Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Boxing Day punch up material

by ChrisCook Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 11:12:15 AM EST

I was bemused by the vehemence of debate which took off in the "Hostility to the Limits of Growth" thread once Deepak Chopra made an appearance.

On the one hand we have the rational scientists, and on the other those who believe science may be extended into the realm of spirituality.

<And that's without even mentioning "Art"!>

I'm going to chuck two things into the Pot. Firstly a very lazy quote from a blog concerning Robert Pirsig's
Metaphysics of Quality

The Metaphysics of Quality (MoQ) is an intellectual ordering of experience; it is a way of organising our knowledge; it is a filing system for the contents of our mind.

It postulates that the fundamental reality is Quality or value. All things come from Quality, and it is Quality that draws all things into being from Quality. All that exists is a form of Quality, and nothing exists without Quality. You could say that Quality is one of the names of God.

The first distinction that is made in understanding Quality is a distinction between Dynamic Quality (DQ) and Static Quality (SQ). DQ cannot be named and cannot be described. It is the cutting edge of experience. It is pre-intellectual awareness. DQ does not fit into any intellectual system; it is the ragged edge at the border of all such systems. DQ is the driving force of evolution, the lure (or: telos) which all of existence pursues.

Sometimes, a DQ driven evolution creates an evolutionary leap. Something new comes into existence. For this new thing of value to be maintained in existence it must 'static latch'; that is, it must be able to generate a particular pattern of value which persists over time, either on a continuous basis or a continuously regenerated basis.

These static latches form the known world. They are the stable forms of Quality.

Static Quality can be named. It can be classified and analysed. The principal classification of SQ is a division into four levels. These levels are discrete and do not overlap. Moreover, all that we presently know can be classified and described according to these four levels, except for DQ itself, which, to repeat, remains outside of all realms of classification.

The four levels are: inorganic, organic, social and intellectual. (For the sake of simplicity the inorganic can be taken to include the quantum level, although perhaps this level could constitute its own 'zeroth' level).

The inorganic level refers to atomic and molecular behaviour. Any object can be viewed as existing at the inorganic level. For example, a rock is a pattern of inorganic value - it's constituent parts value their current relationships more than any other alternative (eg disintegration). In the original flux, before there was either matter or time, Quality was found to lie in a certain structuring of quantum forces. [Here an astro-physicist can fill in the gaps].

The inorganic level is shaped by the laws of physics. These laws are a codification of the value choices made by atoms and molecules.

The organic (or biological) began to develop when a particular molecule made a DQ leap into a different pattern of behaviour. 'Biological evolution can be seen as a process by which weak Dynamic forces at a subatomic level discover stratagems for overcoming huge static inorganic forces at a superatomic level.' The highest quality static latch at the organic level was the molecule DNA. In practical terms this level can be considered as anything which can be described with reference to DNA.

The organic level is shaped by the law of natural selection. This law is a codification of the value choices made by organic patterns of value.

Uniquely (so far as we know), the human species is able to experience two further degrees of static quality.

The social level is the 'subjective customs of groups of people'. This sense of 'social' does not apply to anything non-human. The DQ innovation and static latch which enabled the social level to come into being was the development of language. It is possible that this static latch was supplemented by the further DQ innovation and static latch of ritual, but that is a moot point.

The social level encompasses an enormous variety of human behaviour. It can be understood through the values which govern it. The social level is shaped by laws, customs, mores and religious practices (eg against murder, adultery, theft) which are enforced by soldiers, policemen, parents and priests. These laws are what preserve the existence of social patterns of value from a degradation into the biological patterns of value on which the society depends. The social level is also ordered through the celebrity principle, which articulates the governing social values. Celebrities are those people who exemplify the values of the society, and who gain social rewards (principally wealth, power and fame) as a result.

The intellectual level is 'the level of symbolic social learning', the 'same as mind'. It is the 'collection and manipulation of symbols, created in the brain, that stand for patterns of experience'. The DQ innovation and static latch which enabled the intellectual level to come into being has not been satisfactorily determined.

The intellectual level is shaped by the notion of 'truth', which stands independently of social opinion. There is no link between celebrity and truth. The guardians of the intellectual level are, variously, the members of the Church of Reason. Intellectual 'laws' (eg logic) are a codification of the value choices made by intellectuals.

A culture is a combination of social and intellectual patterns of value. The twentieth century can be understood as a contest between social and intellectual patterns of value.

So: a quick recap on the key terms.
Quality - source of everything (I think of Quality as being one of the names of God, ie it conveys something about God, but is incomplete).
Dynamic and Static Quality - the first division in our understanding. Dynamic Quality (DQ) can't be defined (the Tao that can be spoken is not the eternal Tao). Static Quality(SQ) is everything that we can talk about.
The four levels: inorganic, organic, social and intellectual, in order of ascending value.

My heresy is that I don't think level four is `intellectual' - and I think there are all sorts of profound problems with it. I would rechristen the fourth level as `eudaimonic', and understand how it works differently - and I've written a longish essay on why which can be accessed via the moq.org website.

Pirsig's Metaphysics - in my view - asks better questions of Reality than anything else I have seen - albeit my exposure to Metaphysics is limited. There's also an interesting analogy with Maslow's hierarchy of needs here, of course.

Note that Pirsig confines himself to four levels, and the diarist - who is from a Christian tradition - has "issues" with the fourth and "highest" of the levels.

Now it seems to me that it is in this fourth - Intellectual/ Spiritual/ Emotional? - level that the guerrilla warfare is being fought out on ET - and, come to that in many other fora.

The second piece of "background" is personal.

About a dozen years ago - when I was just finishing my stint as a "top dog" in a global futures exchange - my ex went to see "Mary Rose", a psychic/ tarot reader who had been recommended to her by a friend. After this, she pestered me on and off for 6 months or so to go and see her, while I poo-poo'ed the whole thing as a good (well, pretty useless, actually) applied mathematician should.

In the end, I was prevailed upon to do so, just to shut my ex up on the subject, and duly caught the train down to Greenwich. I was surprised that "Mary Rose" appeared quite normal, and after introducing myself, she took a tarot pack and started off on a "reading".

Now, at this remove, I cannot remember all of the reading but a few examples of things she said stay with me:

She referred to places, and to names. She saw "Holland" for instance - was that relevant? Yes, I said, I had just that afternoon booked a flight to see an exchange CEO in Amsterdam (which my ex did not know, and would not have interested her if she had). You'll get what you want there, she said, and I did.

She saw "Robert", who was recently dead, and "Canada". A friend of mine, Bob Purves, formerly of the Winnipeg Exchange (whom my ex did not know and had never met) had very recently died. She said that he was a (Taurean? I think). I had no idea, but when I checked, he was.

She asked if I had a car. Yes. Be careful with the steering and brakes she said.

Within a week my ex had parked the car in our drive, which was at 90 degrees off a steep hill, but left off the brake, and failed to straighten up the steering. The car duly trundled off down the hill and caused a few hundred quids worth of damage...

There were other instances, but the long and short of it is that since meeting "Mary Rose", whom I returned to a few times over the years, I have been convinced that there is another level of "consciousness" or maybe "awareness" in which some people have an ability.

This is of course not susceptible to any sort of "proof" and I don't think it is to be relied upon to the exclusion of more "rational" decision making.

The point of all this is that whatever the "truth" is of our "reality" we have to approach it on the basis of our own experience, and, moreover, IMHO on the basis that the "Either/Or" scalpel of Reason is a deeply imperfect way of approaching whatever it is that is "out there".


Display:
First off, I'm sorry to inform you that you've most likely been scammed. 'Mary Rose' was treating you to what's known as a warm reading. It's not particularly difficult, I am told - any huckster with a reasonable acting talent and a knack for reading body language can learn to do it in the space of a couple of months.

Further, you state that such a medium - should they exist - would not be susceptible to any sort of proof. I disagree with that assertion. I can easily design an experimental setup that would provide at least a preliminary validation of a psychic's prowess: Just find an interesting piece of information that relates to a person, but which he does not know himself. Then have the diviner attempt to divine it.

This could be any kind of information, but it should be agreed upon ahead of time and it is an absolute requirement that precise information is given and in a form that precludes self-fulfilling prophesies. The question could be "will my brother marry within the next five years, and if so, on what year and day will he marry and who will he marry?" The psychic could then write a note saying 'no, your brother will not marry within five years,' put the note in an envelope and put the envelope in a strongbox in a bank. Five years later, or when your brother marries, you fetch the note and look at it.

Of course you would have to repeat such an experiment a large number of times to be able to determine whether the psychic is right significantly more often than tossing a die or flipping a coin would be, and you might want to put more elaborate controls in place, but the basic experimental setup could be used essentially unchanged.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 11:54:28 AM EST
Jake, I am aware of all that: and you, my Danish compatriot (although I'm only 50% Dane!) are probably as sceptical now as I was when I met the lady.

I merely recounted one small part of my experience with Mary Rose. Sure one could set up experiments to check up on these things, particularly in respect of the charlatans out there - and I am sure there are many. This lady makes no "claims", she did not advertise, and people came to her purely through word of mouth.

This was entirely different to my expectations: you really had to be there. There was no script, it was quite matter of fact: she didn't ask me anything about anything. She actually volunteers things which come into her mind, using the cards as an aid.

And there was IMHO no "rational" way that she could have come up with what she did.

But then that's just my opinion.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 12:28:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
While I cannot, since the documentation is no longer available, analyse what happened in that tent with forensic precision, what you write sounds more like a warm reading than anything remotely extraordinary. I don't doubt that you experienced something, but experience does not substitute for controlled experiment when it comes to being persuasive, and given the number of fly-by-night psychics and mediums (and the paucity of credible ones) I am disinclined to give this one the benefit of the doubt.

- Jake

The plural of anecdote is not data.

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 03:26:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What does "realm of spirituality" mean? I honestly have no idea what you're talking about.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 12:22:50 PM EST
Spiritual:

1...of, pertaining to, or consisting of spirit; incorporeal.

2...of or pertaining to the spirit or soul, as distinguished from the physical nature

I suggest you have a read of the "Hostility" thread, where, in case you were unaware, this whole ding dong kicked off following a reference to Deepak Chopra, and Quantum Mechanics, and went downhill from there.

ie the subject of "higher forms" of energy, matters pertaining to "higher levels" of awareness and consciousness.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 12:41:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And "spirit or soul" means what?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 12:42:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
lolol - you would be a great Jyana Yogi!
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 12:45:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Except I (like I assume Colman too) really don't know what it is used to mean. And it's not just the fuzzy language used by those for whom the word has a meaning. I don't understand the categoric  difference made: what they (you) refer to as as 'physical' reality is so varied and at places so strange, how is the 'soul''s strangeness a different strangeness than say that of the core of a neutron star?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 05:43:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'll think about it, but I don't know if my eloquence in English is good enough to respond to this. :-)
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 01:53:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't let English be an obstacle. Do it in German.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 04:19:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A simple definition of the material world could be - it is everything you can experience with your senses. Everything you can see, hear, feel, taste or smell. Thus, everything that you do not experience through your senses is spirit - feelings, emotions, thinking, visualizing, etc. Then, if you consider the brain as the hardware or computer, the programmer of the computer would be called the soul. (Sorry Sven :-))

This is so difficult to explain, as our language just is to limited to really convey these "dimensions". Language is linear, but experience is multidimensional. I guess it is for a reason that there is this Chinese saying: "One picture is worth more than a thousand words."  Just try do describe and explain a picture - you will never really be able to convey the same impression that the picture does. Now take inner states, can be distress - have you ever had the situation were you tried to console someone in despair, who was crying and you asked: "What is the matter". Usually word-wise this person will not be able to talk coherently, maybe even talk "gibberish", and still you get the idea of what is going on in this person, despite the words not making any sense. There is definitely something beyond the level of intellect that can be communicated, maybe through music and art.  There are also other states of knowing - however, again in non-verbal form, as they can be experienced in meditation - but as soon as you try to reduce the experience to words, it is loosing its essence, it often doesn't make sense when put in to words. One reason maybe, because we never created words that can carry that kind of information.

P.S. Jyana Yoga is the Yoga of inquiry - asking question to find enlightenment. However, the Jyana Yogi does not use the internet to find the answer; the Jyana Yogi meditates on the questions and looks for the answers "inside". 

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 02:50:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, cool, Yjana Yoga is Socrates' mayeutics, then.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 04:20:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thus, everything that you do not experience through your senses is spirit - feelings, emotions, thinking, visualizing, etc.

But this is simply wrong-headed. It presumes, for one thing, that those things are something distinct from physical and chemical interactions in the brain. There is no justification for such an assumption.

Language is linear, but experience is multidimensional.

This sentence is a prime example of why this discussion is so difficult. Linear and multidimensional are words that have meanings. And you're not using them in a way that makes any sense given their ordinary meanings.

While you are, of course, free to employ your own semantics, in which you imbue words with meanings that they do not usually have, it would help the reader to more easily grasp your point if you would please point out which definitions you change and how you change them.

Further, it does not help matters that it is almost invariably highly technical terms like dimensionality or linear that are mangled in this fashion. Taking the above example, you employ the term 'linear' as a contrast to the term 'multi-dimensional' - but the two are not mutually exclusive. The Schrödinger equation is very much a linear equation and it is very much also a multi-dimensional equation (OK, you can construct a one-dimensional version, but that has strictly limited utility). Further, neither of these terms has any natural connection to any description of language with which I am familiar.

I guess it is for a reason that there is this Chinese saying: "One picture is worth more than a thousand words."

... but 999 of them may be lies.

Snark aside, a word can also be worth a thousand pictures. I cannot, for example describe the full meaning that the viewer derives from a picture of an Iraqi child who's been hit by a phosphor grenade. There are simply too many side bands and connotations. However, it is equally true that no amount of pictures can describe the word 'imaginary' - again, there are connotations and impressions that are not easily translatable. And that is true for any migration from one media platform to another. An SMS can't say the same that an e-mail can, which in turn can't say the same thing a radio broadcast can, which in turn can't say the same things a TV broadcast can.

None of this is particularly new or deep insight, however, so I am not entirely sure where you are going with this. Certainly, the loss of information during translation from one medium to another is not to be taken as evidence of 'spiritual higher planes of existence?'

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 04:44:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am tired of you calling me wrong-headed, taging my work as "quackry", though I am aware you do not know what I do. It is no use discussing with you, all you are looking for is how you can contradict what doesn't fit in to your box of reality.

I guess I will take a break from ET too, these discussions are just no fun anymore.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 04:58:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hey Fran.

That's a shame. Just when we've got them on the run.... ;-)

Jake is a Defender of the Faith, just the same as any other. Except his Faith is in "Science" and the "scientific method".

He is a priest in what Pirsig called the "Church of Reason".

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 05:11:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Fran - I understand your frustration. I am sure you are a most forgiving person, but even saints can be tested ;-)

I've taken breaks too, and they are good for peace of mind. But I always return because I have such good friends here to share with.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 05:22:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Say it aint so Fran!

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 05:54:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm taking a break - I'm not leaving. :-)
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 06:09:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
depends how long the break is, If its too long then there will be much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 06:12:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That would sadden me. I can certainly understand why anyone would take a break from discussions of metaphysics - but I would hope that disagreements of philosophy would not result in fractured political communities.

Not so very long ago, people remarked on this blog that philosophical disagreements would be used (and have been used) to drive in wedges between natural allies. It would be a sad irony if we were to drive in such wedges ourselves.

In other words, please consider this an apology for any insinuations of 'quackery' or somesuch in your practice.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 06:38:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks, Jake!

And I do admit I am currently extra touchy - unfortunately I have been confronted over the last weeks, lets say with the shadow side of conventional medicine, and have been able to see some of the good stuff from the woo woo side. :-)

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 12:01:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is YOU who must stay to add value here, not the pseudo-science hammers, nor the other thread´s gnome gang!  (That was some spectacle for a new member welcome! Yikes!)  You are a higher-level gnome and some of us here know there is nobody blinder than those who refuse to see.  Some may actually evolve in a few decades. :O)

This disingenious, intellectual dishonesty/_ and exceptionalism are the ET equivalent of the eco-no-mist.  Self-locked into quadrant 17, level B, having an ´on-my-terms-only´, puerile tantrum and refusing to come out.  Newborn ´scientists´, as dangerous, authoritarian and myopic as newborn christians.  Yet, you meet them and they are pretty full people!  It´s an amazingly woowoo paradox, to use their terminology.

I will try to read below this and control myself, but if the ignorant and HURTFUL contempt continues, I´ll figure something else out.

Hope you give yourself credit and a good treat, then, come back soon.  

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 11:29:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You can't hear contempt in your own voice?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 11:37:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To be perfectly frank (yeah, I'm sure you appreciate it...) I hear contempt in the voices of almost everyone in these threads.  I'll include myself in that, even though I did -and continue to- suggest everyone could be a bit more humble.  

