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Re: [existlist] The will to be rational?

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  • George Walton
    From Will Durant s The Story of Philosophy: Almost without exception, philosophers have placed the essense of mind in thought and consciousness; man was the
    Message 1 of 11 , Apr 29, 2005
      From Will Durant's The Story of Philosophy:

      "Almost without exception, philosophers have placed the essense of mind in thought and consciousness; man was the knowing animal, the rational animal. 'This ancient and universal radical error [says Schopenhauer] must before everything be set aside.' 'Consciousness [Schopenhauer continues] is the mere surface of our minds, of which, as of the earth, we do not know the inside but only the crust'. Under the conscious intellect is the conscious or unconscious will, a striving and persistent vital force, a spontaneous activity, a will of imperious desire. The intellect may seem at times to lead the will, but only as a guide leads his master; the will 'is the strong blind man who carries on his shoulders the lame man who can see.' We do not want a thing because we have found reasons for it, we find reasons for it because we want it; we even elaborate philosophies and theologies to cloak our desires. Hence Schopenhauer calls man the 'metaphysical animal': other animals desire without
      metaphysics. 'Nothing is more provoking, when we are arguing against a man with reasons and explanations, and taking all pains to convince him, than to discover at last that he will not understand...' Hence the uselessness of logic; and even logicians use logic only as a source of income."

      And:

      "Consider the agitated strife of men for food, mates, or children; can this be the work of reflection? Certainly not; the cause is the half-conscious will to live, and to live fully. 'Men are only apparently drawn from the front; in reality they are pushed from behind"; they think they are led by what they see, when in truth they are driven by what they feel---by instincts of whose operation they are half the time unconscious. Intellect is merely the minister of foreign affairs; 'nature has produced it for the service of the individual will. Therefore it is only designed to know things so far as they afford motives for the will, but not to fathom them or to comprehend their true being.'"



      The will to be rational?

      The will, however, like human consciousness itself, is not something the surgeon can poke around inside the brain and actually locate. She can't point to a spot and say, "this particular mass of cells here is the human will." Or, further: "you will notice how its shape, size and color is clearly distinguishable from the shape, size and color of the consciousness in which it is embedded; which is clearly distinguishable, in turn, from the rest of the brain".

      Thus there is no way, of course, that Schopenhauer's argument can be confirmed empirically or "scientifically". We can't know for certain if what he suggested is, in fact, true. We can only extrapolate from our sensations, perceptions and what our thinking minds collate into conceptions and then offer what some will or will not construe to be a reasonable argument.

      Does it seem reasonable to you? It certainly seems reasonable to me. Consider, for example, that life on earth has been evolving for literally millions and millions of years. And for the overwhelming preponderance of life-forms, metaphysics hardly ever came up at all. The human species, on the other hand, has evolved a brain that allows it ponder the world "philosophically". It is a brain that allows us to mold and manipulate the environment....to mold and manipulate emotional and psychological and "instinctive" states; to do this in a way that is literally unthinkable for monkeys and whales and lions and dogs and cats and muskrats and squirrels. But that is only a very, very recent phenomenon in the overall evolutionary scheme of things. We still share in common with all other mammals a reptilian brain that acts more as the engine rather than the caboose of the motivational train.

      Or just look at human history [even recent history] and ask yourself: is this a species propelled by Broca's brain in conducting social, political and economic relationship? or by more deepseated, primordial parts instead?

      Obviously a fluid [and combustible] combination of both. And it varies considerably from culture to culture and communtity to community and person to person. But how far do you suppose any of us can really go with our logical assessments before we bump into the parts that have less discerning or discriminating or sober and sound agendas?



      George



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    • Bob Keyes
      You just described almost exactly how I look at things. What you just wrote seems so obvious to me and I find it strange more people don t see it that way.
      Message 2 of 11 , Apr 29, 2005
        You just described almost exactly how I look at things. What you just wrote
        seems so obvious to me and I find it strange more people don't see it that
        way.
        Super Great Post. !!!
        Bob...
        -----Original Message-----
        From: existlist@yahoogroups.com [mailto:existlist@yahoogroups.com]On
        Behalf Of George Walton
        Sent: Friday, April 29, 2005 11:49 PM
        To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: Re: [existlist] The will to be rational?



        >From Will Durant's The Story of Philosophy:

        "Almost without exception, philosophers have placed the essense of mind in
        thought and consciousness; man was the knowing animal, the rational animal.
        'This ancient and universal radical error [says Schopenhauer] must before
        everything be set aside.' 'Consciousness [Schopenhauer continues] is the
        mere surface of our minds, of which, as of the earth, we do not know the
        inside but only the crust'. Under the conscious intellect is the conscious
        or unconscious will, a striving and persistent vital force, a spontaneous
        activity, a will of imperious desire. The intellect may seem at times to
        lead the will, but only as a guide leads his master; the will 'is the strong
        blind man who carries on his shoulders the lame man who can see.' We do not
        want a thing because we have found reasons for it, we find reasons for it
        because we want it; we even elaborate philosophies and theologies to cloak
        our desires. Hence Schopenhauer calls man the 'metaphysical animal': other
        animals desire without
        metaphysics. 'Nothing is more provoking, when we are arguing against a man
        with reasons and explanations, and taking all pains to convince him, than to
        discover at last that he will not understand...' Hence the uselessness of
        logic; and even logicians use logic only as a source of income."

