Is The Most Enduring Aspect Of Nature Indifference

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boagie
 
Reply Tue 11 Nov, 2008 07:58 pm
Hi Y'all!Smile

Is the most enduring aspect of nature its indifference, you perhaps have heard it stated that the source of all sorrow is temporality, while that is true, it is only part of said truth, for indifference is as pressing as the cold of an artic winter. It plays havoc in human relations, in international affairs, and destroys our life support system, the natural environment, its time to clearly identify the enemy. Like cold in the absence of energy, indifference is perhaps the most natural state, like darkness without the temporal light of a candle. Unwareness and indifference can sometimes be confused, in part because they feel the same to a subject in need. Any thoughts on the subject?
 
Aedes
 
Reply Tue 11 Nov, 2008 09:44 pm
@boagie,
I guess the biggest question is whether nature is just one thing. Hurricanes are indifferent to Gulf Coast population centers, but people are not indifferent to one another.

If we could look at nature objectively, I don't think many would judge indifference to be its most enduring quality. It's intricate, tiny and yet huge, and in the end it is what it is.

But we're not objective.

I'm typing this message on my BlackBerry with one hand, and my 7 month old son is sleeping on my other arm. I care about him more than anything else in the universe -- and that feeling is 100% natural.
 
boagie
 
Reply Tue 11 Nov, 2008 10:23 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes,Smile

I agree that the only thing that makes life worth living is love, is the valued relations that we if we are smart will nurture, but indifference is relentless. I don't mean to speak of it as if it were conscious, it is just that it is constant, where love is not, care is not, todays sweet nothings are most often tomorrows lies. I suspect that there is absolute power in indifference, or is it not truely an unwarness when speaking of this natural phenomenon. I agree people are not indifferent to one another, most of the time, but, care is as a light, which when it goes out the darkness/indifference consumes all.

With nature it is unawarness, and part of the time it is unawarness with people. I suppose then this premise of the evils that befall care, must be consider two fold, unawarness, and indifference. These two along with the conditon of temporality are the source of all sorrows. Perhaps this is what those Voodoo Christians are speaking about when they talk about evil in the air just waiting for the individual to have a weak moment. I always thought them crazy, but, maybe this is what they were really talking about. About your statement above, I would say nature is one totality, granted it is not a closed system, but for our purposes it is safe to consider it one thing.
 
sarek
 
Reply Wed 12 Nov, 2008 03:50 am
@boagie,
Does it not say in the Bible:

"I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth" (Revelation 3:15-16)

Strange that in this day and age of science and secularisation such words can come to carry such meaning.

Love is a verb. It requires work. I requires actively overcoming indifference and as such may be an unnatural act.
That is why it is so difficult to love anyone or anything not directly close to us or directly related to our own survival.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Wed 12 Nov, 2008 03:59 am
@boagie,
Boagie, you are referring, then to existence as a whole, not nature in particular, which has many instances of caring.
 
Khethil
 
Reply Wed 12 Nov, 2008 07:19 am
@Aedes,
Thanks for asking that question Aedes.

Last night I read your post, Boagie, and felt as if I wanted to respond. You illustrated well your question/thoughts on indifference, but regarding the "nature" aspect; I must admit I was confused on what was being discussed.

Yes, indifference (and I'd dare add "apathy") allows the human to do damage by doing nothing at all. For its fuel, it relies on our collective reluctance to "get moving". It's this lack of "positive momentum" that gives us an excuse not to act, a reason not to speak up or get off our ass and do something. Unless acted upon, an object sitting at rest will continue that way. Fortunately, our minds can move us to action. Unfortunately, that lack of inertia gives the indifferent a reason to not move at all. All agreed.

Are you talking about the 'natural state of all things' as having that quality of indifference?

Thanks
 
Aedes
 
Reply Wed 12 Nov, 2008 10:01 am
@boagie,
I think that this is more a question of how we use adjectives than one of metaphysics. (though I contend that nearly all metaphysical "problems" boil down to linguistic matters in the end)

For instance, do we even expect NATURE to care? If not, what use is it to describe it as indifferent? It's like commenting that domesticated cattle in North America are flightless and illiterate. Well, since no one really expects to see a cow that can fly or read, the characterization is sort of superfluous.

Another problem is whether we can speak in generalities like this when it's a matter of "vector addition". Most things in nature don't care, but some things do. Since the sum of the vectors points to indifference, does that mean we can call it one of nature's most enduring qualities as If it's just one quality applied to just one thing?

