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Per Aspera ad Astra

2 followers   follows 12 users  
joined 2022 September 05 16:04:17 UTC


User ID: 616


Per Aspera ad Astra

2 followers   follows 12 users   joined 2022 September 05 16:04:17 UTC


No bio...


User ID: 616

Thanks for the quality response here. I also think the effects of stress are dramatically underrated by modern medical science. Overall we have to understand that our understanding of population level genetics and statistics are extremely poor and misleading. We need far more epistemic humility than we have, especially for a claim as strong as HBD.

Unfortunately, it's easy to believe things that confirm your priors.

What is “spirit”? How does it interact with the physical world?

Not exactly sure but basically it's associated with the heavens, with mind, with immaterial or supermaterial forces.

Also, it's hard to have a discussion and honestly explain things I believe to you when you keep calling my beliefs BS. Just a note. Also your name is referencing a Catholic monk, just FYI ;)

Or, to put it another way, we realized that we’re animals and, the wool having fallen from our eyes, understand the mechanistic nature of our minds isn’t connected to something greater, isn’t part of some grander system of reincarnation or heaven in which our lives will persist beyond the brief time we have on earth. We understand that life is brutish, nasty and short. We understand - now, increasingly - that the brain is just a Large Language Model trained on the multimodal input of our senses, and that all of our philosophy is simply a product of this banal pattern recognition and prediction.

I feel like you deserve a reply, although your nihilism is so scathing it burns my heart. I just disagree with this, fundamentally.

I don't think that we are coping, I think there's a reason these religious traditions have survived and in many cases have flourished despite this narrative you're packing, which has a TON of power. I mean modern nihilistic materialism is the most extremely powerful framework for understanding the world ever. The more miraculous thing to me is that there are still so many people who believe in God.

Then I started to open myself up to the idea that maybe I was wrong, and well, I began to get undeniable personal evidence. 'Religious experience' as you would probably call it. I know it's not convenient or testable in a lab, but it's real nonetheless. That's the best explanation and response I can give you at the moment, though I'm sure you'll find it wanting.

Wait aren't you a Christian? I am new to this whole thing but I figured most Christians believed in some forms of faith healing.

Maybe I've got your faith wrong though, if so, apologies.

Hell, I believed in faith healing as a Buddhist from reading so many accounts of yogis and other wise men healing others.

Yeah, I've seen this approach a lot and this type of thinking helped me draw closer to God. I think it's a good bridge for staunch rationalists and materialists. But at the end of the day, as @Amadan said, I don't buy it. It feels like telling people to delude themselves for positive utility.

I did try this approach over and over again, and it worked for a bit but kept falling apart due to the self-delusion issue. Then I got, as Vervaeke would say, some personal, 'experiential' evidence of God's existence. That changed my tune quite a bit, but I understand not everyone can be as lucky as I am. And I'm sure the rationalists will read this and say it's all brain chemicals or hallucinations or whatnot. They're entitled to their opinion, as are you. But I'm convinced that the universe is far more mysterious than we understand, and that we're not even close to unraveling the secrets of the inner self, and God.

As a side note, many Orthodox Christians have a somewhat similar interpretation while believing in a real God. Beginning to Pray by Anthony Bloom, an Orthodox Bishop, writes that the way to pray and to find God is essentially to look deep inside yourself. That God is in creation outside us yes, but our deepest communion is found by encountering the spark of divinity and grace placed within each of our hearts.

At a certain point you have to wonder, which is more real? The psychological approach that tries to reduce everything to a 'scientific' understanding? Or perhaps, if the practices and effects seem to be real and work in your life, maybe the religious people were actually right all along?

EDIT: Also yes I tried the path of the mystic and shaman for many years. Ultimately the mental chaos was too much for me. And I firmly believe that without a society and religion that supports and understands the role of the shaman or mystic, it's practically impossible to get true wisdom out of that path. Sadly.

