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Is humanity worth abandoning for reason and logic?

Discussion in 'Philosophical Forum' started by Sabaku no Ira, Oct 1, 2005.

  1. Sabaku no Ira Mortius of Phyrexia

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    The big dollar question: how important is humanity? WHY is it important? Why shouldn't we let go of our primitive instincts completely (when we have a choice) and let reason and logic take over? I'm perfectly neutral in this matter.

    Discuss.
     
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  2. Mizura Meh

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    Because humanity Is born out of a (felt) logical reasoning.

    Why ban the right to kill? Because this way, nobody else would kill you either. Why ban the right to steal? So you can keep your own things. Why have a whole legal administrative system in place? So you have a minimum of guarantee when you're doing cooperative work with other human beings. Without such guarantee, nobody would be doing anything with anyone, and given how notoriously useless a human being is on his or her own, we'd still be stuck in the Stone age. :oh Don't you rather be wasting time chatting on the internet?

    If you're talking about arts and whatnot though... they don't hurt, they keep the economy going and somehow help keep society in place, so might as well let them be.
     
  3. Nybarius Ennui Bores Me

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    I for one embrace our post-human future. I believe we are not much longer for the flesh. The singularity is coming, not because of God, but because of machines. I'd even be willing to sacrifice individual agency for ... something greater.
     
  4. Mizura Meh

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    The thing is, in the absolute, nothing really matters. Whether we live or die, to the universe, it's completely unimportant. So we must retain "something" to at least "believe" in the importance of our existance. All we can do is assume that a human life is somehow important and that comfort and whatnot are also "important" and build from there.

    Otherwise, we might as well die. Because in the absolute, nothing, really, is "important".
     
  5. Nybarius Ennui Bores Me

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    But is that all we can do? Even asking the question makes it obvious that it isn't. It might be the best we can do, for now, but there are certainly different ways of constructing the world. Some might emphasize knowledge about all else, or material accomplishment, or epicurean delight--slightly different from comfort.

    If I want to be part of a disembodied hive-mind that spans the galaxy, it's myyyyy choice!
     
  6. Sabaku no Ira Mortius of Phyrexia

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    The Borg is the answer! :laugh

    Which is part of the reason why I'm asking that. Why do we cling on to this "thing" known as life? We know that it is not important, so what's the point of keeping it?
     
  7. tri-sapphire The Hunter

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    *Reads Black Sun Rising*

    *Wishes he could abandon his humanity to that degree, and with that gain :evil*

    *Hopes someone gets the reference :p*
     
  8. Mizura Meh

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    Because, after all, we're biological beings who want to continue biological functions. *shrugs* If the human species didn't want to survive, we wouldn't have made it to today in the first place.

    In the meantime, it doesn't matter if we die, but it doesn't matter if we live either. Our biological instincts then tip the scale towards "living". Next. And yes, what we decide to live for is completely arbitrary: god, art, science, whatever. It's nice to have self-made absolutes to chase after though because it really helps to advance that field, which might turn out useful for the species on the whole on the long run, even if it doesn't do any good to the individual on the short run.
     
  9. Sabaku no Ira Mortius of Phyrexia

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    Or the goal is to abandon humanity altogether and give into reason and logic.

    But what's the point? Why is it important to maintain this thing called "humanity"? Once we've lost humanity don't we lose the desire to live as well?
     
  10. Nybarius Ennui Bores Me

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    I believe before this conversation can progress we should define what we mean by "humanity." What are its essential features?
     
  11. Mizura Meh

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    That's what I'm saying: it's not "important". Nothing, in the absolute sense, is actually important. "Important" is a relative term made up solely for our own arbitrary uses.

    Those who decide to attach "importance" (ie arbitrary term) to humanity thus have a "reason" to live on. Those who don't... don't. We might as well put it another way: why read the Naruto manga? Well... why not? Unconsciously we attach at least a small amount of "importance" to the act, otherwise we wouldn't be doing it at all, but so what if we read it?

    We're just free to define what's "important" to us. Some people find shoes "important", whatever. Precisely because there's nothing important, we're free to define what we do find important. Now there are just a few "axioms" that the human species more or less follows as a whole (there are deviations, but the base is there, otherwise the species wouldn't be there in the first place), axioms being things we define as "given" (important, whatever) without "proof", logic, whatever, and one of those axioms is the axiom of "humanity", the one that states that the human species is somehow "important". From an absolute point of view, really, it's an arbitrary statement. Though we're instinctively programmed to believe this to be true, because otherwise we wouldn't be here wondering about it. We're free to make up reasons to justify our stance (higher ideals, art, science, religion), but really, there's nothing to prove. But... whatever works. As long as it keeps the kiddies occupied.

    Really. In the end... "important" is an arbitrary term. "humanity" is an arbitrary term. But whatever works.
     
