TomViolenz, thanks for the strident reply!
TomViolenz wrote:Delusion presupposes that there is one truth, of which we are not aware of. That is not so in social systems (and barely so in physics).
There is only one reality - by definition. Regardless, there are a few basic truths that we limited human beings can comprehend. You mention survival as the supposedly overarching one. But after we are surviving well, we seek happiness in its various forms. Just look at your motivation. As you say you seek better circumstances. But it's not for survival since you already have that. It is for happiness. Survival alone is too basic for intelligent human beings, unless survival is threatened as in poor countries.
Unhappiness is our nature. That is so because what makes us strive for things (and thus ultimately survive), is this emotional feed back system, constantly comparing the Is condition with the optimal one, which is always a moving target. So the natural state is always: It could be better...
If you look closer in your immediate experience, you will see that your seeking is a habit premised on the hope of improved circumstances for increased happiness, not for survival unless you are one of those nuts locked in an apartment full of guns. I agree that that it is a hangover from the struggle for survival. We see that safer circumstances feel better and mistakenly assume that further improvement is the way to happiness, and we see everyone else doing the same. Bottom line is that you've got to add happiness as the next step after your survival thesis, then check what really works for realising happiness.
What you call delusion is just other people having different opinions from you. That might be because they have faulty information, but it may just as well be that they only draw different conclusions from the same information you have.
No. They have never even looked. They just mechanically react and follow along with society. They see that improved survival circumstances feel better, so they continue in that way out of habit and because they see others doing likewise. That behaviour is not due to supposedly inevitable instinct. Human beings can be reflective and innovative.
The Buddhists found a semi credible cope out and that is: Stop thinking! So yeah....
We don't need to stop thinking. We need to watch how the efforts to seek happiness in objects and states actually cause unhappiness. Then those efforts naturally end due to repeatedly seeing the immediate pain and ultimate futility. Then the energy that was leaked into that quest abides at its source and we feel inexpressible wellbeing. I think Buddha was closer to the mark when he critiqued objectification and attachment.
If your philosophy book was written with the same lack of intellectual rigor, I understand why it was rejected by the people you gave it to. There is a very good reason why real students of philosophy usually start with extensive courses in Logic. If you are really that convinced that you have unique insights to share, you should take good care about testing your thoughts against a rigorous shake down of them. A study of Logic will lend you the necessary tools for doing that. Philosophy may not be hard science like physics, but it's neither: Anything goes.
I majored in philosophy. Every subchapter of the book has a question and answer section where the questioner attacks my theories in the same way that you have - predictable attacks that are expressions of society's tenets like the Matrix (no offense). Analytic philosophy is stuck in "critical thinking" rather than opening up to creative thinking. As soon as you write even one paragraph, they jump in with a million attacks, so they close off new ideas before they have even been fully articulated. But if you say "Darwin says...", they automatically lap it up. They imagine that they are heroic doubters of received wisdom because they doubt one small area knowledge, but ultimately they are drowning in society's assumptions. To really doubt received wisdom, you have to start by rejecting it all and looking at the immediacy of your own experience. Almost nobody does that. It usually requires a crisis, but it can also happen if there's a good mix of sensitivity, intelligence, and courage.
BTW, would you mind if I posted your comment on my blog? I can delete your name if you prefer.