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Education, Consciousness, Intellectualism, Poverty, Future
Kris Notaro   Apr 17, 2013   Ethical Technology  

When we say “we” “one” or “I” in a context of “ought to think” we are referring to intellectuals in which we assume have a grasp on “rationality”. I assume that I am rational and that the material in which influenced me to write this paper on intellectualism and rationality was rational in itself. But not all “intellectual” media is rational.

The irrational intellectual media can come from the lack of research or facts, from our time and place within history of science (scientific paradigms), rationality, and the collection and understanding of theories, truth, facts, memes, and proofs. Out of what seems a haunting truth, or constant from this quest of “understanding” existence, is the inevitability of the intellectual constant. The issue then arises that, out of what seems to be intuitive grasping of this “haunting truth” is that the “pointing towards” of the associations intellectuals make with the words “we”, “one”, “I”, and mind/brain, we are forced to associate science and rationality with intellectualism, in such a way as to render them connected and because of the “intuition” that in order to really explain reality, to explain “us” the history of the scientific elite or intellectuals is assumed without doubt, with a huge degree of assurance, is the only way to really understand what we mean when we say “we”.

This unfortunate reality thus shows that because of birth and death, the living must constantly learn and rationally think in the context of science in order to make progress into the discovery or formulation of the Theory of Everything, epistemology and ontology, so that the felt notion of being and existence, in which we intuitively force onto, out of uncertainty or ambiguity to that notion of “I” and “we” is a necessary process to understand mind/brain, existence and being.

Unfortunate because, given the reality of the situation, billions of people are excluded from really grasping this notion, primarily and exclusively because of birth and death and the resources required along with the time it takes for this realization and for education to hit this plateau of understanding how to understand.

This reality, that of the lack of billions of people understanding the connection between rationality, science, and uncertainty and being, is thus conflict from not only ignorance, but also the elite intellectuals ("intellectuals" come in many forms, however i believe they all use science to their advantage, even pseudo science like economic theory concerning the capitalist system) and the ignorant.

We all truly have to learn and figure out how to live, and how to be, and figure out how it is that we exist in this undefined reality. People can be immensely lost in a world which throws at them immense uncertainty contributed by religions, social constructions of reality, theories which defy rationality, and ideas/memes which bring with them absurdity.

The self, that part of the mind/brain which has the ability to both introspect, and to feel what it is like to experience what it is like to be the mind/brain in which you are is of major importance today, not only socially, but also scientifically and philosophically. The self, that part of the mind/brain which is like the spot light on ones own memories, filters, and abilities, is of major importance today because we have made it so, out of a yearning to understand the mind/brain and existence, and unfortunately the inclusion of irrational-memes.

The fact that we are now researching the physical ability this mind/brain has to create feelings which are conscious to the self/mineness will probably revolutionize the way we think about the mind/brain and reality. It will revolutionize it because the consequences seem so severe, so important that what we know about being human today is liable to change in ways we can only guess. And by guessing I mean thought experiments done by people who, because of their privilege, have access to such information. Many people today believe that its absurd to start taking seriously the idea that humans will soon be changed biologically through genetic manipulation and the integration of body and mind with computer technology, and any technology which may lead to other physical/mental changes of the human as we know it.

Never before has it been so clear that this is going to be an upcoming reality which “we” must take seriously before any mistakes are made. Theorizing about the moral and ethical implications is a necessity, as well as the effect it will have on society and mind/brain/consciousness. The social implications as well as the scientific understanding of Being will be immense. I think that we should really consider the impact this will have on our idea of young/new minds and education. And as long as we haven’t reached the actual integration and merging of computers, as long as we are not posthumans in nature via drugs, nanotechnology, and genetic engineering, we should use this idea as a thought experiment to better understand ourselves.

Researching animal minds/brain, our mind/brain, and that of the notion of the future mind/brain we can make drastic leaps in our understanding of the current reality we live in. To think that it takes so long for people to realize the nature of the universe around them and the absurdity of social constructions of reality -in the context of irrational memes, is one of the sadist things I can think of. And "we" know all this can change, and will change with the help of rational theorizing, the spreading of technology and equal access to education, food, housing, etc.

Kris Notaro, a former IEET intern, served as the IEET's Managing Director from 2012 through 2015. He is currently an IEET Program Director. He earned his BS in Philosophy from Charter Oak State College in Connecticut. He is currently the Bertrand Russell Society’s Vice-President for Website Technology. He has worked with the Bertrand Russell A/V Project at Central Connecticut State University, producing multimedia materials related to philosophy and ethics for classroom use. His major passions are in the technological advances in the areas of neuroscience, consciousness, brain, and mind.