I'm not entirely sure what has provoked it, or how much of it is a defensiveness-projection thing, but if we had a smug-o-meter handy right now, the needle would be off the charts.  At this point I've become too annoyed with everyone to care what their original stance was.  See, now I am being smug...  This diary is a smug-magnet.  I suggest everyone slowly back away from it.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 11:51:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, I suggested that in the last thread, for all the good it did.
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 11:55:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for you support, metavision. But I have to say, I am in NO WAY

metavision:

a higher-level gnome

I do have quite a bit of weaknesses and shadows. And the other FP's are great people, and I really appreciate being in the same team with them. (okay, they might have some weaknesses too! At least I hope so.)

I would appreciate if we all could just take a deep breath, exhale and take a step back and start all over with each other. Let's stop this he did, she did - lets let it be.

Isn't Christmas supposed to be the time of love and forgiveness. Let's practice that! :-D

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 12:09:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Talk about having a good "feel" for situations... Things had calmed down, apologies have been made, hurtful words have stopped, and you give us this?


the pseudo-science hammers


gnome gang


disingenious, intellectual dishonesty/_ and exceptionalism


Newborn ´scientists´, as dangerous, authoritarian and myopic as newborn christians

I'm just sorry you've been wasting so much time reading us.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 12:47:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But this is simply wrong-headed. It presumes, for one thing, that those things are something distinct from physical and chemical interactions in the brain. There is no justification for such an assumption.

This is an overly simplistic reductionist view of what was being said, it's like a  paint-by numbers version of the mona lisa. Everything has to fit together as a subsetof my own model of how the world works. The fact that someone has a different language to describe experience is seen as irrelevent or wrong headead.

None of this is particularly new or deep insight, however, so I am not entirely sure where you are going with this.

If it isn't particularly a new or deep insight, why are you having trouble working out where they are going with this, surely it should be obvious?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 06:11:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is an overly simplistic reductionist view of what was being said, it's like a  paint-by numbers version of the mona lisa. Everything has to fit together as a subsetof my own model of how the world works. The fact that someone has a different language to describe experience is seen as irrelevent or wrong headead.

The problem is not that someone else is using a different language. The problem is that they are using the same language, but clearly not the same semantics. When a laundry list of perfectly biological functions is offered up as evidence of spirituality, I get sceptical. But I will admit - and apologise for the fact - that my language was intemperate.

If it isn't particularly a new or deep insight, why are you having trouble working out where they are going with this, surely it should be obvious?

No, it is not obvious, because it looks like these very much ordinary and commonly accepted facts are being used to argue in favour of a conclusion that does not seem to me to follow from those facts.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 07:02:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'll try to put your second point (linear and dimensions) a different way, maybe it will be perceived as less hostile.

Fran, with 'linear', you surely meant is that speech has a one-dimensional progression, with words (and voices within words) following upon each other. Now the difficulty is less that what words are to describe is multi-dimensional, given that single words can describe three-dimensional objects ("duck") or even four-dimensional ones ("history"), but that what is to be described may branch out and loop back, have a million nodes, and you have to string it all up on a single thread. (While what you really meant goes beyond that I presume: the problem of describing things and words with no good handy words for it.)

Now while I have to disagree with JakeS on 'linear' ('linear' is not just a mathematical term, it also has a general meaning of 'line-like', and used so in many fields; say just the other day I mentioned Linear Pottery Culture) there is the thing that we see a lot of technical terms used loosely, improperly, or senselessly. In this instance, I deduced what you (Fran) meant from the context and my prior awareness of this problem with language, and not from the words you used.

However, when reading someone trying to describe a concept new to me, what's more trying to introduce a new philosophy of everything, such loose use of technical terminology is an insurmountable obstacle. (And an annoyance.) The text will not make sense. Or, one will get the impression of shifting images, and from that of the incoherent thinking of the author. Or, one will guess that the author himself doesn't understand at least he technical terms he uses, or worse, not even what he means to say.

'Dimension', 'energy' and 'linear' are among the most misused terms. So we with a technical education have our triggers, to explain JakeS's reaction.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 08:34:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
'Dimension', 'energy' and 'linear' are among the most misappropriated terms, perhaps.  Could they belong to ´the people´?  Have they been patented by ´science´ exclusively, or could they have come from philosophy, for example?  (No. I won´t look it up. (;)

Since all people are more-than just an education and free to use language, there should be no limit to what terms anyone here can use.  After all, rotten oil companies and the msm misappropriate the terms every minute of our lives and ´everyone´ here understands what they mean.

P.S. to DoDo:
It feels bad that the gnomes on the previous thread did not extend the courtesy of reading or trying to understand a new poster, but Jake S. was goaded on and now it´s being helped out, after insulting Fran and posting a far-from-genuine apology.  Not fair, not honorable.

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 12:05:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
misappropriated terms, perhaps.  Could they belong to ´the people´?

This would be an interesting subject for discussion, but not in your current emotional state as expressed by your several recent comments in this thread. Like poemless, I kindly ask you to stand back a bit, like many others managed earlier today.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 01:10:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you, male doctor.

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.
by metavision on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 08:13:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Who is this "new poster"? If you mean emilmoller, he has been a member here since a year ago -- six months before Jake S, by the way.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 03:35:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
everything that you do not experience through your senses is spirit

Let me explore this further.

I chose the core of a neutron star as comparison. This is something I can't see, hear, taste or smell. I can't even see it with instrumental aid (e.g. photograph it with a telescope), being hidden by a visible surface. What I can do is use physics theories on what I can observe (e.g. view formulas in books, and computer printouts on observations of radiation from the covering surface and gravity), and make a picture in my mind.

Now my real point is not that this is a visualisation (which you mention as part of the 'soul'), but that what I do with the neutron star's core I also do with at least other people's feelings, emotions, thinking, visualizing. So, are at least other people's 'souls' strange the same way a neutron star's core is, or is there more to it?

(I could go on asking whether the individual makes the same to her own feelings/thoughts/etc. as she does to the neutron star's core, and answer for myself that yes and that that has much to do with what we call consciousness, but this goes too far for what we are discussing at the moment.)

A bit of a sidetrack: what you say about reduction to words, here for subjective experience, might be true the other way: there is a lot more to things people are used to talk about fluently.

The best example is Stalin's statistics ("One death is a tragedy; a million is a statistic"): it is easier to syphatize with one anecdotal story than contemplate dry numbers, yet behind those dry numbers express the truth of a million such personal stories. But the same goes for other 'dry' stuff -- compare the explosion of colors and forms on a photograph of Jupiter by a space probe with the white speck of light everyone saw until 400 years ago, and then contemplate what multitude of Truth might be there in a piece of Reality it is simply physically impossible to ever sense with human senses (even if we'd travel there), like the core of a neutron star.

"One picture is worth more than a thousand words."

This is entirely a sidetrack, but worth to pursue. I think sometimes the opposite is true. Some words are used to describe concepts built on hundreds of preceding concepts which have no good visual representation, at least no good visual representations that are meaningful without at least a hundred of those preceding concepts. Say, the spin of atomic nuclei. Or 'neoliberalism'. Or 'karma'!

Pictures are also so meaningful because our brains are built (evolved) to heavily process visual sensory information (e.g., recognise lots of patterns in it). For, say, a dog, one smell might be worth a thousand barks and yells and a million pictures.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 07:43:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I do not presume to know.

I guess it is whatever it is that makes you who you are.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 12:45:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And this is where the conversation breaks down: we don't share a concept to talk about here. You've strayed into religion.

I guess it is whatever it is that makes you who you are.

I could, I suppose, point out that the soul is therefore the result of a complex collection of physical events that led to me being who and what I am (except that "I" is a trick my mind plays on me (heh)) and is entirely within the realm of science. This doesn't seem to be what people mean by soul though.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 12:57:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Colman:
You've strayed into religion

What do you mean by religion?

For me religion and spirituality are not the same.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 01:05:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What's the difference, apart from a more organised superstructure?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 03:16:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For me religion is something on the outside, it is a tribal phenomenon - something shared with others. It also is herachical - there is a pontifex, a bridgebuilder, somebody who tells you what "that" means, and says, and is.

Spiritual is inside, personal, no translators - it is more independent. You find your own "truth" instead of being told what that truth is. And most of all it leads to a increasing state of peace and being.

Ah, hope it makes sense, word are so limiting. :-)

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 03:24:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem is that people seek spiritual leaders and you only need one person to be willing to exchange spiritual advice in exchange for social status and then it's all downhill from there.

Refer to Bob Altemeyer's writing about the Authoritarians (followers) and the Double Highs (gurus).

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 03:32:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, poor grasp of language or no, you have exactly expressed the essense of it.

Spirituality is a wonderful impulse within humans, it is the same thing that creates inquisitiveness, quest,humility and wonder. It is the very best part of us

I dislike, no, hate is closer; I hate religion because, to me, it is an attempt to harness the individual's natural spirituality for base political purposes. From what I have read, the actual expressed philosophies of various prophets such as Jesus, Mohammed, buddha are wonderful paths to better personhood. But their codification into religions nd the necessary bundling of "explanations, rules and regulations on top has created entities that would repel the originators. You cannot argue with God, you cannot claim immorality in divine law. Yet it is man made abomination.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 08:32:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
brilliant

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 01:00:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
every word you say here is the stone truth.

thanks for saying it so well...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 01:39:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think that this is where the "Subject/Object" Metaphysics breaks down, actually, in the absence of the language to "define" what we are talking about.

That is where I find Pirsig's metaphysics useful in terms of the ability to look at things on the basis of a continuum of experience.

And now he began to see for the first time the unbelievable magnitude of what man, when he gained power to understand and rule the world in terms of dialectic truths, had lost.

He had built empires of scientific capability to manipulate the phenomena of nature into enormous manifestations of his own dreams of power and wealth-but for this he had exchanged an empire of understanding of equal magnitude: an understanding of what it is to be a part of the world, and not an enemy of it.

I use the example of Mary Rose not to show that my experience "proves" anything, but that it convinced a pretty hard case like me that there is more to reality than may be "subjectively" or "objectively" dissected, tested and measured.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 01:17:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not sure what Persig's metaphysics is supposed to be, but to me it looks like warmed-over Platonic dualism with a helping of rose-tinted history.

I don't think you can find a single historical culture that viewed itself as 'part of the world, and not an enemy of it.' Most of the rituals - and all of the technology - of those ancient cultures revolves around bending nature to the will of humans, either directly or through divine intercession. The illusion of the 'noble savage' who lives in harmony with nature is one of the more enduring myths of our culture, but it has little basis in fact.

We are not so different from those 'savages' in our desire to control nature. We're just a lot better at it.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 03:16:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is Dualism - or "Subject/Object Metaphysics" - that Pirsig is taking on, as I see it.

His is essentially a Non-Dualist approach.

Let's look at the land, for instance.

Most native peoples cannot even conceive that anyone could "own" it. To that extent they see themselves as part of their environment.

I draw upon Pirsig's approach to "Quality" to provide an explanation - to myself, if to no-one else - in relation to "Value" (which I believe exists in Static and Dynamic forms) and in particular the relationships of "Property" and "Money", which we have been brain-washed into thinking of as "Objects".

Without consideration of the metaphysical basis of Economics ("the Physics of Value", as I see it) we cannot construct an Economics that addresses the Reality we daily experience.

Pirsig's identification of the relationship - and not just the subject and object - is IMHO ground-breaking. It takes us into the "both/and" space which is not "either/or".

Up here in Scotland they seem to "get" this - it's in that "uncertain" space of their "Not Proven" verdict between the certainties of "Guilty" and "Not Guilty".

Knowledge based value and Intellectual Property

was my ramble through the subject at Lancaster University a couple of years ago...

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 05:52:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It postulates that the fundamental reality is Quality or value. All things come from Quality, and it is Quality that draws all things into being from Quality. All that exists is a form of Quality, and nothing exists without Quality. You could say that Quality is one of the names of God.

This is the central axiom of Pirsig's metaphysics, right? If so, then he is indeed practising Platonic dualism: Postulating an existence of qualia as something distinct from physical reality. Discussions of angels and pinheads then ensue.

The identification of the importance of relationships is neither new nor groundbreaking, nor does that insight benefit from being couched in metaphysical claptrap.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 04:13:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You say (my highlights)

Postulating an existence of qualia as something distinct from physical reality

But the quote actually was (my highlight again)

It postulates that the fundamental reality is Quality or value.

Nothing dual about that.

The way I read Pirsig, he says that Quality is all there is: it's not distinct from anything: it is anything and everything ie Reality.

You won't find anything resembling "claptrap" in Pirsig's books. You may disagree with what he says, but you shouldn't have any difficulty with the way that he says it.

How other people describe what Pirsig says is up to them, and people often descend into "claptrap": if only everyone were as clear as you, Jake.

But I think you should avoid using "metaphysical" almost as a term of abuse, a bit like the use of "liberal" by political opponents as a pejorative term. What is needed is a good dose of Metaphysics IMHO: we really need to look askance at the assumptions that underpin what passes for our thought.

If anyone else pre-dated Pirsig in his conception of an alternative metaphysics to the conventional post-Greek "subject/object" metaphysics, then please direct me to him or her.

As far as I can see Pirsig's is entirely original thinking, and original thinking is rare. This is once in a thousand years stuff.

But since it brings into question the premises underpinning pretty much the entire academic edifice constructed in the couple of thousand years it's no surprise it doesn't exactly receive an enthusiastic reception...

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 04:49:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The way I read Pirsig, he says that Quality is all there is: it's not distinct from anything: it is anything and everything ie Reality.

Oh. My mistake then. But if Quality is simply physical reality, then why isn't he just saying that?

But I think you should avoid using "metaphysical" almost as a term of abuse, a bit like the use of "liberal" by political opponents as a pejorative term. What is needed is a good dose of Metaphysics IMHO: we really need to look askance at the assumptions that underpin what passes for our thought.

Looking at assumptions is good and right, but I fail to see what metaphysics has to offer as anything other than an intellectual exercise. If it does not make testable statements, then how can it educate our decisionmaking? And if it does make testable predictions, then how is it different from methodological naturalism?

If anyone else pre-dated Pirsig in his conception of an alternative metaphysics to the conventional post-Greek "subject/object" metaphysics, then please direct me to him or her.

Since I don't know how old Pirsig's writings are, and since I apparently don't understand what they're about, I think I'll retract the statement that he does not make original claims...

As far as I can see Pirsig's is entirely original thinking, and original thinking is rare. This is once in a thousand years stuff.

But since it brings into question the premises underpinning pretty much the entire academic edifice constructed in the couple of thousand years it's no surprise it doesn't exactly receive an enthusiastic reception...

... but claims of an impending paradigm shift raise little red flags in my mind.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 06:36:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If it does not make testable statements, then how can it educate our decision making?

I think that what we have to do is to look again at the nature of tests. I really don't know enough about this area, but my intuition is that this  Metaphysics of Quality/Value may open up new thinking in relational logic and conceptual frameworks. My problem is that I find abstraction very difficult to cope with intellectually.

... but claims of an impending paradigm shift raise little red flags in my mind.

And rightly so, but such is the position in which we find ourselves, IMHO.

In particular, the legal concepts of "absolute" property rights are faulty and "broken". We are used to either absolute, infinite "ownership" eg freehold land, shareholder "Equity" or absolute, temporary "use" for a finite duration eg leasehold land, and debt.

These Newtonian assumptions of absolutes are not good enough. They do not explain the ability to utilise assets/Value for an indefinite period which arises from the use of the legal concept I call an "Open" Corporate for the encapsulation of property rights.

I have found in Pirsig's MoQ an approach that allowed me to develop a conceptual framework within which to analyse - at least to my own satisfaction - value events/transactions and their role in economic interaction.

The reason this is important is that there is a "Telluric" paradigm shift going on IMHO based upon the connectivity of the Internet, and it is only defective legal protocols - the "Semantic Web" - that are holding us back.

My thesis is that consensual partnership based solutions are optimal, and the proof of that pudding is in the eating. If I am right in that thesis, then I am curious as to why it should be so.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 08:30:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My thesis is that consensual partnership based solutions are optimal, and the proof of that pudding is in the eating. If I am right in that thesis, then I am curious as to why it should be so.

i believe that to be axiomatic, so it may not have a 'why'.

does asking 'why not?' help?

why does it need male and female genetic material to create human life?

or should i say 'did'?

the world as one big pulsing consensual partnership sure sounds optimal to me....

if the proof is in the eating, then i can say from experience that when you get a bunch of people together for a project and it goes well, everyone goes home feeling good, bellies full of pudding.

ET is a group project, and induces that sort of satisfaction, if mostly intellectually.

blogging is a new way of relating which creates a forum which in meatspace would need highly unusual levels of respectful discipline and lack of interruption, no one interjecting, each with the freedom to say until the end what one had to say.

and then take as much time as necessary to peruse and reply.

so it's pulling communication out of us that possibly has had no outlet up to now.

 i should bear that in mind more, when glitches occur, and flameouts follow.

you knew this was going to get warm, this debate, chris, calling it a punch-up in advance...

and it has been, because this stuff goes deep, very difficult to keep emotions down to lukewarm when discussing concepts like soul.

i see it as lancing a boil, what you did.

not the lounging emperor watching the blood sports below, but peacemaker, through somewhat shamanically allowing passionate emotions space to erupt and spend themselves, bouncing pixels against each other, instead of fur flying and blood on the walls, which is all to often the meatspace outcome when matters of 'faith' are provocatively brought out of hiding, like lions out of their catacomb cages.

can't wait for the next one on art... though i imagine it will be much less emotional...art claims no ticket to houri heaven in the afterlife, more like a pine box and a posthumous price at sotheby's.

though it can save souls... prolly left ole-time religion in the dust in that sense.

unless art is your religion! rumi's poetry comes to mind...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 01:37:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Repeated insulting of what he knows not.

