Is there a way to tell when you are deluded?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by Magical Realist, Dec 9, 2013.

  1. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    and consequently, the act of not thinking about it renders it a non-experience (or at the very least severely retards the depth of the experience).. compare that with, say, a class full of people doing a three day seminar on yoga breathing techniques and suddenly communication/contextualizing issues come to the fore and the experience presents itself.
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  3. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

    Then you're obviously using a different meaning of "experience" than I am. Likewise I assume if you open your eyes, the experience is a "non-experience" unless you think about what you can see?
    They suddenly start thinking about their breathing and talking about it, and this somehow makes the experience more of an experience?

    No sorry, it still sounds ridiculous.
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  5. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    seeing is certainly a lot more involved (or more correctly, offers a lot more) than breathing so i am not sure how you can say that

    If they get into nuanced analysis of the process of course it becomes more in-depth

    You are simply trying to play a somewhat unconscious moment as an example of an experience that lies outside of these things ... however even the act of having an unconscious moment is an experience, hence people can talk of "spacing out" and so on
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  7. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

    It's what I think you're saying. You claim that, unless you are able to "contextualise" an experience by thinking about it and being able to speak about it, it's a "non-experience". I also still think it's ridiculous.

    Now we've descended into whether thinking or talking about breathing makes it a "more in-depth" experience. What if you breathe more deeply instead of thinking about it?
    Are you now saying you can have experiences without the thinking and speaking "requirements"?
  8. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    I am saying that the nature of any sort of "experience" is that it is the consequence of contextualizing (ie "This happened to me") and as a further detail, aspects of literacy, codes and communication affords a richer array of tools for contextualizing, and hence the experience becomes similarly richer.

    I assume that if they do a 3 day seminar on it they would have more details to pan out

    the yoga teacher might explain about 5 different types of deep breathing.
    Which sort are you talking about?

    No since we can use various literacy tools to explain the nature of a dull moment we experience.

    I am simply pointing out how you are trying to retreat to "low end" experiences in order to get around this issue, however even a diminished sense of awareness is always under the purview of selfhood (which is, by nature, a contextualizing experience ... eg "I was feeling sleepy so I didn't see the car rego" etc etc)
  9. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

    In your paradigm, there is no experience which is richer when the "tools" aren't used? When no attempt is made to "contextualise" an experience (the "sound" of my breath is like this or that ...) there is no "enrichment"?

    I don't get it. Sorry.
    So it's true when we're asleep?
  10. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    A serious Buddhist or Hindu contextualizes their breathing and uses literacy skills to communicate it in much of their waking hours.

    Have you tried it, ever?

    "With each and every breath" is the title of a recent Buddhist manual on breath meditation. Note - "with each and every breath."

    I mean, you chose breathing, of all things, for this investigation into experience and talking about. Breathing - one of the activities that traditional religious-spiritual practices place great emphasis on so one can find vast amounts of material on it.
    In the same way, if you want to make your points about "pure experience," you better avoid also eating, working, sex, fighting, all activities that directly have to do with worship, reading, talking to people, playing a musical instrument, sports, walking, sitting, painting, writing, defecating, intoxicating oneself. There's tons written about them, from religious and secular sources. I think that leaves you with sleeping. But we could probably find a lot also on sleeping and literacy skills related to it as well.

    There is such a thing as "false concentration" and zoning out, and these can in fact feel like enrichment.

    It's usually true afterwards, once we wake up.
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2013
  11. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    I ask them, when it comes up. And then I take it from there.

    For starters, when they say the use the word "God" in the same meaning that most theists do, then, when asked, they reveal what they mean by that, it turns out they don't actually mean the same things theists do.

    For all practical intents and purposes, the definition of "God" that atheists actually often work with is in roundabout 'skydaddy, 'supernatural vending machine' or 'nonexistent entity.'

    I ask them. And take it from there.

    Why does anyone believe that the way an educated physicist uses physics terminology is superior?

    Why does anyone believe that the way a native speaker of German uses German words is superior to the usage of German words by someone who doesn't speak German?

    Have you read the 309 names and titles of God I posted earlier?

    Suppose, temporarily and for the sake of the argument, they are all true, what questions are you left with?

    Of course you don't. If you would, we wouldn't be having this conversation.

    It's not so much about a particular person's inner state per se, as much as it is about recognizing the principle that a person's inner state plays a role how they approach communication about a topic, in what way and in how much depth they can understand it.

    Kids learn early on that they can't effectively study math if they are upset, for example.

    Pick up any serious books on learning skills and on communication skills, and there will likely be sections on or some discussion of concentration, self-esteem, a positive outlook.
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2013
  12. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member


    God: the one Supreme Being, the creator and ruler of the universe.​

    I have no problem with that definition. It's clear and succinct.