        And:

        "Consider the agitated strife of men for food, mates, or children; can
        this be the work of reflection? Certainly not; the cause is the
        half-conscious will to live, and to live fully. 'Men are only apparently
        drawn from the front; in reality they are pushed from behind"; they think
        they are led by what they see, when in truth they are driven by what they
        feel---by instincts of whose operation they are half the time unconscious.
        Intellect is merely the minister of foreign affairs; 'nature has produced it
        for the service of the individual will. Therefore it is only designed to
        know things so far as they afford motives for the will, but not to fathom
        them or to comprehend their true being.'"



        The will to be rational?

        The will, however, like human consciousness itself, is not something the
        surgeon can poke around inside the brain and actually locate. She can't
        point to a spot and say, "this particular mass of cells here is the human
        will." Or, further: "you will notice how its shape, size and color is
        clearly distinguishable from the shape, size and color of the consciousness
        in which it is embedded; which is clearly distinguishable, in turn, from the
        rest of the brain".

        Thus there is no way, of course, that Schopenhauer's argument can be
        confirmed empirically or "scientifically". We can't know for certain if what
        he suggested is, in fact, true. We can only extrapolate from our sensations,
        perceptions and what our thinking minds collate into conceptions and then
        offer what some will or will not construe to be a reasonable argument.

        Does it seem reasonable to you? It certainly seems reasonable to me.
        Consider, for example, that life on earth has been evolving for literally
        millions and millions of years. And for the overwhelming preponderance of
        life-forms, metaphysics hardly ever came up at all. The human species, on
        the other hand, has evolved a brain that allows it ponder the world
        "philosophically". It is a brain that allows us to mold and manipulate the
        environment....to mold and manipulate emotional and psychological and
        "instinctive" states; to do this in a way that is literally unthinkable for
        monkeys and whales and lions and dogs and cats and muskrats and squirrels.
        But that is only a very, very recent phenomenon in the overall evolutionary
        scheme of things. We still share in common with all other mammals a
        reptilian brain that acts more as the engine rather than the caboose of the
        motivational train.

        Or just look at human history [even recent history] and ask yourself: is
        this a species propelled by Broca's brain in conducting social, political
        and economic relationship? or by more deepseated, primordial parts instead?

        Obviously a fluid [and combustible] combination of both. And it varies
        considerably from culture to culture and communtity to community and person
        to person. But how far do you suppose any of us can really go with our
        logical assessments before we bump into the parts that have less discerning
        or discriminating or sober and sound agendas?



        George



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      • Siobhan
        George, Your closing comments explain the practical and existential dilemma in a nutshell. The differences within and between individuals and societies are the
        Message 3 of 11 , Apr 30, 2005
          George,

          Your closing comments explain the practical and existential dilemma
          in a nutshell. The differences within and between individuals and
          societies are the crux of the problem. And yes, if and when brain
          cognitive studies are able to pinpoint and define the intricate
          processes of activities that comprise the complex we call 'mind', we
          still won't resolve all our difficulties. However, we might resolve
          many. Given the differences between individuals I doubt we'll ever
          have species wide solutions, but it's not impossible. I do think that
          for the individual, science will definitely provide even more
          arguments for secular existential experience.

          Like you said, this evolved state is relatively new, and it's quite
          obvious to me that no two brains produce the same way of thinking.
          With you George, I only ever take small exception to your science,
          i.e. psychology's unproven or poorly defined concepts like
          unconscious, emotions and so on. I'm guilty of using such terminology
          myself, but when using science and psychology to explain how the
          brain works, there's just too much unknown. Heaven knows I use vague
          terms like 'feelings' and 'thoughts'. Again I say, you present the
          problems precisely. Science will lead the way to a better
          terminology, especially useful for philosophical discussions where we
          tend to be a little imprecise. May of us are willing to be rational.
          If you want to argue Dennett's position, you'll have to use his
          jargon; because as far as I've observed, only he has a grasp of the
          entire problem. Freedom evolves slowly. Free will exists for some.

