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Bloggingheads 01-18-2009 05:04 PM

Free Will: The Loneliest Number That You'll Ever Do
 
Afterthought

We apologize for the relatively low quality of John's video.

--BhTV staff

sugarkang 01-18-2009 06:34 PM

Re: Free Will: The Loneliest Number That You'll Ever Do
 
John: Fan of Loneliness

bkjazfan 01-18-2009 06:41 PM

Re: Free Will: The Loneliest Number That You'll Ever Do
 
Fascinating discussion on loneliness. Kudos to the interviewer, Kerry, and the author, John.

I will have to listen to it again since I didn't get the "ease" program for combating loneliness correctly identified. The first "e" is for extending yourself the "a" is for action but I didn't get the last two (s & e). Actually, it would behoove me to listen to it a few times since I am a lonely person.

John

sugarkang 01-18-2009 06:46 PM

Re: Free Will: The Loneliest Number That You'll Ever Do
 
I'm somewhat lonely too, but I attribute that to moving every two years.

bjkeefe 01-18-2009 07:02 PM

Re: Free Will: The Loneliest Number That You'll Ever Do
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by bkjazfan (Post 101551)
The first "e" is for extending yourself the "a" is for action but I didn't get the last two (s & e).

Selection and Expect the best, if that helps.

bkjazfan 01-18-2009 07:42 PM

Re: Free Will: The Loneliest Number That You'll Ever Do
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by bjkeefe (Post 101554)
Selection and Expect the best, if that helps.

Yes, it helps. Thanks for the information.

John

Titstorm 01-18-2009 07:50 PM

Re: Free Will: The Loneliest Number That You'll Ever Do
 
i spend more time reading and learning on the internet when i used to "hang" but it's because most people are boring and you can't learn anything from them.

thprop 01-18-2009 10:38 PM

CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!
 
I am certain that all fans of Free Will extend their congratulations to Kerry and Will on their upcoming nuptials. Not sure if this will make Kerry less lonely, but it will make it harder to get rid of Will. More of the congratulations go to Will for getting Kerry to be his bride. Like most women (including Michelle Obama - just ask Barack), she is marrying down. My great fear is that one day women are going to figure out that all men do is cause problems and get rid of us. In the meantime, keep those blinders on ladies and have mercy on men, the weaker sex.

thprop 01-18-2009 10:41 PM

Re: Free Will: The Loneliest Number That You'll Ever Do
 
John has a website for Loneliness. He has a detailed explanation of EASE.

sapeye 01-19-2009 12:06 AM

Re: Free Will: The Loneliest Number That You'll Ever Do
 
The Value of Solitude

Interesting conversation. I could write pages in response. I earned a PhD on the effects of deep solitude. For my fieldwork, I went into a remote wilderness area on the coast of southern Chile, built a shelter, and lived without seeing anyone for a year. I was both researcher and the subject of my research. There is a lot of information on the positive effects of solitude on my website: www.bobkull.org and in my recent book: "Solitude: Seeking Wisdom In Extremes", which tells the story of my year alone in the wilderness.

There are a few important points the diavlog either missed or glossed over:

Aloneness/solitude is not the same as feeling isolated or lonely. During my year in solitude I sometimes felt lonely and at other times, with no change in circumstance, felt completely woven into the world around me. For me, the root cause of loneliness is not feeling isolated from other people, but feeling alienated from self. Dr. Cacioppo’s suggestions for alleviating loneliness are valuable, but they are all intended to help people engage in social activity and avoid the feeling of loneliness. There is also another way. Instead of valuing loneliness only because it drives us to be with other people, we can actually value it for itself. We can embrace the feeling and experience it fully. When we do that it can open into profound spaciousness, joy, and feelings of connection. In the process, loneliness can be transformed into solitude.

Henri Nouwen writes: “All human beings are alone. No other person will completely feel like we do, think like we do, act like we do. Each of us is unique, and our aloneness is the other side of our uniqueness. The question is whether we let our aloneness become loneliness or whether we allow it to lead us into solitude. Loneliness is painful; solitude is peaceful. Loneliness makes us cling to others in desperation; solitude allows us to respect others in their uniqueness and create community.”

Many cultures recognize solitude as an opportunity to look inward. In our current culture we sometimes think that spending time alone is unhealthy. Since we are social beings, meaning is supposedly found only through relationship with other people. This is a limited view of who we are. To be fully human we need relationship not only with other people, which is important, but with the nonhuman world and with our own inner depths. In solitude we have the opportunity to explore all these domains of relationship. We are also spiritual beings, and we may spend time in solitude to seek communion with something greater than our individual self — with a numinous Presence which we can directly experience, but not clearly define.

