Cartesian-ism

I’ll see it when I believe it : I think therefore I am.

I’ll believe when I see it : I’m seen therefore I am.

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“I’ll believe it when I see it,” say the lesser apes.

“You’ll see it when you believe it,” you said.

Cogito, ergo sum.

What René Descartes is remembered as saying.

Je pense, donc je suis.

How Descartes first wrote it.

I think therefore I am.

(tautological?)

“Whatever I have up until now accepted as most true I have acquired either from the senses or through the senses.” (7:18 Principles)

But Descartes feared a deceptive God or an evil eternal deceiver.

Could he trust the apprehensions of his physical senses?

He could not disprove that his sensations were not the result of deception; so he dove into doubt. How is sensation different from perception?

“We have a true or genuine perception of something if, when we consider it, we cannot doubt it…In the face of genuine clear and distinct perception, our affirmation of it is so firm that it cannot be shaken, even by a concerted effort to call those observed things into doubt. (7:145 Meditations)

Descartes tried to free us from “I’ll believe it when I see it.” He tried to disavow the authority and immediacy of knowing the world through sense and sensations. He did not believe that his five senses could apprehend truth in a way that overcame his doubt.

He found doubt and did not believe.

His belief was not dependent on sensual stimulation.

I’ll see it when I believe it.

I think therefore I am.

Perceptions that I cannot find a scrap of a reason to doubt, may be genuine.

So, we doubt the hell out of everything; and, if we exhaust every doubt of which we may conceive, we firm up our grasp of reality. Through dint of doubt, all doubt is removed. This is intellect.

“I think.” He couldn’t find a doubt about it, so he allowed his capacity for thought and doubt to validate his existence- that he “is.”

His sensations could be virtual reality, so he doubted what he saw.

When he had no doubt that he “thought”, he then believed he truly “was.”

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Empiricism resists and refuses the subjective realm, and is founded on a principle of obtaining information via senses and standardized measurements.

Science, empiricism, and Western culture say, “I’ll believe it when I see it.”

I got a (dumb) cell phone in 2002.

My family got dial up internet in our home around 1998.

Before the mid-1990’s, we could not be in two places at once (physical, say, a restaurant, and cyberspace).

The advent of Facebook, Instagram, selfies, social media and internet culture creates a condition for, “I’m seen therefore I am.” I validate myself and reality by reproducing images of myself digitally which I post to get views online. I act the role of myself in a construction that I calculate. I show what I want when I want to in the hopes others will come to know me as I have shown myself to be.

My sister’s generation operates on “I’m seen therefore I am.”

Little digitally savvy savages.

Groups eating together and everyone has a screen. Silicon is always in hand. Take it away and they sweat.

The viewpoint of this age group: I am capable of being observed by others, this validates that I “am.”

The desire to be seen, get friended, followed, liked, hits is the want of confirming and calculable feedback that digital you has been observed and accepted by others. The cyber persona may be chosen moment to moment, so to speak. Day to day personas are less so chosen.

They’ll believe it when they see it.

Yeah, we’ll cure cancer,

And pigs can fly,

God exists,

Well, that is, I’ll believe it when I see it’s already been done.

The more individuals who say likewise, then the less individuals we have working to solve these problems. Presumably, the people waiting to see it will not be trying to manifest it. Why would they?

To them it is impossible until somebody else says, “I’m going to believe it is a possibility to cure cancer, and then I will find out if I can realize that possibility, perceive it.”

There is a lovely lack of cynicism in “I’ll see when I believe it.” There is a proper dash of humility regarding our own self-awareness.

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“I’ll believe when I see.”

This, however, indicates an inherent incredulity and it absolves the self of accountability.

That which cannot be seen or sensed stands on unbelievable ground.

“I’m seen therefore I am.” I see myself and receive systematic, calculable feedback that others have seen me. This validates that I am. I can show it you, point at it.

Alternatively, “I think so I am” puts the onus of doubt back on any given individual. She talks of what can or cannot be seen/perceived at this time. She does not have to state a belief position. This frees the mind in the sense that here belief follows one’s own perceptions, and, perceptions may be addressed through the process of doubt. I do not choose my beliefs as much as I become aware of them. I do not choose to believe based on what I have or have not perceived.

My beliefs are revealed to me by the things I perceive and then I am unable to doubt them. What I see allows me to come to know my beliefs and tweak them. My belief in the possibility of things does not necessitate their appearance.

I’ll see less things on earth than things I will see in this lifetime. Shall I really constrain myself to such a small set of experiential data?

I’ll see it when I believe it : I think therefore I am.

I’ll believe when I see it : I’m seen therefore I am.

This is Numberwang?

This is Numberwang?

(Kindly let me know if my math does not tally below. I tried to check and recheck it, but…)

<◇>

Q: When was 120 minutes ago from now?

A: It was two hours ago.

<◇>

When was one hundred and sixty four billion (164,000,000,000) minutes ago?

Hum, huh?

~

My illiteracy with numbers occurs at a certain threshold.

Numerical literacy*? Not my strong suit. So, I play with numbers, with what I can imagine.