          Siobhan

          --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, George Walton <iambiguously@y...>
          wrote:
          >
          > From Will Durant's The Story of Philosophy:
          >
          > "Almost without exception, philosophers have placed the essense of
          mind in thought and consciousness; man was the knowing animal, the
          rational animal. 'This ancient and universal radical error [says
          Schopenhauer] must before everything be set aside.' 'Consciousness
          [Schopenhauer continues] is the mere surface of our minds, of which,
          as of the earth, we do not know the inside but only the crust'. Under
          the conscious intellect is the conscious or unconscious will, a
          striving and persistent vital force, a spontaneous activity, a will
          of imperious desire. The intellect may seem at times to lead the
          will, but only as a guide leads his master; the will 'is the strong
          blind man who carries on his shoulders the lame man who can see.' We
          do not want a thing because we have found reasons for it, we find
          reasons for it because we want it; we even elaborate philosophies and
          theologies to cloak our desires. Hence Schopenhauer calls man
          the 'metaphysical animal': other animals desire without
          > metaphysics. 'Nothing is more provoking, when we are arguing
          against a man with reasons and explanations, and taking all pains to
          convince him, than to discover at last that he will not
          understand...' Hence the uselessness of logic; and even logicians use
          logic only as a source of income."
          >
          > And:
          >
          > "Consider the agitated strife of men for food, mates, or children;
          can this be the work of reflection? Certainly not; the cause is the
          half-conscious will to live, and to live fully. 'Men are only
          apparently drawn from the front; in reality they are pushed from
          behind"; they think they are led by what they see, when in truth they
          are driven by what they feel---by instincts of whose operation they
          are half the time unconscious. Intellect is merely the minister of
          foreign affairs; 'nature has produced it for the service of the
          individual will. Therefore it is only designed to know things so far
          as they afford motives for the will, but not to fathom them or to
          comprehend their true being.'"
          >
          >
          >
          > The will to be rational?
          >
          > The will, however, like human consciousness itself, is not
          something the surgeon can poke around inside the brain and actually
          locate. She can't point to a spot and say, "this particular mass of
          cells here is the human will." Or, further: "you will notice how its
          shape, size and color is clearly distinguishable from the shape, size
          and color of the consciousness in which it is embedded; which is
          clearly distinguishable, in turn, from the rest of the brain".
          >
          > Thus there is no way, of course, that Schopenhauer's argument can
          be confirmed empirically or "scientifically". We can't know for
          certain if what he suggested is, in fact, true. We can only
          extrapolate from our sensations, perceptions and what our thinking
          minds collate into conceptions and then offer what some will or will
          not construe to be a reasonable argument.
          >
          > Does it seem reasonable to you? It certainly seems reasonable to
          me. Consider, for example, that life on earth has been evolving for
          literally millions and millions of years. And for the overwhelming
          preponderance of life-forms, metaphysics hardly ever came up at all.
          The human species, on the other hand, has evolved a brain that allows
          it ponder the world "philosophically". It is a brain that allows us
          to mold and manipulate the environment....to mold and manipulate
          emotional and psychological and "instinctive" states; to do this in a
          way that is literally unthinkable for monkeys and whales and lions
          and dogs and cats and muskrats and squirrels. But that is only a
          very, very recent phenomenon in the overall evolutionary scheme of
          things. We still share in common with all other mammals a reptilian
          brain that acts more as the engine rather than the caboose of the
          motivational train.
          >
          > Or just look at human history [even recent history] and ask
          yourself: is this a species propelled by Broca's brain in conducting
          social, political and economic relationship? or by more deepseated,
          primordial parts instead?
          >
          > Obviously a fluid [and combustible] combination of both. And it
          varies considerably from culture to culture and communtity to
          community and person to person. But how far do you suppose any of us
          can really go with our logical assessments before we bump into the
          parts that have less discerning or discriminating or sober and sound
          agendas?
          >
          >
          >
          > George
          >
          >
          >
          > __________________________________________________
          > Do You Yahoo!?
          > Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around
          > http://mail.yahoo.com
          >
          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Trinidad Cruz
          George, Don t you think that the post-modernist view is essentially: fact cannot be produced? Perhaps more simply: terminology cannot produce fact? As far as
          Message 4 of 11 , Apr 30, 2005
            George,

            Don't you think that the post-modernist view is essentially: fact
            cannot be produced? Perhaps more simply: terminology cannot produce
            fact? As far as your post here,it almost suggests a predisposition to
            non-factual assumption in some humans. I think in the west we are
            victims of under expressed ideas, as much as over expressed ideas.
            Almost any idea can be coupled to a successful culture and become a
            culture-wide assessment. Though the idea of an enlightened government
            can seem benevolent, all government still operates with a
            fundamentally Machiavellian view of power when faced with unpopular
            dissent.This seed lives in all manifestations of social organization.
            It makes a government tending toward theocracy something one should
            take notice of. In any case: a successful culture, one that has
            provided a measure of comfort and stability for its members, can
            become a runaway truck. Humans in the age of mass media prefer to
            avoid complex assessment, but here and now in the United States one
            would do well to avoid becoming a bandwagon jumper. The success of a
            culture cannot be taken as proof of its fundamental ethical
            validity.Pragmatism is valid for an individual in very specific areas
            of individual existence, but can never be valid as a culture-wide
            assessment without a species-wide fact basis.

            I think for the modern system generated American citizen evolving a
            personal philosophical point of view is next to
            impossible."Belief-system" is a terminology that acceptably masks this
            incapacity for the average system generated academic.The term "belief"
            is more acceptable than "fantasy" or "delusional", because it is
            connotatively suggestive of both fact and fantasy, and provides a
            general expression that can be limply embraced by both philosophical
            science and religion.There is no doubt that the success of any large
            culture is based in communication. I do not think that fundamental
            ethics maximize over time in succesful cultures. I think that history
            indicates the opposite to be true:they peak at the nascense of the
            culture.Communication is the cause of this. Cultures embark upon a
            long series of compromises in meaning in order to maintain and absorb
            a growing constituency toward larger influence and success on the
            world stage through strength in numbers. In the modern view domestic
            stability is seen by leadership as a key component of power.The
            refining power of dissent becomes less and less imperative to the good
            of the culture.Agreement becomes a prime directive.In such an
            environment the first victim is terminology. We are swimming in
            blather. A good portion of our language has become meaningless
            generalization. The average western human sees no alternative, but to
            turn to faith,and jump on the bandwagon. The end of it of course is
            ethical domestic collapse: fascism. The dynamics all work together
            toward futility, because the grease on the wheel is the decreasing
            meaning of terminology.We are afraid that fact may not exist, and at
            the academic level our little self-indulgent, self-dignifying
            rebellion is post-modernism.

            Everyday science produces new terminology. This in itself is
            anti-cultural. We need not be surprised that cultural institutions
            cast a wary eye on scientific endeavor. Science forces a culture to
            assimilate new terminology, one of the necessary functions of cultural
            stability. I know that existence ends, most definitely in human
            terms,and this in itself will produce facts about existence
            inevitably. The only thing that can stall or change the assimilating
            historically repetitive fundamental course of a large culture toward
            syncretism and meaningless terminology is fact.We need, if there is
            any course really left, to throw our money at science: at the least
            the new terminology slows the syncretistic process; at the most it may
            produce fact.Large cultures in modern history have always harnessed
            science for technological power, actually not much different than the
            chief utilizing the witch doctor.(Fritz Graf, Magic in the Ancient
            World) We have arrived at a place where science may turn the tables.

