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primitive thinking vs. modern thinking

Frank_MackyFrank_Macky Heretic / Infidel PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
These quotes are taken from Chapter 8 of Valentin Turchin's "The Phenomenon of Science":

"To a primitive person the observed phenomena of the world appear to be caused by invisible, supernatural beings [e.g. a "God"]. The primitives resort to incantations, ritual dances, sacrifices, strictly observed prohibitions (taboos), [prayer counts as one of these too...] and so on to appease or drive off such beings."

"To primitive people [e.g. theists], certain mysterious relations and influences can exist between different objects (“mystic participation,” in the terminology of the French ethnographer L. Levy Bruhl).

"Primitive thinking is inconceivably conservative and closed. Obvious facts which, in the [modern thinker's] opinion, would inevitably have to change the notions of the primitive individual and force him to reconsider certain convictions do not, for some reason, have any effect on him at all. And attempts to persuade and prove often lead to results diametrically opposite to what was expected. (sound familiar? :) )
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  • Frank_MackyFrank_Macky Heretic / Infidel PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    "it is not the fact of belief in the existence of invisible things and
    influences that distinguishes primitive thinking from modern thinking, but the content of the representations and particularly the relation between the content and the data of experience. We believe in the existence of neutrons although no one has ever seen them and never will. But we know that all the words in our vocabulary have meaning only to the extent that, taken together, they successfully describe observed phenomena and help to predict them. As soon as they stop fulfilling this role, as a result of new data from experience or owing to reorganisation of the system of word use (theory), we toss them aside without regret."


    In other words, there has to be a rigorous logical fit between concepts as opposed to arbitrary assignations such as we often see when theists try to "reason".

    "What irritates us in primitive thinking is not the assumption of the existence of spirits but rather that this assumption, coming together with certain assumptions about the traits and habits of the 145
    spirits, explains nothing at all and often simply contradicts experience..."


    Ah yes, self-contradiction, the hallmark of theistic "reasoning"...
  • Frank_MackyFrank_Macky Heretic / Infidel PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    "Because primitive people are unable to make their representations an object of analysis, these representations form a kind of trash heap. The trash heap accumulates easily but no one works to clean it up. For the primitive there are not and cannot be meaningless words. If he does not understand a word it frightens him as an unfamiliar animal, weapon, or natural phenomenon would. An opinion which has arisen as a result of the chance combination of circumstances is preserved from generation to generation without any real basis."

    Arbitrary religious doctrines such as "trinity", "jesus is god", etc... seem to me to fit this definition of "trash heap" pretty closely.

    "Thanks to this characteristic the primitive's belief in the effectiveness of magic incantations, sorcery, and the like is unconquerable. His “theory” gives an explanation (often not just one but several!) for everything that happens around him. He cannot yet
    evaluate his theory—or even individual parts of it—critically."


    Pretty uncanny description of how the theists here in RoT go about defending their beliefs...
  • yuel0022yuel0022 Wandering Boy PEx Veteran ⭐⭐
    nice! i enjoyed reading this *okay*
  • Frank_MackyFrank_Macky Heretic / Infidel PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    I thought I was trying to be flip in posting that because Turchin was not referring to modern day theists but rather so-called savage tribes, but the more you read what he wrote, the more you realize that the characterization of primitive thinking also applies to modern day theists!
  • yuel0022yuel0022 Wandering Boy PEx Veteran ⭐⭐
    they really are. in my opinion, humankind is still starting to develop. one day humans won't need religion anymore to live in order. and I hope it's world order.
  • Frank_MackyFrank_Macky Heretic / Infidel PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    Another interesting book somewhat along these lines is Julian Jayne's "The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind".

    See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicameral_mind

    The theory goes that in primitive people, the left and right brain were more independent/separated than they are today. Primitive peoples really DID HEAR (experience) THE VOICES OF "GODS" as coming from outside of them. The explanation being that the ego / concept of self / self-awareness has not yet developed at all in primitive peoples and thus signals and symbols coming from the right brain were perceived as external.