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.
by metavision on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 12:22:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am politely requesting that you stop this.  It's accomplishing nothing.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 12:26:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am pained to post this after metavision plastering the thread full of accusations against you and "the gnomes", but I am really returning to finish my stuff here after a deviation into the Bhutto dead thread.

JakeS, I think the one point where I think you clearly mis-read rg's top-level comment really applies to you. Writing "being couched in metaphysical claptrap" might be what you honestly think, still, it won't generate anything positive in a discussion with ETers who believe in the meaningfulness of that metaphysical claptrap. It may be the right language for an esoterics or sceptics web forum or USENET newsgroup with a rawer tone and higher traffic with more hit-and-run posters, who to boot are prepared to take some fire on both sides, but minting words and asking questions should work better here.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 01:25:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Although my brain doesn't do deep thoughts like philosophy or the stuff about Deepak Chopra (I still havne't found the pie-fight in that thread), I'm not hostile to the idea that there is stuff out there that science has, as yet, no ability to measure or theorize.

I speak as a somebody who has done enough dowsing in my life to know it's real and concrete. There ain't no theory for it, except some kinda odd ones about mineral energies, so all science can do is discount it and attempt to debunk it. Yet, despite all that, most water and gas companies train their guys in dowsing cos it's quicker and cheaper (and often more reliable) than the expensive gizmoes avilable).

And I have had other, more out-there experiences that tell me that science doesn't yet know enough to be as emphatic as it is that there are no such phenomena. After all, acupuncture works and western medicine has only just begun to scratch the surface of how it might work. And materials scientists will tell you all about the crystallography of water and water moemory, yet homeopathy is just so much hoo-ey (apparently).

Too much of this derision is mere guild protection.


keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 01:19:10 PM EST
There's a distinction between derision as guild protection - which happens within science as well as outside it, accepting the stories put forward to explain phenomena and accepting the stories which don't even explain any phenomena.

So dowsing falls into the category of things that seem to work for reasons we don't understand: you could postulate that we are sensitive to electro-magnetic or gravitational fields for instance. Most people never learn to use their peripheral vision properly so it doesn't seem unlikely that almost no-one would learn to use an esoteric sense like that. It's within the realm of phenomena that might need explaining, but stories about how it works that invoked (as a random example since I don't know what the standard stories are in this case) fairies pulling on the end of the stick don't really deserve much time spent on them.

Medical stuff is complicated since I'm reasonably sure that any practice that reduces the stress on the system improves clinical outcomes either passively - through the placebo effect - or possibly even actively by using the mind to redirect resources or release resources to where they're needed through tricks. As I understand it the standard story about homeopathy works isn't based in anything scientific, which is why homeopathy is such an easy target for debunkers.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 07:14:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There's a distinction between derision as guild protection - which happens within science as well as outside it, accepting the stories put forward to explain phenomena and accepting the stories which don't even explain any phenomena.

Oh yea, I understand that, but I worry sometimes that a lot of the debunkers don't. F'rinstance I've never really paid attention to any of the theories of how dowsing works for the simple reason that I know nobody knows (but I've never heard the one about fairies). And there are way too many kooks and nutjobs floating around to want to give any credence to anything they say. Sadly the scientists tend to look for the kooks to give them the debunking ammunition rather than look at the evidence.

So there are too many allegedly "rational" people who will discount the real, repeatable & demonstrable phenomena of dowsing, because they dislike the idea that there is stuff that cannot be incorporated into the current ideology of science. Plus, I'll grant you, that you can take dowsing into other, less verifiable or esoteric places, which really strain the credulity of the strictly "rational". So they lump it all into one place called the round file called rubbish, cos it's easier.

Kinda like the theory for Ice-Age civilisations that were drowned when sea levels rose and the only artefact of that period to have survived was the Sphinx. I'm quite happy to accept that because it's plausible and there is undersea evidence to suppport it. What I and most people are not prepared to accept are the ravings of people such as Graham Hancock about ancient wisdom and apes from Mars which unfortunately seem currently intimately involved with any discussion of the subject.

Materials scientists will tell you that the standard story about homeopathy makes sense to them. Plus, as you can get veterinary homeopathic practitioners who create genuine improvments in animals not susceptible to the placebo effect, I'd suggest it's worth looking at.

And acupuncture works. I'm sorry but we can measure it's affect, it's just that western science has no theory for it and so can't understand it. It's as if stone age man could wish thuderstorms to not exist cos they didn't understand them. Not having a theory for a phenomenon suggest you should examine it, not pretend it's not there.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 08:16:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
but I've never heard the one about fairies

Obviously I made that one up.

So there are too many allegedly "rational" people who will discount the real, repeatable & demonstrable phenomena of dowsing, because they dislike the idea that there is stuff that cannot be incorporated into the current ideology of science.

That's just silly.

Materials scientists will tell you that the standard story about homeopathy makes sense to them.

I've never heard that? I'm not sure that animals aren't subject to the placebo effect either: that relies on some assumptions about the mechanism that I'm not sure are justified.

And acupuncture works.

Did I say it didn't? I've never tried it because I'm not a fan of needles and I've never felt a need. As I understand it there's a fair amount of conventional pharmaceutical treatments where we don't understand the mechanism.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 08:22:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So there are too many allegedly "rational" people who will discount the real, repeatable & demonstrable phenomena of dowsing, because they dislike the idea that there is stuff that cannot be incorporated into the current ideology of science.

That's just silly.

Then you haven't met the dogmatic denialists I have when I've tried to discuss the subject of dowsing. They may be silly, but reporting their attitudes is not.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 08:58:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, no, I meant they were silly.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 08:58:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have experienced acupuncture several times, and I don't really know what it did - but it did something. My feedback apparatus told me something had changed. I only underwent these 'treatments' because I wanted to experience it, not for any ailment in particular. I'm quite a fan of 'wanting to know what it feels like', providing it is in a trustworthy environment of 'experts', and that I have availed myself of the possibilities for failure.

I like to think that any inexplicable pheomenon or construct that has been around for thousands of years has some value which we might not yet understand or have erased from our culture. I don't believe in dowsers, but I am not prepared to dismiss dowsing. Same for many other oddities - it is too easy to dismiss practitioners, but often much harder to dismiss the practice, especially if it has been around for thousands of years. Presumably they indicate some usefulness to societies, even if they are placebo effects or other processing effects on the conscious or subconscious.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 09:09:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Materials scientists will tell you that the standard story about homeopathy makes sense to them.

I've never heard that?

'Homeophobia' must not be tolerated

A major bugaboo for "homeophobes" is the concept that a solution where the solute is extremely diluted (beyond Avogadro's number) absolutely cannot, they believe, be any different from the original solvent. Hence homeopathy must be a fraud. This has been the anti-homeopathy crowd's trump card for more than 100 years.

But let us turn to scientists who specialise in water's properties. Prof Martin Chaplin of London's South Bank University, a leading expert on the (molecular) structure of water, says: "Too often the final argument used against the memory of water concept is simply 'I don't believe it' ... Such unscientific rhetoric is heard from the otherwise sensible scientists, with a narrow view of the subject and without any examination or appreciation of the full body of evidence, and reflects badly on them."

As it happens, there is agreement among all those who have studied liquid water that it is, in fact, the critics, who are totally wrong.



keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 09:35:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, that seems to be one scientist with an agenda and another who is quoted here as saying that:
It follows that simply proving that water does have a memory does not prove that homeopathic medicines work.

I don't get the feeling from that or reading the comment thread that there is a lot of acceptance of the point of view  the water memory could explain homeopathy among material scientists.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 09:53:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Put it this way: if i were a homeopath I'd be a lot more comfortable selling it by saying that my experience is that it has a good success rate than I would talking about water memory or other mechanisms.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 09:55:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So a misquote, too. There is also the graphite to diamonds whopper. The short timescale of structures in water and the diamonds thing were noted in several comments at the Guardian.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 10:34:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This thread has much more technical commentary.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 11:22:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you read the full article and then the comments, it becomes less convincing.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 10:22:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
he theory for Ice-Age civilisations that were drowned when sea levels rose and the only artefact of that period to have survived was the Sphinx. I'm quite happy to accept that because it's plausible and there is undersea evidence to suppport it.

Really? Where? Do you mean that Japanese rock formation?

I also think that while the traces of a civilisation within 20,000 years going unnoticed is entirely possible, what is implausible is traces of preceding steps going unnoticed: e.g., there would be agriculture and that would spread out, there would be population explosion and we'd notice that in the archeological as well as genetic record, there would be migration on different scales and we'd have genetic traces of that.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 11:08:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, Mary Rose should apply for the Million Dollar, then. As long as no one wins this price, I'm assuming they're all just con artists. And I'm not sure if I should say this (as I don't know much about him), but IMHO, Deepak Chopra is full of shit.

Nonetheless, I respect other opinions on this matter. Any real evidence would be nice.

"If you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles." Sun Tzu

by Turambar (sersguenda at hotmail com) on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 02:09:19 PM EST
great diary, chris, very interesting.

isn't it revealing that those who 'believe' find no threat from, and even would welcome science 'proving' what the former 'know', (or think they know?

the same openmindedness seems to be conspicuously lacking on the other side.

bit like nudism that way...

there is a long tradition of silence about occult perception, 'to dare, to will, to know, and to keep silent' is still the motto of many hermeticists, for good reason, as was made so obvious in the referred-to thread.

it's literally like two different animals trying to talk, honks on one side, quacks(!) on the other...

proselysis is so pointless it's hilarious...

personally, as a believer, i suspect everyone is a believer at heart and just don't know it, and cynicism is 'educated' , as in 'encrusted' into the child's psyche, sometimes for worthy reasons.

does it hurt children to believe in santa claus?

disclaimer: i don't, lol...

so your kids believe in santa claus, are you going to yell at them not to be so silly, depriving them of something that brings them pleasure?

maybe some parents, convinced that they want their children to be 'reality-based' actually do this, but i hope not, and i think most would agree with me that it would be a violence.

so what's the difference with spirituality?

no one denies the terrible harvest of pain wrongly iterated religious belief has wreaked through history, no one denies that people are gulled by the unscrupulous and need to develop a healthy level of skepticism to survive, these facts make some folks develop a policeman mentality when it come to belief systems they don't understand.

i can pray to the spaghetti monster and feel saucy solace, if it helps me through the dark night of the soul, (located deep in the gastric area), so frickin what?

as long as i don't hurt anyone, who gives a toss?

if i keep you awake banging my drum trying to convince you to buy into my system, then that's abuse, and if charlatans make statements that deserve to be challenged, or have agendas that need to be called out, fine, busting that is good and necessary...thereby the benefit of a secular society, protecting the peace and quiet necessary for progress, prosperity, the freedom to prostrate yourself in front of clythlu however you spell 'im and what have you...

it is charmingly metaphoric how on this nuts-and-bolts blog, this issue keeps on wiggling out from under the rug...

it makes me giggle...

the thing is, once i flew out of that mental box that made me want double-blind proof for everything, i wonder why we stay in there so long, it feels like a relief to me, knowing (there's that word again!) that i can have faith without insisting on scientific truth, and not have to explain it, sell it, use it to feather my nest, or whip ignorant people into war with it.

letting doubt win seems small-minded, it's so fear-based and sterile.

faith has chosen to be... just there, (here!) and it changes everything.

and i'm grateful. i wouldn't try to live without it, for any price, the very idea is risible.

faith makes people happier, more resistant to tragedy, and opens up inner worlds as infinitely deep and interesting as outer space.

no one obliges anyone, no one can decide for you, and no one can preview when the option of living without it may be taken away, or if ever.

if your faith in science or whatever enables you to go to your death in tranquillity, then you have discovered a faith of your own that works.

good for you! tell me how it nourishes you, i won't promise to believe you, in fact i might walk away after 10 seconds if it isn't telling me anything new, or i might stay and listen, infuse some of it into my own if it does.

i like religions like taoism, which love nature, and teach one to develop inner strength through meditation and good behaviour to our fellow sentient humans.

that should be the basis for any religion, all the fancy temples are useless superstructure, the devil's work, if you like...

atheism is perfectly respectable and understandable, given the crappy job religions have done representing divinity, but while it may suit a few, the spiritual urge for union with something greater afflicts or enhances a vast proportion of us.

if we don't give our children the space and ideas for this, they are much more likely to seek refuge with your rev.mooneytoons et al.

sneezing at believers proves nothing, just as a simple profession of what i believe does nothing...it just is.

and when science catches up and explains dowsing or the many other possible cracks in the materialist matrix, we who believed before it was 'proven' will not crow.

it never was personal, after all, right?

right?

for the concept of time to have validity, there needs to be resistance even to such self evident events as evolution and enlightenment.

(not trying to sound like a 'real' physicist here, promise!)

some draw the card of resistance, some of the most intelligent, it makes for a better plot...

i had happily let go of this blog ever treading into 'hallowed ground', there's gazillions of other websites if that's what i needed.

i liked emil's experiment though, conditions weren't favourable, too
many crosswinds...

check out this silly belief- it was karma that brought the black death to europe because nothing pisses off god more than people using his name to justify killing...

stupid, right?

maybe...

back to graphs and windmills, just as spiritual as talmuds and bibles and korans and mediums and astrology, if your picture stretches big enough.

till the next rug-wiggle!

if i understood sven right it's just neurons colliding anyway, lol.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 03:12:54 PM EST
melo:

does it hurt children to believe in santa claus?

disclaimer: i don't, lol...

so your kids believe in santa claus, are you going to yell at them not to be so silly, depriving them of something that brings them pleasure?

maybe some parents, convinced that they want their children to be 'reality-based' actually do this, but i hope not, and i think most would agree with me that it would be a violence.

so what's the difference with spirituality?

Must be nice to have the luxury of never growing up.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 03:17:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Spoke to my five year old niece yesterday, asked What santa had brought, only to have  Her explain to me slowly that presents came from people, not Santa, as tho I was a particularly slow person. I think I'll get over finding out at my age. ;-)

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 03:23:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ROFL, that made my day. Sounds like a bright kid. Best of luck to her.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 03:31:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I do have clear memories of being five and thinking about why the grown-ups speak about Saint Claus (who is supposed to place sweets into boots put in the windows on the evening of 5 December here) and Little Jesus (who is supposed to bring presents on Christmas Eve, and signal his leave with little bells) while I knew full well it's them who were busy downstairs.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 05:36:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The adults pretend there is a Santa, and  the children pretend to believe, because:
  1. (sweet version) they don't want to disappoint
  2. (cynical version) they want the presents.
by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 05:44:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I remember Spike Milligan on a chat show one night telling the story of his children. He had his young daughter tell him that his slightly older son had told her that there was no Santa. Spike had reassured her and all appeared well.

On then night of christmas he'd gone up to put the sack of presents at the bottom of their beds. at the bottom of his daughters bed was a letter that read
"Dear Santa, Sean says you dont exist, so hit him.
 p.s. theres a hammer under my bed"

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 07:17:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As I wrote recently, we're buying a new car, and informed the kids that it was a present for Christmas. This has led to some pointed questions or remarks from the two younger ones who, as far as we know, still believe in Santa Claus:

  • "How does Santa carry the car on its ludge"?
  • "If Santa is bringing us a car, why do we have to pick it up at the store?"

Skating on thin ice now...

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 09:01:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
oh that's easy, santa carries it under his sledge, tied between the runners. and if he deliverd it down your chimney, you wouldnt be able to get it out of the door to the street, so he had to deliver it down the stores chimney as they have big enough doors to get it out.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 09:12:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah relax and have some fun with this, mig!

if i said what you said to you, wouldn't you say 'define growing up'?

not going there...

if this is intellectual ping pong, why you wanna smash the ball?

ET as super-collider....

how old would you let kids be before making them members of your reality-based community? 4? 5?

i don't need an answer. rhetorical question.

my dad argued like some here, he loved to try and reason away transcendence, had to have a reason for everything, and you could feel his anger and bitterness, even as he railed and failed to squeeze everything into his belief system.

so very much to lose, and all illusion...he died so afraid.

it's all about pride really...

silly human pride...

the idea that art was for anything else than money eluded him till his death, poor sod.

RIP.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 04:28:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Must be nice to have the luxury of never growing up.

Besides personally hurtful, it denotes ignorance of the meaning of human maturity, height and depth vs. just ´growing up´.  Everyone grows up, but unfortunately not everyone develops.

Really sad.

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 07:16:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Let me see, metavision.

Melo says that spirituality is no different from Santa Claus, and that believing in Santa Claus doesn't hurt childre, so clearly spirituality cannot hurt us.

What melo left out is that when children stop believing in Santa Claus they don't stop receiving presents. Nor do they stop being happy.