Most animals on earth lay eggs -- nearly all invertebrates, most vertebrates, and all but a few mammals. So does that mean that oviparity is one of the fundamental qualities of animals? No, it's simply a very common one.
 
boagie
 
Reply Wed 12 Nov, 2008 11:47 am
@Aedes,
Aedes wrote:
Boagie, you are referring, then to existence as a whole, not nature in particular, which has many instances of caring.


Aedes,Smile

This is semantics is it not, but really, it must be considered the experience of a conscious subject as the centre of their own universe and embracing all of existence which falls within the realm of the subjects experience, the subjects circular horizon so to speak. I do not doubt at all that caring is part of human existence, part of the existence of all life, but, lifes context the physcial world is unaware of the subjects existence and unaware of the subjects need to survive. The physical world is utterly meaningless without a subject to bestow meaning upon it, even the concept of unawareness, is subject given. So, both indifference and unawareness can be said to be the experience of a subject, in relation to that subjects own needyness.
 
boagie
 
Reply Wed 12 Nov, 2008 12:16 pm
@Khethil,
Khethil,Smile

Nature is unaware, only life as consciousness, as awareness can be indifferent, for indifference infers an awareness of, yet disinterest in. Man like all organisims is a reactionary creature, so in some sense he cannot be indifferent to the world at large, for it is not possiable for him not to react. Indifference itself is only possiable between humans or life forms in general, and it is the property of a subject, it is that subjects experience of the support available to it in its neediness. Nature and existence, well, unless you are contemplating the comos while entertaining this subject I am considering here that pale blue dot. The conditon of that pale blue dot, is nature itself, that condition/nature as experienced by a subject.


"Are you talking about the 'natural state of all things' as having that quality of indifference? " quote

Indifference is a meaning, the physical world is deviod of all meaning, only through a subjects experience of the physcial world and his feelings about that physical world in relation to his own biology is meaning formed in a conscious subject, which is then bestowed upon the world. In a very real sense, each subject is the centre of the universe. So, indifference is the emotional experience of a subject. I hope that covers it, but if not, alert me to what I have missed.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Wed 12 Nov, 2008 12:18 pm
@boagie,
I agree wholeheartedly that subjectivity is the crux of the matter. That is what differentiates phenomenology from metaphysics, which presumes an objective understanding is possible.

Yes, I agree that my point hinges on semantics, but I'm not the first to contend that all metaphysical problems are nothing more than semantic vagaries and fault lines.
 
boagie
 
Reply Wed 12 Nov, 2008 12:19 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes wrote:
I think that this is more a question of how we use adjectives than one of metaphysics. (though I contend that nearly all metaphysical "problems" boil down to linguistic matters in the end)

For instance, do we even expect NATURE to care? If not, what use is it to describe it as indifferent? It's like commenting that domesticated cattle in North America are flightless and illiterate. Well, since no one really expects to see a cow that can fly or read, the characterization is sort of superfluous.

Another problem is whether we can speak in generalities like this when it's a matter of "vector addition". Most things in nature don't care, but some things do. Since the sum of the vectors points to indifference, does that mean we can call it one of nature's most enduring qualities as If it's just one quality applied to just one thing?

Most animals on earth lay eggs -- nearly all invertebrates, most vertebrates, and all but a few mammals. So does that mean that oviparity is one of the fundamental qualities of animals? No, it's simply a very common one.


Aedes,Smile

I think I have addressed this problem in the other posts.
 
boagie
 
Reply Wed 12 Nov, 2008 12:29 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes wrote:
Yes, it's semantics, but I'm not the first to contend that all metaphysical problems are nothing more than semantic vagaries and fault lines.



Aedes,Smile

It is true that we have little choice but to deal in language but, something of physical reality necessitated the formation of that language, what you seem to be inferring is almost biblical, creation as the word, the word as creation?
 
Aedes
 
Reply Wed 12 Nov, 2008 01:01 pm
@boagie,
Not at all, simply that language is imprecise in ways that are wholly responsible for even the POSSIBILITY of metaphysics, i.e. logical flights unattached to a chain of empirical evidence. I'd steer you to the writings of Wittgenstein for the definitive discussion of this concept. Or to Bertrand Russell who pioneered symbolic logic in response to the problems of language. Russell even highlighted three independent meanings of the verb "to be" which are imprecisely used in metaphysical writing, such that a statement of predication can be confused for a statement of existence.
 
boagie
 
Reply Wed 12 Nov, 2008 01:16 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes,Smile

So, are we to change the subject then to semantics. If we cannot trust the words we utter, it is very problematic indeed, even for the criticism which challenges our ability to communicate--it is a show stopper!!
 