For example, I can imagine a triangle, a square, a pentagram, a hexagon, a septagon, an octagon. But, I cannot imagine, or see in my mind’s eye what a 25 sided polygon would look like. I would have to try to draw it.

There is a 10,000 sided polygon, called a myriagon, according to geometry.

I will take their word for it because I cannot imagine being able to imagine what that would actually like.

~

I am not monied. The difference between one million dollars and one billion dollars? Well, sure, ‘orders of magnitude’, but I only understand that in the abstracted sense. The practical difference between such huge numbers is not immediately obvious to me. But, the news, scientific research, and governments, regularly inundate us with such large numbers.

~

Do a thought experiment with me? I wanna know:

Q1. How far could the millions of dollars, comprising a billion dollars, go?

Q2. If I had one hundred and sixty four billion dollars (as I hear someone in America truly does) and I gave away one million dollars per day, how many days before I am broke? Let’s pretend I keep my $164,000,000,000.00 in cash in a safe. That means my money is not making more money via interest, returns, dividends.

If I have one billion dollars in cash, let’s imagine it’s kept in one million dollar bills. I would have one thousand of these million dollar bills.

I could give one of the $1,000,000 bills everyday for 1,000 days before running out of money.

If there are 365 days a year, 1,000 days is about 2.75 years.

The difference between a million and a billion, practically speaking?

A1. You can give away $1,000,000.00 everyday for almost three years before exhausting $1,000,000,000.00

So, how much more than 1 billion dollars is 164 billion dollars, practically speaking?

Well, if it takes 1,000 days, of giving away 1 million dollars each day, to get rid of a billion dollars;

It would take 164 times longer to give away $164,000,000,000.00 than it would take to give away $1,000,000,000.00

1,000 x 164 = 164,000 days

164,000 days = 449 years and a few months.

If I had $164,000,000,000 ($164 billion), I could give away $1,000,000 ($1 million) everyday for 449 years.?

Fuck.

Now that I see it this way it only raises more, honest questions from an ignorant me.

How much money do people need?

And why? To what end and what do they intend?

______________

*My own numerical illiteracy was introduced to me by a slim, charming book called Innumeracy by John Allen Paulos which I found tucked away in the statistician’s, my father, bookcase.

The idea is wittily conveyed in the sixth chapter of the second section of Douglas R. Hofstader’s book Meta Magical Themas: Questing for the Essence of Mind and Pattern.

The chapter is called Number Numbness.

Both are written for non-math-savvy folks and both pieces manage to entertain with humor.

Silence. Again.

Why had she said so much?

Why did she not listen?

Again? Selfish?

She knew it kinda hurt.

So, she wo/andered as she wa/ondered.

Could 24 hours of her silence help her hear?

Speak, please.

If you wilt.

She is patient.

My Time Serving, Waiting, & Pouring

I worked as a part-time waitress, from age 18 until age 18.  I performed terribly.  Back then, in Alabama, servers made $2.13 + tips.

One week my manager approached me, with pen and red binder.

“Sign here, to confirm for our tax records that you did, in fact, make at least the minimum wage. You did not declare enough of your cash tips.”

“Um, but I did not make at least minimum wage, I made less.”

“Yep, you are not good at this.”

He was correct.


Sometime later, after losing the urge to continue to pursue Academia, I worked full-time for a locally-owned, Tavern-style restaurant as a server and cocktail waitress.  Not fine dining, but cloth napkins, gas burning lanterns. Upscale. The owners also owned a popular bar in the swanky part of Southside, Birmingham (The Five Points area, to be specific) where I poured occasionally.  Note: Servers still only make $2.13 an hour + tips in Alabama (and many other American states).  They really do work for themselves and you.

I loved my work.  I took the time to learn the restaurant/service craft: Learning the menu, how to talk to people and make suggestions.  The art of booze and talking booze.  Maintaining equilibrium for the dinner rush / bar push for about three intense, crazy, physical hours, only to then slowly break down the establishment into a clean, organized place. The next morning, you would build it up, try to keep equillibrium, tear it down.

Taking your work home usually meant alcohol, delicious food, or another server.  There was no huge deadline for the FOH staff, just closing time and the clean up.


All humans should really spend at least three months of their life as a server/waiter.  Everyone. If you get hissy or huffy about the service you receive when dining out, consider the following.


Today, I pulled an old journal and found the remarks below. Enjoy

EDR = extended dining room

AOA = auditory order acknowledged

Alabama Medium = Medium Well

FOH = front of house (what and who you see as the diner)

86 = something the restaurant has on menu but does not have currently.

68 = when something that was 86’ed becomes available to diners again.

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Conversations Had On a Daily Basis

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Stuff Said to Me: That Pissed Me Off Enough To Scrawl

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Some Stuff I Thought Worth Telling the Good People

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A Knecht a’kneeled Before Flame

He saw how Joseph was annealed by the fire…[and] felt the ordeal more than Joseph. P241

Sounded overwrought to me. Then I bothered (sic. concerned) myself with actually looking up

/annealed/

I was being educated on several levels. I first read the sentence such that I thought I knew more than I did. I imagined /annealed/ to be some form of a bow or a kneeling position, a kiss the ring, smell the glove. A posture taken when the situation demands you take yourself seriously. If you can imagine such a thing! Or that you undertake to do something trivial quite meticulously. For the sake of the process itself. By your choice. You take part with and in. Or, when ritual, tradition, culture, bestows us a transcendental catharsis by allowing us to take very specific actions with others undertaking them alongside, as well. A hymn sung by a choir. Suddenly, lighting a candle is holy. Yet, lighters and matches abound. Fire is easy to come by but it was not always so.

