The Second Apocalypse

Miscellaneous Chatter => Philosophy & Science => Topic started by: sciborg2 on January 10, 2019, 05:14:32 am

Title: The Great God Pan is Not Dead: Alfred N. Whitehead & the Psychedelic Mode of...
Post by: sciborg2 on January 10, 2019, 05:14:32 am
Opening Note: See What do we know about the risks of psychedelics (https://michaelpollan.com/psychedelics-risk-today/)? & free documentary What's in My Baggie? (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mt09Kdy4x2o) There is an incredible danger in thinking you can just find good psychedelics via illegal markets, I can say that from personal experience as I was attacked by a friend who thought LSD could cure his depression.

The Great God Pan is Not Dead: Alfred North Whitehead and the Psychedelic Mode of Perception (http://psypressuk.com/2017/03/03/great-god-pan-is-not-dead-alfred-north-whitehead-psychedelic-mode-of-perception/)

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Eternal Objects are Whiteheadís variant of Platoís Forms, of Russellís Universals, and of Santayanaís Essences. They are every potential form of mentality: ideas (numbers, classes, etc.), emotions (fear, joy, etc.), sensations (colours, tastes, etc.), and other human and inhuman forms. One must be careful to distinguish these potential forms of mentality from actual forms of mentality.  The latter exist in time as the subjective phases of an organism, for instance as the thoughts we harbour during the day. The former, the Eternal Objects, can exist in time when they so ingress into actuality; but they mostly subsist out of timeóeternallyóin their unprehended totality.

Viewed thus the objects of our mentality are eternal, though our mentality is temporal. As the reality of such metaphysical objects may seem dubious to many, let us take an example to demonstrate the reasoning. Consider the sensation whiteness as an Eternal Object, or as a Universal as Whiteheadís student, collaborator and friend Bertrand Russell calls such objects.

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Thus whiteness, colours, and all other objects of mentality are deemed metaphysical. Let us delve into the physical to examine the point. A man is seeing a patch of white. Where is this whiteness?

(1) We cannot say it is in the physical object as such, say a cloud. Here there exist the molecules constituting the cloud, which themselves are not white (akin to Berkeleyís emphasis[iv]).

(2) Further we cannot say that whiteness is in the certain reflected electromagnetic wave as

    (a) the wave without a perceiver will not be white,
    (b) the same wave can be perceived as different colours (inverted spectrum, synaesthesia), and
    (c) the same perceived colour can have different waves (metamerism).

(3) The whiteness is not actually in the anatomy of the percipient nor in its functioning. It is not in the eyes, nerves, brain: within the skull pervades darkness. The brain does not turn white when intuiting whiteness, as it does not turn triangular when intuiting a triangle.

(4) Though the object that is whiteness is correlated with activity in the brain, with the electromagnetic light wave, and with the cloud, this correlate is not thereby determined as identical to any of these. Whiteness is neither an emergent property of the brain, as such a notion commits the Emergence Category Mistake,[v] erroneously presupposing brute emergence and an analogy between natureís otherwise physical-to-physical acts of emergence (e.g. liquidity from molecules) and a purported physical-to-mental emergence. Emergence is the magic with which materialism is spellbound.

 (5) Whiteness is thus not identical (1óĖ3) to its various correlates, it is not an emergent property (4) of those subvenient correlates, but nor is it simply the abstracted common feature of white objects as this would entail that those objects had the whiteness from which one could abstract it as such.

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The realm in which all Eternal Objects subsist is named by Whitehead the Primordial Nature of God. This is the transcendent aspect of Whiteheadís deity, an insentient dimension as sentience requires the ingression of the Eternal Objects into physical temporal actuality to be objects of prehension. As physical organisms, the incessant selection of Eternal Objects is conditioned by our physical needs, and thus only a fraction are positively prehended, the rest rejected through negative prehensions, to use Whiteheadís terminology. It is my contention that these negative prehensions can be eliminated in degree by the impairment of practical physiological functioning via the intake of psychedelic chemicals. Such elimination entails the integration, nay elevation, of oneís consciousness into the primordial nature of this god: apotheosis. This is a mysticism without mystical groundings.

