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Krisztian
07-04-2012, 07:45 PM
Northern Ireland's very own historian Michael Tsarion describes a rather grim "Post-human World". He lists the following aspects of this world that's happening in our psyché:

(i) Ancestral trauma
(ii) Fragmentation of consciousness
(iii) Antipathy of Nature
(iv) Ubiquitous collectivism and extroversion
(v) Dependency on approval
(vi) Self-hate
(vii) Legitimate anxiety and suffering

What do people of this Forum think about his list of identifiers? Agree or disagree? Or, maybe, some points valid, others not so much?

solomon levi
07-05-2012, 01:59 AM
Hi Krisztian.
What does he mean "post-human"? or human? I don't get it.
The list is pretty applicable, and has been for some time IMO.

Ancestral trauma - did you ever read julian james - bicameral mind?
A summary of the idea: "In his talk he proposed that human consciousness -- suitably delimited -- was a cultural artifact, based on structural and functional aspects of human language, brought about by upheavals in society due to eruption, migration, conquest, as well as the onset of trade and the invention of writing. Most remarkably -- some might say incredibly -- this fundamental change in human nature occurred within the last few thousand years. He supported this tale with his interpretation of the history of early civilization, evidence from neuropsychololgy, clinical psychology, and his own analyses of ancient texts where he argued the lack of mental state words like think or believe and the like in those texts indicated that the people of those times did not think or believe.
For Jaynes, the subjective human conscious mind was essentially an analog to the real world, what cognitive scientists today might call a representational mind."
http://pubpages.unh.edu/~jel/JLimber/Julian%20JaynesPoster.htm

If one ascribes to any alien 'gods' or dimensional 'gods' that influenced our behavior and religion, etc - there's plenty of ancestral trauma there.

Fragmentation of consciousness - undeniably, but nothing new/recent.

Antipathy of Nature - this one we have a little more choice over than the above two. There seems to be sides unlike the above two -
people who care and people who don't. It depends on how intense/aware he means by pathos.

Ubiq Col and Ext - yeah, but it's a result of number two. We've just developed more ways to be entertained and distracted today.
And we're more mobile than in the past with cars and such so we can easily seek out gatherings. And now with internet...!

Dependancy on approval - this isn't new either. Most every parent teaches their child this. So yeah, it exists, it's a "problem".
But I don't get the post-human reference.

Self-hate - I don't know. I don't relate to calling it that. I imagine the number of people that actually hate themselves is not to terrible.
Judgement, yes. Hate? I don't know. That's always been a really strong word to me. I can't imagine people could keep it up for long.
This one is a choice of words thing for me. Sure, lots of people don't love themselves. But I don't know people that hate themselves.

Leg anx and suff - suffering has always been. anxiety is a bigger problem today.

So without understanding how these are post-human, I'm not sure what concluding remarks to make.
This "end of the world" isn't any worse than the many others that didn't happen if that's where he's going.
If things appear worse now than before, it's because we can handle more.
The opposing forces have always been since creation. They don't get worse. We just get more or less aware.
What's the worse that can happen? We die? That's nothing new. :)
A planet gets destroyed? That's happened before too.
Post-human?? Post-human has always been. Pre-human too. ??

Krisztian
07-05-2012, 02:17 AM
So without understanding how these are post-human, I'm not sure what concluding remarks to make. This "end of the world" isn't any worse than the many others that didn't happen if that's where he's going. If things appear worse now than before, it's because we can handle more. The opposing forces have always been since creation. They don't get worse. We just get more or less aware. What's the worse that can happen? We die? That's nothing new. :) A planet gets destroyed? That's happened before too. Post-human?? Post-human has always been. Pre-human too. ??

Yes, I think what you say is true. Here isn't anything new, eh? I'm wondering what others are seeing with this list? That's why I posted it.

The words "post-human"? I think he means that who we are as human-species is changing for the worse. He's adamant that the human organism is splitting by design, the psyché of men is divided.

Maybe we have some followers of Tsarion who can identify what he means?

He's a bit theatrical, no?

Bel Matina
07-05-2012, 05:47 AM
The debate between those who think that history is a story of decline and those who think it is a story of ascent is ages old. I agree with Evola, though (Hermetic Tradition, English Translation, page 117) that moralism is at best an impediment to the art, though to claim that there were no moralists among the philosophers is plainly laughable. I should clarify that I don't deride moral behavior in any sense, rather it is corollary to a higher principle, and to my understanding our art seeks first the root. Still, I will readily agree that we are on the cusp of a precipitous global shift in consciousness. I will even recognize it as one much greater than those that occur on a regular basis.

Jaynes is on to something, although I think the nature of it escaped him. For one thing, I've studied quite a few of the most ancient languages, including Egyptian and Sumerian, and all of them have plenty of words for mental states. He's not the only one who's noticed a dramatic, global cultural shift around that time. I'm forgetting which anthropologist, but one of the older ones noted what he called a "ritual crisis" in Greece during the height of Athens, when the rituals were noted to have stopped having the social effectiveness they had had in prior generations. The author credits to this the rise of the mystery cults, but gives no account of why similar religions fall in a resounding crash and are replaced by mystery cults with a resounding crash in the wake of Hellenism. A notable exception is Egypt, but when I think about it, they had always had secret rituals closed to the public, so all they really had to do to adapt was give the public selective access to those rituals. I think Jaynes may even be right in linking the shift to schizophrenia, and that it was caused by language. Because there is an important linguistic first that occurred in Greek in roughly that generation: time.

All of the written languages contemporary to Ancient Greek have mechanisms for coordinating events in a narrative, some of them quite complex. But remarkably, none of them (Egyptian, Akkadian, Sumerian, Biblical Hebrew, I could go on and on) have aspect, which expresses elements of duration of an event, but all the aspects in those languages could and did refer to events indiscriminate of past, present or future.

