Prime Mover

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Prime Mover
« on: May 14, 2008, 09:24:31 PM »
Over the years I've been pondering the question:

If man is greater than the animals, why is man greater?

Many reasons have been given such as our ability to reason (heh...no pun intended).
Another is religion.
And so on and so forth, including, but not limited to, pointless debates about the shape of the world.

I posit this that distinguishes us from the animals: our ability to create. No other sentient creature creates for the sake of creation. We paint, we build sculpture, etc. etc. They build giant termite mounds and eat pretty pictures out of leaves, all out of a basic instinct concerning survival. They need those things to survive. We do not need sculpture and ceramics to survive.

This leads me to the topic of this thread: the Prime Mover. I believe (and I may be wrong) that Einstein was the one that said the more he understood of the universe the more he came to believe in a Prime Mover--an intelligent, creative force behind the mechinations of the universe. I am inclined to agree, but from my own, inquisitive, philosophical perspective. So....

If we have seen the working evolution of primates via their ability to learn language and produce art only after being taught by humans, and they being the only example we have outside of humanity of this behavior, who taught it to us?

Come on. Give me your theories. Divine inspiration? Aliens? Strange black slabs appearing in the middle of the night to gift us with the awful spark of genius? A virus perhaps!? (Hey, it could happen. Why do we have an appendix? Huh? Huh!?)

I'm going to posit the theory given to me by the daughter of a Jewish mystic:

Imagine a box. This box is a metaphor for the universe. It is filled with light. There is no source for the light, it is just light. That is all that is. The light is curious. Not a sentient "what's all this?" kind of curiousness, but the light has gained some self-awareness. Now that it is aware of self, it seeks to find something else. But it cannot. So it looks all around and sees only itself. Becoming frustrated, it discovers emotions via frustration, and lo! look at its surprise when it sucks in its gut and discovers darkness! Well now the universe is made up of light and dark (the first day for all you creationists out there) and the two start to develop a conversation and then they both go on a creation spree and create the very basest of materials. They start playing around with them, then poof bang magic we have compounds and the laws of physics, etc. etc. etc. until the earth forms and life begins to evolve yadda yadda yadda (apparently, he really said "yadda yadda yadda") and then there's this race of animal on this wonderful little blue green planet that shows the same inquisitiveness as the light did so long ago. The light begins to offer some services to this self-aware little man-goat (I like to believe that goats had a hand in how we got to be so stubborn). The dark, also recognizing a kindred soul, offers its own advice, then poof bang magic, we have religion and ethics and the dichotomy of good and evil. Huzzah!

So that's my explanation of the Prime Mover. What's yours?

For those a little bit slower than the AP class, my Prime Mover is awareness itself and the interaction between those that are self-aware. Not necessarily literal interaction between lightbulbs and hand-grenades.

And for those who are still a little slow, lightbulb=god, hand-grenade=man.
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Raist

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Re: Prime Mover
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2008, 09:31:45 PM »
No one taught it to us. Animals will create beautiful things too. Elephants will paint. It is our abundance of food that lets us have enough free time to create. Also our intelligence has given us an edge. We are not much different from animals in any way. We depend on thousands of years of discoveries that we pass on, including language to be where we are.

Re: Prime Mover
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2008, 12:30:08 AM »
I believe in an Optimus Prime Mover.

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Chris Spaghetti

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Re: Prime Mover
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2008, 05:16:23 AM »
Einstein referred to religion and God as 'childish superstition'

From a letter he wrote to Eric Gutkind in Jan 1954

"The word of God is for me nothing more than an the expression and product of human weaknesses, The Bible a product of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle (for me) can change this"

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Taters343

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Re: Prime Mover
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2008, 05:35:26 AM »
I agree with Einstein.

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Raist

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Re: Prime Mover
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2008, 12:38:19 PM »
Einstein referred to religion and God as 'childish superstition'

From a letter he wrote to Eric Gutkind in Jan 1954

"The word of God is for me nothing more than an the expression and product of human weaknesses, The Bible a product of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle (for me) can change this"
He didn't say he does not believe in god. He says he doesn't believe in what he was taught about god....

