Conservation of Self

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by wesmorris, Feb 24, 2004.

  1. wesmorris Nerd Overlord - we(s):1 of N Valued Senior Member

    Maybe that's not the right way to put it.

    I want to talk about how people believe what they want to believe regardless of the evidence. It's more like as the strength of the evidence to contradict their premise increases, the strength of will or skew of perception required to counter (and conserve self) it increases proportionally.

    There are some odd properties to this as far as I can tell. It seems that as you conserve self your "strength" of self is higher in some ways because 'will' is applied toward fortifying the foundation of perspective. This ... well, it fortifies one's foundatoinof perspective and makes it "stronger" in the sense that it becomes more and more impenatrable in the sense that perception is skewed in a manner that cannot do anything but strengthen the foundation regardless of logic or reason.

    There is something to this idea, but I haven't really lined it all out. Sound interesting to anyone?
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  3. chunkylover58 Make it a ... CHEEEESEburger Registered Senior Member

    It may be as simple as people just don't like to be wrong. They are threatened by the fact that something they so strongly believe could be debunked, or even questioned for that matter. But I see what you're getting at: Since many people define themselves by their beliefs, they feel like they would be denying their "self" if they had to recant their beliefs.

    This is interesting in the light of most "skeptics". These are often people who are completely willing to change what they think is true if they are shown imperical evidence. Scientists have often done complete 180s in what they believed to be true because new discoveries have enlightened them. They see irrefutable proof and are forced to change their way of looking at things. This is sometimes a welcomed turn of events, because often many more questions are raised and need to be studied. Their whole modus operandi is discovery of proof/truth, so if that means changing their whole outlook because of new evidence, so be it. This was pretty much the whole reason behind the Enlightnenment Era. People were looking to sceince and discovery for the truth, not to the Bible and the Pope.

    So, I guess that raises the question: Are some people who believe, no matter what, simply ignorant? They can't grasp the concept that what they believe may be debunked? They don't understand the evidence and don't want to learn how to understand the evidence against their claims, so they just deny it and go on believing?

    Maybe it's just laziness. Takes too much time and effort to see all sides of the issue? It's easier just to believe? Anything you can throw at them as reasonable refutation is discounted, and they adhere to the parts of the belief that have yet to be completely addressed. Any test is rendered untestable by introduction of new elements. See Carl Sagan's example of the dragon in the garage:

    I have a dragon in my garage.

    I don't see it.

    Of course not. He's invisible.

    Maybe I could put some paint on the floor. He'll make foot prints.

    Nope. He floats.

    I could throw some paint in his direction. It will stick and show his form.

    Nope. He's noncorporeal. The paint would go right through.

    Dragons breath fire, right? I can use this thermometer to see temperature differences and be able to find his mouth and nose.

    Nope. His fire breath is the same as the surrounsing temperature. infinitum.

    By countering the dragon owner's assertions, you are affronting his sense of self.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2004
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  5. wesmorris Nerd Overlord - we(s):1 of N Valued Senior Member

    the point being though that if that is true, there is a reason for it. you are right that people don't like to be wrong.. (edit: in fact, I think that unless people condition themselves to the idea of being wrong (like 'getting in shape' mentally), they will be in no condition to change themselves, their will to do so lacking since they are not 'in shape' if you see what I mean) but I'm saying there is a reason somewhat analagous to the conservation of energy, maybe "conservation of will" that is the reason people don't like to be wrong. being wrong requires effort to overcome. being wrong give you guilt, it solidifies to you the invalidity of your conceptual inter-relationships and signifies that you have to do something in order to overcome your current state of comprehension - as it has been revealed to you that it is flawed.

    Exactly, and I think it's for the fundamental reasons I'm trying to outline. "conservation of self (in the now)" is pertinent, because to change to a different self requires exertion of will (energy).

    Indeed. I'm actually getting at something more fundamental than that even (I think anyway).
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  7. wesmorris Nerd Overlord - we(s):1 of N Valued Senior Member

    Perhaps it should be "persistence of self, conservation of will".
  8. chunkylover58 Make it a ... CHEEEESEburger Registered Senior Member

    So...that people's beliefs are sort of hardwired into their mind/psyche/self being?
  9. wesmorris Nerd Overlord - we(s):1 of N Valued Senior Member

    Of course they are. It's a dynamic hardwiring job, constantly rearranging, but based on the same foundation. If your foundation is not flexible, you will not be able to rewire to compensate for new input - you will snap. *shrug*

    I'd say "will" is an imaginary component of your brain that can actually affect the direction of the hardwirage in process.
  10. 15ofthe19 35 year old virgin Registered Senior Member

    I promised myself that I was never going to enter a discussion on the philosophy forum because I absolutely loathe this stuff, but you two don't seem to be trying to "outdeep" each other, so at least until the people who can't speak plain english enter the fray, I would like to offer some thoughts.

