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Are we automatons?

KeromeKerome Love, love is mysteryThe Continent Veteran

It’s a question worth asking, do we just absorb knowledge and act in accordance with what we have absorbed? From our early days we learn things from our parents, teachers, books... we even learn how to smile... so are we just a large amount of responses built up out of the accumulation of those things?

Or are we more, beings of originality and light and creativity? Embodying an inner spirit that is unique to each of us? They are different ways of looking at the human being, one is scientific and deconstructive, the other is more holistic and looking at the whole being as a complete entity. You can certainly decide which you would like to be true.

And in a way what we believe shapes the world around us. Viewing human beings as whole and creative gives a more light-filled perspective on the universe...

Comments

  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran

    Or are we more, beings of originality and light and creativity? Embodying an inner spirit that is unique to each of us?

    I find the 'inner spirit' is the same. The expression is filtered through the unique circumstances/karma you mention.

    “Awakening is dynamic. Constantly evolving in accordance with life’s realities. Unfolding from ego-self to compassionate self. From enclosed self to open self. From foolish self to enlightened self.”– Taitetsu Unno

    Nerida
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran
    edited October 10

    To me they aren't so mutually exclusive, maybe sort of like the Two Truths doctrine. On one level we certainly are the product of our unique genetics and common evolutionary past, as well as our social conditioning. On another level all those isolated phenomena come together to create a whole.

    Many systems, like people or say traffic, are made up of small individual components but their behavior on the macro level can't be predicted by the micro level. Its a phenomenon known as emergence and there are two conceptions of it, strong and weak. I don't have a good grasp on it to try to summarize the concept but maybe look into it?

    adamcrossleyDavid
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator

    @Kerome said:
    It’s a question worth asking, do we just absorb knowledge and act in accordance with what we have absorbed? From our early days we learn things from our parents, teachers, books... we even learn how to smile... so are we just a large amount of responses built up out of the accumulation of those things?

    Or are we more, beings of originality and light and creativity? Embodying an inner spirit that is unique to each of us? They are different ways of looking at the human being, one is scientific and deconstructive, the other is more holistic and looking at the whole being as a complete entity. You can certainly decide which you would like to be true.

    And in a way what we believe shapes the world around us. Viewing human beings as whole and creative gives a more light-filled perspective on the universe...

    01011001 01100101 01110011 00100000 01110111 01100101 00100000 01100001 01110010 01100101 00101110

    personadamcrossleylobsterShoshin
  • pegembarapegembara Veteran Veteran
    edited October 11

    An algorithm is a list of steps to follow in order to solve a problem.

    ‘The basic reaction of the human mind to pleasure and to achievement is not satisfaction; it’s the craving for more.’

    Organisms are, in actual fact, algorithms. Human beings, giraffes, viruses are all algorithms. They differ from computers only in the sense that they’re biochemical algorithms, which have evolved at the whim of natural selection over millions of years.

    From a biological point of view, these algorithms have no soul, no God-given spiritual essence. And if it’s true that humans have no soul or spiritual essence, and that all human capabilities, including creativity, are the result of chemical processes, I don’t see why electronic algorithms wouldn’t be capable of imitating or surpassing the abilities of human beings in many areas.

    You know that there are, for example, artificial intelligences that can compose music. And if you ask people to distinguish between a piece of music composed artificially and a piece composed by humans, they cannot tell which is which. In the same way, we’re beginning to see the emergence of artificial intelligence which is having a real creative impact.

    YUVAL HARARI

    “The truth is that a human is just a brief algorithm: 10247 lines,” WESTWORLD

    So, what does it take to hack a human?

    Again, according to Harari, there are only two necessary ingredients to hacking humanity:

    -A lot of computing power
    -Biometric data

    With machine learning, this level of computing power has been achieved. Biometric sensors have launched us into age where we can monitor every aspect of biological life to the point that the computers more know about us than we do ourselves.

    https://sociable.co/technology/hack-human-algorithms-davos-wef/

    “Some people say, "Give the customers what they want." But that's not my approach. Our job is to figure out what they're going to want before they do. I think Henry Ford once said, "If I'd asked customers what they wanted, they would have told me, 'A faster horse!'" People don't know what they want until you show it to them. That's why I never rely on market research. Our task is to read things that are not yet on the page.”
    STEVE JOBS

  • CarameltailCarameltail Veteran UK Veteran

    I think we are all unique. We do learn from others and our environment. But we develop and respond uniquely. Yeah if your behaviour follows some rigid pattern I guess that is kind of limiting and automaton like.
    But if you let yourself really be and not always be on autopilot (mindfulness) then you really express that.
    We are more than a sum of our parts.
    I wouldn't use the words beings of light however it does give a bit too much new age vibe to me, since light doesn't exactly describe any real human qualities. Of course there isn't really any describable self when you look at it deeply.. ;P

    adamcrossleyperson
  • adamcrossleyadamcrossley Veteran Veteran

    @Carameltail said:
    We are more than a sum of our parts.

    I completely agree. The materialist view just doesn’t do it for me. We experience some inner spark or quality in each other that it doesn’t account for. Even if we’re 99% material, I think we should reserve 1% for “something else”.

    I wouldn't use the words beings of light however it does give a bit too much new age vibe to me, since light doesn't exactly describe any real human qualities.

    Inner light is the phrase that Quakers use, mostly to describe that spark of divinity we all have, at least in their view. One form of Ch’an meditation is known as silent illumination. And in Zen it’s sometimes said that the true nature of the mind is luminous. So I actually think light is a great word to describe that special 1%. But perhaps you’re right that “beings of light” is a bit too New Agey.

