Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Putting Descartes before the thought

That Rene Descartes, what a slacker, and inventing a whole mathematical system, does not mitigate his failure of nerve at the really important point.
His famous skepticism,is still a useful tool, but his conclusion, is, like all conclusions, fatal to real progress. Recall that Descartes wondered, how can I determine reliable knowledge, and he decided to doubt everything he could.  The story we know is that he found one undeniable thought; "I think, therefore I am."
This was the exact point at which Descartes could have leveraged his consciousness into an area where vision was possible, the glints we all live with, could have been sustained a bit longer, but with his motto, I think therefore I am, he put a skull and crossbones sign, right at the mental geographical point where in fact, any sign should read: "come on in, the water's glorious."
Because you have to keep pushing, and the glimpse that our verbal apparatus is but a mechanical contraption, not even designed to pursue knowledge, but rather just rearrange the external world, is a good step. But it was foreclosed to Descartes, who put himself, right in the way of a clear view.  He trusted in words, when he was close to getting beyond them.
The mind, the ordinary mind, in the presentation Jan Cox used once, is a burglar, who, when the householder is roused to investigate a break-in, the burglar then puts his arm around the shoulders of the householder and says, "where, we'll find him, where could he be?" 
A resolute skepticism is a useful tool, take a thought, any thought that crosses your attention, say a thought like:" I love you, Tom Kelly." There is a landscape beyond the words, you have to try to look through the sentence train.
I think therefore I am, how reliable is that? No "I", no "think", might have allowed a glimpse of "am," 
But not for Renny. He still gets a halo for the tools of skepticism though. And now that I put this together, what if, Descartes meant that sentence, dada, I am, as a joke. A joke he was sure the right people would get. After all, it is manifestly absurd, to someone advertising they will doubt everything.  Really, I think I just got the philosopher's joke. It's on me. 

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Thoughts on viewing Newton's Royal Society portrait

Words are just wigs, really. Man made approximations, enhancements, of reality, which do not bear close inspection, 
do not bear close inspection unless, your intent is to discover reality, regardless of what you find, 
of what you find