Blind spot.

Shocking how much meaning we can contain. There are so many pearls that some readers start arguing over the appraising of an irregular pearl. It is all about finding, examining, analyzing, and drawing conclusions about the relative value. Waiting to find that big money shot pearl. A yup.

“awe, more valuable. made of pearl but unique, collectors edition. Gesture, essence. and articulation.”

“Worthless. It’s shape isn’t paradigmatic of the standard pearl. Misinformed. Monstrous, devalues the other pearls to even be in the same bowl with them.”

Who let the pigs out? Who? Hoo hoo?

Too much monkey business for me. We as a species have moved on. Or did I miss the train and am now out of joint?


The Glass Bead Game: Magister Ludi. 1990. First Owl Books Edition. $18.00 USD/$24.95 Canada. That seems really inexpensive as I think back on it now. At five hundred and fifty eight total pages, it is a trek but no death march. As with any trek, though there will be days. But, then there will really be days! Am I right, a hyuck, hyuck.

The length is not the deterrent. The printing of the book intimidates. At least my copy. That is why I bought it. It looked too heavy for a book that size. A thing that is larger than physics allows but your eyes empirically cannot deny. Your brain’s rational processors will fill in the reasons that ‘you can’t trust your eyes.’

A phone booth and doctor.

A House of Leaves.

A ship ever at sail on a foreign sea, the life of the house mouse lost.

S/he loses their position in the home.

You lose something you did not know could go missing. The notion of home? An ending spoiled. Don’t let the little ones hear. Something you cannot unlearn but surely there is room for doubt and maneuver. Doubt suffers where there is little room

Something you took for granted. Because there is so much to see and so many things vying for the pleasure of your (everone’s) attention at all times. We cannot process the amount of information we physically can conceive us. We get by and brains fill in the blanks. The way you discover your new car’s blind spot.

《《 》》

Crash. Ah, hell.

《《 》》

But what was to be done? Can you judge yourself for not knowing that your vehicle is afflicted with a blind spot? Sure, but where that at? If you want me I’ll be in the bar. Speculating on some dreamy nonsense. The thing you did not see in your rearview & side mirrors (electric-adjustable, I’d wager) as you merged lanes, was, by dint of optical physics, unseeable. You cannot adjust for and account for such a variable.


The publishers did not eff around. There is a deliberate concern for both style and balance in the margin setting and lettering layout. There is room to scrawl. If you are into that sort of thing. I am! The luxury of the thick white broadband’s conjunction into right angles about the four verticies gains further dimensionality by its opposing page.

The reflecting pool in the palm. Narcissus finally went mobile. Each page appears with its predecessor and/or successor in symmetry. Consider the leaf of the sheet itself. Two page numbers and each bearing letter matricies yet on but one page. One page in the book holds two pages. Think about that. There ain’t ya’ll entertained? If that is not magic, then ya’ll doin’ it wrong. I see gods contained and present amongst the multiform streams. IHS Bacchus first. Then as Janus. Holding us in the present, pressed fast between the past and the future tense. So the text on each side of the page gives rise to leaf between your fingers as you turn the page.

Let us say, maybe, five hundred and forty pages are geometrically identical in dimension, same squares, same squares. Matrix array with its vectors contained in those critical margins. Two koi ponds reflected about the same axis of symmetry. Simpatico. The more you read, the more the very confined area with unnecessarily tiny pt. font, single spaced. Tight, trim, orderly. And you are drawn in and held fixed in that little space. Rapt. Enraptured.

And then the ratio expands. The page does not seem so small.


The biggest hinderance to the book’s popularity in America was a poor original cipher of the German language. But translating the lyrical prose of Hesse is probably like trying to translate a Japanese character into ‘the English word for it.’ You can pull it off but the English Equivalence is questionable. Americans are poorly positioned to be strong readers of such heavy, often erudite, ultimately, ironic tomes. We do not get the geographical exposure to other cultures.

Hell, we didn’t get the joke.

It fell for it too! The joke of being so dreadfully stoic that the reader would not dare think you were givin’ a ribbin.’ This is a book; An effing long one; I found all these pearls. I’m rich. Made-man. This is a book of power not jokes for blokes.

Sigh. Now, your cracking me up.

The good news is, if you do ever get the joke, it makes you smile and laugh out loud. Then shake your head. Hold on.

Although, states are arguably the same as little countries.

A discussion of the rather interesting history of this book finding expression in the English language

Watch “Ike & Tina Turner – Proud Mary | 1971” on YouTube

Do not own rights, just paying mad homage.

Many have done Proud Mary but few compare to this reinterpretation.

Creole delta blues babe!

Effing idiocy of self

Who is not guilty.

As soon as I accuse I am guilty.

Your dispassionate acknowledgement aches as much as that I aver myself to you in dispassion, presumeably.

