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SOTT Focus: MindMatters: Do NPCs Have an Inner Monologue? Discussing the 5 Pristine Inner Experiences

Self-talk. Visualizations. Bodily awareness. Unconscious thought processes. In our day-to-day course of existence our minds assimilate, respond and react to any number of stimuli from within - and without. But how often do we stop to consider just how we do this and what faculties of apprehension are actually put to use? And do we even have a framework, vocabulary and level of awareness from which to do it?

Inner speech (inner monologue), inner vision, sensory awareness, emotions and unsymbolized thinking are all categories that, according to psychologist and researcher Russell T. Hurlburt, can help one come to know what one's "pristine inner experience" is. Along with such a framework and the research inspired by it come many questions. What does it mean to be "in the moment"? Do all people use all categories of inner experience with the same frequency? How are we used to describing our inner experiences to ourselves and to others? Were personages like Gurdjieff on to something when he encouraged people to observe themselves?

Join us this week on MindMatters as we question the many assumptions, presuppositions, and mediations that come between cognizance of individual inner experience, and a relative state of unawareness regarding just what makes us tick.

Running Time: 01:36:09

Download: MP3 — 132 MB


World War 100: The survival of humanity depends on which theory of mind is correct

© Sony Pictures Releasing CIS
It is July 5, 2024, and America and Europe are theaters for total cultural war between the progressive postmodern elite that dominates the West and the insurgent populist resistance. This culture war has spilled over into every facet of our lives — in America at least, it is virtually impossible to watch a movie, read a comic book, turn on the television, or listen to a comedian without being confronted by the culture war.

While this culture war is waged on our TVs and mobile phones, another war, a real war, is taking place, between the World Ocean and the World Island, between America and its allies on one hand, and China and its allies on the other. The two dominant powers have yet to directly enter the war, but their allies in Ukraine and Russia are fighting a near-total war with casualty rates similar to those seen in World War I. Both sides have decreed this to be an existential struggle, and it threatens to explode into World War III at any moment. If it does, the possibility of global thermonuclear destruction manifests.

What is remarkable about the possibility of World War III is that, even if we don't annihilate ourselves, it might still be the last global war ever fought by human beings. The fourth war, World War 100, might be fought by AI. Artificial Intelligence has already begun to transform society, and many of the scientists, engineers, and scholars who are working in the field believe that this is just the beginning of a machine learning tsunami that will be so enormous that AI will, sooner or later, virtually replace humanity.


Best of the Web: The perversion of mental health practice: Woke capture of clinical & counseling psychology

wokeness woke meter politically correct
The curious case study of Dr. Helen Hsu, PsyD, "Rematriating Psychology," and how it illustrates the near-complete encroachment of cultural Marxism on western psychological science and practice.

The field of psychology has been hard hit by the shift in radical political ideology geared toward "dismantling" or "decentering Eurocentric" values, "rematriation" and "decolonization." A simple google search of these terms will bring up a slew of recent articles with most of them published within the past decade or so.

In this article, we first describe the underlying ideology of this recent movement and use an example of a recently-elected midlevel functionary of the American Psychological Association to frame the discussion.

Then we describe the potential harms this movement has to the validity of psychology and the public trust.

Finally, we will finish with highlighting the value of retaining the values of sound, rigorous scientific principles, rationalism, objectivity and why it is foolish and ultimately antithetical to psychological or clinical science writ large to dismiss these values as "tools of oppression," "white supremacy," "whiteness," or other nonsense that's fashionable today.


Transcending our left-brain limitations

All our inner monologues emerge from brain's very error-prone left hemisphere.
Left vs Right Brain
© Alex Krainer's TrendCompassClose but wrong: the iconic Mercedes Benz ad characterizes left brain as “Realistic…” and “I know exactly who I am.”
My day job, which involves speculation in financial and commodities markets has formed me as a trend follower - both by practice and by philosophical conviction. Trend following is conceptually a simple strategy: you buy things that go up in price and sell things that go down. But while the concept is simple, putting it in practice successfully can be very challenging.

Trend following: a valid school of life

In a broader sense, trend following strikes me as a valid school of life in general. Advancing in any endeavor, achieving a positive departure from the status quo depends on the quality of our decisions and our commitment to those decisions. What we think, feel, discuss or imagine makes little difference: it is the decisions that we take and execute that count. Every decision we make changes the trajectory of our life, whether in small or big ways. The unnerving part is that we can't always predict these changes.

