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Offline Aurelian

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Politics and philosophy
« on: January 27, 2019, 08:12:39 PM »
Good evening, my fellow kindred. My apologies for disrupting any business or interfering with prior engagements you may have had this evening.

It has occurred several times to me that I digress from various subjects we debate in various threads in favor of political and philosophical debate. I suspect this is fundamentally natural, for the Kindred should be well invested in the matters of politics, faith and philosophy. Therefore, I have decided to create this thread so that it may be a gathering place for all those who wish to discuss the matters of politics, philosophy and religion.

I shall start by commenting on comment by a fellow user Deicide.

My original comment was this: 
Quote
The society or the nation that is unified by language, culture, values, religion and ethnicity is far more harder to infiltrate and subvert from within. Which nations are more vulnerable to subversion? Japan, Poland, Russia, Vietnam and Ethiopia or America, Sweden, Bosnia, Syria, Lebanon and India?

But I bring nothing new to the table, for this has been known since the times of Plato and Aristotle. Famous Muslim scholar Ibn Khaldun wrote numerous books on rise and fall of societies.

To which Deicide replied:
Quote
It's a quite a necromancy, but I think that religion should be excluded from this list. Religion, by design, is open to interpretation, don't even get me started on ambiguous and often self-contradicting religious texts that could be read in any way that one pleases. Therefore, it's easily corruptible, the "divide and conquer" tactic in regards of religion was employed multiple times over the course of history. Religion always was the one of the most popular reasons to start a war or conflict. In a society with a sole religion, a schism inside it will certainly pack quite a punch. On the other hand, in a multireligious society it does not play any role of importance, otherwise it would've fallen apart already, without any vampire influence. If such a society survived, it means it's tolerant towards different religions and branches, so setting up a divide would achieve nothing but just another branch of yet another religion.
For these reasons, I will prefer a society that united by anything but it.


While I am a agnostic, it often strikes me that people vastly underestimate the binding power of religion in creating high-trust compact societies. Herodotus defined ethnic identity for his age, and I still see those same parameters as relevant today as they were in his time. Shared descent, language, customs and faith. Those 4 parameters are the cornerstones of a ethnic group. Faith is not self realizing: it's the background, the framework upon we paint of lives. What fulfills in this earthly life of ours is our jobs, our families, our children, our passions, our arts, our entertainment. The societal coherence that you dream of, or wish for, can be achieved in many ways.

Religion is just very efficient at managing large communities in a short span of time.
Eternal damnation has that component of immediacy that organizes people rapidly. But fear is a depletable resource.
But the mechanisms of society are much simpler than that. Apes of all kinds don't have any religion that we're aware of, and they manage just fine. Furthermore, coherence can sometimes be an inherent weakness. Islam, for instance, styles itself as a world religion, with an universalist claim, but it's not coherent at any scale; beyond the Shahada, lays a vast field of profound disagreements. It's not even internally consistent. Thus we see today many regions of the Islamic world in the fires, and the strife is not between a Muslim and a follower of a another religion, but between a Muslim and a Muslim.

Coherence and strong compact society lets you conquer half the Mediterranean coasts and large pieces of European land in a few decades. But it quickly dissolves in a myriad of smaller, competing, kingdoms. On that note: so is the nation. Church, culture, nations... can and do build large societies. And they all have a natural tendency to remain through large swats of time in the common conscience even after they hold no dominion or jurisdiction. We managed to eject religion from the state. Perhaps more importantly, it's only in the last few decades that we even have the knowledge (game theory) to assess and discuss how societies work internally. Whether the decision to eject religion from the state was a wise one or not still remains to be seen.







« Last Edit: January 27, 2019, 08:16:15 PM by Aurelian »


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Offline Raving_Neonate

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Re: Politics and philosophy
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2019, 06:10:54 PM »
A wonderful topic indeed.