If you, like melo, also want to live in childish delusion because it makes you happy, more power to you.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 04:25:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Calling superstition a 'childish delusion' is entirely too harsh - it's like calling me an alcoholic because I enjoy a stein of beer with my Yule dinner.

Superstition - like alcohol - is perfectly harmless if it's enjoyed in moderation and in controlled settings. Just don't drive when you've been drinking, and don't pray when you should be voting.

(The flip side, however, is that choosing to abstain from superstition is no more morally culpable than choosing to abstain from indulging in alcoholic intoxication - a point that certain public figures should be expected to keep in mind.)

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 05:13:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I didn't bring up children's belief in Santa. Melo did.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 05:20:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The rating is for:

If you, like melo, also want to live in childish delusion

You are judging their many and varied comments as some belief in a childish delusion and then you are stating they wish to live in this invention of yours.  Bleugh!

(But hold on....maybe you think Metavision and melo believe in Santa Claus?  Btw, you also believe therefore that the majority of the world's population prefer to live in a childish delusion (they're mostly religious in some way)...and I would refer you directly to your other trollish comment--the one angrily declaring that emil wanted most people dead or somesuch...

GRUMP GRUMP GRUMP GRUMP!

I suspect a major cause of antagonism here is the lack of HUMOUR!

But okay, you're not a troll--except I think you are in this case because the most useful (for everyone) words you could type would be about the strangeness of quantum mechanics (you know more than the rest of us)...and maybe we could develop strange arguments out of the quantum strangeness...hey!

Major ruffled feathers around!  Fran threatens to leave!

Quotes

Life! Don't talk to me about life.
- Marvin, the Paranoid Android

You're supposed to be chuckling at this point...and Santa...I just say, "Well, I've never seen santa, have you?"

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 05:48:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That is a totally unjustified troll rating, rg.

If you disagree with Migeru, say so. If you really think he has stepped over a line, give a warning. In no way at all is a troll rating justified here.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 06:02:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
  <snark>

Gnome Support Team, rah, rah!

My translation:

None of the other posters taking the time and making the effort to write coherently in a totally irrational, hostile environment, matter at all.

ET values?
</snark>

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 01:08:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Please stop this.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 01:11:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
rg, please please please parse this for me, okay?

melo:

does it hurt children to believe in santa claus?

disclaimer: i don't, lol...

so your kids believe in santa claus, are you going to yell at them not to be so silly, depriving them of something that brings them pleasure?

maybe some parents, convinced that they want their children to be 'reality-based' actually do this, but i hope not, and i think most would agree with me that it would be a violence.

so what's the difference with spirituality?



We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 06:07:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Here goes:

does it hurt children to believe in santa claus?

Q: You know that factually santa claus doesn't exist, but do you think there is some kind of abuse involved in such belief?

disclaimer: i don't, lol...

(Not that I believe myself of course, ho ho!)

so your kids believe in santa claus, are you going to yell at them not to be so silly, depriving them of something that brings them pleasure?

If your kids hold such a belief, are you willing to destroy this idea--[rather than let it work its way out, that's my interpolation]--you know, growling, "Don't be stupid, that's what children believe--and yes, you are a child but it is silly to believe in untrue things" etc...in other words are you the kind of person who upsets kids for no good reason?  Maybe not as harsh as that, but you know--there must be a film with this scene, where the adult is casually explaining what a crock it all is and doesn't notice the wobbling lip of the kid--because the adult is killing the fantasy--ruining the magic in maybe the same way that you might find it upsetting if you were in the middle of some dressing-up sex fantasy and someone was sitting there pointing out that you weren't "really" these characters--and implying there was something childish about still wanting to dress up--a grump, I mean.  [Okay....I may be reading things in there...]

maybe some parents, convinced that they want their children to be 'reality-based' actually do this, but i hope not, and i think most would agree with me that it would be a violence.

Re: the above, most people know that children are supposed to work out the santa claus business in their own good time, and most people think that it is inappropriate (a form of emotional violence to do with power relationships maybe) to insist on sober and "adult" modes of behaviour when they are not relevant (e.g. at the time of the mid-winter festivities--saturnalia etc...)

so what's the difference with spirituality?

If you don't believe in it, like you don't believe in santa, why be the grump who has to take away the magic?

----------------

Well, I can think of a few reasons--but hey, have you seen The Santa Clause?  I think they flipped this around well.

Oh, and then there's this!

Andy Kaufman on Dating Game, Santa Claus question

I suppose the main point is that if you think someone believes in something that isn't factually true, do you believe they somehow live...in sin?  That they have a moral failing?  And, concommitantly, are you full of truth and only truth, and if you are not, do you think the best method for bringing you to truth is to have all those who know where you are wrong pointing it out to you...in that stern manner...as if "thank goodness you finally realised!  It was so embarrassing!"  Man, judgemental friends, the kind to avoid!  "I like you, but you have a moral failing..."

melo is saying, I think, that some spiritual beliefs really are like believing in santa, but the sort of person who believes in santa isn't about to start their PhD in...quantum mechanics...so the rigorous scientific test isn't the appropriate medium of exchange.  

I prefer the fun question style, like:

"Have you ever seen santa?"

"I saw him at the shop!"

"Well, I saw him in another shop.  They can't all be santa.  

(You wanna push the reality edge?  Is the kid a tough'un?  Add: "I reckon they're just people dressed up as santa.")

Then...

"Will santa come tonight?"

"Well, he's got a lot of houses to go to.  Can you imagine how fast he has to travel?  I mean (for the science heads!), he's got twelve hours max, right?  and there are about one billion kids he has to deliver to, so [here followeth a maths lesson--that's fun!]

And then, the flip around Q&A

"I think you bring the presents."

"Well, have you ever seen me bringing the presents?"

"No."

"So what makes you think I brought them?"

"I saw them in your sock drawer last week."

"Ah!  But maybe that's where Santa hid them."

Ya know, it seems simple enough; they learn what beliefs don't make sense, they get to see how certain questions are amenable to empirical proof, and just as importantly (for a human as opposed to a logic machine) they have that sense of the mystery of receiving...things you couldn't give to yourself.

This year Mrs. rg received a present from a hamster and a stuffed toy.  I think some spiritual beliefs are of this kind--FUN, in other words.  And the fact that we laugh at disjuncts...I dunno...a whole other diary in there.  But yeah, King of Swords.  No problem.  I always like that he has butterflies on his throne and that his sword (a DoDo sword!) is ever present but not...being waved around...

Coz then you know how everyone ends up, and for those who don't:

That dead person--is he Dick Cheney?

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 06:53:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
i'll parse it myself, migeru.

just like any statement, this can be misunderstood.

what i endeavoured to analogise here was that there is no payoff for scientists to gunning for religion. laugh all you want, enjoy your sense of being right, it's your prerogative, i sure do!

but when you sneer, it lowers the tone, and demeans the demeaner...

if i meet someone who believes circling his walla walla onion patch while ululating affects his relationship with an afterlife, i would probably come to a rapid conclusion that it wasn't for me...

what i wouldn't do, out of sheer, simple respect, is attack him, in private or public, for being delusional, because that would be to ascribe absolute judgmental power to my own opinion, and besides there's no way to prove him wrong, so why waste energy?

as long as he's not keeping me awake with his antics, live and let live is appropriate here...

i believe there's entirely too much fruitless, juvenile argument in the world about matters that are unprovable, it just creates heat with no light.

so i don't look for things to debunk on principle.

if i met a cultist who wanted my daughter to trust him and jump off a cliff believing he could fly, then i'd intervene, possibly unpacifically if all else failed!

you are a freakishly intelligent person, i can't even imagine how it must be to travel life's highways with that much firepower behind your brows, but it doesn't grant you omniscience, or the right to try to insult people who have done you no harm.

yet you do, with -to me- depressing predictability.

i have been interested in this field of comparative religion, transcendent philosophy, shamanism, altered states for almost 40 years, long before you graced us with your presence here on earth.

i have come to some understandings which you are entitled to disbelieve, doubt, mock and castigate when i try to share them.

i could say 'why bother?'

but strangely enough, i don't.

but you have repeatedly been rude to me since the early days of this blog, since i mentioned that in spain there was a festa where they drop live goats off bell towers.

i did not present that fact well, probably, but your reply was my first taste of the edge that you have frequently employed, not just on myself.

the fact that you contribute so much to this blog, and are so assiduous at gathering and collating knowledge, seems to give you permission in your own mind to be very caustic to me and others, well i can go there too, but i prefer point my wrath at politicians, not others who come here to try to sketch ways to a better world.

santa claus is a harmless belief system, is my point.

so are mine...

i have been blooded by people who love to destroy others' dreams, awhile patting themselves on the back for doing so.

like metavision, i find that so sad.

thus i know that people who hold opinions like mine are anathema to some, that in a red mist of hatred, they will always betray their insecurity with vitriol, so you are not the first, i am no longer surprised by this irrationality from those who profess rationality as lodestar, indeed it is as predictable as any repeatable scientific test.

i keep hoping one day we'll have the benefits of a migeru without the intellectual superbia, here at ET.

till then we can remain each other's figurative nemesis, when it comes to knowing where the edge of science is.

your opinions of me as childishly delusional are correct from where you stand, i hope you get some comfort from that.

the more you fall into ad hom to post here, the more you confirm my opinions about you, which i don't need to articulate, because they're not what i come here to do.

because i value you, something makes me slow to make judgments.

you took the other road.

maybe they'll meet one day.

till the next time, aloha!

ps. i never start these 'spiritual' discussions here at ET, i came here to learn about economics and energy, and to listen and learn, more than post, since i know my place...lol.

however since ET has morphed into so many other things too, like beer connoisseurs club, sports commentary zone, train-bridge enthusiasts, gourmet food etc etc, it's natural that intelligent people would want to be interested in as wide a world as possible, and hey i think it's great, it's an online magazine that entertains on so many levels.

Some find shoe blogging fascinating and step forward to play, me i'm fascinated with the mind, psychology, sincerity and growth, both individual and social, and so when other posters, who have done so much to entertain and educate me on subjects dear to their hearts, venture into realms where the light of reason may not be the only lumen factor to guide us, i'm all over the thread like a bee on a jam butty, for which i will gladly apologise if it offends anyone.

anyone who is into keeping it civil, anyway...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 08:05:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
anyone who is into keeping it civil, anyway...

You seem to think that called Migeru all sorts of names is civil. I'm not entirely sure I can understand how that is the case.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 08:14:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
well, 'civil' is relative.

i usually succeed in not alienating too many people too often, but i obviously have failed here.

so not everyone's idea of 'civil' will be the same...

i guess where i draw the line is ad hom, i don't know m personally, so don't judge his person, but his comments, or their tenor.

i feel there would be a perfectly relaxed, enjoyable way for m and me to express our differences were that the will from both sides.

if you study my posts, you'll see that i make peace more than war, though i can be stung into hostility, a sign that i need to grow up more, as it really shouldn't bother me at all.

i hold no grudge, and even appreciate what feel like inimical posts, rather than friendly ones, if they come from posters whose opinions i respect.

an example being the one downthread from afew.

and i'm quite willing to bail from discussions like this, or even ET altogether, if i felt that i was alienating more people, so thanks for speaking up.

the ratings system speaks volumes, and if enough people troll rate me, or quit encouraging me, i'm outta here like a cool breeze.

till then...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 09:23:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Gnome Quadrant, please!  With sources and links.
</snark>

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.
by metavision on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 01:33:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Metavision, the war is over.  You can stop shooting.
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 01:44:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Four gnomes an the "science" side, one on the "metaphysics" side, two absent from the mess, two more coming in late (I for one still haven't read the previous thread) and critical of both sides even if being on one side (talking a similar position to rg, whom I hope I am not mistaken to count to the 'other side'), same for an ex-gnome, while it's not gnomes who dominate in issuing the 1-2 ratings for the other side (and 4 ratings for the own side) -- I don't think the situation is as assymmetric as you view it in your current state of mind.

With all that said, I ask you for a third time to cool down after several others managed to. At present you are the only one pouring kerosene on the fire, and I am obliged to stop it.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 02:07:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Your skewed assessment and male medical diagnosis.  Again insulting.

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.
by metavision on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 08:11:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Unfair, Metavision.  There is no reason why FPers can't engage in discussing topics that they are interested in and/or sceptical of.

DoDo is just pointing out that even FPers have different opinions on things.  I'm really not understanding where this venom towards FPers has come from, especially from you. Some of your comments have been deliberately hurtful which I wouldn't have expected from you.  

If situations in threads start turning nasty then it is our job to try to diffuse things or where something really off the mark has been said, to say so.

The thread went quiet last night with no more comments after about 10pm here and none when I'd gone to bed.  Most people have stepped back and tried to calm down and now I wake up to more biting comments from you. Please draw the line now, because this thread can't go anywhere constructive in the state it is in.

Considering my absence, this is a topic I would like to have discussed and I am really disappointed to see it turn out so badly.

I'm only speaking on behalf of myself here but all of the FPers put a lot of their time and soul into ET.  There's no power trip or glamour for us, it's hard work at times and to be attacked in the way that we have been in this thread is really unfair.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Dec 28th, 2007 at 05:21:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Melo, Sven, rg, and diary author Chris Cook are all male, too. While the females Fran, tsp, poemless and In Wales all called on you to stop it downthread.

I haven't read the full pre-history in other diaries of why you feel so hurt, but if that unrequested email you marked as spam and suspected of ugliness is part of it, note that since I did look into it. Certainly no ugliness there, it's definitely not someone who you felt insulted by or have insulted in these threads. It's someone you still consider a friend. But since outing him/her would be an internet crime, I ask you to either read that email or allow me to send his/her identity via an email of my own.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Dec 28th, 2007 at 06:15:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You seem to be having a field day with the self-righteous comments, melo.

That one is a long personal attack that I challenge you to show an equivalent for from Migeru about you.

that in a red mist of hatred, they will always betray their insecurity with vitriol, so you are not the first

I also feel the tenor of all your remarks in this thread is belittling for the blog ("nuts and bolts blog", "reality-based community": why are you complaining about others' snide when you practise it so assiduously yourself?) In particular, (though I'm sorry to hear what you say about your father), you are implying that all those here who don't agree with you are "angry and bitter" because deep down they are afraid of death.

Death will come to all of us, and we'll see how it comes and how we take it -- and that goes for you too. What kind of arrogance is it that says I am ready, I can face death with equanimity while you other inferior beings will be so scared?

Your comments are infused with this assumption of superiority and are a long (too too long!!!) insult to a large number of members here.

Now don't prance aside and say: oh, cool, man, relax, can't you ever laugh! You're not being funny, melo.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 09:03:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
thanks for chiming in afew.

i describe (attack is your interpretation) what i perceive, and if the shoe fits...

i do not attack migeru, i observe and reflect his personal comments on me, or my posts.

i don't know him in person, so i reserve judgement on him.

this is a public forum, and if a blogger here singles me (or anyone) out for derision, he/she opens the door to response in kind.

i'm too lazy to chase up migeru's various attempts to diss me or my posts, but if you enjoy that sort of search, why not try and find examples of when i singled him, or anyone else, out for even mild criticism, let alone derision?

indeed while i have given him ratings sometimes that weren't 4's, you'll find many more times when i did, and sometimes he has given me a 4 too, interestingly enough.

so maybe you can let him defend himself...

now for your criticisms:

I also feel the tenor of all your remarks in this thread is belittling for the blog ("nuts and bolts blog", "reality-based community":

wrong...well, not your feeling, that's your stuff, but your interpretation of what i posted.

it's you who ascribe a negative tenor to those terms!

nuts and bolts is merely the other pole from the kind of lofty abstractions we've been entertaining on a smallish subset of diaries here, and largely it remains a nuts and bolts sort of blog, and i include stats, graphs, factoids etc in that description.

i LOVE that about ET, and would come here much less if it were all about spirituality and the like, so check my words again, and maybe you'll discern my true intention, instead of the warped version you fed back.

reality-based is the same...natch your reality may overlap mine, or not, from the tenor of your remarks, perhaps not, but they will never be identical.

but this blog uses the term, and i have interpreted it as a compliment, perhaps i was misconstrued here too.

You seem to be having a field day with the self-righteous comments, melo.

yup, sometimes i go too far... thanks for sharing, knowing now how you feel, i'll try to take your sensitivities on board in this regard..

psst, if there are many here who feel like afew, and don't want to speak out, but want to hush me up, use the ratings, they're perfect for the job...

or scroll down whenever you see my ramblings.

why are you complaining about others' snide when you practise it so assiduously yourself?

snark good, snide bad...

In particular, (though I'm sorry to hear what you say about your father).

thanks for the compassion about my father, much appreciated.

you are implying that all those here who don't agree with you are "angry and bitter" because deep down they are afraid of death.

you might have meant that's how you perceived my comments, which is also interesting feedback.

it seems to me you have made a jump to your own conclusions, especially with the phrase ' all those here who don't agree with you', which springs entirely from your own imagination.

i cannot control your perception of what i write!

are you trying that shoe on for size?

