Saturday, November 22, 2008

To walk the talk

From the book "I am, therefore I think":
Do philosophers have a better track record of making successful personal decisions than the average individual?

... Socrates assumed that once we knew what we should do we would automatically act as we should. His student Plato disagreed - as have most philosophers since him. We have other sources of motivation besides knowledge of what is best. As Plato put it, we have certain appetites - whether natural or acquired - that are insensitive to considerations of what is best, and we have emotional responses that aren't perfectly calibrated to our view about what is best. For this reason, even if I believed that it would be a bad idea to give in to some temptation, I might still have appetites or emotions that overpower my better judgment...
And what do about those very appetites and emotions? Not calibrate them, but minimize, and finally annihilate them.

6 comments:

Susan said...

as you have put down in this post, an emotional reaction to a situation may be the cause of ones not so apparant instincts and the deep rooted condtioning. it may be possible to be aware of them by analysing oneself. but this knowledge of ones instincts or social conditioning may not bring down the intensity of ones emotions. these emotions do not always bring discomfort. they may be plesant too. for example you may feel pride on looking at yourself in the mirror if your idea of beauty matches with your physical appearance. and you may feel anger if the actions of a person does not comply with your expectations from him or her.
however, the question here is, is it at all possible to fight against these natural instincts - religion say yes, spirituality say yes, actual freedom say yes(no intetion of comparing them though). However, it has not been in my experince yet, nor have i ever encountered anyone devoid of instincts and emotions (one may still come closer to be devoid of social conditioning, atleast to some extent). and in case it is actually possible, what is left of you if all these emotions, "positive" as well as "negative" are annihilated?

harmanjit said...

Hi Susan,

Minimizing one's instincts may be more acceptable to you than the intellectual acceptance of complete annihilation, for which an experience of a PCE is seemingly required.

There are various ways of minimizing one's instinctual and emotional reactions, and the actualism method is devoid of any metaphysics and mysticism, which are rampant in spiritual disciplines. And it cuts deep.

Susan said...

"Minimizing one's instincts may be more acceptable to you than the intellectual acceptance of complete annihilation, for which an experience of a PCE is seemingly required."

# Since I haven’t had an experience of it yet, this is no different for me than the spiritual claims of Satori/Enlightenment/Samadhi whose possibility I do not completely rule out. However, based on the current level of my experience, knowledge or intelligence, I am unable to give much weightage to it.

"There are various ways of minimizing one's instinctual and emotional reactions, and the actualism method is devoid of any metaphysics and mysticism, which are rampant in spiritual disciplines. And it cuts deep."

# Again, is the above statement purely based on intellect and knowledge or does it have an experiential basis? Going by intellect and knowledge, a room (however small it might be) for mysticism and metaphysics still exists. And in case it is based on experiences, how can the possibility of hallucination be completely ruled out? Somehow, I haven’t been able to rule it out in whatever I have seen/experienced so far.
My question as to what is left of a person devoid of all emotions and instincts still remains unanswered.

harmanjit said...

Hi Susan,

What life is in total freedom is a question which cannot be answered by me.

However, I'm sure you have read Richard's answer to this:

http://actualfreedom.com.au/sundry/frequentquestions/FAQ40.htm

http://actualfreedom.com.au/sundry/frequentquestions/FAQ19.htm

Siddharth Sharma said...

Suspicious pattern at first glance. Some human claiming the perfected state. I'll have a look and see if the claimed annihilation of malice / sorrow has any scientific basis.

Claiming complete annihilation of instinct within oneself is entirely unflattering until it can be demonstrably proven. Even if the claim is honest and true to the person's best knowledge.

Pretty unlikely that the claim can/will be scientifically verified.

Alex said...

It can be verified by Richard himself... Of course you do not need to believe him.

However, having read many pages of his site as well as Peters, as well as their books numerous times I see no inconsistencies in his methodology or replies to his many correspondents. At least that is one reason why I have not "thrown his theories out the window" yet

Proving it for myself by utilizing his method has been most effective, and maybe the question one should ask oneself is not if it can be scientifically proven, but rather, Do I really want freedom from the human condition and am I willing to do it for myself (in other words, if it is possible at all, scientific research being available or not will not stop me in my resolve)