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

Monday, October 31, 2016

What scary stories mean


Man is still evolving. He [everyone] has an awareness of this, but cannot directly face this open  edge, so to speak, because it is logically contradictory to his assumptions about his own competence and importance. Perhaps this is related to the desire he feels for scary stories. It is like he can look at his own unknowable future in a mirror. But why should that future edge be frightening. The scary part relates to his reliance on the presumption his binary rational mind is the best tool to deal with the world. Why after all should the unknown in itself be scary.  Only it seems to me because this prospect directly challenges the presumptions underlying his perception of his own self-worth.

That creaky board in the attic means your assumptions don't really weigh what you think they do.



Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Heraclitus and Parmenides Walk Into a Bar


Heraclitus and Parmenides Walk Into a Bar.
They look at each other as they raise their steins.
"To solid gold" says Heraclitus.
Parmenides says, "To constant turbulent effervescence."

From the corner of the bar Schrodinger's cat narrows his eyes.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

this slogan or that slogan

Not the best example I have noticed today,(October 9, 2016) perhaps, but this headline from the Nautilus newsletter, seeks to interest readers in an article with this headline:
We like to think modern man is inherently different, better somehow, than our ancient forebears. But is that just wishful thinking? 

Newsroom wise that headline must be pretty good--- it got my attention. Even so, just a little thought reveals these sentences to be total gibberish.

Yes, we like to think modern man is inherently different;
yes that is is just wishful thinking.

But man IS different, and alike both, both now, and then.

We inherit the realm of wishful thinking every morning, at least til we have coffee. And then we wishfully think, along with many other thoughts. and we still arrive at work, and valid conclusions, regardless of the hue of our thinking.

My point is these thoughts AND their opposites are equally appropriate.

To pick one, ANY ONE, of these options, yes or no, is to lose a reality which might be glimpsed.

What I am pointing to is the plausibility of that headline. It sounds learned and intriguing; who notices it is ridiculous? That is, if one can stand apart from the ordinary thinking process.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

A Myth of Myths

Interesting article in Scientific American about myths. I am not sure how long that link will work, but I found it originally in the Three Quarks Daily newsletter. Here is the gist:

Folklorists, anthropologists, ethnologists and linguists have long puzzled over why complex mythical stories that surface in cultures widely separated in space and time are strikingly similar. In recent years a promising scientific approach to comparative mythology has emerged in which researchers apply conceptual tools that biologists use to decipher the evolution of living species. In the hands of those who analyze myths, the method, known as phylogenetic analysis, consists of connecting successive versions of a mythical story and constructing a family tree that traces the evolution of the myth over time.


My point is not the use of the word "scientific" above, although it sounds like window-dressing. It is rather that a simpler explanation never occurs to people: these parallel developments may indicate that humanity itself is one organism. Such would offer another possibility to explore by way of understanding "the striking similarity" of cultural ideas "widely separated in space and time." This perspective would suggest that the myth people cling to is of an individuality and separation, which may not be based on much evidence.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Minding the man


An article about research on animal minds, such as the intelligence of gorillas.

What they fail to account for is the question, what is the human mind?  Without a stable answer to that question, the researchers can only flail about discussing the cunning of beasts. What exactly can "anthropomorphic" mean, in no one can identify what distinguishes man?

Monday, October 3, 2016

Isaac Asimov when you need him

And to  open our celebration of Nobel Prize announcement week, we quote a quote we just found this morning--


There is a quote attributed to the scientist and author Isaac Asimov

The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds the most discoveries, is not “Eureka!” (I found it!) but ‘That’s funny...’
That edge of dawning mystery--- that is what Jan Cox pointed to. His goal was finding this point, and (contra modern science) staying there as long as possible.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Out of the mouths of BBC commentators

NPR just mentioned this:

the Kurds have a phrase, no friends but the mountains.

This is wonderful on many levels.

No
friends
but the
mountains.


