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Invented differences among humans
Posted: 12 May 2018 06:40 PM   [ Ignore ]
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It’s a trope I see in eastern philosophy about how the differences between all of us that we believe to be there and are real are actually not. Similar to the idea that countries are just lines on a map but don’t really have any meaning outside of humans. By that extension could nationalities be just something we believe in even though the countries they are based on are merely arbitrary lines? What of culture then? Is there anything distinct about one practice just because some people do it? Are all our differences and variety mere human imagination?

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Posted: 13 May 2018 01:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I"m reluctant to respond, since this seems to fit your pattern of how things are “mere” something, or that nothing is distinct. But you start out saying that is a trope.

As for nationalities, looking at specific examples should answer your question. If you travel from Taiwan to Moscow, slow enough to stop and talk to the changing cultures as you go, you’ll see a gradual change. You won’t see a sudden change from Chinese to Russian as you cross the border. The Middle East is a complete mess, because there were free roaming tribes there not too long ago. Those lines were drawn less than a 100 years ago. There are counter examples, where the culture does better fit the borders, but you won’t find anything perfect, and you need to come up with a definition of what it is to be French or German, which will be quite a problem in itself.

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Posted: 13 May 2018 08:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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That’s not exactly what I am getting at here, more like how the idea of culture and borders is more arbitrary than anything truly solid at the end of the day.

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Posted: 14 May 2018 04:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Titanomachina - 13 May 2018 08:46 PM

That’s not exactly what I am getting at here, more like how the idea of culture and borders is more arbitrary than anything truly solid at the end of the day.

Then I guess we agree

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Posted: 14 May 2018 05:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Each state border is effectively man-made. When it comes to cultural differences, those are again effectively man made. When it comes to ethnic differences, do they really matter, or are being pointed out by hateful leaders to enforce the feeling of identity (whatever sort)?

Basically an approach of tibetan buddhism.

If its man-made, it does not automatically means it does not exists, or it will not affect you. If you are a tibetan monk, you might perceive such things as petty squabble - a made up reasons for conflicts.

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Posted: 14 May 2018 06:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Ever seen this video?

Slightly off topic, but related in that it helps put human movement into perspective.

50 Centuries in 10 Minutes
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dp0tqdu7fH4

A geopolitical history of all empires, nations, kingdoms, armies and republics. More than 500 world maps spanning all historical events up to today. View in the high resolution. Turn on annotations for labels, if you cannot read the key in the upper-left corner.

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Posted: 14 May 2018 07:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Just happened to randomly open up Dennet’s Breaking the Spell this morning. The part where he talks about how we passed on information before there was written language. By having a choir of people repeat words or a dance that has symbolic meaning, the ones who are getting it wrong can be quickly identified and corrected. This isn’t always done with evil intent, sometimes the meaning of those words or symbols are very helpful. Neither is it something that needs to be calculated by one person and invented for some specific purpose. They can just develop, sort of on their own, but with a little help from each generation.

These things don’t care about borders. A king or government might try to exploit them, but that doesn’t always work. The Jewish people are a great example of this. A people who were without a homeland for much of their existence.

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Posted: 14 May 2018 03:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Titanomachina - 12 May 2018 06:40 PM

It’s a trope I see in eastern philosophy about how the differences between all of us that we believe to be there and are real are actually not. Similar to the idea that countries are just lines on a map but don’t really have any meaning outside of humans. By that extension could nationalities be just something we believe in even though the countries they are based on are merely arbitrary lines? What of culture then? Is there anything distinct about one practice just because some people do it? Are all our differences and variety mere human imagination?

I’m supposed to be part of a talk titled “What Should be Considered Am. Culture and I can’t pretend to begin answering that question.  Long ago as a child I would lot down and noticed there were no line like I saw on maps of the globe.  So my young mind asked,” what’s up”. How could I tell what’s what and I can assure you I still don’t know today except that line draw by humans are meaningless so at his talk I think I will mostly listen.

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Posted: 14 May 2018 05:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Titanomachina - 13 May 2018 08:46 PM

That’s not exactly what I am getting at here, more like how the idea of culture and borders is more arbitrary than anything truly solid at the end of the day.

This is false.

Neither culture nor borders are arbitrary. Culture is the more formative of the two and is basically the interaction of genes + environment, genes and environments both vary worldwide obviously, which produces the differences we see. Borders arise from culture — directly or indirectly — and are more fluid, but still real enough.

Claiming these are arbitrary is nonsensical. The people who strongly think this are usually political ideologues with their own perverse view of “borders” and “differences”.

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Posted: 14 May 2018 05:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Beltane - 14 May 2018 05:04 PM
Titanomachina - 13 May 2018 08:46 PM

That’s not exactly what I am getting at here, more like how the idea of culture and borders is more arbitrary than anything truly solid at the end of the day.

This is false.

Neither culture nor borders are arbitrary. Culture is the more formative of the two and is basically the interaction of genes + environment, genes and environments both vary worldwide obviously, which produces the differences we see. Borders arise from culture — directly or indirectly — and are more fluid, but still real enough.

Claiming these are arbitrary is nonsensical. The people who strongly think this are usually political ideologues with their own perverse view of “borders” and “differences”.

The people who say people have perverse views of “borders” are the people who are benefiting from the current borders. The nation state was an improvement on the kingdom but someone always figures out how to concentrate power in any system. Borders don’t mean much to corporations and their benefactors but those benefactors want us to think they do.

