Forums Religion What is Mechanism (Philosophy)?
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  • #68
    nomad
    4 Posts

    Mechanism (Philosophy):
    a. the view that all natural processes are explicable in terms of Newtonian mechanics.
    b. the view that all biological processes may be described in physicochemical terms

    My life philosophy closely resembles the doctrine of mechanism. It has stemmed from anger issues I had when I was a child which I was determined to shed, because I wasn’t happy – the decision to try a new outlook.

    While my fiancee, an existentialist, believes the mechanistic point of view is like a prison, it has been a key part of my life. Mostly due to my belief that every minuscule detail in each individual’s life is the predictable (predictable not by us) result of countless previous events and experiences – a chain reaction on a colossal level – and that it could never have been any other way. If we somehow went back in time and erased everything that has happened back to the beginning (if there was a beginning at all), I believe it would all happen exactly as it did, like clockwork.

    I could go into much greater depth in explaining the true meaning and implications of this, but I’ll save it for now. Suffice to say, the mechanistic point of view has made my life worth living. Because I believe people, their actions, and their situations are a result that could never have been any other way, I can’t at heart blame anyone for anything that they’ve done. This also means my regrets are kept to a healthy, constructive level, I never wish I had done something differently, because I don’t believe that could have been possible in the first place.
    It’s also a view which ironically has left me with an open mind – I am just a product of the chain reaction like everybody else, so I am just as likely to be wrong, as much of a paradox as that statement is!

    Well, I just wanted to talk about philosophy with some people here, mostly because I see a lot of hate and tension in some of the posts regarding family members of game addicts, which stems from not understanding why they choose the game over their partner, their children, their education or their work. The mechanistic view is something which has helped me accept things as ultimately inevitable and to move on, which, coming from a family background involving drug addiction, alcoholism, and attempted suicide, has been extremely important to me.

    If you are frustrated at trying to understand the seemingly irrational behavior of others and even yourself, I recommend reading the doctrine of mechanism. It’s not a religion, but an attempt to understand how our reality works on a fundamental level.

    I want to ask if anyone else out there has found a philosophy (more so than a religion) which has greatly improved their quality of life. I’d be interested in hearing about it.

  • #69
    sarah
    13 Posts

    Mechanism (Philosophy):
    a. the view that all natural processes are explicable in terms of Newtonian mechanics.
    b. the view that all biological processes may be described in physicochemical terms

    I am not trying in any way to argue about Mechanism because I respect everybody’s beliefs, but I am curious about one thing. Many experiments have shown that quantum theory, including its various predictions, control the way that the sub-atomic world works. For example, certain aspects of computers (e.g., the transistors) were developed based on quantum theory and act in the way that this theory says that they should. However, quantum theory seems to go against the Mechanistic philosophy as some key elements of quantum theory are the random acts of the sub-atomic particles, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, etc. As such, there are at least 3 ways that the Mechanistic philosophy can reconcile itself with quantum theory that I can see: (a) it says that quantum theory is incorrect; (b) we are not interpreting quatum theory correctly; (c) the effects of quantum theory do not affect the macroscopic world in any significant way.A Have you thought about that and, if so, how do you reconcile it with your belief?

    I want to ask if anyone else out there has found a philosophy (more so than a religion) which has greatly improved their quality of life. I’d be interested in hearing about it.

    Also, as for Mechanism being just a philosophy as opposed to a type of religion, that depends on the definition that you use. It is not that simple to come up with a definition that encompasses all those things that we consider to normally be a religion (e.g., Buddhism that does not involve any supernatural gods as many definitions of religion state) without becoming too encompassing to include things that we normally would not include as being a religion. One good link to read more about this is at http://www.religioustolerance.org/rel_defn.htm. As for any “philosophy” that has improved my quality of life, I would say that my belief that there is some type of organized, universal “energy” or presence has given me occasional comfort and, I believe, has improved my quality of life. You may define my belief as a type of religion, but that does not change its effect on me. I assume that many people who believe in what most people consider to be religions would feel that their quality of life has improved because of that. I think that most people who believe in something that explains why bad things happen, encourages people to be understanding and loving to each other, etc., will help to improve their lives. That applies to most religions, as long as people don’t become overly fanatical and only pay attention to part of what their religions say (e.g., it does not include Christian, Muslim, etc., extremists). For you, it is your belief in Mechanism that is helping you. I am glad that you found something that works so well for you.

