The Contented Irrationalist



I'm gonna need to be talking about a number of interconnected and interlocking topics today all of the objective of arguing explaining that whilst humans are certainly capable of reason and rationality we have large-scale obstacles in the way of achieving a rational perspective where rationality is defined as a worldview consistent with the best of our understanding independent of how that understanding makes us feel about the things we seek to understand and this video touches upon some of the topics I've discussed in my escape velocity video as well as come here as meanings so in case you haven't seen them yet I'd recommend you watch them first and they'll be links in the description box for those years ago the late Stephen Jay Gould coined the term evolutionary spandrel in architecture a spandrel is the space between two artists in a structure the term and biology however is something different and represents a characteristic or feature that is a byproduct of an adaptive feature without any adaptive value of its own for example many of you might be familiar with the famous Russian silver foxes that were bred for the singular trait of tameness with results that their phenotypic effete changed as well becoming more in the oddness or doglike the further the team generations were bred the dog liked features could be described as biological spandrels on top of the singular adaptive trait of tameness that they were bred for also interesting for the fact that behavioral traits selected for led to morphological changes likewise large brain development in humans was likely an adaptive feature that was selected for repeatedly over many generations as aidan survival allowing for improved tool making techniques as well as hunting strategies and improved survival chances in the sri productive chances but alongside the adaptive value of having bigger brains for survival and reproduction they're almost certainly related evolutionary spandrels that arose from those bigger brains human language these theoretically may be considered one of these which only later became adaptive in that it sprung up from larger brain development but it's adaptive value was likely the result of it being a spandrel of larger brains this process is refers to is referred to as X adaptation now Gould himself explained this in an article called the xyd apt of excellence of spandrels as a term and prototype quote the human brain may have reached its current size by ordinary adaptive processes key to specific benefits of more complex mentalities for a hunter-gatherer ancestors on the African savannas but the implicit spandrels in an organ of such complexity must exceed the over functional reasons for its origin now that's important I'll repeat that but the implicit spandrels in origin of such complexity must exceed the overt functional reasons for its origin just consider the obvious analogy to much less powerful computers i may buy my home computer only for word processing and keeping the family spreadsheet but the machine by virtue of its requisite internal complexity can also perform computational tasks exceeding by orders of magnitude the items of my original intentions the primary adaptations if you will in purchasing the device by way of this illustration any cognitive feat or ability to perform cognitively outside of requisite survival and reproduction can be considered a spandrel which may or may not have X adaptive value consider mathematics or rather the capacity to comprehend and apply mathematics clearly any human comprehension of mathematics is a spandrel as relates to human brain development because large brains were not selected for on the basis of mathematical computation comprehension but the X adaptive value thereof has been seized upon by human beings allowing them to use mathematics for myriad tasks such as the construction of aircraft buildings as well as a production of mobile phones computers and host of other things that characterize modernity and civilization in itself in this way a spandrel developments become useful in the extreme in addition to qualifying as it being in Ex adaptive feature X adaptations are usually categorized along two lines the one being an evolved feature that had been selected for because of its adaptive advantage in a particular respect with a very prominent example being bird feathers they evolved for the purposes of thermal regulation which then later assumed a different adaptive role which in the case of birds is using those thermal regulatory feathers for the purposes of flight this is termed co-opted adaptation because the original original primary adaptive feature has been taken over by another one in the case of humans the beneficial effects of having larger brains which allow humans to understand abstract concepts and quantum manipulation of those concepts physics chemistry mathematics are pure spandrels in that the brain did not develop for a specific purpose such as thermal regulation but possess multiple features none of which was co-opted for a specific new feature the human brain and spiders can thus be seen as a a layer of spandrels upon spandrels which leads to a particular cognitive span July wish to talk about now at length not every spandrel has a clear-cut X adaptive value and the cognitive spandrel I want to address now is one that runs to conflict with other cognitive spandrels in that it has X adaptive value but also creates a conflict between our potential for reason and rationality and our willingness to bypass that potential in favor of other inclinations we possess that run counter to it something that I will discuss at length later just as the ability to understand and apply mathematics is a useful cognitive spandrel so too is our seeming unique awareness of our mortal status what I term death awareness and more commonly referred to as mortality salience and no other animal at least no other animal were aware of is cognizant of its forthcoming termination as is the human ape and consequently no other animals developed the epen Apley of cognitive tricks and mental gymnastics in an effort to circumvent uncertainty and then locked ability and this has been scrutinized extensively by psychologists anthropologists sociologists in the attempt to better understand a reaction to death awareness and how we deal with it it is important to remember throughout the discussion that death awareness has both conscious and subconscious underpinnings and that one can momentarily or lengthly contemplate one's own mortality only then to go for years with little conscious thought given to it but with all the subconscious pins and triggers remaining ever present and directing certain aspects of our behavior unbeknownst to us how humans cope with this has been elaborated upon by something called TMT or terror management theory terror management theory is ultimately based upon the work of Ernst Becker in a signature book the denial of death we argues that much if not all of human civilization