Tuesday, February 14, 2017

In Refutation of My Guru

Self image as metaphor for the soul.

Philosophy as a means of cultivating that soul.

This image is right angled to reality, crossing reality at a single point.

Space-time is an image of reality, a well and rigorously defined, but incomplete - literally due to the incompleteness of mathematics.

It's also a reduction, despite its elegance, but good enough because of the power it affords.

Something that is true is useful because you can prune away branches that are false. Falsity can be useful. This utility is independent of value, but it can help define it within an image of wisdom.

Some things are neither true nor false, but simply about other things. It is a choice in consciously constructing an honest self-message, associations made according to the goals we refine out of intuitive or pre-reflective ideas.

How much of each of us is there before cognitive function is set to work communicating that to ourselves and to others? If we are islands, then we connect as continents, deep in the cold wastes of the Plateau of Leng.

Leng is here both the ocean floor, and its equivalent in the depths of whatever nighted ocean surrounds the flickering light of science and reason.

Our image is reflected from its glassy black surface. What tides may pass or winds blow ere that image changes?

Separating ourselves from this reflection allows as to distinguish ourselves from the unknown unto which we gaze.

We are as much these images as what we suppose all this information and metadata to be. How we index and file, how much then rolls away into the tide, to cast ripples on our reflection? We fall into habits, and well-practised ticks.

We see it reflect in others, but the rules of the dance seem as yet irreducible to elegant equations and axioms. Whitehead once remarked that:
"Civilization advances by extending the number of important operations which we can perform without thinking of them."

I think rather that civilization advances by understanding what important operations we can perform thoughtlessly. 

Conditional knowledge needs references and consideration before acting on it, lest we commit the wrong act, given our best available understanding of the situation.

In order to be wisdom, knowledge requires truth so that we can accurately judge the next tree branch to catch, and reason not rigorously tested enough tends to be unreliable. 

It is no wonder then that few value knowledge where that knowledge enables them in ways that their intuition does not.

Ideas have a way of serving both one's immediate ends, and other, longer term goals. If they cannot immediately serve, they might come in useful for achieving a sub-goal later. 

Even stupid ideas can serve to steer us away from error. 

A world richly adorned in daemons and ghosts may indicate directions in which our images of self and reality do not yet go.

That souls do not exist should not trouble us anymore than the non-existence of trolls. 

That we can imagine souls and identify them with our selves should at least interest us where we seek to live wisely and well. 

Things don't need to exist in order to have truth or meaning. 

What should trouble us are the terrible depths of those great pacific oceans of pre-cognitive mind wherein lie the sunken cities of the nightmares that haunt our dreams.