We got that idea, but the problem is that it’s ambiguous. By the time you’ve reacted and hit the button, it’s unclear what part of the movie you were talking about. Thanks for the input, though. I could use pretty much anything at this point.
My task for the week is to come up with a way that participants can decide where the boundaries for an event are in a movie without actually pausing it. This is tricky…
If you have any ideas, let me know. I have a few, but they all have some pretty serious drawbacks.
Just getting the ideas out.
I need to look at something concrete. Not just “subjectivity,” because that’s too vague, and hardly something I could manipulate with an experiment to get an actual result that applies to something.
I’m sort of interested in how people form attitudes on things. I’ve had this fascination with cults for a while. It’s odd how perfectly normal people (yes, that’s what they are) can become brainwashed into joining a cult or holding strange political/religious views that seem ridiculous to the rest of us. They also form the basis for how we feel about things, which is a big part of what makes us happy in everyday life.
That’s a good interest to have, I guess, but I want to integrate this into my own little philosophy on life. So let’s do that: At least the very basic attitudes that all people have are there presumably because they were adaptive at one point or another, and for no reason but that. The more developed ones are there because of neural hardware that gave rise to a certain “attitude management program” (sure, let’s just go with that for now) that was likewise adaptive at one point or another. That management program then, for whatever contextual reasons, gave rise to the rest of those attitudes. The attitudes themselves are a by-product of all that. They exist for arbitrary reasons, dictated by that program and those adaptive reasons.
OK, I could get into a lot of shit for writing that. It’s oversimplified, but it holds as at least a basic idea of what I’m getting at. Some details change here and there, but the main point stays the same. This stuff all happened for adaptive reasons, and as human beings who have to live with that hardware as the basis for who we are, we have to live with it, so it would be a good idea to understand how it works.
Good so far. Now how does it actually work? Probably not too perfectly, seeing as people are often manipulated and hold false beliefs which are extremely resistant to change. There’s got to be some kind of reason beliefs are that way, or for that matter, there must be a reason why we have beliefs in the first place.
Beliefs, or propositional attitudes, aren’t necessarily the first premises philosophers often treat them as. They might not be, although it’s convenient to think of them as though they were. It’s important to keep that in mind. Beliefs might not be the building blocks of consciousness that many people seem to think they are, but they’re still probably an important part of the puzzle.
So what I get out of this is… why and how, basically. Why are beliefs the way they are? And once we know that, we might be able to find out how they are, or make some good guesses. Or maybe the other way around: Once we know how they are, we can know why they are. Something like that.
Summary of today’s rant: We are subjective people, and one thing that subjective people have are attitudes. Attitudes formed for an adaptive purpose, which probably sheds some light on how they’re structured and how they affect behavior. If I want to understand subjectivity, it would be good to understand the nature of belief.
I had this idea when I was younger that we were subjective beings stuck in an objective universe. There’s nothing particularly unique about that, but I haven’t thought about it in a long time. Maybe it would help if I did, so that I could get back on track.
Subjectivity means that our goals, attitudes, emotions… whatever, really, are all arbitrary. There’s no grander reason why we have those goals, other than they were presumably adaptive at some point (or points) as we evolved. So why shouldn’t we just kill ourselves right now? If there’s no deeper “point” to life, and we’re just playing out some self-replication process dictated by our genes, then what’s the point of being alive at all?
My answer to this has long been “why the fuck not?” Except in maybe rare instances where I was feeling really misanthropic/depressed/hopeless/whatever other negative emotion, but that’s besides the point. We have a chance to go out and feel good and play around with this consciousness we’ve been given, so why shouldn’t we? We only get to try it once, so we might as well give it a shot. There’s plenty of time to be dead later (and earlier, for that matter).
So with that idea in mind, I figured it would be a really good idea to figure out what exactly governed those subjective experiences we have so that we could best enjoy ourselves while we were here. That’s how I got into psychology. I wanted to know the rules of experience, the stuff that dictated how we felt about things and why, so that I could better understand what’s going on with myself and other people while I’m here. And I feel like I’m getting away from those roots and losing my track.
Throughout college, I’ve been exposed to a variety of facts, some interesting, some extremely boring. None of my lectures seem to focus on this theme of mine; that, or I’ve forgotten it. Or alternatively… I just didn’t think clearly enough about what I was getting myself into.
Does this make sense? Based on my idea that there are rules to subjectivity and subjectivity is the source of everything interesting about life, should I be exclusively studying how the mind works? Is this a worthwhile exercise, not just in general, but to me?
In general, it probably is. There’s a lot to be learned. We can understand why people fall into the toxic patterns of thinking that give rise to totalitarian states, depression, and gang violence, among other things. We could probably even learn to break them, given enough time. But is it right for me?
It’s getting really late, and I need to be up early tomorrow, but it’s clear to me I need to do a bit of soul-searching. I’ve lost touch with my roots, and with them, my reason for why I’m in college in the first place. I need to re-establish what it is that interests me about the mind so much, then go study it. Otherwise, I might just be wasting my time.
