New Show: MindMatters (RIP Truth Perspective)

luc

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Thank you for the R.G. Collingwood video. His way of looking at things instantaneously shattered some foundations of my thinking, and clarified some dilemmas I face in trying to negotiate the world, which sometimes strikes me as “Mad Magazine” made manifest.

Collingwood presents a “radical iconoclastic-ism.” My exposure to just a few of his thoughts in a brief 1.3 hour presentation has revealed the faulty foundation (“the man behind the curtain”) of a lot of my ‘education/indoctrination’ as well as my ‘independent’ thinking. Even this brief exposure to Collingwood makes me feel as though I’ve entered a maelstrom – a welcome maelstrom for sure – liberating, uplifting – though my head hurts. So I purchased a couple of his books on line and checked out some additional articles on Sott.

Collingwood asks, “What are the presuppositions that govern our thinking about things?” I sense this question is vital and earth-shattering –though I just heard it. It can change how one perceives everything – and I figure that awareness, thought, seeing and understanding are intricately intertwined in a way ‘The Matrix’ touches on when the child monk says, “Do not try and bend the spoon – that's impossible. Instead, only try to realize the truth……..There is no spoon. Then you will see it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself.”

Many, many ideas crossed my mind while watching the video. For example, I have been taught explicitly that there is “Life” and there is “Death” and never the twain shall meet. But what if I were to ask, “What are the presuppositions that govern thinking about this matter?” I can’t pinpoint them specifically yet, but I can see at least a presupposition of a distinct dichotomy between the two – Life and Death are presented as black/white, on/off, good/evil. What if this dichotomy were a faulty presupposition? What if there is neither life nor death, but simply a continuum of existence, as Bhagavad Gita says, “You are never born, never dying; nor having once existed, can cease to be.” Truly understanding that – Realizing that – could change everything; it could eradicate the underlying existential dread that fuels so much fear and limitation. AND, what if other dualities that serve as foundations for my thinking were eliminated as merely fictitious constructs? What would remain -- or replace them? Certainly something quite different from what I’ve been taught. Something closer to Truth, perhaps?

And briefly……two additional statements grabbed me: “A logic in which the answers are attended to and the questions neglected is a false logic.” “In Collingwood’s view, no two propositions can contradict one another unless they are answers to the same question.” Well, well, well. How about them apples? I won’t even begin to express the light these proposals have shed on just about every conversation I've had in the past 5 years. It’s mind-boggling. I could go on and on, but I don't know anything yet. I need to study.
Thanks so much!!

Thank you Magnolia for sharing these interesting thoughts. I have thought along similar lines about Collingwood's concept of a certain historical relativism regarding absolute presuppositions - it is a difficult idea to wrap one's head around.

I would keep two things in mind though: first, Collingwood was very much against a too rigid approach to philosophy, he especially warned about obsessing about definitions, because for him, in philosophy, concepts always overlap and there can never be razor-sharp distinctions. Second, he also promoted a certain conservatism regarding our absolute presuppositions: yes, they are neither true nor false, but for a civilization to persist and flourish, we need to use our will to affirm those presuppositions on which our civilization is based. In his view, this is often done by religions, even though they may not even be conscious of this. That doesn't mean that our absolute presuppositions might not come "under strain", as he put it, and eventually give way to new ideas, but there is a limit of what we as individuals can (or should) do to change/abolish them. In other words, there is a great danger of trying to "deconstruct" our presuppositions - it might leave us completely unhinged, in a vacuum, and lost, because we lose the very foundation from which reality can be seen, limited as this foundation may be. Besides, it is often a delusion anyway: as much as we try, we cannot help looking at the world in a certain way, thinking in certain categories, and so on.

