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Thread: Richard Dawkins: 'Somebody As Intelligent As Jesus Would Have Been an Atheist'

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    The thought is purely ridiculous because Jesus was the Son of God. How could he deny the existence of his own Father?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hamar Fox View Post
    Fascinating rebuttal. I can't come back from that. I thanked your post because I've never in my life seen such a devilishly convincing disproof of my disproofs, and never will again.
    Okay - to expand then. You claim to have disproved something, yet all you have done is tie some linguistic knots that have threaded themselves through your own subjective understanding. Recall, you said: "No belief system is objective. To identify with a religion is to identify with the subjectivity of its creators/followers, not to identify with truth." Substitute 'religion' with whatever you'd prefer to name your worldview and where does that leave 'truth'? It matters not how good the instruments at hand or the evidence arrayed before you, for in the end it all comes down to that information being processed by one's mind; you might claim to deal in 'truth', but in actual fact it is just another 'belief'.

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    Quote Originally Posted by paraplethon View Post
    Okay - to expand then. You claim to have disproved something, yet all you have done is tie some linguistic knots that have threaded themselves through your own subjective understanding. Recall, you said: "No belief system is objective. To identify with a religion is to identify with the subjectivity of its creators/followers, not to identify with truth." Substitute 'religion' with whatever you'd prefer to name your worldview and where does that leave 'truth'? It matters not how good the instruments at hand or the evidence arrayed before you, for in the end it all comes down to that information being processed by one's mind; you might claim to deal in 'truth', but in actual fact it is just another 'belief'.
    I don't claim to deal in truth. I claim to deal in logic. If logic is the flawed system of understanding of a flawed species, inadequate for understanding the complexity of the universe, so be it. But it's the only system of understanding we have except for blind faith, which, if logic is flawed, then belief is doubly, triply, infinitely so.

    Linguistics typically mirrors human thought process, and thus reason. Therefore a logical inconsistency can be scoffed away as a 'linguistic knot', but the fact remains that the linguistic knots in question exposed the foundations of the God-concept as internally self-refuting.

    Example: The subject is other than its object. To be conscious of something is for the subject to be conscious of something other than itself (to comprehend even itself, the subject must objectify itself and evaluate itself by the same standards it would an object). Therefore, division inheres in consciousness. Division is impossible in the absolute. Consciousness is impossible in an absolute God.

    Is that linguistic gymnastics? How about this:

    If God is the creator of things, then God is not those things, therefore incomprehensible, and therefore the concept is redundant. If God is those things, and not their creator, then God is tautological with the universe, a natural process, and therefore the concept is redundant. If you want to argue God is the universe plus some silly notion of consciousness, and that this therefore justifies the concept of God, then just apply any of the many disproofs of the possibility of a conscious God. One such argument: Consciousness is the reduction of many things to a single point, the subject. No such single point is possible is an absolute being or an omnipresent being. Another: Thought is a process. Process is change. For example, the mind is different at the beginning of a thought than in the middle, and different at the end than either in the middle or the beginning. Change is impossible in the absolute, therefore so is thought.

    I can go on and on. These aren't linguistic knots, but logical knots present in all monotheistic conceptions of God (not that polytheism escapes my criticism). I've no doubt that, having given no indication of your own views, you'll take refuge in some elusive, undisclosed 'third view', as the religious are wont to do, which you'll claim is immune to anything written above. But, to be honest, this cop-out is fine by me, since you'll be admitting, probably unintentionally, that you hold a similar position to me: that the less specific you are about things beyond that small portion of existence with which the human species is naturally concerned, the more likely you are to be correct, or rather, the less likely you are to be wrong.

    I follow this train of thought to its logical end: whatever the answer to questions of origins or the nature of existence, no specific theory offered up by any human mind has ever come close, and it is a piece of dishonesty to give the label 'God' to something so mind-bendingly undefined. Since 'natural process' covers infinitely more possibilities than 'God' ('natural process' covering every possibility, conceivable or inconceivable, not historically claimed under the banner of 'God'), 'natural process' is by far the more likely explanation (or provisional explanation, if you will).

    I take the humble position, as you seem to, that human knowledge has limits, inherent ones. There are likely things about the universe that we can never understand any more than a woodlouse can understand the theory of relativity or the economic forces underlying the toppling of the Soviet Union. This isn't to say we can't understand anything about the universe, as such. A woodlouse runs up against a Wellington boot and knows something is there. It doesn't and can't know the boot was made in China, but the woodlouse still knows something. It belongs to the same reality we do and understands it from its own angle. Humans are no different.