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Hence, in the psychedelic mode of perception we push our identity with Pan through our integrated panentheism and panexperientialism. We thereby touch the eternal and the present, but what of the past? The past is not actual, potential but neither is it nothing. For Whitehead, all actualities pass into objective immortality: they are no longer subjectivities but their physical and mental forms enter into the composition of actual entities and their nexūs, forms of togetherness.

All perception involves perception of the past, memory. But again, those aspects commonly selected are those that are conducive to the practicalities of the organism. Furthermore, a memory is immortalized as an Eternal Object in the empyrean realm that is Pan. Thus these objects are never absolutely lost. Analogous to the emancipation from transmutation offered in lateral integration, the psychedelic mode of perception can allow for a backward integration. This is part of the basis for contemporary studies into the value of psychedelic therapy.

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The psychedelic mode of perception allows for a three-dimensional integration of experience: the vertical dimension upward to primordial Pan and downward into endogenous primitive pieces of perception, understood through panexperientialism. The lateral dimension is that along which we can integrate sideward into the other exogenous entities constituting our environment. The temporal dimension can push us backward to memories otherwise lost, and fragmentarily forward in terms of glimpses of future types of sentience. These dimensions offer a panopticon of Pan, nature Himselfóexperiences of nature otherwise masked by our practical needs. Psychedelic perception is the essence of great experience, ultimately the object of philosophy itself...

(http://psypressuk.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Visual-Aid-1024x768.jpg)
Title: Re: The Great God Pan is Not Dead: Alfred N. Whitehead & the Psychedelic Mode of...
Post by: TaoHorror on January 10, 2019, 11:01:30 pm
I'm not sure if it's because I'm instinctively anti-drugs, but he had me going for a while thinking this stuff could be true - it's coherent at least and would be interesting to see counter arguments ( none come to mind at the moment - it's too new to me to authentically analyze, still digesting ). But I think he loses me about psychedelics - I've taken them, imho, they are derangements, not elevations/enhancements. But that's my personal experience opinion, I've not studied them professionally/scientifically ( could've been "bad shit" I got, but I've taken them 4 times in my younger life ). But up to that point I was wow'd  :)

Everything has a thread to pull - "how" does the person/brain/other bring in that Eternal Object temporally, what is the mechanism that achieves that.
Title: Re: The Great God Pan is Not Dead: Alfred N. Whitehead & the Psychedelic Mode of...
Post by: sciborg2 on January 10, 2019, 11:45:05 pm
The psychedelic thing is hard for me too as per my aforementioned experience.

OTOH...how can there be a philosophy of mind that isn't taking such experiences into account? But then you get into the question of how many experiences the philosopher has to undergo before they can speak about consciousness...
Title: Re: The Great God Pan is Not Dead: Alfred N. Whitehead & the Psychedelic Mode of...
Post by: TaoHorror on January 11, 2019, 03:10:19 am
The psychedelic thing is hard for me too as per my aforementioned experience.

OTOH...how can there be a philosophy of mind that isn't taking such experiences into account? But then you get into the question of how many experiences the philosopher has to undergo before they can speak about consciousness...

Understood - not saying it shouldn't be a consideration, just disagreeing with his assessment. But again, I'm going on personal experience, so not objective - my physiology is unique, as are all of us, so even if his point is valid, it may not be valid for me ( being an exception/outlier ). Drugs pose a threat to me personally, outside of impact on my life - I typically suffer the harsher side effects, like I don't even enjoy drinking, I have to take the world's word that it's pleasurable as it's never been for me. ( Digressing ), it's funny as many many times when I try to explain I get blank stares like it's unbelievable, so now I white-lie ( hope that phrase doesn't have racist origins ) and tell people I'm allergic.
Title: Re: The Great God Pan is Not Dead: Alfred N. Whitehead & the Psychedelic Mode of...
Post by: sciborg2 on January 11, 2019, 05:15:37 am
The psychedelic thing is hard for me too as per my aforementioned experience.

OTOH...how can there be a philosophy of mind that isn't taking such experiences into account? But then you get into the question of how many experiences the philosopher has to undergo before they can speak about consciousness...