I believe in order to understand Collingwood, it is useful to think about the big picture, the development of civilizations, and our place within them, in order to avoid falling into too strong a relativistic position as if nothing we believe in has any value. The way I like to think about it is that absolute presuppositions give us access to a certain "chunk of reality" - granted, it's not the complete picture, and therefore there are many errors and misconceptions, but it is still an aspect of reality (think for example about materialism, which as a mode of thought has allowed us to "think through" the world from that perspective). Our presuppositions can evolve so that we gain access to new "reality chunks", which then also leads to a re-evaluation of what we thought about previous reality chunks we have mastered; but we shouldn't mistake this idea for a complete relativism where we can just throw out our presuppositions.

It is a subtle point. Do we still have access to a reality chunk once we stop believing in some of our absolute presuppositions? What does that mean for our evolution? Perhaps what we need to learn during these times of transition is to consciously use the different presuppositions and perspectives we can manage to hold even without being identified with them or taking them for granted. Collingwood's conservatism with regard to these may have something to do with the fact that certainly not everybody can pull that off. Losing our collective presuppositions, therefore, is civilization-ending stuff if there is no gradual shift and if a new equilibrium isn't reached that can hold civilization together.
 

thorbiorn

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Thank you for the latest show: MindMatters: Schizo-autistic Philosophy, Ponerology and the Deranged View of Humanity -- Sott.net where you introduced us to a less promoted feature of Machiavelli, that he actually revealed the weaknesses of the elites, but making clear how they act. In the process, I looked up James Burnham and his books and found George Orwell - James Burnham and the Managerial Revolution - Essay where Orwell almost rhetorically slams him.
It will be seen that at each point Burnham is predicting A CONTINUATION OF THE THING THAT IS HAPPENING. Now the tendency to do this is not simply a bad habit, like inaccuracy or exaggeration, which one can correct by taking thought. It is a major mental disease, and its roots lie partly in cowardice and partly in the worship of power, which is not fully separable from cowardice.

Suppose in 1940 you had taken a Gallup poll, in England, on the question "Will Germany win the war?" You would have found, curiously enough, that the group answering "Yes" contained a far higher percentage of intelligent people--people with IQ of over 120, shall we say--than the group answering "No". The same would have held good in the middle of 1942. In this case the figures would not have been so striking, but if you had made the question "Will the Germans capture Alexandria?" or "Will the Japanese be able to hold on to the territories they have captured ?", then once again there would have been a very marked tendency for intelligence to concentrate in the "Yes" group. In every case the less-gifted person would have been likelier to give a right answer.
 

Ennio

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In this most recent show, we got a chance to come at the subject of the jab from a new (to us) and interesting angle:

MindMatters: The New Unclean: How Our Psychology Was Hijacked to Make Us See Each Other as the Enemy


Are the vaccine hesitant really deserving of being called irresponsible conspiracy-minded nationalists who are ignorant of science - or other denigrating and pejorative mainstream media characterizations? Is it possible that many who are wary of, or outright resistant to, getting the jab - actually have some very legitimate reasons for thinking and feeling in the ways that they do? Is there, in fact, a whole set of values and 'moral tastebuds' that a rather large part of the left-leaning population and political class are being dismissive of out of hand, and out of all proportion? And what facets of human psychology are at hand when others are seen as potential vectors of disease? In short, why are some vaccine hesitant, and why are others so keen to demonize them?

This week on MindMatters we look at an in-depth examination of these issues as they're explored in Norman Doidge's seminal essay "Needle Points". No stranger to the study of how people think, and why, Doidge, a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst and author of The Brain That Changes Itself and The Brain's Way of Healing, examines the foundations of vaccine-hesitancy, and why, far from being "fringe" or "paranoid", they have a legitimacy that simply cannot, and shouldn't be, ignored by anyone taking a position on this highly contentious subject matter. He also discusses the "behavioral immune system" and what it can teach us about what is going on. Doidge so successfully outlines his needle points in his work that colleague Jordan Peterson encouraged him to produce a video narrating the text which may be watched here.

A PDF of the essay may be obtained here.