Some decisions will lead to unforeseen consequences and at times outcomes that are opposite of those we intended or desired. Regardless, taking those risks is integral to every departure from the status quo, which is itself not a fixed position but usually a state of gradual but steady decay.

As with trend following, advances in life tend to be won not in a straight line but in discrete, sudden leaps where significant changes come together all of a sudden and "seemingly out of nowhere," followed by long stretches of time marked by a sort of, "one step forward, two steps back" footwork that can seem interminable and exasperating. Those discouraging flat patches can be a test of determination and perseverance. They can be detrimental to those travellers who lack in commitment, discipline and patience in their pursuits. In a way, the sudden leaps forward can be regarded as rewards for the risks taken and efforts expended in the face of uncertainty.

So far so good - I believe this is all rather straightforward and most of us can identify with this characterization of life. What's a lot less straightforward is the way we arrive at the decisions to venture in the first place.



"Beyond the fiction of reality, there is the reality of the fiction." — Slavoj Zizek
A hidden hand sways us from beyond the veil of the unseen. Through the metaphysical purdah insulating our reality from the underlying substrate, we are governed by its secret laws. The ancients grasped the most foundational of these as the Golden Mean, or some variation thereof; the keeper of checks and balances, the taut string of harmonic tension as the self-regulatory backstop of order. When that balance is upset or destroyed, things go haywire.

Reflect: In life, the peak moments of beauty are often cast at the crossroads of opposing polarities or competing tensions. These are the metaphysical zeniths of experience, where nature wells to its crescendoing heights; instances of perfection that are tragically fleeting, and all the more rare, and beautiful, for it.

Take food: some of the world's top chefs insist the choicest delicacies balance on the fragile edge of spoilage and decay — well-aged cheeses, for example. A moment more turns it to rot, a moment less and it is imperfectly unfinished.

Similarly, summer's magical apotheosis in the northern hemisphere lives briefly as the ebbing tide of Solstice has already begun pulling the clock backwards. The days now grow shorter, leaving in their wake the briefly glittering spark of promise, a moment of perfect unity of all the countervailing forces of nature as they rush past each other in opposite directions, briefly overlapping — ephemeral, and all the more precious for it.

So too does life seem to ripen at the nexus where age and youth collide, leaving the purest expression of enjoyment as a transient precarity, hardly to be grasped before it is washed away. We only hit our stride, learning of our make, our likes and dislikes, needs and wants, the beat and crystallization of our confidence and persona, at just the moment when our years begin overtaking us, and the youth for which these consolidations of character would have been the most ready joy-spark of expression is now long in the shadow, robbed forever of its vibrancy.

Nature is fiercely protective of its rarest treasures, in whose penumbra we forever dwell.

Comment: For more on this, see:


The Beast of Ideology Lifts the Lid on Transformation

Free Palestine protest
The police repression of student protests exposes sheer intolerance towards those voicing condemnation against the violence in Gaza.

The Transformation is accelerating. The harsh, often violent, police repression of student protests across the U.S. and Europe, in wake of the continuing Palestinian massacres, exposes sheer intolerance towards those voicing condemnation against the violence in Gaza.

The category of 'hate speech' enacted into law has become so ubiquitous and fluid that criticism of the conduct of Israel's behaviour in Gaza and the West Bank is now treated as a category of extremism and as a threat to the state. Confronted by criticism of Israel, the ruling élites respond by angrily lashing out.

Is there a boundary (still) between criticism and anti-semitism? In the West the two increasingly are being made to cohere.

Today's stifling of any criticism of Israel's conduct - in blatant contradiction with any western claim to a values-based order - reflects desperation and a touch of panic. Those who still occupy the leadership slots of Institutional Power in the U.S. and Europe are compelled by the logic of those structures to pursue courses of action that are leading to 'system' breakdown, both domestically - and concomitantly - provoking the dramatic intensification of international tensions, too.

Arrow Down

Behavioural science at its worst

© BBCLaura Dodsworth
As Laura Dodsworth writes in a recent article, the claim by members of SPI-B (the U.K. Government's Scientific Pandemic Insights Group on Behaviours) that they opposed the use of fear to control public behaviour is demonstrably false. It's a minuted fact that they advised directly threatening a sizeable proportion of the U.K. population:
page snip
© ximage-50/pagespeed.ic.ju
It's disturbing enough that a group of senior academics see fit to deny historical fact in a major medical journal, yet Dodsworth's other anxiety is even more troubling:
My second significant concern was the astonishing idea that the authors could "leave aside the ethical and political dimensions of this argument". How can psychologists leave aside the ethical dimensions of using fear, whether for an article or advising Government and drafting the plans in the first place?
The psychologists base their claim that they wouldn't have recommended threat (even though they did) on a selective reading of the literature:
The scientific literature tells a very different story. It shows that frightening people is generally an ineffective way of persuading them to engage in health protective behaviours.
However, basic facts, most scientific research in the field, and their previously published writings undermine their denial.