Understood - not saying it shouldn't be a consideration, just disagreeing with his assessment. But again, I'm going on personal experience, so not objective - my physiology is unique, as are all of us, so even if his point is valid, it may not be valid for me ( being an exception/outlier ). Drugs pose a threat to me personally, outside of impact on my life - I typically suffer the harsher side effects, like I don't even enjoy drinking, I have to take the world's word that it's pleasurable as it's never been for me. ( Digressing ), it's funny as many many times when I try to explain I get blank stares like it's unbelievable, so now I white-lie ( hope that phrase doesn't have racist origins ) and tell people I'm allergic.

It is weird how people react when you say you don't drink - it makes them oddly uncomfortable.

I rarely drink, and only once or twice would I say I got close to drunk but I promptly fell asleep anyway.

I doubt I'll ever do psychedelics, but I guess I wonder what exactly makes one a professional philosopher of mind, assumed to have a certain expertise, if not collecting an array of varied states of consciousness? (This doesn't have to involve drugs of course, given there's currently no safe legal way to do psychedelics outside of limited studies.)

It seems to me, perhaps unfairly given Western philosophy seems to defer to Science, that anyone can philosophize on consciousness if reading some stuff is all it takes.
Title: Re: The Great God Pan is Not Dead: Alfred N. Whitehead & the Psychedelic Mode of...
Post by: themerchant on January 11, 2019, 06:43:06 am
I picked all my own magic mushrooms.
Title: Re: The Great God Pan is Not Dead: Alfred N. Whitehead & the Psychedelic Mode of...
Post by: H on January 11, 2019, 01:05:49 pm
It is weird how people react when you say you don't drink - it makes them oddly uncomfortable.

I rarely drink, and only once or twice would I say I got close to drunk but I promptly fell asleep anyway.

I doubt I'll ever do psychedelics, but I guess I wonder what exactly makes one a professional philosopher of mind, assumed to have a certain expertise, if not collecting an array of varied states of consciousness? (This doesn't have to involve drugs of course, given there's currently no safe legal way to do psychedelics outside of limited studies.)

It seems to me, perhaps unfairly given Western philosophy seems to defer to Science, that anyone can philosophize on consciousness if reading some stuff is all it takes.

I know that feeling as well, I pretty much never drink and only a handful of times did until I was actually drunk.

I think where the article sort of runs away from me is where it sort of goes to "prove" panpsychism through experience.  The issue here, I guess, for me, is something like: "normative" experience doesn't include a panpsychic component and psychedelic experience seems to.  Under what auspices are we to discount one for the other.  In other words, how are we to be sure that psychedelic experience isn't just a hallucination?

I'm not apt to discount psychedelic experience, of course, because as something of a phenomenologist, it's plain to see that it is something.  Although that leaves the question of "what is it?" wide open, still.
Title: Re: The Great God Pan is Not Dead: Alfred N. Whitehead & the Psychedelic Mode of...
Post by: sciborg2 on January 11, 2019, 06:07:20 pm
It is weird how people react when you say you don't drink - it makes them oddly uncomfortable.

I rarely drink, and only once or twice would I say I got close to drunk but I promptly fell asleep anyway.

I doubt I'll ever do psychedelics, but I guess I wonder what exactly makes one a professional philosopher of mind, assumed to have a certain expertise, if not collecting an array of varied states of consciousness? (This doesn't have to involve drugs of course, given there's currently no safe legal way to do psychedelics outside of limited studies.)

It seems to me, perhaps unfairly given Western philosophy seems to defer to Science, that anyone can philosophize on consciousness if reading some stuff is all it takes.

I know that feeling as well, I pretty much never drink and only a handful of times did until I was actually drunk.

I think where the article sort of runs away from me is where it sort of goes to "prove" panpsychism through experience.  The issue here, I guess, for me, is something like: "normative" experience doesn't include a panpsychic component and psychedelic experience seems to.  Under what auspices are we to discount one for the other.  In other words, how are we to be sure that psychedelic experience isn't just a hallucination?

I'm not apt to discount psychedelic experience, of course, because as something of a phenomenologist, it's plain to see that it is something.  Although that leaves the question of "what is it?" wide open, still.

