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  1. #31
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NegativeZero View Post
    Harris is begging the question. We should start with, "Is there any good reason to think it has an answer?" I would say no. Harris is really just presenting utilitarianism redux with a dash of secular humanism, for all those that are unaware.

    Sam Harris has spent years studying with mystics and still practices meditation to this day. He also doctored in neuroscience. His gut feelings and intuitions are usually pretty reflective of reality. However, when he says things like that in the OP, I think he's trusting his gut a little too much.

    Edit: Not to derail the topic at hand, whatever it may be, but does anyone else think he's an INFJ?
    I am aware of the philosophical leanings of his talk, and I also see there being too much of a trust in instinct in this talk. When he gets to speak more generally, like in his writing, he gets more into the details that are important to me. He didn't explain those things here, really.

    Basically, he knows he's promoting utilitarianism.
    He says we can in fact try to promote this one moral scheme in a positivistic manner.
    And neurology is one of the main reasons we are now really gaining the ability to do this (though there are other new sciences in general).

    If he had gone more into the details of all that, it would seem less from the cut. In his defense, he didn't have a lot of time and he probably would have totally lost audience. That becomes more a question of how valuable a TED talk actually is.
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  2. #32
    Senior Member redcheerio's Avatar
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    <walks over to see if Victor will get off the soapbox for a minute to have a discussion>

    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post
    It is the TED talks themselves, not the site on the internet, that is like a church.

    The purpose of TED is to create a group trance to entrance the audience and the speaker.

    And dissent would have the unfortunate effect of waking up the speaker and the audience.

    And this is precisely why you don't like me dissenting on this thread.

    And you don't like me dissenting on this thread because you are entranced by TED and don't want to wake up to the cold light of day.

    I have met this so many times on Central with those who are entranced by MBTI and who deeply resent being woken up by dissent.

    And what do they tell me? Go find another thread, they say, disingenuously.
    Quote Originally Posted by Quinlan View Post
    I think Victor is right, something always bothered me about TED talks and perhaps that's it.
    Would you like it better if they had open group discussions afterwards, or instead of having a main speaker on-stage, just invite the community in for a facilitated discussion?

    I agree there are difficulties inherent in the speaker-audience format. The same goes for TV and radio shows. There tends to be a halo effect on the speaker, and many people will just accept everything they say without critical evaluation of it. This is what makes things like Fox "News" both powerful and dangerous.

    I would say that imo, TED talks may be equally powerful for similar reasons, but at least their content is usually harmless at worst, and potentially very benevolent in some cases.

    In engineering, sometimes an organization will invite segments of the community who are interested in certain issues to come and join a group facilitated discussion. They usually have a panel of experts with opposing opinions at the front, and each expert will talk for 10 min about their viewpoint, and present info to back it up. Then the audience will take turns adding their thoughts, and asking questions of the various experts. Sounds like you would like this format much better, yeah?

    What say you?

  3. #33
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    Anaesthetised on the Table of TED

    Quote Originally Posted by redcheerio View Post
    What say you?
    I have no objection to the content. I find it as enthralling as you do. Rather I am drawing attention to the medium itself, because it is the medium that is the message. The content, no matter how entralling, is simply to distract the watchdog of the mind so that the medium can do its work silently, unbeknownst to us, operating upon us as we lie anaesthetised on the table of TED.

  4. #34
    Intriguing.... Quinlan's Avatar
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    It does seem trance inducing to me, from the new agey intro and outro sounds to the overly perfect and well rounded narratives, the feeling that is supposed to be induced seems more important than the content.
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  5. #35
    Senior Member redcheerio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post
    I have no objection to the content. I find it as enthralling as you do. Rather I am drawing attention to the medium itself, because it is the medium that is the message. The content, no matter how entralling, is simply to distract the watchdog of the mind so that the medium can do its work silently, unbeknownst to us, operating upon us as we lie anaesthetised on the table of TED.
    Quote Originally Posted by Quinlan View Post
    It does seem trance inducing to me, from the new agey intro and outro sounds to the overly perfect and well rounded narratives, the feeling that is supposed to be induced seems more important than the content.
    Ok, so once we are entranced, if it isn't the content of the messages that bothers you, or the tendency for us to accept that content without critical analysis because of the speaker-audience format, then what is it? What "work" is the medium doing silently?

    I don't understand your concern if it isn't about the tendency for speaker-audience messages (ie. content) to be accepted in a trance without critical thought.

    Also, I'd still be interested in your opinion of the alternate, less trance-inducing formats I suggested in my previous post that allow for more open discussion and critical analysis.

  6. #36
    Emperor/Dictator kyuuei's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post
    Why not deal with the issue, dear Catbert, rather than making me the issue?
    Said the man that made TED the topic instead of question that's the actual OP topic.

    At any rate.. I feel it is an optimistic way of saying what spongey has said. Saying "shit happens" is an easy way out of things.. the truth is, there are reasons behind everything, whether or not we know it. We may never come to know those reasons, or processes, and we may not even like what we find if we do find them, but they are there.

    Saying it that way sounds less objective and more idealistic, I'll give you that, but I think people are allowed to take something like that and look at it in a positive light. It doesn't detract from the meaning at all to think of it in this way.
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  7. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by NegativeZero View Post
    Harris is begging the question. We should start with, "Is there any good reason to think it has an answer?" I would say no. Harris is really just presenting utilitarianism redux with a dash of secular humanism, for all those that are unaware.
    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    I am aware of the philosophical leanings of his talk, and I also see there being too much of a trust in instinct in this talk. When he gets to speak more generally, like in his writing, he gets more into the details that are important to me. He didn't explain those things here, really.

    Basically, he knows he's promoting utilitarianism.
    He says we can in fact try to promote this one moral scheme in a positivistic manner.
    And neurology is one of the main reasons we are now really gaining the ability to do this (though there are other new sciences in general).
    Thank you guys for offering some clarification and extrapolation of the speaker's philosophy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    If he had gone more into the details of all that, it would seem less from the cut. In his defense, he didn't have a lot of time and he probably would have totally lost audience. That becomes more a question of how valuable a TED talk actually is.
    And just like that Victor has a place in this thread.

  8. #38
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    Changing our epistemology

    Quote Originally Posted by redcheerio View Post
    What "work" is the medium doing silently?
    Unbeknownst to us it is changing our epistemology. It is changing the way we perceive. It does this by changing the balance of our senses.

    For instance, print privileges the eye and creates the literate individual. And indeed print has created the one dimensional American. Whereas the electronic medium brings all the senses into play and creates the electronic tribe in the global village.

    On the operating table of TED, and under the anaesthetic of content, our senses are being rerouted and rearranged, painlessly.

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post
    Unbeknownst to us it is changing our epistemology. It is changing the way we perceive. It does this by changing the balance of our senses.

    For instance, print privileges the eye and creates the literate individual. And indeed print has created the one dimensional American. Whereas the electronic medium brings all the senses into play and creates the electronic tribe in the global village.

    On the operating table of TED, and under the anaesthetic of content, our senses are being rerouted and rearranged, painlessly.
    You lost me. Either you're making a really clever point and I'm not getting it, or you aren't fully explaining what you mean here.

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