It is tempting to think of our fantasies as our very own realm in which we can do as we wish without any impedance. We are, after all, not actually doing anything are we?I think your refutation of this position is not as strong or on-target as it could be. There are multiple fronts which increasingly suggest that a major evolutionary role for 'the imagination' is as an in virtuo or "virtual reality" training ground. Robots are being equipped with 'imaginations' which enable them to learn and act a lot more effectively, a lot more quickly, with a lot less flailing around in the physical world. Psychological studies are demonstrating that, while not as good as real hands-on practice, spending time practicing 'in your head' can actually lead to skill improvement (I think I recall a particular study on mental-vs-physical-vs-non piano practice).
@B.A.Well, you bring up some good points. But, the article was not condemning imagination as a whole. Heck, even the Bible says that if there is anything good and noble, to think on these things. I don't think anybody, atheist or theist, would argue that thinking on things that make you a better person or the world around you a better place isn't a good thing. What his point is, is that dwelling on harmful things can have consequences. Just ask anyone who's cheated on their spouse. If they were absolutely truthful, they would admit that the act was preceded by thinking about what it would be like to be with that other person, how they could pull it off without their spouse knowing, etc.
Keep in mind that absolute freedom corrupts absolutelyThe expression is "power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely".So, you have based your entire post on a misquoted idea that you failed to logically prove.
Some people’s over occupation with sexual fantasies has lead to STDs which is some cases even lead to death. STDs don't come from fantasizing, they come from transfer of bacteria or viruses during sex-related behavior. Or that's what the germ theory of disease claims anyway. Are you guys gearing up for a jihad against the GTD now?
@jc1873I think you misread me. Mariano's article says "Be careful what you think, because my unsubstantiated opinions and anecdotal evidence make me feel that thoughts have consequences". My point is that his assertion would be a lot stronger, and could be a lot stronger, by saying "Be careful what you think, because there is extensive and growing evidence that thought patterns have, at the least, the following kind of consequences: X, Y, Z."I'm not arguing against using the imagination, and I'm not arguing against being careful in your thought patterns. I'm arguing against bad arguments for being careful in your thought patterns.
MaskedMarauder is either an idiot or willfully ignorant. Mariano's point was that a person's thought patterns have consequences when put into action. If person A's thought life if preoccuped with sex, then that person is more apt to engage in sex. This pattern of behavior can lead to STDs, which of course is spread by microbes. If only intelligence was contagious, then possibly MM might become infected.
DocintheAtl... too bad that isn't what he actually did say. Maybe he should just publish a blank page and then you would have even more freedom to imagine what you think he should have said.
MM,You are a simpleton. You imaging yourself smart; however, you are the type of guy who when met in person is unimpressive. You obviously are a narcissist and delight if building yourself up. I am here to tear you down. The point of his column was to discuss how thoughts matter. You are too dense to get this. Hopefully by continuing to visit this site, you will experience enlightenment, but first you need to let go of the ego.
Nice Adhoc Doc, you'll fit in perfect on this site.
DocintheAtl: The point of his column was to discuss how thoughts matter. Funny, he didn't mention Scott Roeder. Or Paul Hill. I didn't notice blind morbid religion on his list of thought lives not to indulge.Hopefully by continuing to visit this site, you will experience enlightenment, but first you need to let go of the ego. Thanks for the offer, Doc, but I'm already enlightened. In fact, I'm a saint. No fooling! I was anointed back in '72 by a blissful fellow who had had several personal visions of the Virgin Mary.I don't think anything I read here will ever trump that magic moment.
