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Jim Birch
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If all people didn't believe politicians spin they would stop. AFAICS there's a chunk of the voting population who believe what politicians say (and thus are incidentally screwing the political system up for the relatively sane rest of us.) Politicians are almost by definition people who can create believable narratives out of any crap, the embodiment of Argumentative Theory:
If you haven't read Flan O'Brien's "The Third Policeman" do so. I just reread it. Every book is a bit different but this is genuinely unlike anything else I've ever read. And almost impossible to describe: a comedy, a gothic horror story, a cautionary moral fable, with wonderful descriptive passages and bizarre fantasies, all set in the Irish bogs and told in playful Irish english, with added hilarious excursions into crazy pseudoscience. Makes you laugh out loud.
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He may be a theocrat (technically) but he's certainly not laying down the law to anyone. Even if, like me, you don't accept their cosmology, the Buddhists have been studying consciousness in a systematic manner for a very long time so have some insights into being human. Besides, there's his laughter...
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Didn't Mr Szasz also say that suicide is a good solution to depression? Maybe there's a better alternative.... Libertarianism is a nice self-contained system with an answer to everything. At it's core, it is based on is the sense of "free" agency that we all feel. Unfortunately it doesn't doesn't stack up with anything independently verifiable in neurology or psychology; it's just a dumb native feeling that evolution has given us because understanding what's really going on in our brains is so complex we'd be incapacitated trying to get our heads around it. In the real world, the process of decision making is absurdly complex, layered and contingent but because we have this naive feeling that we can "just do" stuff - except, of course, the things we can't "just do" - we can have the self-centered feeling that anyone must be able to do what is easy/possible for us. Ever tried walking a tightrope at 100 metres? Lots of people can, they just do it. Not me. How about you? I'd find it so scary I'd probably do weird stuff to avoid it. Maybe Mr Szasz could just do it, but I don't doubt it. If you don't have a handy tightrope, just cut up an onion into small pieces keeping your eyes 10 cm from the onion. That should give you a practical demonstration of the limits of free will. Now imagine if going cold turkey felt like the onion or the tightrope....
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When Metzinger says "My incomprehensible theory" he's not saying it's totally inintelligible, it seems to me that he's talking about the (deliciously) weird feeling of difficulty that contemplating it gives you - as in "getting your head around it". When you think of a cat there's some kind of a picture of a cat in your head. I'm using the word "picture" loosely here, it's a neural representation that can be mentally manipulated and inspected - it's possibly identifiable with a real cat but it's obviously not the real cat. When you contemplate yourself contemplating the cat, things get a bit more complex but we can do it. But contemplating the contemplating mechanism doing the contemplating, as the contemplating mechanism itself, that does your head in. We just reflexively want to add in our observer self to sort it out, so we can be inside and outside at the same time - but it's there already. That's an inherently "incomprehensible" theory; we're just not structurally capable of really getting it (probably for good biological reasons, but nonetheless we can't quite get it in one piece.) Who said all thought is metaphor?
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