    You speak of getting your mind in shape. I think comparing getting your mind in shape to getting your body in shape are analogous. If I spend six months working to get myself in reasonable shape to enter a 10K, I can't automatically expect to win, and shouldn't beat myself up if I don't. Chances are the winner has been a lifelong runner. Big deal. I gave it a good effort, ran a great time relative to my expectations and I go on my merry way. That's what a reasonable person would do. If my goal is to win, then I just keep training that much harder. If the winner of the race wants to share some training tips with me, I would be a complete idiot not to allow him to share. Certainly any reasonable person would expect me to want to solicit info from him in order to get better. That's how training and improvement works.

    When it comes to matters of beliefs, be they spiritual, philosophical, religious, or scientific, people tend to have a tendency to marry themselves to ideas and POV's much quicker than they would methods of physical improvement, and are much more reluctant to seek out the expert in the subject for counsel. It's understandable to a point, but the degree to which people cling to beliefs in spite of overwhelming evidence to make them question is curious at the least, and at the most, deeply frightening.

    Back to the point. Having a strong will is not necessarily a bad thing. You don't want to be such a spineless jellyfish that you fall for anything that comes along contrary to your accepted beliefs, but I've never understood the refusal to even read and study things that might run contrary to your system. Seems to me that's how we keep moving forward as a species. We study, we question, we test, we re-evaluate and we do all of this with no conclusion in mind. That's science. That absolutely scares the shit out of some people. You see examples on this forum everyday of people that are so obstinant they refuse to even consider scientific or historical data that might run counter to their forgone conclusion or suppositions.

    In so many cases around here, they simply change the subject or throw out a non-sequiter. This place ought to be re-named The Red Herring.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2004
  11. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

    Once values or beliefs are ingrained into us as children it is rather hard to go against what our parents have told us as the truth. As we become older we tend to get set in our ways and don't like our beliefs to be challanged so we tend to side with others that have thoughts the same way as us. When we finally "see" anothers perspective on life we then start to understand that we are not the only ones who have beliefs that are true but that others also have been brought up to believe their parents also. We aren't wrong and they aren't either. We just think differently than them and they, us.
  12. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

    Wes....compliments on the thread

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    I know I will possibly draw some flak with what I am going to write here but what the hell....

    To me belief is a sign of low self esteem. To me belief is formed to overwhelm fear. A sort of prop to get past our inadequacies. ( like spelling the word inadequacies)
    Belief is a self perpetrated fraud, an act of self deception.

    When I ask some one " do you believe in God?" and they say they do i know (not believe) that they are reay lost trying to survive with out knowing what they are trying to know.

    Do you know God? they say of course I don't know God but I believe in God's existence.

    I ask why do yu believe in God and not know God. They say simply that one can not know God.

    So I suggest that it is their belief in God that stops them from knowing God.
    Because knowing God does not require belief.
    Belief is a construct of the mind and heart.

    So belief to me is a fraud that can stop us from knowing. As any real scientist will agree. "The results of my experiment should not be subject to belief"
  13. wesmorris Nerd Overlord - we(s):1 of N Valued Senior Member

    Thanks Double Q.

    This thread started actually as and attempt to get across something I've been thinking for a long time that came up in Lou's thread about believing stuff or whatever:

    Last edited: Mar 1, 2004
  14. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

    "I feel sorry for those who believe in evolution, they are sad creatures.... "

    Taking a religious perspective and arguing accordingly.......

    When people deny that which is obvious in favour of something less concrete simply expose the weakness of their personna.

    It is obvious that the universe is constantly evolving and this is with out question a valid statement ( even halucinations evolve )

    For a religious person to declare that their God does not evolve is a grave error of perspective.

    I guess it is because they feel that God (Perfection) can not, nor needs to evolve. But one could argue that perfection requires as a necessity evolution of perfection to maintain that perfection.

    I may use the terminology "Hope Paralysis" where by a persons hopes are so strong that they paralise their ability to move forward. People hope they are right, they also hope that God ("Universe") is perfectly static and non-evolving.

    This is what I mean when I refer to belief being an obstacle to the "Truth" or for that matter true "knowing"

    As you Wes are no doubt aware subjectivity and belief go hand in hand.

    If one believes an apple exists and that belief is strong enough then when the apple is gone the belief in the apple maintains it's existance as a contruct of the mind and not a sharable "truth" or "Knowing" thus a belief can lead to a state of halucination or self deception.

    How often do you hear of stories where some one has passed away and the close companion refuses to accept the knowledge that that person has departed.

    The departed person goes on existing as a mental construct ( Belief ) and not a reality.

    The "Hope" that the truth is not true paralises the companion into a sort of suspended functioning. The Hope breeds a belief which is now a delusion.
    The belief stops his evolution. The belief stops his ability to adapt and change with the reality arouind him.

    I think Mankind hopes that reality is not as "nasty" as it is and seeks to deny the truth by creating a belief that God is perfect and we are not, thus perpetuating the delusion and stopping us from actually doing anythng about the "Nastiness" we see, in the hope that God will make it right in the end and not ourselves.

    Belief often is a synonym of delusion. The two exist side by side and in most cases are indiscernable.

    Belief and Subjectivity also are synonymous.
    Know and objectivity are synonymous also.