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    I would say our automaton-like behaviour has a lot to do with habit-energy. If you react from awareness and let your originality come through, then I don’t think you are being an automaton. But a lot of people do function from habit.

    The light thing was a bit of poetic license B)

  • pommesetorangespommesetoranges Explorer Explorer

    Long time lurker here.
    Love you all truly.
    Who exactly?
    "I have a self.
    I have no self.
    By means of a self I perceive self.
    By means of a self I perceive not-self.
    By means of not-self I perceive self.
    The self of mine that knows is everlasting and will stay as it is forever."
    Self=biological automaton or not, in the end it's just pure semantics.
    Annata, back to the basics.

    lobsterKeromeFosdick
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited October 12

    @Kerome said:
    It’s a question worth asking, do we just absorb knowledge and act in accordance with what we have absorbed?

    Well sort of....it's a matter (pun intended) of conditioning...

    From our early days we learn things from our parents, teachers, books... we even learn how to smile... so are we just a large amount of responses built up out of the accumulation of those things?

    Hmm perhaps we are ...
    Just a vibration bundle of energy flux held together by karmic glue
    with causes conditions & their effects that make up what's called me & you

    Or are we more, beings of originality and light and creativity?

    Depends on karmic imprints

    Embodying an inner spirit that is unique to each of us?

    Karmic imprints...of which I might add with Dharma practice, (thus have I heard) we are capable of changing the direction of this karmic flow....

    And from what I gather, developing awareness of awareness is the key...

    lobsterperson
  • DimmesdaleDimmesdale Explorer Illinois Explorer

    I like to think we have a "spark" of freedom, or a minute degree of independence. Even if we can't control a situation we can control our mind about that situation.

    We are greatly conditioned I think, this is just a fact of life. Some people have a wider range of possibilities than others. I was always very anxious in life and felt this impeded my free will. But, even though water is circulated through a canal, or blood is pumped through veins, I think that we can be like bubbly champagne and splash around even within our given destinies.....

    And even a minute degree of this fire can burn a house down if given enough time and the proper arrangement of factors. This is what I feel.

    personadamcrossley
  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran

    There I was programming myself to be reprogrammable ...
    https://english.newstracklive.com/news/buddhism-doctrine-teaching-about-anatta-no-self-sc77-nu-1010994-1.html

    when I automatically realised ...

    'I yam a jam', 'I thunk, therefore I clunk', 'I am a yam, I am ...'
    Des Cartes ... or some such GIGO machination

    🤪

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @Dimmesdale said:
    We are greatly conditioned I think, this is just a fact of life. Some people have a wider range of possibilities than others.

    I have been thinking about originality lately. We are greatly conditioned, but original thought is possible, look at the evolution of science. A lot of interesting thought came in steps from certain original thinkers, people like Aristotle or Newton.

    But who is to say that key science fiction writers are not amongst the most original minds of the age? People like Philip K. Dick, or Ray Bradbury, after all Jules Verne was highly influential.

  • DimmesdaleDimmesdale Explorer Illinois Explorer

    @Kerome said:

    @Dimmesdale said:
    We are greatly conditioned I think, this is just a fact of life. Some people have a wider range of possibilities than others.

    I have been thinking about originality lately. We are greatly conditioned, but original thought is possible, look at the evolution of science. A lot of interesting thought came in steps from certain original thinkers, people like Aristotle or Newton.

    But who is to say that key science fiction writers are not amongst the most original minds of the age? People like Philip K. Dick, or Ray Bradbury, after all Jules Verne was highly influential.

    There is the question though, whether these thinkers truly were original "self-creators" creating "out of nothing" or whether they simply, by virtue of their intelligence, tapped into a field of reason which other thinkers just hadn't stumbled upon yet due to lack of prior advancements, etc.

    It's kind of like how Michaelangelo once (possibly) said that in carving a statue out of marble, he was just removing the stone which covered the form of the angel or being, etc. He was in that sense stepping back and letting the beauty shine on its own.

    I think thinks like philosophy and physics especially resemble mathematical forms, and logic. In that sense I'd say thinkers "discover" more than "create" but that's just my take on it.

    Neridalobster
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Slightly tangential, but quite pertinent to the 'automaton' question, regarding enforced, automatic response/behaviours...

    https://www.redonline.co.uk/health-self/self/a526402/trying-to-be-happy-all-the-time-could-be-dangerous/

    lobster
  • nakazcidnakazcid Veteran Somewhere in Dixie, y'all Veteran

    @Jason said:
    01011001 01100101 01110011 00100000 01110111 01100101 00100000 01100001 01110010 01100101 00101110

    01010011 01101111 00100000 01111001 01101111 01110101 00100000 01110011 01100001 01111001 00100000 01001101 01110010 00101110 00100000 01010010 01101111 01100010 01101111 01110100 01101111 00101110

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Language.... This is a family show, guys....

  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator

    @nakazcid said:

    @Jason said:
    01011001 01100101 01110011 00100000 01110111 01100101 00100000 01100001 01110010 01100101 00101110

    01010011 01101111 00100000 01111001 01101111 01110101 00100000 01110011 01100001 01111001 00100000 01001101 01110010 00101110 00100000 01010010 01101111 01100010 01101111 01110100 01101111 00101110

    01000011 01101000 01100101 01100101 01101011 01111001 :)

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