Well no, not quite like a lion. They are beings of spirit, fundamentally different from us physical beings. And by many accounts much older and wilier.

Besides, there are plenty of people who have personal evidence of demons active in their lives. There are plenty of recordings of ghosts and strange phenomenon if yo know where to look. Again, the point is that scientific evidence requires reproducibility on demand.

Better men than myself have gone up against the edifice of materialist science, spent whole careers showing strong effects and getting nowhere, like Rupert Sheldrake and plenty of others. I don't trust the scientific apparatus to test things like prayer in a valid way, and the replication crisis, Covid, and other issues, to my mind, have born out that skepticism.

I'll also leave a link to this article on angels and demons I quoted below.

Okay, but let's say I agree that meaning is "important" to human beings and necessary for human happiness and flourishing.

It does not follow that religion, any religion, is true. It just means that religious belief might make people happier.

I agree it doesn't follow that a religion is true, necessarily. However my main claim is not that meaning is important, but that materialism is ultimately false. You haven't addressed that here.

This is not dissimilar to the argument some people have made here, that religion is good for society and therefore we should promote it regardless of whether it's true. We'd be better off if everyone was Christian, so go to church even if you don't actually believe in God.

Perhaps I haven't fleshed out my argument enough, but my stance is in fact quite dissimilar from that argument. I do believe in God, and supernatural beings such as angels and demons. I think the whole 'psychological' argument from pro-religion types, while pointing to important considerations, is sadly quite flawed and does lead to self delusion.

However a related argument, the one that convinced me, is learning to trust experiential evidence or knowledge. Due to our upbringing in Enlightenment rationalism, we are trained to only trust a sort of consensus, 'objective' view. Or in other words we've learned to distrust and disbelieve any of our own experiential, or dare I say empirical, qualia in favor of only believing things that can be confirmed via repeated scientific experiments, or the consensus making machines of our society.

My point is that this 'objective' reality is, once truly dug into, false. The scientific materialist worldview is full of misconceptions and outright lies.

To put forth a bit more of an argument in favor of the supernatural, I'll quote from this article on angels and demons which, while a bit out there, makes an excellent point here:

Dumb matter, a ball rolling down a hill or a set of chemicals reacting in a vial, is going to behave the same way every time, no matter when or where you ask it to perform. You can set up an experiment in Chicago and expect to get the same results you got from the same experiment in a lab in Tennessee. The Conservation of Momentum, Acceleration Due to Gravity, The Second Law of Thermodynamics… these things just happen, and the matter involved in the experiment doesn’t have any mind or will to resist them and to act otherwise. There’s no intelligence in the ball to be able to say, “Hey, you know what? Not feeling it today. I’m tired of the whole F = ma thing. I don’t feel like rolling. Maybe tomorrow.”

The difference of course in our case is that the entire premise of the supernatural is that we are dealing with other sentient minds. Beings who can choose whether they’d like to act or not. By its very nature, The Supernatural needs to be approached more like Anthropology or Zoology instead of Physics or Chemistry. Just as you cannot count on a lion to react the same way to each and every passing zebra, so too are spirits likewise entities with personalities whose behavior is always non-formulaic. When you understand that, you see that the entire basis for the dismissal of such things from The Mainstream has no legs. For, in point of fact, “paranormal” things, just like zoological or anthropological things are reproducible.

They’re just not reproducible on demand.

Big difference.

Anyway, hope this clarifies things a bit. And I genuinely am happy you seem to be able to live with and find meaning in a nihilistic framework. I don't doubt that some, or even many people, can. That still doesn't mean that framework is true.

The atheist/religious believer inferential gap is always huge, and especially difficult to bridge in rationalist forums. As someone who went from a materialist to one of the faithful, let's see if I can explain why statements like:

Which is nonsense, but it's nonsense of the not even wrong variety. And while "not even wrong" is a bad thing for a scientific theory to be, it is a very good thing for a religious belief to be. Partly because it means the religion is safe from being falsified by scientific evidence, but much more importantly because the religion will not be driven insane by the need to deny reality.

tend to rub me the wrong way. More importantly, they represent a total failure to grasp what most intellectually rigorous religious people actually believe.