    The hypocrisy in advanced religious thought, that I see, is an acceptance of this fact one minute, then the next a complete back-pedal to a dishonest 'God must be X, Y and Z' stance. If you accept the limits of human understanding, accept also that nothing you can conceive, especially some primitive anthropomorphism, comes close to describing what lies beyond it. I'm not interested in establishing the truth of existence, only in establishing the untruth of lame attempts at simplifying it. The more shoelace people give me, the easier it is to trip them up with it, which is why the wise stay reticent, but at the same time, they betray they're aware they haven't a leg to stand on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hamar Fox View Post
    I don't claim to deal in truth. I claim to deal in logic. If logic is the flawed system of understanding of a flawed species, inadequate for understanding the complexity of the universe, so be it. But it's the only system of understanding we have except for blind faith, which, if logic is flawed, then belief is doubly, triply, infinitely so.
    Right you are regarding blind faith (or belief etc.), though is it either/or? Or is there much more on offer than only logic or only blind faith??? Can belief (of any particular direction really) lead to certainty, of experience, of knowing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hamar Fox View Post
    Example: The subject is other than its object. To be conscious of something is for the subject to be conscious of something other than itself (to comprehend even itself, the subject must objectify itself and evaluate itself by the same standards it would an object). Therefore, division inheres in consciousness. Division is impossible in the absolute. Consciousness is impossible in an absolute God.
    This is interesting. Some would say division in the Absolute is exactly what engenders conciousness and by way of which, very existence as we experience it. This division - in such a view - is the first act of existence. A division that reveals self-realization. One into Two is Three - polar in nature, treble in principle.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hamar Fox View Post
    Since 'natural process' covers infinitely more possibilities than 'God' ('natural process' covering every possibility, conceivable or inconceivable, not historically claimed under the banner of 'God'), 'natural process' is by far the more likely explanation (or provisional explanation, if you will).
    'Natural process' will cover physical aspects, some that can be viewed, measured or seen to occur, though in even some of these 'natural process' can really mean: "we don't really know what's going on here - or why, let alone how, but it is evidently occuring therefore it's a 'natural process'". It's a euphemism, and like you say, for something inconceivable - who knows how far that reaches?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hamar Fox View Post
    I take the humble position, as you seem to, that human knowledge has limits, inherent ones. There are likely things about the universe that we can never understand...

    The hypocrisy in advanced religious thought, that I see, is an acceptance of this fact one minute, then the next a complete back-pedal to a dishonest 'God must be X, Y and Z' stance. If you accept the limits of human understanding, accept also that nothing you can conceive, especially some primitive anthropomorphism, comes close to describing what lies beyond it. I'm not interested in establishing the truth of existence, only in establishing the untruth of lame attempts at simplifying it.
    Indeed. We are born limited - though is that how man and woman must remain - defined by their (self imposed?) limitations?

    Limitations can be overcome. Sure there exists things inconceivable to the human mind, but must/will they always remain so, or will our perception and conception grow and expand, and with it our understanding? Limitations are perhaps more perceived than they are inherent.

    There's the rub - the primitive anthropomorphism: as if that is religion. This is one of the areas that Dawkins himself falls into: defining his oppostion in its most base and trivial form and then demolishing it, and then thinking he has thereby demolished 'religion'. Recall his attempt regarding Astrology; he refuted 'astrological' musings as published in the newspaper etc.. Not Astrology. Religion isn't necessarily Deism, either in mono or stereo. To think so is akin to thinking Alchemy being some primitive form of Chemistry.

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    Quote Originally Posted by paraplethon
    Right you are regarding blind faith (or belief etc.), though is it either/or? Or is there much more on offer than only logic or only blind faith??? Can belief (of any particular direction really) lead to certainty, of experience, of knowing?
    I take it you're talking about some kind of divine revelation here -- a divine revelation that differs for Seamus Gilhooley in his confession booth, Habib Asif on his prayer floor or Israeli embassy lobby's beeping metal detector, and Ernie Szach in his prostitute's-blood-stained-and-with-the-mounted-heads-of-various-door-to-door-salesmen-decorated mother's basement. The point is that humans believe all kinds of crap, a medley of it, and I'm not given to believing crap.