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

This is not a blog of book reviews

This is not a blog of book reviews, but a recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education caught my attention.  It was how there are so many books that scholars whose job it is to evaluate canons, cannot really read the volumes they are responsible for analyzing. Do not click on that link, my synopsis is not because that view is significant. My recounting is just a setup.

A setup for this perspective: Jan Cox read a lot--- or--- I should say, he evaluated a lot of books, because he did not finish some books. I was going to say "most" books.  He told his students that you can judge a book by reading the first few pages.  I probably should say "glance" at them.

By evaluate we mean grasp "the level of being", to use a Gurdjieffian phrase, of the author. So you see that an academic whimper about the quantity of books on the market has nothing to do with this blog.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Just a wee bit of spam; the musician, Art Davis, was a special friend of Jan's


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Sunday, August 7, 2016

Professors say the darnedest things

Dan Gilbert is on the faculty at Harvard. His TED talk was just on NPR.  One thing he said was that the present does not really exist, at all. His picture was of a tide and the shore. Gilbert says that the past and the future are real, but that edge between the water and sand, does not really exist as a third entity.

Well, and despite my animadversions about binary thought, Gilbert has got it almost exactly, reversed. My gloss on the source of his confusion is that, along with anglophone 20th century philosophy, he assumes that reality must be verbal. Although he didn't put it this way, this idea, that something is not real if it cannot be stated in words, is quite common, and of course, if true, would mean that self-observation is impossible. Because self-observation, while not completely eliminating language, is, a means of turning down the volume, and is that third entity.

Self-observation, or remembering the Work as Jan Cox sometimes referred to it, is, very nearly, impossible, and certainly, once one reaches a particular age, unnatural.

Dear ones, this particular activity, which explains the whole history of mysticism, is, possible.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Rio Really

All that colorful artistry and animal spirits, grace and beauty, on parade for hours. Swirling and dancing. And the conclusion, of the evening, is some guy in a gray suit and blue tie, blathering on.  But such is the world of man, accurately drawn. And a pyre, of an unspeakable flame.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Modernity and its limitations


This link is to a video at the website for Smithsonian magazine, but you can skip it.

The relevant thing is in the title, quoted:

The Egyptian Pharaoh With the Biggest Ego



Though little is known about Khufu, the pharaoh who oversaw the Great Pyramid's construction, vicious rumors about him persist today. 

End quote.

I love this: the title reveals a great example of a perspectivism which exemplifies modern assumptions about reality.

You can make a case for Khufu as a pioneer in advancing mankind's spiritual progress. Perhaps no one else has, but, regardless, it could go like this:

Man is a creature shot through with infinities, as a modern scientists might say he is by cosmic rays.

Mathematics demonstrated something similar in its own timeless dawn: for example a line is made up of points, but this is literally impossible since the point has NO dimension. 

Khufu as a king and priest, may have overseen the bumilding of pyramids as an empirical quest for  the connection of the visible and the invisible, via this heaping upwards of --- matter  --- reaching a point -- the sharpened point in which the earthen pyramid ends.

And something also, else, begins -- the point at which the interpenetration of what we call mind and matter, is isolated and made OBVIOUS. At that point which defines the pyramidal shape.

So the pyramids may have a place in the history of mathematics, and religion. 

This view I outline is plausible, and may be moreso than one which trys to fit an anthropology that truncates man, onto an earlier time.

The pyramids then, do not indicate ego, but a humble and exploratory adventure into the human and what might lie at the edges. From a time when our divisions of the world into economics, politics, religion, sociology, art, had it been communicable to the best minds of many millenia ago, would have been seen as, amusingly blockheaded.

Perhaps.

If my skeches above demonstrate merely the difficulty, maybe inherent limitations, of understanding previous historical eras, that could be a success.







Friday, July 22, 2016

Stages in the quest for truth (verbatim from Guardian... headlines)

Following are different stages in a quest for personal truth, as exemplified from the headlines of the Guardian's most recent (newsletter) edition.  The only changes were in words I left out.