In the classical period, the Greek system for coordinating events had three dimensions: three tenses, three aspects, and two moods. But two of the tenses were defective, that is to say they did not combine with all the aspects freely as you would expect. Specifically, the future tense occurred only in the aorist (unspecified) aspect, and the present tense lacked an aorist aspect. This is probably immediately suggestive to all of you, and in fact the future tense in its form looks for all the world like a present tense aorist. But not quite. What it looks like is the regular aorist suffix applied to all verbs, including irregular ones (which have it applied to their normal aorist stem).

It appears as if some time not to long prior to the height of Ancient Greek culture, the language had two tenses, with a defective present tense lacking the aorist aspect. At some point, they tried to reintroduce it, but it ended up as a future tense, instead. This is not so farfetched, and will actually make immediate sense to anyone who speaks a Slavic language. The Slavic languages are one of the few groups left (in Europe, at least) that still have a true aspect system - English and some other languages have a system referred to as aspect, but really what it is is relative tense. There are two aspects in Slavic, and like in our posited Ancient Greek -1 two tenses. The aspects, perfective and imperfective, are equivalent to Ancient Greek aorist (again, unspecified) and imperfect (concurrent with some other event). A past perfective scans like the English simple past, and a past imperfective scans like the English imperfect. Simple enough. A present imperfective scans like the English present tense, and a present perfective indicates the future.

But then we still have the past/present distinction. That's temporal, right? Well, the prefix that indicates the past is identified by internal reconstructionists (although it must be admitted the whole endeavor of internal reconstruction has become subject to extreme skepticism by modern historical linguistics) as originating from an adverb indicating that an object or event was far away or out of the speaker's sight. And indeed, there are multiple instances in Homer where the "past" tense refers to events that are occurring at the time of the speech act, but far away (I always mean to go in and count but never get around to it)

It doesn't end there. I've mentioned that Bibilical Hebrew, and indeed all of the ancient Semitic languages, lacked tense. This changed during the Hellenic period, but in ways subtle enough that it's rarely remarked upon. The West Semitic languages through their written history two aspects and no tense. As one might expect this made them absolutely terrible for relaying long narratives or complicated sequences of events. In Biblical Hebrew, there is something that is presented as a tense, but is really more of a literary device called the vav consecutive. The gist is that chains of events beginning with the perfective and continuing with clauses using the imperfective linked by the languages one and only coordinating conjunction (spelled with the eponymous vav) can be assumed to have already occurred, while with the aspects reversed the chain can be assumed to be occuring or expected to occur. This usage is actually attested in the libraries of Ugarit, centuries before most of the events described in the bible using this piece of crap literary device are supposed to have occurred. So you can see by the legs it had that they really couldn't think of a better way.

Under the influence of Hellenism the system simplified itself greatly by becoming slightly more complicated, while not actually adding any new forms. The active participle was recruited as a present tense, and the perfective and imperfective aspects were relegated to respectively past and future. Aramaic had by this point eaten most of the other living Semitic languages, but modern (resurrected) Hebrew works this way. This leads to some amusing confusion where the aspects do things that are totally inappropriate by modern standards. Assyrian/Babylonian survived for a few centuries after that, but regarding how their much more complicated aspect system mapped onto tense... don't ask. Just... don't.

By the time there are surviving inscriptions in Italic languages, they sport what is clearly a shiny brand-new non-defective three-tense system pasted onto their two-aspect system with only the smallest bit of awkwardness. It's actually the diagnostic for the language family, and there's growing indication that at least some of them may have been otherwise not particularly related.

How does this affect our consciousness? Well, especially for those of us who grow up speaking a language with a relative tense system, it forces us to relate events spatially, and it's not at all for granted that that's natural. Consider that numericity has been more or less demonstrated to be an artificial cognitive capacity acquired through language: there are still one or two languages out there which have no terms for numbers, only a dual and plural marker, and monolingual speakers of those languages can't count quantities over four or five accurately.

Relating events spatially, assuming it's not natural, means that from before we can remember we have to treat events, that is, we have to treat experiences as objects. Objects have parts which are also objects, and so the contents of our experience, including ourselves and the other people in them, take on the attributes of objects as well. I could get further into the semantic implications, but it would get technical and I'd like to give everyone the opportunity to really think about it and have that moment of "no way," and then "they're not?"

I'll respond to that straw man question by saying, "objects aren't objects either." Finally, I will wrap this up and connect it to the topic by bringing up the internet.

The cost communication is shrinking rapidly and universally. As a result the scope, complexity, sophistication, and effectiveness of that communication is correspondingly skyrocketing.

If a little thing like yesterday can change your perspective so much, what will that do?

solomon levi
07-05-2012, 06:38 AM
Yes, I think what you say is true. Here isn't anything new, eh? I'm wondering what others are seeing with this list? That's why I posted it.

The words "post-human"? I think he means that who we are as human-species is changing for the worse. He's adamant that the human organism is splitting by design, the psyché of men is divided.

Maybe we have some followers of Tsarion who can identify what he means?

He's a bit theatrical, no?

I've enjoyed the presentations I've watched by Tsarion. I just hadn't heard that "post-human" comment.
Oh - perhaps we're becoming zombies.

This may be a good example of cup half empty.
We can also look at how many brilliant spiritual/enlightened/awakened people there are at this time...
more than in the last 2000 years? Or is it just internet that allows better census?

Would it be ok, without sidetracking or changing the subject, to add that question to this topic along with
the responses to the list?
Are there more "enlightened" persons on the planet at this time than "usual"?