An interesting blog from Sam Harris. http://www.edge.org/q2011/q11_12.html#harriss

Cheers,

Doug

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Thank you for sharing this, Douglas. I always find it incredibly refreshing to hear from Sam Harris after trudging through the emerging religion of New Atheism in debates, forums, youtube soliloquies, etc. He is, in my view, a splendid example of Orange transcended and included.

 

 

Yes, I concur ;-)

Thanks

Dawid Dahl said:

He is, in my view, a splendid example of Orange transcended and included.

 

 

Thanks for sharing this, it was very well-written!

As you know I appreciate Harris quite a bit. And he's right about taking the time to slow down thought, to sit, to be. But what is it that happens when we do so? Do we become "enlightened?" It seems this notion is one of many Harris tries to debunk. There's a place for reducing thought but do we have to elevate it above everything else?

Also recall Harris' essay on Buddhism cited in his thread. A few reminders from that essay:

"Indeed, there are ideas within Buddhism that are so incredible as to render the dogma of the virgin birth plausible by comparison. No one is served by a mode of discourse that treats such pre-literate notions as integral to our evolving discourse about the nature of the human mind."

Nonetheless, "the methodology of Buddhism, if shorn of its religious encumbrances, could be one of our greatest resources as we struggle to develop our scientific understanding of human subjectivity."

Regarding interfaith dialogue:

"It seems profoundly unlikely that we will heal the divisions in our world simply by multiplying the occasions for interfaith dialogue. The end game for civilization cannot be mutual tolerance of patent irrationality."

"It seems profoundly unlikely that we will heal the divisions in our world simply by multiplying the occasions for interfaith dialogue. The end game for civilization cannot be mutual tolerance of patent irrationality."

 

Since reading The Moral Landscape, I've gained a little more respect for Harris (although I think the book has its problems).  In this book, he is scathingly critical of religion as well, and points out (with good reason) the many glaring moral hypocrisies and shortcomings of the Catholic Church and other religious institutions.  But one of Harris' shortcomings, in my view, is his one-dimensional understanding of "religion" (identifying it entirely with its Blue or Amber manifestations), and seemingly also a lack of appreciation for the role of the non-rational in realizing human flourishing or well-being.

Hi balder

 

well said I rejoin here, I mean the so called club of the "brights" (such ridiculous a term) with Daniel Dennett as one of their speaker fail to see what true spirituality is.

 

These "new atheists" (again a silly terminology) seem to be caught in a kind of a hidden scientistic interpretation and discourse on some "metaphysical" explanation of the origin of mankind (metaphysical in the sense given by  Karl Popper with his definition of Darwin´s theory as being a "metaphysical research program" because of its empirical unverifiablity.


Balder said:

"It seems profoundly unlikely that we will heal the divisions in our world simply by multiplying the occasions for interfaith dialogue. The end game for civilization cannot be mutual tolerance of patent irrationality."

 

Since reading The Moral Landscape, I've gained a little more respect for Harris (although I think the book has its problems).  In this book, he is scathingly critical of religion as well, and points out (with good reason) the many glaring moral hypocrisies and shortcomings of the Catholic Church and other religious institutions.  But one of Harris' shortcomings, in my view, is his one-dimensional understanding of "religion" (identifying it entirely with its Blue or Amber manifestations), and seemingly also a lack of appreciation for the role of the non-rational in realizing human flourishing or well-being.

seemingly...lack of appreciation for the role of the non-rational in realizing human flourishing or well-being.

Disagree. Harris indeed appreciates the non-rational practice of mindfulness in well-being, which according to the "lost in thought" link is not a rational practice at all. It seems he's just contextualizing it rationally. And as to appreciating a post-amber or blue religion, there is contravening evidence that he does in the thread by his name (and its links) above. And it seems his next book is about just this topic.

Also see this link to a article about Harris at Integral Options. Excerpts:

“I see nothing irrational about seeking the states of mind that lie at the core of many religions. Compassion, awe, devotion and feelings of oneness are surely among the most valuable experiences a person can have. Ecstasy, rapture, bliss, concentration, a sense of the sacred—I’m comfortable with all of that. I think all of that is indispensable and I think it’s frankly lost on much of the atheist community.”

“If I open a page of Meister Eckhart, I often know what he’s talking about.”

“There’s a real problem with the word [God] because it shields the genuinely divisive doctrines and believers from criticism. If the God of the 25 percent is incredibly valuable, which it is; and it’s actually worth realizing, which it is; and it’s something we can talk about rationally, which it is; then calling it ‘God’ prevents you from criticizing all the divisive nonsense that comes with religion.”

Now an argument can be made that he's wrong about God necessarily having to be lumped in with the amber and blue God, but he does acknowledge and appreciate post blue God.