cultural tradition and a particular religion but also a host of other things such as national identity politics etc are a large-scale defense magnet mechanism against death awareness and a reinforcement of self-importance and ego preservation commonly referred to as self esteem and to be fair I don't entirely agree with them and I think this view is overly simplified and that it's a bit too expansive and all-encompassing and particularly respects to every aspect of civilization and its totality but there's a solid core an accurate core of truth to it and I want to expand upon whose tendrils do in fact seep into virtually every aspect of human life now let's start this discussion with religion religion is probably the human abe's chief immortality project or at least his most obvious one in that it's ubiquitous can be readily dissected as such a project in an overt manner and remains largely in eradicable as a phenomenon amongst human beings the world over one constant theme is religion most if not all religions posit that there exists some hereafter that a soul disembodied or otherwise floats off death and persists and in persisting so to persist in mind or personality of the possessor said soul there's likely not a religion on earth that does not have some variation of this theme religion in essence has always sold the best product man could ever muster namely immortality and in years bygone it was wholly believable Prada believable product since alongside religions chief product of immortality it offered an explanatory mechanism for the workings of the world as well and had no competition explaining the world until fairly recently in this respect religion was and is a failed science and only lost ground to modern empirical science in recent times but this secondary aspects is an explanatory mechanism is of little importance since this primary product and function remains as popular as ever which leads us to the next point factuality and religion are almost oxymoronic when conjoined whereas on the other hand fatuousness and religion seem Bosom Buddies of alike unparalleled and yet neither the fatuousness of religion nor its factual or lack of factual content are the primary contributors to its continued existence while some scientists might find it interesting and relevant to debate the factual and explanatory merits of religious claims and this was never the main selling point that religion has offered mankind it does not matter how much evidence was adduced in the mass and modern science that stands in direct contradiction to religious claims because religious persuasions almost nothing to do with evidentiary claims about the universe or descriptive model of the world and when such claims and models do arise they are merely a side project engaged in to buffer and support the immortality project that is its chief undertaking and this is far too often overlooked by atheists and anti theist alike and this is why the so-called atheist movement has and always will fail in sin Devers at least on a large scale atheism which as girl rights what pointed out in her video atheists you asked for it is little more than a non belief in deities based on a lack of evidence and admittedly and I'm here in complete agreement with her oh it's what most people involved in the so-called atheist movement supplement their atheism with far too many intellectual prosthetics with the end result being the atheism plus controversy among other things and I'll have more to say on that later recall that religion sells the best product out there immortality atheism by contrast pedals the worst product out there death all the evidence in the world presented in favor of an atheistic cosmogony and cosmology will not be sufficient because the Atheist product carries with it what is probably the lowest selling point of anything available to man annihilation death the end of everything and not just any death a complete and thorough termination of existence with no return fenced thereafter and one would be hard-pressed to receive any payment for at all for such wares atheists in as much as they congregate around the term atheism as if it were some coherent set of organizational principles are essentially merchants of death and yes I'm borrowing the term from economics and there's no way past that so those who might counter this by claiming that atheism and I'm speaking primarily the mass movement promotes positivity through life affirmation and denial the hell-bent afterlife this is not what comes out to the majority of consumers buying your product and indeed if you've watched my video entitled the chimerism meaning there is a relationship between the immortality project and the quest for absolute meaning both which are offered up in abundance by most religions and intimately tied to any form of immortality project is the concept of what I prefer to call ego affirmation it usually referred to as self esteem where self esteem is defined by two components the first being the validity of a particular worldview and this worldview can run the range from a religious one to a conspiracy conspiratorial Alex Jones Ian one and the second being the degree to which one lives in concert with that worldview essentially once faithfulness to his tenants and here it's critical to note that nowhere in the definition of ego affirmation does accuracy or truth fit at least in an objective factual sense a valid is used here not in a logical sense but it's an original etymological sense as it originally stems from the Latin verb valet meaning to be strong as strength does not imply truth in terms of terror management theory and ego affirmation valid simply implies the potency of a particular belief system with respects to the ability to feed and preserve the ego as well as one's devotion to the tenants of that system it's not to say that ego affirmation systems and followers of such systems such as Christianity Marxism take your pick make no truth claims they do indeed any belief system whatever its particulars will inevitably make some claim about the world or universe that can be factually accounted for or not but the distinction to be made here is that when such claims found are on a factual basis they were made and fitted such as to conform to the respective belief system because the validity of that system depends upon his ability to deflect opposing claims which in turn preserves the primary objective of that belief system namely preservation of the ego and I should expand and what I mean by deflection by this I do not mean countering arguments with the adduction of counter evidence since the prime motivation of the devotee of any ego invested belief system will be the sustentation of the system not because the system is true whatever the Cohn's coincidental veracity of the system might be but the prevention of a corrosion of said belief system which is tantamount to a corrosion of the self ie the ego has invested so much time into that system at one prominent example this isn't so-called