What most rationalists (with the noteworthy exception of @coffee_enjoyer) fail to understand when discussing religion is that scientific materialism, the de facto worldview of the last few centuries, is also at bottom based on "supernatural claims." While the power of the scientific method, and more generally the method of treating all matter as 'dead' or devoid of mind a la Descartes, is undeniable, predictive power does not make something true in any metaphysical sense. Many modern philosophers argue that any description of life itself can't be formulated via materialism means, without resorting to an appeal to some higher organizational, metaphysical structure.

Historically the scientific materialist worldview has of course revealed much about the natural world, primarily through demythologizing our place in it. Over the past few decades however, we as a society have come more and more to understand the limits and outright detriments of a materialist approach. As the popularity of symbolic thinkers like Jordan Peterson clearly demonstrates, materialism leads to a 'meaning crisis' where people struggle to have any sort of deep purpose or narrative arc to their life, something that is deeply necessary for human happiness and flourishing.

While a ScientistTM may just scoff at the importance of meaning or purpose and say "Who cares, my science still gives me Truth," well, unfortunately that assertion is becoming more and more false by the day. L.P. Koch gives a decent summary in The Death of Science, but you can read about the phenomenon of our scientific apparatus falling apart all over the place. You've got the joke field of 'consciousness studies', the deep issues in quantum physics, the shocking revelation that our cosmic model is completely wrong via the James Webb space telescope, et cetera. Or just look at the fiasco of the Covid-19 response.

All of this to say, when people nowadays talk about religion having a comeback, what they often mean on a deeper level is that the Enlightenment myth, first posed by Descartes, is failing. Starting with the existentialists in the mid-20th century, this understanding is now percolated through to the masses with the help of the Internet and other mass communication technology. It's increasingly clear that the mechanistic, clockwork universe of the 19th century, again while granting us great power, is a framework that only goes so far; crucially this framework does not and cannot touch on the deeper questions of human meaning, other than giving us a destructive, nihilistic hedonism.

Ultimately the rationalist Enlightenment has been a Faustian bargain for humanity - we've gained unfathomable power over the natural world compared to our ancestors, but we have lost our souls in the process.

Oh yeah, I've read the whole Chaoswar Saga and attendant books. Excited to dive back in.

Started rereading Magician by Feist, and it's blowing me away. Such a good story, it has all the classic epic fantasy elements from Tolkien but with much sparser descriptions, and a far more engaging pace. Feist is an excellent storyteller.

I remembered liking it as a kid and wasn't sure I'd like it coming back to it, but if anything it's even better now that I've slogged through hundreds of other fantasy books that were totally mid.

Also reading Christ in our Midst, a book of letters from a Russian Orthodox monk to his spiritual son. It's quite good so far, lots of very basic but solid wisdom.

You have a backhoe? Nice!!!

Good luck with the project.

Yeah, I think we're talking past each other a bit. Opportunity =/= purpose and meaning. If anything a massive amount of opportunity can drain purpose and meaning, as you get slammed with the paradox of choice.

The problem is all of that takes expensive one-on-one care and treatment by a variety of professionals, as well as some type of personal relationship with medical providers where they remember your name and your issues and are forming and executing long-term plans to work through them with you, and all of that is both more expensive than pills and not the way the system wants to be designed.

Not to mention a tremendous amount of personal discipline, faith, and ability to work through pain for years and years. Trust me, as someone who has done PT and put in over ten thousand hours into stretching/exercise to deal with chronic pain, it is brutally difficult. Easily the most challenging thing I've struggled with in my life.

