Why every generation despises the image of "reality" that came before » IAI TV (2023)

Throughout history, our predecessors in science and philosophy have been convinced that their particular understanding of reality was at least largely correct. Yet, time and time again, subsequent generations have proved — or at least been convinced to have proved — them wrong. Each generation considers the ideas of their predecessors naive, simple, even superstitious.

During the Renaissance, scientists tried to explain electrostatic gravity by assuming the existence of an invisible elastic substance (called a "stink") that was said to extend beyond the body. Strange as it sounds now, stench was at the time a plausible explanation for empirical observations that, like subatomic particles today, are invisible except for the effects they might have.

As the Renaissance gave way to the Enlightenment, scientists began trying to construct every phenomenon in terms of the actions of tiny blood cells (atoms), which interacted through direct contact. Any explanation that doesn't fit this template is considered an appeal to magic, and is therefore implausible to say the least. That's why the ideas of British scientist Isaac Newton were ignored and even ridiculed for decades; Newton boldly proposed that objects attract each other at a distance due to a mysterious, invisible force he called "gravity" . We know how this story unfolds.

Thomas Kuhn observedThe structure of scientific revolutionsThe changes in scientific and philosophical plausibility are not monotonous. They don't go steady - they wobble. In fact, since Einstein's general theory of relativity, we're back to denying Newton the magical effect of distances where gravity is. Now we have a much more plausible, plausible, stubborn understanding that apples fall to the ground because the Earth...well, bends the invisible fabric of space-time around us, as described by utterly abstract Riemannian geometry in mockery. .

Mind you, I'm not calling into question the veracity of our scientific researchpredictBehaviors of nature, so long as they are empirically validated. General relativity undoubtedly made accurate predictions. The same goes for Newtonian gravity, yes, even the stink of their time. I want to point out thatthe way people think about these predictive behaviors— that is, ourvisualizationormental imageryThings that are happening - can be considered very plausible or downright improbable, depending on the particular historical moment and culture they are in.

Our current mental imagery of gravity under general relativity—that is, the curvature of spacetime—may in the future be considered completely implausible, although that won't change the fact that general relativity is right to the extent the sensitivity of our measuring instruments allows it. The facts of the predictions are up to us to decide.

FORESLÅET VISNING The Thing of the Universe Med John Ellis, Susan Blackmore, Hilary Lawson, Philip Bauer

In this case, Kuhn realized thatmental imageryOur predecessors in science and philosophy believed that what was happening was "produced by the same methods and sustained by the same types of causes that now lead to scientific knowledge." Later generations, however, had excellent, even decisive reasons to think they were wrong. The necessary meaning iswe structurally believe in bullshit.There is no reason to believe that things are any different today. Future generations will have to look back at our mental picture of the world and laugh at our myopia and obtuseness—our credulous tendency to resort to magic.

What are they laughing at, you ask? From physics; several different types of hypothetical parallel universes, each of which may contain multidimensional infinities of such universes; ten spatial dimensions, seven of which are believed to be invisible, and are imagined curled up into very— and imagined - a tight summary of hyperdimensional topological complexity; there are widely conflicting views about the nature of time, such as time does not actually exist, time is the only thing that actually exists (space is illusory), time exists but is not Fundamental - but produced by microscopic quantum. flow; only by labeling to accommodate the completely unknown, such as the concepts of dark matter and dark energy. The list goes on, and the stink is starting to look very plausible and benign by comparison.

But what matters most is not the wild speculation of modern physics; rather, the metaphysics of materialism has come to dominate our culture and even our language. think about things theredust, the thing isinvisiblethereforein spite ofetc. The root of the word "substance"—alma mater- means mother, matrix, from which we are born.

Metaphysical materialism imagines a purely abstract matrix—i.e., matter—that supposedly exists outside and independently of the mind, and then attempts to explain the mind in terms of this abstractionofmind. Its apparent failure to catch its own tail does not seem to be a cause for embarrassment, nor does it even diminish materialism's good reputation in our intellectual circles. Apparently an attraction to magic - i.e. tSummoning the magic of experiential quality from the quantity of exhaustively defined material arrangements- still under considerationvery reasonableToday, it's as fairy witchcraft as it once was.

Still, the key question here is: why do we repeatedly ascribe plausibility to nonsense? What keeps us from seeing the ultimate unsustainability of our mental images? Why do we—with an appropriate amount of snobbery—think our absurd appeals to magic are legitimate, rational, rigorous, even stubborn?