    Today, we still encounter this phenomena in the form of schizophrenia, or in varying forms of mildness in normal people, such as when we hear our own "inner voices", but at least in this milder case we label them as coming from inside of us rather than externally.
  • yuel0022yuel0022 Wandering Boy PEx Veteran ⭐⭐
    aw.. so that may explain it? i'll read about this. thanks for sharing!
  • visionarylinkvisionarylink Banned by Admin PExer
    In the coming days the typical 'modern' man extremely separated in their left/right brain will become primitive and modern man able to unite once again one's left/right brain will become geniuses for the next millennium.
  • Frank_MackyFrank_Macky Heretic / Infidel PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    ^ In the coming days, huh? Would that be this Friday or Sunday?
  • visionarylinkvisionarylink Banned by Admin PExer
    suit yourself, want thursday?
  • Frank_MackyFrank_Macky Heretic / Infidel PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    ^ :rolleyes:

















    FAIL.
  • Frank_MackyFrank_Macky Heretic / Infidel PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    The process outlined in http://pespmc1.vub.ac.be/POS/Turchap8.html#Heading5 may seem somewhat commonsensical and mundane on first reading. It just outlines what we "modern people" take for granted, but I think it might point to a more profound analogy.

    As primitives are unable to separate a word from the entity it is applied to, we "moderns" are unable to separate our idea of "self" from our bodies and/or sensory perception, now recall that eastern mystic philosophies try to teach us that our perceptions of separateness and phenomena are a kind of illusion (e.g. maya/samsara) ...
  • Interesting thread. My thoughts:

    Considering that, say atheism is not a modern innovation (e.g. Epicurus is way older than Christianity), I might wonder if theism and atheism may be cyclical, depending on the stage of the current predominant civilization.

    In Egypt, stellar polytheism gave way to monotheism, and then reverted to polytheism. Similarly in the Roman empire, pantheism and pagan worship gave way to monotheism (i.e. Judaism/Christianity). But inbetween are occasional snippets of atheism/rational thought. In Europe it was the same. Religiosity survives with a vengeance.

    In China and Japan, there were also waves of belief/philosophy before Confucianism and later Buddhism set in.

    In the New ge/conspiracy literature there's also talk of "ages" that last about 2,600 years or so--roughly the average time of great civilizations and belief systems as well. This could be simply elaborate models of a more basic observation: of how belief systems are also cyclical.

    Then this would suggest that belief systems serve some other purpose (other than the political/economic/social backdrop). Maybe beliefs (say religious or supernatural) are a critical part of being sentient/intelligent life.

    Feel free to tear these ideas up for closer scrutiny.
  • visionarylinkvisionarylink Banned by Admin PExer
    Interesting thread. My thoughts:

    Considering that, say atheism is not a modern innovation (e.g. Epicurus is way older than Christianity), I might wonder if theism and atheism may be cyclical, depending on the stage of the current predominant civilization.

    In Egypt, stellar polytheism gave way to monotheism, and then reverted to polytheism. Similarly in the Roman empire, pantheism and pagan worship gave way to monotheism (i.e. Judaism/Christianity). But inbetween are occasional snippets of atheism/rational thought. In Europe it was the same. Religiosity survives with a vengeance.

    In China and Japan, there were also waves of belief/philosophy before Confucianism and later Buddhism set in.

    In the New ge/conspiracy literature there's also talk of "ages" that last about 2,600 years or so--roughly the average time of great civilizations and belief systems as well. This could be simply elaborate models of a more basic observation: of how belief systems are also cyclical.

    Then this would suggest that belief systems serve some other purpose (other than the political/economic/social backdrop). Maybe beliefs (say religious or supernatural) are a critical part of being sentient/intelligent life.

    Feel free to tear these ideas up for closer scrutiny.