My view on the topic is that religion should function as a strengthening and defining factor behind a single society, utterly apart from the affairs of the state and the actual executive power of various government bureaus. Religion has a place of its own in a single society, defining the nature of many nationalities and allowing the individual to feel a dosage of comfort, because science cannot explain everything (here I like to embrace the theory of Kant who actually made a sort of barrier for science explaining what it can and cannot discern and/or explain).

I tend to think of science as a faulty mechanism for certain things, because everything created by man is essentially flawed like its creator: some machines are extremely precise or efficient, but expensive to acquire and/or maintain while others require a tremendous amount of resources and wealth to manufacture in the first place and later on only a certain percentage of people is able and wealthy enough to acquire it. This is what I like about religion - it is universal and all-inclusive so to speak, for its rules apply to all and all have equal chance to enter heaven or hell. Sure, the religion of today has been institutionalized and altered, but the core principles or more precisely the dogma should be the focus of the believers not how the priest dresses, for in the end, only faith matters.   
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Offline Aurelian

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Re: Politics and philosophy
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2019, 09:50:13 PM »
We're entering a subject which I personally quite love, the rise and the fall of societies. Why do societies, especially complex societies collapse?

So one such theory of complex societies collapsing is proposed by Joseph A. Tainter which serves to explain the development of complex societies and how they tend to fall. Complexity is defined as both, Diversification in function, specialization in structure and behavioral roles, and increasing integration and control of behavior. So in effect societies develop more parts and more different types of parts within themselves. More over you develop mechanisms of power which bind those parts as a whole functional unit. Societies grow in complexity both by adding complexity but managing that complexity into a functional machine, otherwise you just have a box of useless parts so to speak.

Complexity has a drawback however, mainly as societies grow more complex they run into various key problems. Tainter’s theory, to simplify things is that as societies grow they become more complex, slapping on layer after layer of institutions, regulations and customs to deal with challenges (and, I suspect, to facilitate the ruling classes’ extracting resources from the ruled). Over time, these layers grow more and more rigid and take more and more of the society’s resources. It’s hard to change them because every layer of complexity represents some group’s livelihood or claim on power. Eventually, the society is devoting almost all its resources to maintaining these institutions and has very little reserve left to deal with the unexpected. The result is that challenges that it would have weathered easily in the past are now sufficient to bring it to an end.

Political solutions are not always capable of solving such crisis'. Political leaders’ chief concern is their own power and position, they’re willing to do almost anything to stave off a collapse, except reduce their own power and position. Kicking the can down the road usually just makes the problem worse in the end, but politicians would rather do that than make any sacrifice up front.

To summarize, there are two opposing tendencies at work here: the compulsion to control everything and the nature of an endlessly complexifying system that by its nature becomes uncontrollable. The end result is a sort of "heat death" where infinite resources are required to exercise an infinite degree of control, resulting in an avalanche of unintended consequences.
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Offline Barabbah

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Re: Politics and philosophy
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2019, 10:17:56 PM »
I don't believe in philosophy. Or any religions.  :razz:
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Offline Raving_Neonate

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Re: Politics and philosophy
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2019, 11:01:49 AM »
I don't believe in philosophy. Or any religions.  :razz:

There is certain controversy in such statements from nihilists and atheists - cultivation of the belief in nothing and no one. That still qualifies as a belief system or a trace of it for the lack of a better term, yet I would like to know what do they gain from denying the existence of anything that is not corporeal or definable - bowing down to the cruel majesty known as logic or reason invites the death of many things that are not explainable and in my personal opinion, it is a poor perception mechanism indeed: I cannot see or measure air, but it is still there and necessary to the entire humankind.

To me, especially in the contemporary era, science and logic are just means to deconstruct and nullify the value existence in favor of knowing every bit of something which is in most cases useless. Using the rationale of the atheists and nihilists, there is no point in having a life - then I propose a question to them, why live if everything is in vain and there is no value save the material? I am not simplifying their stances, but it comes down to that in the end: why live in a corporate world where I slave from 9 to 5 or longer and disperse into dust when I die, where every emotion is reduced to a barely comprehensible set of attributes (anger bad, lust good) and I deny everything simply because I do not understand it? So I am fully within my rights when I deny the existence of astrophysics simply because I cannot understand it or see it.