COMMENTS

The main points of this article:

1. intellectualism is necessarily connected with science
2. intellectualism can be irrational (for ex. when connected to religion and capitalism)
3. “We” in the context of this article = intellectuals
4. Rationality can help disconnect intellectualism from religion and capitalism
5. The intellectual, no matter what they say in 2013 do not fully understand reality
6. The intellectual has a duty to spread rational knowledge, even if it is a scientific paradigm
7. The intellectual has a duty to dismantle, or radically reform this corporate, capitalist, empire driven world
8. In order for the rational intellectual to authentically educate the world, so that everyone is a “rational intellectual” the secular scientific community must help spread technology and equal access to education, food, housing, etc - for they know that is the key to help people have a healthy happy life, and have the potential to be educated about the current scientific paradigm(s).

“We all truly have to learn and figure out how to live, and how to be, and figure out how it is that we exist in this undefined reality. People can be immensely lost in a world which throws at them immense uncertainty contributed by religions, social constructions of reality, theories which defy rationality, and ideas/memes which bring with them absurdity.”

And yet these memes and absurdities of the past have all lead the way to the path towards science and rationality and at where “we” are today? Yet more importantly these “religious” influences you hint at, have also been a positive influence and built upon ever growing civilizations and social order/structures, promoted collective ethics and provided much stability before science was around to answer any pertinent ontological questions, (an area where science still has little answers - ontology is best left to philosophy)?


“The fact that we are now researching the physical ability this mind/brain has to create feelings which are conscious to the self/mineness will probably revolutionize the way we think about the mind/brain and reality.”

And yet take for example the East Asian philosophies that have supported the deconstruction of “Self”, and applied the notion/philosophical system of Karma to sow the seeds of social integration, stability and order, contemplating deeper ontological questions, yet providing sound rationality upon accepting circumstance, the unknown, and promoting existential values? Abrahamic faiths have also promoted the “good life” that leads to the promise of reward - all of this is not so much absurd, as wise, in providing social stability and order for societies?

Whilst the contemporary existentialist’s were arguing to form a model of identity and ontological meaning/purpose, and psychology was attempting to apply rational meaning and due process to Human behaviour, East Asian philosophies already applied such existential thinking? Centuries ahead of their time, and mostly disvalued as absurd by Abrahamic faiths, science is now proving that the Self is indeed a construct? … But what then?

I would say that an average child/minor from India has more understanding of the rationality of life/being and of existential meaning than most intellectual scholars? There is no need to feel sympathy for any loss of modern scientific education where ontology is concerned?


“Many people today believe that its absurd to start taking seriously the idea that humans will soon be changed biologically through genetic manipulation and the integration of body and mind with computer technology, and any technology which may lead to other physical/mental changes of the human as we know it.”

Abrahamic faiths may be the most obstructive to this kind of thinking including Christianity, and yet, Western thinking, memes and contemporary history with technology, would intimate than Westerners would readily accept augmented technology and implants as compared to more religious indoctrinated cultures that adhere to notions of Human perfection an offence to deity?

India and East Asia would likely have already contemplated Human transformation as practicable, and which also supports their understanding and values of tolerance for all species and forms?

Capitalism promoted as absurdity is another matter however, and it may take India some time to adjust to contemporary thinking where poverty is a “concrete reality”, as opposed to re-evaluation today here in the West?

“People can be immensely lost in a world which throws at them immense uncertainty contributed by religions, social constructions of reality, theories which defy rationality, and ideas/memes which bring with them absurdity.”

You hit on it.
Also the reverse: they themselves throw out illusions: religions, social constructions of reality, theories which defy rationality, and ideas/memes which bring with them absurdity—because poverty, sickness, ageing, death, meaningless… are too difficult for most to process; thus the mind becomes projector of illusions onto the screen of the senses. Which is why I always refer to escapism, escapism being both positive as well as negative.
Negative escapism would be to escape for no reason.
However one might logically guess escapism usually does have a rationality (a ‘positive’) to it:
to escape from poverty; re your chart above 642 millions in AsiaPac alone.

To escape the reality of ageing. (A scene in ‘Whatever Happened To Baby Jane’ comes to mind: former child performer Bette Davis practices a song about being young, at the end of the song she looks in a mirror then screams when realising she has become elderly. Escapism is—was—her coping mechanism).

To escape the reality of death & dying through fantasizing and subconsciously thinking about an afterlife, or merely escaping into an altered state of consciousness; extremely common (“religions, social constructions of reality, theories which defy rationality, and ideas/memes which bring with them absurdity”).

Sickness is an obvious factor, needs no explanation.. because when you’re really sick you know it!

Meaninglessness: most, save for perhaps disciplined Buddhists, cannot take emptiness, therefore the mind is filled with illusions to ‘fill the void’ so to speak.

... at 2:50 in this clip realisation of ageing sets in; undoubetdly such is extremely common form of escapism: to imagine one is young (even pre-adolescent) when one is not.

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