    The fact that God is imaginary, that there is no "one supreme being," no "creator and ruler of the universe," does not invalidate the definition.

    The words "fairy," "leprechaun," "demon," "angel" and "hobbit" are also in the dictionary and those definitions are also accurate, clear and succinct. The fact that those referents are also imaginary doesn't mean that the definitions are wrong. Heck, "Klingon" is in the dictionary, and I'm pretty sure that no one believes they are real. In this case the dictionary has the courage to say so.

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    I daresay that no one more than eight years old believes that the Easter Bunny is real, but we all agree on what the name means.

    My personal definition of "dog" is "a creature more honorable than man, who can be depended on to be loyal, protective and loving until the day he dies," but if a stranger or someone on a science website asks me for a definition, this is not the one I will give him.

    If someone asked me what a hobbit is, I would do my best to give a faithful descripion of the creatures in Lord of the Rings, and only if necessary would I append, "but they're totally fictional."

    If someone from Mars asked me what God is, I would do the same. Well... I suppose I would have to digress and explain that in some cultures, particularly the ancient ones, people believe/believed in multiple gods.
  13. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    yet I can almost guarantee that the moment you start to explain why you think its a fact that god is imaginary is also the moment you start to reneg on these definitions that you apparently don't have problems with.

  14. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    If there are no "tools" there is no experience.

    If you want to talk about even something as simple as the experience of breathing, it is already contextualized

    If you drop into an unconscious state or merge into ignorance, you can understand that there was a break in your regular consciousness.
    For instance one may sleep and have no recollection of what was dreaming or anything, yet one can still establish that one had a good night's sleep.

    IOW the self (ie the contextualizing force) is so perennial that even merging into ignorance cannot derail its nature
  15. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    How do you propose to evidence that 'God is imaginary, there is no "one supreme being," no "creator and ruler of the universe" '?
  16. Trapped Banned Banned

    Funnily enough I am having a conversation on a similar subject right now. I have just been explaining that a lot of skeptics of the UFO phenomenon are delusional in their abilities to offer valid counterarguments to the phenomenon, often thinking they are conducting a real science when they are not.
  17. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    That's rather rude. What evidence do you have to back up this accusation?

    Sure, among my friends, or colleagues like you. We've already been over this fifty times so we can skip the basics.

    But not with a stranger. Of course I can't speak for all atheists.

    Like most religionists, you do not understand the scientific method.

    It is never necessary to prove a negative. The burden of proof always falls on the person who asserts that something is true.

    If this were not the case, the finite resources of science would be exhausted in one day, disproving every crackpot hypothesis brought to the door of the academy.

    If you people are so utterly certain that God exists, then why can't you present the tiniest bit of evidence to support that belief?

    The best your crowd has ever come up with is a tortilla (out of hundreds of millions cooked every year) with a scorch mark that is said to resemble a person mentioned in the Bible, of whom no portraits exist against which to compare it!

    Sure, teachers often choose, out of the muck, one preposterous assertion to disprove as a classroom exercise. Perpetual motion is a classic. But claims of the invention of perpetual motion machines are always presented in rational, scientific language, so disproving them, by identifying the fallacies, can be a useful teaching moment.

    The claims of the existence of gods and other supernatural phenomena are never presented in the language of rational scholarship.
    • He talks to me in my head, but no one else can hear him.
    • This universe is so bleak, there simply has to be a god.
    • There are too many things that we don't understand, so rather than get a good education and try to figure them out, I'll just credit them all to God.
    • My momma and daddy told me God exists and they know everything.
    • They promised me that they'd wait for me in heaven, and they wouldn't lie.
    • The vast majority of humans believe in God, and they can't all be wrong.
    • Snowflakes are so beautiful, only a God could have created them.
    • We haven't figured out all the details of the Big Bang yet, so rather than letting my children or grandchildren read about it when that happens, I've made up my mind already.
    • Etc.
    There's nothing to examine here! This is like trying to explain to my dog where the food comes from! (Yes, I can be rude too.

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  18. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Like most raving atheists, you have no sense of taking responsibility for what you say.

    You asserted:

    'God is imaginary, there is no "one supreme being," no "creator and ruler of the universe" '

    This is your assertion. I asked you to evidence it.

    And you asserted that 'God is imaginary, there is no "one supreme being," no "creator and ruler of the universe" ' is true.
    Per your own requirements, prove it.

    "You people"? "You people"??!? Eh?