    I remember at my old job meeting a customer, a rambling Irishman, with 'Have a great death' tatooed on his knuckles. I remember his saying something along the lines of 'I trust the Lord to make the ATM machine work, so I do. It ate my card, but I know he's testing me, so he is. Thank you, young man. You're doing the Lord's work [by sending him a new ATM card]'. I suspected he may have a semi-automatic weapon under his belt, or dynamite strapped to his chest, so I was quite relieved when he was gone, but it did make me wonder: Do even other religious people respect the 'divinations' of others, especially of obvious serial rapists? I sincerely doubt it.

    Your divinations are correct, everyone else's are wrong. But aren't they as strong in their convictions as you? Are they not also discounting your divinations in favour of their own? So what's the criterion, the standard of truth? Does it not make a little more sense to say the origin of belief is cultural, and that this may be why everyone with a bone through his nose believes in Ogdu, and everyone with a monobrow believes in Allah? These different deities (in name and essence) don't just selectively reveal themselves to different villages, in some cases, and entire continents in others.

    This is interesting. Some would say division in the Absolute is exactly what engenders conciousness and by way of which, very existence as we experience it. This division - in such a view - is the first act of existence. A division that reveals self-realization. One into Two is Three - polar in nature, treble in principle.
    The absolute is pure equivalence with itself -- in fact even the terms we use to describe it fall short. 'Equivalence with itself' hints at two strands perfectly matched, but the truth is there are no strands aligned (which, in our heads, nakes us think it's at least conceivable for the two to become misaligned): it merely is. The nature of the universe is multiplicity, hence consciousness and perspective are possible within it. The religious conception of a 'fundamentally one' universe is wrong.

    There's the rub - the primitive anthropomorphism: as if that is religion. This is one of the areas that Dawkins himself falls into: defining his oppostion in its most base and trivial form and then demolishing it, and then thinking he has thereby demolished 'religion'. Recall his attempt regarding Astrology; he refuted 'astrological' musings as published in the newspaper etc.. Not Astrology.
    No, the idea of consciousness and intention inhering in the universe is the primitive anthropomorphism I'm talking about. One little dot on an infinite landscape colours all existence and all infinity in its own image. Our consciousness emerged within a little niche of reality, incorporated what was necessary for survival, bent itself to selective pressures, and this is what defines our thought patterns. Utility defines our consciousness. The sculptures and buildings you admire, our whole sense for the aesthetic, is mere spillage from our mating and other drives, drives present but less refined in all animals, and no more divine in origin than our need to copulate and reproduce. But we don't like that. We want to believe that our consciousness is the realisation of divine will. Bacteria are marginally sentient. Are they (lesser) realisations of divine will? Why is there conflict if all sentience is a mere share in a singlular will? And so on. It's verbiage.

    Religion isn't necessarily Deism, either in mono or stereo. To think so is akin to thinking Alchemy being some primitive form of Chemistry.
    And this is what I predicted would happen in my previous post. A hint that you believe something utterly irrefutable, but no divulgence of anything even close to specific. You believe the universe is invested with divine will, do you not? Intention and consciousness? A spiritual template to which all sentient beings rally and strive to align themselves? Then you don't escape my arguments.

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    I find this quite humorous considering the fact that a man 'as intelligent as Jesus' was actually teaching religion and telling his followers not to be led astray by the non believers.

    I find this remark by Dawkins to be quite Idiotic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dead Eye
    I find this quite humorous considering the fact that a man 'as intelligent as Jesus' was actually teaching religion and telling his followers not to be led astray by the non believers.

    I find this remark by Dawkins to be quite Idiotic.
    I skipped the beginning with the Lancastrian interviewing random idiots, but I saw the full interview (I think) and didn't actually hear him say this. Maybe I zoned out or something. Regardless, I can't really comment on what he meant by this, since I don't know the context, but he likely meant something along the lines of 'Born today, with a knowledge of modern science, an enquiring mind like Jesus' would have drawn atheistic conclusions about the world around him'.

