Category Archives: Philosophy

Our story: 18. Loss

I just wanted to note the loss of the last two days.  I was going to make it three, but here you have me.

Loss comes with life.  If you are lucky, you lose less. But loss remains inevitable. Is loss a failure?  Or the foundation for success?   In the end, you decide what it is.  By the story you tell yourself about the loss.

So, in our story, I had got to my vision, as the culmination of our history.  How we emerged to cover this planet.  And are now ready to act as one, all 7+ billion of us.  And got stuck at how to explain the steps from here to there.

The laws of biology are more flexible than those of physics, yet must operate by them.  All matter is governed by the universal laws of physics.  Chemistry describes the laws of physics at molecular level, or perhaps best thought as a dance of electrons between different  Biology, or life, uses chemistry as its basis.  And must always follow the laws of physics.  In our brain cells as much as in the stars from which we were born.

I have been meaning to say something about the different domains of human knowledge reflecting a single reality.  Physics, chemistry, biology were the three sciences I was taught at school.  Mathematics is not part of this triad, but is vital to them all.  Then you have the human sciences, such as anthropology, sociology and economics.  But are these  not built on biology?  It seems only recently has economics changed the assumption of human behaviour as rational to being beset with cognitive biases.

One of these insisted I produce this; just to keep myself on track to designing tomorrow.  Despite, or perhaps because of, its loss.

 

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Our story: 11. How much do we know?

Only a few generations ago, the germ theory of disease was a new idea.  Understanding the root cause of illness, as being caused by a micro-organism, too small to be seen.  But made visible by microscope, culture, and now nucleic acid amplification.  The last now providing a new window into the bugs that live in and on us.  We discover that a human being is made up of more non-human cells than human; the countless organisms that call us home.  Have you heard of the face mite?

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Homo deus: what are we going to do with ourselves?

220px-the_creation_of_adam“In a healthy, prosperous and harmonious world, what will demand our attention and ingenuity? This question becomes doubly urgent given the immense new powers that biotechnology and information technology are providing us with. What will we do with all that power?”

Yuval Noah Harari. “Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow.”

The future is both unknowable and already past, so potentially knowable.  If we can step outside of space-time; perhaps learn to treat that strange continuum as we do space, which seems to us so plain, yet teems with subatomic life.   We experience time, as living creatures; as much as fish need water to exist, so we need time.  But time does not exist; it is an illusion of our mind.  Only space-time.

Light is both wave and particle.   This example of the law of paradoxical Truths to help you see the future as potentially knowable, despite being intrinsically unknowable. You are at the same time, no more than the dust that you return to after death; and the very purpose for the creation of the entire universe.  Ha Olam.

Future space-time exists co-equally with past, but not in human experience where past is set and future open.  In either past or future, energy is spent from the present moment.  We must learn from the past and prepare for the future, but without excess and unhelpful focus on past or future events.  “I lived through many disasters, some of which happened…”

As for the laws of physics, there is nothing special about the present; made unique to me by being alive at this point, and so, aware of this space-time, here-now.  And I think the question Harari asks must be answered; given the exponentially growing power of humanity.  Unless the question becomes redundant, if we manage to destroy our home planet….with that growing power that children fail to acknowledged

 

 

“M&N have gone”

Don’t worry, it’s just the keys on a keyboard.  The loss of these letters are enough to stop all the others being a functional keyboard. So we need a new keyboard.

Because we stepped on it.  Now it’s gone.  We mourn its loss, and move on.  No point to point the blaming finger, or to punish.  Just move on.

Life is a story of losses,  and learning to accept reality, as it is.  Not how we wish it to be, or think it should be. It is.

I might want to shout and curse at my loss, find someone to blame, punish them..But does that help? Especially when we are not fully aware of causes.

 

Captivating Jane Eyre (and St.John?)

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I knew the story. I must have seen several BBC adaptations and movies of the story, growing up in London. And I knew of her; refreshed by a recent visit to the National Portrait Gallery in London.  The short lives of all three Bronte sisters. (At medical school, we learnt that Charlotte died of hyperemesis gravidarum: dehydration from vomiting of pregnancy.)

But I had not read Jane Eyre until now.  How is it not possible to fall in love with Jane?   I feel compelled to share her. Published in 1847, Charlotte Bronte’s novel gives us her inner life, a remarkable window into a beautiful soul.  Jane is born triply orphaned.  Despite her sad life and lack of physical beauty, she has inner beauty, vitality and strength.  Jane kept me entranced, through her journey to union with her soul mate.  A role model of how I would like to react to adversity and immorality; and achieve harmony.

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Mythos: Free Will, free choice?

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Humanity has long pondered the question of free will; and whether  chicken or egg came first. Like Xeno’s paradoxes the questions identify flaws in both language and logic.  What does Free Will (FW) really mean?

Mythos is the ancient Greek counterpart to logos (reason). The two sides of mind. Myths help us understand and live in this world. They carry a deep truth, even if the events are not factual.  This Atlantic article‘s title was “There’s No Such Thing as Free Will –
But we’re better off believing in it anyway.” A mythos.  It was “one of the most read and hotly debated Atlantic pieces this month. The galaxy of philosophical issues called “free will and determinism” is where morals and physics come together. In other words, it’s a subject that genuinely matters, and one that’s a hell of a lot of fun to argue about.”  Want to try?

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