    To believe you know is delusion
    To know you know is closer to the "Truth"
    To know, as in self you are talking

    Wes I hope you are well

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    Last edited: Mar 1, 2004
  15. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

    the thing is
    Evolution = Change = Time = Change = Evolution
    If Time exists then so to does change thus evolution.

    Belief hinders change, knowledge allows change
  16. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

    sorry the thoughts are running....

    A good example of belief/knowledge bunfight could be sciences beliefs and knowledge as to the nature of light.

    Now we say that Theories about Light seem to be so true so much so that we believe in them.
    Science believes that Light travels at 'c" but for some reason the theory doesn't hold up fully and the belief keeps science trying to prove a theory and the harder they try the deeper the science goes and the more exceptions to the rule are found but science clings to the belief in the theories and is bending over backwards trying to support and defend that belief.

    If they knew the answer to the question research would be uneeded. The problem having been solved in full. Theories would not be needed to support theories etc.

    So Hope and Belief in something can be and often is all pervasive.

    It is true that Science has greater evidence etc but in some ways they have a greater problem to solve than a "religious fanatic" in that science think they know and can in part support their belief with evidence.
    Thus they have greater difficulty in discerning delusion from truth......
    Afterall the theories "seem" to work.

    Afterall 50 odd years defending a theory tends to make persons devoted to that theory.

    I think Einstien was quoted as saying " It takes a lifetime of work to create a theory but only one exception to prove it wrong" or something to that effect.

    Einstien himself even proved his thoeries wrong and yet today the belief in the completeness of his work is so strong.

    Newtonian laws about gravity etc are also held as Gospel and yet there are many exception ( 3 body problem ) ( no universal constant etc)

    The belief that Newtons laws are sound has put science in a subjective bind and lateral thought is impossible beyond the belief.
    So when science is able to let go and take a fresh look that is when forward movement on the "Big" issues will occur.
    Best me thinks that we sit back and ask ourselves why does the theory need defending because if it is a truth then defending it should not be necessary.
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2004
  17. wesmorris Nerd Overlord - we(s):1 of N Valued Senior Member

    That's a good damned point. Hmm..

    hmm.. should change be facilitated?

    survival might dictate an emphatic, NO!

    (i am alive now, change is bad!)
  18. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

    well there you go...say no more......if change is deemed bad then you are up against it big time ...because change is inevitable and a fact of life or should I say existance.

    If one rejects change then one is rejecting reality.

    I think once change is determined as favourable then it should be encouraged, if it isn't favourable then as mankind is so good at doing change the change so that it is favourable.
    Where religoin seems to fail is that it seems so reluctant to change or evolve.

    For example; for 2000 odd years the Christian belief structure has been more or less static and the result is conflict with reality and postings like this one.
  19. wesmorris Nerd Overlord - we(s):1 of N Valued Senior Member

    Well, survival is obviously at odds with reality eh?

    Survival dictates: LIVE!!!!!!!

    And reality dictates: YOU WILL DIE!!!!!!!

    I think I'm just lucky to have been at all.

    The mind is really one big survival mechanism right? Why did it evolve??? Simple, being persistent in time, rather... a 'sense of self' is obviously a very successful survival mechanism. Seems that from the perspective of the natural world, the more you can remember the better off you are eh?

    Shit it seemed I had somewhere to go with it when I started but I got nuthin, or too much. I'll wait and try to find the right amount.

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  20. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member


    Excuse me If I ask to this satement " Who says so?"

    Define death?
    What are your beliefs about Death?

    In some circles Death is just like getting on a train and traveling to another destination only to wait a few more years before another trip is needed.

    If you belive Death to be final then you are stuck with your belief.
    If you dare to challenge this need for proof before holding a posssibility in your mind then you will always fear something you know nothing about.

    WE have no proof for either reincarnation or finality.
    Why believe either?

    Just because we can't see something doesn't make it's existance impossible.

    But to hold either as a belief dissallows either possible truth.
  21. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

    in otherwords live with an open mind and therefore "Die with an open mind"
  22. wesmorris Nerd Overlord - we(s):1 of N Valued Senior Member

    Seems like everyone eh? Eventually (at least up until now), life as we know it ends. I'd say that no matter what, life as we know it eventually ends.

    The time at which your brain no longer functions?

    Well I have some weird theories but no firm beliefs.

    Could be.

    Of course. I thought we'd already reached a conclusion about beliefs eh? Hehe.

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    Allrighty then.


    Because some people's psyche demands it, as they are either prone to do so, or conditioned as such in their youth.

    That's for damned sure. We can infer some stuff I think. I'm feeling pretty good about my mind-body solution. Did you catch it? I'm proud of it. I don't remember the thread. I think it was in my "your function" thread and again in zonabi's thread that I can't remember the title of, something about dimensions and time and such. I think I've got time nailed down pretty well too. Not sure of course, but I like the smell of my bullshit eh? Heheh.

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    Ah my fellow true agnostic, we seem like a rare breed. *shake hand* It's a pleasure kind sir.

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  23. gendanken Ruler of All the Lands Valued Senior Member

    Why do you speak like this? Its a disservice to you.

    I get the gist of what's being said- denial- but don't have time right now to elaborate. More later.


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