'I alone' can fix dark, violent, weak America... 'I am your voice....."

HSBC banker denies fraud charges

Edward Snowden designs phone case to show when data is being monitored

MH370 search will 'not end, but be suspended'

Argentina's disappeared...An Argentinian man learned the man he believed was his father may have killed his real parents during Argentina's 1976-83 dictatorship, part of a campaign of forcibly "disappearing" those who opposed the bloody regime. Hundreds of babies of the disappeared were taken and raised by military families. Guillermo PĂ©rez Roisinblit's world was turned upside down at age 21 when a young woman tracked him down at the fast-food outlet where he worked in the outlying Buenos Aires district of San Miguel. "I told her I was busy working," Guillermo recalls now. "So she sat down at a table, wrote a me note" in which she told him she might be his sister.

'My name is Michael Caine' – legally.  After more than 60 years in showbiz, and frustrated by increased airport security checks, the legendary British actor, born Maurice Micklewhite, has decided to replace his birth name with his showbiz moniker for good. He took the name Caine from a poster for the 1954 Humphrey Bogart naval drama The Caine Mutiny.

Ancient bottom wipers yield evidence of diseases carried along the Silk Road

Monday, July 4, 2016

We Hold These Truths To Be Obvious

if you heard a real teacher point to them 
and you are 'remembering the work:'

for anything to happen (splat of a rain drop or acceptance speech)
THREE forces are involved.

the Creative flow
the Destructive flow
and the
Unexpected, flow.

Nothing happens without all three (Jan hinted at a larger number, but did not elaborate to my knowledge.)

Which makes a sense of duty to One, any one---
dubious.



 

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Somme sums

From a write up about the anniversary remembrances in Europe of the Battle of the Somme:

In Britain, this [the start of the attack] was commemorated by two-minutes of silence which was broken at the same time when British officers led their men over the top.
Charles Pinele, 68, is the grandson of a British officer who led his men in the Cheshires. Pinele spoke about that day many years ago, saying:
"Six officers went out. Only two came back. He did not talk about it."...


...[Another interviewee's]  great uncle was a coal miner from Bedlington, Northumberland, who fought with The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, Dunlop said: "His name does not appear on the memorial in Bedlington. We think his mother hoped he would come back.

"Many mothers wouldn't let their sons' names go on memorials. They hoped they would come home. He never did."


Somme sums can be about not concluding, Not concluding, not drawing a line and writing a summation: this is kind of like "remembering the Work." Not...concluding....

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Binary divisions are always suspicious

That old saw about how can you tell the difference between your dreaming state and your awake one, misses an relevant point.  Maybe in both states, the subject is mainly credulous about what is unfolding,

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Another blog


An Edge of Ordinary

Expanding on the question of the purpose of this settlement where T shaped monoliths were later buried in debris, forming the hill as we see it now----It is lovely if unlikely to wonder if the T shaped columns were meant to represent the idea of form, and the debris, matter. Their joint relation then an attempt to understand how man comprehends his world.  Put another way perhaps men were then struggling to grasp the fact of consciousness and how it appears in a solid world.

Monday, June 13, 2016

As above, so below


The full article is at space.com

"Baby alien worlds are indeed likely slicing gaps in the disk of dust and gas swirling around the young star HL Tauri — a finding that could help reshape scientists' current understanding of how planets form.
Astronomers found that some of the rings in the disk's gaseous component line up with rings in the dust, further supporting the theory that exoplanets are coalescing there — and suggesting that alien worlds may form much more quickly than scientists had thought.
"To our surprise, these gaps in the gas overlap with dust gaps," lead author Hsi-Wei Yen, a researcher at the Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics in Taiwan, said in a statement. "This supports the idea that the gaps are the footprints left by baby planets. Our results indicate that planets start to form much earlier than we expected."


Baby?
Alien?
....Minds
in your head?

from gaps....?