B.A.,Thank for the thoughts although I think you misread my point which was that we may thing of our fantasies as a realm in which we are not actually doing anything – but we are, which I think was your point.PersonalFailure,Thanks for the comments but you are presupposing that I was basing my post on one sentence and that I was attempting to quote something, which I was not.I have read the sentiment that “power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely” yet, in order to ascertain why that was a mused on the matter instead of just taking it at face value. I concluded that the person who enjoys absolute power considers herself to have the freedom to do as they please and thus become corrupted by their power.Thus, it is their delusion of absolute freedom that corrupts absolutely. This is my statement and not a mistaken plagiarism.MaskedMarauder,Keep trying my friend, keep trying until you put as much effort into reading and understanding as you do into complaining ex nihilo.Note the qualifying term or time sensitive term “lead.”This denotes a transition from one thing to another thus, from an “over occupation with sexual fantasies” that “has” later “lead to STDs.”aDios,Mariano .
Thanks, but I saw the 'lead' in there. But sexual fantasies still never lead to SDS. They might lead to overt sexual activity. SDS doesn't enter into the picture until the activity is with partners already infected with an SDS. Even then, with condoms the encounters can be had with low risk of SDS, but then you'd have to disobey the pope and go to hell in order to stay healthy.Something to think about.
MM,Your ignorance is all pervasive. After Kinsey published his fraud of research, this lead to more people's acceptance of causal sex. Guess what genius, STD rates increased. People acted on there thoughts, which had real life consequences. As to your comment that condoms lower the risk of STDs, you are very much correct. However, most at risk people are not that responsible.
Well, color me convinced. Thanks to DocintheAtl's wonderful explanation, I now understand how it is possible to contract STDs with nothing more than the power of my imagination. No need for any of that messy icky 'sex' stuff first! It's a stupid acronym, anyhow. They should really be called 'Imaginatively Transmitted Diseases'.
Anonymous,Please explain, what part of my post did I state you can get a STD without contact? You see, this is the problem with most atheist. They cannot argue the truth, so they invent or imagine what they want the other person to state, and argue along those lines. Congratulations, you re-enforce the sterotype.
Doc: After Kinsey published his fraud of research, this lead to more people's acceptance of causal sex. Guess what genius, STD rates increased. People acted on there thoughts, which had real life consequences. Sigh. It isn't the casualness or thoughtfulness of sex that does it, its unprotected sex that does it. It isn't whether they think a little or a lot about having sex, its what they do or don't do when they have sex.As to your comment that condoms lower the risk of STDs, you are very much correct. However, most at risk people are not that responsible. No argument here, except to say that being irresponsible is what puts people at risk, so this is a bit redundant.
MM,Do actions precede thought or thought precede action? If you state the former, then you are speaking of a very careless person. If you admit to the latter, then you are stating my position. Thank you.
DocintheAtl: Do actions precede thought or thought precede action? I know this isn't what you want to hear, but it all depends on what you mean by 'thought', 'action' and 'precede'.I presume by 'thought' you mean something like consciousness, but that is itself an action, at least at a physiological level. So, at a trivial level thought and action are simultaneous.At another simplistic level actions always precede (conscious) thought because consciousness is a synthesised construct that is always about 100-200 ms behind real time; your present tense is actually past. The result is that by the time you are aware of doing something it has already been done.Also, actions and thoughts are not simple atomic things, they are continuous processes, and the boundaries of where & when they start and end gets fuzzy. So it matters what lag time you accept as a meaningful definition of 'precede'. For example, it takes finite time to centrally organise a motor program and dispatch it to the motor units. So when does an 'action' actually begin? Is it during the period of time when the motor program is being prepared, or some time later when the hand actually begins to move? How you answer that question affects the answer to your other question.Then there's non-conscious thought to contend with. Much, maybe most, of our mental activity is unconscious. To a large extent conscious thought involves becoming aware of decisions already made at unconscious levels. A simple example of the ambiguity this engenders is the so-called freudian slip where you mean to say one thing and end up saying another, possibly diametrically opposed to what you intended to say, that reflects strong alternative emotional influences. That would be a case of a preceding conscious intention getting hijacked by an unconscious thought during the act itself.In general, consciousness and rational thought play a weaker role in our behaviour than most people care to believe. Jonah Lehrer's "How We Decide" is a good introduction to current work and thinking in the field.