Death will come to all of us, and we'll see how it comes and how we take it -- and that goes for you too. What kind of arrogance is it that says I am ready, I can face death with equanimity while you other inferior beings will be so scared?

i don't know what you mean here, why not say 'i find you arrogant', if that's what you want to say.

if that's what my post implied for you, so be it...your take, reflected back, well done...

maybe there is a subtext similar to what you imply, but i think you're taking it way further than i did, to make a point, i suppose.

Your comments are infused with this assumption of superiority and are a long (too too long!!!) insult to a large number of members here.

thanks for sharing your feelings, it's a lot better than holding them in.

however, i refuse to believe that you are the voice of defence for 'a large number of members here'.

haha...are they so polite and restrained as to need you to do their job of keeping the blog the way you want it...?

nice try...

Now don't prance aside and say: oh, cool, man, relax, can't you ever laugh! You're not being funny, melo.

but you, my fellow bloggeur, are a riot!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 10:04:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
melo, you should really look what you're writing.

and if the shoe fits...

That's a nasty insinuation. (Besides, it's better to think about whether your perceptions could be wrong before hitting out.)

if a blogger here singles me (or anyone) out for derision, he/she opens the door to response in kind.

Don't you believe that an eye for an eye makes the whole world go blind?

migeru's various attempts to diss me

There you are judgemental. And that at the same time you face the same:

it's you who ascribe a negative tenor to those terms!

...while it's you who ascribe an intention of tricking or dissing you to Migeru's replies.

your take, reflected back, well done...

I read insinuation in that, too (tho' in this case it may be my poor English).

haha...are they so polite and restrained as to need you to do their job of keeping the blog the way you want it...?

This is again expressed in a personalising way.

Melo, while I would have expressed it differently, I am one of those afew speaks for (at least on part of the issues brought up -- to be clear I accept part of your defenses above), but I on one hand didn't want to insult you, on the other hand I am among those who (as per your above suggestion) rather scroll down whenever they see such a rambling from you rather than get in a worthless dispute.

I honestly think you take disagreement on certain issues too personally.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 10:52:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My interpretations of melo's words are positive and I can count on honesty and real insight, not this overworked, proyecting bias.

If you need afew to speak for you and you are talking outside the blog, that's cowardly.  If you just made it up to back up afew, when he just verbally abused melo in the most violent way, it's way worse.

We all get tired of scrolling through messages, but we deal with it.

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 08:25:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Who are you to judge melo's comments IN THE NAME OF A LARGE NUMBER OF OTHERS????????????

WHO ARE THEY?  IF THEY EXIST, we have the right to see their complaints.

NOT IN MY NAME, YOU DON´T!  I vote for melo´s added human values, well before many others, in this case.

What a one-sided, HARMFUL DISGRACE, afew!  I cannot believe this little gnome gang-up on writers BECAUSE SINCE THEY HAVE NO INTEREST IN THE SUBJECT THEY HAVE TO INSULT, RIDICULE AND DERAIL IT????

Where are you directing this?  
What´s the purpose?
You are great at alienating members when you want to, or are in a mood and that´s OK ´cause you are a gnome?
Are we to believe gnomes are gods now?
And gnomes always CYA among themselves only?
What the hell are the rest of us?  Fodder for what?

Now give me your best troll rating and sing high mass, if you want to.  You, Migeru, etc. are reflecting the absolute worst examples of harmful oligarchy here.  Speaking of major wasted talent!

Deal with it.

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 01:56:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Stop it, metavision!
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 01:59:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Troll-rated for:

~Calling Migeru "wasted talent"
~Completely unfounded accusations of conspiracy
~Continually ignoring pleas to cool it down
and
~Refusing to engange in civil discourse, choosing instead to villify an entire group of people on the basis of their access to admin tools and not on the validity of their comments.

Since I am NOT a gnome, and have ABSOLUTELY NO loyalty to Gnomehood, please judge my rating solely as a reflection of your failure to conduct yourself in a respectful manner.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 02:07:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Writing from a full human being = All cylinders, with feeling and honesty.  

Proud to read you and learn, melo!

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 01:27:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think metavision's comment is worth troll-rating, either.

Please everybody get your fingers off the troll-rating buttons.

We are not speaking among trolls here - does this have to be said?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 06:06:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Absolutely.

I'll have no troll rating in my thread!!!

Good clean fisticuffs only.....

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 06:14:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Heh!

(But pssst. don't tell anyone!)

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 07:04:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I hope you achieved what you set out to achieve with this diary, Chris.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 02:46:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not exactly, Migeru.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 07:15:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For a subject that has no interest for you and don't want to learn, I don't understand why you'd stay here just to disrupt it.

You have made sure that staying on topic was impossible, by your absolute lack of respect for others, or the subject.

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 08:27:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You're so funny, Chris.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 03:48:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It seemed funny at the time, but surveying the wreckage now, it might be better for all if the Diary were deleted.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 07:19:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, it should be left up as a lesson in why stirring the pot is a damn bad idea.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 07:21:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No offense meant, afew, honest!

(OT, that gnome party--phew!  I was sent some of the pictures, by mistake I'm sure.  Looks like you all had a great time!

My contact arrived late, said it was a dodgy but interesting neighbourhood, lots of intriguing characters lurking about.

Here's the house.

Lots of getting back to nature.

Whoops!

Heh, me duck!

Hope you had a great christmas.

And, as Henry famously said:

"A horse!  A horse!  Look!  No, hold on, that's a donkey."



Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 07:26:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you very much for all the wondrous pictures, but you still haven't changed the troll-rating, (which Migeru has re metavision).
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 07:39:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for now having done so.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 08:44:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
'YOU ARE BEING HURTFUL' and you don't like to hear that truth, so you paint yourself into yet, another corner and come out insulting and hurting.  No comment.

Is this in your new gnome job description?

Is there any gnome that will stand up against the bullying and insulting?  

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 12:56:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]


"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 01:02:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you, like melo, also want to live in childish delusion because it makes you happy, more power to you.

i didn't pick on you, why do you get off on making comments like that?

a second goat hits the plaza...thwack...

perhaps, just perhaps these are the deep and nasty issues you mention on new year's.

part of you is really nice, i don't get it!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Dec 31st, 2007 at 11:50:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You're fucking evil.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jan 1st, 2008 at 03:02:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Must be nice to have the luxury of never growing up.

can you feel the love?

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Dec 31st, 2007 at 10:14:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Melo - very inspiring! Better said cumulatively than any of my comments.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 04:39:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
well thankyou great vizier, even if i beg to differ from your conclusion...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 05:28:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You wrote, as always, from the heart. I am much more of a weasel, as Migu fairly pointed out. I use words every day to distort people's realities. That is what people pay me for.

But, in one of those paradoxes that I so enjoy, I never use the 'science' of marketing or advertising (the polled analysis of what people say they believe or want), preferring instead to propose my own global beliefs in terms that I think the audience will acccept as their own. "What you think you have discovered for yourself is far more powerful than that which you are told"

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 06:06:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am much more of a weasel, as Migu fairly pointed out. I use words every day to distort people's realities. That is what people pay me for.

oh i have an 'inner weasel' alright.

the only chance i have of keeping it mellow is having antennas up.

lying for money is written right into my dna, and i decide to break that chain.

daily...

hello, i'm melo...a born liar...in constant recovery till i die....

this place does its bit to keep me honest

thanks, truth-tellers!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 07:07:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That other thread is ultimately about faith-based vs. evidence-based reasoning.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 03:20:03 PM EST
Then you have not understood the other side of the discussion. It is not about reasoning at all IMO. It is about minds and how they work - reasoning is one straw to clutch on. It is one modelling of the mind, and basically only the conscious part of the mind. There is another model that I have often written about that includes the subconscious that is inaccessible to reason and yet guides and controls IMO a very high proportion of who we are.

BTW I can't answer for anyone else, and I should also add that I have equal scepticism toward the forced explanations of X-factor phenomena in scientific terms. But I do believe that the 'tricks' that can be played upon the mind, and which any individual mind plays upon itself, in experiential feedback, are an equal part of the multi-layered struggle for existence that drives us all.

These 'tricks' are part of the evolutionary process from which mind is derived. It is an inadequate instrument - the brain is not something designed by reason. It is and was emergent. And is still emerging!

I brought 'art' into that thread because I think it equally illustrates the 'sprirituality' argument without the polarising baggage of 'religion' and ritualistic belief. Art exposes both the inadequacy and banality of mind AND inspires the search for meaning. I believe art is empowering for that latter 'reason'.

But back to your point: scientific evidence is observable and, to a large extent, objective since the same results can be seen to 'fit the facts' in a large number of cases in which a theory is tested. It is also understood that ' fitting the facts ' is temporary. Science is always unfinished business. it is a map, but not the terrain.

And I happen to believe that the terrain that we are attempting to map ultimately comes to an examination of mind. And that the full mapping of mind will not concern 'reasoning' but 'unreasoning'.

Do I make myself clear? ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 04:31:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And that the full mapping of mind will not concern 'reasoning' but 'unreasoning'.

Brilliant Sven, except that I might say rather that we may better say:

"Evidence-based" = reasoning

"Faith-based" = "un"reasoning; and

"Experience-based" is maybe what we need - in line with Pirsig, as I read him - ie  "a"reasoning.

"Areasoning" is what you are doing when you are driving, based upon the accumulated experience and knowledge of driving, of the car and of the road/ environment. Thinking rationally on one level, but also acting "a-rationally", based upon experience, on another.

Pirsig, again...

You are never dedicated to something you have complete confidence in. No one is fanatically shouting that the sun is going to rise tomorrow. They know it's going to rise tomorrow.

When people are fanatically dedicated to political or religious faiths or any other kinds of dogmas or goals, it's always because these dogmas or goals are in doubt.

...and strangely enough, I think that many of the defenders of Science may be fanatic in their defence of it because they are in doubt that another explanation, based upon another hypothesis, may in fact reduce their intellectual castles to their inadequate metaphysical foundations...

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 05:23:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Arationality is an interesting concept. I have to get my mind around that one ;-) And it is also unwise to do stand-up comedy in the gladiatorial arena - the human rivals might get it (for a moment), but the lions will not.

But you final Pirsig quote is a killer. To embrace doubt is also to embrace creativity IMO. It's about going to the edge, rather than congregating toward the center. It's about making mistakes as a learning experience. About accepting fallibility. I'm as proud of the times I fucked up as the times I have succeeded, because I have always learned from the fuck ups. Even here ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 05:45:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Experience is often painful!

Hence Pirsig's illustration of sitting on a hot stove when the Subject (stove sitter) comes into contact with the Object (stove) in a bad "Quality event".

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 06:20:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
..and strangely enough, I think that many of the defenders of Science may be fanatic in their defence of it because they are in doubt that another explanation, based upon another hypothesis, may in fact reduce their intellectual castles to their inadequate metaphysical foundations...

couldn't put it better...asexual in its brilliance...

what bemuses me is how humans grew to fear death so much, and then smell it threatening us whenever we meet something we can't control.

whatever demon-du-jour, it's always our frightened ego clutching for security, and the asperity of the attacks prove it.

if they were really so sure, they'd be able to relax and see the funny side of it.

but no, out comes the snide...

you'd be amazed how deep it can go.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 06:47:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I like the trichotomy thinking - doing - believing.

It would be interesting to know whether people on either side of this here debate correspond to Myers-Briggs Thinking/Feeling supertypes.

Do people know their Myers-Briggs types? Mine is INTP.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 06:02:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ENFP

That seems to make me a champion idealist ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 06:19:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
IT vs. EF, sounds about right. LOL

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 06:22:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Same. Moderately E, distinctively N, slightly F, moderately P, according to the latest online test.

Then again, I'd also have to take it purely sober, I migh turn out otherwise...

Seriously, I shift a lot on these self-tests, sometimes I turn up introverted. The only constants are the N and the P. I have never been sensing, or judging, as a Jungean trait of my general, idealised personality.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 09:24:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 INFP

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 06:32:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Me too.

"If you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles." Sun Tzu
by Turambar (sersguenda at hotmail com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 12:47:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
At least according to the 'net.

Then again, I never bought much stock in Jung or Freud...

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 07:21:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
INTJ, shockingly enough.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 07:28:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"moderately expressed introvert
moderately expressed intuitive personality
slightly expressed thinking personality
moderately expressed judging personality"

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 07:53:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Just re-did the test: INTJ.

But Myers-Briggs is my top example for why I can't take personality tests too seriously. These tests try to hammer people's personalities into crude stereotypes. The result in the case of Myers-Briggs and me is that at least a third of my choices aren't better than throwing dice, as the question is loaded or underdefined for me.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 10:05:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They do seem about as useful as the US border control forms, Are you a terrorist? have you ever been a communist?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 11:32:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, I know, 'we' are so exceptional.

I haven't done one in decades and I was ENFP.

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 02:15:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
INTP

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 10:52:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Okay, for what ever it is worth, I took the test too.

INFJ

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 12:20:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know what it's worth, but everyone who replied is iNtuitive, which according to statistics is less common than Sensing.

As for the question I posed (Thinking vs. Feeling), we have:

T: migeru, poemless, dodo, colman, Jerome, JakeS
F: fran, metavision, ceebs, turambar, sven

Draw your own conclusions.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 07:51:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So... are Sven and I the only extroverts on ET?

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jan 1st, 2008 at 06:49:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the rest of us are just too introverted to admit that.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Jan 1st, 2008 at 06:54:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
...and strangely enough, I think that many of the defenders of Science may be fanatic in their defence of it because they are in doubt that another explanation, based upon another hypothesis, may in fact reduce their intellectual castles to their inadequate metaphysical foundations...

There are so many things that are wrong with that paragraph...

First, none of the pro-science people around here can be described as 'fanatical' by any stretch of the imagination. 'Exasperated' would be closer to home.

Second, I have no 'intellectual castle' to defend. I do, however, think that words should have meaning and that empirical reality should not simply be hand-waved away into a mist of obscurantist superstition.

Third, I do not have any emotional investment in 'the metaphysical foundations of science.' The results speak for themselves, and they speak louder than any philosophical musings. I do, however, hold an emotional as well as a rational objection to having my profession consistently and consciously misrepresented by charlatans like Michael Behe and Deepak Chopra who are looking to separate the easily impressionable from their money.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 06:14:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You really shouldn't take things personally.

Firstly: Peace, brother - if you were a fanatic you wouldn't be here!

And I have no problem with your other two points except that I don't know enough about either Behe or Chopra to make a judgment on them.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 06:30:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Peace, comrade. And thank you for your kind words.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 06:40:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But heretics are most heartily welcome ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 06:46:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sometimes is gets to the point where dissenting voices are praised just because they dissent, not because their dissent actually has any value. Being a heretic seems to have become a mark of pride among academics in the humanities. Which means that seeking to put oneself outside the consensus becomes a way of seeking status. Where what should be sought is a better consensus. The proponents of plate tectonics were not trying to achieve status by being heretics. And a heretic is a lot more likely to be wrong than right, it's just that everyone thinks they're the next Galileo.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 06:56:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]

....Unless you count the 3 Smiths hammering out a consensus outside the Stockmann department store in downtown Helsinki. They've been at it since 1932. Not exactly what I would call forging ahead.

Making mistakes is how we learn, getting it right is the real uneducational status seeking. ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 07:35:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What's with the red noses?

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 04:22:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Comic Relief

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Dec 28th, 2007 at 12:59:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Did you photoshop them in?

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Dec 28th, 2007 at 11:40:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, they are part of the natural student exuberance of May 1st celebrations.

Here, the Havis Amanda statue is getting her student hat in a similar ritual requiring the skills of the engineering students ;-)


You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Dec 29th, 2007 at 06:29:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Being a dissenter is neither a sufficient nor a necessary condition to be right.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 09:03:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But seen from my world of rightness, you are all dissenters ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 09:14:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And that the full mapping of mind will not concern 'reasoning' but 'unreasoning'.

both/and...not either/or..

reason is like a cherry on the cake, the crown of creation.

some would have it be Everything.

that batter don't rise...too rich a mix.

the intellect is like a two-edged scalpel, used without enough care and understanding, it can cut its owner to ribbons.

used right it is a jewel beyond compare, shines like a diamond and cuts through crap like a laser...

there's a great saying that comes to mind: 'religion isto  for those afraid of hell, spirituality is for those who have been there'.

i hope to hear more about what you've learned about the brain.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 07:42:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If I can do an 'in a nutshell', it would be that the sense of 'self' is a result of the multiple terminations of the brain. For me, there is no homonculus, no god behind the god, nobody in the driving seat. There is no driving seat.

Comparisons of brain to computer are misleading. There is not 'one place' where all the 'information processing' ends up. There is no little man in the control room. There are many, many places where 'information processing' ends up: over 30 visual projection systems alone. In mind, the map is the terrain. Consciousness and a sense of 'self' are the product of complexity - the many, many places.

The oscillation between map and terrain is what is described in lots of different ways, and given lots of different names: it can be 'Dynamic Quality', Factor X, soul, spirit, belief, reason/unreason and all the rest. It is the oscillation that is so difficult to access rationally. I have never met anyone who knew in which state of transition between map and terrain they were in at any particular time. But I do believe that one can appreciate being in the paradoxical gestalt of both.