 

Ennio

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In case anyone's missed it (who may find this subject of interest!), here's MindMatters' take on Machiavelli:

MindMatters: Princely Politics: Why Machiavelli Still Matters Today


Was Machiavelli an evil mastermind? A Svengali manipulator and corrupter of princes, worthy of the contemporary descriptor "Machiavellian"? Was he, rather, the first political scientist - an empiricist and pragmatist simply describing what he saw as the way things were? Or was he, simply, a politician? Today on MindMatters we discuss Machiavelli's short classic, The Prince. So join us as we try to make sense of the world of princely politics and the relevance of Machiavelli's work today. The times may have changed, but politics not so much - which suggests that perhaps Machiavelli was on to something.


 

Ennio

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We got a chance to go into a little more depth - and wrap our heads around some of the implications - of Iain McGilchrist's new magnum opus The Matter With Things - in this most recent show:

MindMatters: Beyond the Schizo-Autistic Worldview: Introducing the Matter with Things


Our understanding of each other, ourselves, the world, science and philosophy is in a sorry state. Ratiocentric, transactional, materialistic, and narcissistic assumptions dominate over a more coherent and understanding. We're living in the left hemisphere. But what is the alternative? And if the left-hemisphere view of the world is so often destructive, what place does it hold in the broader, right-hemisphere picture? And what does this imply about the nature of man, and of reality? Iain McGilchrist has written a remarkable book in which he answers these questions: The Matter with Things: Our Brains, Our Delusions and the Unmaking of the World. Today on MindMatters we are again joined by Lucien to introduce the book's many important insights.


 

genero81

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I watched the latest Mind Matters discussing the work of Mcgilchrist. I'm reading 'The Master and His Emissary.' I realized that it explains a lot of what Collingwood was striving to articulate in 'Speculum Mentis.' Ironically, articulating anything is a left hemisphere business and as it works by re-presenting in a abstracted form from the lived experience of the right brain, it kind of chases it's own tail in trying to express the truer 'concrete' knowledge as understood by the right brain where 'mosaic' consciousness is accessed. As Mcgilchrist stresses, the left brain is not to be disregarded as unimportant. It extracts information from lived experience by taking it apart and reassembling it into 'graspable' or useable knowledge to be taken back to the right hemisphere where it is properly assembled as part of the whole understanding. This is a continuous process in the evolution of consciousness as facilitated by the learning environment (i.e. density) Well, that's my feeble attempt at articulation. However, in light of this very insightful information on the two hemispheres, I thought it worthy to have another look at Collingwood's conclusion to 'Speculum Mentis.'
Note; 'concrete knowledge' is right hemisphere (I presume)

