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Perhaps, being spacetime itself, it is neither where nor when.

'Caveman' Spends 40 Years Not Caving to Modern Life

What better way to pass that waking instant than to probe its mysteries? What better ends than love and wonder, the two great gifts of consciousness?

Caveman Logic: The Persistence of Primitive Thinking in a Modern World

Beyond all the practical benefits, science is a spiritual quest in the broadest and deepest sense. At its heart is the attempt to perfect a grand internal model of reality, to find the center by completing the edge. Yet if science is a belief, it is simply a faith in the inherent potential of humanity.

As the only reliable road to whatever reality is accessible to us, s cientific knowledge is the result of open inquiry and debate, accepted only when a range of compelling evidence is corroborated and replicated by a community of inquirers. Science is structured like a web; its facts are bound tightly in place by many supportive threads. When they enable us to make accurate predictions and build powerful devices, we know we have tapped into some form of reality. Yet t here is a great wall dividing what we know from what we feel.

We are a species still in childhood, only now becoming aware of the true immensity and complexity of the cosmos, a universe turbulent and mysterious beyond anything our forebears conceived. It permeates the land.

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Scratch the surface of knowledge and mystery bubbles up like a spring. Wonder reflects the mysterium tremendum , the aura of unfathomable majesty, utterly humbling and wholly Other, surrounding the sublime and terrifying unknowns that have bordered our models of reality—the dark forest, the sacred mountain, the boundless sea, the black silence of cosmic infinity.

A mature sense of wonder occurs when one no longer perceives the world and the cosmos in a provincially personal context. Entering mental adulthood, one sees the world as neither parental nor primarily threatening, but as impersonal and indifferent. There is resignation, if not romance, in ones isolation, and a higher tolerance for ambiguity, for ones insignificance, and for the high probability that there is no personal meaning out there, no divine parent watching over each of us. The chasm between innocence and maturity is that the one sees the cosmos as familiarly personal, while the other sees the personal as inscrutably cosmic.

In the face of all that we have learned, how is it that most of us still live conceptually with one foot in the twelfth century? How is belief maintained not only in the absence of any clearly defined nonmaterial concepts but in the face of overwhelming, contradicting, empirical evidence—the same body of fact believers accept as the basis for all other areas of life? The problem often lies in the search for a single answer. In truth, religious belief is the result of many interrelated conditions, rooted in evolution, biology, psychology, and society.

The first axiom for any answer is that religiosity is the default state of the human psyche. Contrary to the assumption of many atheists that religious belief is a deviation, the rectification of which would return the believer to a more natural state of mind, it is the atheist who is deviant, albeit in the same sense, he might argue, that the first sea creatures to reconnoiter the land were deviant forms of life.

But given the near universality of belief and the benefits that counterbalance its burdens and brutality, it is better to seek an understanding of it than to treat it as a primitive anachronism or collective sickness. No amount of rational analysis or caustic sarcasm will convert the true believer. Open-minded, self-reflecting skeptics — those whose lives are more than a borrowed script — are prone to live in a lonely world.


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There are three broad bases for disbelief. The first is the failure of all arguments for the theology of belief, so final and familiar as to need no repetition. The second is the age-old problem of evil, all abstruse attempts to explain it away faring no better.

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Third and most important is a new perspective on the psychology of belief. The Psychology of Belief. The first thing to note is that such incentives for faith as the fear of death or the need for social connection — feelings common to believers and nonbelievers alike — are secondary explanations.

Rather, the challenge is to explain how intelligent people can assuage those needs with bizarre beliefs. Parental Conditioning:. The vast majority of believers have inherited the religion of their parents. U nlike other animals, we are born with instincts insufficient to guide us automatically in all situations. Young children are therefore predisposed by natural selection to believe whatever their parents or tribal elders tell them.

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We thus learn many of our core beliefs before we have the rational capacity to evaluate them. Subsequent information is processed along neural pathways that harbor our previous experience; the more frequent the associations, the more solid they become, which makes beliefs, once learned, so difficult to change. The synaptic pathways become set and the stories are passed on in perpetuity. They see everything, living and nonliving, as serving some purpose. The low limb of a tree exists to facilitate climbing, not from some blind organic process.

Like the later notion of God, he is an extension of the parents, the omnipotent, omniscient providers who appear over and over again to rescue us from hunger and distress and to respond to our emotional needs. One result of that separation is the second condition of belief. Separation Anxiety. Two great complexes animate our lives, the dream of immortality and the fantasy of the Magical Other mother, father, soul-mate, God. Childhood and adolescence are essentially a process of self-definition, of becoming a separate individual. Lacking clear boundaries between self and others, the infant sees everything as a literal extension of herself.

Gradually, through frustrating encounters with limits, she learns the boundaries between self and other. The sense that the warm intimacy of home extends into the world begins to shrink. My bed as an integral extension of me becomes simply a bed; and the ego grows ever more finite and detached in a world of impersonal and interchangeable objects. In adolescence this individualizing process accelerates. The imperative is to break out of the parental cocoon and become a unique, autonomous individual. But in truth the adolescent is torn between the security of home and the promise of the world, the paradoxic desire to escape the parental world while remaining safely within it.

The greater the separation, the greater the longing to carry the cozy parental aura into the world and the cosmos, where the notion of a personal God replaces the parents, the sense of infinite possibility becomes belief in a hereafter, and the great mysteries are diminished, at worst, to fundamentalist fairy tales. The core desideratum of human consciousness is always to find some kind of oceanic meaning that reunites the self and the world. To deny that projection, to reject God, is therefore experienced as a loss of identity. The Personalized World.

We think of consciousness, our own minds, as superior to dead matter by a whole order of being.

The notion that ultimate reality must be some greater version of human consciousness is so natural that most of us never escape it. While the natural world seems governed by immutable laws, consciousness appears to have free will; it manipulates matter and is the locus of all meaning—meaning lying in whatever complements the ways in which our minds are programmed to see the world.

The root assumption is that consciousness is more than that programming, more than the brain. Once that is assumed, it is natural to project the superiority of mind over dead matter as the essence of any final reality. And since the only model for that mind is our own consciousness with its inherent structure of meaning, it is easy to project a cosmic mind that reflects that same structure. Goodreads Rating: 3. Goodreads ID: ISBN ISBN: While science offers a wealth of rational explanations for natural phenomena, we often prefer to embrace the fantasies that reassured our distant ancestors.

These are examples of what evolutionary…. The mind is inclined to jump to conclusions. What you see is what there is, or all there is. It creates reality and certainty only from what it sees and hears. The mind uses unreliable information to reach those conclusions. One can construct very good stories, narratives or scenarios out of very little evidence. All unconsciously. And professional analysts have to be educated and trained to avoid those pitfalls.

We hunger for them. We revel in them. They are the basis for art, literature, music, and much more in our lives. Stereotypes are part of that process and provide mental shortcuts in our attempts to make sense of complicated situations. We ascribe stereotypes to groups of people and those stereotypes shape our perceptions and expectations of what people in those groups might think and how they might act.

The analyst needs to acknowledge that and to guard against applying stereotypical thinking to his or her work. The police are especially vulnerable to stereotypical thinking for they live their working lives immersed in the world of criminality.


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  8. They tend therefore to see and interpret their working world through the prism of criminality. There is no problem with that in the work of the criminal detective for the detective is after all tasked with solving crime that has already been committed. The intelligence analyst however has to maintain a much wider and more nuanced view of the world. Non-Maori have formed and held stereotypes of Maori since the time of first contact. Those same stereotypes persist into these modern times and shape opinions and interpretations about Maori.