on Kant, when she proclaims 'purpose' to be 'the other necessity.' Anyway, how do 'heuristics' arise from randomness? WDYT? Does that infer something more? Perhaps minimally some concept like Jim's or Galem Strawsen's 'proto-panpyschism'?
The “One” is the space of the “world” of the tick, but also the “pinch” of the lobster, or that rendezvous in person to confirm online pictures (with a new lover or an old God). This is the machinery operative...as “onto-theology."
Dr Ward Blanton

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Re: Myth as Meth

Post by Magritte » Mon Sep 19, 2016 9:59 pm

met wrote:IMO, the problematic word for him there is 'heuristic', which almost inevitably would infer some preceding purpose or intention (even if that 'intention' preexists and dominates the individual organism)? (Catherine Malabou also pursues this tact in a slightly different context in her book on Kant, when she proclaims 'purpose' to be 'the other necessity.' Anyway, how do 'heuristics' arise from randomness? WDYT? Does that infer something more? Perhaps minimally some concept like Jim's or Galem Strawsen's 'proto-panpyschism'?
That's kind of a weird tangent to his main point, which is simply that our subsystems are depressingly easy to game, and that we're going to be and already are creating our own out-of-context problems where our intuitions (those of us "baseline" humans at least) are unreliable and even weaponized against us. If you want to thunk it down to a basic discussion of consciousness and philosophy of mind... well... :roll: is there a "this shit again?!" emoji? :mrgreen:

Annnyways, heuristics is extremely reducible. We've created heuristic systems. No consciousness required, unless you think malware scanners and self driving cars are conscious. Heuristics is just lazy / sloppy pattern matching. It's pretty easy to see how the ratcheting process of evolution could have generated and refined that. That's the easy problem of consciousness.
One of the hallmarks of freedom is that when you recognize someone is being intellectually dishonest or arguing with you in bad faith, you have the option to walk away without being punished, imprisoned or tortured.

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