MM,Thank you for your drawn out explaination. As a physician, I am versed in this material. Unforturnately, your answer over-intellectuallizes the basic question, so you really have not answered the question I was asking. Very well. We agree to disagree. I will see you at the next topic.
DocintheAtl: I agree with you, we do disagree. I think you're under-intellectualizing. I just don't think the world is as simple as you seem to want to make it.
MM,The DSM- IV describes Intellectualization as a mental mechanism in which the person engages in excessive abstract thinking to avoid confrontation with conflicts or disturbing feelings. This is trait common to narcissist, a category that you might belong. Your reponse that I am under-intellectualizing is not applicable to my response, as what you displayed is a defense mechanism. In addition, you assume too much to think I see the world in a simple manner. This is far from the truth; I just happen to understand human nature better than you.
Interesting. I was unaware that it was technical term. I am using it in the vernacular sense.I think your outlook, at least here, is simplistic. You asked a complex question as if it were a simple one without nuance and seem to be hostile to an effort to deal with it in appropriate depth.
MM,I apologize for any rudeness that I might have displayed. It seems that I think rudely of you, and this in turn leads me to the action of typing out those feelings. Going back to the article, the underlying point was that the more one perseverates on something, the more likely the resultant action is to follow. This is human nature, and one of the reasons that your and my thoughts matter. They matter not just to us, but to God. A large portion of the Sermon on the Mount was focused on our thought life for this reason. It is almost axiomatic that the more we think about something (especially a temptation), the more apt we are to take action to satisfy our thoughts. Your initial post mocked Mariano's statement that fantasizing about sex leads to STDs. In the context of his column, you are bright enough to make the connection. This is not a difficult topic, and does not require an encyclopedia worth of nuance. Nuance can of course by interjected as a diversion. I will be happy to continue this discussion if you like.
Going back to the article, the underlying point was that the more one perseverates on something, the more likely the resultant action is to follow.That's the obvious intuitive conclusion, but I don't know that it is an accurate one. I took a quick look around the intertubes and see no on-line study citing correlations between sex fantasies and STDs. Yes, fantasy sex tends to increase the likelihood of physical sex, but I couldn't find anything claiming that STDs increased with fantasy sex. Most of the literature I could find concerned correlations between fantasies and guilt & depression. Whether the intuition is correct or not, it doesn't seem to be a well established fact.Your initial post mocked Mariano's statement that fantasizing about sex leads to STDs.Well, yes. It was intended as nudge to tighten up the language. I was taken a bit aback by the pushback. You see, there's some anti-evolution rhetoric on this site and, when speaking in favor of science this sort argument is often rejected because the particular assertion isn't "proved" since the proffered evidence is "only" a correlation, not a cause. Exactly like here. I guess sauce for the goose is not sauce for the gander when it comes to christianity, but I guess its my fault that I haven't reconciled myself to this by now. Silly me!Having been forced to reconsider it more deliberately I'm more inclined to stick to my initial position. Basically, it seems a dishonest or at least disingenuous statement. More than anything it reminds me of the lurid old propaganda films like "Refer Madness" that tried to promote conformity to arbitrary norms by instilling irrational fear.It seems to imply that practical concern for STDs is the reason for considering naughty thoughts as a legitimate thought crime. But that rings false because:1) I don't know its based on a factually sound premise.2) religious preoccupations with sexual thoughts antedates our understanding of the link between sex and STDs by millennia. I don't see that sex per se is evil, so fantasising about it shouldn't be a concern. But somehow it is and has been for thousands of years. The STD issue just looks like a post hoc rationalisation for a doctrine that would persist even if STDs were eliminated somehow.3) its hypocritical in that there's no evidence that the concern over STD is authentic: if STDs really mattered then discussion would be directed toward practical and effective means of STD suppression like promoting free condom distribution and needle exchange programs for drug users, but that is not the case.