Sunday, June 5, 2016

I Read the News Today, oh....



A headline this Sunday morning, from the Nautilus blog



It may be an interesting read, but what the headline reminded me of was a point Jan Cox made decades ago.
The "wisdom" of the aged, touted by them, and spoken of by other generations, is merely this: that one's hormones have died.

Obvious
Invisible
Easy to say and see.

But to remember,,, 
ah....


Saturday, May 28, 2016

Well I Saw her Face

HIS face, actually, was in a chip, 
unmistakeably
Jacques Derrida, in a dorito chip
and he was reading.

Now I'm a  Believer.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Humid Hume

Quoting a lead into an article recently published:

If moral responsibility and the social institutions that enforce it depend on belief in our own agency, what happens when we lose faith in free will?

I haven't read the article, that is not the point in today's post.

I say that because --- the support for good behavior is not the most dangerous loss when people glimpse their own helplessness. The aspect of the debate on free will which is so scary philosophers and natural scientists won't even talk about it, is

that rational discourse depends on faith -- faith that man is a rational animal and capable of surveying the evidence and coming to conclusions, and then defending them.

To suggest that man has no free will is to glimpse that  his words and sentences might be determined by non-rational factors, his mega and micro biomes, or something equally appalling to the presumptions of cognitive flag-wavers.

Even David Hume,who tossed out the validity of causation, rather fliply, did not tear up his own books. As radical as Hume's conclusions about causation might appear, he could not glimpse that everything people said might just be foam bubbles, erratic juxtapositions, like vomit, because the words are not based on a sober analysis of facts, as they are claimed to be.  Rather even within a sentence words are concatenations based on non-rational, unglimpsed, forces.  The illusion of cogency then may just be a reflection of man's assumptions about his own agency.

One picture Jan Cox drew, from science fiction tropes, is of the modern intellect is that of a brain in a laboratory vat, thinking away in a bubbly medium.

Jan's is an apt picture, not because of what it says about the possibility of human rationality, but for the accuracy of the picture of the typical mechanical mind.



Saturday, April 23, 2016

An Avian Trope

Why would a hawk
undertake to educate sparrows....

Friday, April 22, 2016

Dr. Lamarck I Presume

Notice also that nobody is even using the word Lamarckism, though that is precisely the term for instances where environmental changes get translated into heritable characteristics. The standard example is the long neck of the giraffe, gained over generations of stretching to reach high leaves. I think now of studies suggesting  trauma affects the genes of offspring, among other headlines. For most of the last century Larmarckism has been an example of out-moded thought. It had to be--- since ordinary thought is binary. This means Darwinism is defined by what it is not--- and it is not Lamarckism. This was the natural conclusion with the explanatory success of Darwin's idea. But step back--- why couldn't both explanations be correct. Why can't evolution have two methods of advance. What a good question.

The fleas of DNA

In rare instances, DNA is known to have jumped from one species to another.

This is the first line of an article, from phys.org which shows the limitations of modern thought. "In rare instances" is a lovely phrase. Because you could not evaluate the relative rarity of something without a firm knowledge of the whole, and that is an unlikely  perspective. Unlikely not because of positivistic assumptions, but because of the nature of binary thought. Which must divide to succeed. External progress depends on man's ability to rearrange his environment, and this rearrangement assumes that things can be broken into pieces prior to the rearrangement. This is something Jan Cox pointed out decades ago. The special success of this rearrangement is so great that modern scientists never question (nowadays) the utility of binary thought to handle all cognitive tasks. And yet, we have here, with DNA hopping around, evidence that man is not separate from all of life. Every breath depends on the reality that we are part of a larger whole. But partialness is exactly what ordinary thinking cannot grasp. Or remember. 