            I know this is a rambling post. I am writing it on-line off the cuff.
            I do find your posts stimulating.Thanks.

            Trinidad Cruz

            --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, George Walton <iambiguously@y...> wrote:
            >
            > From Will Durant's The Story of Philosophy:
            >
            > "Almost without exception, philosophers have placed the essense of
            mind in thought and consciousness; man was the knowing animal, the
            rational animal. 'This ancient and universal radical error [says
            Schopenhauer] must before everything be set aside.' 'Consciousness
            [Schopenhauer continues] is the mere surface of our minds, of which,
            as of the earth, we do not know the inside but only the crust'. Under
            the conscious intellect is the conscious or unconscious will, a
            striving and persistent vital force, a spontaneous activity, a will of
            imperious desire. The intellect may seem at times to lead the will,
            but only as a guide leads his master; the will 'is the strong blind
            man who carries on his shoulders the lame man who can see.' We do not
            want a thing because we have found reasons for it, we find reasons for
            it because we want it; we even elaborate philosophies and theologies
            to cloak our desires. Hence Schopenhauer calls man the 'metaphysical
            animal': other animals desire without
            > metaphysics. 'Nothing is more provoking, when we are arguing
            against a man with reasons and explanations, and taking all pains to
            convince him, than to discover at last that he will not understand...'
            Hence the uselessness of logic; and even logicians use logic only as a
            source of income."
            >
            > And:
            >
            > "Consider the agitated strife of men for food, mates, or children;
            can this be the work of reflection? Certainly not; the cause is the
            half-conscious will to live, and to live fully. 'Men are only
            apparently drawn from the front; in reality they are pushed from
            behind"; they think they are led by what they see, when in truth they
            are driven by what they feel---by instincts of whose operation they
            are half the time unconscious. Intellect is merely the minister of
            foreign affairs; 'nature has produced it for the service of the
            individual will. Therefore it is only designed to know things so far
            as they afford motives for the will, but not to fathom them or to
            comprehend their true being.'"
            >
            >
            >
            > The will to be rational?
            >
            > The will, however, like human consciousness itself, is not something
            the surgeon can poke around inside the brain and actually locate. She
            can't point to a spot and say, "this particular mass of cells here is
            the human will." Or, further: "you will notice how its shape, size and
            color is clearly distinguishable from the shape, size and color of the
            consciousness in which it is embedded; which is clearly
            distinguishable, in turn, from the rest of the brain".
            >
            > Thus there is no way, of course, that Schopenhauer's argument can be
            confirmed empirically or "scientifically". We can't know for certain
            if what he suggested is, in fact, true. We can only extrapolate from
            our sensations, perceptions and what our thinking minds collate into
            conceptions and then offer what some will or will not construe to be a
            reasonable argument.
            >
            > Does it seem reasonable to you? It certainly seems reasonable to me.
            Consider, for example, that life on earth has been evolving for
            literally millions and millions of years. And for the overwhelming
            preponderance of life-forms, metaphysics hardly ever came up at all.
            The human species, on the other hand, has evolved a brain that allows
            it ponder the world "philosophically". It is a brain that allows us to
            mold and manipulate the environment....to mold and manipulate
            emotional and psychological and "instinctive" states; to do this in a
            way that is literally unthinkable for monkeys and whales and lions and
            dogs and cats and muskrats and squirrels. But that is only a very,
            very recent phenomenon in the overall evolutionary scheme of things.
            We still share in common with all other mammals a reptilian brain that
            acts more as the engine rather than the caboose of the motivational
            train.
            >
            > Or just look at human history [even recent history] and ask
            yourself: is this a species propelled by Broca's brain in conducting
            social, political and economic relationship? or by more deepseated,
            primordial parts instead?
            >
            > Obviously a fluid [and combustible] combination of both. And it
            varies considerably from culture to culture and communtity to
            community and person to person. But how far do you suppose any of us
            can really go with our logical assessments before we bump into the
            parts that have less discerning or discriminating or sober and sound
            agendas?
            >
            >
            >
            > George
            >
            >
            >
            > __________________________________________________
            > Do You Yahoo!?
            > Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around
            > http://mail.yahoo.com
            >
            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • nolanhatley
            Freedom evolves slowly. Freedom exists for some. This has a nasty stench of eugenics. Instead of ethnic or racial prejudice, you would propagate
            Message 5 of 11 , Apr 30, 2005
              "Freedom evolves slowly. Freedom exists for some."

              This has a nasty stench of eugenics. Instead of ethnic or racial
              prejudice, you would propagate beliefs-centered prejudice aimed at
              those who present something inexplicable to your overly
              indoctrinated "scientific" post-modern ears. "Fut! I would have been
              that I am had the madliensist star shined on my bastardizing."
              Siobhan, if you truly want to connect free will to genetics, then
              please send us a precise genealogy showing your qualifications.
              Nonetheless, I must hold my toungue. No, I choose better....