Share and share alike says the one with no vested interest in sharing.

What are we to make of this?, says the hardworking young lady who only recently became vested.

Benevolence could unsuspectingly become malificence here.

Here in our position. Do we care?

But what would they know of us, anywazy.

They would know what we allowed and told.

Because as beautiful nobodies, we dodge gazes but come together in verbal symetry.

Equilaterally pentacling.

Miraculous


Aside: A side note about 2 Common English Words

“Terrific”, like “awful”, used to mean something quite diferent…

Chapter IX | Horror Fiction

The case for horror literature

Stephen King makes his case for the

…the horror story as both literature and entertainment, a living part of twentieth-century literature…They are books and stories which seem to me to fulfill the primary duty of literature— to tell us the truth about ourselves by telling us lies about people who never existed.”

Danse Macabre, Stephen King

Parcel


parse v. 1 resolve (a sentence) into its component parts and describe their syntactic roles
Computing analyse (text) into logical syntactic components
-Origin C16: perh. from ME pars ‘parts of speech’, from Fr. pars ‘parts’
syntax n.the combination  of words and phrases to create well formed sentences > a set of rules for or an analysis of this the structure of statements in a computer language
-Origin C16: from Fr. syntaxe, or via late L. from Gk suntazis, from sun-‘together’ + tassein  ‘arrange’
Concise OED 11th th

 Sunday School Religiousness in the American Deep South. 
 I speak from my experience and not hard numbers and facts.  
So what I say will be true of my experience. And, what I extrapolate from my experiences will be messy and imprecise.

This not a scholarly approach. I’d like to share my thoughts as a cultural player. 

Performances of scholarly work in public forums must come clean to the audience at every possible misstep.

 

Look up avalanche?

New Doc 2017-04-17 (1)_3-01The World’s Worst Disasters. Season 1; Episode 4-Alpine Avalanches. Lazy Saturday of indulging in ‘this type of show”, when this episode’s discussion included an explication of the types of avalanches, gave me the “hey, I never noticed that” experience and also triggered a memory. I’m a native, English speaker who grew up exclusively in the ‘Deep South’ region of the US; and, I did not have experiential knowledge of ‘snow’ whatsoever. (ref. ” ‘Snowmageddon’ in Birmingham, AL 2014″ vis a viz internet search engine results).

Two decades ago, in 7th grade, I took a class entitled “French I”, and that was also my 1st formal exposure to foreign language. One of the first words the class learned was “après–ski.” My experience-to date at the time-of 13ish years of reality could not conceive of a reality where the need to express such a thing would exist was an outrageous concept. How could it be a noun? Do you go to an après–ski? If it was a revelation when linguists discovered how many words Aleutians possessed to denote “white”; it was a revelation to a 13 year old girl in Tuscaloosa, AL that whatever it was these people did after skiing would require a formal symbol for representation.

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Catch a Cold/Be Depressed: The Cartesian Bias in our Illness Model-separating mental health from physical health

Psychologists deal with the slippery subject of mental states. Now, your general practitioner, who you see for your annual physical check up, can flirt with the treatment of mental states. She or he may prescribe you something for low-level anxiety or sleep but they generally only provide medication or a referral. 

That is the standard physician approach: there is a tangible thing presented as the probable solution for any given health concen–medication to produce chemical changes within the body;  an incision to physically pluck the ailment from the body;  a replacement for a broken part, a lung transplant, for instance.  A general practicier, however, cannot help with that root canal you’ve been ignoring. 

Fair enough, right?

Human bodies are complicated meat sacks with numerous systems, pieces of anatomy, sensory receptor devices like eyes or tongues,  and organs that keep it all going. So we see specialization (dentistry, gynocology, surgery, etc) and even specialized specialization (neurosurgeon, pediatrist, optometrist, etc).

Yet. those specialities related to mental wellness appear idiosyncratic in regards to both the doctor-patient relationship and the standards & management of patient care. Namely, the coordination of medication with therapeutic treatment sessions. 
Historically, health praticicioners and society referred to mentally unwell folks as mental defectives, demonically possessed, undesirable, prophets, lazy, feeble-minded, and genetically undesirable

It is elusive to us in a way ‘physical’ illness is not

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I can see a hairline fracture with x-ray technology and I can see lab results produced by the scientific testing of my bodily fluids, and the report advises the lab discerned a virus had invaded my system,accounting for my aches and pains.I cannot see Post Traumatic Syndrome; I can take someone’s blood pressure, I cannot quantitatively measure someone’s level of depression.

Perhaps this is why we feel the need to distinguish between ‘physical’ malady and ‘mental’ malady in the first place, as opposed to just calling all illnesses ‘illness.’  

 The connections wired throughout the physical brain, create a self and this self experiences the surrounding reality to the extent that the physical body remains in its proper working condition (good health).

The symptoms of mental maladies manifest via our behaviors in the way that  anatomical and physiological maladies present in the body’s various organ systems.

Perhaps we cannot shake the idea that physical sickness is largely outside of a person’s control.  If my appendix ruptures I cannot will it back together again, nor would anyone in their right mind expect me to be able to do so.