    Not that I care about defending Dawkins, though. I don't pay much attention to him. From what clips I've seen of his arguments, he seems to like to play it safe and just concentrate on the absurdity of belief without evidence. His points are sound, but a bit dull. I prefer to see people delve deep into the reasons why a (or any) conception of God is philosophically impossible. At least he seems to be a cut above people like TheAmazingAtheist, who spend 99% of their arguments attacking Biblical literalism, which is about as compelling as watching a mother discredit her mentally retarded son's belief in pixies (and has the same effect: none). Easy targets = boring targets. If your opponent holds beliefs even a comatose worm with Down's Syndrome would consider itself above, it's better to move on and not waste either party's time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hamar Fox View Post
    I take it you're talking about some kind of divine revelation here -- a divine revelation that differs for Seamus Gilhooley etc...

    I remember at my old job meeting a customer, a rambling Irishman...

    Does it not make a little more sense to say the origin of belief is cultural, and that this may be why everyone with a bone through his nose believes in Ogdu, and everyone with a monobrow believes in Allah? These different deities (in name and essence) don't just selectively reveal themselves to different villages, in some cases, and entire continents in others.
    No. Actually we were suggesting rather more of a grey area than just "either/or"; one or the other... invariably being not so black and white. However, revelation. You've derisively given possibly the worst example of it you could, just as we mentioned Dawkins has a particular habit of doing as well. Revelation plays as much a part in the aquisition of understanding as logic or reason, intuition, inspiration, belief or suspension of belief, analogy and symbolism; to argue otherwise is to ignore the better part of history wherein they have played a part in favour of the more recent 150 years and the ascent of reason. This is perhaps inevitable considering the widespread mis-application of 'progress' being synonymous with 'evolution': that which exists now is more evolved, hence more 'progressive', hence more 'developed' - and in the end more 'advanced'; the further along this path we tread the better the path is becoming. It put Man on the Moon and has given us expected lives longer than at least those of at least the last couple of millenia, but it has also delivered Humans the ignominy of having their identity re-evaluated as consumers - as economic cogs, and our societies being re-appraised as inter-changable engines of the global economy facilitating the largest mass-migration of peoples in human history.

    Progress? Evolved? Hardly.

    Though your example is of the worst variety, many could be furnished of a quite different sort: say, the numerous examples of scientists unable to see a problem through, or work through the unfathomable nuances of research try as they might for days on end only for the flash of realization to occur to them whilst walking in a forest, or drinking in a pub. That too is revelation - that which is not understood previously is revealed to the understanding in a flash of realization.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hamar Fox View Post
    The absolute is pure equivalence with itself -- in fact even the terms we use to describe it fall short. 'Equivalence with itself' hints at two strands perfectly matched, but the truth is there are no strands aligned (which, in our heads, nakes us think it's at least conceivable for the two to become misaligned): it merely is. The nature of the universe is multiplicity, hence consciousness and perspective are possible within it. The religious conception of a 'fundamentally one' universe is wrong.
    No. The Absolute isn't divided, this isn't a fault or flaw of the Absolute as you continue to ascribe to, but is a flaw in your grasp of the Absolute. Right you are to point out that for the Absolute to be concious of itself it is divided, therefore not (any longer) Absolute. However, what you are refering to in this act of self-realization isn't the Absolute (the All, the One), but One become Two - to use the terminology of a Pythagorean sense. The act known by some as the "Primordial Scission", this first division being the first act of creation. As you note, existence is tending towards multiplicity, whether we refer to that initial state as the Absolute or the "Big Bang", for that tendency towards multiplicity to occur that we witness around us, if we track it back it will have ultimately generated from a unity of being, likewise with the opposite. These are hardly new ideas though, having been within Tradition for millenia; the move towards multiplicity described as an exhalation of the cosmos, the move to unity seen as a cosmic inhalation. We find the same concepts with the theory of origins in the "Big Bang" and the posited reversal of the expanding universe to an eventual "Big Crunch" - existence closing in completely on itself - perhaps only to start over again.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hamar Fox View Post
    No, the idea of consciousness and intention inhering in the universe is the primitive anthropomorphism I'm talking about. One little dot on an infinite landscape colours all existence and all infinity in its own image. Our consciousness emerged within a little niche of reality, incorporated what was necessary for survival, bent itself to selective pressures, and this is what defines our thought patterns. Utility defines our consciousness. The sculptures and buildings you admire, our whole sense for the aesthetic, is mere spillage from our mating and other drives, drives present but less refined in all animals, and no more divine in origin than our need to copulate and reproduce. But we don't like that. We want to believe that our consciousness is the realisation of divine will. Bacteria are marginally sentient. Are they (lesser) realisations of divine will? Why is there conflict if all sentience is a mere share in a singlular will? And so on. It's verbiage.
    Utilitarianism (as an over-riding concept) is a recent and most unfortunate development. That utility wasn't the driving force through most of Human history is probably best exemplified by the utter failure of the socialist system - a system with utility at its heart. Its failure is complete in the further example of China slowly moving out of the socialist circle, with even Chinese Premiers - Zhao Ziyang and Wen Jiabao - admitting the need for China to largely dump it if it is to continue to prosper.