You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 05:00:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
is that similar to p2p?

without any central server?

all these cells know what to do, without centralised control?

if so, it reminds me of sympathetic resonance, which is that phenomenon that makes pendulums swing in the same rhythm if they're hung on a wall after a while, or ladies all menstruate together in the same household, or how schools of fish or flights of birds all turn on a dime.

one universal mind? simultaneously everywhere and everywhen?

starting to sound buddhist here...

if i were young again, i would aim for neuroscience as a career, it is just so incredibly interesting, now the tech is at the level it needs to be, and growing fast...

kudos for trying to explain it to an ignoramus like me!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 01:11:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
To me it seems that this thread and the other thread as well are about demarcating the boundaries for acceptable discourse. If that sounds like overly philosophical or postmodernist talk, here's a reformulation: they are about the extent to which personal or experiential interpretation is acceptable as an explanation of reality.

Led to its logical conlusion (or reductio ad absurdum from either perspective), this is a debate between realists and idealists: those who think that there is a pre-existent reality that we are born into, and those who think that we, or some unitary consciousness that unites us, precede this reality, at least analytically. For my money, I am with the realists, though not completely without criticism.

If we move on to realms of being, there are a lot of matters... now... it might be convenient / pragmatic to, say, argue about epistemology (the philosophical study about what we can know) in a way that does not minutely trace back every step to an ontological (the philosophical study about reality) foundation. In the same way, it might be good to do research in or about mathematics as if numbers / mathematical relations had a pre-existent reality, without checking back with physical reality, for purely pragmatic reasons.

At the same time, I still have some twitch in my brain about an argument I have read many years ago in which a PhD phil. student used an epistemological argument (which was plausible) to make an entirely implausible ontological point. You can't do that! It's the wrong way around!

That mistake (from my POV) is the same many of the esoterics or 'open minds' are making in these threads. They are using a line of reasoning about a reality that is idealised to make claims about a reality that is pre-existent (and a line of reasoning which tends to be incongruent with the good models and explanations we have about this reality, to boot!)

Personally, I vaguely picture pre-existence as a material sub-strate for consequent phenomena. The phenomena may not be always and purely explainable in the terms of the sub-strate, but that does not mean that they cannot be traced back, let alone that they can subvert the sub-strate by their own implicit rules/ rationality.

So: if Sven says that there is a limit to science in the brain, with which I tentatively agree, with my modifications (positivist science and the mind rather than the brain), I say that there is a limit to esoterics in pre-existent, physical reality.

All derives from the right and proper demarcation of the realms of being!

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 10:26:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm too tired and probably should not even attempt to comment on this.  But it seems a crucial point is being missed in all this debate about the legitimacy of non-evidence or reason-based approaches to the world.

It seems to me that it's not problematic or even controversial that these approaches exist.  Life is difficult and full of unknowns, and we seek to cope and provide answers and give our existence some meaning because the alternatives are mental atrophy or suicide.  And if you look at it that way, even the most emotional or spiritual or irrational beliefs serve some very scientific, rational purposes.  We don't have all of the answers we're seeking and so people go off in different directions looking for them.  Who cares?  

My problem arises when your irrational, emotional, spiritual, completely speculative journeys are presented to me as anything otherwise.  It's just that there is an arrogance about someone who believes their experience of something lends it universal legitimacy simply because they felt they experienced it.  You're basically assuming you can stand in for the whole human race.  Who needs science when we can just take this guy's word for the Truth about Reality?   This is why I loathe religion but am not so hostile to personal spirituality or things like love and the poetry it inspires, or madness and reverie.  It's all some form of self-medication to treat the condition of being alive.  Believe in whatever nonsense you want.  But embrace it for the nonsense it is.  And for those who scorn nonsense in all its forms, you could probably use an equally healthy dose of humility.  We can see nonsense when it's professed by others, but most of us have behaved irrationally at some point in our lives.  And probably really enjoyed it, too.  

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 04:10:40 PM EST
An excellent review of the state of play ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 04:32:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 04:41:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is why I loathe religion but am not so hostile to personal spirituality or things like love and the poetry it inspires, or madness and reverie.  It's all some form of self-medication to treat the condition of being alive.  Believe in whatever nonsense you want.  But embrace it for the nonsense it is.  And for those who scorn nonsense in all its forms, you could probably use an equally healthy dose of humility.  We can see nonsense when it's professed by others, but most of us have behaved irrationally at some point in our lives.  And probably really enjoyed it, too.  

trust a woman to nail it like that...

a-fucking-men

waiter, pasta for the lady!!!

damn....

well done chris...you threw that apple of discord....still bemused?

promused, transmused?

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 04:38:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What the fuck does my gender have to do with it?

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 04:40:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That is an oxymoron

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 04:48:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was actually asking melo.  Quite a few male thinkers, poets etc. have suggested basically the same things, and long before I was born.  

I think there may be a misunderstanding.  I'm not arguing for the primacy of irrationalism here; just that it is inevitable and is best take for what it is and not something else.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 05:00:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think there may be a misunderstanding.

ya think?

 I'm not arguing for the primacy of irrationalism here

i didn't get that actually, more that you got the whole picture.

whatever...

you're not being aggressive here, are you?

that was friendly, affectionate cursing, right?

peace

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 05:20:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
maybe nothing, i'll never know...

hell, you might be a man pretending to be female!

and to reply in your vernacular, i don't really give a fuck...

you are a set of comments and diaries to me, no more, no less.

kinda like it like that to be honest...

anyroad, it's not the first time a woman's opinion has cut to the chase in a largely male conversation IME, so act all insulted if it gets you off.  

wouldn't be the first time...

where's yer beef?

ex...cuse... me....

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 05:14:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Um, not the first time a man has thought it necessary to specifically point out that a woman managed to make a good point. So, if someone with a dick had posted what poemless did, would you have included a reference to his maleness in your reply? Why is the anatomical configuration of poemless of any sort of relevance to this discussion? What makes this conversation largely male? Or is it just a conversation in which most of the participants are male? What do you think is the effect of the maleness of the participants on the discussion, if any? Do you think 'a female point of view' exist, in other words. If so, why? If not, why emphasise the gender thing?
by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 05:25:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
excellent questions...

So, if someone with a dick had posted what poemless did, would you have included a reference to his maleness in your reply?

no, i don't statistically associate male capacity with whole brain thinking.

it's nice to be surprised though...

Why is the anatomical configuration of poemless of any sort of relevance to this discussion?

well, i wouldn't call it central to the discussion, but i dug the 'femaleness' of the comment. just a perception, i wouldn't even call it anything as crystallised as an opinion.

ymmv... it's cracking me up how twisted a simple compliment can be taken, because of gender....wtf?

reminds me of a time i opened a car door for a girl, and she gave me the evil eye and hissed: 'don't you ever do that again'

hello....

What makes this conversation largely male?

dunno, dickbrains?

Or is it just a conversation in which most of the participants are male?

haven't a clue....who are you, not a woman certainly <snark>...

kidding aside, i seem to remember it coming out you were female, but it really is ok what ever gender -or mix of - you are, you're someone who leaves a good feeling in my heart when you comment, not emphatically male or female, sheesh...

that's what i like about the internet see, ideas get to fly without the baggage, or at least less of it.

i will self-edit more, if my comments are misconstrued, i usually let it flow pretty much, because most folks here seem above that.

should i feel bad i'd like more 'female' energy at ET?

maybe that's not PC, don't really know...

What do you think is the effect of the maleness of the participants on the discussion, if any?

wow, sounds like a dissertation assignment, are you an academic, by any chance?

it cuts to the core...

yes i do think some of the attitudes here reflect some of the more stereotypical forms of 'male' thinking, and it's correlated with the ratio.

note not necessarily caused by, as i've met (too) many women who can beat men at that game.

maybe i've floundered into a minefield, in a typically male way...

i think people are mostly really polite on this blog, far be it for me to spoil that, though sometimes i probably say things that are misunderstood, sorry about that, and thanks for the searching questions, i appreciate them, and indeed count on feedback to let me know where peoples' boundaries are. i have been somewhat intemperate sometimes, but i hope most old timers have realised by now i am pretty benign, troll wise...

Do you think 'a female point of view' exist, in other words.

i agree with jung that men have a female soul, or anima, and vice versa.

makes life so deliciously_enigmatic_, and makes us all teachers of both modes for each other.

but it sure ain't simple, lol...

If so, why?

ya got me!

trick question?

sometimes i think it would be ok if there was a rule  against revealing gender, if people are going to get sidetracked.

i'll try to avoid that mistake again!

waiter, please take back the pasta, it's too sexist!

peace, professor. i'll hand in my thesis shortly.

btw, i can and do take my own medicine.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 06:15:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, if nothing, then why even bring it up?  It was a question, and not rhetorical.  

What is the correlation between my ovaries and my philosophy?  I could understand if this were an Odds&Ends and I was drooling over a shirtless Putin.  Then my gender might be fair game.  But this is a discussion about rationalism, reason, science, and the place metaphysics and nonsense have in the world.  It has, in the past, been taken as fact that women are implicitly irrational, emotional, and men are reasonable, practical.  I thought we'd gotten past that, that we could now have this discussion without gender become some determining factor in it.  And while it's flattering that you appreciate my ability to cut to the chase, I said nothing that, Walt Whitman, a man, didn't say before, and much more eloquently.

I suppose it wasn't very ladylike of me to say "fuck," huh?


"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 05:44:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I could understand if this were an Odds&Ends and I was drooling over a shirtless Putin. Then my gender might be fair game.

Why do you think your gender is the only one allowed to drool over Putin? Well, I don't, but I think of some (male) friends who might...

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 05:57:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, that's exactly why I chose the word, "might."  It might not.  I personally find something vaguely homo-erotic about the topless pics.  And I would be the very last person to discourage anyone from drooling over Putin, regardless of their gender.  

Yeah.  You have "a friend" who might.  Uh huh.  Ok, Melanchthon.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 06:07:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
  And I would be the very last person to discourage anyone from drooling over Putin,

lawd have mercy....

it's always about fucking putin with you, poemless...

this thread has me in tears...can you have an aneurism from laughing too much?

you're much funnier here than in odds and ends....

you guys...i swear

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 06:28:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah. You have "a friend" who might. Uh huh. Ok, Melanchthon.

Mind you, I never hide behind "a friend". Most of my best male friends are gay, but I'm  (in their view) desperately straight. Years ago, some of them hoped I would change my mind, but now it's too late.

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 06:32:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What is the correlation between my ovaries and my philosophy?

i am doing a readout on that from what you say here, but only because i know you're female. if i didn't maybe i'd think about it less...

i assume others do the same for all of us, maybe i err that way.

as for walt, you'd be hard put to find a better example of what i believe.

gay or not...lol

please take my next observation with a large pinch of salt...

maybe we're less (more?) macho in yurp, but i find women here, while also having issues americans tend not to have, tend to be less likely to falsely ascribe negative intentions to innocent comments.

maybe you're more on the feminist front line, dunno.

maybe that's just my experience, anecdotal at best.

maybe a reflection of my clueless lack of tact, maybe something about me provokes that in american women.

i was married to one for 15 years.

stupid to generalise i know, so please don't take it wrong, but if you can help me understand the link between my gonads and comments, i hope you'll feel equally free to let me know.

you are hilariously perceptive company and i missed you when you split last time.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 08:11:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think I agree with you, even if some terms are different for me.  A problem I found on the other thread was people equating anything metaphysical or spiritual with 'religion', 'mass belief' and other common misconceptions.  Suddenly any new idea, or individual experience was aggressively degraded and ridiculed.

It must have felt abusive to the irregular blogger who tried to present it first and whose examples were not even read, or addressed, so he may not return.

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 07:33:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Metaphysics of Quality (MoQ) is an intellectual ordering of experience; it is a way of organising our knowledge; it is a filing system for the contents of our mind.It's a model.
It postulates that the fundamental reality is Quality or value.We have chosen to call "that which exist" by these names
All things come from Quality, and it is Quality that draws all things into being from Quality. That which exist comes from that which exist, and it is that which exist which is existence.
All that exists is a form of Quality, and nothing exists without Quality. You could say that Quality is one of the names of God.Quality == Energy-space-time-narrative-myth-model??
The first distinction that is made in understanding Quality is a distinction between Dynamic Quality (DQ) and Static Quality (SQ). DQ cannot be named and cannot be described. It is the cutting edge of experience. It is pre-intellectual awareness. DQ does not fit into any intellectual system; it is the ragged edge at the border of all such systems. DQ is the driving force of evolution, the lure (or: telos) which all of existence pursues.DQ cannot be named, except we just did! It is that which is not, but which soon will be. When something comes into existence, before it exists, we postulate that it is already anticipated to be. This is that which is not, but soon will be. Further, all of existence strive to come into existence.

Why do we think that existence pursues something? And why would existence pursue coming into existence (becoming?)? I didn't think evolution had a driving force... More of a, stuff happened, the stuff most successful at surviving survived. Can DQ ever be anything other than something to which we refer retroactively, after which it already is SQ? In what sense is this concept of any use?

Sometimes, a DQ driven evolution creates an evolutionary leap. Something new comes into existence. For this new thing of value to be maintained in existence it must 'static latch'; that is, it must be able to generate a particular pattern of value which persists over time, either on a continuous basis or a continuously regenerated basis.Sometimes something new, something that never occured before happens. For this new thing to continue to exist, it must continue to exist. If it is just a temporary anomaly, it will cease to exist once it no longer exists.
These static latches form the known world. They are the stable forms of Quality.Things that exists and which continue to exist is what exist
Static Quality can be named. It can be classified and analysed. The principal classification of SQ is a division into four levels. These levels are discrete and do not overlap. Moreover, all that we presently know can be classified and described according to these four levels, except for DQ itself, which, to repeat, remains outside of all realms of classification.We can know stuff about the world. We can categorise it. We can name things and make models for how they work. The ones we have chosen use words like "Quality" and "Value", which are evocative, in an ambiguous kind of way. Then there is that which we cannot know and cannot name, which we will name DQ.
The four levels are: inorganic, organic, social and intellectual. (For the sake of simplicity the inorganic can be taken to include the quantum level, although perhaps this level could constitute its own 'zeroth' level).Here is our system. But maybe Quantum is 'too special' to fit? Should we make a special category for it??

Sorry for the put-down. But so far the "Metaphysics of Quality" seems mostly like a bunch of trivial statements, and some other ones that are just plain weird. All held together by evocative yet vague and ambiguous vocabulary. "That which exists exists". How could I disagree? Of what use is this model? How does it function? What do I do with it?

by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 05:05:40 PM EST
Put that way, I find the Ancient Greeks more appealing.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 05:21:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The best way of appreciating MoQ (or not) is to read Pirsig's two books. As opposed to someone's necessarily subjective account of it.

Sure it's a model: but IMHO it's a better model in the way it addresses Reality than the one that the Greeks came up with - ie the "Subject/Object" Metaphysics we take for granted.

What you can do with it, I suspect,(and if you are clever enough - which  I know I'm not!) is to completely reinvent virtually every field of academic study from the ground up.

Starting with Economics, which is is currently in the process of being irretrievably discredited by events, I suspect....

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 06:12:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What you can do with it, I suspect,(and if you are clever enough - which  I know I'm not!) is to completely reinvent virtually every field of academic study from the ground up.

That presumes that such studies are underpinned by metaphysics rather than empirical reality. That may be true for economics, but it's a non-starter in science.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 05:24:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Jake, everything is not just underpinned by Reality: it is Reality.

As J A Wheeler said: "Reality is defined by the questions you put to it". Metaphysics concerns these questions we ask of Reality.

And as for it being a non-starter in Science, I would have said Science is actually founded upon it. Why else use the word....."meta" physics?

As I understand it, it is the inadequacy of its metaphysical foundations that leads Science into difficulties of interpretation. eg the Copenhagen Interpretation.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 05:42:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I would disagree with your last three statements. While it is tautologically true that we don't get answers to questions we don't ask, it sounds rather like hubris to presume that it is the questions we ask that shape the world.

As for science being founded on metaphysics, I would say that science is a method of investigation. It is neither more nor less founded on metaphysics than your conclusion that the sun will rise tomorrow.

Lastly, I do not see how the Copenhagen interpretation represents a failure of the metaphysics of science or an attempt to paper over its difficulties. The equations are what they are. The experimental data is what it is. The latter strongly supports the former. If you go beyond that, you venture into the realm of philosophy.

But the validity of the equations themselves are not in doubt just because there are different possible philosophical interpretations of them. Just as apples did not suspend themselves in mid-air pending the outcome of the philosophical discussions provoked by Newton's theories, entangled photons do not await the philosopher's permission before they carry out spooky action at a distance.

Because at the end of the day, engineering trumphs philosophy when it comes to being convincing.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 06:58:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you go beyond that, you venture into the realm of philosophy

Of course: metaphysics is a part of philosophy.

it sounds rather like hubris to presume that it is the questions we ask that shape the world

But that is exactly what happens, I think.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 07:45:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Because at the end of the day, engineering trumphs philosophy when it comes to being convincing.