SOTT Focus: The Goldilocks Enigma

The Goldilocks Enigma
© Paul Davies
It's not too hot, it's not too cold and its forces act together in a way that's just right; why does the universe seem so perfectly tailor-made for life to exist?

In his book aptly titled The Goldilocks Enigma, physicist and science writer Paul Davies says that some scientists claim to be on the verge of providing answers to the great questions of existence such as: Why are we here? How did the universe begin? How will it end? How is the world put together? Why is it the way it is? And so on. We recognize these questions from Philip Goff's rather feeble attempt to philosophize about them in the previous series of posts (beginning here): "Why? The Meaning of the Universe". Here I'll just suggest that the reader will be better served reading Davies over Goff, even if I don't think Davies has the whole banana either.

Davies explains that the reason some scientists are so confident about the possibility of being able to explain the order of the universe is due to developments in both cosmology and high-energy particle physics. However, elsewhere, Davies has warned us against 'Taking Science on Faith' because the faith scientists have in the immutability of physical laws has origins in Christian theology. (He was roundly criticized for saying this).


Remembering Daniel Kahneman: Seven theories that can help you understand how you think

Daniel Kahneman
© Craig Barritt/Getty ImagesDaniel Kahneman
The world of psychology has recently experienced a profound loss with the passing of Daniel Kahneman, a pioneering figure whose work has reshaped our understanding of the human mind in many ways. In this newsletter, we reflect on some of the ways his contributions can help you understand yourself better.
1. Anchoring

Along with his long-time collaborator Amos Tversky, Kahneman developed the concept and demonstrated the effect of anchoring. This is a phenomenon whereby, when we encounter a number early in a decision process, even when that number is completely irrelevant, we can be influenced by it and reluctant to move too far away from it. This can significantly affect the decisions and estimates that you make.

For example, if you are negotiating the price of something and the seller starts with an unusually high price, you might find yourself negotiating down from that high number rather than considering the actual value of the thing you're buying. Even if you end up paying less than the initial price offered, you might still pay more than you could have because your perception was "anchored" by that first high number.


Anti-Communist, Russian nationalist, enemy of Hitler: Who was 'Putin's favorite philosopher'?

Ivan Ilyin
© RT/RTIvan Ilyin
How Ivan Ilyin, a thinker falsely accused by some in the West - seeking to promote a certain narrative - of being a 'supporter of fascism', became so influential

He was a staunch supporter of the anti-Bolshevik White Movement during the Russian Civil War and a monarchist who was close to far-right Russian émigré circles. He was also a thinker who was accused of supporting fascism, but was persecuted by Nazi Germany as soon as Hitler came to power. Despite his an (sic) ardent anti-communism, he strongly supported the Soviet state in its confrontation with the Third Reich. All these facts describe one person - the renowned Russian philosopher Ivan Ilyin.

RT explores whether Ilyin really was a fascist, why his socio-political views can give us a better understanding of 21st century Russia, and how he apparently became the Russian president's favorite philosopher.

1) One fairly short article, can only do so much to present the ideas of a thinker. Below are various comments and links for anyone interested in further exploring his ideas and those of others that have influenced current Russian thought.

1) One interesting fact about Ilyin is that:
Ilyin's mother was an ethnic German and German was his second native language - so the philosopher could have easily assimilated into the Western European environment after being expelled from the USSR.
2) Some of works by Ilyin are translated into English, below are excerpts from the blurbs:
On Resistance to Evil by Force
Written in 1925, On Resistance to Evil by Force is one of the most important tracts composed by white émigré philosopher Ivan Alexandrovich Ilyin. Responding to the pacifist pretentions of Count Leo Tolstoy, Ilyin mounts a tenacious defence of the Orthodox tradition of physical opposition to evil. As he explains, in the face of evil which can be contained by no other means, a forceful response is not only permissible, but becomes a knightly duty. Further, heroic courage consists not only in recognising this duty, but in bearing its heavy moral burden without fear. [...]
The Singing Heart: A Book of Quiet Reflections
The Singing Heart: A Book of Quiet Reflections is a collection of reflections on human nature and morality; the beauty of nature and its relationship with man as created being and God as creator; man's duties, responsibilities, and destiny in life; and the interplay of heart, mind, and soul. These reflections from a "singing heart" are beautifully written in a language steeped in love for Russia and the Orthodox faith and provide a glimpse into the soul of a man who refused to be beaten by the cruelty of his time but found beauty in the darkest of days.
Foundations of Christian Culture
"The Gospel teaches not flight from the world, but the Christianization of the world. Thus, the sciences, the arts, politics, and the social order can all be those spiritual hands with which the Christian takes the world. And the calling of a Christian is not to chop off those hands, but to imbue their work and toil with the living spirit of Christ. Christianity has a great calling, which many do not ever realize. This purpose can be defined as the creation of a Christian culture."