Why doubt that? Just because he had status and wealth doesn't mean he had anything he cared about deep inside. Our culture is corrosive to purpose and meaning, I'd think wealthy scions would be more susceptible to a lack of meaning in some ways since so much is handed to them.

Because the pain isn't physical, it's mental/emotional/spiritual. Look up biopsychosocial concepts of pain, or for a more classic take, Healing Back Pain by John Sarno.

As someone who has experienced chronic pain for almost a decade, I can confirm that physical issues are not the cause of my pain at least. I've become convinced that the vast majority of chronic injury and pain is not a mechanical issue either.

Is this sarcastic? Do you genuinely not understand that many people live lives of despair and feel they have no hope of things ever getting better?

Most people don't want to OD from drugs or commit suicide. They do because their lives are purposeless, hopeless, and devoid of meaning.

Does this actually matter to anyone?

Yes, theology matters quite a lot to many people. In general though Protestant denominations care much less than Catholics or Orthodox Christians.

What's your favorite couch co-op game? I mentioned Outward in another thread which is currently mine, but I've loved a lot like:

  • Children of Morta
  • Overcooked
  • It takes two
  • For the King
  • Divinity Original Sin 2
  • Fort Triumph
  • Enter the Gungeon

I'm sure there are some I'm forgetting. But what would you add to the list?

Yeah dude! The purple grass swaying in the sunlight. Incredible.

And it really is a shame how couch co-op has fallen out of favor. When I was first gaming that was the best thing I ever did. I still love it. Nowadays couch co-op games are kind of a niche market unto themselves.

I might look into STALKER! I've heard a lot of good things about it. I just bought Kingdom Come: Deliverance on sale though so that's going to be the one I play first.

As to your complaints on Outward, totally get it. I can see how that would frustrate people. For me, especially playing with my fiance, I just don't mind. The planning of the route, the difficulty of the combat, the fun of slowly grinding up money/resources/backpacks has been a blast.

If STALKER or other games had local co-op then I'd probably enjoy them as much, if not more, but alas. It's just never as fun exploring an open world on your own.

Small World is an excellent board game I recommend heartily to everyone.

Ty for doing the work! I heard it recommended a ton from various people in the chronic pain/TMJ community. I tried listening to the audiobook and found it unbearable.

Then I listened to him/saw him on the Joe Rogan podcast and found him to be completely insufferable. I know it's petty but I updated quite a bit downward from that. Glad to hear confirmation.

It's hard to pin down exactly - but Venkatesh Rao gives an excellent overview of the types of underhanded, manipulative tactics that 'sociopaths' use to protect themselves and advance their goals at the expense of others in The Gervais Principle.

C.S. Lewis also writes about this sort of maneuvering in his novel The Hideous Strength. There are plenty of other examples of this type of thing.

Of course these tactics aren't limited to leftists exclusively, but leftists and Marxists explicitly embrace the "win at all costs" mentality, while their opponents typically do not. This means that on average more leftists are going to be willing to throw moral scruples to the wind and use whatever manipulative techniques they must to advance their cause.

I think my point is that the median "normie" position is much closer to the "liberal" or "progressive" position than you realize.

I don't think he's arguing that... what he's arguing is that normies have been influenced dramatically over a short period of time by extremely aggressive and disingenous political moves from the left. As others have discussed, basically entryism and underhanded tactics to force public spaces to cater to their norms.

Once you have the norms changed, by definition the "normies" will follow along. They're really just people who default to what the norm is, and don't think too much about it.

What people on the right are complaining about is that there used to be, seemingly, a sort of 'gentleman's agreement' not to use tactics that are too underhanded to change norms. The left recently with all their policing of language, pronouns, media, etc. seem to have thrown that informal agreement out of the window. Which, to be fair, is very explicit in leftist who/whom political philosophy. It's part of why people on the right have been warning about communism for the last century.

If you have a political opponent who will stop at nothing to enact their views, it's hard to impossible to work with them in a liberal democratic setting.