              Grace and Peace,

              Nolan




              --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Siobhan" <bravegnoobee@y...>
              wrote:
              > George,
              >
              > Your closing comments explain the practical and existential
              dilemma
              > in a nutshell. The differences within and between individuals and
              > societies are the crux of the problem. And yes, if and when brain
              > cognitive studies are able to pinpoint and define the intricate
              > processes of activities that comprise the complex we call 'mind',
              we
              > still won't resolve all our difficulties. However, we might
              resolve
              > many. Given the differences between individuals I doubt we'll ever
              > have species wide solutions, but it's not impossible. I do think
              that
              > for the individual, science will definitely provide even more
              > arguments for secular existential experience.
              >
              > Like you said, this evolved state is relatively new, and it's
              quite
              > obvious to me that no two brains produce the same way of thinking.
              > With you George, I only ever take small exception to your science,
              > i.e. psychology's unproven or poorly defined concepts like
              > unconscious, emotions and so on. I'm guilty of using such
              terminology
              > myself, but when using science and psychology to explain how the
              > brain works, there's just too much unknown. Heaven knows I use
              vague
              > terms like 'feelings' and 'thoughts'. Again I say, you present the
              > problems precisely. Science will lead the way to a better
              > terminology, especially useful for philosophical discussions where
              we
              > tend to be a little imprecise. May of us are willing to be
              rational.
              > If you want to argue Dennett's position, you'll have to use his
              > jargon; because as far as I've observed, only he has a grasp of
              the
              > entire problem. Freedom evolves slowly. Free will exists for some.
              >
              > Siobhan
              >
              > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, George Walton
              <iambiguously@y...>
              > wrote:
              > >
              > > From Will Durant's The Story of Philosophy:
              > >
              > > "Almost without exception, philosophers have placed the essense
              of
              > mind in thought and consciousness; man was the knowing animal, the
              > rational animal. 'This ancient and universal radical error [says
              > Schopenhauer] must before everything be set aside.' 'Consciousness
              > [Schopenhauer continues] is the mere surface of our minds, of
              which,
              > as of the earth, we do not know the inside but only the crust'.
              Under
              > the conscious intellect is the conscious or unconscious will, a
              > striving and persistent vital force, a spontaneous activity, a
              will
              > of imperious desire. The intellect may seem at times to lead the
              > will, but only as a guide leads his master; the will 'is the
              strong
              > blind man who carries on his shoulders the lame man who can see.'
              We
              > do not want a thing because we have found reasons for it, we find
              > reasons for it because we want it; we even elaborate philosophies
              and
              > theologies to cloak our desires. Hence Schopenhauer calls man
              > the 'metaphysical animal': other animals desire without
              > > metaphysics. 'Nothing is more provoking, when we are arguing
              > against a man with reasons and explanations, and taking all pains
              to
              > convince him, than to discover at last that he will not
              > understand...' Hence the uselessness of logic; and even logicians
              use
              > logic only as a source of income."
              > >
              > > And:
              > >
              > > "Consider the agitated strife of men for food, mates, or
              children;
              > can this be the work of reflection? Certainly not; the cause is
              the
              > half-conscious will to live, and to live fully. 'Men are only
              > apparently drawn from the front; in reality they are pushed from
              > behind"; they think they are led by what they see, when in truth
              they
              > are driven by what they feel---by instincts of whose operation
              they
              > are half the time unconscious. Intellect is merely the minister of
              > foreign affairs; 'nature has produced it for the service of the
              > individual will. Therefore it is only designed to know things so
              far
              > as they afford motives for the will, but not to fathom them or to
              > comprehend their true being.'"
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > The will to be rational?
              > >
              > > The will, however, like human consciousness itself, is not
              > something the surgeon can poke around inside the brain and
              actually
              > locate. She can't point to a spot and say, "this particular mass
              of
              > cells here is the human will." Or, further: "you will notice how
              its
              > shape, size and color is clearly distinguishable from the shape,
              size
              > and color of the consciousness in which it is embedded; which is
              > clearly distinguishable, in turn, from the rest of the brain".
              > >
              > > Thus there is no way, of course, that Schopenhauer's argument
              can
              > be confirmed empirically or "scientifically". We can't know for
              > certain if what he suggested is, in fact, true. We can only
              > extrapolate from our sensations, perceptions and what our thinking
              > minds collate into conceptions and then offer what some will or
              will
              > not construe to be a reasonable argument.
              > >
              > > Does it seem reasonable to you? It certainly seems reasonable to
              > me. Consider, for example, that life on earth has been evolving
              for
              > literally millions and millions of years. And for the overwhelming
              > preponderance of life-forms, metaphysics hardly ever came up at
              all.
              > The human species, on the other hand, has evolved a brain that
              allows
              > it ponder the world "philosophically". It is a brain that allows
              us
              > to mold and manipulate the environment....to mold and manipulate
              > emotional and psychological and "instinctive" states; to do this
              in a
              > way that is literally unthinkable for monkeys and whales and lions
              > and dogs and cats and muskrats and squirrels. But that is only a
              > very, very recent phenomenon in the overall evolutionary scheme of
              > things. We still share in common with all other mammals a
              reptilian
              > brain that acts more as the engine rather than the caboose of the
              > motivational train.
              > >
              > > Or just look at human history [even recent history] and ask
              > yourself: is this a species propelled by Broca's brain in
              conducting
              > social, political and economic relationship? or by more
              deepseated,
              > primordial parts instead?
              > >
              > > Obviously a fluid [and combustible] combination of both. And it
              > varies considerably from culture to culture and communtity to
              > community and person to person. But how far do you suppose any of
              us
              > can really go with our logical assessments before we bump into the
              > parts that have less discerning or discriminating or sober and
              sound
              > agendas?
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > George
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > __________________________________________________
              > > Do You Yahoo!?
              > > Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around
              > > http://mail.yahoo.com
              > >
              > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • alan
              OH man, gimme me a break, Schopenhauer says nothing about what consciousness actually is. all these descriptions are shapeless. ... From:
              Message 6 of 11 , Apr 30, 2005
                OH man, gimme me a break, Schopenhauer says nothing about what consciousness
                actually is. all these descriptions are shapeless.