In the diavlog, Dr. Cacioppo stated that there is a correlation between loneliness and religious belief and anthropomorphizing the world. The implication is that there is no real spiritual presence and that the world is not fundamentally alive and sentient. This cannot be proved. It's an assumption of our scientific culture. It is equally valid to see solitude – which does sometimes involve loneliness – as an opportunity to step out of the matrix of our constant activity and distraction and so have the opportunity to experience what is always there, but usually unperceived.

Wonderment 01-19-2009 12:16 AM

Solitary confinement
 
I wonder what John has to say about the principle form of punishment in our booming prison system: solitary confinement.

With 2.2 million people living under the threat of loneliness as punishment, I would expect John to view solitary (the SHU, the "hole", etc.) as a serious health hazard, perhaps analogous to punishment by virus.

Francoamerican 01-19-2009 06:36 AM

Re: Free Will: The Loneliest Number That You'll Ever Do
 
Interesting dialogue, but it illustrates the shortcomings of "social science"--as practiced in American universities. So much rigorous empirical research---questionnaires, statistics, evolutionary psychology---all mustered to support a few embarrassingly obvious truisms. Perhaps I should listen again, I may have missed something. I don't mean to belittle the research of Dr Cacioppo, but I have the same impression listening to him as I have when I hear or read the advice of "mental health professionals": who would pay for this stuff?

Anyone familiar with world literature since, say, the 18th century when writers and poets discovered the joys and sorrows of loneliness and solitude, as well as the pleasures and displeasures of society, could say more interesting things on this subject. For example: shouldn't we distinguish between mere gregariousness, the desire for the approval of the herd (see etymology of "gregariousness"), motivated mainly by vanity, and the desire for friendship or love or philosophical companionship? Many people feel lonely and unhappy because they expect from others what others can never give them, a sense of self-worth. Others, on the contrary, feel happy precisely because they expect little from others: they find in the solitude of their own thoughts, in music, in a beautiful landscape, in a thought well-expressed by a long dead writer, more than enough to compensate them for the pleasures of society. Romantic? Maybe, but what is the alternative?

This distinction was dimly present during the discussion, but could have been developed further.

bjkeefe 01-19-2009 08:11 AM

Re: Free Will: The Loneliest Number That You'll Ever Do
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Francoamerican (Post 101582)
Interesting dialogue, but it illustrates the shortcomings of "social science"--as practiced in American universities. So much rigorous empirical research---questionnaires, statistics, evolutionary psychology---all mustered to support a few embarrassingly obvious truisms. [...]

Anyone familiar with world literature since, say, the 18th century when writers and poets discovered the joys and sorrows of loneliness and solitude, as well as the pleasures and displeasures of society, could say more interesting things on this subject. [...]

There's something to your complaints, but I think you go too far. It's important to verify (or disprove) things that "everyone knows" by applying scientific rigor. Most of science progress is gotten in this way -- incrementally, even painfully slowly. We don't want to say "case closed" just because some navel-gazing literary giants wrote something down in past centuries. If we did, we'd still be teaching physics according to Aristotle, right?

I doubt, also, that there's anything unique to the way social science is done in American universities. Either universities elsewhere do things pretty much the same way, or they're just not doing this sort of work. If the latter is your point, I'd say, fine, you're entitled to your own priorities when it comes to allocating research funds, but I happen to think it'd be a good thing if we had a better understanding of how people and societies work.

Francoamerican 01-19-2009 10:16 AM

Re: Free Will: The Loneliest Number That You'll Ever Do
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by bjkeefe (Post 101589)
There's something to your complaints, but I think you go too far. It's important to verify (or disprove) things that "everyone knows" by applying scientific rigor. Most of science progress is gotten in this way -- incrementally, even painfully slowly. We don't want to say "case closed" just because some navel-gazing literary giants wrote something down in past centuries. If we did, we'd still be teaching physics according to Aristotle, right?.

If the purpose of science is to repeat the obvious (=what most people of average intelligence already know), I guess you are right. In any case, there is a long ongoing dispute whether the "science" of "social sciences" is more than a promissory note. In my opinion it is not. There is more "science" of human nature in Hobbes and Rousseau, in Shakespeare or Stendhal or Proust, than in the pitiful platitudes I heard in this dialogue.

Quote:

Originally Posted by bjkeefe (Post 101589)
I doubt, also, that there's anything unique to the way social science is done in American universities. Either universities elsewhere do things pretty much the same way, or they're just not doing this sort of work. If the latter is your point, I'd say, fine, you're entitled to your own priorities when it comes to allocating research funds, but I happen to think it'd be a good thing if we had a better understanding of how people and societies work.

