The Classical Liberal View: Mind, Body and Spirit
Last year I dropped a long series of posts about the history of political science. I admit, I enjoyed receiving a payout every day for a month from the posts. I was able to build my #POB stake to 800. I lost interest in the platform when POB began charging a 10% posting tax.
The posting tax in gone; So, I decided to start buying and staking POB again and hope to build my PoB fortune to several thousand coins. I just staked 70 POB bringing me to 1,200 coins. Lets see how long it takes me to double that.
Classical v. Modern Philosophy
I've been trying to figure out how to explain the difference between the classical liberal view that was common in the days of the US Founders and the Modern world view that emphasizes political strife.
My first posts focused on history.
I will restart the project with a few free form essays.
The first essay will be about the Mind, Body and Spirit. I feel the essay is suitable to Proof Of Brain as the brain is a part of the human body that appears to contain the mind.
Mind Body and Spirit
Philosophers of the ancient world often talked about mind, body and spirit. Note, philosophers often had slightly different slightly different takes on the issue.
The body is a physical thing that is clearly operating in a physical universe. Most people have eyes, ears and sensory nerves which help with observing the world. People tend to have legs for moving about and physical arms and hands for manipulating objects.
The mind is a bit more ethereal. The mind is a thing that can perceive and process images. The mind is capable of engaging in reasoning but can be with emotions as well.
It turns out that much of the functioning of the mind can be explained by the physiology of the brain. There is a physical component to the mind. People have noticed as the body goes, the mind often follows.
I want to emphasize that our minds engage in both emotional and intellectual processes. Ancient philosophers noticed that animals appear to experience emotions and respond to sounds with a rudimentary language.
Humans seem appear to be unique with an ability to process complex languages and detailed logical models.
Mathematics, it turns out, is really just an extremely complex logical model. Most of #mathematics can be reduced to a logical form called a syllogism. (The if/then statement is a form of syllogism).
A computer is a machine designed to execute vast numbers of syllogism.
Because humans seem to have a unique ability to engage in complex reasoning, ancient philosophers tended to emphasize the rational side of the human mind. Some classified man as a rational animal.
The core of the liberal arts (aka The Trivium) are: Grammar, Logic and Rhetoric. The Liberal Arts curriculum centered on the inner functioning of the individual human mind. The goal of the liberal arts was to teach people how to develop and communicate ideas.
There is something strange about the human mind. It appears that human minds involve some sort of unique identifier. Maybe this thing is an artifact of the constrained space occupied by the human brain. Perhaps it is a complex hash key processing in that great blockchain in the sky?!
Regardless of the nature of this mysterious thing, it appears that people possess a strange thing at the core of their being that is often called a spirit or a soul.
The human soul can not be explained by science. It is possible that the soul exists on a different dimension than the brain. One might call this a spiritual rhealm.
Classical thinkers spent a huge amount of time speculating about the spiritual dimension. Much of the thinking was just idle speculation.
Most of the idle speculation is wrong.
Modern thinkers tend to disparage discussions of the soul and dismiss it as idle speculation.
I hate how modern thinkers viciiously attack ancient philosophies because people engaged in idle speculation.
Most of things people say today is idle speculation and most of it is wrong.
Karl Marx called his approach to logic "material dialectics" with the notion that he could explain human history and economics in terms of material conflict; thus eliminating all of the idle speculation about souls.
Personally, I don't mind idle speculation about the soul and spirit.
A common theme of this idle speculation is that mankind is not the only entity that exists on the spiritual rhealm. The Judeo-Christian tradition holds that the entity that created the universe somehow exists in the spiritual rhealm.
Influence of Classical Liberal Thought on the US Founders
The US Founders had a liberal arts education. They applied their liberal arts education to the question of liberty and developed a Constitutionally limited Republic with a relatively free people.
One of the most profound artifacts of the classical liberal views of the US Founders is found in the opening of the Declaration of Independence. This opening sentence reads:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights."
The concept of a self-evident truth comes from centuries of discussions about classical logic. In classical logic, one quickly realizes that fundamental premises, like the axioms of Euclidean Geometry, cannot be proven. The fundamental premises can only be stated.
The statement that all men are created equal is really weird. It is clear that people come in different shapes and sizes. Even worse some people have seriously disabilities. A person with legs has a critical piece of anatomy that a person without legs lacks.
The statement makes no sense until one applies classical liberal thinking to it.
The Declaration of Independence is not declaring that our physical bodies are equal. The statement is about the spirit. It holds that the souls given to us by this entity that they called "The Creator" are equal.
Our equality is on a spiritual rhealm. Since people are equal on this spiritual rhealm we have inalienable rights.
This Statement is Radical
The Declaration of Independence is radical.
Most of the world of the time toiled under oppressive class structures.
Class societies held that there were fundamental differences between the classes. The fundamental differences were on both a physical and spiritual level.
Kings, Popes, lords and bishops were seen as being on a higher level than the peasantry. The fuedal view was that the ruling class was both as at a higher political and higher spiritual level than the peasant.
Feudal thinkers would hold that peasants need to be held down because they were inherently inferior.
I want to emphasize that the term "self evident" simply means that the issue is not even up for debate.
This idea that all human souls are equal leads to some radical changes. Notably, it advances a concept called the rule of law.
If all people are equal; then our laws should apply to all people.
The Reaction Against Classical Liberal
The self-evident statement held by the founders was only held by a few people. Most thinkers of the 18th century were beholden to some form of class structure which entitled the ruling class to favors not available to the common man.
The ruling class was livid and reacted.
This reaction produced a number of oppositional ideologies.
The adherents of these oppositional ideologies gain power by manufacturing conflicts which allow partisan groups to manipulate definitions and gradually take control of society.
I believe that one to counter the effort is to recount historical discussions and to explore the various meanings of terms.
NOTE: I just removed a huge section of this post which explored the ways that conservatives and progressive manipulate the debate about Mind, Body and Spirit.
Rather than exploring counter arguments, I think it is best to conclude this post by noting that the classical liberal ideals common at the founding of the US held the notion that there is some sort of spiritual rhealm and that people are in this spiritual rhealm.
The idea cannot be proven, but it was a radical departure from the feudal notion that members of the ruling class were superior to the peasantry.
The idea that people are equal at a spiritual level leads to arguments favoring the rule of law.
About the Picture
The picture shows a pile of snow after two hours of shoveling. I chose this picture as I end to pile it on in the next couple of weeks.