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Nature of Humanity

 
 
Doulos
 
Reply Mon 6 Jul, 2009 12:27 pm
Recently I read Nancy Murphy's "Bodies and Souls, or Spirited Bodies" in which she argues, rather well I think, that humans do not have souls. Let me say that again, that humans, DO NOT have souls. She argues that the idea of the soul is derived from being unable historically to explain things that the field of neuroscience is getting closer to explaining. Obviously I'm not going to do her argument justice in a post, but it is worth a read. She says "If we recognize that the soul was originally introduced into Western thought not from Hebraic Scripture but as an explanation for capacities that appeared not to be explainable in biological terms, then we can certainly say that for scientific purposes the hypothesis has been shown to be unnecessary."(Pg 69)


She winds up arguing for a "Non-reductive physicalist" position, which suggests that humans have higher capacities (ability to interact with God, rationality, morality, etc.) but these are a result of our something within our physical bodies or our interpersonal relationships rather than some immaterial soul. She says "In part they are explainable as brain functions, but their full explanation requires attention to human social relations, to cultural factors, and, most importantly, to our relationship with God."(70)


So the question I pose for you readers is this: What is the nature of humanity? Are we only material, and if that is the case are we able to interact with God (assuming He exists?), are we actually moral or is the goodness in the world a biological imperative for the survival of the species? If we are dualistic, or even tripartite, What are the identifiable parts? Are we essentially one of them? If the body dies are we still "us"? Are we essentially a Soul that is temporarily enfleshed, or do we require the body to be complete?


I know thats a ton of questions, but I'm interested in hearing opinions.


Doulos
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richrf
 
  1  
Reply Mon 6 Jul, 2009 12:45 pm
@Doulos,
Doulos;75423 wrote:
I know thats a ton of questions, but I'm interested in hearing opinions.Doulos


Hi Doulos,

In regards to the Soul, I draw my conception of it from Chinese metaphysics. The soul (Hun) is that which transcends a single physical life and continues to explore and learn (evolve). These acquired skills that are passed from one physical life to the next are sometimes called innate, natural, instincts, or inherited characteristics.

Chinese metaphysics also describes other aspects of the human including:

1) Shen: the spark of life, that which connects to the Universal consciousness

2) Yi: creativity, awareness

3) Zhi: Will, gives us direction

4) Po: the physical life

Hope this gives a brief perspective on my concept of human life.

Rich
nameless
 
  1  
Reply Mon 6 Jul, 2009 07:01 pm
@Doulos,
Soul = Conscious Perspective
0 Replies
 
Doulos
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Jul, 2009 07:14 pm
@richrf,
richrf;75429 wrote:
Hi Doulos,

In regards to the Soul, I draw my conception of it from Chinese metaphysics. The soul (Hun) is that which transcends a single physical life and continues to explore and learn (evolve). These acquired skills that are passed from one physical life to the next are sometimes called innate, natural, instincts, or inherited characteristics.

Chinese metaphysics also describes other aspects of the human including:

1) Shen: the spark of life, that which connects to the Universal consciousness

2) Yi: creativity, awareness

3) Zhi: Will, gives us direction

4) Po: the physical life

Hope this gives a brief perspective on my concept of human life.

Rich


So in your view then humanity makes progress over time much like technology? Becoming more creative, skillful, and better narrowing which characteristics are favorable? A type of personality darwinism if you will.

So If that doesn't totally misrepresent your position, which I acknowledge it might, does the world improve over time? If given enough time as a species could we be born with significantly more skills than we have currently as infants (Basically nothing, sucking is about it)?

I only ask because I was just writing about Christian Annihilationism.

In this view what is the body? Is it just a carcass that rots and is of no significance? Does it carry a value? Is it helpful or a hindrance? Is the goal ultimately to shed it and reach some true form/potential? Or is that true form reached while enfleshed?
richrf
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Jul, 2009 08:49 pm
@Doulos,
Doulos;76192 wrote:
So in your view then humanity makes progress over time much like technology? Becoming more creative, skillful, and better narrowing which characteristics are favorable? A type of personality darwinism if you will.


Certainly this is one way to look at it. Itzhak Bentov calls it the evolution of the central nervous system.

Quote:
So If that doesn't totally misrepresent your position, which I acknowledge it might, does the world improve over time?


I would use a more neutral sounding evolve. Improve has a sense of better and I am not sure I would describe it as such. But change - yes.


Quote:
If given enough time as a species could we be born with significantly more skills than we have currently as infants (Basically nothing, sucking is about it)?


That would be expected. There are child prodigies with advanced skills for their age. I have noticed that children pick up things in school nowadays much faster than I did when I was young.

Quote:
I only ask because I was just writing about Christian Annihilationism.


This is a new concept for me. I looked it up in Wikipedia.

Quote:
In this view what is the body? Is it just a carcass that rots and is of no significance? Does it carry a value? Is it helpful or a hindrance? Is the goal ultimately to shed it and reach some true form/potential? Or is that true form reached while enfleshed?


In my world view, the body is the instrument of exploration, creation, learning and evolution. This is why the soul seeks to maintain its health. This would be the Chinese Po. It think the parents who provided the body and the physical body itself should be celebrated and taken proper care of. Chinese metaphysics also celebrates the physical form for what it provides and there are many health practices to maintain its good health.

Rich
Doulos
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Jul, 2009 11:17 pm
@richrf,
richrf;76209 wrote:
Certainly this is one way to look at it. Itzhak Bentov calls it the evolution of the central nervous system.

richrf;76209 wrote:

I would use a more neutral sounding evolve. Improve has a sense of better and I am not sure I would describe it as such. But change - yes.

Putting these two together is why I said improve. If people are evolving based on things they consciously acquired in life over time this would have an effect of changing them towards things society and ultimately the species find favorable. So we would improve as its a deliberate choice in skill sets rather than a random or forced one.


richrf;76209 wrote:

That would be expected. There are child prodigies with advanced skills for their age. I have noticed that children pick up things in school nowadays much faster than I did when I was young.

So you ascribe this improved skill aqusition to some improvement in the children themselves rather than societies improvement to nurture and recognize these traits? I mean Beethoven was a prodigy long ago, presumably Plato, Jesus and others we're as well. What kind of timeline do you think this takes for there to be improvement in our species? You say within your lifetime you've seen change, which would imply very quickly. Not that I'm looking for concrete, but do you know of anything which backs up this claim that children today are more skillful/intelligent/etc than children 50 years ago? Any standard test been around that long and showing changes?

richrf;76209 wrote:

This is a new concept for me. I looked it up in Wikipedia.

It truly is a great resource isn't it!?

richrf;76209 wrote:

In my world view, the body is the instrument of exploration, creation, learning and evolution. This is why the soul seeks to maintain its health. This would be the Chinese Po. It think the parents who provided the body and the physical body itself should be celebrated and taken proper care of. Chinese metaphysics also celebrates the physical form for what it provides and there are many health practices to maintain its good health.

But what happens when exploration is complete? or is it ongoing forever? Death results in reincarnation, is there an end to this cycle or is it eternal? If eternal does it have an origin?
richrf
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Jul, 2009 11:27 pm
@Doulos,
Hi again,

The reason I do not say improve is because all aspects of the universe continue to evolve. Along with faster transportation we get more pollution. With greater agriculture productivity we get foods that have questionable health benefits. So, both sides of the equation evolve in tandem.

There are signs that humans continue to evolve as they pick up skills. Take any sport for example, as records keep falling. Pop music keeps becoming more complex and flavorful. Cubism as an attempt to depict four dimensions on a two dimensional canvas. Etc. Each generation putting its own stamp on evolution.

I think evolution continues. Always new things to create and discover. The possibilities seems endless. It is a way for consciousness to amuse itself.

Rich
0 Replies
 
Ares phil
 
  1  
Reply Wed 15 Jul, 2009 12:08 pm
@Doulos,
Doulos;75423 wrote:
Recently I read Nancy Murphy's "Bodies and Souls, or Spirited Bodies" in which she argues, rather well I think, that humans do not have souls. Let me say that again, that humans, DO NOT have souls. She argues that the idea of the soul is derived from being unable historically to explain things that the field of neuroscience is getting closer to explaining. Obviously I'm not going to do her argument justice in a post, but it is worth a read. She says "If we recognize that the soul was originally introduced into Western thought not from Hebraic Scripture but as an explanation for capacities that appeared not to be explainable in biological terms, then we can certainly say that for scientific purposes the hypothesis has been shown to be unnecessary."(Pg 69)


She winds up arguing for a "Non-reductive physicalist" position, which suggests that humans have higher capacities (ability to interact with God, rationality, morality, etc.) but these are a result of our something within our physical bodies or our interpersonal relationships rather than some immaterial soul. She says "In part they are explainable as brain functions, but their full explanation requires attention to human social relations, to cultural factors, and, most importantly, to our relationship with God."(70)


So the question I pose for you readers is this: What is the nature of humanity? Are we only material, and if that is the case are we able to interact with God (assuming He exists?), are we actually moral or is the goodness in the world a biological imperative for the survival of the species? If we are dualistic, or even tripartite, What are the identifiable parts? Are we essentially one of them? If the body dies are we still "us"? Are we essentially a Soul that is temporarily enfleshed, or do we require the body to be complete?


I know thats a ton of questions, but I'm interested in hearing opinions.


Doulos

The nature of humans is what you see going on right now. Our nature is what we do, the study of our nature is sociology and psychology.

I believe that we are only material, and furthermore that there is no god or gods in existence. Also the goodness of the world and the badness of the world are both biological. I've long been working on the idea of how evolution works or how I see it as working and there's probably a name for this and tons of work on it but I'm just trying to work it out in my head. Its basically like this:

Quote:
You have the species which is a community of animals of similar distinction which are all evolving toward their survival. Then within the speicies you have what I call "families" for lack of a better word. The families are groups of animals within the species which fall under an even more distinct group based off of their bodily functions, genetics or their brain works.
Thats as far as I've gotten with the idea but its a work in progress. My point here is that this is the origin of human diversity, and also other animals. The thought that got me going on this was mental illnesses I figured there had to be some evolutionary reason for mental illnesses and assumed that it is development, they are matters in the brain which are developing. Evolutionary experiments you might say. Checking what will work best for the species. Alot of what we call good and bad all goes back to the brain activity, just like this lady probably argued in her book. Hell I was reading about it once that if you have a stroke and get lesions in the right side of your brain, the left side of your body will be paralyzed yet no matter how much your doctors tried for anywhere from a week to a month they cannot convince you that you have been paralyzed all due to the damage your brain undertook. Its quite fascinating really.

Book sounds great though, I'll have to pick it up sometime. Anyway, I think this post is big enough Laughing

0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Fri 17 Jul, 2009 04:16 am
@Doulos,
Well humans don't have selves either, but your mail is still addressed to someone.:bigsmile:
0 Replies
 
 

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