Human Cognition 101

Ad-hoc explanations out of the air

We publish the parts of a bigger article which is being in elaboration now. As everything else posted at M&M, this text is going to consider several absolutely non-related issues, the only common point of which is human consciousness. Maximus&Magnus           

Tradition

“Gammel vane er vond å vende” [1] 

Norwegian proverb

One always hears about how valuable tradition is, but how detrimental it can be is often forgotten. If something has been thought about – and maybe also taught about! – a particular way for years and even generations, how difficult is it not to think about it differently! Not only must one’s own habit be combated, but a certain way of doing things is often accompanied by a belief that this is how it should be done. And beliefs are not something we easily trade… Continue reading

Evolution, Religion and Society

Recently I started to read the book “Natural Justice” by Ken Binmore, and in his introductory chapter he talks about the evolutionary basis for morality. For his part this is meant only as an introduction of sorts, and therefore the exposition is shortened and simplified, and so it would be unfair to criticise it too harshly for avoiding some issues. But, it did get me to think about some common presentations and arguments from evolution that I feel are too much of a simplification – especially if the goal is to make ethical and political claims based on human nature. I will in this article raise some general questions considering how one argues from and presents evolution, and in particular I will present important concerns about the focus on religious beliefs, that is beliefs containing deities or the divine, by certain atheistic groups. Continue reading

A Model of Time and Space

Prologue

This model was madzenoe mostly as an interesting exercise. I do not claim it is a correct model, or that I even believe in it. However, the fact that I can make such a model, that cannot in any way be disproven, does tell us something interesting.

Ideally, one would look at all facts and start building a model to explain them. The world is unfortunately not ideal. Such a model begins always by an idea, which one tries to match the facts with.

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Gravity of Morals

Traditionally morality has been defined in terms of rational categories detached from humans. The morality of an action or idea is determined by checking abstract criterias: loyalty, honesty, honour, harm, justice and so on. The important question is, how did we arrive at these terms? If one is to argue that honesty is moral, one shows that it satisfies certain criterias, or lead to certain consequences. Where did these criterias come from? Why these consequences?

The answer does not lie in logic detached from Man. We do not eat because we logically deduce that we will die if not, but because we are drawn to it. Indeed, we can give no reason for living other than a force that draws us. It does not make sense to talk of morality without such a force.

The moral concepts and principles we have made cannot be explained other than as a result of a force – and it is this force that is morality. Continue reading

The Essence of Society

Certificate of “Truth”

When you smile at someone they smile back: Society is a house of mirrors. Our psyche has a mirror nature, which determines education, morality and culture. We copy when we learn, we copy what we like, we copy as we see – and, in order to save energy, our mind leaves it all behind the limit of our consciousness. Whoever we meet, all we can see in others are our own traits: exaggerated, fascinating and sometimes similar. Whatever we see we are only aware of the properties we have already saw: the reflections of previous experience. Whatever we do was already done by someone else in a similar way: the new is transcendental to human society. The mirror nature is our gift and our curse. Here is the source of society and  its boundary.

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Social Mythology

Why does there not exist individuals who deeply believes in certain Gods, with a complete mythology around it about creation, traits, morality and so on, that is completely detached from the beliefs of any other person on earth? Religion does not exist without society.

Viewing religion only as the belief in a supernatural being begs the question why all religions say something about why’s and what’s. Christianity is not the belief “God exists and Jesus is his son”, and Islam is much more than “There is only one God, and Muhammed is his prophet”; they are ways of life and ways of thinking; they are law, philosophy and community.

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