  12. Nybarius Ennui Bores Me

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    Mizura: "Caught in this sensual song all neglect /
    Monuments of undying intellect /"

    or else,

    "...perne in a gyre /
    Consume my heart away, sick with desire /
    And fastened to a dying animal /
    It knows not what it is"
     
  13. Mizura Meh

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    I'll be frank, I have no idea what you're talking about.

    As far as I'm concerned, in the absolute sense, nothing matters. So we just make up things that We decide are "important", and live for those. It might be a false illusion, but it keeps things moving, besides it isn't "important" if we believe in those either.

    There are just a number of "common" grounds brought on by the fact that as as living species, we strive for survival and comfort (thus, the "thou shalt not kill" and "thou shalt not steal" "absolutes"), but after that, some people dedicate their lives to drinking wine or the likes. :oh Whatever works. I've read once in a magazine, this person in the fashion industry who was saying how she can't stand people who neglect fashion... she arbitrarily chose fashion as "important". I didn't. Choice.
     
  14. Nybarius Ennui Bores Me

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    I'm talking about the desire for transcendence. Perfect 0. That is, all these signifiers, whether they be God or fashion, keep us chained to the flesh; but if we could merge more completely with computers, and take up a digital form of reproduction, then an immortal significance is within our grasp, although in "absolute" terms in remains unimportant, as does everything.

    Specifically I'm quoting this poem: "http://www.online-literature.com/yeats/781/"

    Paradoxically the desire for nothing might be the only thing that makes life worth living, although it also, necessarily, has us flirt with the void.

    By the way check out that poem if you like poetry, it's one of my favorites. "An old man is but a paltry thing, a tattered cloak upon a stick..." -- good to quote in some doujin :>
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2005
  15. Mizura Meh

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    Merge with computers eh? Same questions:
    - why?
    - why not?

    It doesn't have any more significance to it than anything else. It's still just being a certain set of atoms in a certain disposition that on the greater scheme of things does not matter at all. So some people set "perfect zero" as "important." It's no more "important" than anything else in the world, since nothing really matters. In the end, it's just another set of arbitrary atoms setting up an arbitrary goal.
     
  16. Nybarius Ennui Bores Me

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    Well, why: to evolve to a new kind of being.

    And your reason for this? It would strip us of fleshy desires, the artifacts of evolution.

    And why? No reason, something to do -- the hunger for more, if nothing else.

    There is no meaning of life; life is the meaning.
     
  17. tri-sapphire The Hunter

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    A question that should be asked before "Why humanity" is this:

    What is humanity?

    I'm pretty sure that if you guys posted your definitions down, you would find them to be quite different :amuse.
     
  18. Mizura Meh

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    Ah, but then you'd be setting "life" as the "meaning", as "what's important", whatever. :tem

    Truth is, every notion that we have, every term or description, only has the significance that we put into it. To the universe, nothing matters, not even the atomical disposition known as "life".

    In the "absolute" sense, nothing has any meaning. It's only from a relative point of view that everything takes "significance" so to say ("significance" also being an arbitrary term). So what's important? Nothing really. But from my Relative point of view, I'm thus free to attach the term to whatever I want.

    I think coffee is important? So be it then. Coffee is important. To me.
    I think politics are important? So be it then. Politics are important. To me.
    I think politics Aren't important? Then so be it too, politics aren't important to Me.
    I think painting nails is important? So be it as well.

    You think seeking something "greater" is important? So be it. Seeking something greater is important then. To you.

    As for what is humanity, as I've said, it's just an arbitrary term created to explain and maybe give a reason for our existance. But in the "absolute" sense, there is no "reason", the Sun next door couldn't care less about us. But we decide that we are important, and we use the term "humanity" to describe this. So for us, it's good enough. Yes, basically, we're making up our own "truths", because there really isn't much out there otherwise. *shrugs* Every word we can find in this thing we call "language", they only have the significance that WE give to it. Not the universe. Because the universe doesn't care.

    If we decide that blowing bubbles through our noses is the most important thing in the world, then it'd become the most important thing in the world, to us at least, because by definition, and we're the ones who make up definitions, it'd be the most important thing in the world.
     
  19. Nybarius Ennui Bores Me

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    .................
     
  20. tri-sapphire The Hunter

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    Sorry :sweatdrop, it's late here (4:08 am).

    I'd like to join the debate, but I just can't seem to understand what you guys think humanity is. Here are some definitions from dictionary.com

    While you two seem to be focusing on the 1st and 2nd definition, I kinda think the 3rd and 4th fit better.

    Anyways, I'll try to make some sense of what you guys are saying when I'm a bit more awake :oh.
     
  21. Nybarius Ennui Bores Me

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    The problem with the third and fourth definitions is that, while you might find them more laudable, they are also harder to pin down. For instance: although to modern conceptions it is barbarous, a samurai might find it perfectly "humane" to suicide when he has failed his retainer.

    In discussing humanity in this thread, I am referring to "the human condition," that is, those traits of humans which set us apart from the animals; that which the Turing Test tests for.
     