    You have a point with your idea , however I find the idea behind this thread as something far more deserving of tearing apart due to its questionable agenda. The writer of the subject of this thread seemed conjured to the usual primitive way of 'me-good-them-bad' mode of belief system as often found in primitive religions that often strive to conflict, divisiveness and strife. Paradoxically, the idea behind this thread seemed guilty with the very offense that it is attacking.

    Some people ought to learn much on critical, independent thinking rather than merely copy-pasting and choosing topics that suit their subjective opinions.

    I don't find the idea behind this thread to be credible.
  • Frank_MackyFrank_Macky Heretic / Infidel PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    I don't find the idea behind this thread to be credible.
    Wow, like anyone cares about the nonsense your crack-addled mind regurgitates.

    Take note, I hope you do not misunderstand me. You are not being attacked by me because of any personal dislike I have of you or your personality. It is not because you are arrogant or have a bad attitude at all.

    It is just that your posts are really just way-out-there stupefyingly dumb. That is not meant with the intention of an insult, but as a mere observation. However, it is true that your posts are so incredibly stupid as to be a source of great aggravation to anyone who reads them.
  • visionarylinkvisionarylink Banned by Admin PExer
    Wow, like anyone cares about the nonsense your crack-addled mind regurgitates.

    Take note, I hope you do not misunderstand me. You are not being attacked by me because of any personal dislike I have of you or your personality. It is not because you are arrogant or have a bad attitude at all.

    It is just that your posts are really just way-out-there stupefyingly dumb. That is not meant with the intention of an insult, but as a mere observation. However, it is true that your posts are so incredibly stupid as to be a source of great aggravation to anyone who reads them.


    You have your own way of talking to your mirror.
  • Frank_MackyFrank_Macky Heretic / Infidel PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    On second thought, calling your posts stupid is not correct. The theists here on RoT may post dumb, indefensible ideas very often, but at least they are coherent. One can at least understand the ideas they are trying to put forward, even if those ideas are ultimately weak and indefensible. The stuff you post on the other hand, is just plain incomprehensible. You don't even have anything to say or any ideas to offer. You are just posing and spewing random meaningless phrases, and that is what makes you intolerably annoying.

    I just want to confirm by the way, are you a mental hospital patient or not?

    Sorry, I'm not trying to insult, I'm just genuinely curious.
  • visionarylinkvisionarylink Banned by Admin PExer
    On second thought, calling your posts stupid is not correct. The theists here on RoT may post dumb, indefensible ideas very often, but at least they are coherent. One can at least understand the ideas they are trying to put forward, even if those ideas are ultimately weak and indefensible. The stuff you post on the other hand, is just plain incomprehensible. You don't even have anything to say or any ideas to offer. You are just posing and spewing random meaningless phrases, and that is what makes you intolerably annoying.

    I just want to confirm by the way, are you a mental hospital patient or not?

    Sorry, I'm not trying to insult, I'm just genuinely curious.

    I certainly understand why you are incapable of comprehending it, which is directly the opposite reaction to those who are aware enough.

    Your question however, hints of a kind of diagnosis that you are much in need of, but of course you are not aware of that.

    You seem to have lost touch with the definition of words you are using. You are not being curious, you are being baffled.

    Don't you think it's time to visit your doctor?
  • Frank_MackyFrank_Macky Heretic / Infidel PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    You are not being curious, you are being baffled.
    Well, you're at least right in one respect. I'm as genuinely baffled as anyone would be with all the nonsense bull$hit you post.
  • visionarylinkvisionarylink Banned by Admin PExer
    From 'genuinely' curious to 'genuinely' baffled...

    Indeed, the questionable use of the word makes yours genuinely erroneous.

    You even seem too naive to outgrow the use of expletives, no wonder

    It amuses me that you're fond of dragging others down with you:
    "to anyone who"
    "as anyone would be"
    Stop pretending to speak in behalf of others with your incapacity to face your folly, and learn to stand up on your own rather than pull other people's sleeve, it's primitive, cowardly and annoying.

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