Friday, April 8, 2016

Funny thing

You can't use the word "nonduality" without betraying an assumption that there ARE opposites. NOT  DUAL assumes two possibilities. Now it may well be that there is duality and nonduality and something else. At a minimum you could make this case. All this complexity and glory is lost, however, when you pick ONE dilemma of the horns, ONE cheek on which to sit.  

Jan just said, we call it the  W.O.R.K: the way of real knowledge, "because that's what it is -- work." 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

In the Wild

Many of us have held out some food to a stray dog. The picture of a beast grabbing the food and running away is not unfamiliar to animal lovers. Let's reverse this picture for now. What if the alert person, while he or she is "remembering the Work" resembles not the generous human. What if the best of our self resembles the stray dog. What if words have some content, some reference,  which can be comprehended without letting the mechanical necessity of words, that unstoppable locomotive, pull one along. A way to use words, without letting the larger mechanical structure hypnotize one--- utterly. This may require the cunning and alertness of a wild animal.

To succeed may mean studying also stray gods.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

The Bosch Belt

The New York Times headline on the Bosch show: "Art Gone to Hell."

The headline reveals the kind of  keyhole view of reality  binary thought demands. Binary thought assumes dichotomous, either-or thought is the fundament of reality. Such logic is a necessary tool for the progress of mankind, the progress which most call civilization--- air-conditioning for example. An example Jan Cox used was inventing a mill to make water go uphill. This invention required, besides genius at some point, dividing the external world into pieces and then reorganizing the pieces. Each piece is either this or that. A rock is not a tree. Binary thought makes technological invention possible and thus man's comfort and modern connections, and the means to fulfill some dreams. Like getting off the planet. We do this with binary thought and we would be nowhere without such logic.  I reference this headline, "Art Gone to Hell," as an example of binary thought, because it tells us that Bosch's figures of bizarre composition are viewed from a very narrow perspective. The headline may suppose some tension between binary logic and actual reality from which it is drawn.

The fact is binary logic is a tool. The internal world allows a more complex reality, than a tool perspective does, one where things are part of each other. Pictures of a head with feet, a Bosch trope,  can be more accurate summary of the actual world, than the bits and pieces left over from the operations of binary thought, where logic has no way of explaining connections.

Back to the subject today. The art of Hieronymus Bosch is not a vision of hell, but a world in which the connections of everything is playfully celebrated. Surely someone has written about this: many of his figures represent medieval assumptions and designs. We might get a more sophisticated view of the artist's genius if we focused on his position at the dwindling of the medieval era. There was something incredible going on in Dutch art then. I have not the words now to express this peculiar genius in which Bosch shared. My guess is that the way forward in understanding his art is to broaden our knowledge of the era, and of ourselves.


Sunday, February 21, 2016

Something Jan Said

Something Jan said comes to mind. It was during the 80s or 90s, and he pointed out, in words like these: A distinction of the 20th century is that for the first time in history, peoples have no where to go. 

Friday, February 19, 2016

Logic and moral purity

The point is not that Tim Cook is refusing to help the government access info on a phone. The point is not that he says this refusal will protect personal privacy and make it harder for hackers to infiltrate other phones. 

The point is not that the government is saying Cook's actions are motivated by the goal of increasing market share. 

Kind of the point is that this logic reveals moral purity as a human standard of logic. Who cares what his reasons are, if in fact his actions prevent say, Chinese hackers from accessing American government agencies, again. 

These examples always abound. The idea that a defect in moral purity, the presence of human inconsistency, will invalidate an argument is not the point. This demand for moral purity has sent people to the guillotine and toppled governments. But this is not the point.

The point is that a demand for moral purity is forceful -- because of the narrowness and universality of binary logic. Everything must be in one of two camps, right or wrong, moral or not so much, good or bad. No inbetweens, no shades of life, no personal experience informing judgments. 

Jan Cox tried again and again to convey this reality to his students. Binary logic is integral to ordinary human thinking in our world. It is the only way mere words can grasp on in a rippling reality. And of course, binary thought builds a brighter tomorrow for the masses, regardless of whether you find it insufficient personally right now. 



