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  #31  
Old 4th April 2017, 10:20 PM
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Strato Strato is offline
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Default Re: Homo Deus: A brief History of Tomorrow

Attempting to characterise Harari's Homo Deus in a word, cerebral might be applicable.

I guess I have to concur there is no need for emotive adjectives and a humanistic sentimentalism in contemplating the seeming inevitable imperialism of utterly impersonal Datism.

There is detachment in Karl Marx's writings, Dialectical Materialism. It was Engels who most graphically described the conditions and despair for the proletariat, the product of industrialisation, capitalism and the evils of class and exploitation. Mark was a fine historian. So is Harari.

Harari movingly describes the plight of pigs and cows, confined and chemically forced to continually produce protein, artificially inseminated, robbed of maternal and social bonding as illustrative of how humans might be regarded and used by super intelligent algorithms, this century.

Do I really care if my excellent and gorgeous looking new guitar was built by robotics? Old elegant hand built instruments will always remain the most valued. I guess handcraft will never disappear, yet humans themselves very well may, rendered superfluous, so it would seem. Even if that is how things will transpire, now that we have unleashed the data revolution, I personally consider that is the most horrible scenario imaginable. Although being a Sapiens mammal, I am biased towards biology, sentience, consciousness, feeling, empathy, flourishing, the beautiful planet. All of it mere sentimentalism.

As Harari reminds us, the Yangtze river dolphin is now functionally extinct, consequence of the construction of the Three Gorges Dam. And what makes us so special, friends, scholars and comrades?
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  #32  
Old 4th April 2017, 11:26 PM
wadaye wadaye is offline
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Default Re: Homo Deus: A brief History of Tomorrow

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Hi folks i listened to the podcast interview between Harris and Hariri. Very interesting. While meditation, sensations and perception of ourselves on a moment to moment basis are pathways to moving towards the conscious experience of life in all its viscerality, the reference to Vipassana meditation as taught by Goenka being a doorway to such understandng does require a caveat in my view. I noticed that Hariri avoided the clear reference by Harris to notions of consciousness extending beyond death being religious fiction insofar as the criticism also applies to Goenka's teachings. This is relevant because it is impossible for anybody to sit through Goenka's ten, twenty, or thirty day courses and ignore the religious teachings about consciousness surviving death in the case of rebirth within the supposed 31 planes of existence and awareness surviving death beyond those planes in Nibbana/Nirvana.
Clearly Hariri has used the opportunity to meditate to benefit himself in this way, and his experience provides scope for optimism in the venture of understanding oneself. However it is not a prerequisite to understanding to do so through Goenka vipassana or any form of vipassana.
Indeed wadaye.

Harari and Harris both appear to have their heads screwed on, but their advocacy for Vipassana needs to be qualified. They practise a difference 'school' to one another, of the two schools.

In Homo Deus, Harari destroys the notion of the soul, also the self and even disposes of 'in-dividuality.' He is an atheist and doesn't believe in the continuation of consciousness, nibbana or astral travelling and such. Of course, neither does Harris.

I think they practise mindfulness. Meditation I guess is most effective in ordering the mind and filing data, for synthesis. One can apparently 'attain to,' experience, heightened consciousness, lucidity, such as occurs in the liminal state between sleep and wakefulness, hypnagogia, where creative ideas can be born.
I appreciated his sincere efforts in this regard. It sort of encouraged me to give a bit more of a restart to my meditation (which I do in the lying down state, particularly as a substitute for sleeping when I can't get to sleep!). Having practised vipassana the awareness of sensations never goes away although the relationship to them may change. Anyway after listening to the podcast it stimulated something in me to do something more akin to active vipassana, not of course following anybody's instructions, not even in my head. And then is it really Yoga or pranayama, ... probably not. But what about the buddhist monks slashing muslim children with machetes and burning them alive in Burma? That's a pretty hard one. So its just meditation. One can take ideas from other people and traditions, even if one disagrees or downright despises aspects of the teachings of the person who passed it on. One can use those ideas as they are useful and dispose off them when they are not. Neither is one bound by a tradition and any need to identify within a tradition.
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  #33  
Old 10th April 2017, 08:41 PM
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Default Re: Homo Deus: A brief History of Tomorrow

His writing is disjointed. He should work on subtlety and simplicity.
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Old 11th April 2017, 12:39 AM
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Default Re: Homo Deus: A brief History of Tomorrow

In Dymocks I held in my trembling hands this book heralding, exalting in, The Master Algorithm inevitably to be visited upon us. Technology that builds itself. We are blessed, more with each passing day. How wise to have unleashed the Technocracy, for the Universal Good.

It looked to have been written for the young reader, full of subtlety and simplicity. There was only one copy. I couldn't deny some other credulous pawn in Silicon Valley's game the chance to light upon it. And there needs to be some balance. There were several copies of each of Harari's books. Sad.

https://www.bookdepository.com/The-M.../9780141979243

So I bought Daniel C Dennett From Bacteria to Bach and Back: the Evolution of Minds, 2017. The fine neo-Darwinian philosopher and excellent atheist. I forked out the $55, hard copy.

'The Leonardo of the New Renaissance... intelligent, witty, highly readable and devastating.' Sunday Times.

Machiavelli will have to be laid aside for now. One needs to lighten up.

What if we could get Dennett for the GAC?
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