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Posted: 14 May 2018 07:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Lausten - 14 May 2018 05:39 PM
Beltane - 14 May 2018 05:04 PM
Titanomachina - 13 May 2018 08:46 PM

That’s not exactly what I am getting at here, more like how the idea of culture and borders is more arbitrary than anything truly solid at the end of the day.

This is false.

Neither culture nor borders are arbitrary. Culture is the more formative of the two and is basically the interaction of genes + environment, genes and environments both vary worldwide obviously, which produces the differences we see. Borders arise from culture — directly or indirectly — and are more fluid, but still real enough.

Claiming these are arbitrary is nonsensical. The people who strongly think this are usually political ideologues with their own perverse view of “borders” and “differences”.

The people who say people have perverse views of “borders” are the people who are benefiting from the current borders.

Which is a good thing, borders should benefit the majority of those who live within them, as is the case in most of the world.

The nation state was an improvement on the kingdom but someone always figures out how to concentrate power in any system.

Well, concentration of power is always the goal for any polity, nobody would last long without it. As far as nation states go —  I think they have only been an improvement in Western Europe, and maybe Japan. Everywhere else they seem to be more trouble than not.

Borders don’t mean much to corporations and their benefactors but those benefactors want us to think they do.

Agreed.

[ Edited: 14 May 2018 07:39 PM by Beltane ]
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Posted: 15 May 2018 08:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Beltane - 14 May 2018 07:36 PM

Well, concentration of power is always the goal for any polity, nobody would last long without it. As far as nation states go —  I think they have only been an improvement in Western Europe, and maybe Japan. Everywhere else they seem to be more trouble than not.

Really? That’s the goal? And here I was thinking that being fruitful and multiplying was the goal. Silly me for believing Peter Seeger and thinking progress is about expanding our circle of caring.

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Posted: 15 May 2018 02:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Lausten - 15 May 2018 08:40 AM
Beltane - 14 May 2018 07:36 PM

Well, concentration of power is always the goal for any polity, nobody would last long without it. As far as nation states go —  I think they have only been an improvement in Western Europe, and maybe Japan. Everywhere else they seem to be more trouble than not.

Really? That’s the goal? And here I was thinking that being fruitful and multiplying was the goal. Silly me for believing Peter Seeger and thinking progress is about expanding our circle of caring.

Beltrane is just one of those guys who reply No it isn’t when you say the sky is blue. He just disagrees to disagree. Of course nations are arbitrary and cultures too. They may have come about as a result of basically stationary groups of people, but over time, as we’re already seeing, cultures dissolve. I imagine some day humans will look back a giggle when they see some old 21st century maps.

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Posted: 15 May 2018 06:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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CuthbertJ - 15 May 2018 02:47 PM
Lausten - 15 May 2018 08:40 AM
Beltane - 14 May 2018 07:36 PM

Well, concentration of power is always the goal for any polity, nobody would last long without it. As far as nation states go —  I think they have only been an improvement in Western Europe, and maybe Japan. Everywhere else they seem to be more trouble than not.

Really? That’s the goal? And here I was thinking that being fruitful and multiplying was the goal. Silly me for believing Peter Seeger and thinking progress is about expanding our circle of caring.

Beltrane is just one of those guys who reply No it isn’t when you say the sky is blue. He just disagrees to disagree. Of course nations are arbitrary and cultures too. They may have come about as a result of basically stationary groups of people, but over time, as we’re already seeing, cultures dissolve. I imagine some day humans will look back a giggle when they see some old 21st century maps.

No surprise you don’t know what “arbitrary” means, which reminds me that it seems like the people who don’t like being disagreed with are the ones who are often wrong.

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Posted: 15 May 2018 07:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Lausten - 15 May 2018 08:40 AM
Beltane - 14 May 2018 07:36 PM

Well, concentration of power is always the goal for any polity, nobody would last long without it. As far as nation states go —  I think they have only been an improvement in Western Europe, and maybe Japan. Everywhere else they seem to be more trouble than not.

Really? That’s the goal? And here I was thinking that being fruitful and multiplying was the goal. Silly me for believing Peter Seeger and thinking progress is about expanding our circle of caring.

I guess you’re being sort of serious so I’ll play: being fruitful seems like a bigger goal for individuals in the group, whereas the group as a whole pursues power, not necessarily with the intent to destroy others but simply because being powerful is better than not being powerful. Evolutionarily speaking, powerful groups have better reproductive fitness which is basically the ultimate goal of life.

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Posted: 15 May 2018 07:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Beltane - 15 May 2018 07:07 PM
Lausten - 15 May 2018 08:40 AM
Beltane - 14 May 2018 07:36 PM

Well, concentration of power is always the goal for any polity, nobody would last long without it. As far as nation states go —  I think they have only been an improvement in Western Europe, and maybe Japan. Everywhere else they seem to be more trouble than not.

Really? That’s the goal? And here I was thinking that being fruitful and multiplying was the goal. Silly me for believing Peter Seeger and thinking progress is about expanding our circle of caring.

I guess you’re being sort of serious so I’ll play: being fruitful seems like a bigger goal for individuals in the group, whereas the group as a whole pursues power, not necessarily with the intent to destroy others but simply because being powerful is better than not being powerful. Evolutionarily speaking, powerful groups have better reproductive fitness which is basically the ultimate goal of life.

Yeah I’m serious. The goal is survival and it can be better achieved through cooperation.

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