Hi, Ed, yes, I agree he certainly allows for the existence of a post-religious spirituality, and that he also supports non-rational practices such as mindfulness meditation.  I am also aware of his forthcoming book and I look forward to it.  But the bulk of his writing seems to be dedicated to completely discrediting most of the world's religions, rather than admitting to a developmental spectrum within them (though there are exceptions to this general thrust, as in the quotes above).  Perhaps a corner will be turned with the publication of his new book.

 

Regarding the non-rational, I was thinking more along the lines of some of our recent threads on horror fiction, creativity, madness, even the place of visionary language and mythic form in post-formal/vision-logic discourse.  These themes don't make much of an appearance in his work, and aren't frequently recognized for their post- (rather than pre-) manifestations.  For the most part, he simply draws a black/white contrast between rational facts and irrational pablum.

 

With that said, he does (occasionally, too rarely) qualify his broad-brush dismissals with statements that speak to me much more directly.  For instance:  “We need more than simply a criticism of the waywardness of our present situation. We need a positive statement of human possibility, human potential, and the spiritual experience, which takes the place of Iron Age philosophy and these bogus ideas... Ultimately we need a coherent presentation of ritual and all the other features of religion that people may still find necessary, but we need all of that to be presented in a form that does not require any unjustified belief, any endorsement of divisive superstitions.”

I certainly dislike Sam Harris´s ethnic profiling suggestion in action against terror because it goes too far towards the murky waters of prejudicial racism against arabs and middle-east looking people in general. Who the fuck he thinks he is?

His jewish background and his attachement to Israel are probably an an answer to that biased dilemma. He shoul pay more attention to that shadowy like displacement somewhere. Signifiers are gliding but some should be put not allowed to just fall apart.

While agreeing with him on the highly dubious content of Koranic texts in regard to violence apologetics, aand the islamic terrorists, he sometimes sounds like all muslim arabs are more or les potential ill-doers. It is a wrong view, the muslim terrorists are just an infime minority among the billion they are. I have too often heard that sort of crap from jewish friends, Just racial prejudice, nothing else.

 

Sam Harris should also pay a look at the equally fanatical views of some jewish settlers in the west bank with their messianic project of building Grand Israel, and easily wiping out the natives over there, Something looking to close to what the white settlers did with the indian nations These nuts do not specially qualified to be peace loving people as I see. they look at palestinians as tehy were a bunch of bugs. A TV program on CNN done by Christiane Amanpour depicted these God´s warrior nuts, it was actually scary.

He should then loudly correct his views on that, otherwise he would not gain any political credibility. The same can be said abut Hitchens.

Let them be intolerant against Judaism too. It is needed. After all it is the mother of nutsy inventions in mythical gibberrish and violence.

 

 

 

 



theurj said:

Also see this link to a article about Harris at Integral Options. Excerpts:

“I see nothing irrational about seeking the states of mind that lie at the core of many religions. Compassion, awe, devotion and feelings of oneness are surely among the most valuable experiences a person can have. Ecstasy, rapture, bliss, concentration, a sense of the sacred—I’m comfortable with all of that. I think all of that is indispensable and I think it’s frankly lost on much of the atheist community.”

“If I open a page of Meister Eckhart, I often know what he’s talking about.”

“There’s a real problem with the word [God] because it shields the genuinely divisive doctrines and believers from criticism. If the God of the 25 percent is incredibly valuable, which it is; and it’s actually worth realizing, which it is; and it’s something we can talk about rationally, which it is; then calling it ‘God’ prevents you from criticizing all the divisive nonsense that comes with religion.”

Now an argument can be made that he's wrong about God necessarily having to be lumped in with the amber and blue God, but he does acknowledge and appreciate post blue God.

Xibalba: "His jewish background and his attachement to Israel [...]"

 

What prompts you to conclude that that Sam Harris is "attached to Israel"? Surely you must have noticed that Sam is fiercely critical of all forms of theism, including Judaism. If you haven't, I don't think you've read or watched much of his books or presentations/debates.

Did I say he is not critical of judaim?

No.

I just dont like that idea of ethnic profiling, a very good way to demonize all people having a north-african or mideast look, a creey statement. Dreadfully the nazis did it with the jews.

On that I would say that he is just an asshole if he stands for that.

 

read him?

Yes kind of, but not impress at all. reading neuroscience bores me, I have a MD and psychology background.

the "bright" gang of ole Dennet is not so bright to me actually. He is quite good at unexplaining consciousness.

showing the silliness of mythical religion is not specially difficult either.  I didn´t  wait for them to have such opinion I got already as a teenager.

but let them get a Nagarjuna for example.

 

Dahl är ett svenskt eller norskt namn eller hur?

 

 

 

 

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