This absolute experience of concrete knowledge has nothing to do with any professional distinctions, any more than with distinctions of social class or physical race. The enjoyment of it has nothing to do with that ‘philosophy’, a confused mixture of scientific abstractions and historical facts, which is professionally expounded by people called philosophers. It lives in a unity above all professional distinctions, and the philosopher may well achieve it in greater perfection when sailing a boat or telling stones to a child than when discoursing technicalities to a class. But it is not an intuitive or emotional experience, a mood whose precious visits illuminate the waste of life it is just life itself in its infinite self-conscious development, a development which sees every detail of itself as organic to the whole. This life has no map and no object other than itself: if it had such an object, that would be its map, for the features of the object would be its own features. Thus the external world, whose origin, growth, and structure we have been, throughout this book, investigating, is the Mirror of the Mind and the Map of Knowledge in one. But to make such a cleavage as we have suggested between concrete and abstract knowledge, truth and error, is to commit another abstraction. Concrete knowledge is not generically different from abstract knowledge, it is abstract knowledge freed from its own abstractness by simply recognizing that abstractness. The mind is not one among a number of objects of knowledge, which possesses the peculiarity of being alone fully knowable it is that which is really known in the ostensible knowing of any object whatever. In an immediate and direct way, the mind can never know itself it can only know itself through the mediation of an external world, know that what it sees in the external world is its own reflection. Hence the construction of external worlds—works of art, religions, sciences, structures of historical fact, codes of law, systems of philosophy and so forth ad infinitum—is the only way by which the mind can possibly come to that self-knowledge which is its end. Such a constructive process is one of abstraction and error so long as the external world in question is not realized to be the mind’s own work. It is perhaps not possible to carry out this process in the full consciousness of what one is doing: the illusion of abstract objectivity is essential to it: it must be done in good faith, (in) the belief that one is now at last discovering the ultimate truth, coming into contact with a pre-existent and absolute reality. But when it is done, when the work of art or system of philosophy or what not is achieved, the mind, in so far as this exercise has really strengthened instead of exhausting it, realizes that it has been not exploring an external world but tracing its own lineaments in a mirror. In this realization it sees the abstraction of its previous work to be an abstraction and nothing more, and the abstraction, the error, is thus vanquished. The truth is not some perfect system of philosophy it is simply the way in which all systems, however perfect, collapse into nothingness on the discovery that they are only systems, only external worlds over against the knowing mind and not that mind itself. This process of the creation and destruction of external worlds might appeal, to superficial criticism, a mere futile weaving and unweaving of Penelope’s web, a declaration of the mind’s inability to produce solid assets, and thus the bankruptcy of philosophy. And this it would be if knowledge were the same thing as information, something stored in encyclopaedias and laid on like so much gas and water in schools and universities. But education does not mean stuffing a mind with information, it means helping a mind to create itself, to grow into an active and vigorous contributor to the life of the world. The information given in such a process is meant to be absorbed into the life of the mind itself, and a boy leaving school with a memory full of facts is thereby no more educated than one who leaves table with his hands full of food is thereby fed. At the completion of its education, if that event ever happened, a mind would step forth as naked as a new-born babe, knowing nothing, but having acquired the mastery over its own weaknesses, its own desires, its own ignorance, and able therefore to face any danger unarmed. The collapse of a system of thought is therefore not equivalent to the cancellation of the process by which it came into being. It collapses, but it does not perish. In constructing and destroying it, the mind has learnt a permanent lesson it has triumphed over an error and so discovered a truth. The destroyed system collapses not into bare nothingness but into immediacy, into a characteristic or attribute of the mind itself, passes as it were into the muscle and bone of the mind, becomes an element in the point of view from which the mind raises its next problem. For the life of the mind consists of raising and solving problems, problems in art, religion, science, commerce, politics, and so forth. The solution of these problems does not leave behind it a sediment of ascertained fact, which grows and solidifies as the mind’s work goes on. Such a sediment is nothing but the externality of a half-solved problem when the problem is fully solved the sediment of information disappears and the mind is left at liberty to go on. Philosophy, therefore, is not a prerogative kind of knowledge immune from this rcabsorption into the mind’s being it is nothing but the recognition that this reabsorption is necessary and is indeed the end and crown of all knowledge, the self-recognition of the mind in its own mirror.

Collingwood, R. G.. Speculum Mentis . Read Books Ltd.. Kindle Edition.
 

Ennio

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We were delighted to have author, speaker and all around incredibly relevant thought-leader Michael Rectenwald on the show to discuss a number of things with us. And he was every bit as engaging, insightful, knowledgeable and real as one would hope to have as a guest when delving into such major societal developments as were covered. Don't miss it:

MindMatters: "They Enjoy the Infliction of Pain": Psychopaths, Wokeness, Ponerology - with Michael Rectenwald


Many see through the destructive thoughts, emotions and policies of Leftist political dogma - thanks in large part to the actions and behaviors of their acolytes in academia, the media and other institutions. But few have as direct experience of it - and the wit and guts to call it out for what it is and share that understanding of it with stark clarity and aplomb - as today's guest. After being "softly" ejected from his position at New York University for his critical tweets of the deleterious SJW culture he was witnessing, Prof. Michael Rectenwald steeled himself to examine even further the phenomenon he was witnessing and became a victim of.