manis fears that long haired fellow from whales from whom you've seen time and again one non sequitur after the other at hominin as well as a proliferation of genetic fallacies committed an effort to deflect counter points and arguments presented against his worldview and in particular in a particular person's case it's demonstrable that his worldview takes priority over evidence and objective criteria because we can see just how much ego is invested in this belief system left-right politics because any counterpoint be it related to politics or something as unrelated as GMOs will be dismissed as the leftist collectivist conspiracy and the person supply in the counterpoint will be attacked because he stands in diss long haired fellow the N on the enemy will be branded maligned and named collectivist which is some summary of evil in this man's world never mind that has never been defined but definition is another issue entirely and once again irrelevant to the purpose of ideology and this leads us to another element in the equation of ego affirmation and belief which is to say a critical part of any belief system is to defend it against the infidels which can be members of another religion or in the case of politics the endless left/right circus that enthuses so many something I refer to as the manichaean dichotomies ation whereby deviation from the beliefs of the investors in that particular system are demonized thereby creating a belief polarity now for clarification Manny the progenitor originator many manneken ISM was an Iranian prophet of the 3rd century AD whose teachings were characterized by the absolute duality of the universe and they Dec dichotomized the world into a place of light and darkness each line on the opposite of the scale whence the term and the reason for a manichaean dichotomies ation of course we see this paradigm in numerous other religions political systems and even sports teams so it begs the question as to what this is about I've talked about a tribalism at length in the past before but as yet it's not I've never really addressed its psychological origins and that's something I want to remedy right now manichaean died colonization is simply a social polarization process the creation of Team a and B where each team is ostensibly diametrically opposed to the other a perfect sample this being the American right left politics but where does this come from recall that belief system investment is directly tied to ego preservation the more investment the higher the stakes are for people who have invested a great deal in that particular ideology or credo a disintegration of that belief system would lead to a disintegration of the self and annulment of self-esteem and nearing to a more conscious form of mortality salience which is why it is so important that everything be part of that worldview or opposed to it in as much as something as opposed to it such as political ideology that prefers a different view on things or religion with a different metaphysical claim Jesus is the Son of God versus he's merely a prophet Allah Islam that system is an enemy and a threat that it to the system and person holding a different view and consequently so are the adherents of the different system all forms of strong tribalism follow this core model of identity / ego sustentation and validation where encounters with the other and that's an air quotes invariably lead to this Manichaean dichotomies ation and polarization effect I've discussed this expands upon tribal organizations as merely a survival mechanism in a physical sense and explains its psychological underpinnings as well the immortality projects is effectively the ego project and tribal adherence and or ideological loyalty are outcroppings of the need to feel important or in terms of Manichaean decolonization create an epic duality out of reality and something that Ernst Becker had discussed at length in his work than denial of death which he called the hero project the making of the epic out of the mundane and I'm going to quote him here it does not matter whether the cultural hero system is frankly magical religious and primitive or secular scientific and civilize it is still a mythical hero system in which people serve in order to learn of earn a feeling of primary value value of cosmic specialness of ultimate usefulness to creation of unshakeable meaning and here we turn back to the Chi mirrors of meaning that we have fashioned for ourselves in a universe devoid of absolute meaning but in this context it is doubly important because as we have seen the quest for meaning in whatever form but in particular in the form of complex beliefs and ideologies is simply a need to preserve the ego at all costs and the costs are indeed high but is more often than not a reason and rationality or sacrifice at the altar of these gods of ego because as it turns out ego preservation for most Trump's rationality and I want to return to that but for now I want to explore the evolutionary background of terror management death anxiety recall that with the development of larger brains there arose various spandrels as a byproduct of this a death awareness being one that concerns us here but many of the cognitive spandrels that arose from this larger brain are hard to place in the context of survival and reproduction what I mean by this is that the body has fixed reactions to certain events in terms of its neuro chemistry regardless of the Providence of those reactions which is to say encountering a hungry cave lion experiencing emotional emotional duress while so sensibly very different will often produce identical neuro chemical reactions in the body and I want to return to the shortly but bear in mind bear this in mind as I proceed a death awareness by itself can be considered a spandrel with neither adaptive nor ex adaptive value but its inception and presence demanded coping mechanisms to deal with it with the various immortality projects I've mentioned being examples of this but what happens when coping mechanisms fail or more specifically come under threat by way of refutation or personal revelation to understand this we must first delve into the basics of bio key of the biochemistry of fight-or-flight reactions when the body is in the state of fear panic or anxiety the adrenal cortex releases steroid hormones specifically the steroid hormones cord gluten called glucocorticoids with cortisol being the most prominent one corticosteroids have a number of functions including metabolic regulation immune response and stress response with the last function being most relevant to the discussion hand the cortisol helps to manage stress by regulating blood pressure promoting gluconeogenesis which is the synthesis of glucose for energy usage from the amino acids glycerol and piratin pyruvate and blocks inflammation as well all of which are essential in high-stress situations such as our counter with cave lion now all things considered assuming you have either best of the cave lion or success