I have a little theory about this. At any point in history, scientists and philosophers have inherited a particular set of fundamental values ​​and beliefs—what Kuhn famously called a "paradigm"—from the culture in which they lived. This inheritance defines their sense of plausibility, soalso inherited: Anything validated by their cultural background must sound reasonable to them, at least until they examine it more critically. If you and I grew up talking about fairies, we'd find that certain strange occurrences—like things being misplaced and disappearing, or people mysteriously falling ill—could have been entirely caused by fairy witchcraft. We've never seen fairies, but that doesn't make them any less plausible than elementary subatomic particles, quantum fields, and superstrings: all these invisible entities are imagined because they claimEffect.

The point is that our sense of plausibility is not at all objective or reliable. For example, what I described above is an almost entirely subjective "rationality of habit". In fact, this plausible habit—at least in my opinion—is precisely why metaphysical materialism remains alive despite its insurmountable problems and internal contradictions.

But, over time, scientists and philosophers eventually began to notice that their general mental picture of reality—what I call "Picture 1"—either failed to explain certain phenomena or required modification and expansion, even if Under values, these modifications and extensions also start to sound implausible to the ruling paradigm (think, for example, the layers and layers of epicycles in Ptolemaic astronomy). This is the moment when a fundamentally new mental picture of reality - "Picture 2" - is finally presented,Tend to focus more or less blindly on addressing a previous known weakness. This is where the problem lies.

You see, the main psychological motivation for developing image 2 was to solve or circumvent the problemknown issuesimage 1. If Image 2 succeeds in this task, it is often enthusiastically accepted as the long-awaited savior. But the myopia caused by enthusiasm prevents image 2 from being critically evaluatedas a whole, giving a complete proof that it should explain. No one is interested in giving it their all because everyone is too busy celebrating the great progress that has befallen us. then no one is really watchingNew issues and gaps introduced by Figure 2.

By the time a new generation of scientists and philosophers began to notice these problems and gaps, it was too late: a whole new rationality was in effect; our whole psychology changed. Culture is now committed to image 2 as a wholeprogress, and it clearly doesn't want to give up this perceived progress. any problems must be solvedIncremental additionorAdjustmentImage 2, is not a new mental image. We want to think we've finally got things done, just need some details; we want to bank and secure expected advances, issue promissory notes to prevent legacy issues. In fact, this is exactly what metaphysical materialists do when faced with the so-called "hard problem of consciousness": "We can't solve it now", they say, "but someday we will". Then we continue to wait.

The rise of metaphysical materialism during the Enlightenment solved some of the problems. The dominant religious mental picture of the world that preceded it was unable to explain the regularity of nature's behavior (i.e. its apparently unbreakable "laws" and automatic phenomena) or the overwhelming suffering and injustice associated with being alive. As the psychiatrist Carl Jung once said, before materialism, we tried to explain too much in terms of spirit. Thus, one can expect a compensatory response in the form of metaphysical materialism. Furthermore, it has always been helpful that materialism helped the fledgling science of the time to separate its object of study from its subject of questioning, thereby achieving a level of objectivity.

Therefore, the Western intelligentsia embraced materialism with great enthusiasm and irresistible momentum, rejecting the old metaphysics as a relic of the age of superstition. But how many scientists and philosophers have stopped to notice that materialism actually creates more problems than it solves? And then who realizes that materialism simply cannot explain experience itself, which is all we know and have in the end? Who realized in the 19th centuryContradictions arising from the combined views of metaphysical materialism and Darwinian evolution

Today we see materialism as justified solely due to the force of habit and inherited cultural drives, though in the important sense that it cannot explain anything without resorting to magic. In fact, materialism is an appeal to some magic, which we call "strong emergence", "cancellationism" or "illusionism" according to our personal taste. Almost everything else would make more sense if one really assessed our metaphysical situation fairly.

In fact, materialism has survived until now not because of magic, but because of subterfuge: In order to defend materialism and ensure the progress of our perception since the Enlightenment, intelligent scientists and philosophers - they staked their public image and self-image On the Effectiveness of Materialism - Use Their BrainsProductionIts reasonable.

If an intelligent person is committed to a particular mental picture of the world because of a powerful - but often unexamined - mental investment, it's remarkable how much they can do to mask thisI amThe plausibility of the image, and then fabrication of plausibility for it based on a mixture of concept fusion, hand-waving, and promissory note. You can basically makeanythingIt sounds plausible given enough time and peer support. The history of science and philosophy amply illustrate this point, but I would prefer to give some contemporary examples that are closer to us.

Because materialism cannot explain experience,Some materialists even deny that experience exists in the first place.to try to legitimize a form of insanity for the sake of production plausibility. And because it's smart people who do that, they're able to weave very ambiguous and obscure arguments around their claims; so ambiguous and unclear that it's actually impossible to figure out what they areactuallySay if anything.