  22. Mizura Meh

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    You don't understand what I'm saying? How about this:

    But the thing is, we decide Ourselves what the condition and quality of being human is. See? Absolute relativeness so to say. It doesn't matter what definition of humanity you bring up, because all definitions of humanity are in essential, arbitrary. Randomly picked for our mood of the present era.
     
  23. Nybarius Ennui Bores Me

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    I disagree there, Mizura, not all definitions of humanity are arbitrary, but the more absolute they are the more banal. For instance, if I say humanity is "a bipedal organism, descended from the great apes, with an erect posture that bears live young," and so on and so forth, this is true, in absolute terms, but also unilluminating.
     
  24. SpringtimeOfYouth New Member

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    It's true that it doesn't matter what we do in the absolute sense but in our human consciousesses we're all still looking for things.

    I'll assume that people here have encountered the specific difficulties of the intellectual: fearing that the physical will overwhelm you, fearing that others will take away what little you have left, wanting to hide from everything that demands attention from you, etc.

    Obviously underlying these attitudes there's a strong desire for something. That desire is what makes "things", "feelings", "people" important to you. But what is that which we're looking for? Even when we have these "things", "feelings" and "people" we're still lacking something. Something that's absence leaves us cold and alienated from human life wondering what its for and why it has to be so hard and unwelcoming and that no amount of reasoning or logic will protect us from it.

    I think that finding whatever we're looking for, though unimportant in an absolute sense, is critically important to our personal existences because at extreme points not having it makes life nearly unlivable.

    And really, I think intellectualism, reason and logic aren't the best ways to approach this search though it's a place to start. I think this search has more to do with who we are at every moment than what tidbits of knowledge or mannerisms of thinking that we've picked up over the course of our lives (because we're really only satisifed when we're living in the present moment rather than working off past fears and attitdes).

    So while it doesn't matter whether you give in totally to reason and logic and leave out the humanistic side of experiencing and desire, it'll just be an act of escapism from something you don't need to escape from because life can be extremely satisfying (at every moment) once you know and have found what you're looking for. Really, our existence is quite unimaginably awesome.
     
  25. Mizura Meh

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    I disagree with You. :tem Definition of "homos sapiens sapiens" isn't arbitrary, but "humanity" is a completely different matter, because it is subjective. Some people define humanity according to this or that test. Um... so? Humanity is a test? So if something else manages that test, that thing can take on the word "humanity"? Some define it according to sociological criteria, some according to the individual's attachment to "God" for some reason, etc.

    But really. Why define "humanity" this or that way? There is no REASON for us to be favoring this or that criteria when nit-pickingly trying to differentiate ourselves from other species. Some people say that humanity stands out because we show the ability to try to suicide. Why the heck would that be "significant"? The term "significant" itself is something that we arbitrarily attach to this or that.
     
  26. SpringtimeOfYouth New Member

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    Very much true and false as well. In the absolute sense nothing really matters, but as much as you might want to convince yourself, any person's attitudes will reflect differently (unless, of course, they've found the unconditional source of what they're looking for - in that case one can truly be satisfied with nothing having any importance whatsoever). There's really not that much arbitrariness to what we deem important, we do have some capacity to decide what material object or activity or even feeling is important to us but we do not have the capacity to truly change the way in which we desire it or the reason why we desire it (of course we can lie to ourselves and deny our desire for it, but its most definitely still there). All our lives we desire the same thing, or rather the same sort of experiencing.
     
  27. Nybarius Ennui Bores Me

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    Subjective doesn't necessarily imply arbitrary. From an n=1 standpoint, subjective can be quite absolute.

    Saying humanity can be gauged by a test is not the same as saying humanity IS a test. Rather, the test is trying to get at something, "humanity". For instance, there are tests for diabetes, say, a certain level of blood sugar; but the conditions for passing that test aren't diabetes itself.

    For one: to make it more effective to communicate with one another about humanity.

    Of course there are reasons, or we wouldn't do it. Even just wanting to be different is a reason. Also, there ARE significant differences between humans and other species, and oftentimes they are worth talking about.

    Since this is a "test," perhaps its significant because it provides a good way to discern human from non-human. If some non-human entity came along that passed the test, the test would be rendered invalid, but not necessarily the concept of humanity.

    Yes, that's how language works. But what's your point?
     
  28. earthshine Banned

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    we need our humanity to survive, in all honesty. it is what puts the fire behind what we do, our work, our inventions, evrything. there is no passion in dry logic, we would have no motivation, no drive, we would improve till we where just good enough, then stop until more was needed. besides, we have computers to do just that. why should we become organic computers? we have gotten this far on our humanity, so i think we are just fine as it is
     
  29. Nybarius Ennui Bores Me

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    I'm glad so many people think like you do. It makes it that much easier to rise to the top when there are so many people desperate to cling to obsolete old models.
     
  30. earthshine Banned

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    heh, ok, let me ask u this, y do u wish to rise to the top? is it logic? reason? no, its your drive to be better, but if u had no humanity, you would just be satisfied with your current station in life, never wanting more. do u thnik computers care what they are used for?
     
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