There is more to human existence than a simple cycle of birth, reproducing and death. We live in a visual world, where the humankind takes everything and everyone for granted and at face value: when I say that I believe in God, people automatically assume a whole lot with it, such as bowing down to the word of the clergy, disregarding of science etc. Throughout history, there were many who perished in the name of something spiritual and religious, and people today would call them deluded idiots even if their deeds were righteous and essentially good. For example, during the Black Plague in Europe, many priests and nuns have given their lives trying to find to cure or ease the suffering of those afflicted - I am supposed to diminish the value of their sacrifice by claiming that their faith had been a hoax?
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Offline Barabbah

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Re: Politics and philosophy
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2019, 11:14:17 PM »
Honestly I dropped it as a joke but seriously my kind of autism blocks my understanding of philosophy. It's like being deaf, I cannot feel it but I trust you when you says it exists. And regarding religion I'm actually agnostic in the sense I recognize the limits of human mind to know if any kind of superior beings exists or not (and specially if it's as religions childishly pretend it is). We cannot know and/or understand how this is (and if) for now so I don't see the point of trying to understand it for now, at a professional level at least. Ok, if others want to try to I won't argue (but still I feel it useless as trying to read the Gilgamesh in the original language without any knoledge of sumerian language and culture).
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Online deicide

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Re: Politics and philosophy
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2019, 11:31:07 PM »
Philosophy isn't about feelings at all, quite the contrary. It's an Ouroboros, ways of thinking of ways thinking. To put it short, an understanding of one's ways of thinking, that's all. I'm sure that you're actually indulged in philosophy many times without even realising how it's called.

I would not take autism or anything else seriously, these diagnoses aren't based on real science or related to actual CNS peculiarites, but purely on subjective opinion of one shrink or another. Autism has almost the same description as Sociopathy, though these are considered polar opposites. How could it be?
Broadly speaking, both are limited "emotional range". Is there a standard for an emotional range or scientific definition of "emotion"? Nope.

I can assure you that the lack of emotion isn't an obstacle for understanding any possible concept, since an emotion is just an aspect of a thought. Not to say, the most of human emotions are as fake as a wedding cake (c), since they exist for the sake of feeling an emotion itself.

By the way, greetings from Slytherin to Gryffindor, though I'm no Harry Pothead fan, if you know what I mean.

To Raving_Neonate, it seems that you have a misunderstanding of science, atheism and nihilism.

The science does not have a license on reality. For example, physics is an incomplete mathematical model, nothing more. And which physics exactly? Ancient? Newtonian? Einsteinian? Corpuscular theory? Wave theory? Anything in between? Any of alternative ones that did not receive any funding thus ended up in permanent underdevelopment limbo? There are no "laws" of physics in strict sense, so, theorectically, anything is possible. Anything that seemingly does not fit the model is "unknown", not "impossible".

Likewise, atheism or nihilism has nothing to do with corporealilty and materialsim. In short, atheism = "there's no need in the idea of god", nihilism = "nothing is real". Both of these points of view does not deny the existense of non-corporeal, supernatural, life after death and reincarnation, nor otherwise.
In fact, there are mainstream religions with Nihilism as a philosophical basis, namely Buddhism. Everything is an illusion (c).
« Last Edit: January 30, 2019, 09:55:08 AM by deicide »

Offline Raving_Neonate

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Re: Politics and philosophy
« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2019, 10:16:58 AM »
To Deicide, I do not have a misunderstanding, I just observe it from another angle or perspective if you wish.

In theory, science has no license on reality indeed, but every person reacts more concretely and favorably if a matter is backed by science or scientific proof and/or analysis - if I run a poll regarding the quality of bottled water, no one will take my word for my findings until I present them with a sort of proof or statistic, hence the importance of science and its "judicial" power. It does not run a monopoly per se, but its clout is palpable in any debate, analysis or research and is worth more than a mere human word no matter how persuasive you are. Science by itself is not worth much (plain theory I mean) - only in its application through various vessels/devices etc we can see the magnitude of its gargantuan sway over the majority of populace/target group or however you define the number of persons that it hits with a particular subject.

