Sam Harris

Any topics primarily focused on metaphysics can be discussed here, in a generally casual way, where conversations may take unexpected turns.

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findingblanks
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Sam Harris

Post by findingblanks »

Personally, I find Bernardo to be the greatest modern living philosopher when it comes to making rational ontological arguments.

I doubt he'd take it as an insult to say that, in my experience, when he strays from strict onotology and begins to speculate about other fields, he seems to range from fascinating and very penetrating to, at times, extremely clumsy and naïve. I'm assuming that range includes all of us when we speak on wide range of subject.

When he speaks about Sam Harris he sounds somewhat delusional at times. We can all watch dozens of videos where Bernardo speaks happily to thinkers who denounce Idealism as silly and embarrassingly wrong. When the personality fits with Bernardo, he is more than willing to overlook their ridged ignorances and just state his peace and make his arguments.

With Sam Harris it is different. Sam Harris has made it loud and clear that he is still questioning ontology and he has sharp criticisms for materialism. Sam is married to a pan-psychist and Sam has basically shouted loudly twice at the world to take Donald Hoffman seriously. This obviously doesn't mean that Sam feel convinced of Hoffman's idealism, but it certainly means he has deep respect for the core criticisms of materialism and see how idealism could be true.

If anybody just listned to Bernardo speak about Sam Harris, you would think Sam was one of the angry, shouting, condescending speakers who rail against idealism, rather than being a guy who very often says that some form of conscious foundationalism could be what is true.

Today I heard a podcast where Bernardo shouted to the world that Sam Harris is an example of the western person who just reduces Buddhism to
a set of techniques to make yourself feel better."

What?!?

Sam has spoken for hundreds of hours stating the exact opposite. On his meditation podcast, over and over, he states that the tradition of meditation he practices is NOT at all about feeling better. Yes, the insights about consciousness can have side affects that at times feel calm or nice, but Sam gives dozens of reasons why we should meditate even if the evidence were that it made us more tense and less healthy.

At this point I'm sad to say I wasn't surprised to hear Bernardo throw Sam yet again under the bus with such a drastic misrepresentation. Anybody who has seen how angry Bernardo gets when people misrepresent him or his work, can imagine that maybe, someday, Bernardo will issue a correction and an apology to Sam Harris.

Personally, I think Bernardo sees too much of himself in Sam and that can be very very triggering. Just a hunch.

More importantly, I think that Bernardo's work on idealism is filled with clarity and he goes about teaching it with great integrity. It's an honor to be able to recieved his formal works and I believe they are contributing greatly to the world at this scary time. And none of that is contradicted by the fact that Sam Harris is mainly very friendly to non-materialistic models (despite still be skeptical as well) or that Sam Harris is very deeply steeped in a tradition of meditation that has no interest in merely helping people feel calm.

He is as committed to truth as Bernardo and, obviously and naturally, they both have great blind-spots and touchy personalities in some contexts. Like nearly all of us.

Human oh so human.
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Brad Walker
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Re: Sam Harris

Post by Brad Walker »

Sam's nonmetaphysical opinions are more valuable than his public metaphysical position. Him shilling ineffective spiritual practices for a legacy is ironic.
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Soul_of_Shu
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Re: Sam Harris

Post by Soul_of_Shu »

Must this dead horse really be beaten again?
Here out of instinct or grace we seek
soulmates in these galleries of hieroglyph and glass,
where mutual longings and sufferings of love
are laid bare in transfigured exhibition of our hearts,
we who crave deep secrets and mysteries,
as elusive as the avatars of our dreams.
Jim Cross
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Re: Sam Harris

Post by Jim Cross »

Soul_of_Shu wrote: Fri Oct 15, 2021 11:54 am Must this dead horse really be beaten again?
We must guard against disrespectful, disparaging, and criticizing thoughts. We must try to practice reverence and devotion in our thinking at all times.

Rudolf Steiner
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Soul_of_Shu
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Re: Sam Harris

Post by Soul_of_Shu »

Jim Cross wrote: Fri Oct 15, 2021 12:43 pmWe must guard against disrespectful, disparaging, and criticizing thoughts. We must try to practice reverence and devotion in our thinking at all times.

Rudolf Steiner
I think I'll add that to the house rules. Then maybe someone can channel dear old Rudy and apply for the mod job. ;)
Here out of instinct or grace we seek
soulmates in these galleries of hieroglyph and glass,
where mutual longings and sufferings of love
are laid bare in transfigured exhibition of our hearts,
we who crave deep secrets and mysteries,
as elusive as the avatars of our dreams.
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AshvinP
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Re: Sam Harris

Post by AshvinP »

Jim Cross wrote: Fri Oct 15, 2021 12:43 pm
Soul_of_Shu wrote: Fri Oct 15, 2021 11:54 am Must this dead horse really be beaten again?
We must guard against disrespectful, disparaging, and criticizing thoughts. We must try to practice reverence and devotion in our thinking at all times.

Rudolf Steiner

Context. Thinking. Discernment.

