Why are we here, An essay provoked by Golem XIv´s David Malones latest Documentary Series.
At all breaking points in life there is one question to ask: what would love do now?
Love is not to retain the best of the other – but the best of your self.
”I would define the episteme retrospectively as the strategic apparatus which permits of separating out from among all the statements which are possible those that will be acceptable within, I won’t say a scientific theory, but a field of scientificity, and which it is possible to say are true or false. The episteme is the ‘apparatus’ which makes possible the separation, not of the true from the false, but of what may from what may not be characterised as scientific.” Michel Foucault.
´´I used to teach an informal course for psychiatric residents in the Veterans Administration Hospital at Palo Alto, trying to get them to think some of the thoughts that are in these essays. They would attend dutifully and even with intense interest to what I was saying, but every year the question would arise after three or four sessions of the class: “What is this course all about?” I tried various answers to this question. Once I drew up a sort of catechism and offered it to the class as a sampling of the questions which I hoped they would be able to discuss after completing the course. The questions ranged from “What is a sacrament? ‘ to “What is entropy? ” and “What is play? ” As a didactic manoeuvre, my catechism was a failure: it silenced the class. But one question in it was useful: A certain mother habitually rewards her small son with ice cream after he eats his spinach. What 2 additional information would you need to be able to predict whether the child will: a. Come to love or hate spinach, b. Love or hate ice cream, or c. Love or hate Mother? We devoted one or two sessions of the class to exploring the many ramifications of this question, and it became clear to me that all the needed additional information concerned the context of the mother ‘ s and son’s behaviour. In fact, the phenomenon of context and the closely related phenomenon of “meaning ” defined a divisionbetween the “hard” sciences and the sort of science which I was trying to build. Gradually I discovered that what made it difficult to tell the class what the course was about was the fact that my way of thinking was different from theirs. A clue to this difference came from one of the students. It was the first session of the class and I had talked about the cultural differences between England and America—a matter which should always be touched on when an Englishman must teach Americans about cultural anthropology. At the end of the session, one resident came up. He glanced over his shoulder to be sure that the others were all leaving, and then said rather hesitantly, “I want to ask a question.” “Yes.” “It’s— do you want us to learn what you are telling us? ” I hesitated a moment, but he rushed on with, “Or is it all a sort of example, an illustration of something else?” “Yes, indeed! ” But an example of what´?´´.GregoryBateson.
Steps to an Ecology of Mind : Gregory Bateson
´´As an empiricist I continue to think of the conceptual scheme of science as a tool, ultimately, for predicting future experience in the light of past experience. Physical objects are conceptually imported into the situation as convenient intermediaries — not by defnition in terms of experience, but simply as irreducible posits18b comparable, epistemologically, to the gods of Homer. Let me interject that for my part I do, qua lay physicist, believe in physical objects and not in Homer’s gods; and I consider it a scientifc error to believe otherwise.´´ http://www.ditext.com/quine/quine.html
Entering a new age?Prof Alberti observed: “The reason these changes are important is because they change ecosystem function, therefore they have implications for human well-being.”This is because those changes affect, for example, biodiversity but also nutrient cycling, seed dispersal and water purification.”Prof Alberti and colleagues suggested that these changes meant that the alteration in the functions performed by the species, such as food production or the prevention of the spread of infectious diseases, would also be modified.”There have been a lot of studies on individual cities but there had been no studies that considered the global picture to identify a global urbanisation influence on evolution,” she added.”We live on an urban planet already. This is a change. that has implications for where we are heading in the future.”We are changing the evolution of Earth and urbanisation has a role, a signifcant role, in that.”
´´Modern man claims that he will believe nothing unless it is unassailable by doubt; Descartes, Kant, John Stuart Mill and Bertrand Russell have unanimously taught him this. They leave us no grounds for accepting any tradition. But we see now that science itself can be pursued and transmitted to succeeding generations only within an elaborate system of traditional beliefs and values, just as traditional beliefs have proved indispensable throughout the life of society. What can one do then? The dilemma is disposed of by continuing to profess the right of absolute self-determination in political theory and relying on the guidance of tradition in political practice´´.
CHARLES SANDERS PEIRCE: ´´In order toreason well …. it is absolutely necessary to possess … such virtuesas intellectual honesty and sincerity and a real love of truth (2.82). The cause [of the success of scientificinquirers] has been that the motive which has carried them to the laboratory and the field has been a craving toknow how things really were … (1-34).[Genuine inquiry consists I in diligent inquiry into truth for truth’s sake(1.44), … in actually drawing the bow upon truth withintentness in the eye, with energy in the arm (1.235). [When] it is no longer the reasoning which determineswhat the conclusion shall be, but … the conclusion which determines what the reasoning shall be … this is sham reasoning…. The effect of this shamming is that men come to look upon reasoning as mainly decorative…´´. http://web.ncf.ca/ag659/308/Peirce-Rorty-Haack.pdfPierces seminal essay How to make our ideas clear is also a great starting off point for embracing such truth as we might be fortunate enough to encounter in our allotted time on this blue marble suspended in eternity.http://www.peirce.org/writings/p119.html
“Three modes of evolution have thus been brought before us: evolution by fortuitous variation, evolution by mechanical necessity, and evolution by creative love. We may term them tychastic evolution, or tychasm, anancastic evolution, or anancasm, and agapastic evolution, or agapasm. The doctrines which represent these as severally of principal importance we may term tychasticism, anancasticism,and agapasticism. On the other hand the mere propositions that absolute chance, mechanical necessity, and the law of love are severally operative in the cosmos may receive the names of tychism, anancism, and agapism.” — C. S. Peirce, 1893
19 thoughts on “Why are we here, An essay provoked by Golem XIv´s David Malones latest Documentary Series.”
on September 29, 2019 at 12:24 pm said:
I do not try to convince anyone of anything.