Well thats going to need some justifying, or at the very least some further explaination.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 07:59:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If philosophy says that building a bridge across the Thames is impossible, and an engineer says it's possible, the engineer has the distinct advantage of being able to build the bridge and walk across the Thames without getting his shoes wet. That tends to be persuasive...

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 08:03:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So engineering is more persuasive for a very limited class of problems, There is more to life than building bridges.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 08:09:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was bemused by the vehemence of debate which took off

so you decided to throw more chum to the piranhas, huh.

instigator! agitator! shit-stirrer!

how could you?

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 06:34:29 PM EST
Had to be done, melo, had to be done....it's the law of the markets: if I didn't do it someone else would...

And well worth it, I reckon!

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 06:42:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
spoken like a true free trader...

pretty good investment, i'd say...

the gift that keeps on giving...

hedging is so yesterday...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 06:51:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I speak from personal experience here, having swum regularly with piranha. They only get into a feeding frenzy when in isolated water in which food is finite.

Oh, but wait a minute! Is ET an oxbow? Naah. It is an ecosystem with enough biodiversity for endless feeding ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 06:48:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... taking boxes from the second tier down to the first tier, where the flow racks have been consolidated ... so I don't have the energy to get into this in any serious way.

However, people at the warehouse were impressed that the company went with both Christmas Eve and Christmas off, instead of just half day Christmas Eve like the year before, and, anyway, this "boxing day" is not a widely known thing in this part of Ohio (frequent question: you mean, like boxing the sport?)

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 08:13:29 PM EST
Okay, here goes.

I don't think there is a linking point between "inside" and "outside", not an accepted one.  There are the various distances from the body that different cultures accept as "my space", the italian space is inches closer to the body than the english one.

PSC 41 Virtual lab, Personal space experiment , SP '01

Think about how you feel invading another person's space and having your own space invaded. The point where you have the feeling that someone is standing too close is your personal space boundary. Typically distances will be longer in front than at the sides and greater when the partner has eyes open rather than eyes closed. Previous research has shown that individuals from Latin cultures often have small interaction distances. They sit and stand closer, than do people from Anglo cultures. There are interesting effects when people are paired with others from different ethnic groups with different concepts of personal space.

In general people stand closer to those like them and further away from those who differ from them. Gender affects distance in complex ways. Other things being equal, female-female pairs tend to have smaller interaction distances than male-male pairs, and the distance between female-male pairs depends on the relationship between the pair. Tall height and bright clothing increase interaction distance whereas sunglasses (similar to the eyes closed condition) decrease distance. A status difference is also likely to increase interaction distance.

This has science, reasoning, flexible borders, and relates to perceptions and their ability to change over time.

When people talk about their experiences, which change over time, there is a distance within which things become uncomfortable.  I think maybe the "science" part of this debate comes across as too invasive.  It wants to challenge subjective experience but subjective experience is challenging subjective experience as soon as emotional modifiers are added ("loony", "ridiculous", "fantastic", etc.)...I mean, the argument seems to be about science but is in fact an argument based on invasion into personal (inner) space.  I mean something like the difference between, "You believe in UFOs?  You are deluded, my friend" and "Have you ever seen a UFO yourself?  You have?  Where was that?  What happened?" etc.

(Hmmmm....I mean that for human interactions "how you say it" is as important as what's being said--if the aim is to move perceptions--or learn more about other people's experiences...something like that.)

What Does Science Prove?  As I understand things (at present) science is about measuring.  To get an accurate mesaurement, you don't just do it the once, you do many measurements (many different measurements) to check that you have correct answers.  Also, as science progresses, the measuring tools become more accurate.  Things that could only be inferred two hundred years ago (atoms) can now be photographed.

Quantum mechanics fascinates both scientists and non-scientists because it is the point where the ongoing search for accuracy in measurement leads to non (common) sensical models to explain testable results.

Richard Feynman:

"Quantum Mechanics describes nature as absurd from the point of view of common sense.  And if fully agrees with experiment.  So I hope you can accept nature as She is--absurd."

I don't like his last sentence.  I think it is better to say that we cannot currently conjure up sensible models for what his happening--sensible to our understanding of spacetime...and here come the New Agers, saying that they don't have your understanding of spacetime...so the model (as they have understood it) makes sense to them...maybe...

The point being that the search for accurate measurement hits the "inner" wall, as Zeno's paradox hits the inner wall of infinite division...so what happens if you posit that there is something "in there" that is not just reactive but also active, as we are?

From The Elegant Universe:

"In fact, if you were to capture a single electron in a big, solid box and then slowly crush the sides to pinpoint its position with ever greater precision, you would find the electron getting more and more frantic.  Almost as if it were overcome with claustrophobia, the electron will go increasingly haywire--bouncing off the walls of the box with increasing frequency and unpredictable speed"

....to the point where it will even tunnel its way out--which should be impossible (and here "impossible" I think is used in the way that can be seen as dismissive--"That's just impossible!  So it can't happen!"), but experiments have been done and tunneling (that is the model) is what happens.

Or so I've read (or failed to understand from what I've read.)

These strange facts about nature (and I agree with DoDo's comment above, basically--that nature is stranger than strange) clearly tie nicely to people's various experiences of things happening that are "impossible"!  However, there is a lack of basic empirical data about these impossible events (e.g. ESP) [where I'll take "S" to mean our five senses], and what data there is points to no such impossible yet actually existent phenomena.

Key point: typically, people who are convinced of "unacceptable to science but nevertheless true" processes often don't know much about what science currently says regarding a particular topic.  This creates an imbalance--and I think the best scientific approach is to (kindly rather than angrily) point out where current scientific knowledge disagrees with their thoughts about what current scientific knowledge is...ach....so much time needed, and so much I think unnecessary sneering from "those who know"--referencing Miguel's comment about growing up, I am learning things now that are learnt by many twelve year olds and not known by many seventy year olds.  Learning happens when it happens--the learning moment is, and this is my belief, a moment for tenderness, compassion, clarity, and attention to the effects involved in the movement from "I didn't know that" to "now I know that."  I think that, ideally, it should be felt, internally, as a positive moment, but it probably won't be if everyone is also jeering.  The difference between (factually true statement) "your flies are undone"

1) "you idiot!  You can't even do up your trousers!" (and variations thereof)

and

2) "Psst, your flies are undone."

Where 2) will hopefully get the two responses

a) Person does up their flies (the aim) and
b) Person says "Thanks!"

For those who continually leave their flies undone, maybe other types of trousers are to be recommended, but without the sneering.

Not that anyone here ever sneers!

I just thought I should mention...er....cough cough!

The Soul.  I suppose the best I can come up with is that when it is brought home to an individual that "who  I am" does not correlate (and often deviates wildly) from "who my conscious mind thinks I am", that's the terrain.  Freud wrote about this, as did Jung.  I prefer Jung's approach and his theories--and I think over time Jung's have stood up better to rigorous analysis--but that's me.  Something like the collective unconscious, where Jung suggested that individual consciousness (I am not you) is looking at individual mountain peaks, while collective consicousness (we are one) looks at the way the peaks drop down to valleys and are in fact connected one to the other as the larger land mass.  Sven mentioned unconsciousness, Chris mentioned arationality, an evolutionary psychologist might have other terms...I think we can all agree that we live at the very bottom of earth's atmosphere and that outside it we die very quickly unless we encase ourselves in that atmosphere--in which case we don't leave our atmosphere, we take it with us.  Some people claim to have had profound experiences--and maybe they have.  Maybe some people have lots and some people have none.  There are suggestions that exercises such as meditation (which are designed to silence the chattering ego) permit an individual to become aware of the non-ego inner and outer worlds in a different way--and that this leads to more profound experiences.  I have also heard (from a friend) that meditation develops an area of the brain, the god spot at the top of the head, as does prayer and other forms of belief, so those who develop this part of the brain will have, presumably, more activity happening there, without that signifying anything more than that there is a part of the brain we can exercise....for those who aren't interested, I don't think judgements are necessary--unless there are claims that this development leads to "better" outcomes (or humans.)  I think numeracy and literacy can be seen in the same way: reading and writing can only be seen as "better" in the context of human possibilities.  I would reading and writing enlarge the range and are therefore useful.  I can't say they are better than other methods, and a finite life maybe doesn't allow an individual to practice every possible method for possibility expansion...

Data and its analysis:

Broad Street Pump Outbreak

When a wave of Asiatic cholera first hit England in late 1831, it was thought to be spread by "miasma in the atmosphere." By the time of the Soho outbreak 23 years later, medical knowledge about the disease had barely changed, though one man, Dr John Snow, a surgeon [actually an anesthesiologist] and pioneer of the science of epidemiology, had recently published a report speculating that it was spread by contaminated water -- an idea with which neither the authorities nor the rest of the medical profession had much truck. Whenever cholera broke out -- which it did four times between 1831 and 1854 -- nothing whatsoever was done to contain it, and it rampaged through the industrial cities, leaving tens of thousands dead in its wake.

[...]

Snow lived in Frith Street, so his local contacts made him ideally placed to monitor the epidemic which had broken out on his doorstep. His previous researches had convinced him that cholera, which, as he had noted, "always commences with disturbances of the functions of the alimentary canal," was spread by a poison passed from victim to victim through sewage-tainted water; and he had traced a recent outbreak in South London to contaminated water supplied by the Vauxhall Water Company -- a theory that the authorities and the water company itself were, not surprisingly, reluctant to believe. Now he saw his chance to prove his theories once and for all, by linking the Soho outbreak to a single source of polluted water.

From day one he patrolled the district, interviewing the families of the victims. His research led him to a pump on the corner of Broad Street and Cambridge Street, at the epicenter of the epidemic. "I found," he wrote afterwards, "that nearly all the deaths had taken place within a short distance of the pump." In fact, in houses much nearer another pump, there had only been 10 deaths -- and of those, five victims had always drunk the water from the Broad Street pump, and three were schoolchildren who had probably drunk from the pump on their way to school.

Dr Snow took a sample of water from the pump, and, on examining it under a microscope, found that it contained "white, flocculent particles." By 7 September, he was convinced that these were the source of infection, and he took his findings to the Board of Guardians of St James's Parish, in whose parish the pump fell.

Though they were reluctant to believe him, they agreed to remove the pump handle as an experiment. When they did so, the spread of cholera dramatically stopped. [actually the outbreak had already lessened for several days]

I think this is what Jake was referring to the other day when he talked of the dangers of believing that, say, mass praying can prevent a cholera outbreak.  However, this argument should only (I think) be aimed at those who are denying that water supplies should be kept uncontaminated.  In the same way, western medicine has much information about nervous systems, and it is worth arguing with a person who denies the results (e.g. about chemical and electrical interactions.)  However, that doesn't preclude that other models also tell us something--I'm thinking of acupuncture which was originally sneered at as it was a different system (model), but is now accepted and being studied.

So...I suspect that there is a fault line between inner and outer, how science is an investigation of this boundary, and that consciousness offers a moveable boundary (whether it be called higher/lower--such that knowing about chemical interactions at the molecular level is "higher" knowledge than just chucking things in a pot and hoping they work; and whether it be called inner/outer (e.g. the personal space example above.)

the angriness that I sense comes from people placing themselves (for their various historical reasons) variously at different points in various directional scales and assuming some form of essential bad faith on the part of the people who (for their various historical reasons) find themselves at other points.

The idea that there are directions and that they are relative is part of quantum mechanics, general relativity (as I understand them), and also one of the messages transmited by the Tao Te Ching.  Maybe we need directions to create any models; and we can't function without models--without a picture "in here" of the various realities "in here and out there".  The human condition is that these models lead to behaviour and there are no historically agreed lists of correct human behaviour because "correct" involves a model and a direction with "incorrect" at its other end.

My take:

The universe is strange as they come.  The more we learn about it the stranger and more marvelous it becomes.  That experiencing this strangeness is more profound than learning about someone else's experiences of this strangeness (going into space is more profound than watching a film about people going into space); and that human limitiations (e.g. time) mean that we are limited in how much profoundness we can experience directly...and maybe profound is the wrong word.  Numinous?  Exciting?  Awe inspiring?  Enjoyable?  That humans are happier when they participate...

And then, that we all have inner lives that are conflicted in some way.  This may not be true of all humans at all times, hence the belief that at least one human at at least one moment in time was not conflicted--that they were not alienated but fully integrated, and that this sense of integration is more pleasurable, more healthy for the individual than a sense of alienation; and so the inner and the outer...ach....as a friend said recently, "but how can sound waves generate emotions?"  I have the start for some answers, but I like the question, I like looking for various answers, and synthesis is my favourite part of the thesis-antithesis-synthesis process--I'd rather we could synthesise as much as possible as that way...I dunno....that way our possiblities open more widely...heh...

Protein synthesis: an epic on the cellular level



Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 08:23:38 PM EST
Oops, bad pronouns!

This may not be true of all humans at all times, hence the belief that at least one human or human society at at least one moment in time was not conflicted--that he or she or they were not alienated but fully integrated.

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 08:36:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And to add some scientific rigour, here is what the SourceryForge.org Tarot Spread gave me:

EIGHT OF WANDS

taking quick action
making your move
striking while the iron is hot
declaring yourself openly
putting plans into action
rushing into a new area
moving into high gear
getting caught up in change

coming to a conclusion
culminating an effort
having all elements come together
closing out an activity
experiencing a grand finale
finding a successful resolution
completing unfinished business

receiving news
getting an important message
obtaining a needed bit of information
finding the missing puzzle piece
discovering the truth
having a meaningful conversation
learning more

(The wands--they fly!)

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 08:41:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
LOL!
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 01:50:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you!
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 01:49:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have the start for some answers, but I like the question, I like looking for various answers, and synthesis is my favourite part of the thesis-antithesis-synthesis process--I'd rather we could synthesise as much as possible as that way...I dunno....that way our possiblities open more widely...heh...

But this thesis/antithesis/synthesis is the process which takes us nowhere but inwards within a set of assumptions: it is the very "Dialectic" that Pirsig believes has led us astray.

You can only make progress by stepping outside your assumptions and widening them by asking better questions of Reality: then only through keeping one foot within the existing assumptions.

So it is that in Pirsig's Inorganic, Organic, Social Intellectual hierarchy that one level serves as the "jumping off point"/ ratchet for the next.

I think the only point where I may differ from Pirsig is that he refers to Dynamic and Static Quality (and I adapt "Quality" to use as "Value" - it's all the same).

Whereas I see Quality or Value as a Continuum both Dynamic and Static with an infinitesimal "granularity" of "event" (Quality) or "transaction" (Value).

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 03:24:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So it is that in Pirsig's Inorganic, Organic, Social Intellectual hierarchy that one level serves as the "jumping off point"/ ratchet for the next.

I may be misunderstanding thesis-antithesis-synthesis, but as I understand it your sentence above is a thesis (that "this is the case").  The criticism of it would be the antithesis, and where the two different/contradictory conceptions are found to be in agreement within a more comprehensive conception...which sounds (to me--but it's early!) like:

You can only make progress by stepping outside your assumptions aka "a new thesis is to be proposed"

and widening them by asking better questions of Reality:  aka querying current theses (aka propose antitheses to these theses)

then only through keeping one foot within the existing assumptions. aka synthesis (new model incorporates rather than denying previous models)...

Heh....I is not good at this....

And okay, I think there is nothing intrinsically "better" about the organic--it's better for me because I'm organic--planet earth is just perfect for me!  Who'd a thunk it? etc...--but....this is a mushroom conception...if you extend your timescales by nine, ten, magnitudes then human life is the famous blink (no, much much less), while the real birth, growth, etc. is happening...at every magnitude...but I think I already said that (but I'll say it again--your "meaning" comes from within your magnitude as it relates to the others--from "star magnitude" (size and lifespan) existence is...different...but we obviously prefer the part called "life" (well, some of us) and in  particular the aspects involved in "human life" (not much sympathy for bacteria overall and in comparison)...

(Crazinesses!)

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 05:24:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But this thesis/antithesis/synthesis is the process which takes us nowhere but inwards within a set of assumptions

Aren't you forgetting empirical input here? That certainly seems like a way to move forward and take us outside the box without abandoning the underlying assumptions (to be honest, however, it's hard to see how you can abandon the underlying assumptions of science - that the world exists and can be investigated - without heading straight to solipsism).

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 06:15:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I mean something like the difference between, "You believe in UFOs?  You are deluded, my friend" and "Have you ever seen a UFO yourself?  You have?  Where was that?  What happened?" etc.

A false dichotomy. You forget that it is entirely possible to say "a bottle of beer says that what you saw was an optical illusion." It would be a sad world, were we left with a choice between uncritical rejection of personal experience and equally uncritical acceptance of it.

I think it is better to say that we cannot currently conjure up sensible models for what his happening--sensible to our understanding of spacetime...and here come the New Agers, saying that they don't have your understanding of spacetime...so the model (as they have understood it) makes sense to them...maybe...

You have just concisely described why people fall for newage bullshit. The problem, which has been explored at some length here and elsewhere, is that they have no model, and they have no concept of 'spacetime' - it's just a fancy word that they can use to give their text a superficial appearance of erudition.