Aedes
 
Reply Wed 12 Nov, 2008 02:40 pm
@boagie,
The problem you posed in the introductory post is one that looks completely different depending on subtleties of semantics. The indifference of nature and the indifference of existence could have been used interchangeably to make the exact same point in your first post -- and yet the former poses very different conundra and exceptions. So there's no getting around the semantics unless we can all agree on exactly what you meant. I'm not willing to apply an adjective to all of "nature" when there are many "natural" exceptions. Nature isn't one thing -- it's an infinitude of instances, and I think it can only be spoken of as one thing in a colloquial way.
 
Khethil
 
Reply Wed 12 Nov, 2008 03:17 pm
@boagie,
boagie wrote:
Indifference is a meaning, the physical world is deviod of all meaning, only through a subjects experience of the physcial world and his feelings about that physical world in relation to his own biology is meaning formed in a conscious subject, which is then bestowed upon the world. In a very real sense, each subject is the centre of the universe. So, indifference is the emotional experience of a subject. I hope that covers it, but if not, alert me to what I have missed.


Yes, completely.

Whether or not that indifference we experience is an issue would depend on the expectations of the subject. To what extent that perceptional aspect, in which we imbue nature with this behavioral word 'indifference', makes our world 'cold', depends on the perceiver.

There's a number of ways we can look at this. I blogged this a while back (not exactly along these lines, but close) at this link.

Thanks
 
boagie
 
Reply Wed 12 Nov, 2008 03:23 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes wrote:
The problem you posed in the introductory post is one that looks completely different depending on subtleties of semantics. The indifference of nature and the indifference of existence could have been used interchangeably to make the exact same point in your first post -- and yet the former poses very different conundra and exceptions. So there's no getting around the semantics unless we can all agree on exactly what you meant. I'm not willing to apply an adjective to all of "nature" when there are many "natural" exceptions. Nature isn't one thing -- it's an infinitude of instances, and I think it can only be spoken of as one thing in a colloquial way.


Aedes,Smile

Yes I see, you cannot bring yourself to define the physcial world as one thing, is that right? I am not speaking of the life on said physcial world but, nevertheless, you cannot bring yourself to consider the world as one thing, am I understanding you properly? Reguarding the topic of indifference, it matters little that you cannot see the world as one, indifference is a human/animal quality and thus is only relevant to human/animal interactions. That which is sometimes stated as the indifference of nature, is in fact unawareness, none cognisant. I make a distinction between the living world and that of the inanimate world. Perhaps seeing as you see the difficulty so clearly, you could suggest a resolution?
 
boagie
 
Reply Wed 12 Nov, 2008 03:32 pm
@Khethil,
Khethil wrote:
Yes, completely.

Whether or not that indifference we experience is an issue would depend on the expectations of the subject. To what extent that perceptional aspect, in which we imbue nature with this behavioral word 'indifference', makes our world 'cold', depends on the perceiver.

There's a number of ways we can look at this. I blogged this a while back (not exactly along these lines, but close) at this link.

Thanks


Khethil,Smile

Of course it depends upon the subject, the physcial world has no meaning of it own. When the physcial environment threatens in any way the existence of our biology, we tend to have an emotional investment about this, but, this is were people confuse indifference with unawareness, indifferences are reserved for human interactions, unawareness is a state of nature. As the centre of your own universe, you are the measure of all things.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Wed 12 Nov, 2008 06:11 pm
@boagie,
I have the imagination to see what you are discussing, that's not the issue, I mean the propositions of Anaximander and Anaximenes are harder to fathom than what you propose, as are Taoism and much of Buddhism.

But your premise hinges upon a debate that people have had since the time of Parmenides and Pythagoras. Namely, is nature a unity or a plurality? I think those who conceive of it as a unity to this day are mostly religious. I am strictly a pluralist when it comes to nature, as are most people in science. Thus, my understanding of the universe is that common principles consist strictly in constituent instances. There is no FORCE OF GRAVITY that permeates everything, there are simply all the things out there that have mass.

Thus, in my book, it makes little sense to speak of an overall enduring quality of nature.
 
alexwein
 
Reply Thu 13 Nov, 2008 11:07 am
@boagie,
Hmmm, just joined this forum and thought this might be an interesting discussion, since I am writing a book about social forms of indifference. But I personally don't care about it as a metaphysical question. The only indifference that concerns me is how it plays out in human action, or non-action. To me it's an ethical issue. It's a behavior with potentially different underlying causes, but that shows itself through a lack of attention or caring between people or groups of people. That's the only aspect of indifference we can have an power to change, if we think it needs changing. Nature is nature. Can't do much about that.

Just my two cents. I'm off to explore other areas of the forum!
 
 

 
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