Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Shoulders of Giants

. The polytheistic Etruscans had their own unique and distinct pantheon and practices, chief amongst which were augury (reading omens from birds and lightning strikes) and haruspicy....

This is from Ancient history Encyclopedia -- (http://www.ancient.eu/), their facebook page. The quote refers to practices begun before 500 BC.

The practises of augury are an early form of trying to understand one's life and world. Observing lightning strikes is not a spooky and benighted attempt to control destiny; it is an attempt to be objective. 

An objective approach to the world is not an modern invention. The idea that it is, suggests we are all still struggling to obtain objectivity, personally, and at a broader cultural level, today. If we cannot understand the gigantic contributions made by our forbearers, we cannot achieve a genuine appreciation of our times.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Picture Books

We all have read them--- Look Dick Look. See Spot. Picture Books. 

There is a bedrock viability to this kind of image, despite Plato calling them shadows.

When lost, it can help to count the steps on your fingers. Okay, Shiva's fingers. How you got from the pictures to something not obvious, say the speed of light.

And yet, there are challenges to the picture book. For one thing it is endless. What is the picture of endlessness? Are holes, gaps, slippage in the bedrock, are such unavoidable?

Gaps, though, may make the sun brighter.  

Saturday, January 28, 2017

The multiverse idea is god coming in the backdoor of modern science

And since this is not recognized as such by its proponents we have the old delusions that so often accompany religion, back in the mix. The multiverse idea allows people who call themselves realists, to in fact hamstring standards of evidence and excellence. As in: are there conflicting measurements for the Hubble Constant? In a different universe there would not be such; or maybe there is some bleed through between universes. The point is the wall of evidence from which facts bounce back, is spongy, when you have the multiverse to obscure inconsistencies.

The connection here between Jan's work and the physical sciences is that we see in this collapse into ideas about the multiverse, a basic failure of the intellect to approach the questions about the unity of consciousness and what is commonly labeled the material.

The above is a perspective to consider.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

A Whimsical Aside

People I hope recall that this blog is not about Jan Cox, the 20th century philosopher and mystic, per se. It is about demonstrating his precept for his students, about originality -- a means to grow despite the mechanical nature of our world. But here we digress, with an incident that reminds us of a joke Jan liked: the one which ends "he had a hat." It is a common joke but to make sure everyone gets this-- the set up is an old woman and her grandson on a beach. The boy is swept away, but then rescued and returned by a heroic passer-by. The woman says --- ....

Of course he, and we from his example, liked making up our own new jokes, and this is an old one. It came back when I read this morning, from a blog of the Royal Society, this item in the records of the Royal Society Journal Book for 7 January 1702:

‘Mr Molesworth said, that Mr Haistwell’s brothers servant having lately lost his Hat in a Storm, in an East-India-Voiage: some 30 Leagues off, the next day, in a calm, they took a Shark, in which they found the Hat.’

Thursday, December 8, 2016

A Time of the Signs

Here is what noted historians are saying now, quote, 
...the liberal thinker Michael Ignatieff recently wrote: “Enlightenment humanism and rationalism” can no longer adequately “explain the world we’re living in.”

More than once lately I am reminded of something Jan Cox said in the 1990s. He said, [For the first time in history] people have no place to go. To my knowledge he did not follow up that apercu.But its significance may become clearer. 

Sunday, December 4, 2016

The function of conspiracy theories

Conspiracy theories are all wrong for one basic reason. By this statement I refer not to the limits of verbiage. No, conspiracy theories are wrong because they all assume the human intellectual capacity is greater than it actually is. To pull off a conspiracy involving the twin towers is one example---- nobody is smart enough to set that up.  For this to be possible you have to estimate the intelligence of engineers as higher than it is, and then you would have to estimate the conspirators as a lot smarter than the engineers are. There is nobody on this planet, who knew in the moments before the plane hit a tower, that the tower would then collapse.

Another example-- the assassination of the archduke in Sarajevo. That succeeded because of an accident, the hit did not take place on the scheduled route.

Only in a world without contingency, a locked in jigsaw of comprehensible cause and effect, could the typical conspiracy succeed, but that is not the way our universe is.

Of course there are many physical scientists who assume this picture-- everything colliding in  ironclad causal interconnections--IS the way the world operates, and we just have not yet found out all the rules. They assume that all dim areas will be eliminated eventually, probably sooner than later.

Which brings me to UFOs, etc, nicely drawn on the blackboard in the picture below which I got from  Spiked Review.  The modern apprehension about life in outer space, the amounts spent on discovering that possibility, the generally gloomy visualizations of the possibilities of encounters with such, is actually a perspective that dates to before man's grasp of his reasoning capabilities even began. These views expressed by the spokesfolks for natural science, are the same as primitive man's apprehension that he is in a huge and transitory world and even the higher powers are fickle.

One word for the situation is that the complexity of which we are a part, is greater than man can comprehend. We succeed by knowing the boundaries as we press on them. Conspiracy theories function to hide man's ignorance.

Here is supplementary reading--- I didn't but you might like to. It provided me with a perch on which to sketch out some ideas about conspiracies. No need to read beyond the headlines, but if you insist, here is one.

FRANK FUREDI The politics of the hidden agenda
A short essay from 2009 on how conspiracy theorising has now become respectable.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Pucker This

Maybe it is ALL----- all of discourse ---- all, dog whistling