Individualism vs. Collectivism

For all things philosophical.

Moderators: AMod, iMod

User avatar
Immanuel Can
Posts: 8702
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2013 4:42 pm

Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by Immanuel Can »

RCSaunders wrote: Sun Aug 18, 2019 2:48 am I think it is a mistake to say human beings have an, "inclination," toward anything, especially if it is an "inclination to do wrong" based on the fact the human beings do wrong, unless you are going to say human being have an "inclination to do good" base on the fact the human beings do good. (If you are a radical Calvinist, of course, you will not agree human beings do anything good.)
"Integrated Circuit." Heh. That's good. :)

And no, I'm not a Calvinist, I assure you. But it is interesting that you know what they do, in fact, believe. What's your background in that, RC?

Yes, I think human beings have both good and evil propensities. Mankind makes great art and music, invents cures for things, and generates amazing technologies. At the same time, they arrange genocides, take on addictions, commit crimes, and pour toxins into the environment. Both are true, obviously. I think that's a pretty easy empirical case to make.
What I was really interested in is your view regarding the Christian doctrine of "original sin" or "depravity," that is, that human beings are born with a, "sinful nature," that makes it impossible to live without doing wrong based on such verses as, "for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God," or, "there is none righteous, no not one." [I'm quoting from memory, KJV version, but will be happy to supply references if you like.] [I'm only referring to the sinful nature, here, not how it was acquired, e.g., the sin of Adam.]
Romans 3.
I know that conservative Christians believe the rebirth is necessary because people are born with a sinful nature, and salvation is only possible to those with, "reborn," with a new nature. So the real question is, do people do wrong (what the Bible calls sin) because that is the nature they are born with, and is it that nature (which Paul refers to as the flesh) which is the cause of temptation.
Well, if human beings aren't born with the capacity to sin, from where does it come? Watch a child who has lost his/her favourite toy: watch her explode in rage, ball up her little fists and scream in frustration. Or watch the little tyke bash his sister over the head with his toy car. Watch the little prom queen spread poisonous rumours among her friends, or the mean kid on the sports field step on his rival...who teaches this stuff? Where does it originate? How is it that we are able to do it so easily, so naturally, and right from birth?

Of course it's in us. We are drawn to it. And it's best we know we are.
It is not a trick question and I'll tell you exactly why I ask it. The Bible (Hebrews) says, speaking of Christ, "For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." If human temptation is the result of a sinful nature, and Jesus did not have a sinful nature (which virtually all Christians agree he didn't), he could not possibly be tempted, at least not in all points like all other human beings whose temptation is caused by their own nature.
I know about this, and have done a great deal of thinking about it, actually. It's a good question, but also one that deserves a careful answer.

What Christians all believe is that Christ DIDN'T sin. What is more controversial is the question, "COULD Christ HAVE sinned, if He had wanted to?" Of course, that makes the question merely hypothetical, but it does still get to the issue of what Christ's real nature was: if He was "tempted," was it necessary that He also COULD HAVE failed the test?

I'm convinced the right answer to that is "No." I have several lines of reasoning that lead to that conclusion. One was given me many years ago, by a book I read, that had the title, "Could God Incarnate Sin?" God Incarnate. Frame the question that way, and the answer is obviously "No."

But here's another line of thought: we have, in fact, a good description in two gospels of the actual temptation of Christ. And we are told that during that time, as the Bible puts it, Christ underwent being tempted by "all the kingdoms of the world and their glory," all condensed into "a moment of time." A more intense worldly temptation could not be devised: if we take the passages literally, it means that literally ALL such possible temptations were rolled into a single intense moment, and unleashed on Jesus Christ.

But He did not fail. There were no possible worldly temptations left, and He did not fail any of them, or all of them together. So that means that neither could He fail -- to put it philosophically, there is no "possible world" in which Christ could sin.