I do not say anyone is wrong in the totality of any claims which they make including yourself.
What I do ask for is the evidence and the reasoned arguments posited with the aid of those arguments and that data.
These are very complex systems and the binary and proscriptive tone adopted by many who attach themselves to the tribal polarities generates more heat than light.
The insistence that arguments have been carried by evidence when patently that is not the case are rather tedious. The CO2 arguments detract particularly from the environmental arguments and the arguments related to resource depletion and exhaustion of other organic systems.
The criticisms I have of the intellectual dishonesty regularly displayed now in these discussions at Tims excellent blog here remain.
Have a great Sunday.
Steven B Kurtz
on September 29, 2019 at 3:29 pm said:
Wilber, despite being brilliant in some areas, has for decades assumed that non-physical/energetic things exist. He is far from alone, as theologians and some philosophers have done so for millennia. As appealing as those positions are to Homo superstitious (estimated 80+%), there is zero shareable evidence for such stuff. The attempted ‘proofs’ I’ve seen are either circular or tautological. https://www.logicallyfallacious.com/tools/lp/Bo/LogicalFallacies/66/Circular-Reasoning.
Similar techniques have been used by those claiming disembodied mind and panpsychism. An Australian author, Reg Morrison, has written about mysticism as an evolved trait which has outgrown its usefulness now that we’ve become too successful. (overshoot) See:
on September 29, 2019 at 4:17 pm said:
We do know of one non-physical, non-energetic thing that does exist – thought.
Moreover, the idea that mysticism (or anything beyond the tangible) has been rendered obsolete by advances in our knowledge seems to put a lot of faith in the concept of ‘advance’.
I’m not a subscriber to any established religion, but I certainly don’t dismiss the concept that there might be ‘something beyond us’. Perhaps the most rigorous philosophical investigation of this topic, carried out many years ago by a retired judge, concluded (a) that there probably is a driving intelligence behind the universe, but (b) that this is likely to bear no resemblance at all to the Deity postulated by religion. For one thing, this intelligence is likely to be subjective (akin to our subconscious minds), not objective (like our conscious minds). It might thus be likened to a “highest law of science”.
Steven B Kurtz
on September 29, 2019 at 4:29 pm said:
Energy is physical. If anyone can evidence non-caloric thought, a Nobel likely awaits!
on September 30, 2019 at 5:06 am said:
Your comment is awaiting moderation.
Ken Wilber is an interesting Philosopher and Psychologist I find his ideas interesting. Rupert Sheldrake’s theory of Morphic Resonance is very interesting as well, and one which I believe has much to recommend it.
Regarding Philosophy of Mind, it is a huge subject and my own interests tend towards the work of Wittgenstein and Linguistics. Ultimately I am though most persuaded by the Father of American Pragmatism CS Pierce.
Here is a link to my Essay, why are we here which I wrote in reaction to David Malones Documentary series of the same title,
In all matters epistemological and philosophical I demure ultimately to C S Pierce and this made up quote from ´We Pragmatists ´
CHARLES SANDERS PEIRCE: ´´In order to reason well …. it is absolutely necessary to possess … such virtues as intellectual honesty and sincerity and a real love of truth (2.82). The cause [of the success of scientificinquirers] has been that the motive which has carried them to the laboratory and the field has been a craving to know how things really were … (1-34).[Genuine inquiry consists I in diligent inquiry into truth for truth’s sake(1.44), … in actually drawing the bow upon truth with intentness in the eye, with energy in the arm (1.235). [When] it is no longer the reasoning which determines what the conclusion shall be, but … the conclusion which determines what the reasoning shall be … this is sham reasoning…. The effect of this shamming is that men come to look upon reasoning as mainly decorative…´´. http://web.ncf.ca/ag659/308/Peirce-Rorty-Haack.pdfPierces seminal essay How to make our ideas clear is also a great starting off point for embracing such truth as we might be fortunate enough to encounter in our allotted time on this blue marble suspended in eternity.http://www.peirce.org/writings/p119.html
Davids Documentary is available on Curiosity stream. David and I are good friends and you may be familiar with some of his other Documentary Work for BBC Horizon ( Icon Earth) or Independently (Dangerous Knowledge) or of his Father Adrian Malone, Cosmos with Carl Sagan and The Age of Uncertainty with GK Galbraith.
Here is a link to My trilogy of Poems which informs my Novel Conquest fo dough which I have also made a web site for also linked.
Getting back to Wilber the Paper by the late great Bernard Lietaer Integral money
is hugely en-riching and AQAL analysis of monetary perspectives bears much fruit
Jain Many Sidedness and Maimonides souces of Contradiction are equally helpful templates for Making our ideas clear.