However, what if I won’t go to work because I believe an evil elf lives inside my mailbox and will kill me if I walk by it? Do you expect me to will myself to ‘get over it?’  If my sense of reality has ruptured somewhere within my perceiving mind am I anymore capable of willing it back together than I was capable of willing my appendix back together?

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It is almost as though some area of my mind I am generally unaware of on a day to day basis is taking control over ‘me’ or whatever you call that perceiver who examines the thoughts of the mind and chooses which to act on, which to ignore, which to believe, etc.  Think of autoimmune diseases whereby an afflicted individual’s immune system begins to attack good, healthy cells.  Here an evolved physiological system goes haywire and attacks that which gives it being and existence in the first place.  

    Similarly, the mind can go haywire, and attack the mental state of the self.  Having an appendectomy is an acceptable reason to take leave from work and family and to rest and heal.  Taking these same allowances while working past the evil mailbox troll (with all it’s panic attack inducing, odd behavior causing, work/family missing consequences) until I no longer suffer from its alleged influence is a much harder sell to make to the rest of society at large.  The idea of allowing people to openly profess and work through their own mental delusions does not always sit well with the rest of our cultural compadres.  

    This mental, existential type of malady requires a certain amount of comfort with the idea that we are not always in control of our minds that society, by virtue of it being society, cannot accept.  Society forces us to constantly be in control of our minds. We pick up and send out cues to signal and follow other cues and behaviors such that our many independent parts become something larger than the sum of ourselves.  Collectively we are one of Douglas Hofstadter’s ‘epiphenomena.’  

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    Society’s existence requires the creation of, learning of, and obeying of accepted rules.  These rules inform our mind in various situations, and we remember past situations which required us to follow these same rules and we use those memories to guide us to appropriately follow the rules this time, too.  Thus society sets up a framework through which we can perceive others in relation to ourselves.  More accurately, it is a system that allows us to see ourselves by juxtaposing your self against other selves, seeing your own idiosyncratic mind reveal itself in contrast to the minds of others , and we glimpse within those other minds that we can never open up and look inside.  Thus society gives us a framework with which to perceive ourselves as individuals creating something bigger than our individual selves.  

    

    The idea that the mind could, at anytime,  take that socially learned framework and distort it, terrifies and undermines society’s teleological purpose, which is to bring order to chaos.  So society has a vested interest in defining what is real and what is not; what is expected and what is unacceptable; what a normal brain is and what a disordered brain is.  But perhaps there is no such thing as a normal brain.  We must be careful not to confuse the demands of society on an individual’s mind with the demands of natural selection or misfortune on an individual’s brain.  

Mediating Anthropology’s Feuding Factions

The radical cultural relativism popular in contemporary anthropological thought presupposes that cultures are incommensurable* with one another.  On one level, this is true, on a higher level, it is a truism–they are still both ‘cultures.’  Cultures, as considered here, is a fundamental psychological mechanism that is included in the homo sapiens adaptive package.  

This is not a reductionist call to arms.  By reference to biology and physics, we anchor the human experiences to the same weight–we do so with awareness of the western biomedical paradigm which we in the western sciences use to see–we do not do so to reduce the human experiences to the same end or to the sum of their parts, as much as out of respect to those who would be upset were not to acknowledge our own self-awareness (I find this practice tedious and unnecessary, but I am pliable).

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The elegance of anthropology is not to be found in the creation of axiomatic laws of culture nor can it be found with long-winded diatribes that can appear to be little more than an appeal to authority–not a legitimate data source.  

Its elegance lies in its ability to elucidate the unseen and unseeable veil of the unknown and the unknowable.  It is the notion of experiencing that meta-pattern which is the epi-phenomenon of our actions and thoughts and their innumerable interactions and influences.  “Except in pure mathematics, nothing is known for certain (although much is certainly false).”(Sagan)

To tack the discussion back towards something more tangible, there exists a black and white distinction within the hard sciences in regards to what is scientific and what, conversely, is not scientific: does it meet the standards of the scientific method (is it repeatable, is it measurable?)  Yes or no?

“Science invites us to let the facts in, even when they don’t conform to our preconceptions.”(Sagan, a candle in the dark).


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Whereas a biologist can confidently announce, ‘yes, this is so’ (assuming proper lab conditions and standards); a social ‘scientist’ cannot.  A social scientist has reservations and restrictions: about the repeatability of the experiment and the repeatability of the experiment’s environment, about phantom variables that may not have been controlled for, about the success of maintaining objectivity during methodology.

The biologist’s evidence is ‘scientific’ by definition and thus the biologist’s conclusions are sure-footed, so to speak (even if they are not directly on the bull’s eye).  The social scientist’s evidence is ‘take my word for it’ or ‘you had to be there’ (i.e. others have no way to verify the data or methodology and thus the social scientist’s conclusions are grasping at straws (even if the analogies appear to be commonsense).  

(1)  Whether the social scientist’s conclusions are correct in the ultimate sense, is not the the concern here.  The concern is the social scientist’s conclusions are intuitions but there is not a whole lot in the way of objective evidence for the social scientist to point at and say ‘see for yourself.’

(2)  The heart of what this blog tries to get at directly reduces to the phenomenon of a priori reasoning.