successfully fled from it the body with its desire for homeostasis reduce cortisol production levels and its effects with it until the next stressful encounter wouldn't once again its necessitated recall now that I had mentioned earlier that the Bonnie has fixed reactions to events independent of the Providence of those events inter now the cognitive spandrel of mortality salience the high related anxiety as well as general stress and abstract sense as opposed to the stress of encounter in a cave lion physical stress these types of stressors are almost certainly unique to humans because our brains with their capacity for advanced cognition allow for them and no other animal and Earth concerns itself for the long-term ramifications of a real estate investment the stock market or a life deciding the examination or any other scenario without immediate danger but because the body only has one regulatory mechanism for dealing with stress and is indifferent to the source of the stress the same processes that come into play with a cave lion also come into play when you are worried about being laid off from work or failing the exam with a critical difference being that the cave lion encounter is temporary but your concerns about being laid off from work or failing or constant anxiety is after all just constant stress and with constant stress come constantly elevated levels of corticosteroids with all the attendant effects including the bad effects of long-term cortical cortisol production such as fatigue muscle wasting weight gain heart disease depression and a host of other ill effects and now there's even evidence to suggest that cortisol can kill off brain cells in the hippocampus which is crucial to memory and knowledge retention interestingly enough without our advanced cognitive capacity we would not be able to envision problematic outcomes that be concerned about long term plans not working out or worry about any of the things that seem to characterize modern human civilization now let us assume that the TMT hypothesis in its core are originated from Ernest Becker is true namely that culture is a collection of attempts at meaning and significance in the face of mortality salience our best attempt to shrug off the conscious and unconscious tear of an eye elation the creation of sectors of meaning and furthermore most if not all attributions of importance to the things we do are intimately tied to the maintenance of our self-esteem which itself has dependent on the existence of those sectors of meaning in light of this what is truly fast seen is the sort of backfiring that has occurred with respects to our biological fight-or-flight mechanisms and our advanced civilization we have overcome many of the dangers of the past only to create our own nigh permanent state of danger in the form of the many types of daily stress we are exposed to and create for ourselves and be they worrying about finances rush hour or anything else whatever we have accomplished is in part offset by the slow death we inflict upon ourselves within modern civilization as contrasted with the quick deaths of the past a victim of tooth and claw and spear our own desire to ward off such occurrences led to the transition from sudden fright to permanent anxiety they could have only had its inception inception and animal of higher cognitive function we can and quite literally kill ourselves with thought a feat that cannot be matched by any other animal on the planet to combat this we require and have created ever greater simulations of meaning for the meaning of modernity is the great distraction with nearly endless means of entertainment distractions in the world and on the Internet we have attempted to create a new smoke screen a new panacea to coat our fear Laden minds with Becker was right religion or Iron Man 3 and these are all dreams meant to steal away the fright we feel both consciously and subconsciously but ultimately we cannot escape our own nature by creating things whose very own wellspring is that nature and this is speculative on my part but I suspect the tenacity with which we hold on to our core beliefs irrespective of their veridical content beyond the need to maintain self-esteem ego might be related to a desire to avoid not just possible damage to the ego but the negative physiological effects than the sooo when confronted with stress particular a stress such as the repudiation of life long-held beliefs and more particularly when they're attached to income and survival such as the case with a politician a religious leader or an Internet pundit promulgating his political faith all this gives rise to the question of whether a man whether or not man can indeed be rational at all when the stakes are so high and much of what he does is indicative not of a reason being but a fear corroded ape that will pound his chests the last and effort to ward off the fear but never once give pause why it does it the light does so so reflexively but more on this later I would now like to talk about the differences between the sexist with respect to reason rationality and ego affirmation as something of a tangent but an important one nonetheless there are of course significant neurological differences between men and women and that would be an interesting topic in and of itself but for the purposes of this discussion I would like to focus on how differing reproductive roles have led to differentiated outcomes in regards to notions religion superstition rational discourse and discussion to understand how and why men and women take different approaches to belief in maintenance of belief it's important to go back to the most fundamental aspect of all organisms which is the drive to reproduce copies of its genes and then sexually dimorphic species such as humans there will be different strategies to achieving this depending on the sex of the achiever it might seem far-fetched to claim that differing reproductive strategies can lead to distinguishable cognitive strategies but we must think of much of what in what's what's ended up being our cognitive makeup is effectively spandrel stuff for cognitively advanced animals such as Homo sapiens spillover from differing means and approaches to reproduction based on sex it's just par for the course specifically the aspect I wish to focus in on is male willingness to undertake a risk versus female desire for security and the concomitant aversion to risk-taking that that desire for security companies the London School of Economics evolutionary psychologists Satoshi Kon OWASA explains the basis of this quote women in virtually every society and culture are more religious than men and the empirical evidence suggests that the reason is not gender socialization so what explains the higher level of religiosity among women the sex difference in religiosity falls directly from the evolutionary psychological theory of the origin of religious beliefs that I present an earlier post and the sex difference in risk-taking you'll recall that the evolutionary origins of religiosity are in risk management it is less risky to over infer agency and hence be susceptibles religious beliefs than to underfur agency and get killed by enemies predators when you least expect them it is an error management strategy to minimize the total costs of errors by predisposing the human brain to commit more false positive errors of an inference than false negative errors when the former has less costly consequences than the latter you'll also recall that women are inherently more risk-averse than men but both because women benefit far less from taking risks given that they there is a limit on how many children women can have and that all women are more or less guaranteed to have some children in their lifetime and because their offspring suffer if women are risk seeking and get injured in their die as a result this is why men are much more criminal and violent than women if men are more risk seeking than women and if religion is an evolution means to minimize risk than it naturally follows that women are more religious than men error management theory developed by the U Lucian area psychologist David buss fits in well with terror management theory in fact in many ways their partners in crime simply stated error evolutionary error management theory proposes that humans males and females respectively have developed cognitive biases to reduce and manage reproductive errors with two primary outcomes false positives and false negatives usually these cognitive biases are limited to psychological readings of the opposite sexes intent but has often been the case our reproductive biases spill over into other domains women have developed a cognitive bias towards false positive assessments and judgments because their outcome is quite simply less risky than dealing with a false negative judgment outcome women being naturally less risk happier than our men and put in the simplest of terms it's far safer to assume there is some divine power watching over you and your soul than it is to assume it that's not the case and recall from earlier not just the psychological consequences of stress but the physiological ones that damage to the ego and self-esteem can be life-threatening so in this sense woman's natural cognitive biases shield them for potentially deleterious outcomes this higher predilection to infer agency on the part of women when there is none stretches across the palette of the supernatural available to us range from the stralla G karat cards fortune-telling you name it an error management Theory also explains and this is now my own speculation supported by the above adduced evidence the classic scenario of quote-unquote miscommunication between men and women and intimate relationships within the context of fighting women will often make statements along lines of quote unquote it does not feel as if you are listening to me whilst men simply lay out the facts a factual discussion carries more risk than does feeling based discussion for the simple reason that such feelings based such feeling based discussion can be steered any which way one when wants and one cannot effectively be wrong whereas factually based discussion carries with it the risk of just having the wrong facts on your side in which case they're not facts barring misinformation error management theory tells us that it's simply safer to be guided by feelings rather than facts and deduction since feelings cannot be subjected to scrutiny and repudiation whereas facts and argumentation can be terror management theory explains that by doing so damage to self-esteem can be averted which is linked to very real-life life-or-death perceptions feeling is less risky and a better preservative the ego than is thinking objectively now once again going to dive into the realm of speculation but I suspect that men's greater willingness to undertake risk spills over into the domain of personal reflection and mental illness and when men lapse into depression or other states of mental agony they're less inclined to create false positive narratives simply because it makes them feel good but rather the more inclined to look at things actively leaving them without the kind of mental and emotional buffer that women possess that alongside social isolation something women don't know women possess far more inclination to create false positives this could then results in the far greater suicide success of men compared to women because quite possibly men are less likely to paint a pretty or fictitious picture for the purposes of self-deception merely to make themselves feel good they look at the facts and if such facts are sufficiently grim this can lead to fatal consequences now admittedly speculation but I think there's some evidence to support this idea the autism the autism researcher Simon baron-cohen has developed the empathized and systematizing theory by which people are cognitively assessed along the lines whether their minds function according to more empathizing their system hut-two systematizing systems the female mind is usually classed as more empathizing big surprise the male mind as more systematizing also not a surprise what however is interesting is how this manifests itself in the sexist in the past I've coined the term boor consensus to express the non-uniformity of opinion in agreement when groups of women are among themselves particularly in areas of public discourse the empathizing mind is less interested in objective facts and more interested in social harmony the systematizing – higher regard for facts as they pertain to systems or functions in those in this world this also lends credence the idea that regardless how it makes people feel women on the whole are less objective than our men and more importantly are less object– interested in objective truth in our men exceptions exist and will always exist but our different evolutionary backgrounds have helped shape separate mental apparatus for the purpose of reproduction which then result in spillover effects in other areas in empathizing mind will be more inclined toward social harmony getting along etc whilst the systematizing mind will be more inclined towards comprehension creating things based on that comprehension in prehistoric times and empathizing system would have been useful for child-rearing intrasexual socialization cohesion and reducing social conflict which is important to Risk Reduction very important to women a systematizing mind on the other hand would have been useful in developing hunting strategies building essential structures such as shelters campfires and in bouts of intrasexual male competition now much of this explains why feminism is so successful and so seductive and so readily accepted by women if feminism presents a fictitious non fashion account of the world that offers comfort and self-esteem to those who buy into it and feminism's blatant ignorance of historical and biological fact is also explained in as much as fact is of non importance for the purpose of ideological maintenance since ideologies exists as has been discussed prior not for fashion accounting for the world but for creating belief systems to ward off threats the human psyche and ego and what better way for women to do this and to create a system of eternal victimization where penance can never be sufficiently paid be paid for by the sinners and salvation from victimhood is forever unattainable for the victims now moving on to another topic now look at any poll or set of stats will show you that almost universally religious people are happier and more content than non-religious people now of course only a fool would take this as evidence for the veracity of religious claims and beliefs but it's nonetheless important to note happiness should now be correctly understood to be code for an intact and undamaged self-esteem what is meant by religious people being happier as they are better shielded from intellectual and ideological challenges to their well-being by dint of their faith and that would be something that's absent a non-believer and this is yet another reason why atheists and so-called skeptics have so many obstacles and peddling the wares that they sell humans on the whole have not evolved be rational per se nor have they evolved to comprehend the world comprehension and rational activity are forced engagements requiring great willpower humans of all sorts would much rather act in concert with their evolved faculties in an effort to maintain their self esteem and ego then Goa then against them for the sake of objectivity where objectivity is an ever-present threat to their well-being because being objective allows for the admission acceptance of error something ideology religious or otherwise is insulated against by it both nature and design it seems rather obvious that despite all pretensions to the contrary even great scientists can fall afoul of ideological commitment to their own ideas where you investment has been so great contrasting evidence has turned away because it might dent their ego or threaten their livelihood but this begs the question can human beings truly be rational and if so what might that require to the maintenance of both psychological and physical health the preservation of the ego and related self-esteem seems to be inextricably bound which is to say subconsciously we all struggle to maintain our identities under these constraints and there appears to be little evidenced because this can be done away with the human ego shall remain and there's no way around this at least based on the evidence I've looked at this leaves human beings with one option which would entail realigning the ego to something other than a coherent belief system and by coherent I don't mean factually accurate but a organized set of principles any belief system no matter its nature origin or area of application will encompass some truth and some falsehood even the best thought-out systems will necessarily contain errors which means that belief systems as a as a set of kana find rules of thought and theories must be done away with and discarded as belief systems as belief systems though not necessarily all the details if the details aren't in fact factually accurate in their place we must realign the human ego to proceed perceive the value in truth and lack of value in falsehood which is to say that humans can learn to feed the ego by the pursuit of objective truth in reality when in possession of incorrect information this should serve only to motivate and ameliorate the incomplete state of knowledge as correction will be better improve the ego and prove self-esteem in this matter human contentment can become linked not to what often amounts to arbitrary sets of beliefs about the world with literal relation to reality but reality itself human passion human struggle the need to combat in her terror all this can be set in a new direction where rationality becomes the gold standard for union and contentment and he's seeking of objective truth and expansion of legitimate knowledge becomes the fuel for that direction one must consider the consequences of the primitive mind urges by which we are beset upon tribalism political ideologies religious Crusades and all the nasty consequences of these things that have been recorded in history the stakes are that high think of the countless lives that might have been saved had man honored undergone a transformation of mind and the risk still runs high today as our blighted past continues to be and shall remain a clear and ever-present danger to human well-being in human life and the planet on the whole I believe change is theoretically possible but highly highly unlikely I know all too well the human penchant to seek after that which feels good at the cost of objective understanding and indeed I've had many conversations with many of my fellow Apes on many an occasion each of them revealing to me that they think truth is less important than happiness read ego for this reason a realignment of ego affirmation to objective facts and truth seems unfeasible at best because the other more traditional paths to this end are far easier to walk it is a question of the road not taken' of what could be attained if only for a moment we shift start gate to walk the path trottin and in doing so perhaps realize how much we have lost by blindly following the guttural urges of our past and printed and printed minds and by falsely believing such urges to be claimants to a throne of joy what wonders could we have achieved had we railed against the well-trodden path how much further could we have come these are questions I ask myself every day knowing they will forever remain my speculation if we cannot shed the ego for the sake of reason you must realign it to reason of course none of this entails constantly having accurate factual information at our disposal something that is quite literally impossible but rather it means that we be taking our selves on a quest to seek that which is true and factual without being blinded or hindered by ideological shackles of any sort whatever their seductive power something very few can lay claim to doing and given human inclinations and our millennia old habits and still far older instincts I can predict with fair confidence that that shall never pass and is for this reason that man shall forever remain the contented irrationalist in this sense this video is a very much a glimpse of what might have been but will never be thanks for watching my video if you like these sort these sorts of videos these kinds of videos of detailed content please consider making a donation because they help a great great deal in the production of these kinds of detailed complex videos there are links below to all the pretty much all the things that I mentioned if you want to delve more into the topics I mentioned be it terror management theory error management Theory false positives whatever links are all below as well as links to my older videos everyone thanks for watching and take care bye bye