I agree with this, but I think it opens the door to an interesting question - If experiences limited by their special, uncommon nature don't give us the reality of our normal day-to-day experiences....what exactly are psychology studies showing us?
Title: Re: The Great God Pan is Not Dead: Alfred N. Whitehead & the Psychedelic Mode of...
Post by: H on January 11, 2019, 06:32:09 pm
I agree with this, but I think it opens the door to an interesting question - If experiences limited by their special, uncommon nature don't give us the reality of our normal day-to-day experiences....what exactly are psychology studies showing us?

You mean, studies of psychedelic experience?

If there is a difference between the "hetero-normative" experience and the psychedelic experience (and it seems likely that there is) then we learn could learn how and why each is as they are.  I think either case, the "research" is giving you a sense of the board capabilities of the brain and the resultant experiential quality those states lead to.
Title: Re: The Great God Pan is Not Dead: Alfred N. Whitehead & the Psychedelic Mode of...
Post by: sciborg2 on January 11, 2019, 06:48:43 pm
I agree with this, but I think it opens the door to an interesting question - If experiences limited by their special, uncommon nature don't give us the reality of our normal day-to-day experiences....what exactly are psychology studies showing us?

You mean, studies of psychedelic experience?

If there is a difference between the "hetero-normative" experience and the psychedelic experience (and it seems likely that there is) then we learn could learn how and why each is as they are.  I think either case, the "research" is giving you a sense of the board capabilities of the brain and the resultant experiential quality those states lead to.

I mean all studies where you isolate people into a laboratory environment, make them engage in odd tasks, and/or make them add to the level of recursive introspection (thinking about thinking).
Title: Re: The Great God Pan is Not Dead: Alfred N. Whitehead & the Psychedelic Mode of...
Post by: H on January 11, 2019, 07:21:48 pm
I mean all studies where you isolate people into a laboratory environment, make them engage in odd tasks, and/or make them add to the level of recursive introspection (thinking about thinking).

Well, all anything can tell us is about the thing in the conditions presented.  We can think about and debate how generalizable that would be, outside the presented circumstances, but I don't know that we could ever know.  In realty, different sorts of experience could still tell us something about another, if it is the case that, say, one is exaggeration or distillation of another, or some such.
Title: Re: The Great God Pan is Not Dead: Alfred N. Whitehead & the Psychedelic Mode of...
Post by: sciborg2 on January 11, 2019, 07:50:29 pm
I mean all studies where you isolate people into a laboratory environment, make them engage in odd tasks, and/or make them add to the level of recursive introspection (thinking about thinking).

Well, all anything can tell us is about the thing in the conditions presented.  We can think about and debate how generalizable that would be, outside the presented circumstances, but I don't know that we could ever know.  In realty, different sorts of experience could still tell us something about another, if it is the case that, say, one is exaggeration or distillation of another, or some such.

I agree with this, I just think we've tried to take the "degenerate" cases of psychology experiments and generalize them to life beyond the lab.

In fact it seems "folk psychology" has an incredible degree of success in the real world, and it was used to this effect even as psychology wasted its time with the delusion of behaviorism.

That said, I think therapy has great value, but psychology seems to have extended itself beyond application into speculation.
Title: Re: The Great God Pan is Not Dead: Alfred N. Whitehead & the Psychedelic Mode of...
Post by: H on January 11, 2019, 10:22:22 pm
I agree with this, I just think we've tried to take the "degenerate" cases of psychology experiments and generalize them to life beyond the lab.

In fact it seems "folk psychology" has an incredible degree of success in the real world, and it was used to this effect even as psychology wasted its time with the delusion of behaviorism.

That said, I think therapy has great value, but psychology seems to have extended itself beyond application into speculation.

Well, some accepts might be generalizable, some might not, it's hard to say.  But, while I do have a psychology degree, I was always far more interested in analytical sorts, rather than anything else, which really isn't far from philosophy in reality.
Title: Re: The Great God Pan is Not Dead: Alfred N. Whitehead & the Psychedelic Mode of...
Post by: sciborg2 on January 11, 2019, 10:29:48 pm
Well, some accepts might be generalizable, some might not, it's hard to say.  But, while I do have a psychology degree, I was always far more interested in analytical sorts, rather than anything else, which really isn't far from philosophy in reality.

I mean there is always value in trying to improve mental states. I think in its humanitarian ideal psychology is good stuff, and has saved lives and ideally can save even more.