I’m reading a book called Darwin’s dangerous idea by a philosopher called Daniel Dennett, and he had a really interesting point. Just because you can think of something happening doesn’t mean that it necessarily can.
So imagine you have an infinite number of possible combinations of genetic code, and you want to make a zebra with polka dots. There’s a chance you can’t do this. Why? Because it might be possible that no matter how crafty you are, there’s just no way to code for that.
It’s a weird thought, and kind of minor in a way, but i thought it was cool to think about. There are things that are flat-out missing from infinities. There are “possibilities” that could be in our heads that we can imagine and have fun with, but that cannot be made real because of some weird accident or another. Maybe you think “If only I hadn’t started smoking,” but there might not have been a possible world in which you didn’t. Even in infinities, there are some conditions that straight-up don’t exist.
Is that weird, or is that just me?
I just watched this really cheesy movie called “In Time.” The plot was really predictable, and the thing basically amounted to a giant Marxist dialectic, but for some reason, I can’t get it out of my head. The premise is that people stop aging after age 25, and then live for as long as this watch they all have on their wrists keeps ticking. The time people have left to live becomes the new money. There are haves (who have centuries or millennia or whatever to live) and have nots (who sometimes have less than a day, and get paid less than an hour each day), and the poor mean-streets hero meets the rich sheltered heroine, and the rich girl comes to understand the struggles of the poor, and they crash the whole system together and fuck a few times, and yadda yadda yadda… It’s pretty straightforward, really.
But for whatever reason, it got me thinking a lot about money and value. The movie’s attempted social commentary had a lot of problems (example: money doesn’t exactly equal time, which doesn’t exactly equal value), but that’s sort of besides the point. You can think of each person as providing some kind of service in exchange for currency which sustains their life. If you want to be kept alive, you have to do some kind of work so that you can provide for yourself another day.
And just… What kind of service can I provide that’s worth keeping me alive for, exactly? My current track is to do research. And even if I was the CEO of some fancy company… You’re not exactly doing real work, are you? You’re managing other people doing the actual work for you. You’re not putting value into the system. You’re basically just organizing it so that more of it is produced, and more efficiently.
And even then, what comes out of most of those companies? Cars? Cleaning services? Loans for more money? Video games? There are so many useless products out there… What value do they really serve? All we really need is food, water, and shelter. Everything else is sort of secondary.
Then again, that’s not really true. Quality of life goes up with that other stuff, in a way that matters a lot for us. But some of it is clearly fluff. We’re willing to pay people a lot for stuff that doesn’t matter much in the end, and value can be awfully arbitrary…
I don’t know. tl;dr economics is flawed and confusing, and it’s really weird how we make money and make a living. It’s weird and scary and I want to stay young and stupid and irresponsible forever so I don’t have to think about how nothing I’m ever going to do will actually contribute to the public good. Hooray.
Human intelligence cannot be explained by the size of the brain’s frontal lobes, say researchers.
Research into the comparative size of the frontal lobes in humans and other species has determined that they are not - as previously thought - disproportionately enlarged relative to other areas…
Function just isn’t localized like that. The brain is very loose in terms of which parts correspond to which functions. We might even be using completely inappropriate language to describe the functions we’re interested in, since most of them rely on folk psychology, which is anything but scientific.
Mexican Archbishop alleges “abortion is much more serious than rape of children by priests” in a recent homily.
This is why the catholic church is a joke to me. There is literally no way that having an abortion is worse than raping a child. The fact that a so called man of the cloth went on record saying “abortion is much more serious than rape of children by priests” blows my fucking mind.
Now hold on a second. I know pretty much everyone that will ever look at this is liberal, but at least appreciate the perspective where this is coming from. Catholics literally believe abortion is infanticide, which yes, is arguably worse than child rape. You don’t have to agree with that sentiment, or even respect it, but can we at least make an effort to understand it? You can argue against it, but rather than just OMG LOL THEIR VALUES ARE DIFFERENT THAN OURS, can we please treat this like the serious discussion it actually is?
Of course, this entire thing basically seems like a red herring to dodge the sexual abuse that keep popping up in the clergy, which makes this whole thing stupid to begin with, but I thought I’d at least point that out.
If that’s the case, every time a woman has her period, that’s infanticide. Also, what about fertilized eggs that don’t attach to the walls of the uterus? the body aborts the egg. Or what about when the egg is caught in the Fallopian tube and the mother’s life is in danger? The fertilized egg has to be removed to save the woman. All that would have to be considered in the argument.
Of course it would. That’s the point, though; it’s an argument, not some pre-established fact that a minority of people are disagreeing with. I’m not even making the argument myself, just bringing up the point that Catholics literally consider this the death of a human being, and that this statement would be completely understandable from that point of view.
Frankly, I don’t know what I believe about abortion, but I wish that everyone would at least attempt to see everyone else’s side. I guess it’s to be expected that people don’t want to given how controversial this is, but it gets frustrating seeing people on both sides blasting one another as if the discussion was already over. It’s times like this when things are heated up that things like courtesy matter most, and I’ve seen practically none of it.