    The claim of utility in the realm of aesthetics is probably easiest to denounce. If we take a medieval cathedral as our example an ask of it: "What is its utility?" The answer must be to provide a sheltered locale for the local congregation, nothing more, nothing less. Any old building would suffice, as long as it was large enough for the entire congregation to fit in - where is the utility in a 40 metre high nave? Or in replacing a large part of an outer wall for the florid designs of the famous Rose Windows? Or the inordinate amount of time and effort in producing the windows glass through an Alchemical process? Or indeed the harmonies used in the various proportions of the construction itself; proportions governed in such exacting amounts as the ratio of the Golden Section or of the Pythagorean Comma? All this effort and work involved is perhaps the polar opposite of 'utility'.

    Utility also defines the aforementioned at the outset of this post: the re-appraisal of Human identity as the machine that is the "Global Consumer Economy". This 'utility' is what dictates the uprooting of peoples around the world and wholesale placing of them in areas the economy deems the extra bodies are needed to facilitate the continued growth of economic aims. This 'utility' defines us as interchangeable; as un-necessarily divided in our identities - be they cultural or ethnic. This is the utilitarianism that deems race to not even exist - a social construct - there is only one race, the Human race etc.. Needless to say, it's this sort of 'utility' that this board exists in stark contrast to.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hamar Fox View Post
    Not that I care about defending Dawkins, though. I don't pay much attention to him. From what clips I've seen of his arguments, he seems to like to play it safe and just concentrate on the absurdity of belief without evidence. His points are sound, but a bit dull... which is about as compelling as watching a mother discredit her mentally retarded son's belief in pixies (and has the same effect: none). Easy targets = boring targets...
    On this we fully agree.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hamar Fox View Post
    Not that I care about defending Dawkins, though. I don't pay much attention to him. From what clips I've seen of his arguments, he seems to like to play it safe and just concentrate on the absurdity of belief without evidence. His points are sound, but a bit dull. I prefer to see people delve deep into the reasons why a (or any) conception of God is philosophically impossible. At least he seems to be a cut above people like TheAmazingAtheist, who spend 99% of their arguments attacking Biblical literalism, which is about as compelling as watching a mother discredit her mentally retarded son's belief in pixies (and has the same effect: none). Easy targets = boring targets. If your opponent holds beliefs even a comatose worm with Down's Syndrome would consider itself above, it's better to move on and not waste either party's time.
    I think a lot of atheist debates prefer to avoid philosophical topics because believers tend to dismiss them as "great mysteries" of God that they simply cannot understand because they lack God's greatness. For example, if you ask a Christian if an all-powerful God would be capable of making a rock too heavy for him to lift, he/she will either give you some nonsensical, convoluted answer he/she genuinely believes is true, or will insist that it's just something for God to understand and humans not to understand. That seems to be the case with most any philosophical idea that undermines theists' beliefs. If you point out that an omniscient deity would know the future and therefore know his own actions/decisions, in a sense taking away his own free will, theists will simply believe that you're the one with flawed logic.
    Leben heißt für mich, mehr Träume in meiner Seele zu haben als die Realität zerstören kann.
    -Hans Kruppa

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    I conjured a big, sprawling, elaborate response to each of the points made, but I ultimately decided that since, for the most part, I was making the same points I've already done to death (such as that 'revelation' is probably the worst argument for anything that I've ever heard), I decided to cut most of it out and instead tie up a few loose ends that maybe I wasn't clear on before.

    Quote Originally Posted by paraplethon
    No. The Absolute isn't divided, this isn't a fault or flaw of the Absolute as you continue to ascribe to, but is a flaw in your grasp of the Absolute. Right you are to point out that for the Absolute to be concious of itself it is divided, therefore not (any longer) Absolute. However, what you are refering to in this act of self-realization isn't the Absolute (the All, the One), but One become Two - to use the terminology of a Pythagorean sense. The act known by some as the "Primordial Scission", this first division being the first act of creation.
    One doesn't become two if 'one' encompasses everything. 'Two' doesn't arise unless it was already in the nature of 'one' for it to do so. The number one can become two, because it is in the nature of the number one, which is finite, to be doubled. The absolute isn't numerically 'one', or numerically anything. 'One' is just metaphor for 'undivided'. Number is a facet of space -- and space, being the source of multiplicity, division etc., is a product of this supposed 'scission', doesn't anticipate it, and therefore isn't part of the absolute.

