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Forum nameOkay Activist Archives
Topic subjectWow oh wow
Topic URLhttp://board.okayplayer.com/okp.php?az=show_topic&forum=22&topic_id=21933&mesg_id=21995
21995, Wow oh wow
Posted by janey, Fri Aug-25-00 09:29 AM
I don't know whether the conversation here keeps getting deeper or whether my ability to assimilate the responses is weakening but it seems like every response on this thread is so well thought out that my brain is getting a lot of exercise!

Okay, murph, here goes. *taking deep breath and hoping to do your response justice...*

First, on Skinner's idea of thinking as talking to yourself in your head -- I'm with you on that one. I think that is probably true in a lot of instances, but in some of the cases we talk about above in which information appears without conscious retrieval (like the solution to a problem that you got stuck on and gave up for a while), there's pretty clearly been some processing going on without that silent talking. Also, I don't think we have all the words for emotions, for example. There have, of course, been a number of philosophers whose basic premise is that we define our world by language (wasn't it Wittgenstein who said that the only proper name for anything is "this"?), and I think there's an element of truth in that, but I'm willing to believe that, despite the fact that all of my experience is a mind construct, I am not the totality of experience.

Then, on the behavior issue -- If we don't have absolute control over our behavior, and it's affected in part by our environment such that we're different people in different environments, then is there any validity in an idea of the self as a separate and distinct entity? There's nothing behind the behavior, no observer, no witness, no control, no constancy? Does anything exist outside of this fluid, ever-changing stage on which lives are played out?

And if not, then it's pretty much all an illusion, right? Any of us could be hallucinating this whole thing? Easier to believe on the internet, because of the distance and facelessness of the replies, but even the people right in front of you? You sure you're a Skinnerian? Sounds pretty darn Buddhist to me.

And on time -- I can understand that scientific method in general has to rely on certain conventions (including time and space and Euclidean geometry and all that) but there are points at which it breaks down, even in science, right? Because if time were some sort of Ultimate Truth, it would be the same for everyone and everywhere, right?

Remember Einstein's shorthand version of the Theory of Relativity: When you sit on a couch with a pretty girl, an hour seems like a minute. When you sit on a hot stove, a minute seems like an hour. That's relativity.

Seriously, though, if time is an absolute, what time is it on the sun?

Or does scientific method only apply on Earth? And if that's the case, who are the astronauts when they're in orbit?

And, uh, hey, doesn't it kinda bug you that you're relying heavily on a guy that raised his daughter in a box? (J/K)

Golly this is a lot to think about.