This book is Ivan Ilyin's attempt at a spiritual and practical handbook at creating Christian culture in an increasinly post-Christian world.
3) Next are links to books and articles:
Ivan Ilyin
Best of the Web: Reading Putin at Valdai 23 Oct 2021
As Putin ages he appears to be drawn increasingly to themes of history and philosophy, and so he discussed issues related to the history of the Great Patriotic War (World War II), noting his ongoing interest and occasional occupation with historical documents. Regarding philosophy, he repeated his appreciation of early 20th century political philosopher Ivan Ilyin, whose work he keeps on a bookshelf and, he says, he often picks up and reads. Some Western propagandists have done their best to paint Ilyin as a 'fascist' so they can taint Putin to the hilt, as is the wont of much of Western 'thought' about Russia today. Ilyin was opposed to both fascist and communist totalitarianism and supported what he thought of as a Russian - that is, a controlled - form of constitutional republic that would have been more limited than Western models. His first claim to fame was a balanced refutation of Lev Tolstoy's radical pacifism.
For those interested, Ivan Ilyin is mentioned in the text of other SOTT articles. See also this online source for translation of a few of his essays. One example is:
Exploring the paradox of American russophobia
Ivan Ilyin argued that Russophobia underpinned European desires to dismember and exploit Russia.
Which also mentions:
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, one of its initial usages was by John Stuart Mill in 1836. Mill wrote "the real cause" for increasing British military budgets was that "Ministers are smitten with the epidemic disease of Russo-phobia."
4) Another Russian thinker sometimes mentioned along with Ivan Ilyin is Nikolay Berdyaev
See for instance this
What if Vladimir Putin knows a 'third way' for society? 14 Jun 2016 which has several quotes from Ivan Ilyin, including
"Satanic men are recognized by their eyes, by their smile, their voice, their words and deeds. We, Russians, have seen them alive and in the flesh; we know who they are and whence they come. Yet foreigners up to this point have not understood this phenomenon and do not want to understand it, for it brings them judgment and condemnation." Ivan Ilyin (1883-1954)
About Nikolay Berdyaev there is:
Putin also noted his respect for Nikolai Berdyaev (1874-1948), the moderate traditionalist political, historical, and philosophical thinker, who was forced by the Bolsheviks to emigrate in 1922 with thousands of other mostly traditionalist philosophers, clergymen, historians, legal scholars and the like. Berdyaev was indeed, as Putin noted, one of the most profound Russian thinkers of his generation, and his works have undergone a popular revival in post-Soviet Russia. A Russian Orthodox Christian believer and anti-communist, Berdyaev organized a compilation of articles under the title 'Vekhi' or 'Landmarks' and a followup collection of articles written by the flower of the traditionalist wing of the largely communist nihilist, utopian and maximalist Russian intelligentsia while in emigration. He also was the leading figure of the Russian émigré community in Europe, most of all Paris, where he continued to publish works about Russia at the émigré publisher YMCA. The Vekhi group and YMCA authors included other brilliant philosophers and theologians, such as the intuitivist philosopher Semyon Frank and the innovative Orthodox theologian Father Sergei Bulgakov.

Putin's praise for two anti-communist pre-Soviet Russian thinkers reinforces his position as a convinced anti-communist, a position he began to take immediately after the Soviet collapse Bolsheviks. So much for our erstwhile Western propagandists' assertion that Putin is rehabilitating Stalin. The attraction to Ilyin, Berdyaev, and presumably other Vekhi-oriented thinkers is likely part of Putin's effort either to discover, develop, or justify his own traditionalist leanings. These thinkers have much to offer both Russian and Western readers to this day.
"Nikolay Berdyaev" is mentioned in the text of these SOTT articles.

5) A more recent Russian author and thinker mentioned in the above article is Solzhenitsyn, who has many headlines. See these search results title, summary, text. Examples include: 6) MindMatters has a few videos about Russian history and thought: