Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Limits of the Human Intellect

Recently we have pointed to logical gaps at both ends of the intellectual range of man. (Our last two blog posts).  Our point here was to raise certain questions regarding the nature of man's mental faculties. Obviously man has a desire to know---we can look back on a history of technological achievement over the past two thousand years, and an artistic heritage which suggests man can deal on the symbolic level.  Yet this desire to know has a limit, and this is what I am pointing to. Man typically will NOT pursue a question to its logical ultimate. How interesting is this!  Just keep questioning and man may reach, (I suggest you experiment with this) a surprising awareness. But this persistence in intellectual questing is exactly what man, homo sapiens, will not, and certainly, typically, does not, maintain. One reason is perhaps that there is, at some level, an awareness that persistent questioning, a pushing to the borders of the human intellect, would destabilize that intellect.  At least on a scale larger than a few people, this questioning would be destructive to the larger machinery of which man is a part. There may be a good reason that man's intellectual can be defined as one which is not characteristically persistent.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Civil Discontents Part II

So we noticed last blog some incoherency among those who assume extraterrestrials explain anything. Perhaps the academic chaps avoid certain glaring logical gaps. One hopes those sagging library shelves hold something of value.  Still my example here won't support that last hope. There is a philosophical question about the nature of man: is there any validity to the idea of a mental or spiritual realm. The extremely common view is that man has a spiritual dimension.  Some philosophers assume man has a physical and a mental nature to explain their observations, and experiences. Without this duality they are lost to explain what they consider the human dimension---man's values, spiritual worth, etc. What these folks fail to notice is this: if you assume a second layer of reality, you have to then explain how these two dimensions interact.  The addition of a spiritual, or mental realm merely moves the problem of explaining man, around, it does not solve it.  With two dimensions the consistent thinker then has to explain how these diverse realms coexist and intercommunicate.  A mental realm as a separate world just confuses the reality of man's world. Typically if you are explaining how two diverse things communicate you wind up with a third realm -- one which connects the physical and mental. Yet what does this gain us??? You really need another realm to connect the third to the other two, and, this could go on infinitely. Kind of like those who think extraterrestrials on this planet explain anything, when you step back and realize the questions are just moved around, not really explained.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Civilization and its contents

There is an interesting continuity between the explanations of those liable to a certain hysteria, I mean those who give credence to extraterrestrials, and those typically found in academe, the ivory tower billed birds.
The first group crave a certain gross excitement in their mechanical mental lives, nothing too subtle. Flying saucers serve a purpose in their imagination, satisfying a unviversal craving for an exciting edge, but one which can be oh so concretely described.  At one time angels were seen in the heavens, now it is household utensils. This coarse profanity serves other purposes---one of these functions is to explain human development, and human origins.  The visits of extra terrestrials have been used to explain both the advance of man's civilization and the origin of humanity itself. The idea is that visitors either produced a new species, and or, helped along an extant one, to produce the world we know.  The question of the ET motives is left open.  The illogic behind the E. T. scenario is unrecognised. Illogic in the sense that an explanation is produced which actually does not answer the basic questions for which the explanation is put forward.  A visit from people from other planets does not explain the origin of life----one is just pushing back the question---from where did the life on other planets derive??? And what promoted the developments in civilization, the technological superiority, on these other planets? The popularity of stories of extraterrestrials fills a gap left by the declining interest in traditional religious explanations of such questions. 
These objections to the E.T.answer to life's mysteries seem obvious once outlined.  How is this kind of thinking related to the typical thinking of the academic writer of books?  We will return to this question soon. 

After Dinner Dents

My sense is that the writings of Jan Cox, now that he is dead, are serving as digestive aids, after dinner mints, so the ordinary can better digest, and live on, the hostility of life, without ever seeing that Jan rejected all and every system, philosophic label, hell, all labels, and that was just to get started. His only interest was in the freedom available to our species, and nudging people to look in the direction he did. Ideas, labels----all words, all that you must learn to look beyond.