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Many physicists, especially of the theoretical persuasion, use a priori reasoning and only afterward design and perform an experiment.  But when social scientists, particularly anthropologists, use a priori reasoning they construct a paradigm or viewpoint, a perspective, from which they will watch the experiment as it unfolds.  What they see and what they do not see will be determined by this a priori explanatory paradigmatic scaffolding.  When someone later on questions this constructed meaning-making paradigm, you can point to the experiment; but, what has happened is a self-fulfilling prophecy.  

You decide what “culture” means scientifically, measurably, precisely, and consistently.  To prove this definition you cite the experiment you performed using your personal or externally referenced paradigm of what culture is.  But, your experimental evidence does not confirm or support your paradigm necessarily, it reflects the assumptions you made before you even began experimenting.  You did not really learn anything, you saw what you set out to see.  

I owe some references here and will cite sources shortly.

Religion & Science- Can’t Parse This? 

The word ‘paragon’ entered the cultural consciousness in the 16th Century.

par·a·gon

ˈperəˌɡän/

noun

noun: paragon; plural noun: paragons

  1. a person or thing regarded as a perfect example of a particular quality.

    “it would have taken a paragon of virtue not to feel viciously jealous”

Origin:

mid 16th century: from obsolete French, from Italian paragone ‘touchstone used to discriminate good (gold) from bad,’ from medieval Greek parakonē ‘whetstone.’Original Source

Three places show widely dispersed, common usage of words expressing the bones of ‘paragon’.

http://www.geographicguide.com/europe-maps/mediterranean.htm

1

Anyone who claims they don’t know the feeling of magic and terror that accompanies adolescence has surely forgotten.

My father completed his dissertation while I was a tyke; and, he, my Mom, and I lived in student apartments.  I have only happy memories of this time.

I also have memories of seeing my father’s work: a bunch of weird symbols strung together forming what appears to be some alien form of writing.  It was mathematical formulae, mathematical statements, mathematical symbols, constants, variables, imaginary, irrational.  It was like musical notation is to writing. It was magic.  I never saw most other adults using this language in my 3 year old, day to day goings on, so it was special magic.



The benefit of being in the same city as something like the University of Alabama is that nice, local intellectual atmosphere, lots of thinkers & questioners living within a very near physical proximity of one another and the local community    

Looking back, however, the intellectual milieu associated with the university’s presence was more tolerated than embraced by the local community and only under the implicit understanding that the university had better also produce some fine athletic feats for large groups of people to enjoy watching.

 Science is dangerous to religiousness in the South.

Scientific knowledge benefits mankind. It provides him a place in the world that is demarcating by very specific standards of measurement. It enables liberty of thought and provides the freedom to be wrong and not be ashamed. It is like music.  Can we say that music and evolution are incompatible?   Sure, but do we pat ourselves on the back when we say “apples are not oranges?”

Can we assert that science conceivably evokes that same sensation as that spiritual impulse that drives many to religion?

Eek, what an awkward thing to say.  Let me talk about that esoteric bit for a moment.  Religious texts frequently use moments of prophecying & revelation as themes associated with connecting to God/the divine: feeling the spirit; being touched; being moved; feeling grace, etc 

The feeling of magic and the experience of being in the presence of something aweinspiring, is one described and experienced by both those in Academia and those in religious groups.

Whatever you choose to term this feeling and whatever causal force with which you choose to associate it, the sensation experienced appears to be the same one. The physical feeling of connecting to God and that physical feeling experienced through elucidating hitherto unknown/unobserved phenomenona via scientific methods, might be the same sensation.  The actions of the mind have produced stimuli which the sense organs take in (like raw data into a computer) and convert into a physical and psychological experience via the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems.

Speaking personally, as child I believed in God in a way that an young person believes in Santa, superficially until deeper contemplation occurred.  I have never heard God speak to me and am, in fact, quite jealous of those who ‘talk to the Lord’ or ‘hear Him.’

To those, I would ask-

 “Why not me?  I prayed as a child and did everything asked of me.  What did science do to you guys anyhow?

To those who benefit from experiencing His existence, your patience with the rest of us and with a unaffiliated like me.

I don’t think you should give up on science.  I also do not think you should take things so personally. Maybe some of us losers only know how to seek this “god” through scientific means (particularly,  those of us who do not hear His voice).  Well, if God does exist, God does not have to be knowable through science nor does He have to reveal himself to me.  He could judge me for trying to see my world scientifically, but I would say that to not have tried to see my world through the paradigm of science would have been a blasphemous life for me.

  Beauty is subjective, eye of the beholder.  What I point to when I use the term ‘beautiful’ may not be the same as that to which you allude as beautiful.  But, that phenomenon to which we are referring-that thing of which the alluded to objects possess-is beauty; and, that thing, beauty, is fundamentally experienced via phenomenon basic to each and all of us, .

How do we talk and/or should we?  Does the animosity produce any observable or even foreseeable benefits?  Can we and/or should we be pragmatic?

These are honest questions.  I am not religious in the common sense.  I prefer to think I have moments of insight that feel larger or more infinite than I could previously have imagined, but they usual arrive when I work with science and logic, or read certain pieces of writing.