For example, in my experience, if you ask a person who denies consciousness, do they believe - yes or no - that they may sufferFeelIf they were tortured to exist, they might say they did. But if you then point out that their answer implies that consciousness does exist, they might say "No, what we call pain is just afunctional status, not actual experience. " "But you deny ourfeltpain! ’” You might add, just to see — with understandable dismay — that the conversation goes back to the beginning and repeats itself. Philosopher Galen Strawson calls this peculiar tactic a “mirror,” but I Prefer to call it "confusing plausibility".

Provide rationale for the current paradigmas a whole, the irony is that intelligent scientists and philosophers are even prepared to sacrifice the plausibility of any element of the paradigm. For example,Experimental results in quantum physics have now refuted physical realism:There is no physically objective, separate world of tables and chairs.The only way to avoid this empirical conclusion is to assume a surprising number of new, undetectable, parallel butrealWhenever someone or something simply observes this world, the physical universe is magically created. Otherwise we have to accept the existence of the physical world of tables and chairsonly within the observed range. Which do you think is less likely?

Famed physicist Sean Carroll is adamant about the former.And he's not embarrassed to admit it, because we live in a culture where his penchant for magic is -- very --certainly notconsidered ridiculous. the price carroll is willing to pay for making up plausibilityYuanphysical materialismat the risk of turning physics itself into a comic.

More banal than a trick, I think the main reason materialism is considered plausible by the average educated person is that theyI don't understand what materialism means.in other words, it's not as likely as one would thinkactualMaterialism, but a misunderstanding consistent with materialism. Specifically, many educated people don't understand that, according to mainstream materialism, they see colors, hear tones, feel textures, taste flavors, and smell aromas.Exists only in their skulls.their worldexperienceAllegedly been on their minds. What is outside lacks all the qualities of experience; it cannot even be visualized, because visualization always comes with qualities.

The best you can do is imagine it as a purely abstract realm of ghostly silhouettes and mathematical equations, but even that is going too far. In fact, renowned mainstream physicist Max Tegmark claims that the outside world is indeed,pure mathematics.How many casual materialists would still think materialism is justified if they really cry like that? excellence,ignoranceA great tool to help with the plausibility of fictional materialism.

So, like all generations before us, we continue to enthusiastically accept bullshit; we enthusiastically manufacture plausibility to preserve what we have identified as wrong.

The only way to break this cycle is to recognizethe mind is good at deceiving itself. As the history of science and philosophy demonstrates, this is what the mind does best. The very idea that we can be objective investigators, impartial assessments of the world around us is the greatest self-deception of the mind. Our mental images of the world are inherently unreliable. The day we have the courage to bite the bullet on a cultural level is the day we start creatingrealprogress.

"But what kind of progress is that?!" I hear you ask indignantly. Because if we can't trust our own minds, how can we progress? Remarkably, this apparent act of intellectual suicide opens up a solid path of understanding, one quite different from the conceptual quicksand in which we have been stuck.

By understanding and acknowledging that the mind is always—given the chance—deceiving itself, we lose almost everything.but not quite everything.The last option still works:that is the mind.Reality is a mental construct; it consists of the mind deluding itself into thinking that there is something outside the mind. Because the collective insanity of our dominant worldview has so thoroughly infected our language, I can't even begin to tell you how blatant this apparent absurdity is. Instead, you would wantIcrazy. This is also very good.

PLEASE NOTE: Saying it's all in your head doesn't mean it's all in your headin your or my mind.Because even the idea that you and I have our own private thoughts — separate from others — is part of self-deception. To really understand what this assumption means, one has to dig deep, very deep into ingrained, unexamined assumptions that are inherited from culture and end up being almost ingrained in our DNA. Most people can't or won't go there. The mere attempt exposes them to what I call "eternal vertigo"; chillingly, what actually happens doesn't even match their thoughts.

Language—at least our current language—doesn't do reality justice; the latter escapes conceptualization. But by careful conceptual reasoning, we can still getclosureFor it, that's exactly what I've been trying to do with my work for over a decade. To move forward we mustsee throughSelf-deception; we must figure out how the credibility-making industry creates a hall of mirrors around us; we mustrealizedThose who scream "Make sense!" the loudest are often the most misguided and unreasonable. Then, one day, maybe just one generation will look back at their ancestors and finally say, "Damn, they did it right."

If you want to hear leading thinkers like this debate with renowned philosophers, cutting-edge scientists, headlining politicians and beloved artists, come onHowTheLightGetsInHay 2020Four days of debate and talk as well as music, comedy and parties.

Bernardo Kastrup attendedMaterial restrictionsDiscuss Consciousness and Idealism.


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