Steiner wrote:The borders of these other special sciences must be crossed over with the help of spiritual science. We must inwardly resolve at least to confront those who, without reason ["new atheists"], oppose this spiritual science, and sometimes even be a bit rude with them. There is a fundamental need for humanity to adopt this spiritual science as quickly as possible, and in all seriousness. This can really happen if only we bring good will to the understanding of it.
“It is your presumption that freedom is something which you already possess that ensures that you will remain in chains."
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Soul_of_Shu
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Re: Sam Harris

Post by Soul_of_Shu »

Feel free to resurrect it all yet again, of course, but one might be saved the trouble by revisiting the longish thread, in which BK, who has often confessed that he is oh-so-humanly fallible, and even neurotically so, actually contributed some comments to the discussion ... BK calling out Sam Harris on his "sophomoric ignorance"
Here out of instinct or grace we seek
soulmates in these galleries of hieroglyph and glass,
where mutual longings and sufferings of love
are laid bare in transfigured exhibition of our hearts,
we who crave deep secrets and mysteries,
as elusive as the avatars of our dreams.
findingblanks
Posts: 503
Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2021 12:36 am

Re: Sam Harris

Post by findingblanks »

Soul, you have a tendency to filter everything through your experience only. So, in that spirit, let me first say that I think I can stand in your shoes and see why you derive no value in this conversation.

However, I am not you nor are any of the new people who may have interesting takes on this topic. The tone it takes will primarily come from the tone who pipes in. I can't control that, as you know. I can't control that you piped in with your tone or the other people with their.

I'm open to people who share my curiosity with the various threads that are connected to Bernardo's ontology, how he argues for it, and the arguments he makes against other thinkers. Along with that, I am curious and open to others who are curious as to what might be the practical consequences of such arguments and reactions.

You aren't. That's so fine. But I find that your quick assumptive response fits perfectly in this topic. I know you mean well. And I have no clue if anybody else is new in this group since I've been gone. If not, I expect this will turn into a wasteland of silence and you can smile :) Or, those other folks will try to turn this into a Steiner conversation, perhaps. I have no clue.

Anyway, the fact that Bernardo mischaracterizes Sam so consistently, even after being corrected is interesting and I have seen lots of reactions on Twitter and Youtube of people who haven't heard of Bernardo and find that the loud screeching (it is a screech, right?) he goes into when talking about Sam is worrisome. I think Sam is naive in many ways philosophically. But I love that he asks good questions to a wide variety of thinkers, including idealists and others who think consciousness at least shares the ground-floor of reality. And I love that if Bernardo likes the personality of a person, he happily speaks well of them, even if they say things 100 times more absurd than Sam Harris has ever said. And, I don't think it is awful that Sam Harris has spent the majority of his life with Eastern teachers of Dzogchen. Bernardo goes in public and says that Sam teaches that meditation is just to feel better. Actually, Sam only has ever said the opposite, that the commitment is to the truest experience of consciousness without any thought or theory added to it, even if and when it is very uncomfortable.

I can't control who will surprise us here or not. That's one of the things I love about rich and diverse groups of curious people. Sorry to trigger your filter but I know it's not really a big deal to you and I appreciate you at least knowing me how you take this topic!
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Soul_of_Shu
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Re: Sam Harris

Post by Soul_of_Shu »

findingblanks wrote: Fri Oct 15, 2021 5:20 pm Soul, you have a tendency to filter everything through your experience only. So, in that spirit, let me first say that I think I can stand in your shoes and see why you derive no value in this conversation.
FB ... For what it's worth, as I think I made clear in the older thread I linked to, I agree that BK's attitude and tone in his berating of SH is counterproductive. And you're correct that new members since the last time this concern was discussed may have more insight to offer, which may be interesting. So I linked to that older thread, in which BK responds to these kind of concerns, and which may give new members some perspective as to where he's coming from, with his doubts about Sam's 'neuroscience' credentials and/or lack of any comprehensive understanding of metaphysics, or what he sees as the artifice of Sam's carefully crafted public image. Who knows, maybe BK will actually give a shit about what psychoanalytical insights are offered to him here, and change his attitude and tone. And maybe, wonder of wonders, the neighbourhood dogs will stop barking when I walk too close to their fenced-in yard. ;)
Here out of instinct or grace we seek
soulmates in these galleries of hieroglyph and glass,
where mutual longings and sufferings of love
are laid bare in transfigured exhibition of our hearts,
we who crave deep secrets and mysteries,
as elusive as the avatars of our dreams.
findingblanks
Posts: 503
Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2021 12:36 am

Re: Sam Harris

Post by findingblanks »

Hi Soul,

I don't think anything like this would change Bernardo's mind or attitude. But that isn't my goal. I don't have "a" goal when I write about something that I find wonderful in Bernardo's work. Or when I ask about things I find confusing. Unless, by 'goal' we mean that I seek 'clarity' but that sounds too flat for me.

I notice that there is wide spectrum of responses to Bernardo. Not everybody chooses to simply respond to the logic of his arguments for an idealist ontology. Some do. Some really only want to discuss the rationality of his step by step arguments. That's fun too!

But he gets angry. He gets silly. He gets passionate and he makes all sorts of claims about non-ontological subjects. He makes those claims in ways that often belittle and misrepresent other people. He claims that when a person consistently misrepresents another person, this is a sign of a horrible moral defect in them and they should not be trusted. I don't necessarily agree with his opinion on that, but I think his intuition is solid. Well, when we notice that Bernardo passionately misrepresent certain thinkers, this may or may not matter to people who are interested in him and his work.

And of course it is natural that when such a subject comes up there will be people bored by it. There will be people secretly annoyed by it. Some will remain quiet but be grateful to know about it. Those people tend to reach out in private because they don't like the way conversations form in groups of people who always think that only their perspective really matters.

I feel fortunate that for whatever reason I experience Bernardo as a very complex and thoughtful individual. I'm not surprised that there are many many many different ways to respond to his many many different claims about reality, especially when they get very personal and seem to contradict themselves. Thanks.
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