                -----Original Message-----
                From: existlist@yahoogroups.com [mailto:existlist@yahoogroups.com]On Behalf
                Of George Walton
                Sent: Saturday, 30 April 2005 1:49 PM
                To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: Re: [existlist] The will to be rational?


                From Will Durant's The Story of Philosophy:

                "Almost without exception, philosophers have placed the essense of mind in
                thought and consciousness; man was the knowing animal, the rational animal.
                'This ancient and universal radical error [says Schopenhauer] must before
                everything be set aside.' 'Consciousness [Schopenhauer continues] is the
                mere surface of our minds, of which, as of the earth, we do not know the
                inside but only the crust'. Under the conscious intellect is the conscious
                or unconscious will, a striving and persistent vital force, a spontaneous
                activity, a will of imperious desire. The intellect may seem at times to
                lead the will, but only as a guide leads his master; the will 'is the strong
                blind man who carries on his shoulders the lame man who can see.' We do not
                want a thing because we have found reasons for it, we find reasons for it
                because we want it; we even elaborate philosophies and theologies to cloak
                our desires. Hence Schopenhauer calls man the 'metaphysical animal': other
                animals desire without< BR> metaphysics. 'Nothing is more provoking, when we
                are arguing against a man with reasons and explanations, and taking all
                pains to convince him, than to discover at last that he will not
                understand...' Hence the uselessness of logic; and even logicians use logic
                only as a source of income."

                And:

                "Consider the agitated strife of men for food, mates, or children; can this
                be the work of reflection? Certainly not; the cause is the half-conscious
                will to live, and to live fully. 'Men are only apparently drawn from the
                front; in reality they are pushed from behind"; they think they are led by
                what they see, when in truth they are driven by what they feel---by
                instincts of whose operation they are half the time unconscious. Intellect
                is merely the minister of foreign affairs; 'nature has produced it for the
                service of the individual will. Therefore it is only designed to know things
                so far as they afford motives for the will, but not to fathom them or to
                comprehend their true being.'"



                The will to be rational?

                The will, however, like human consciousness itself, is not something the
                surgeon can poke around inside the brain and actually locate. She can't
                point to a spot and say, "this particular mass of cells here is the human
                will." Or, further: "you will notice how its shape, size and color is
                clearly distinguishable from the shape, size and color of the consciousness
                in which it is embedded; which is clearly distinguishable, in turn, from the
                rest of the brain".

                Thus there is no way, of course, that Schopenhauer's argument can be
                confirmed empirically or "scientifically". We can't know for certain if what
                he suggested is, in fact, true. We can only extrapolate from our sensations,
                perceptions and what our thinking minds collate into conceptions and then
                offer what some will or will not construe to be a reasonable argument.

                Does it seem reasonable to you? It certainly seems reasonable to me.
                Consider, for example, that life on earth has been evolving for literally
                millions and millions of years. And for the overwhelming preponderance of
                life-forms, metaphysics hardly ever came up at all. The human species, on
                the other hand, has evolved a brain that allows it ponder the world
                "philosophically". It is a brain that allows us to mold and manipulate the
                environment....to mold and manipulate emotional and psychological and
                "instinctive" states; to do this in a way that is literally unthinkable for
                monkeys and whales and lions and dogs and cats and muskrats and squirrels.
                But that is only a very, very recent phenomenon in the overall evolutionary
                scheme of things. We still share in common with all other mammals a
                reptilian brain that acts more as the engine rather than the caboose of the
                motivational train.

                Or just look at human history [even recent history] and ask yourself: is
                this a species propelled by Broca's brain in conducting social, political
                and economic relationship? or by more deepseated, primordial parts instead?

                Obviously a fluid [and combustible] combination of both. And it varies
                considerably from culture to culture and communtity to community and person
                to person. But how far do you suppose any of us can really go with our
                logical assessments before we bump into the parts that have less discerning
                or discriminating or sober and sound agendas?



                George



                __________________________________________________
                Do You Yahoo!?
                Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around
                http://mail.yahoo.com

                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



                Please support the Existential Primer... dedicated to explaining nothing!

                Home Page: http://www.tameri.com/csw/exist



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                * To visit your group on the web, go to:
                http://groups.yahoo.com/group/existlist/

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                Service <http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/> .


                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Bob Keyes
                No Man (Schopenhauer_Makes sense in everything he thinks, However, he makes some might good Points. Bob... ... From: existlist@yahoogroups.com
                Message 7 of 11 , Apr 30, 2005
                  No Man (Schopenhauer_Makes sense in everything he thinks, However, he makes
                  some might good Points.
                  Bob...
                  -----Original Message-----
                  From: existlist@yahoogroups.com [mailto:existlist@yahoogroups.com]On
                  Behalf Of alan
                  Sent: Sunday, May 01, 2005 2:00 AM
                  To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
                  Subject: RE: [existlist] The will to be rational?



                  OH man, gimme me a break, Schopenhauer says nothing about what
                  consciousness
                  actually is. all these descriptions are shapeless.




                  -----Original Message-----
                  From: existlist@yahoogroups.com [mailto:existlist@yahoogroups.com]On
                  Behalf
                  Of George Walton
                  Sent: Saturday, 30 April 2005 1:49 PM
                  To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
                  Subject: Re: [existlist] The will to be rational?