With his books Springtime For Snowflakes and Google Archipelago, and his prolific output of essays and articles, Michael not only documents his own personal journey through various intellectual currents and his own higher values, but also examines how these themes overlap with Big Digital and macro developments such as the now infamous and imminent Great Reset. This week on MindMatters we get to discuss some of the most important issues facing Western society and culture today with one of the strongest advocates for personal and political sanity to grace the stage.

An added bonus, we celebrate the release of the new edition of Dr. Andrew Lobaczewski's Political Ponerology, edited by MindMatters' Harrison Koehli, with a foreword by Prof. Rectenwald, in which he describes how ponerology helped explain his own experience of Leftist totalitarianism, and why the book's explanatory power is so compelling and crucial for better understanding our world.


 

Voyageur

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Very good show/interview, guys.

Interesting to hear Rectenwald's story; his suffering, discoveries and changes.

Michael said on the issues of pathological world views and those who helps to instill them and what he discovered - which gets to the bones of it (many regular discussion on the forum highlight it from Lobaczewski):

"In order to stop it you have to realize that what you are dealing with is very sick people."

With the above, at work is the percentage of pathological people within social environments that hold detrimental control and implementations on the group (corporation, governing body, university or whatever) - it was part of the discussion. This reminded me recently of an interview; not sure who the guy was other than a Azov type, wherein he was discussing the crowd at the 2014 Maidan when asked, saying there were less than 10% of his type there, maybe 8%, he said. This was against the whole of the crowed that wanted some type of political change against corruption. The Azov type guy said that once they were involved they could move the protest pattern with warped ideology in the way they wanted to, and they did just that. Butchering and burning of people followed.

Hence, the above builds upon Michael's words that essentially point out that groups, institution et cetera, become parasitically infected by a small infusion of "really sick people" and they get away with it. Unfortunately, what this infusion can do is writ large in our present and historical times.

“When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.”
― Frédéric Bastiat
 

Ennio

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We were fortunate enough to have another very interesting guest on the show (who actually spoke with us several years ago for the Truth Perspective podcasts); Gordon Hahn. And the subject - Russian political and military security as seen through a historical lense. He really knows his stuff too.

MindMatters: Why Is Russia Like That? 400 Years of Russian Security Culture, with Gordon M. Hahn


Today on MindMatters we are joined by Gordon M. Hahn, Russia analyst and author of essential books on Russia's revolution from above in the 90s, Russian jihadism, the history of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and his latest: The Russian Dilemma: Security, Vigilance, and Relations with the West from Ivan III to Putin. While many have observed the ebb and flow of Russian relations with the West - from periods of Westernization and openness, to anti-Western revivals of Russian traditionalism - Hahn's is the first systematic analysis of Russia's security culture and vigilance norm in the context of relations with the West.

The West is an integral part of Russian identity, yet it has also been the source of invasion and political interference on and off for over 400 years. These threats have formed the Russian security vigilance norm: vigilance against possible military threats, fear of internal division and instability, and strong responses against foreign collusion with internal dissidents. To understand modern Russia, you have to understand its history - not just the pathological aberration of the Communist era.


 

lilies

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Ennio

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For this week's show, Harrison looks at one of the newest areas of study of arguably one of the most widely read and important of researchers, ever, on psychopathy - Robert Hare:

MindMatters: Political Psychopathy Goes Mainstream, Linked to Crimes Against Humanity


Not since Nuremberg have political leaders and functionaries accused or guilty of crimes against humanity been accessible to psychologists for close study, specifically with regard to the presence of personality disorders like psychopathy. A new paper by Robert Hare and colleagues is the first of its kind to examine men convicted of crimes against humanity and test for psychopathy using the PCL-R, specifically, members of Pinochet's armed forces convicted of crimes like torture and murder. Today on MindMatters, Harrison reads portions of the paper and discusses its main conclusions and implications.


 

Approaching Infinity

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