Similarly math gives us incredible predictive power but when people think everything about reality is amenable to mathematical description we end up with (IMO) deeply wrongheaded ideas like causation is either deterministic/random b/c math only has non-random and random descriptions through functions, prob-stats, etc.
Title: Re: The Great God Pan is Not Dead: Alfred N. Whitehead & the Psychedelic Mode of...
Post by: TaoHorror on January 12, 2019, 12:34:50 am
... even as psychology wasted its time with the delusion of behaviorism.

What do you mean by this?

Title: Re: The Great God Pan is Not Dead: Alfred N. Whitehead & the Psychedelic Mode of...
Post by: sciborg2 on January 12, 2019, 12:43:16 am
... even as psychology wasted its time with the delusion of behaviorism.

What do you mean by this?

Behaviorism - at least as I've had it explained - is the denial, or at least ignoring, of internal states. A retired psychologist who's a friend of mine once made a joke:

"It was good for you. How was it for me?"
 -Two behaviorists after sex

Basically without some recourse to internal mental characteristics it becomes difficult to sort behaviors. If I tell a friend, "be more romantic toward your girl" there are a set of behaviors that could be done that are incredibly varied.

"Being romantic" can then give us a way to classify observed behaviors, and saying someone is a "romantic" (or "petty", "compassionate", etc) sort gives us a way to predict their future behaviors. But without these kind of folk psychological terms it's not clear anyone could navigate the world using the theories of mind given to us by behaviorists or their intellectual descendants.
Title: Re: The Great God Pan is Not Dead: Alfred N. Whitehead & the Psychedelic Mode of...
Post by: TaoHorror on January 12, 2019, 01:18:14 am
Behaviorism - at least as I've had it explained - is the denial, or at least ignoring, of internal states.

But behavioral psychologists have been the most successful branch of psychology. Itís impressive how effective putting the cart before the horse is. Overly simplistic, but if youíre a bad person suffering from the consequences of being bad, but you canít see your way through to being a good person, if you start behaving good, you eventually come around and get it and genuinely transform Ė faster than you would think, could be as fast as a year or two. Behavioral psychologists donít overtly deny the value of discovering whatís behind the curtain, itís almost purely a practical application to improve peopleís psychology/lives. There may be a few stating the internals donít matter or donít bother as itís unknowable, but thatís not the meat of what theyíre trying to accomplish. Root cause is out of scope of what theyíre studying and doing, itís not denouncement.

H! Get in here and help me out.
Title: Re: The Great God Pan is Not Dead: Alfred N. Whitehead & the Psychedelic Mode of...
Post by: sciborg2 on January 12, 2019, 01:22:39 am
Behaviorism - at least as I've had it explained - is the denial, or at least ignoring, of internal states.

But behavioral psychologists have been the most successful branch of psychology. Itís impressive how effective putting the cart before the horse is. Overly simplistic, but if youíre a bad person suffering from the consequences of being bad, but you canít see your way through to being a good person, if you start behaving good, you eventually come around and get it and genuinely transform Ė faster than you would think, could be as fast as a year or two. Behavioral psychologists donít overtly deny the value of discovering whatís behind the curtain, itís almost purely a practical application to improve peopleís psychology/lives. There may be a few stating the internals donít matter or donít bother as itís unknowable, but thatís not the meat of what theyíre trying to accomplish. Root cause is out of scope of what theyíre studying and doing, itís not denouncement.

H! Get in here and help me out.

I think we're talking about different things? I am referring specifically to the idea we can explain human behavior without any recourse to cognitive/intentional states. Admittedly this might be my ignorance at play.

Though if you are talking about CBT it might not be as effective as you think? ->

Therapy wars: The Revenge of Freud (https://getpocket.com/explore/item/therapy-wars-the-revenge-of-freud)
Title: Re: The Great God Pan is Not Dead: Alfred N. Whitehead & the Psychedelic Mode of...
Post by: TaoHorror on January 12, 2019, 01:30:59 am
I think we're talking about different things? I am referring specifically to the idea we can explain human behavior without any recourse to cognitive/intentional states. Admittedly this might be my ignorance at play.

We may not be, I thought we were.