Why then the temptation? Temptations are a kind of character test. And tests can have two functions: one is to show that a thing fails. When one takes a drug test, failure is the looked-for outcome. But some tests are not like that. If one builds a bridge that is supposedly capable of holding up three transport trucks at the same time, and people doubt the bridge, you might provide a test to put their minds at ease; and it might be something like driving eight transport trucks onto the bridge at the same time, so as to show that the bridge is not anywhere close to failing the real-world test of handling a single truck. In other words, some tests are proofs of reliability.

Christ was tested. We might say, He was over-tested. He faced more serious temptation than any human being ever has or ever will. And it is this impossibility of failure that is being pointed out in Hebrews. The author is saying, "If you think He can't hold you up, consider how much He's already borne -- and won through. You're not close to that."

There are both other lines of reasoning supporting this conclusion, and some other objections I've heard people raise. But how long can one response reasonable be? And also, you seem to have something interesting in mind, and I'm keen to hear it. So I'll stop talking now.
If you care about the question, I'll be glad to explain where I think the mistake in Christian doctrine is on this point. Hint: it is a misinterpretation of Paul in Romans and a misunderstanding of the word, "lust," in the Bible.
Yes, I'm interested. Fire away.
User avatar
Immanuel Can
Posts: 8702
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2013 4:42 pm

Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by Immanuel Can »

Nick_A wrote: Sun Aug 18, 2019 5:03 am You seem to have definite ideas concerning Christianity.
I've been one a long time.
But if Christianity is a perennial tradition as described by St. Augustine and it always was, how can you be so sure that your belief in linear time for example reflects the truth of Christianity?
Linear time is abundantly described in Scripture. That's why, Nick. And I might add that scientifically, the idea that the universe is linear and not cyclical is also beyond reasonable debate. The matter has essentially been settled since the 1960s, although the evidence for it was actually found earlier. Finally, mathematically, in a chain-of-causes type universe, which is what we live in, a singular starting point is mathematically inevitable, because of the impossibility of an actual infinite regresses of causes.

Those sorts of considerations are very strong, I think: in fact, I would argue that they are overwhelming.
My great great granduncle was an archbishop in the Armenian Church. He was a member of the highly regarded Mekhitarist Congregation in Vienna. He also was friendly with Helena Blavataky the founder of Theosophy. They must have had many interesting discussions concerning Christianity including some you would disagree with. How would you know that your disagreements were justified?
We'd need to agree on what the authority to which we would both concede would be. And that would be true no matter who we were, or what kind of question we were debating. Any players on the field have to agree on who is the referee, and that they will accept the referee's decisions, or there's no game. Two scientists have to agree about what counts as evidence, before they can decide whose theory holds more water. Two philosophers must agree that logic and reasons, not mere preferences or wishes, will decide a question...

Only when the grounds of arbitration were settled could we make any progress, I suspect.

But we could talk about that. For me, the Bible is the determinative factor. What would you accept as a basis of arbitrating such questions, Nick?
User avatar
Sculptor
Posts: 2179
Joined: Wed Jun 26, 2019 11:32 pm

Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by Sculptor »

Immanuel Can wrote: Sat Aug 17, 2019 9:40 pm
Sculptor wrote: Sat Aug 17, 2019 8:30 pm It was Percy Bysshe Shelley...
Oh. You mean we were playing, "Who wrote the poem," not "Is the last line noble or just plain sinister?" :wink:
No we are playing what sort of arsehole compares a poem in support of the victims of the 1819 Peterloo massacre with something Stalin might have said , but never did.

You win, you are the arsehole.
User avatar
Immanuel Can
Posts: 8702
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2013 4:42 pm

Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by Immanuel Can »

Sculptor wrote: Sun Aug 18, 2019 11:03 am ...something Stalin might have said...
Totalitarian collectivism is like that. It starts with lofty, revolutionary anthems about how "we are the many..."

And ends in gulags and body bags.