Well, there are significant differences between "social sciences" in the US and Europe, but that is a vast subject. I have no priorities, just preferences. When American social science discovers how people and societies "work," will you let me know?

bjkeefe 01-19-2009 10:32 AM

Re: Free Will: The Loneliest Number That You'll Ever Do
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Francoamerican (Post 101595)
If the purpose of science is to repeat the obvious (=what most people of average intelligence already know), I guess you are right.

That's my point. Sometimes the conventional wisdom turns out to be wrong. Taking your point of view to an extreme, we'd never do any science at all.

Quote:

In any case, there is a long ongoing dispute whether the "science" of "social sciences" is more than a promissory note.
Sure. It's just beginning.

Quote:

There is more "science" of human nature in Hobbes and Rousseau, in Shakespeare or Stendhal or Proust, than in the pitiful platitudes I heard in this dialogue.
They were keen observers of human nature, to be sure, but that doesn't mean they're the last word.

Also, I think you're being ridiculous to generalize about all of social science work from this one diavlog.

Joel_Cairo 01-19-2009 11:17 AM

Re: CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by thprop (Post 101568)
I am certain that all fans of Free Will extend their congratulations to Kerry and Will on their upcoming nuptials. Not sure if this will make Kerry less lonely, but it will make it harder to get rid of Will. More of the congratulations go to Will for getting Kerry to be his bride. Like most women (including Michelle Obama - just ask Barack), she is marrying down.

+1. I'm impressed Will managed to lure Kerry into Harry Browne's "marriage trap." You'd think an individualist feminist as sharp as she would be loathe to submit to the affection-monopolizing rent-seeking that is state-sanctioned monogamy (marriage license = royal charter?), but I guess she sees something in him that we don't.

Congrats you two kids.

Francoamerican 01-19-2009 12:08 PM

Re: Free Will: The Loneliest Number That You'll Ever Do
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by bjkeefe (Post 101597)
That's my point. Sometimes the conventional wisdom turns out to be wrong. Taking your point of view to an extreme, we'd never do any science at all..

Indeed, conventional wisdom is often wrong. The writers I mentioned were deeply aware of that fact, and often said unconventional things. If social scientists want to repeat what everyone already knows (=conventional wisdom), supported by statistics etc. I have no objection. But that doesn't make what they say scientific.

Science is a METHOD for asking the right questions (formulating hypotheses etc) and for finding the right answers to those questions; it isn't a collection of facts, validating or invalidating conventional wisdom. Besides, for all we know, the conventional and unconventional wisdom about human nature, accumulated over the centuries in the works of philosophers and poets, may be the only "science" (=knowledge) of human nature there is. Until the social sciences prove otherwise, I will stick with Hobbes and Rousseau. They were more interesting, and better writers.

PS. I suppose it is a "scientifically established fact" (i.e. evolutionary biology tells us it is true) that human beings are gregarious or social animals, and feel lonely outside their herd. But this "truth," in reality a half-truth, is as old as the hills. It can be found in the much maligned Aristotle and in hundreds of less well known thinkers.

Quote:

Originally Posted by bjkeefe (Post 101597)
They were keen observers of human nature, to be sure, but that doesn't mean they're the last word...

No one ever will ever have the last word because, as Nietzsche said, man is the "unfinished animal."

Quote:

Originally Posted by bjkeefe (Post 101597)
Also, I think you're being ridiculous to generalize about all of social science work from this one diavlog.

Ridiculous or not, it is true that the social sciences in the US are informed by an ideal of science, based on questionnaires and statistics, which is rather different from what goes on in Europe, although that kind of social science exists here too (mainly for opinion polls etc.). I was generalizing from my own observations, not just from this one dialogue.

nikkibong 01-19-2009 12:43 PM

Re: Free Will: The Loneliest Number That You'll Ever Do
 
i've become quite an expert in this field over the past three or so months!

nikkibong.blogspot.com

bjkeefe 01-19-2009 12:59 PM

Re: Free Will: The Loneliest Number That You'll Ever Do
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Francoamerican (Post 101603)
[...]

Noted. I don't have anything to add.

Francoamerican 01-19-2009 02:16 PM

Re: Free Will: The Loneliest Number That You'll Ever Do
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by nikkibong (Post 101606)
i've become quite an expert in this field over the past three or so months!

nikkibong.blogspot.com

You poor thing. You need to get out more nikkibong, and stop the self-abuse!

Wonderment 01-19-2009 02:29 PM

Re: Free Will: The Loneliest Number That You'll Ever Do
 
Interesting post.

I don't think anything you said is inconsistent with John's views, but the nuances are certainly worth considering.

Liberty1776 01-19-2009 11:02 PM

Re: Free Will: The Loneliest Number That You'll Ever Do
 
Ha good catch, Joel_Cairo, the link is incorrect though...enjoy!


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