My post above was just an example; like I mentioned I know that there is far more than simple denial to these two stances, but denial by itself and a sort of prejudice against a particular element is really a poor mechanism - I will combat or dispute the existence of God by denying that he exists - it is really a faulty stance. For example, I don't believe in democracy and liberalism, so I can deny their existence even if there are countries with that term in their name and many societies strive to have that kind of system. I believe in concrete arguments rather than outright denial of anything, be it God or reality.

On Buddhism - what is the purpose of life if I shall suffer constantly, if everything is an illusion and if everything is without purpose, aimless? I should score points for afterlife in this reincarnation, so the next one can botch it up and so on and on, repeat the cycle indefinitely.


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Online deicide

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Re: Politics and philosophy
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2019, 10:34:04 AM »
About Buddhism, it was a random example that nihilism isn't an antithesis to religion. Myself not into it, but I assume that means that one should create the purporse of life for oneself and, ultimately, either attain Nirvana or build a world in which there will be no need in it.
In other words, if you're screwing people around you, you will reap the consequences in the next life. Conversely, by making the world a better place, you're building a future for yourself, becoming closer to Nirvana aka complete fulfillment, which ends life-rebirth cycle.

Of science, than we're talking not about science, but people's understanding of it. To me, it's useful enough, which justifies its existence. If someone perceives it as a word of god, so much the worse for them.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2019, 10:48:28 AM by deicide »

Offline Raving_Neonate

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Re: Politics and philosophy
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2019, 12:17:24 PM »
About Buddhism, it was a random example that nihilism isn't an antithesis to religion. Myself not into it, but I assume that means that one should create the purporse of life for oneself and, ultimately, either attain Nirvana or build a world in which there will be no need in it.
In other words, if you're screwing people around you, you will reap the consequences in the next life. Conversely, by making the world a better place, you're building a future for yourself, becoming closer to Nirvana aka complete fulfillment, which ends life-rebirth cycle.

Of science, than we're talking not about science, but people's understanding of it. To me, it's useful enough, which justifies its existence. If someone perceives it as a word of god, so much the worse for them.

To Deicide - I apologize if my post has sounded hostile, it was not meant to be. I agree with your final sentence completely, since the two are polar opposites in my humble opinion.

A funny tidbit about Buddhism - it was a philosophy originally that only later on acquired religious traits and codified a comprehensible dogma. Ever since its inception, it had to face off the powerful and rather merciless Hinduism to which it lost in its native, Indian soil so a lot of religious elements that came into Buddhism was originally from Hinduism, Taoism and Confucianism respectively (deities, saints and the concept of afterlife). The major strongholds of religious Buddhism is China, Mongolia and south-eastern Asia rather than its native India.

One peculiar thing I noticed about most major religions that would be in my opinion worthy of debate - the "original sin" and its enforcement upon the descendants. I never liked that particular notion of having the majority suffer for the transgressions of the few over a long time period. The best example would be that of Adam and Eve: why should people be forced to suffer for their fault... I never saw a particular redeeming reason for it. That original sin and the inherent taint or susceptibility to corruption from the judeo-christian tradition is oddly similar to the Nirvana concept in Buddhism, but the Buddhist one is in my opinion unfair as much as the former is too cruel or rigid - for example, if one of my previous existences was a murderer or extortionist, no matter how much I strive to live a good life, I am destined to pay for the transgressions of someone else, of an existence that I am unaware of in my current state/existence.

