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david eagleman

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Possibilianism

possibilianism I know we're not supposed to talk about religion, politics, sex, abortion, guns, or homosexuality - but I thought today's calendar cartoon was too poignant to ignore.

Do you believe in the Bible, Jesus Christ, his mother, the Apostles, a prophet, or science?

Does it have to be either-or? Can't it be yes-and?

I don't know what to believe just yet, but I think it would be terribly nice if we could all have a conversation about it, as David Eagleman suggests with his view, Possibilianism:

"Our ignorance of the cosmos is too vast to commit to atheism, and yet we know too much to commit to a particular religion. A third position, agnosticism, is often an uninteresting stance in which a person simply questions whether his traditional religious story (say, a man with a beard on a cloud) is true or not true. But with Possibilianism I'm hoping to define a new position -- one that emphasizes the exploration of new, unconsidered possibilities. Possibilianism is comfortable holding multiple ideas in mind; it is not interested in committing to any particular story."

Isn't it a thrill? What if there's a basis for the extraterrestrials theory like in the movie, The 5th Element? Or maybe we can go all the way BC and spend some more time understanding Celtic Reconstructionist Paganism?

What appeals most to me is the open discourse and inclusion - all options are considered on their own merit. None (for now) is considered the one and ultimate truth, none is imposed on others. We can say how we feel and what we think without fear of being attacked, ridiculed, or killed in the name of a supposedly benevolent being. That sounds like true religious freedom to me.

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Jung on Psychological Type theory

Carl-JungSince my blog post "There are no Introverts" garnered a bit of attention, here is a fitting passage again from The Collected Works of CG Jung:

"Recapitulating, I would like to stress that each of the two general attitudes, introversion and extraversion, manifests itself in a special way in an individual through the predominance of one of the four basic functions. Strictly speaking, there are no introverts and extraverts pure and simple, but only introverted and extraverted function-types, such as thinking-types, sensation types, etc."

Jung goes on to say that there could be sub-divisions in each function, e.g. intuitive and speculative, logical and mathematical, or empirical and positivist Thinking. He concludes:

"For the sake of completeness, I must add that I do not regard the classification of types according to introversion and extraversion and the four basic functions as the only possible one. Any other psychological criterion could serve just as well as a classifier, although, in my view, no other possesses so great a practical significance."

I for one can't wait to see what the next few years of neuroscience advances hold. Kahneman and Eagleman already talked about the brain's subconscious systems, and when I see him at the end of the month I'll hopefully remember to ask him if, then, our dominant and auxiliary functions would be located in the neurocortex while the inferior functions are buried deeper elsewhere.

And at the end of the day, is it our consciousness that defines our selves, or our unconscious predispositions? Are we more truly ourselves when we don't think about it?

Don't want to miss mentioning Dario's excellent work in this field either; in case you haven't already, check out his Google talk.

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