quotes & lyrics

- presently under construction -

 

in an argument, both sides are usually right about their positive assessments
(i.e. their authentic observations and deductions)
and wrong about their negative ones, i.e. that the other is wrong...
thesis & antithesis should lead to synthesis, not to the indulgence of defensive reflexes.

 

the question philosophers of all ages have neglected to ask,
no matter how sincere their pursuit of uninterested understanding and truth,
is "why do I wish to know this in the first place?!" -
motivational psychology is the mother of philosophy, and the realm in which
the answers to many of philosophy's questions are to be looked for.
- TdW

 

 

 

 

life.
...to the feeling, a tragedy,
to the thinking, a comedy.
- Shakespeare

 

the subjective and the objective are not mutually exclusive but coexist.
the realm of emotions is but illusion, a mere side effect of evolution.
but it is all we have.
so take nothing too seriously; at the same time, be compassion.
love and give and serve as much as possible;
self-protect as little as necessary to allow the former.
- Torsten de Winkel

 

all roads lead... nowhere!
but there are those which you can walk with your heart.
- from native American sources, reported by Carlos Castañeda

 

there is nothing good,
unless you do it.
- Erich Kaestner

 

...if this is madness,
there's method in it.
- Shakespeare

 

if we are to have peace on earth … our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspecive. no individual can live alone, no nation can live alone, and as long as we try, the more we are going to have war in this world. we must either learn to live together as brothers or we are all going to perish together as fools.
- Martin Luther King

 

let us not mind the effort to seek what unites us rather than to indulge our inherited competitive instincts - understand that our mere humanity makes us all the same.
if we try to let our every action, our every thought be guided by love and not by fear, and if we don’t give in to our reflexes to afflict others as the world has afflicted us, our reward shall be the soothing of our longing for a sense of purpose, knowing that we may leave the world a little better than we found it.
- Torsten de Winkel

 

the two worst things which can happen to us:
to never see our dearest wish fulfilled
and much worse: to actually see it fulfilled.
- Oscar Wilde

 

if there is a God, it is not an interventionist one.
- Einstein

 

God is merely a word for the totality of all the forces which determine what is and evolves, hinting at that our range of control - if any - is actually damned narrow.
(...unless of course you define control, as most of us instinctively do, solely as "success in the social realm", where consistent observation and acquisition of mild stress responses - "social intelligence" - may produce a degree of progress.)
- Torsten de Winkel

 

Ich weiß ehrlich nicht, was die Leute meinen, wenn sie von der Freiheit des menschlichen Willens sprechen. Ich habe zum Beispiel das Gefühl, dass ich irgend etwas will; aber was das mit Freiheit zu tun hat, kann ich überhaupt nicht verstehen. Ich spüre, dass ich meine Pfeife anzünden will und tue das auch; aber wie kann ich das mit der Idee der Freiheit verbinden? Was liegt hinter dem Willensakt, dass ich meine Pfeife anzünden will? Ein anderer Willensakt? Schopenhauer hat einmal gesagt: „Der Mensch kann tun was er will; er kann aber nicht wollen was er will.“
- Einstein

 

opinions are like assholes -
everybody's got one...
- unkown

 

the human condition is universal
- Torsten de Winkel

 

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TdW's little book of

definitions

and

people math

excerpts from a brief guide to understanding the human condition

(caution: not from the everything-will-be beautiful feel-well department, analysis only)

- presently under construction -

 

dedicated to Martin G

 

 

the human being
stimulus reponse mechanism
evolution experiment (walking)
judgment device
stimulus value calculator
fairy tale aficionado, addict & defender
...
...
...

 

emotional pain
downward adjustment of a prior expectation
(the worse the more emotional advance credit already expended on the expectation realizing itself.
analogy: you take a credit from the bank to start a business,
business does not meet expectations and doesn't justify the initial inverstment: you're in trouble)
- TdW

 

happiness
more than expected
- contemporary psychologist

 

the purpose of life
D. Suzuki writes in Zen Buddhism and Psychoanalysis,
"the intellect has its place, but it cannot solve the question of the purpose of life" -
this is incorrect, the answer is merely outside the realm of our habits of reasoning
which are based on our usually unconscious emotional needs for progress, upward motion and self-preservation:
the question emanates in these same habits and psycho-emotional needs,
which is to say the question and its answer are in fact immaterial.
...
put more cryptically, as spiritual traditions seem to prefer:
the question is the answer.
- TdW

 

judgment and decision making
any judgment and association of value is, must be based on an emotional axiom
(try to make a purely rational decision, and you won't be done before kingdom come...)
- TdW

 

can we contribute to improving the human condition? (1)
yes. we are all in a macrosystem together, call it a pressure cooker, call it the realm of karma...
what we can do is contribute to reducing the pressure in the pressure cooker,
thereby allowing for "the better angels of our nature" to thrive
instead of forcing one another deeper into our defensive reflexes.
- TdW

 

can we contribute to improving the human condition? (2)
yes. we can work on dropping our acquired enemy images,
and understand that 1) any claim that 'it's always to be done or viewed this way' is principally incorrect
and in essence no different than the equally one-sided and dogmatic claims of those we believe to oppose, and that
2) the mature perspective on any issue is that there always are 2 sides,
two contradicting values to be balanced based on the merits of each individual situation.
(has anyone ever noticed that everybody believes they are and are with the good guys,
and that if the guys on the other side who are the cause of all problems
could only adopt their ways, everything would finally be alright?!
but they fail to see that this will never be the case, and therefore, the only practical way
to a better human condition is tolerance, compromise, balancing of interests.)
- TdW

 

conflict (1)
(see top of page)

 

conflict (2)
when a person from Los Angeles commits a crime in New York City,
noone in New York would demand to nuke L.A.
but this is exactly what happens and perpetuates the conflict anywhere
the parties to a conflict have a clear identification of group identy,
e.g. in Israel/Palestine (did you know that it's only about 30km from Tel Aviv
on the western seashore to Jerusalem on the eastern border?)...
when will they understand that it's not the Israelis against the Palestinians,
but the radicals, the diseased souls on both sides
against the majority of peace-loving people on both sides?!
and that the task of cultural evolution to be effected is exactly to instill this consciousnes
in the members of the groups affected, as has e.g. been achieved post-WWII between France and Germany?
- TdW

 

is there any such thing as cultural evolution, progress in the human condition?
yes. in a graph, it's a wave, but gearing upwards.
the precise mechanism is the evolution towards greater congruence of our models of reality with what actually is.
we ca not evade operating on reductionist models, but the models improve over time:
in the middle ages, the model for the cause of epidemic diseases was wrath of God,
so it seemed reasonable to go kill the infidel neighbors to appease said wrath.
then come Koch and Pasteur, and whoa, it's not the wrath of God, it's bacteria and virusses,
we don't have do kill our neighbors any more, observing certain rules of hygiene is a much better way to achieve the desired end!
better model of reality, less unnecessary suffering.
- TdW

 

is there such a thing as the soul?
we must always watch not to get entangled in words without first attempting to define them.
but if we assume the meaning commonly intended, such a soul, if it constitutes the "anima" which lends life and consciousness to
the two-partite device formed by the car which is the body and the supercomputer which is the conditionable brain,
must be a fully neutral entity without any features of what we perceive as our personality -
which leads to the conclusion that the traditional dualist concept of a human being constituted of a body and a soul must be dropped,
and that instead, we must base our considerations on the concept of a body, a brain which stores end effects our temporary personality,
and possibly a soul which if it at all exists is pure anima, neutral consciousness devoid of any of the trimmings of personality
which is formed by the interaction of our genetic predispositions and our experiences throughout life.
- TdW

 

intuition
no mystery:
the sum total of our experiences and acquired conditionings
(emotional values stored with memories of experiences),
stored in long-term memory and naturally too complex
to be conscious or, more technically put, to be managed by our limited RAM.
- TdW

 

is there such a thing as free will ?
another example for poor definition and how social evolution confuses a term.
the origins of this concept:
through millennia of strife to liberate oursleves from the control and abuse of those above us in the hierarchy,
"free will" was understood to mean "not forced by another"
(as in "do you, of your own free will, consent to...").
so we must ask: free from what?!
certainly not from our genetic dispositions and acquired social conditionings
which form the coincidence we call our "personality", so...
(-> God, see above)!
-
one might say that Freud's discovery of the subconscious, or better his successful work of insertion
of this concept into the pool of cultural concepts we operate with, already took care of the issue -
do we not, while we continue to wonder about "free will", all accept that our behaviour is governed by all sorts of things,
the least of which is our conscious thought, the "rational" considerations
which, as we have seen, are ultimately always based on emotional axioms?!
-
the neurobiological side:
it has been shown that the impulse for a decision is measurable in the brain
before the individual knows what the decision will be.
and that there are intelligible mechanisms which determine moods and personality is in no way
degrading the human being, as some angrily suggest ("man is more than a chemical factory"),
but merely an expectable expression of the obvious, namely that any phenomenon:
in the contingent world, in the realm of phenomena has its mechanical representation -
following the laws of cause and effect we might call God or whichever other thing we may be inclined to.
-
Die einzige Möglichkeit, einen wirklich freien Willen zu manifestieren, wäre, etwas zu tun,
wozu es keinerlei Veranlassung gibt. Und da dies selbst die Veranlassung wäre, ist dies unmöglich.
- TdW

 

free will and moral behavior
a recent study has shown that individuals tend to act as if relieved from the duty of moral behavior (such as they usually accept)
if told that neuroscience has shown that our will is indeed far from free.
which fortifies the point that society needs certain technically incorrect concepts in order to uphold peace and stability...
(similar: "we must intend the impossible to achieve the possible")
sad, but true. we don't act from conviction, but from fear of being held responsible.
the same is deducible from looking how we, priding ourselves on being civilized and having outgrown cannibalism,
do not extend the same courtesy we, as a culture, have learned to extend to other humans
(serious competitors who could ultimately turn the spear upon us) to the animals we raise and slaughter by the billions -
simply because they pose no registrable threat which would make it ultimately wiser
to assume an accord of mutual respect and let-live.
- TdW

 

achievement
in our culture of the ever-elusive carrot,
more important than actual achievement is, psychologically, to feel involved in an activity
which suggests the possibility, provides the illusion of future achievement and satisfaction of a psychological need.
in other words, the paradox is that we are addicts of the psychological need of feeling we're working to fulfill a psychological need.
(hence, unemployment is experienced not as a luxury and time to reform, but as a torment.)
if i know i could, i don't actually have to.
if i feel i can't, no matter how hard i try, i have hell on earth (-> learned helplessness, EFMS).
the illusionary nature at the core of this psychological mechanism becomes especially
obvious when we consider the certain end of the linear upward motion we're addicted to, our ultimate demise -
the thought of which we generally evade like the plague, suppress in order to maintain a functional EFMS.
to do otherwise would make it too obvious to our conscious mind that our emotional math doesn't add up,
and our entire motivational corset collapses (-> PTSD, awakening from the 'matrix').
- TdW

 

on the evolutionary superiority of political systems
why does 'liberal' capitalism have a competitive edge over communism and the promise of equality?
because capitalism lets you play the lottery.
however slim your chances to be the one hitting the jackpot, there is a minute but highly psycho-active chance. it could be you.
(-> soccer world cup germany 2006)
communism's equality is one in which, for equality's sake, the lottery is forbidden,
since its express purpose is to make a few winners better than all the rest.
in communism you're to have no path to making yourself better than the rest
(unless of course you choose the road of manager of the others' equality
which gives you an edge or two).
..
because in a chronically discontent culture, noone wants equality.
everybody wants, before all, to improve their own lot.
...
in the same way, chronic discontent is, unfortunately, an evolutionarily superior trait.
it produces a greater urgency to pursue progress, a greater degree of aggression and readiness to go try to take
what is the neighbor's* as it might soothe the ever discontent and stressed animal within us
(-> source of addictions of all sorts, illegal or legal, dependencies deemed excessive or perfectly normal / -> EFMS).
- TdW

[* or the neighbor tribe, neighbor country, neighbor continent's]

 

on the pursuit of happiness (1)
as granted by the US constitution...
see above.
the pursuit of happiness (however misguided), not happiness itself, dummy.
(the more desperately you need to pursue it, the more elusive it becomes...)
- TdW

