Well, here we are again! I thought I would try a little experiment from Intentional Insights, a philosophical system that tells me science can find out the meaning to my life. I will do this experiment through two profiles: this one (Machine) and Judas Doppelganger. For those of you who do not know Mr. Doppelganger, he is my “evil” twin, who pulls out versions of truth from my ramblings.*
Needless to say for some, Doppelganger will be doing the experiment through extreme pessimism/skepticism.
I will do it as honestly as a duplicitous schizo personality like myself can. I'll also post some reactions to the quizzes in a separate section.
Here is the experiment:
Science can provide meaning for your life.
“We empower people to refine and reach their goals by providing research-based content to help improve thinking, feeling, and behavior patterns.”
This online group/course has free versions of their product, and that is what we’ll be using today for Doppelganger. I will be using the paid version, which will record everything, while Doppel will play the false act of participant through criticism.
The group does claim that it is non-profit, so I imagine the $4.95 is for upkeep of the philosophical teachings, and for the instructors.
This looks like aspartame compared to sugar, or “fake it till you make it”. All the actions that religious people are supposed to do, minus the deity or dogma, are here. It replaces a lot of the terminology of religion and uses “rituals” in place, and even says that religion might be the purpose in your life, while basically insinuating religion is wrong (not necessarily disagreeing).
Non profit usually makes me suspicious, but not because I think they are laundering the money. Sometimes quality products take money, but this still has similarities of religion to me. While the $5 might not be the 10% tithe religious people have (the money going to fund things like church buildings, staff, leaders), it still acts in a similar way; maintaining a base/leadership in reality. There could be a whole article on the hypocrisy of declaiming tithe and facility maintenance, and donating to charities that need money to simply operate.
“Meaning is created in life. Neutral events are made subjective by interpreting them through the lens of perception. “Truth” is merely a product of perceptions; perceptions are colored by experience, which is then filtered through the current state of mind and altered even further. By the time the neutral event is processed in this manner, it is little more truth than fiction. Yet personal truth is accepted wholeheartedly….” Copyright William Berry, 2012 (used without permission)
That is the first flaw I see in this whole program. It is so ambiguous and solipsist that it can apply to terrorists, the delusional, and just about anyone for any reason. You could find your meaning in life by torturing small animals with this program. It seems like a combination of guilt alleviation and coddling.
Let's see where we go....
First off the questions seem kind of dubious for the initial quiz. They are a collection of true or false, and they slip bias into them quit frequently. They are forms of Petitio Principii, or “begging the question”, They assume as evidence for their argument the very conclusion they are attempting to prove. For instance:
“The key question is not “What is the meaning of life?” In fact, research seems to show that there is no one clear answer to this question. The only question that matters is “What is the meaning of life for you?”
True or False?
“The science suggests three broad strategies for helping people find meaning and purpose in life, including: 2) cultivating your current bonds with friends and family, and joining communities to enrich your social circle and thus sense of connection with others.”
While it is true that the science suggests this, there is also science that suggests we are all living in a video game (not brains in a vat/the Matrix. Or rather, we are the programs in the matrix, not the humans**). Positing true or false is kind of misleading. It is true that science is suggesting this, it may not be true that you agree with it.
My mind stuck on this one:” Research shows that those who believe in God and go to church have an overall more powerful sense of purpose and meaning in life, since religion satisfies people’s desire to belong.”
Research shows it going either way. Do they mean the research shown on the website? Cause that’s kinda biased…. Also the answer key is kind of sneaky. It flips the true or false order, and it also puts in variations that seem misleading. In other words, sometimes the quiz wants a black and white answer, and sometimes it wants you to think in more terms of grey. “True/not true” as a response to a statement as opposed to “true/false”. It seems innocuous, but think about it this way:
Religion is good! “True/False.”
Religion is good! “True/not true”
One is a little more cut and dry, and if it’s the only option you have, then they can lead you down a series of rationalizations.
This is further compiled by a “scoring” of the quiz. Apparently, when I didn’t answer the way they wanted, Machine got “wrong” marks, for a total score of 89%, even though I dispute the bias of the questions. Maybe they should have clarified to make true or false answers based on the information they (Intentional Insights) provided.
I will answer in the spirit of the question, and not split hairs, so to speak. I’m working under the assumption that this is leading somewhere, and I will be led until it is my turn to either lead or continue on my own.
For instance the question: “Making such a plan will also help you focus: true/false” will be answered “True” because I feel that is what the insinuation is intending, that I do believe the plan will help me focus, as the rhetorical question asks.
It has already become difficult to separate my cynicism from my openness. I immediately snagged on the terms “this is a great way”…no. It’s one way, and it might not work for everyone. The subject is journaling, which I find to be similar to a paper trail. I don’t necessarily journal because my closest thoughts are mine, and I do not like my thoughts used in an unintended way.
The designers of the quiz also threw in a few mini hurdles. Sometimes the answer is “true/not true” and sometimes the answer is “true/false”, and sometimes the order is flipped so it’s “false/true”.
I am answering the questions honestly, and so far I have scored an answer of 89%. I should read through their material more closely, and give the answers that will yield me better results.
*He wasn’t born, he simply congealed in a sewer and followed me around. Essentially, what I do is make a post (often in NaNoWriMo), and he will put either a new spin or a criticism on the post. For example if I were to post something along the lines of “I hope this new novel is going well” he might post “Validation from the masses! Either it’s good or it isn’t. Stop looking for validation through other people, you idiot!”