Though if you are talking about CBT it might not be as effective as you think? ->

I donít know how effective it has been historically/globally, but honestly with how endemically error-prone psychology is, Iím falling off my chair that it could work at all. It's almost as if Psychology is the anti-physics science with no two outcomes can possibly be the same. CBT has had at least some success with a good deal of it's "failure" likely related to how compliant the patient is. I'm discounting incompetence, a thing that plagues all. For those who are competent treating compliant patients, it works at least enough it cannot be ignored. Here I think we have Free Will and then I see CBT in action which to my thinking thwarts my assertion.

EDIT: I finally get what you're saying - those who only focus on behavior without at least dipping your toe in the brain/mind is too shallow an exercise to be any good? Hmm - I think you can be a damn good mechanic without knowing engineering. I mean, we haven't figured it out yet, so you're saying don't even try understanding behavior until we do?
Title: Re: The Great God Pan is Not Dead: Alfred N. Whitehead & the Psychedelic Mode of...
Post by: sciborg2 on January 12, 2019, 01:39:20 am
EDIT: I finally get what you're saying - those who only focus on behavior without at least dipping your toe in the brain/mind is too shallow an exercise to be any good? Hmm - I think you can be a damn good mechanic without knowing engineering. I mean, we haven't figured it out yet, so you're saying don't even try understanding behavior until we do?

I think trying to classify human behavior only using observable behavior is going to make for poor predictive/explanatory power.

But human behavior organized by cognitive states does work - which is what I think we are in agreement on? I was referring to the historical attempt of behaviorism to make psychology a science of laws and equations.
Title: Re: The Great God Pan is Not Dead: Alfred N. Whitehead & the Psychedelic Mode of...
Post by: TaoHorror on January 12, 2019, 02:53:56 am
Therapy wars: The Revenge of Freud (https://getpocket.com/explore/item/therapy-wars-the-revenge-of-freud)

This was hilarious from this link you shared:

Quote
No brain scan has ever located the ego, super-ego or id

No shit, LOL!
Title: Re: The Great God Pan is Not Dead: Alfred N. Whitehead & the Psychedelic Mode of...
Post by: sciborg2 on January 12, 2019, 04:33:17 am
Therapy wars: The Revenge of Freud (https://getpocket.com/explore/item/therapy-wars-the-revenge-of-freud)

This was hilarious from this link you shared:

Quote
No brain scan has ever located the ego, super-ego or id

No shit, LOL!

Heh, it does seem a bit unfair to say that about Freud's terms when there is much about the mind that hasn't (yet?) been located in the brain...
Title: Re: The Great God Pan is Not Dead: Alfred N. Whitehead & the Psychedelic Mode of...
Post by: sciborg2 on January 13, 2019, 07:59:54 pm
I got the author's book on Noumenautics...if I never return it's because I ended up tripping balls until I died.
Title: Re: The Great God Pan is Not Dead: Alfred N. Whitehead & the Psychedelic Mode of...
Post by: H on January 14, 2019, 03:09:56 pm
I mean there is always value in trying to improve mental states. I think in its humanitarian ideal psychology is good stuff, and has saved lives and ideally can save even more.

Similarly math gives us incredible predictive power but when people think everything about reality is amenable to mathematical description we end up with (IMO) deeply wrongheaded ideas like causation is either deterministic/random b/c math only has non-random and random descriptions through functions, prob-stats, etc.

I was thinking about this the other night, because I was out playing a game and the topic of "useless" psychology degrees came up.  That is, I have one and so did another guy.  I say "useless" because we simply never actually did anything in our actual field with them.

I mentioned that my aim was always at more Analytical Psychology than something "experimental," something more clinical and therefor more akin to Philosophy than a hard science.  But it had me thinking, later, and asking, "why?"  What is the use of such a thing.

And that makes me think, that a "less scientific" approach is perhaps something sorely missing from "Western culture" now-a-days.  That is, what we "need" is specifically less "objective truth" and more "subjective perspective."  That seems strange to me, as someone who has a general empirical world-view.  But I'm also very much a phenomenologist and maybe there is something in how to square those two things.

It makes me think back to the end of my time in college, where I was just wrapping up random credits I needed.  I fell in to some philosophy classes, mostly because they were easy to me.  But one professor told us something to the effect of that "Western philosophy" when encountering what they found in places like Africa, regarded them as distinctly "primitive" because they didn't rely in logic, for the most part, they were "lived philosophy" that is, something more like "wisdom" not on what was empirically, or even logically, "true" but rather, how do you live a life that is worth living?