Re: Prime Mover
« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2008, 01:01:40 PM »
Elephants paint only when given the tools and shown what to do with them. Primates only discuss things when we teach them sign language (mind you, sign language that follows the syntax and language structure of the native tongue of the keeper). If we developed all this on our own and are therefore "no greater than an animal," then provide me the monkeys and the typewriters, because I'm sure they will have all the works of Shakespeare in no time. Infinite amount of time be damned.
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Raist

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Re: Prime Mover
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2008, 01:40:53 PM »
Elephants paint only when given the tools and shown what to do with them. Primates only discuss things when we teach them sign language (mind you, sign language that follows the syntax and language structure of the native tongue of the keeper). If we developed all this on our own and are therefore "no greater than an animal," then provide me the monkeys and the typewriters, because I'm sure they will have all the works of Shakespeare in no time. Infinite amount of time be damned.
hmmmm fallacious arguments..... so tempting.......

Re: Prime Mover
« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2008, 09:45:51 PM »
Hm? Fallacious? Tell me why they are fallacious?

Have the elephants created the paints and the brushes with which they paint? Or are they given to them?

Have the gorillas created their own sign language, or do we teach them with our own native tongue's syntax and grammar?

Show me I am wrong and I will cede my fallacy, but so far be it to my knowledge, these things I say are true.
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EvilToothpaste

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Re: Prime Mover
« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2008, 10:45:59 PM »
Quote
If we have seen the working evolution of primates via their ability to learn language and produce art only after being taught by humans, and they being the only example we have outside of humanity of this behavior, who taught it to us?

You're making a series of logic errors.  Simply because primates can be taught our languages does not mean humans also had to be taught our languages.  There is not enough information to form any conclusion on whether or not we were "taught". 

There is no reason to assume primates could not develop more sophisticated languages (written or signed for example) on their own after some amount of time.  The same can be said for humans, thus there possibly is no prime mover at all. 

Re: Prime Mover
« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2008, 04:49:35 AM »
I'm not saying it's the ONLY way, I'm saying from the observable and documented evidence of another species of animal, that is the ONLY way that they've learned these human behaviors.
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EvilToothpaste

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Re: Prime Mover
« Reply #11 on: May 19, 2008, 06:40:22 AM »
Yes yes, I see.  Good clean speculative fun. 

But still, I am a fun-hater and I don't see the point in such superstition unless it can definitively be proven that there is a prime mover -- especially because such a large portion of the population (a minority on these forums, though) believes it to definitely be true. 

Re: Prime Mover
« Reply #12 on: May 19, 2008, 08:48:20 PM »
I'm not sure if I believe in a conscious "I MAKE WORLD NOW!!!!" Prime Mover or a more "we're all linked at a sub-atomic level to a common existence/consciousness" Prime Mover or in a much more sinister "we're all part of a giant computer matrix designed to calculate the ultimate question" Prime Mover, but I'm more inclined to believe the validity of the second one.

After all, "Country Crock" butter is only one molecule away from being plastic, and Humans only have 4 available proteins to make up their DNA? (Or is that 8?) If we had say, 18billion proteins to choose from, I'd be more inclined to respect the computer matrix or "I AM GOD AND I LIKE TACOS!!!!!" kind of Prime Mover, or even give up the whole idea completely. But 4 seems to give validity to both science and an idea of a Prime Mover because of the simplicity and elegance of it.

As for WHY I still believe in a Prime Mover, my Qabalist friend shared his texts with me and explained a lot of it to me. Since then I have studied mystery traditions of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and even read the Gnostic Gospels, and there is a lot there that makes a hell of a lot of sense, especially when you look at the Gnostics' discussion of the Cadeucus (staff with two intertwined serpents) and their discussion of how its form is what allows it to be the "conductor of life." The form and function is very much similar to that of DNA, and I doubt very highly that the Gnostics in the 2nd Century AD had microscopes capable of charting DNA.
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EvilToothpaste

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Re: Prime Mover
« Reply #13 on: May 19, 2008, 10:29:56 PM »
This isn't necessarily a "prime mover" idea, but a somewhat similar theme.  I just ignore the preachy parts and appreciate the raw comparison of life and death.  It's written by Shunryu Suzuki. 