Personally, I would really like to find a religion where ONLY the person who makes a transgression is held responsible and not the entire humankind or other incarnations of the person in question - a religious or spiritual system where there is no enforced original sin or a point-based system that my other incarnation would inherit if I was either too good or bad in this life.
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Online deicide

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Re: Politics and philosophy
« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2019, 12:40:09 PM »
The Karma concept in Buddhism is vastly different to Hinduism (though the name is the same and symbolism was borrowed from the latter). For all intents and purposes the next incarnation is a new person who does not carry anything from previous life. Metaphors aside, all it means that one will (probably) face the consequences of the previous person actions, since the next will inhabit the same world.
Indeed, Karma in Buddhism isn't deterministic, what was literal in Hinduism has become non-literal. It means, you may (if unlucky) or may not face these consequences, besides it could depend from your actions, in short, it's possible to avoid it.

A really rough example, someone was a really crappy parent who turned children's life into a hell. He may be unlucky enough to end up as his own grandson, or simply run into this person. Still, these children may or may not become the same assholes as he.

To sum it up, Buddhism isn't about "hidden karma points" like Hinduism, but long-term consequences of one's actions, especially those which cause a chain reaction / butterfly effect. The more crap you left behind, the more chance you will bump into it later.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2019, 01:22:32 PM by deicide »

Offline Barabbah

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Re: Politics and philosophy
« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2019, 01:27:21 PM »
Autism exists, of course not in the hollywodian conception. Simply it's a term to describe a wide range of types of minds. Very probably our current knowledge isn't right on every aspects but at least we know  something like this actually exists.
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Online deicide

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Re: Politics and philosophy
« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2019, 02:14:48 PM »
Of course, if you prefer it that way. Human variance is so great that there's no mind like each other. So, there's no point nor in Hollywoodian labels nor in ones from DSM any version, nor in Encyclopaedia Dramatica memes.
For example, you may call me a sociopath (antisocial personality disorder), bipolar (manic-depressive), or yandere and tsundere in one bottle with the same success, but each label will say exactly nothing.

Should I bought any of this, I would've indeed acted like a character from a shrink textbook or yandere from tvtropes, that's your call.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2019, 02:42:10 PM by deicide »

Offline Barabbah

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Re: Politics and philosophy
« Reply #13 on: January 30, 2019, 05:32:48 PM »
Thinking myself as this gives me a reason to explain some of my aspects. I know of people who suffered knowing they have mental issues but not exactly what, it made difficullt explain their issues but alsoaccept themself
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Offline Aurelian

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Re: Politics and philosophy
« Reply #14 on: January 30, 2019, 07:48:46 PM »
To Deicide and Raving_Neonate

Personally, I greatly detest Buddhism and the philosophy that Buddha laid down. He saw suffering and conflict as inherently evil, a view that I think is utterly short-sighted if one takes a grand view of the history of our species. So, I think humans require, and are embettered by, overcoming conflict and suffering. In this sense, we are a stubborn, violent, foolish, dogmatic race - more akin in some aspects to Orks than the Humans of fantasy / sci-fi. However, the reason why conflict is so beneficial for us - is also because we are such a stubborn, foolish, and violent race.

When we ram our heads together - whether in war or ideology or angry forum rants - we are too stubborn to lose gracefully, too foolish to collaborate or compromise, too violent to communicate. The result? The ocean of blood that is human history. Conflicts only end when both sides mutually, but usually without communication, identify a collaborative superior solution - or someone invents a technology or ideology which resolves first the conflict, and then the violence.

This is why it is not conflict itself that drives humanity forward, it is innovation, but conflict forces us to innovate. Or rather, it begins killing us off until we do. The efforts of the survivors become devoted to the conflict - a conflict draws all of our attention - and getting humanity to focus is what gets shit done: partially through intelligence but mostly through the sheer computing power of millions of our fancy brains operating in parallel.

If we were not so violent, it would not capture our attention. If we were not so stubborn, it would be easier to compromise or collaborate. If we were not so foolish, it would be easier to anticipate the outcome of failing to compromise. If we were not so dogmatic, it would be easier to collaborate. The worst traits of humanity survive because they each play a role in creating the environment to steer our entire species toward our best trait (innovation).
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