 

on the pursuit of happiness (2)
the aim of Zen (and like attempts to alleviate suffering) is based on the notion that we're all born afflicted
by a brain which produces thoughts and concepts which in turn produce suffering.
this is not entirely accurate.
the connection between thought and stress is acquired
(-> ATAR / acquired threat avoiding reflexes).
stress disorders are merely a maladjustment of the same process which ideally produces 'social intelligence'
(i.e. the ability to or better the degree to which an individual can perceive the emotional state of another).
as long as we never face a serious problem, never receive a conditioning of helplessness in the pursuit of essential needs,
our thoughts are not connected to or trigger a sensation of stress,
do not produce the suffering connected to fear of a negative expectation becoming reality
(-> paratactical thought).
- TdW

 

the emotional immune system and depression, stress disorders
obsessive thought (see above):
a symptom of the emotional immune system at work.
the same way that the familiar immune system relentlessly works to solve physical problems,
our emotional immune system goes to work in attempting to resolve any troubling problem, perceived threat -
which leads to the simple conclusion that when a problem, a perceived threat *
cannot be resolved - as subjectively as perception of threat and its emotionally satisfactory resolution may be -,
.this emotional immune system does not come to a halt, incessant stress-loaded thought and calculation is the subjective experience thereof.
.* (conditioned to widely differing degrees in different individuals,
a consequence of -> ATAR, -> EFMS, status of hierarchic adaption,
i.e. degree of self-confidence resulting in degree of willingness to engage in risks, etc.)
- TdW

 

contemporary psychology / introduction to EFMS
is today where allopathic medicine was before Koch and Pasteur:
conferences of specialists convene where to draw lines of definition between various "diseases" (really: collections of symptoms),
helplessly guessing at the underlying mechanics.
although the necessary data exists and only a bit of interdisciplinary study would be needed to get the entire picture,
psychologists still claim "we do not yet understand the root causes and mechanisms".
(a humble suggestion: to arrive at something like a unified field theory of the human condition,
study the culture of the ever-elusive carrot, the theory of economic cycles,
the discoveries of recent neurobiology, learned helplessness.
you'll arrive at something like an image of an emotional fuel tank, which allows to predict behavior
nearly as precisely as how a car will behave with a full or empty tank.
"fuel" is produced by
1) positive self-image and confidence ("can-do"),
2) functional social interaction suggesting assistance in our pursuits of having our needs met,
3) projecting a positive future result and "borrowing" from the fuel the projected result is expected to provide -
in straight analogy to taking up credit from a bank to fund a business idea.
but when the business fails, you experience emotional pain from the necessary downward adjustment
of your expectation, and if you have no reserves to tolerate the failure and accompanying loss, you may face chronic depression.
(this explains, among many other things, one form of bipolar disorder, mid-life crisis,
fear of death, why we must intend the impossible to achieve the possible, etc. etc.)
- TdW

 

decision making
in healthy individuals,
a projection of the options followed by comparison of the emotional values of the feedback.
normally so rapidly that the individual never gains consciousness of this process.
when affected by emotional or physical trauma
(e.g. PTSD cases = awakening from the "matrix" of the fairly tales our culture raises us with providing for Ur-confidence,
or the famous 19th cent. case of the person with a frontal lobe injury, respectively),
this mechanism can come to a complete halt, rendering the individual incapable of functioning effectively
(more depression and stress disorders to follow).
this, by the way, is the practical evidence for my claim that a fully rational decision is impossible,
that any decision making must be based on conscious or, more frequently, unconscious and emotionally stored value axioms.
if you try to make a fully rational decision and/or if you have too many contradictory facts and values to consider,
the computer which is your brain will freeze, just like any computer we're used to having in front of us.
- TdW

 

 

(soon to come to this venue:)
do we bear reponsibility?
are we entitles to judge others...
...for their congruence with the accident which is our own "personality"!?
on the illusory nature of emotions -
man as a puppet-on-two-strings
why do some philosophical schools consider the realm in which we operate as 'illusion'?
is there a 'down-to-earth' rationally comprehensible way to explain this?
news from the Matrix
the evolutionary function of the serotonin-cortisol circuit
.

 

 

references
(details to be posted soon)
- zimbardo primate serotonin study
- learned helplessness: mice depression experiment

 

 

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