But then college, and physical anthropology and the sweet processes of inductive and deductive logic took hold of me. I have been moved emotionally upon reading x, actually creating a proof to show that there is no highest number, upon reading The Glass Bead Game…..
Can science and religion reconcile? And, if they can, to what gain

The most recognizable voices from the scientific community engaged in the evolution/creationist debate include Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, and Lawrence M. Krauss among others. These scientists take an offensive approach to those peoples and groups who would deny science’s authority as a way of defining the world.  They do this because of their belief that religious thought and reasoning are actively hurting our world. Now by ‘aggressive,’ I do not mean to imply these academics are threatening violence, nor are they harassing individuals unduly, but they are aggressive.

Activity:   Please complete this sentence…

The aggressive scientist……

The subject of the sentence above does not resound with my individual conception of ‘scientists.’ Now, passionate, consumed, obsessed-these scientists I can imagine. But aggressive scientists?   None spring to mind, with the exception of those scientists whom have been deemed Militant Atheists (by their religiously inclined counterparts) and this vilification tactic began within the last ten to 20 years.

This raises fundamental questions for me like-

  1. When, if ever, should scientists antagonize those individuals refusing to accept the axioms of empiricism as true and assumable?  Does society require science to play the role of playground bully from time to time (remember Thomas Henry Huxley AKA Darwin’s Bulldog?)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

cientific discovery can be hazardous to one’s health

Uncertainty & Doubt

 

stucco

I spend a lot of time worrying about whether or not I am right when me submits a proposition and ascribes it to be truthful; and, I then spend a lot of time worrying about whether it is important or even relevant to worry at all about a proposition being true or not.

I know that I do not know nearly as much as me thinks myself knows.

I do not know what is actually knowable for the me that I know as myself.

Thus, how can I ever know if what I think is right or wrong?

More importantly, if knowledge exists outside of my realm of perception, it does not matter if I am right or wrong, the closest or not.

This makes me spend a lot of time worrying about how anyone can act like they know anything.  This terrifies me and myself because I do not want to  live in a world whose existence cannot be perceptible.

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But why does that terrify me?  Shouldn’t it liberate me from the responsibility of trying to be right and seek truth all the time.  If everything just is what it is; I could just be what I am or I could fret and fuss about proving that the my reality is knowable to me.  

It’s just too scary to get dropped into a world and have no clue how you got there, what you are, and what will happen when you inevitably are not here anymore.

 

Complete & Consistent 

wp-1486294468194.jpgHow familiar are you with nostalpogy?

Not at all?  Yeah, me neither.

it does not exist (at least to my knowledge as of 10 FEB 2017).  So, whatever it is that nosalpogy represents, it is something of which I cannot conceptualize.  Moreover, I’m incapable of conceptualizing it.  If no person can elucidate what nosalpogy is , if no one can help me see ‘it’ against the setting of everything else, then nosalpogy is nothing.

 

Get thinking about Russell & Whitehead’s attempt to derive all of mathematics from purely logical axioms and remember how Godel’s Sentence G (just one example).

Russell & Whitehead wanted to irrefutably prove that a consistent system based on a few simple assumptions (aka axioms), whose theorems can be listed by an effective procedure (i.e., an algorithm), is capable of proving all truths about the arithmetic of the natural numbers.

Well, they failed to achieve that goal, but that failure brought its own success and furthered theoretical mathematics. Godel demonstrated, for any such formal system, such as the proposed one of Russell & Whitehead,  there will always be statements about the natural numbers that are true, but that are unprovable within the system. Godel then provided proof that the system cannot demonstrate its own consistency.

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To give the gist without the jargon– I imagine a  tube with 3 tennis balls inside.  Now, imagine you have 3 box each filled with 10 of these tubes, each containing three balls.  Each tube contains a set of three balls.  Each box contains a set of 10 tubes; another way to say this is, each box contains a set of 30 balls.  So a set of 3 boxes is a set of 90 balls or a set of 30 tubes.

Imagine I am shipping out boxes of tennis balls.  On each shipping pallatte, a set of 4 boxes, each containing three boxes of tennis balls, can be packed  That means a pallatte contains a set of 360 tennis balls which is equal to a set of 90 tubes which is equal to a set of of 12 boxes.  The pallatte can also hold a set of 4 boxes each holding 3 boxes.

The point is, I can define a set of tennis balls many ways.  I can also imagine a set of sets of tennis balls (a box = 10 tubes and 10 tubes = 30 balls).  A box is a set of tubes and a set of tubes is a set of tennis balls.

So if I can imagine of box of tubes containing tennis balls; and, if I can imagine a box that contains several boxes of tubes of tennis balls, and so on…at what point do hit the top?  At what point do I reach the highest possible set?  Never.  I can always conceive of one more box around boxes just as I cannot name the highest number-I can always imagine one more.

Apologies-work in progress-researching underway.

Being in society

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Being a member of society requires behaving in specific ways and performing specific actions. By doing so, you and I reaffirm not only, that our society actually exists, but also, that you and I (the individual entities) belong to this society. As members of society, we also do certain things that exclude other individuals. Now, this may read as more antagonistic or cynical than I intend. Ultimately, it is the excluding and ‘othering process’ that validates a culture’s solidarity and solidarity is a necessary condition for the existence of the social phenomena.