    Second, the 'scission' is impossible without a change in the absolute, either in the instant before the scission, or in synchrony with it. Either way, such a change is impossible, since not only is change impossible in the absolute, as I've mentioned, but so is temporality (which, like space with number, is the vehicle of change). Since temporality is impossible in the absolute, then if the absolute was ever divided, it was always divided (since the absolute is undifferentiated in time, it has no befores or afters) -- which, again, is impossible.

    As you note, existence is tending towards multiplicity
    Just to clear up: organic existence tends toward multiplicity. Existence as a whole doesn't tend in either direction, at least not at the material level, since matter remains constant. It seems strange, though, that organic -- and specifically sentient -- life, while supposedly being the closest element of the known universe to realising the principles of the Divine, has the least God-like principles of existence inhering within it of any mode of existence we're aware of (i.e. it naturally strays from 'oneness').

    Utilitarianism (as an over-riding concept) is a recent and most unfortunate development. That utility wasn't the driving force through most of Human history is probably best exemplified by the utter failure of the socialist system - a system with utility at its heart. Its failure is complete in the further example of China slowly moving out of the socialist circle, with even Chinese Premiers - Zhao Ziyang and Wen Jiabao - admitting the need for China to largely dump it if it is to continue to prosper.

    The claim of utility in the realm of aesthetics is probably easiest to denounce. If we take a medieval cathedral as our example an ask of it: "What is its utility?" The answer must be to provide a sheltered locale for the local congregation, nothing more, nothing less. Any old building would suffice, as long as it was large enough for the entire congregation to fit in - where is the utility in a 40 metre high nave? Or in replacing a large part of an outer wall for the florid designs of the famous Rose Windows? Or the inordinate amount of time and effort in producing the windows glass through an Alchemical process? Or indeed the harmonies used in the various proportions of the construction itself; proportions governed in such exacting amounts as the ratio of the Golden Section or of the Pythagorean Comma? All this effort and work involved is perhaps the polar opposite of 'utility'.
    The origin of everything in us is to be found in its relationship with the propagation of the species. That's what I meant by utility. Nature (or God) didn't endow us with an aesthetic sense out of charity so we could enjoy a tingling sensation while walking around the Louvre. In humans more than other animals we see a massive degree of latitude. We're a species that interprets. For the longest time our reproductive success depended on our dynamic thought processes, our reason, our lateral thinking. To have interpretive value, reason and its subsidiaries (among which is aesthetics) needed to grow above and beyond their natural calling, their pure servility to instinct, because not to have the capacity to do such would render them useless.

    What we see in our art, our excess, our seeming non-utility is our indulgence in this naturally bequeathed latitude. We have the freedom to indulge highly intellectualised reward systems (almost) completely detached from their original purpose. We're the only species that can boast members considered 'successes' by their peers who never did one thing nature designed them to do beyond eat, sleep and breathe. However, the echoes of reason's, of the aesthetic's, natural, humble origin reverberate throughout our supposedly 'transcendental' aesthetic nature, which is why we see the human form take centre stage in art throughout history: the aesthetic sense exists in large part to allow us to appraise the reproductive quality of our own.

    But that was never the limit of the aesthetic sense. Most creatures, and all that were recently ancestral to us, were drawn to fecundity, drawn to light, colour, vivacity, experienced an instinctive release of tension when on familiar ground etc. Our aesthetic sense is the intellectualisation of all this plethora of primal instincts, and all are incorporated into our art, subtly or not: light is more soothing than darkness, life and prosperity more beautiful than death and desolation. Paintings of beautiful women and vibrant landscapes flow from our subtle connection with our forgotten but not lost animal heritage.

    This is what I meant by 'spillage' from naturally arising drives. And we're a species -- the only species -- that above all likes to waddle in that spillage. As for our fascination with complex edifices of our own creation, that's reason marvelling at itself. We're not just tangential species, but also a very egotistical one.

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