    Ah. Why do I bother ...
  19. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

    But my reference was the act itself. Reading or talking is a different activity than breathing.
    What I meant was, you can experience breathing without all the thinking and talking. In fact, with the intended goal of "not thinking".
  20. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

    And the "tools" are not eyes and ears, but thoughts and words?
    That's ridiculous.
  21. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Technically, on a particular level, there is something called "Neither-perception-nor-non-perception" which is indeed something like "experience without the verbal commentary."

    I checked, but that's the 31st plane of existence, "the inhabitants of these realms are possessed entirely of mind; having no physical body, they are unable to hear Dhamma teachings." So these beings don't seem to breathe at all. So I'm not sure what it is that they experience.

    Reading the chart at the above link, I'm not sure where your ideas fit ...
  22. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    If somebody asks other people what they understand the word 'God' to mean, they will find that they get a whole range of answers. And if somebody goes further and looks at how the word 'God' is being used in particular discussions and arguments, they will find even more diversity, as particular aspects of the vague definitions are highlighted and emphasized. Both theists and atheists do that, both are often rather vague about what they actually mean when they speak about 'God'. I agree that it's often valuable to inquire into that a bit. The course of many philosophical and theological arguments depends on the small details.

    Atheists don't invent their own gods and theologies. They simply express disbelief in those of the theists. In some real-life instances, that might come in the context of atheists expressing personal dislike of theistic doctrines. Theists' use of the word might come in devotional contexts. But if you just look at the propositional content of the word, you will find that the overlap and congruity between atheistic and theistic concepts of 'God' is almost complete.

    Theists often think in very similar ways, especially when they are passionate. They refer to (and try to emotionally relate to) 'God' as father. They imagine God as some supernatural principle that ensures that everything will ultimately turn out for the best, the source of their own salvation. Theists often imagine 'God' as the one necessarily existing entity.

    Perhaps what you are reacting to is the obvious dislike and hostility expressed by some (certainly not all) atheists towards 'religion' (a word that's just as vague and poorly defined as 'God'). My opinion is that's kind of the mirror image of many theists' similar dislike and hostility towards what they sometimes dismiss as 'kaffirs' and 'heathen'. It's the mirror image of the recent eruption of theist attacks on atheists here on Sciforums.

    So what do they tell you? You've said that you think that theistic understanding of the meaning of the word 'God' is superior to atheist understanding. You've said that you think that if atheists only adopted the theists' understanding, then all the atheists' questions would evaporate as pseudo-problems. So... what is that theistic understanding that you espouse? How is it different from what you imagine atheists like myself understand the word 'God' to mean?

    Your point might have some plausibility, if it is ever established that theists understand the word 'God' to mean something significantly different than atheists mean when they use the word. I don't believe that's the case. At least it would be plausible if all that's in dispute between theists and atheists is merely the meaning of a word. It's the theists' word after all, and the object of their belief, so an argument can certainly be made that they are the ones who should be defining it. That's analogous to your 'speaker of German' point, I guess.

    But it quickly becomes more complicated than that. The dispute between theists and atheists isn't primarily about the meaning of a word. It's a dispute about the literal objective existence of the divine being that the word supposedly refers to and names. This is more analogous to your 'physicist' point. Physicists aren't just speakers of some 'physics language'. They purport to make true statements about how the objective physical universe actually behaves.

    That returns us to the point about belief based on trust in authority that I made in an earlier post. Physicists are not only trained in physics, they are trained in a physics in which epistemological provenence is relatively clear. If it's questioned whether some belief in physics is actually true, it's possible to point to experimental results and theoretical derivations that support and justify the belief. If physicists' beliefs are questioned, it's possible to explain in great detail how it is that they came to know what they supposedly know.

    When we turn our attention to religious teachers and teachings, we are faced with similar difficulties. How does one distinguish between true religious facts and heathen superstition? How do we distinguish true religious teachers from pretenders? It's fairly clear how to go about answering those questions regarding physics. But things are a lot murkier when it comes to religious assertions.

    That's where the epistemological 'how do you know that?' question arises and why it's crucial. It typically arises, in both physics and in religion, when disputes exist about the truth of some assertion. That's why atheists are often the ones asking these annoying questions of theists.

    Well sure, if atheists all start believing that everything that theists say is true, then all of the questions that atheists ask about the truth of what theists say would evaporate. (Leaving aside all the remaining disputes among theists themselves.)

    Begging questions isn't the same thing as answering them and it doesn't mean that the questions aren't crucial.
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2013
  23. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

    I checked too. It's not easy to just breathe and not consider anything in particular, because of course I do think. But the occurence of thoughts, for whatever reason, has little to do with the act (hence the experience) of breathing. Why I should believe that I have to think about the way I'm breathing or what it sounds like wasn't something that really occured to me, much less that I should consult some Buddhist tome.

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