                  >From Will Durant's The Story of Philosophy:

                  "Almost without exception, philosophers have placed the essense of mind in
                  thought and consciousness; man was the knowing animal, the rational
                  animal.
                  'This ancient and universal radical error [says Schopenhauer] must before
                  everything be set aside.' 'Consciousness [Schopenhauer continues] is the
                  mere surface of our minds, of which, as of the earth, we do not know the
                  inside but only the crust'. Under the conscious intellect is the conscious
                  or unconscious will, a striving and persistent vital force, a spontaneous
                  activity, a will of imperious desire. The intellect may seem at times to
                  lead the will, but only as a guide leads his master; the will 'is the
                  strong
                  blind man who carries on his shoulders the lame man who can see.' We do
                  not
                  want a thing because we have found reasons for it, we find reasons for it
                  because we want it; we even elaborate philosophies and theologies to cloak
                  our desires. Hence Schopenhauer calls man the 'metaphysical animal': other
                  animals desire without< BR> metaphysics. 'Nothing is more provoking, when
                  we
                  are arguing against a man with reasons and explanations, and taking all
                  pains to convince him, than to discover at last that he will not
                  understand...' Hence the uselessness of logic; and even logicians use
                  logic
                  only as a source of income."

                  And:

                  "Consider the agitated strife of men for food, mates, or children; can
                  this
                  be the work of reflection? Certainly not; the cause is the half-conscious
                  will to live, and to live fully. 'Men are only apparently drawn from the
                  front; in reality they are pushed from behind"; they think they are led by
                  what they see, when in truth they are driven by what they feel---by
                  instincts of whose operation they are half the time unconscious. Intellect
                  is merely the minister of foreign affairs; 'nature has produced it for the
                  service of the individual will. Therefore it is only designed to know
                  things
                  so far as they afford motives for the will, but not to fathom them or to
                  comprehend their true being.'"



                  The will to be rational?

                  The will, however, like human consciousness itself, is not something the
                  surgeon can poke around inside the brain and actually locate. She can't
                  point to a spot and say, "this particular mass of cells here is the human
                  will." Or, further: "you will notice how its shape, size and color is
                  clearly distinguishable from the shape, size and color of the
                  consciousness
                  in which it is embedded; which is clearly distinguishable, in turn, from
                  the
                  rest of the brain".

                  Thus there is no way, of course, that Schopenhauer's argument can be
                  confirmed empirically or "scientifically". We can't know for certain if
                  what
                  he suggested is, in fact, true. We can only extrapolate from our
                  sensations,
                  perceptions and what our thinking minds collate into conceptions and then
                  offer what some will or will not construe to be a reasonable argument.

                  Does it seem reasonable to you? It certainly seems reasonable to me.
                  Consider, for example, that life on earth has been evolving for literally
                  millions and millions of years. And for the overwhelming preponderance of
                  life-forms, metaphysics hardly ever came up at all. The human species, on
                  the other hand, has evolved a brain that allows it ponder the world
                  "philosophically". It is a brain that allows us to mold and manipulate the
                  environment....to mold and manipulate emotional and psychological and
                  "instinctive" states; to do this in a way that is literally unthinkable
                  for
                  monkeys and whales and lions and dogs and cats and muskrats and squirrels.
                  But that is only a very, very recent phenomenon in the overall
                  evolutionary
                  scheme of things. We still share in common with all other mammals a
                  reptilian brain that acts more as the engine rather than the caboose of
                  the
                  motivational train.

                  Or just look at human history [even recent history] and ask yourself: is
                  this a species propelled by Broca's brain in conducting social, political
                  and economic relationship? or by more deepseated, primordial parts
                  instead?

                  Obviously a fluid [and combustible] combination of both. And it varies
                  considerably from culture to culture and communtity to community and
                  person
                  to person. But how far do you suppose any of us can really go with our
                  logical assessments before we bump into the parts that have less
                  discerning
                  or discriminating or sober and sound agendas?



                  George



                  __________________________________________________
                  Do You Yahoo!?
                  Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around
                  http://mail.yahoo.com

                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



                  Please support the Existential Primer... dedicated to explaining nothing!

                  Home Page: http://www.tameri.com/csw/exist



                  _____

                  Yahoo! Groups Links
                  * To visit your group on the web, go to:
                  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/existlist/

                  * To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                  existlist-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                  <mailto:existlist-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com?subject=Unsubscribe>

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                  Service <http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/> .


                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



                  Please support the Existential Primer... dedicated to explaining nothing!

                  Home Page: http://www.tameri.com/csw/exist



                  ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
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                  a.. To visit your group on the web, go to:
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                  existlist-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com

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                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • George Walton
                  No one knows what consciousness actually is . Unless, of course, you would like to give us all a break and tell us. alan wrote: OH
                  Message 8 of 11 , May 1, 2005
                    No one knows what consciousness "actually is".

                    Unless, of course, you would like to give us all a break and tell us.

                    alan <equityplus@...> wrote:

                    OH man, gimme me a break, Schopenhauer says nothing about what consciousness
                    actually is. all these descriptions are shapeless.




                    -----Original Message-----
                    From: existlist@yahoogroups.com [mailto:existlist@yahoogroups.com]On Behalf
                    Of George Walton
                    Sent: Saturday, 30 April 2005 1:49 PM
                    To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
                    Subject: Re: [existlist] The will to be rational?