  • #70
    nomad
    4 Posts

    @sarah A bit of (b) and a bit of (c) really. We don’t really know enough about subatomic particles to say they’re truly chaotic. Subatomic particles are made up of sub-subatomic particles, and even less is known about that. There could be forces at work which we can’t see that prevent a repeatable result, even something like time. And as with (c), I don’t believe they affect the macroscopic world yet. Of course I don’t have a master’s in chemistry. I have read a lot on physics and quantum mechanics, and this is just what I can piece together to leave open the possibility that I may be right. It’s a bit like faith. The nice thing is, while I can’t prove anything I say, nobody can prove otherwise with anything less than a time machine 😀 As for the religious belief & philosophy, I think a life philosophy is integrated into all religions. I’m mostly interested in this specific part, a way to see the same things in completely different light, and how this view has helped them. That is, if it’s not too hard to separate the philosophy from the religion, or briefly describe that aspect of your religion.

  • #71
    sarah
    13 Posts

    @nomad I am not yet sure if there is any particular manner where there is a direct link, in nature, between sub-atomic behaviour, based on quantum theory, and the macroscopic world. However, I do know that man can create switches based on that sub-atomic behaviour and which then has, of course, macroscopic consequences. In that case, would you consider this to possibly be an exception to the Mechanistic philosophy? Also, one other thing that seems to part of the Mechanism viewpoint is that everything is predetermined and, thus, it seems that free will does not exist, at least not in the form that most people consider it to exist.

  • #72
    dave
    17 Posts

    I wish I knew what to say – this is all much over my head – it’s like reading Greek – cause at least I can understand French. Have fun with your chat guys

  • #73
    peter
    5 Posts

    Newtonian mechanics make way for relativity. Gravity waves are a natural phenomenon which are not subject to Newtonian rules. The second definition works, as far as it goes. Ultimately, all biological processes can be taken down to the first subatomic level, including memory and religious rapture, recently brain-mapped. Neither of which preclude the possibility of a SUPERnatural overseer or two, which by definition are outside the scope of science, which only studies natural phenomena. The a priori argument for the existance of God is independent of mechanistic theory.

  • #74
    Gary
    5 Posts

    Neither of which preclude the possibility of a SUPERnatural overseer or two, which by definition are outside the scope of science, which only studies natural phenomena.

    There are people, including me, who would argue that god is a natural phenomenon and that it is possible to study her/him/it, in fact if I am not mistaken, it’s what all of religion and much of philosophy has been trying for the last few thousands of years.

    I want to ask if anyone else out there has found a philosophy (more so than a religion) which has greatly improved their quality of life. I’d be interested in hearing about it.

    I like the daoism way of seeing life as a harmonious system of eternal movement and change, where everything is counterbalanced by everything else. In terms of personal philosophy I prefer the traditional yogic one: (expressed in modern terms) – the body and the hormonal system is the hardware
    – the mind is the software Both have a mind on their own, which can not be considered real human. Both are filled up to the brim with desires and the person who is operating the computer is eternally occupied. Imagine that your computer would tell you all day that the processor needs a wipe and that the harddisk is in need of defragmentation. The software jumps in and forces you to use it (oh … doesn’t game addiction fit that description quite nicely?! :)) to update it etc. etc. Instead of you, the user, being in control, you are eternally following the whims of what is not you. Here yoga comes in and fine tunes the hardware and the software, so that at some point you as the user take control. The goal is to kill all desires. If you have no desires, you have perfect free will and perfect contentment. You are not compelled to do anything, but _can_ do everything.
    You don’t need anything to feel happy and are free to be happy with _anything_ or even without anything at all. For me, Yoga is one of the few sciences in the world, that really brings out the “sapiens” in “homo sapiens”

  • #75
    sammy
    18 Posts

    My take on this…I have had the “chance” to live life over and i am at the same place i have been at at least once before. That is, the choices I made were spatially random enough and in sync with everyone else’s “choices”, co-existing in this spatial creation, to result in me being here and one with myself. I don’t know if this is the last incarnation I will be here, perhaps it is, but I am living for today, as if it were the last “time”.

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