The point being that the search for accurate measurement hits the "inner" wall, as Zeno's paradox hits the inner wall of infinite division...

Nonsense. We have hit no such wall, misguided allusions to Heisenberg uncertainty notwithstanding.

....to the point where it will even tunnel its way out--which should be impossible

Not at all impossible. It is a standard effect in wave mechanics and the equations describe it very elegantly.

These strange facts about nature (and I agree with DoDo's comment above, basically--that nature is stranger than strange) clearly tie nicely to people's various experiences of things happening that are "impossible"!  However, there is a lack of basic empirical data about these impossible events (e.g. ESP) [where I'll take "S" to mean our five senses], and what data there is points to no such impossible yet actually existent phenomena.

Key point: typically, people who are convinced of "unacceptable to science but nevertheless true" processes often don't know much about what science currently says regarding a particular topic.

Bingo. Can I nominate this for the 'most concise summary of the year' award?

This creates an imbalance--and I think the best scientific approach is to (kindly rather than angrily) point out where current scientific knowledge disagrees with their thoughts about what current scientific knowledge is

In principle I couldn't agree more. What is frustrating, however, is that those false impressions that we are supposed to be correcting are often so poorly formed as to be unintelligible - and hence incorrectable. 'Folk science' versions of quantum mechanics, in particular, can require years of study to shake off - and that's assuming that the student is interested in learning the non-folksy version in the first place! Throw in the emotional comfort of using folk science to underpin people's preferred mythology, and you have an industrial grade nightmare.

for those who aren't interested, I don't think judgements are necessary--unless there are claims that this development leads to "better" outcomes (or humans.)

Important take-home point!

I think this is what Jake was referring to the other day when he talked of the dangers of believing that, say, mass praying can prevent a cholera outbreak.

Something like that, yes.

However, this argument should only (I think) be aimed at those who are denying that water supplies should be kept uncontaminated.  In the same way, western medicine has much information about nervous systems, and it is worth arguing with a person who denies the results (e.g. about chemical and electrical interactions.)

I think it's worth pointing out whenever someone makes an unjustified claim. Tagging a 'this remedy should only be taken as a supplement to real medicine and cannot substitute for consulting a competent doctor' disclaimer on your bottle of homeopathic medicine magic water strikes me as dishonest and insincere: Either you think you can produce clinical effects - in which case you should submit your findings for clinical trials - or you do not think that you can produce clinical effects - in which case you shouldn't prey on the fears of ill people.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 05:55:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A false dichotomy. You forget that it is entirely possible to say "a bottle of beer says that what you saw was an optical illusion." It would be a sad world, were we left with a choice between uncritical rejection of personal experience and equally uncritical acceptance of it.

You completely misread rg's comment there. It's not about two choices, and the second is not about uncritical acceptance but critical questions.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 09:13:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It seems to me that there is an implicit assumption being made that it would be possible for science to validate various widely held views about spirituality.

There is a class of apparently mystical or spiritual experiences, which some human beings have reported over all societies in every era of recorded history. Science can investigate whether these experiences are biological in origin or have some objective external cause. The extent to which cultural conditioning affects the form of the experiences may also be relevant.

My suspicion is that the causation is almost entirely biological in origin and that concepts like a soul are human constructs which do not correlate with anything which has an objective existence. However that is only my prima facie preference. I am in principle prepared to change my mind if confronted with suitable evidence.

The sort of anecdotal records and appeals to faith, which forms the stock in trade of the average organised religion, does not appeal to me at all. That class of argument does not provide any evidence. To be more specific, considering Christian mythology which I am more familiar with than that of competing faiths, I see no evidence whatever that reality corresponds to the beliefs of the faithful.

by Gary J on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 09:02:39 PM EST
The problem for the irrationalists is that exceptional experiences are rare, very difficult to pin down, and outside of the social consensus, by definition.

The problem for the rationalists is that it's ridiculous for anyone to believe they already know everything about how the universe works.

If you've never had any inexplicable experiences, it's easy to dismiss them. If you have - not so much. Especially if you're rationalist enough to be able to discount all the traditional rationalist explanations.

The experiences exist. Most psychics are useless. A tiny minority appear to have something interesting to say.

Reality is the ultimate judge of what needs to be explained. When reality does something unexpected, it's neither rational nor wise to jump up and down shouting loudly that existing models define everything that needs to be known with absolute precision and perfection, and therefore the unexpected thing didn't happen.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 06:03:49 AM EST
The problem for the rationalists is that it's ridiculous for anyone to believe they already know everything about how the universe works.

How is that a problem for rationalists? Isn't this just the 'science doesn't know everything' gambit?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 06:38:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What about experiences that are not shared and not repeatable?

I am willing to accept that just like there are colourblind people and women with four colour pigments in they eyes, I might be lacking a "sixth sense".

The difference with colour vision is that it is actually possible to construct physical devices that analyse colour in more detail than the eye of any living thing can, and it is possible to identify the pigments that provide colour vision. So you can convince someone who suffers from dichromatism that there is something most other people can perceive and they cannot.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 06:50:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
i read that in the time of pliny, only 3 colours were named, leading some to theorise that our ability to 'see' has evolved, and if this is true, would be very interesting.

provable? i don't know, maybe one day, maybe it's a fluke.

i suspect it is true, and if not is still an excellent metaphor.

i believe our senses are becoming finer tuned, though it's obvious other animals are way ahead of us in some departments.

it is also interesting to speculate if some back in pliny's time did see other colours, and how hard put they may have been to share their observations with those who thought them delusional.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 08:44:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Languages appear to evolve colour naming. In protolanguages the first words that appear are for dark/light, then usually red, then green/blue and so on.

The question is: is a colour seen if it doesn't have a name? Colours are identified as 'patterns' in the mind by the same process of finding signal in noise by which everything else is made mentally discrete. Yes, of course the photons are striking the retina at different frequencies, but the mind still has to find frequency difference 'of importance'.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 02:00:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The visual cortex doesn't respond to frequency. The auditory one does.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 02:39:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Different parts of the retina respond to the frequency of photons hitting them at 400 - 800 nm - electromagnetic radiation.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 03:53:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's what the pigments do.

But since there are wavelengths of light at which all pigments will react, albeit at different relative intensities, the way the visual system responds to frequency is quite convoluted and indirect.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 03:56:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But the receptors respond in wide bands of frequency, and colour vision doesn't analyse frequency but tricolor readings, which is thus already discrete. (IOW Migeru was right but he was only nitpicking: what you say is valid for hearing.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 03:57:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sven Triloqvist:
The question is: is a colour seen if it doesn't have a name?

The answer is Yes, as Berkeley cognitive psychologist Eleanor Rosch in a series of studies on so-called "natural" categories in 1973-75.

However, more recent studies are finding nevertheless that language affects our categorization of perceptual continua and substantial evidence of cognitive color differences between different language communities, particularly on where the boundaries of these natural categories for colors are set, e.g.

Color categories: Evidence for the cultural relativity hypothesis (2004.10.15) - Debi Roberson, Jules Davidoff, Ian R.L. Davies and Laura R. Shapiro

Roberson, Davies, & Davidoff (2000) reported a series of experiments that set out to replicate and extend the work of Rosch Heider in the early 1970s (Heider and Olivier, 1972 and Rosch Heider, 1972). Rosch Heider's experiments had been particularly influential in promoting the view that language and cognitive experience are largely independent (in some cases, orthogonal). Investigating another traditional culture, Roberson et al. found substantial differences in perceptual judgments and memory performance between a language with eleven basic color terms and one with only five (Berinmo). These differences, unlike the data of Rosch Heider from Dani speakers, suggested that language not only facilitates memory performance, but also affects the perceived similarity of perceptual stimuli; a result also found in other cross-cultural investigations of color (Kay and Kempton, 1984 and Stefflre et al., 1966).

<...>

Perceptual continua such as color may thus be a special case for categorization with the consequence that the influence of culture (and language as the instrument of culture) may be strongest just for those `fuzzy' sets for which there are not obvious discontinuities in nature. Indeed, our recent developmental studies show that Himba children behave like English children in making color similarity judgments when both know no color names (Roberson et al., in press). Initially, both judge color similarity on perceptual grounds. Thereafter, the origins of the color categories in different societies might be constrained by different cultural or environmental needs (Nisbett et al., 2001, Sera et al., 2002, Wierzbicka, 1990 and Wierzbicka, 1992), but this question is beyond the scope of the present study. Whatever the origin of the observed differences between the color terminologies of different societies, linguistic categorization, in adults, appears isomorphic with cognitive representation. Perceptual space appears to be distorted at the boundaries of color categories, so that, even when two languages have the same number of terms and those terms cluster around similar points in perceptual space, speakers of those languages show significant differences in their cognitive organization of color space. Thus, when considering whether two sets of categories are effectively equivalent, the position of the category boundaries should be considered of, at least, equal importance with the category centers.

[emphasis mine]



Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.
by marco on Fri Dec 28th, 2007 at 06:04:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"However, more recent studies are finding nevertheless that language affects our categorization of perceptual continua"

but can one extrapolate to suggest that a lack of language (or in this case, the lack of a name or any cultural value in naming) leads to non-categorization? ;-)

To bring out the chestnut again: my father, a non-artistic accountant, could only see the difference between 3 or 4 greens on a Dulux colour paint chart (though he could identify darker and lighter greens). My 7 years art training meant that I could differentiate over a whole range of greens of similar tone. I'm guessing - but maybe by a factor of 10. My dad just couldn't see them.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Dec 28th, 2007 at 07:17:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But non-categorization doesn't imply non-perception. If you have a language with the same word for green and yellow it doesn't mean a speaker of the language won't be able to tell a lemon from a lime.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Dec 28th, 2007 at 11:42:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course it doesn't. I am just questioning. BTW Lemons and limes can be distinguished in black and white, and by smell and feel. I presume though that naming emerges when it is culturally important in some way - such as our previous discussions about the many words for snow and ice in eg Inuit, compared to the 3 or 4 (snow, slush, sleet) in less wintery Albion.

I shall have to look up some experiments in this field.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Dec 28th, 2007 at 11:55:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's pretty much a false factoid...

Language Log: Sasha Aikhenvald on Inuit snow words: a clarification

The story about Inuit (or Inuktitut, or Yup'ik, or more generally, Eskimo) words for snow is completely wrong. People say that speakers of these languages have 23, or 42, or 50, or 100 words for snow --- the numbers often seem to have been picked at random. The spread of the myth was tracked in a paper by Laura Martin (American Anthropologist 88 (1986), 418-423), and publicized more widely by a later humorous embroidering of the theme by G. K. Pullum (reprinted as chapter 19 of his 1991 book of essays The Great Eskimo Vocabulary Hoax). But the Eskimoan language group uses an extraordinary system of multiple, recursively addable derivational suffixes for word formation called postbases. The list of snow-referring roots to stick them on isn't that long: qani- for a snowflake, api- for snow considered as stuff lying on the ground and covering things up, a root meaning "slush", a root meaning "blizzard", a root meaning "drift", and a few others -- very roughly the same number of roots as in English. Nonetheless, the number of distinct words you can derive from them is not 50, or 150, or 1500, or a million, but simply unbounded. Only stamina sets a limit.

Language and mental categories are more than vocabulary. My wife can use much more words for colors than I do, yet I don't think she actually sees more colors than me - her additional vocabulary (taken from "real world items" in the fashion of rose and orange) makes sense to me.

I'd bet there would be more success looking for vocabulary determining conceptualisation in the more abstract categories of language - Do you have a conceptual category for your maternal cousins as opposed to your paternal ones ? Many people do...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Fri Dec 28th, 2007 at 01:49:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not so false: in Finnish there are quite a few discrete names. Let's see what Norway or Sweden say....

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Dec 28th, 2007 at 02:34:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In French too, for that matter... And I bet that Rockies' English has quite a few terms, too.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Fri Dec 28th, 2007 at 05:01:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There appear to be two types of colour naming. Adding suffixes for snow/ice types or using terms such as blue-grey, warm yellow etc in defining colour are still representative of a cultural need for distinctions. The other method is to refer, as you point out, to the names of objects that carry these distinctions - lime, avocado, sand etc.

I can't think of any colour neologisms on English. But someone will no doubt prove me wrong. Colour names have changed over the millennia, but that is the natural morphing/erosion of language - another process.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Dec 29th, 2007 at 06:23:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru:
What about experiences that are not shared and not repeatable?

There's a difference between repeatability, verifiability using instruments, and the existence of a model which makes verifiability possible.

Many phenomena and experiences - some mainstream, some not - are repeatable, but can't be verified instrumentally, and have no model to describe them. Hypnotism is one example. No one knows how hypnotism works, but theatre entertainers make a living persuading people they're chickens or that the theatre is burning down. This makes it repeatable - or at least observable - without instruments. So it's accepted, more or less, even when there's no model.

Less observable is acupuncture. Acupuncture has a model - meridians and chi - but it's not a scientific or mainstream one. There is some evidence that it has a range of effects, but conclusive research is hard to find.

And that's one part of the problem. There are many reasons why conclusive research is hard to find, but one of them is that it is assumed that acupuncture does nothing, therefore there's no point in studying it. Studies are expensive and difficult to fund, and there's strong systemic pressure for scientists to study certain subjects and ignore others. So any evidence that might exist becomes less visible, making it easy for conservative rationalists to say 'There's no evidence.'

It's also part of the conservative rationalist toolkit to say 'Science has no model for this, therefore it can't exist'. This is a much more annoying argument - it's sloppy, intellectually dishonest, and not particularly rational.

What about psychic phenomena? Ian Stevenson spent his life looking at evidence that suggested reincarnation.

The suggestion of this is enough to make conservative rationalists blow a gasket. But look more closely at these criticisms and you'll see none of them deal with the evidence in detail. They're superficial comments about the places where Stevenson's views could be seen to conflict with the scientific mainstream. And yes - explicitly - we also have a criticism that these experiences can't exist because there's no model for them.

Which is interesting enough, but the evidence is what it is, and includes 30,000 studies looked at in some detail.

Now, it seems the honest thing to do here is to look more closely at the studies and check them for statistical errors, errors in interpretation, and possible repeatability.

Arguing that something is impossible 'because I don't understand how it can't be' doesn't cut much ice when there's at least enough of a hint to suggest that something - even if it's not exactly the claimed thing - is happening.

The point here is that subjective phenomena are usually perfectly repeatable, but they need an open mind and consistent attention, and they rarely get this. I know at least one researcher who believes that the accumulated evidence for certain paranormal events is at least as statistically significant as that for certain drug trials - and that's on the basis of thirty years of work at the fringes of academia in literally just two or three tiny labs, with next to no mainstream funding.  

So why isn't there more interest? Typically there are presuppositions and prejudices on both pro- and anti- sides which make honest attention unlikely - the antis preferring to dismiss some subjects without looking at the evidence, and the pros tending to embroider them into a belief system which is often just as rigid in its own alternative way.

The real battleground isn't the evidence itself, such as it is, but the implied moral structures and narratives that people build on opposing sides of it.

So personally, since the only thing you can say about closed narratives is that they're usually wrong, I'm happy with a rather fuzzy agnosticism, and willing to admit that I have no idea if the universe is rational, helpful, hostile, indifferent, chaotic, ordered, or any other adjective.

So far I've only seen a very small slice of it, I have no idea how my own mind works, much idea about what's inside it, and I'm still learning what it can and can't do - which is why I think it seems premature to be too evangelical about certainty in any direction.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 03:12:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A tiny minority appear to have something interesting to say.

the police forces of the world (that use them) agree with you.

great summation tbg.

i hope you had a nice few days away, you were missed!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 08:40:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They also use lie detectors. Which only function because, well, most people don't know it's bullshit.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 10:50:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Turning back to Pirsig:

The principal classification of SQ is a division into four levels. These levels are discrete and do not overlap. Moreover, all that we presently know can be classified and described according to these four levels, except for DQ itself, which, to repeat, remains outside of all realms of classification.

The four levels are: inorganic, organic, social and intellectual.

This is a detail, but may be important detail. Pirsig says these are levels that are discrete and don't overlap.

However, my experience from studying science is that discreteness of categories usually gets blurred away upon closer inspection.

And Pirsig's categories don't look non-overlapping to me at all, though I can't be certain of the precise sense he uses them in.

Is a cut hair inorganic? If yes, from when? What about decomposing bodies? Fossilising bones? What about viruses in inactive state?

The same for social. From when does the behaviour become social? Bacteria balls? The mostly instinctive ants? Gathering at a single place for copulation? Grazing in flocks? Hunting in packs? Dolphin schools and bonobo groups? Or only what humans do between themselves?

In more complex ways: is an en-vogue leather cap inorganic, organic, social, all of that at the same time, or all of that separately but superimposed?

Isn't internet communication we engage in not social and inorganic at the same time? What about the communication between autonomous computers?

Finally, where it's not just blurred borders but large-scale overlap for me is the social and the intellectual. I honestly don't understand how the two could be viewed as distinct, but this is also why I wrote at the start that I don't know what is the precise sense he uses the words in.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 01:55:41 PM EST


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