Russia, China, Cambodia, Romania, Albania, Yugoslavia, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela...

That's the real point. We can't afford to romanticize the idea of "the many" using their power to destroy less powerful groups. They've done it too often, throughout history, and have justified their actions on the theory that "the many" can't be wrong, no matter what they do.
uwot
Posts: 4961
Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2012 7:21 am

Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by uwot »

Immanuel Can wrote: Sun Aug 18, 2019 3:50 pm We can't afford to romanticize the idea of "the many" using their power to destroy less powerful groups. They've done it too often, throughout history, and have justified their actions on the theory that "the many" can't be wrong, no matter what they do.
Nor can we afford to romanticise the idea of 'the one'. At the other end of the spectrum, there are those who subscribe to divine command theory who insist that the one can't be wrong, no matter what it does. Like burn dissidents in hell for eternity.
Skepdick
Posts: 4770
Joined: Fri Jun 14, 2019 11:16 am

Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by Skepdick »

Immanuel Can wrote: Sun Aug 18, 2019 5:19 am Finally, mathematically, in a chain-of-causes type universe, which is what we live in, a singular starting point is mathematically inevitable
Are you sure about that? Causality may well be a self-affirming artefact of human experience.

Quantum mechanics defies causal order, experiment confirms
Indefinite causal order enables perfect quantum communication with zero capacity channel
Eodnhoj7
Posts: 6206
Joined: Mon Mar 13, 2017 3:18 am

Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by Eodnhoj7 »

Skepdick wrote: Sun Aug 18, 2019 5:48 pm
Immanuel Can wrote: Sun Aug 18, 2019 5:19 am Finally, mathematically, in a chain-of-causes type universe, which is what we live in, a singular starting point is mathematically inevitable
Are you sure about that? Causality may well be a self-affirming artefact of human experience.

Quantum mechanics defies causal order, experiment confirms
Indefinite causal order enables perfect quantum communication with zero capacity channel
The experiment of particles spontaneously popping in and out of a void correlates with this.

However it does not necessitate an absense of causality. The alternation of the particles in and out of space, as well as the projective nature of the particles (a moving to b moving to c) still allows for causality.

Causality can be spontaneous and randomn and still necessitate order.
Nick_A
Posts: 5120
Joined: Sat Jul 07, 2012 1:23 am

Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by Nick_A »

Immanuel Can wrote: ↑Sun Aug 18, 2019 2:50 pm
We can't afford to romanticize the idea of "the many" using their power to destroy less powerful groups. They've done it too often, throughout history, and have justified their actions on the theory that "the many" can't be wrong, no matter what they do.
But it is the chain of collectives that have the power. For example
The Black Power Movement of the 1960s and 1970s was a political and social movement whose advocates believed in racial pride, self-sufficiency, and equality for all people of Black and African descent.
From Wiki
"People power" is a political term denoting the populist driving force of any social movement which invokes the authority of grassroots opinion and willpower, usually in opposition to that of conventionally organised corporate or political forces. "People power" can be manifested as a small-scale protest or campaign for neighbourhood change;[1] or as wide-ranging, revolutionary action involving national street demonstrations, work stoppages and general strikes intending to overthrow an existing government and/or political system. It may be nonviolent, as was the case in the 1986 Philippines revolution which overthrew the Marcos régime, or may resort to violence, as happened in Libya in 2011. The term was first used by members of the 1960s "flower power" movement which initially protested against the Vietnam War.
We know what collectives like black power and human power are. What then is human power? We don't know. We are defined by collectives. We don't know what we are and what it means to be human. The great ways brought into the world to allow those capable of awakening us to what they are must be hated and rejected by the world so as to protect the dominance of preferred collectives offering power.
Skepdick
Posts: 4770
Joined: Fri Jun 14, 2019 11:16 am

Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by Skepdick »

Eodnhoj7 wrote: Sun Aug 18, 2019 6:06 pm The experiment of particles spontaneously popping in and out of a void correlates with this.