THE CONTEXT OF THIS DISCUSSION IS EVERYTHING, AND THE PRESENTED ARGUMENTS SHOULD NOT BE SEEN AS SUPPORT FOR ANY GROUP OR ETHOS THAT PROMOTES THE EXCLUSION OF OTHERS. DIFFERENT DOES NOT EQUAL WRONG OR VIOLENT. IN FACT, THE MORE EXPOSURE TO OTHERS YOU EXPERIENCE, THE MORE YOU COME TO KNOW YOURSELF AND THE MORE YOU ENRICH YOUR CREATIVITY.
To know your society, you must know what is not your society.
Has anyone ever asked you what something was or what something was like or how it could be best described?
And, did you ever hear yourself say, “it would probably be easier to tell you what this what not!.”

Empathizer: So, I know what a hipster is, but what is a shoe-gazing, bird watcher?
Whiner: He’s not your stereotypical hipster douche wearing a lady’s scarf and a sports coat over torn jeans and t-shirts. He’s not an arty, magic realist steam punk kinda of hipster either.
Empathizer: Ooh Ooh, is it that heavy set hipster guy that has unruly hair and full mustache, beard, and neck beard? You know, the ones that wear the light blue denim jacket that was his grandfather’s and a pair of navy jeans that have been steam ironed, with some arty (but mostly comic strip looking) ironic T-shirt. Like a bright yellow shirt that has “you’re brilliant at everything you never tried” embossed over the knitted applique of a beret-wearing, cigarette smoking, French Mongoose standing in front of the Eiffel Tower?
Whiner: Oh oh, almost, but this kind of hipster is not fat, he’s usually real lanky, always wears white t-shirts like he doesn’t care, but he still spends just as long as the sorority girl does to get ready to go out on the town. Can grow, like, a five o’clock shadow but barely muster a lady’s mustachio- like, we’re talking early menopausal mustache fuzz at best here.

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Now that I imagine ‘not good,’ (or now that I can imagine what is not a shoe-gazing, bird watching hipster) I find myself with pieces comprising the concept ‘good’-good & not good.
Why must I include ‘not good’ in my conception of ‘good’? Because, it is only by virtue of the existence of things that are not ‘good, by which I can conceptualize ‘good.’ If there is nothing that is not ‘good’; if everything is ‘good’, why would I need the concept ‘good’ at all? Could a concept ‘good’ even exist in those circumstances?
“Bad’ is simply the negation of ‘good.’ If I know if something is ‘good,” I know if something is “not good.’ I know this concept is meaningful, because other members of my culture agree and see the differences too. Because we agree that things can be described as ‘good’ we express meaning when we talk to one other about ‘good’ things. We communicate information and understand.
So, we can take a step further and say
Bad = Not Good
Good = Not Bad
Or, on a larger scale, we could imagine:
GOOD = good + not good GOOD=bad + not bad
BAD = good + not good BAD = good + not good
The words in capital letters represent that entire meaningful content (epiphenomenon)connoted by the concept of ‘good’ and ‘bad.’ The words in lowercase letters represent the pieces of that totality that is represented by the capitalized words. So from ‘good’ we can produce two concepts: good and bad. Each term meanings requires the existence of what the other term represents.


“That was good!”
“What does ‘good’ mean?”

I could try to describe it to the inquirer by describing times and things that are good, but that means that I can imagine things and times that are not good. By remembering the variation in emotional reaction to ‘good’ or ‘bad’ stimuli, I am able to ‘decide’ if something is ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ I am also able to understand, through metaphor and simile, what others mean when they describe something as good.
But such a black and white, either/or, mutually exclusive, definition of the terms, ‘good’ and ‘bad’ can only exist in the abstract, intangible form, at the collective or social level. We, as actual individuals, not abstract, averaged, idealized hypotheticals, cannot define the terms so concretely. Whereas society may only see in black and white, we atoms of a society, at the very least and to varying degrees, see some grey in between.

So, what makes a concept meaningful things carrying encoded information to some audience? The thing being expressed must be a thing/experience/etc recognized by the audience. It must be something the audience can point out in contrast to those things that are not the same thing. So meaning requires knowing what is and is not the knowledge in questions’s object. To know what ‘fat’ is I can show you fat and not-fat in way that you identify as typical or true.

So a concept is composed of those things that is and those thing from which it is distinguishable.

So then, does that mean that meaningful concepts refer to the total of everything that is ‘that thing’ and everything that is ‘not that thing?” No. For a concept to be meaningful, it is the degree and variance in tension of those things that are and those things that are not the concept which bestows meaning on any given concept.

When you name something as a good thing, my consciousness relies on the tension of good versus not good in order to infer your intended meaning. The meaning produced is greater than the sum of its parts. A concept we consider meaningful is not simply the total of what it is and what it is not. If I understand your intended meaning, it is because the code you used to express meaning (the word ‘good’ in this instance) resonates with the tension maintaining my understanding of the concept good. That tension exists by virtue of my ability to distinguish between other instances of things I believe to be good and not good.