Are there any SIMPLE books refuting what Bernardo calls "The materialism of qualities"?

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donsalmon
Posts: 19
Joined: Sun Aug 08, 2021 4:41 pm

Re: Are there any SIMPLE books refuting what Bernardo calls "The materialism of qualities"?

Post by donsalmon »

Hi Ashvin:

Yes it should be a new thread - very different topic.

I've studied (and practiced along the lines of) Sri Aurobindo's integral yoga since the mid 70s. I became aware of Steiner's writings in the early 70s, was always fascinated and put off by them, and didn't quite understand why the conflcting intuition about it for some years.

My sense - just saw this confirmed somewhere but can't recall where - is that - oh, Anne Bancroft said this (not the actress - a British writer on Zen) that Steiner always seemed more consumed with Lao Tzu's "10,000 things" than the one thing needful. He has the most bizarre interpretation of the Bhagavad Gita I've ever read (I've studied at least 20 commentaries). He sees "Krishna" only as a specific being, not representational of the infinite Supreme Divinity. In fact, though Steiner is reputed to have been something of an expert on Meister Eckhart, who knew a thing or two about the Godhead, he doesn't seem to understand much if at all about the One and the Many or That which is beyond both. He seems consumed wtih his occult visions, some of which are astonishingly clear and some of which, I think, are shot through with 19th century Germanic culture and prejudices (much like the whole Waldorf phenomenon).

If you look up Franklin Merrell Wolff's tribute to Sri Aurobindo on the occasion of his 'passing" (1950), I think that's a fairly accurate take on Aurobindo's life work. As much as I appreciate Steiner's and even more, Barfield and other folowers in their deconstruction of materialism, it's not usually done in the context of what to me is a genuine spiritual vision.

As Merrell Wolff noted, except for the mathematical aspect of it, Sri Aurobindo had an astonishing grasp of the essential nature of quantitative (ie modern - despite what Jim or someone else claimed, there is almsot no legitimacy to qualitative research; my master's thesis combined quantitative and qualitative methods and I've kept up with it for 30 years and VERY little progress has been made in qualitative reearch - heck, even psychology is not considered a "real" science by physicists, for all of my colleagues "physics envy").

yikes, where was i (rambling too much) - yes, an astonishing grasp of "science" - best critique I know of materialism is in Book 2 Part 1 of The Life Divine. I've been studying it for 45 years and maybe just starting to understand an infinitesimal portion of it.

So yes, a new thread:>)).

I'll just say one more time in closing, I wish bernardo has stuck to his critique of materialism, which I think he does better than anyone else alive today. When I comoderated this forum about 6 years ago, I wrote him regularly saying he should stick to that. I find his version of idealist philosophy quite wanting, actually. It's a shame. He's SO good at the critique; truly among the best.

I think I left back just when he was getting into the dissociated alters. See Sri Aurobindo's chapter in The LIfe Divine on "Exclusive Concentration" for a brilliant, visionary alternative.

That was a terribly disconnected rambling comment. Sorry! I'll try to look out for the new thread. I'm not sure I really know enough to say anything really intelligent about STeiner. He's good for ideas on phenomenologiacl science but I would be very very wary of taking his occultist views too seriousl - quite dangerous if you are a meditator.
Jim Cross
Posts: 537
Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2021 12:36 pm

Re: Are there any SIMPLE books refuting what Bernardo calls "The materialism of qualities"?

Post by Jim Cross »

lorenzop wrote: Mon Oct 11, 2021 10:08 pm I am not a neuroscientist, and don't know any; but based on my readings, I would venture that most neuroscientists would hold that the world is colorless, tasteless and odorless. If then asked where do color, tastes and odors reside, or how are they generated - I believe they would not be able to answer that. They will give a promise that we'll know soon, very soon, just around the corner, almost there now . . .
Except consciousness with its colors and tastes is a part of the world, not something apart from it.

There isn't a simple answer for how qualia are generated but why would anyone expect a simple answer? Well, maybe idealists would. :lol:

The assembly of multiple sensory inputs occurs in the brain. This is even true when the inputs are from the same sense organ. The eye, for example, doesn't supply only one type of input. There are ganglia for color, motion, edge detection. There are around a million of these in retina.
Ganglion cells are the only retinal neurons communicating directly with the brain. It is well known that mammalian ganglion cells comprise more than a dozen types, clearly distinguishable from one another in structure and function. Each type also appears to send axons to a distinctive subset of the many central visual nuclei receiving direct retinal input. The implication is that each ganglion cell type forms a specialized channel sculpted by evolutionary pressures to fulfill specific visual functions. Though the outlines of this perspective have been clear for decades, many essential details are lacking.
https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/ne ... glion-cell

Color itself undoubtedly originates in the light cones of the eye itself as can be seen in the this experiment with squirrel monkeys.
In an experiment, researchers were able to modify some of the green light cones in the eyes of male squirrel monkeys so they would be sensitive to red. The monkeys which couldn’t previously distinguish red dots in an image could distinguish them after the modification to the eyes. The processes that enabled color vision in the monkey brain didn’t need modification to be able to learn a new color. They just needed new inputs. The red must originate at least in part in the input from the eyes.
https://broadspeculations.com/2020/01/1 ... certainty/

Color is applied to the objects in the brain as it assembles the multiple inputs and then becomes stored in memory. People blind from birth do not see even in their dreams. People blind from birth who later gain an ability to see have to "learn" to see. So the brain may be perfectly capable of handling sensory input from the eye, training with actual input is still required.