However it does not necessitate an absense of causality. The alternation of the particles in and out of space, as well as the projective nature of the particles (a moving to b moving to c) still allows for causality.

Causality can be spontaneous and randomn and still necessitate order.
Order in respect to what? How you conceptualise/define "order" becomes the way you interpret its meaning.

You have to synthesize some metric for "universal time" if you want to rescue causality. https://www.quantamagazine.org/quantum- ... -20161201/

In computer science this is the distinction between system time and process time.
User avatar
Sculptor
Posts: 2179
Joined: Wed Jun 26, 2019 11:32 pm

Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by Sculptor »

Immanuel Can wrote: Sun Aug 18, 2019 3:50 pm
Sculptor wrote: Sun Aug 18, 2019 11:03 am ...something Stalin might have said...
Totalitarian collectivism is like that.
I have nothing to do with religion. And neither has my comment, you ignorant savage.
User avatar
Immanuel Can
Posts: 8702
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2013 4:42 pm

Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by Immanuel Can »

Skepdick wrote: Sun Aug 18, 2019 5:48 pm Are you sure about that?
Yep.

Quantum mechanics doesn't solve...in fact, doesn't even address the problem.

Quantum mechanics says that things have (at least the appearance of) randomness. But what are the chances of the infinite void, devoid of all laws and principles, generating not only one earth but two, or worse, a succession of interrelated universes in which humans (for some reason) recirculate?

The odds against such a happening are literally infinite, actually. For any such possibility, there are always an infinite number of "other ways" the universe could be. Indeed, whether a "universe" would ever exist at all, under quantum theories, is a total surprise.
User avatar
Immanuel Can
Posts: 8702
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2013 4:42 pm

Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by Immanuel Can »

Sculptor wrote: Sun Aug 18, 2019 6:38 pm I have nothing to do with religion.
But if you plug for Collectivism, you do.

For collectives cannot be summoned unless they can be rallied around some common cry. This makes Collectivism and indoctrination natural partners. The one simply cannot get along without the other.
User avatar
Sculptor
Posts: 2179
Joined: Wed Jun 26, 2019 11:32 pm

Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by Sculptor »

Immanuel Can wrote: Sun Aug 18, 2019 6:52 pm
Sculptor wrote: Sun Aug 18, 2019 6:38 pm I have nothing to do with religion.
But if you plug for Collectivism, you do.
Nope.
When the establishment are rallied together swords drawn it can be a good idea to band together. That does not mean religion, it means self preservation.
Skepdick
Posts: 4770
Joined: Fri Jun 14, 2019 11:16 am

Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by Skepdick »

Immanuel Can wrote: Sun Aug 18, 2019 6:49 pm Yep.

Quantum mechanics doesn't solve...in fact, doesn't even address the problem.

Quantum mechanics says that things have (at least the appearance of) randomness. But what are the chances of the infinite void, devoid of all laws and principles, generating not only one earth but two, or worse, a succession of interrelated universes in which humans (for some reason) recirculate?

The odds against such a happening are literally infinite, actually. For any such possibility, there are always an infinite number of "other ways" the universe could be. Indeed, whether a "universe" would ever exist at all, under quantum theories, is a total surprise.
You don't understand statistics.

If the void is infinite, and the possibilities are infinite, then there are infinitely many universes. This is the infinite monkey theorem.

The more universes there are, the higher the probability that at least one of them will have sentient life-forms.

From the anthropic principle it follows that the probability of us existing in an infinite universe is practically 100% certain.
Last edited by Skepdick on Sun Aug 18, 2019 7:15 pm, edited 5 times in total.
uwot
Posts: 4961
Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2012 7:21 am

Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by uwot »

Immanuel Can wrote: Sun Aug 18, 2019 6:52 pmFor collectives cannot be summoned unless they can be rallied around some common cry.
Christianity, for example.
Post Reply