Monday, February 15, 2016

A Canned Hunt

No surprises, and no effort really, in a canned hunt. The prey is tame, the game is fenced in.  You know there will be a limited number of options, that you will win a prize is a foregone conclusion. Freedom, real exertion, the possibility of the unknown -- these things are excluded in a canned hunt.

I refer of course to one's own skull, and the black and white marbles rolling around in it. Binary thought. That's all I mean. 


Saturday, February 13, 2016

Pinpointing a part of progress

What does the progress of humanity mean? If you are familiar much with the writings of Jan Cox, you may remember his observation that life is evolving, and that the job of a real revolutionary (his sometime term for those on the path) is to evolve faster than the overall general progress. This progress, lifting all, is justly called mechanical. Perhaps in a public forum I should add that the source and the destination of this progress is unknown, even, possibly, to one who regularly sees above the crowd. Our point here is what the crowd sees, and how that is evolving. 

So this headline today in the Guardian:

Antarctica :150,000 penguins die after giant iceberg renders colony landlocked

My reaction was a (momentary) wince of grief. It was imaginary, I am not in Antarctica. But this reaction is becoming more common among the components of humanity. This reaction motivates. It may or may not produce immediately visible results. But more commonly experienced this kind of reaction, what mine was, changes the way Humanity as a whole may handle their world. And how do I know it is becoming more common??? 

It was headline in a major newspaper.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

The wages of thought

On our peculiar planet where thinking, the source of all external progress, is also that from which, (this is seen more clearly in eastern thought) some quiet distance must be retained for any accurate assessments, of anything, the word robot is not inappropriate to describe people. 

This is never noticed at the public level. And yet, what can it mean that in a recent debate between US politicians (politicians!) the accusation of being robotic in speech was leveled against one panel member. Of course, pots and kettles. The interesting thing is:

The audience noticed. 

Pots and kettles and barbecue utensils. Of course. What it means I don't know. That it is significant, I suspect. 


Sunday, February 7, 2016

Socks in a Dryer

Tossed, tumbled, tied,  apparently doing a good or bad, job, apparently following a higher good, or trying, and
clueless as of course socks must be.
.
This characterizes the world of man, especially in the modern, intellectually developed, arena of life.

It may not be all there is, but to appreciate fully, this stage, is necessary. If you are a citizen of the west, you start here. The progress possible may be greater than that available to other circuited men and women. But without seeing the accuracy of this picture, and remembering it, a lot, well,.....

Jan Cox wouldn't perhaps mention this, but he could see the eyes of his audience. If you find this depressing, you are simply not doing it right.  If you really see it, you get there is nothing that can be taken personally. What could it matter what color of sock you are.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Who and What, We Are

Who we are must surely be connected with what we are a part of. This article talks about speculation regarding galaxy formation. Jan Cox stressed that the sincere seeker always pushed both for self-knowledge and knowledge of the world (he used the word cosmology.) Both are necessary for personal evolution and I suspect he would have approved of the idea these paths converge: psychology and cosmology. And we are always facing the unknown.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Antiquaries

Before there were modern historians, there were antiquaries. From 1400 to 1800, in Europe, these scholars discovered and  examined carved stones, architectural features, old books. They had no idea how these things might be connected to answer questions about the builders, carvers, painters whose products they examined. Their own universe was firmly planted and considered timeless. Their finds were a source of interest, amazement, and reflected a collector's zeal and preservationist's scruples. 

A similar intellectual landscape prevails in modern science. Without questioning, mostly, their positivistic bearings, these figures point out exciting strange phenomena and refuse to consider questions of boundaries, of gaps, of edges. 

A difference is that the antiquaries did not pretend their research answered all the important questions.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Oh Bosch!

This story about the Bosch accreditation board certifiying another Bosch could remind one of the difference between the mind and the body. What matters is not what happened, it is what the Board says happened. Yeah, kind of.