                    From Will Durant's The Story of Philosophy:

                    "Almost without exception, philosophers have placed the essense of mind in
                    thought and consciousness; man was the knowing animal, the rational animal.
                    'This ancient and universal radical error [says Schopenhauer] must before
                    everything be set aside.' 'Consciousness [Schopenhauer continues] is the
                    mere surface of our minds, of which, as of the earth, we do not know the
                    inside but only the crust'. Under the conscious intellect is the conscious
                    or unconscious will, a striving and persistent vital force, a spontaneous
                    activity, a will of imperious desire. The intellect may seem at times to
                    lead the will, but only as a guide leads his master; the will 'is the strong
                    blind man who carries on his shoulders the lame man who can see.' We do not
                    want a thing because we have found reasons for it, we find reasons for it
                    because we want it; we even elaborate philosophies and theologies to cloak
                    our desires. Hence Schopenhauer calls man the 'metaphysical animal': other
                    animals desire without< BR> metaphysics. 'Nothing is more provoking, when we
                    are arguing against a man with reasons and explanations, and taking all
                    pains to convince him, than to discover at last that he will not
                    understand...' Hence the uselessness of logic; and even logicians use logic
                    only as a source of income."

                    And:

                    "Consider the agitated strife of men for food, mates, or children; can this
                    be the work of reflection? Certainly not; the cause is the half-conscious
                    will to live, and to live fully. 'Men are only apparently drawn from the
                    front; in reality they are pushed from behind"; they think they are led by
                    what they see, when in truth they are driven by what they feel---by
                    instincts of whose operation they are half the time unconscious. Intellect
                    is merely the minister of foreign affairs; 'nature has produced it for the
                    service of the individual will. Therefore it is only designed to know things
                    so far as they afford motives for the will, but not to fathom them or to
                    comprehend their true being.'"



                    The will to be rational?

                    The will, however, like human consciousness itself, is not something the
                    surgeon can poke around inside the brain and actually locate. She can't
                    point to a spot and say, "this particular mass of cells here is the human
                    will." Or, further: "you will notice how its shape, size and color is
                    clearly distinguishable from the shape, size and color of the consciousness
                    in which it is embedded; which is clearly distinguishable, in turn, from the
                    rest of the brain".

                    Thus there is no way, of course, that Schopenhauer's argument can be
                    confirmed empirically or "scientifically". We can't know for certain if what
                    he suggested is, in fact, true. We can only extrapolate from our sensations,
                    perceptions and what our thinking minds collate into conceptions and then
                    offer what some will or will not construe to be a reasonable argument.

                    Does it seem reasonable to you? It certainly seems reasonable to me.
                    Consider, for example, that life on earth has been evolving for literally
                    millions and millions of years. And for the overwhelming preponderance of
                    life-forms, metaphysics hardly ever came up at all. The human species, on
                    the other hand, has evolved a brain that allows it ponder the world
                    "philosophically". It is a brain that allows us to mold and manipulate the
                    environment....to mold and manipulate emotional and psychological and
                    "instinctive" states; to do this in a way that is literally unthinkable for
                    monkeys and whales and lions and dogs and cats and muskrats and squirrels.
                    But that is only a very, very recent phenomenon in the overall evolutionary
                    scheme of things. We still share in common with all other mammals a
                    reptilian brain that acts more as the engine rather than the caboose of the
                    motivational train.

                    Or just look at human history [even recent history] and ask yourself: is
                    this a species propelled by Broca's brain in conducting social, political
                    and economic relationship? or by more deepseated, primordial parts instead?

                    Obviously a fluid [and combustible] combination of both. And it varies
                    considerably from culture to culture and communtity to community and person
                    to person. But how far do you suppose any of us can really go with our
                    logical assessments before we bump into the parts that have less discerning
                    or discriminating or sober and sound agendas?



                    George



                    __________________________________________________
                    Do You Yahoo!?
                    Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around
                    http://mail.yahoo.com

                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



                    Please support the Existential Primer... dedicated to explaining nothing!

                    Home Page: http://www.tameri.com/csw/exist



                    _____

                    Yahoo! Groups Links
                    * To visit your group on the web, go to:
                    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/existlist/

                    * To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                    existlist-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                    <mailto:existlist-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com?subject=Unsubscribe>

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                    Service <http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/> .


                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



                    Please support the Existential Primer... dedicated to explaining nothing!

                    Home Page: http://www.tameri.com/csw/exist



                    ---------------------------------
                    Yahoo! Groups Links

                    To visit your group on the web, go to:
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                    To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
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                    __________________________________________________
                    Do You Yahoo!?
                    Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around
                    http://mail.yahoo.com

                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • essentialadam@aol.com
                    Conciousness to me is the self realization. Realizing choices, and identifying potential outcomes and consequences. [Non-text portions of this message have
                    Message 9 of 11 , May 1, 2005
                      Conciousness to me is the self realization. Realizing choices, and
                      identifying potential outcomes and consequences.


                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • Bob Keyes
                      Great Definition in my Humble Opinion. Bob... (just a side thought do Apes know if they hit another Ape it will cause Problems and therefore refrain) ... From:
                      Message 10 of 11 , May 1, 2005
                        Great Definition in my Humble Opinion.
                        Bob... (just a side thought do Apes know if they hit another Ape it will
                        cause Problems and therefore refrain)
                        -----Original Message-----
                        From: existlist@yahoogroups.com [mailto:existlist@yahoogroups.com]On
                        Behalf Of essentialadam@...
                        Sent: Sunday, May 01, 2005 8:07 PM
                        To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
                        Subject: Re: [existlist] The will to be rational?


                        Conciousness to me is the self realization. Realizing choices, and
                        identifying potential outcomes and consequences.


                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



                        Please support the Existential Primer... dedicated to explaining nothing!

                        Home Page: http://www.tameri.com/csw/exist



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                        Yahoo! Groups Links

                        a.. To visit your group on the web, go to:
                        http://groups.yahoo.com/group/existlist/

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                        c.. Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.



                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      • essentialadam@aol.com
                        Thanx Bob [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        Message 11 of 11 , May 1, 2005
                          Thanx Bob


                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.