Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Appreciating the Physical Reality ~ Human Mindscape divide (2/5)

"Our relationship between our selves and the knowledge we acquire is rarely examined." 

©2022, citizenschallenge

“Who am I?”  
Children and the learned have been fascinated by that question and the mystery of our sense of “self" since forever.  

David Chalmers formalized some of that wonder with his Hard Problem of Consciousness back around 1995 and philosophers have been having a field day with the notion ever since.*  

The glaring problem with their conceptions and the endless philosophizing is that they rarely truly incorporate the ramifications of Evolution beyond lip service. 

Seems to me as a society our biggest problem is that most are still trapped within the Abrahamic mindset of absolute self-absorption.  A bubble where our own thoughts, perceptions and expectations totally engulf our thinking and leaves no space for explicitly recognizing the physical realities beyond our own immediate desires and thoughts - that unrecognized attitude permeates and shackles our understanding of the world around us.

For all the lectures on the topic, I rarely hear any examination of the relationship between our selves and the knowledge we acquire.  That’s a big problem because it blinds us to Earth's realities and the needs of others, such as this life sustaining biosphere we’re currently destroying as fast as we can.

No grand revelation, a simple observation. 

©citizenschallenge 2022

{*Incidentally, Dr. Mark Solms has recently done an excellent job of demystifying those notions 
and bringing the source of consciousness back into the realm of biology and real science.}

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Appreciating the Physical Reality ~ Human Mindscape divide

I can’t figure out, why it isn’t self-evident to folks that consciousness and mind can’t be understood by studying modern people in these modern times?  Consciousness requires an evolutionary perspective of the natural, biological forces at work.  First producing simple creatures that eventually evolved into aware complex creatures, with branches that eventually evolved into Homo during the last minute+ of Evolution’s 24 hours of Creation, only then into Homo sapiens, a mere 3, 4 seconds ago. 

How does one ponder the human brain and mind without wondering about all the time before Homo?  We evolved out of the mammalian class of animals.  Think about it, the breast-feeding body plan with a lifestyle built around nurturing their young, developing families and even communities.  

Physical Reality is the physical world of atoms, molecules, universal laws of physics, biology and Earth’s laws of nature.  It is Earth’s dance between geology and biology and time and Earth's evolving creatures.  For this discussion, one in particular, one that learned to contemplate the universe along with its own short life.

Human Mindscape is all that goes on inside of our minds.  The landscape of our thoughts and desires and impulses and those various voices and personalities who inhabit our thoughts and Being.  The ineffable ideas that our hands can turn into physical reality and change our planet.  

The me, myself and I, and all that unfolds within the thoughts just beyond the biological sparks and chemical cascades unfolding within our physical bodies and brains as they navigate their environments.

The evolutionary biologist and historian of science Stephen J. Gould wrote an essay in 1997, “Non-overlapping Magisteria” in an attempt to address the tension between scientific truths and religious truths.

His solution was the notion of “Non-overlapping Magisteria” which delineated two teaching “authorities” (magisterium), the “magisteria of science” and the “magisteria of religion.” It wasn’t his original idea, rather a continuation of a centuries old dialogue between scientists and the Catholic Church that I won’t get into.

In any event, Gould concluded there should be no conflict because each realm had its own domain of “teaching authority.” Since these “magisteria” do not overlap, they cannot contradict each other and should be able to exist in mutual respect.

When it first came out, I loved the idea because of my own struggling intellectual spiritual journey which was embedded within gathering and learning from sober scientific knowledge about this Earth and her story, while dealing with the spiritual aspect of ‘touching Earth’ and having experienced ‘God’s breath’ against my back so to speak.

Gould’s idea was interesting and it gained a lot of attention and lively discussion, but in the end seems to have offered little to either side. For myself, the criticisms made sense and my enthusiasm faded away.  Still, the conflict kept echoing like an unresolved challenge as I increasingly engaged faith-shackled contrarians towards climate science and Evolution, then it was reinvigorated by my recent adventures through Prof. Hoffman’s imagination.

I’ve kept learning more about Earth’s amazing evolution and geophysics and also the scientific process itself

A process that’s basically a set of rules for gathering and assessing our observations in an honest, open and disciplined manner, that all who understand science can participate in and trust because it is a community of skeptical experts who are always looking over each other’s shoulders.  It’s also predicated on the notion that fidelity to honesty and truth matters.

Too many celebrity talkers have become so infatuated with the wonderful ideas their genius creates, that they lose sight of the actually physical reality they are trying to render.  

Science seeks to objectively learn about our physical world, but we ought to still recognize all our understanding is embedded within and constrained by our mindscape and the bubble our personal ego creates. 

Religion is all about the human mindscape itself, with its wonderful struggles, fears, spiritual undercurrents, needs and stories we create to give our live’s meaning and make it worth living, or at least bearable. 

What’s the point? 

Religions, science, same as political beliefs, heaven, hell, mathematics, art, music, even God, they are all products of the human mindscape, generations of imaginings built upon previous generations of imaginings, all the way down.

That's not to say they are the same thing, they are not!  Though I think they're both valid human endeavors, still fundamentally, qualitatively different.

Religion deals with the inside of our minds, hearts and souls, Science does its best to objectively understand the physical world beyond all that, doing its best to eliminate ego and bias from of its deliberations.

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