I went to Yosemite National Park, and I saw some huge waterfalls. The highest one there is 1,340 feet high, and from it the water comes down like a curtain thrown from the top of the mountain. It does not seem to come down swiftly, as you might expect; it seems to come down very slowly because of the distance. And the water does not come down as one stream, but is separated into many tiny streams. From a distance it looks like a curtain. And I thought it must be a very difficult experience for each drop of water to come down from the top of such a high mountain. It takes time, you know, along time, for the water finally to reach the bottom of the waterfall. And it seems to me that our human life may be like this. We have many difficult experiences in our life. But at the same time, I thought, the water was not originally separated, but was one whole river. Only when it is separated does it have some difficulty in falling. It is as if the water does not have any feeling when it is one whole river. Only when separated into many drops can it begin to have or to express some feeling.

Before we were born we had no feeling; we were one with the universe.  After we are separated by birth from this oneness, as the water falling from the waterfall is separated by the wind and rocks, then we have feeling. You have difficulty because you have feeling. You attach to the feeling you have without knowing just how this kind of feeling is created. When you do not realize that you are one with the river, or one with the universe, you have fear. Whether it is separated into drops or not, water is water. Our life and death are the same thing. When we realize this fact, we have no fear of death anymore, and we have no actual difficulty in our life. 

When the water returns to its original oneness with the river, it no longer has any individual feeling to it; it resumes its own nature, and finds composure. How very glad the water must be to come back to the original river! If this is so, what feeling will we have when we die? I think we are like the water in the dipper. We will have composure then, perfect composure. It may be too perfect for us, just now, because we are so much attached to our own feeling, to our individual existence. From us, just now, we have some fear of death, but after we resume our true original nature, there is Nirvana. That is why we say, "To attain Nirvana is to pass away." "To pass away" is not a very adequate expression. Perhaps "to pass on," or "to go on," or "to join" would be better.

Re: Prime Mover
« Reply #14 on: May 20, 2008, 05:38:59 AM »
Language and communication i believe is the key, and the fact humans have vocal cords. Man can pass down complex instructions and ideas to one another through explenation aswell as physically showing one another.

It has also allowed people to warn of dangers accuratly, explain problems, give us true social lives, and allow us to better ourselves.

Notice how the creatures people consider the most 'lowly' are the ones with hte least amount of communication between them. Monkeys have a basic level of community, whereas snails are dumb as shit.
Easy as 3.1415926535897932384626433832795028841971693993751058209749445923078164062862089986280348253421170679

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Roundy the Truthinessist

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Re: Prime Mover
« Reply #15 on: May 20, 2008, 12:00:54 PM »
And yet ants and bees are defined by their sense of community.
Where did you educate the biology, in toulet?

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EvilToothpaste

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Re: Prime Mover
« Reply #16 on: May 20, 2008, 12:11:52 PM »
And yet ants and bees are defined by their sense of community.

They communicate fairly effectively using chemical trails and ferimones.

I don't know how to spell anything at all. 

Re: Prime Mover
« Reply #17 on: May 20, 2008, 12:15:53 PM »
If bees can't spell then why do we have spelling bees?

Re: Prime Mover
« Reply #18 on: May 20, 2008, 10:06:48 PM »
The "hive" mentality is one of the simplest, yet most elegant feats of evolution. Ever.

It could almost be compared to Toothpaste's post (cool shit, yo!) except that the hive critters haven't found their separate streams. They still do things by their own initiative, they just do it all for the greater good of their community using chemicals and pheremones (I thought that's how it's spelled...apparently not. Damn you FES not putting spell check in your forums! *shakes fist*). I think the more one is able to communicate complex, personal ideas, the less communal one becomes. Snails may not have much community, but then, they don't generally live together. Ants and bees have about zero verbal communication. Humans have pretty much the most verbal communication one can have (except for those South American birds that can recreate any sound they hear. Damn talkies!) and we're the only ones that think we're cool for blowing each other up.
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Re: Prime Mover
« Reply #19 on: June 05, 2008, 09:24:01 PM »
I thought that's how it's spelled...apparently not. Damn you FES not putting spell check in your forums!
If you cannot spell then there is spell-check plugins available to download for various browsers.

Re: Prime Mover
« Reply #20 on: June 05, 2008, 09:42:57 PM »
bees the "lowly" creatures, actually have some of the most sophisticated communication.  Through dance they can communicate at least directions, distances, and quality of food sources.