I don't know if that is actually true, or if that is actually what that professor actually told us, but that's how I recall it.  Maybe her actual words were different and that's just how I understood it.  So, what does that have to do with psychology?  Well, maybe that is what something like analytical psychology should be?  More a lived philosophy than a hard science?
Title: Re: The Great God Pan is Not Dead: Alfred N. Whitehead & the Psychedelic Mode of...
Post by: sciborg2 on January 14, 2019, 08:11:26 pm
I mean there is always value in trying to improve mental states. I think in its humanitarian ideal psychology is good stuff, and has saved lives and ideally can save even more.

Similarly math gives us incredible predictive power but when people think everything about reality is amenable to mathematical description we end up with (IMO) deeply wrongheaded ideas like causation is either deterministic/random b/c math only has non-random and random descriptions through functions, prob-stats, etc.

I was thinking about this the other night, because I was out playing a game and the topic of "useless" psychology degrees came up.  That is, I have one and so did another guy.  I say "useless" because we simply never actually did anything in our actual field with them.

I mentioned that my aim was always at more Analytical Psychology than something "experimental," something more clinical and therefor more akin to Philosophy than a hard science.  But it had me thinking, later, and asking, "why?"  What is the use of such a thing.

And that makes me think, that a "less scientific" approach is perhaps something sorely missing from "Western culture" now-a-days.  That is, what we "need" is specifically less "objective truth" and more "subjective perspective."  That seems strange to me, as someone who has a general empirical world-view.  But I'm also very much a phenomenologist and maybe there is something in how to square those two things.

It makes me think back to the end of my time in college, where I was just wrapping up random credits I needed.  I fell in to some philosophy classes, mostly because they were easy to me.  But one professor told us something to the effect of that "Western philosophy" when encountering what they found in places like Africa, regarded them as distinctly "primitive" because they didn't rely in logic, for the most part, they were "lived philosophy" that is, something more like "wisdom" not on what was empirically, or even logically, "true" but rather, how do you live a life that is worth living?

I don't know if that is actually true, or if that is actually what that professor actually told us, but that's how I recall it.  Maybe her actual words were different and that's just how I understood it.  So, what does that have to do with psychology?  Well, maybe that is what something like analytical psychology should be?  More a lived philosophy than a hard science?

Yeah I think psychology is a field that could benefit from the acceptance of what the philosopher Putnam calls "pragmatic pluralism"...there may simply not be laws (or at least laws we can discover) for human behavior. Or the laws are variant across individuals coming from different experiences.

Some things work for some people some of the time. Try to sort out what makes people mentally healthy, for as long as you can and as deep as you get that mental healthiness to go. A very different science compared to physics, or even economics, but perhaps all the more useful for our day to day living for it...

Your example of the different cultures behaviors and philosophies makes me think of some stuff the philosopher Freya Matthews looked at, why China seemed to embrace ideas of mind/matter unity (a sort of top-down panpsychism) compared to the West.

Obviously part of that turns on the history of Europe at a particular point and the goals of the Church, but she notes the Greeks and the idea of theoria.

All to say I do think we can forget how deep our "conditioning" toward particular views/ideas can go...I mean it wasn't until after college I ever asked myself, "Why don't the Laws of Physics change?"
Title: Re: The Great God Pan is Not Dead: Alfred N. Whitehead & the Psychedelic Mode of...
Post by: H on January 14, 2019, 08:47:14 pm
Yeah I think psychology is a field that could benefit from the acceptance of what the philosopher Putnam calls "pragmatic pluralism"...there may simply not be laws (or at least laws we can discover) for human behavior. Or the laws are variant across individuals coming from different experiences.

I'd like to think that was something that Jung was actually attempting to do, via his sort of analytical "phenomenological" approach.  Or at least in theory.  It's more about understanding the tenancies we have.  This tends to lead to that, and so on.  Less about "laws" because each individual as a sort of "perpetual feedback machine" is necessarily going to be different.  That doesn't mean that we can't learn things generally, but keep in mind that the general signifies little, exactly, to the individual.