Sorry, if this answer is too complicated but a good deal is already understood about how vision and others senses work. It is a cooperative arrangement between the sense organs and the brain itself.
Jim Cross
Posts: 537
Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2021 12:36 pm

Re: Are there any SIMPLE books refuting what Bernardo calls "The materialism of qualities"?

Post by Jim Cross »

BTW, this is written for children but it actually sums up color across species well.

https://www.colormatters.com/color-matt ... -see-color

Bees and butterflies see colors we can't see but bulls are colorblind. I guess the world really is colorless for them.
lorenzop
Posts: 38
Joined: Mon Mar 01, 2021 5:29 pm

Re: Are there any SIMPLE books refuting what Bernardo calls "The materialism of qualities"?

Post by lorenzop »

Jim Cross wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 1:49 pm
lorenzop wrote: Mon Oct 11, 2021 10:08 pm I am not a neuroscientist, and don't know any; but based on my readings, I would venture that most neuroscientists would hold that the world is colorless, tasteless and odorless. If then asked where do color, tastes and odors reside, or how are they generated - I believe they would not be able to answer that. They will give a promise that we'll know soon, very soon, just around the corner, almost there now . . .
Except consciousness with its colors and tastes is a part of the world, not something apart from it.

There isn't a simple answer for how qualia are generated but why would anyone expect a simple answer? Well, maybe idealists would. :lol:

The assembly of multiple sensory inputs occurs in the brain. This is even true when the inputs are from the same sense organ. The eye, for example, doesn't supply only one type of input. There are ganglia for color, motion, edge detection. There are around a million of these in retina.
Ganglion cells are the only retinal neurons communicating directly with the brain. It is well known that mammalian ganglion cells comprise more than a dozen types, clearly distinguishable from one another in structure and function. Each type also appears to send axons to a distinctive subset of the many central visual nuclei receiving direct retinal input. The implication is that each ganglion cell type forms a specialized channel sculpted by evolutionary pressures to fulfill specific visual functions. Though the outlines of this perspective have been clear for decades, many essential details are lacking.
https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/ne ... glion-cell

Color itself undoubtedly originates in the light cones of the eye itself as can be seen in the this experiment with squirrel monkeys.
In an experiment, researchers were able to modify some of the green light cones in the eyes of male squirrel monkeys so they would be sensitive to red. The monkeys which couldn’t previously distinguish red dots in an image could distinguish them after the modification to the eyes. The processes that enabled color vision in the monkey brain didn’t need modification to be able to learn a new color. They just needed new inputs. The red must originate at least in part in the input from the eyes.
https://broadspeculations.com/2020/01/1 ... certainty/

Color is applied to the objects in the brain as it assembles the multiple inputs and then becomes stored in memory. People blind from birth do not see even in their dreams. People blind from birth who later gain an ability to see have to "learn" to see. So the brain may be perfectly capable of handling sensory input from the eye, training with actual input is still required.

Sorry, if this answer is too complicated but a good deal is already understood about how vision and others senses work. It is a cooperative arrangement between the sense organs and the brain itself.
I don't have the background to read the paper, but is the paper saying that 'one can see yellow in the ganglion cells', or, saying 'we understand how color yellow is generated in the gangion cells'. Or put another way, if someone is seeing yellow, can we see the yellow in their brain/optical system? Where is the yellow?
Jim Cross
Posts: 537
Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2021 12:36 pm

Re: Are there any SIMPLE books refuting what Bernardo calls "The materialism of qualities"?

Post by Jim Cross »

The yellow must be a product of the brain/optical system. Look at the example of the bull or any other organism that doesn't see color. If the yellow were in world external to the nervous system, then all organisms would see color and see the same colors, no more no less. The fact that color vision correlates exactly with the cone cells in the eyes should be all you need to know that it is a product of the optical system. Bulls have no cone cells; humans have three; squirrel monkeys two; and some insects five or more. They match exactly to the wavelengths of light that the organisms can detect.
lorenzop
Posts: 38
Joined: Mon Mar 01, 2021 5:29 pm

Re: Are there any SIMPLE books refuting what Bernardo calls "The materialism of qualities"?

Post by lorenzop »

Jim Cross wrote: Sun Oct 17, 2021 12:48 pm The yellow must be a product of the brain/optical system. Look at the example of the bull or any other organism that doesn't see color. If the yellow were in world external to the nervous system, then all organisms would see color and see the same colors, no more no less. The fact that color vision correlates exactly with the cone cells in the eyes should be all you need to know that it is a product of the optical system. Bulls have no cone cells; humans have three; squirrel monkeys two; and some insects five or more. They match exactly to the wavelengths of light that the organisms can detect.
so, if we inspect the nervous system of person A seeing yellow and smelling apple pie, we should observe the color yellow and smell the apple pie. or, are yellow and the smell of apple pie abstractions, emergent abstractions . . . like we see legs in motion but we don't see the 'running'
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