22 thoughts on “The Contented Irrationalist

  • In our History and for our existance istselfe War, ideology and unhappiness was more important than happiness.

  • Hi, there's an error in your reasoning. According to the proposed risk management theory by David Buss, women are prone towards false negative judgments due to the high risk of mistakenly judging a man's emotional commitment. You stated the opposite of that in minute 31 of this video. You went against the theory. It is men who are prone toward false positives not women. Please correct me if I'm wrong or if I misunderstood what you meant.

  • The issue with trying to realign the ego to a more rational goal (the pursuit of knowledge/truth) is that there is no reward.

    The primary reason, I feel, why something like religion has such a huge value as an ego-affirming system is that it provides a goal, a reward, a way to measure one's accomplishments.
    Theistic beliefs provide the measure of success as 'pleasing the maker' and the reward as 'being admitted to a pleasant afterlife'.
    This not only affects the self, but also the societal self as it gives believers a way to measure and compare their social status with others. infidels < lesser devout practitioners < the believer themselves < more devout practitioners.
    It provides believers a way to set standards of behavioral do's and don'ts. It gives them role models to strive to imitate (be like Jesus or mother Theresa) while also providing a valid, irrefutable 'reason' to shun, disregard or even hate those of lesser devoutness.

    Pure rationality, I believe, has to invariably lead to a nihilistic worldview (preceded by existentialism more often than not).
    While nihilism is beautiful and pure from a rational standpoint and, most probably, the most correct worldview it is also the least reconcilable with any form of life purpose as the main definition of nihilism is that there is none.
    Given this knowledge, nihilism is in fact dangerous to society as without do's and don'ts to reward/punish people accordingly a society cannot function. You need to have a definition of 'good' and 'bad' behavior in order for fellow man-apes to be able to interact with each other in a capacity that the end result of said society can become more than simply the sum of its individual parts.

    I fully agree with you that we man-apes have biological limitations placed upon us that prevent us from being true rationalists.. but there's an even bigger problem with that. Rationalism is simply completely irreconcilable with life itself. The equation won't work. Rational/nihilistic thought places as much value on living as it does on not-living, i.e. none. 'Value' doesn't exist, it is a man-made construct not different from many others we've invented such as the aforementioned 'good' and 'bad' requirements for societal stability. All are dualistic in nature, defined as a set of opposites.

    So where does this leave the man-ape? Capable of rational thought (from time to time), but unable to shed its shackles of biology as being an irrational lifeform itself? It leaves us in turmoil naturally. We cannot become truly rational, it is impossible.. but we cannot become completely irrational either as that defies the law of physics ('random' doesn't exist, 'choice' doesn't exist. quantum physics is interesting but the conclusion is simply wrong. Just because the cause is not observable that doesn't deny its existence).

    We all hate hypocrites, but being hypocrites is all we can ever be… ah, woe is us.

    Anyway, that's just my 2 cents of inspiration from your amazing video. Take it as it is, just some random thoughts I came up with after seeing the video. No fact checking necessary, there are none… (ironically.. or rather, unironically, depending on how you look at it! :D)

  • I would agree, to some extent, that religion is a failed science. However, I've observed a sort of scientific fundamentalism or dogmatism with regards to what you call "annihilation". Obviously the body dies. But nothingness or annihilation (in the sense that experience abruptly ends with the body's death) is itself a belief, a concept. I'm not suggesting consciousness DOES survive bodily death, but it's a hypothesis – and a fairly plausible one at that. The fact of the matter is that nothing in the observable world gets "annihilated"; nothing that we know or see turns to "nothing". It's an axiom of modern physics that energy is conserved and transformed. "Nothingness" is just a concept. "Nothingness" is literally unimaginable. We can imagine a state of sleep, we can imagine room or space, but "nothingness" is an idea that doesn't map onto reality. What we basically have is "stuff" (the stuff of the world) that's constantly undergoing transformation.

    Another point: while I wouldn't deny the findings of Darwinism or the fact of our biology, I don't think it logically follows that we're ONLY cognitively advanced animals. Why must we confine our identities to chemical processes, brain functioning, and so on? Would it be insane or absurd to claim that what goes on on the subatomic level is ALSO part of what we are? Why can't we say that what we are is 99.99999 space as well? Of course, if you suppose yourself to be a human body with its limited cognitive capacity and nothing more, it's understandable that you would see yourself as an insignificant speck in some vast mass or masses of indifference. But if you recognize and acknowledge the other, limitations start breaking down because all observable things have a subatomic level too.

  • Stardusk, a philosopher going his own way. Maybe 10, 50…100 years from now the world will catch up. I keep thinking I found your absolute best video and than you prove me wrong.

  • Listened to this several times whilst at work and it was very thought provoking, so I made a paypal donation.

    This content was great!

