Tag 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: 9. One to Nine, again

Hamlet seeks to “end the heartache, and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to.” Hamlet offers a mere thousand; how many have you?  To me, almost infinite seem our bodies’ ways to suffer. But, I wonder, is there a number?  Is all suffering One?

Our Cosmos starts with One. A Big Bang, nearly 14 billion years ago.  A singularity of space-time rides, faster than the speed of light. Another single that presides; perhaps a moral right, if its unique source is Divine.

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Our story: 5. Religion’s story

Every religion tells a story about humans, our world, and its creation. The story helps to create common ideas about the world, shared values and norms, and a common language.  In short,  social cohesion.  In this way, religion can help maintain those in power by creating a story that explains and justifies the social order.

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30 Days of 30 minutes daily.

This a good unit of time for those who don’t have much.  By using half the hour, you find more places to fit it in.  By daily practice, your brain creates new pathways and habits. Try it for 30 minutes every day for 30 days.  Can you commit to that?

Let me tell you a story.  I have to start abstractly, but I hope you will forgive that.  It’s to remind you of how hard and how easy it is to change – another example of the law of paradoxical truths. We know that it helps if you find the ‘right-sized chunk’ for change.

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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

 

 

Mythos: Free Will, free choice?

quote-all-theory-is-against-free-will-all-experience-is-for-it-samuel-johnson-53-91-35

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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Moral virtues and intellectual vices: cognitive process tuning

Good parenting rewards positive behaviour, and ignores  the negative.  We wish to encourage our child’s moral virtues that we think of a character and tendency to ‘behave well.  We learn moral virtues through habit and practice rather than through reasoning and instruction.

Education is about learning to think.  To identify and the intellectual vices that arise from the design of the cognitive biases that our brain has in its ‘wetware.  These designs were well fitted to the hunter-gatherer with the complex range of skills that human societies developed, as our ancestors climbed to the top of the food chain, following their Cognitive Revolution of some 70,000 years ago.

The Agricultural Revolution of some 10,000 years as agriculture led to the emergence of surplus values and cities (civilization) .  Skill started to become more specialised compared to the multi-talented hunter-gatherers: growing seeds and fighting for control of the surplus.

A key aspect of the Cognitive Revolution was the development of ‘fictive language’.  Words that do not describe the natural world, nor social relations, but abstract concepts that only exist in the collective subjective.  Three of these, and their manifestation, have driven human history:  Money, Empire, and G-d.

The remarkable fact is that we can learn about, and overcome our cognitive biases.  But this is not an easy task for those who lack intellectual virtue.  We are born with intellectual vice; our brain is designed to fail the fallacy of ‘post hoc, ergo propter hoc’: ‘after this, therefore because of it’.

It is like the optical illusion: I sill see it, even when I know it is an illusion.

Aristotle described the moral virtues, and Socrates was the first to start the process of identifying our intellectual vices.  We can only start from doubt; hope our hypotheses are ‘good enough, and know that nothing can ever be truly known.  And from this strange base an impressive body of Western thought leading to our domination over matter, to the scientific sun.

But too many of us do not understand how our brains tricking us into bad decisions; and make us hate our brothers and sisters, because of difference.  How hard to love humanity close-up, compared from the benign self-feeling of loving the idea of humanity, said Dostoyevski.  But that is only one side of the story; for many in this world tread a path of love and selfless giving.

I want to walk that path; I know you do too.