  • Is race too controversial to make a video on thinking-ape? — or do you conclude it is redundant considering the work of several youtube channels like fringe elements? Its the same issue steven pinker and richard dawkins have. They are limited in their scope of dialogue in regards to finance or worse. I am also still unsatisfied in the lack of response on the why someone who admits he (you) has nutritional interests finds it important to leave out some of the most obvious and meaningful tidbits of information on the basis of cancer. It makes me suspicious of the motivation, be it formal (Paying interest group), or another social pressure (Pussing out). If this is an informational "war" you suck at it in that you are leaving out the means to exalt your subscriber+ base in their intellectual firepower, particularly american men. The smarter the general audience, the higher its quality in achieving what you dont seem motivated or interested in effecting, and that is real change small or otherwise. All you would have had to do is give a very basic detox suggestion when being offered an incredibly impartial solution. Even if your guest speaker mentioned one word, chaga I wouldnt have had a problem with that because its hitting all relevant bases in one swing. Instead it was left vague and basically meaningless. You dont have to turn it into a medical channel putting first world "medicine" in its place to get the point across to an audience that automatically is more open minded it would just speak greater on your true intentions, which comes across as desire to better men on some what appears to be in your reasoning irrelevant level. Thats not an illogical conclusion, but you arent even really trying either. I can tell from your ability to speak (Intelligence) alone having heard it enough you already know about sodium fluorosilicate (fluoride), aluminum lake, bromide, and definitely mercury alloy fillings… the most relevant and direct causes of cancer so wtf. I appreciate my commentaries are very deep, and spooky given the monitoring of the internet, but frankly I dont give a fuck because I should have the fucking freedom of my own psyche without the input of inferior beings in whatever way it is I am implying so these people can do something about it or I will continue to know something about the world they dont like. I dont have people paying me money to put out half truth information much less granting me special freedom from this tyrannical civilianship, so im going to be loud, and there are going to be raised finger sentiments by way of action until this is rectified in my favor.

  • i did not realize how great this was when i first heard it cuz i was still pushing an ego belief system, hero idea.  but even after that now, i recognize so much of myself as i have been for many years in this video – I have always said that i valued truth over happiness.  and via truth you CAN get happiness.  recently I have felt abuzz, high, all the time, and it comes from just feeling as if i understand the universe and knowing about my ultimate death helps me put each moment into context and appreciate it.  as Edmond Duartes said things are always in a state of falling apart and coming together.  ho lee shit brother, amen.

  • I appreciate the video but, in all honesty, I'm not entirely sure how much I got out of it.

    There's significant truth to it, but I'm entirely unconvinced that the search for meaning is simply some new-aged church devoted entirely to the protection of the ego, nor am I convinced that the preservation of the ego is entirely incompatible with the search for truth, if that ego is properly managed.

    So while I see the value in examining our death-awareness as a species, and the unfortunate consequences thereof I feel it treads no new ground.

    Incidentally I place 0 stock in the idea that the left-right spectrum of beliefs is a manichean dichotomy. I think it's non-sequiturial to take our understanding that man will often deflect facts for the benefit of the ego, and transpose that entirely over politics. I think that in suggesting that such a dichotomy is there, and then observing it in terms of Becker's hero project, of course you'll find the symptoms of the latter, because you're setting up the subject in question in such a way as you can.

    If you were to observe political statements sans any kind of third-party reading, or in terms of first principles, trying to find what it is, in itself, you may not necessarily find the symptoms of the hero project and find instead the search for meaning or truth.

    Such a search doesn't necessarily make a hero out of the searcher in the sense that his mundanity is made extraordinary indeed one my find himself made much less significant in the search for these higher truths, as it were.

    And if none of this makes sense, I swear there was a coherent thought behind this, but I'm commenting at 4am, thank you for your time.

  • There is an error in your hypothesis about atheism selling death and "cannot do anything about his" – it does not – its agnostic about things that it cannot explain – death, the afterlife and exactly what happens thereafter and time is are all thing science does not have explanations for. This can change as more is discovered, and there can be good news, while religion is still selling bad news. What atheism does is show that the beliefs of religion is demonstrably false. Whether or not the public or religious can understand this matters not.

  • If I have a free option between being a dieing monkey and an eternal being I choose the latter every day and act on it. Thanks but no thanks, you haven't evolved enough yet. Using smart ass words and ideas that are older than monkeys and adopting a bored voice doesn't impress me nor anyone who knows two shits more than the average merican. You can all kiss your asses between each other but your still wrong, if that isn't even a possibility than I respectfully invite you to gfu's. Ya'll just have a problem with Jesus and the real God that shows that you love death and are Satan's children so you will die forever with him. Love is not free if it's not reproduced, so it's Truth. Bye bye fuckers

  • I've always found our cultural preoccupation and fear of death/mortality (as opposed to those cultures that celebrate it) very odd. Personally, I am atheist because I do not believe that our existence requires (specifically) a deity to create and maintain it; this does not mean, for example, that I believe there is nothing after death. Moreover, to fear death is a fool's errand: none of us are going to get out of here alive. Not you, not me, not flora nor fauna. Everything that lives will die, and seeing as the universe is not subjective to this fact, I presume that the "life energy" (for lack of a better term) of all living things will "transition" in the same way upon death. How so? I have no idea. But the idea that we, all of us, are on the same boat of mortality, makes me feel a lot more at ease with my own.

  • @Thinking-Ape At 6:50 you say, "Consequently, no other animal has developed the…..". I cannot understand what term you are using here. Are you saying panoply?

  • The entertainment industry now,  most notably mainstream movies, music and video games, seem to me at least in part like a socially subconscious effort to keep us from having a strong internal dialogue in a moment of solitude and silence. Quite often when an individual is in this mode they are likely to contemplate their own mortality.  For a reason I can't quite put my finger on this has and adverse effect on society perhaps it is because these individuals who contemplate death more will be more depressed or more fearful?  

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