on humanism and environmental crisis

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Subjectivity vs Objectivity vs Evolution

Subjectivity vs Objectivity vs Evolution.
http://www.lightouch.com/subjobj.htm:(Maureen Gamble 1998):
“Even Popper’s “World 3” suffers this shortcoming of the objectivity test in that the contents of books,          scientific theory or critical arguments change from century to century as our experience and perception of the phenomenological world change. Examine his example of proof for the existence and value of World 3 with a slight change. Imagine that all machines and tools are destroyed, and all our subjective learning, including our subjective knowledge of machines and tools and how to use them. Further imagine that all the books written since 1000 AD were also destroyed. Our ability to reestablish our civilization would be severely impacted by the inaccuracy and distortion of how the remaining information defines reality. We would, in effect, adopt the shared reality of that millennium as the basis for our facts, until the subjective experience of enough individuals and their interpretation of those experiences brought about another shift in our “scientific” awareness. We can quickly see that factual information is not, of itself, objective, but is a consensual description of subjective experiences.
British physicist-mathematician-astronomer Sir James Jeans (1877-1946) cogently defined science as “the earnest attempt to set in order the facts of experience” (142). He later observed that “Reality is in some sense constructed by the mind, not simply perceived by it, and many such constructions are possible, none necessarily sovereign” (143). Albert Einstein was abundantly aware of this aspect of scientific method. He observed that “our theories are inventions of our minds that we use for practical purposes, and that allow us to make comprehensible what is sensorily given. Fundamentally, in theory building we invent, and from our inventions infer, and then test for accuracy, economy, logical coherence, and scope” (34). It then follows that “theoretical systems”, an important inmate of Popper’s World 3, is actually a product of mind, and is inherently subjective by its very nature.
Those physicists, like Niels Bohr and Nick Herbert, who leapfrogged over Einstein to develop the concepts of quantum mechanics even propose that the distinction between subjective and objective is functionally non-existent. In The Holographic Universe, Michael Talbot explains that “there is compelling evidence that the only time quanta ever manifest as particles is when we are looking at them. For instance, when an electron isn’t being looked at, experimental findings suggest that it is always a wave” (34). Herbert comments that this interpretation has sometimes caused him to imagine that behind his back the world is always “a radically ambiguous and ceaselessly flowing quantum soup” (Talbot, 34). Reality, that ultimate test of objectivity, may only be an individual subjective experience created by our participation and observation. Our collective reality may be constructed and rearranged by our thoughts, intentions and expectations. In the light of this “new science”, the relative value of subjectivity versus objectivity, especially for the purpose of scientific investigation, seems to be as meaningless as the pre-Columbian debates over whether there were monsters at the edge of the known world or just a bottomless pit.”

Evolutionary Objectivity
My world is similar to the caveman’s world or my cat’s. Propelled by the evolution, it increased in complexity but it didn’t switch from the subjective to objective . Animal’s world is not dual , it is only mode they have, not subjective (sad dog is all materialistic), and not objective (the love for the master, fear and hunger are probably as real and brain produced as his food.) The animal has only one world- its own. It is real and reliable enough for the survival. I guess the more social is the animal the more “objectivity’ is in its world.
The same is with the infant- non-dual world- just with the human brain, comparing to the animal’s, the building of the understanding spreads like a wild fire. The relationships between emotions, behaviors and perception stimuli, quickly created by the repetition, are seen by an observer as the infant making sense of the world. More of the same and we talk about object permanence, then naming, and very soon the language- first receptive – at 6-12 months, and at 12 months – talking. When we observe this process – and, as a pediatrician, I am doing this daily for the last 40 years- we compare it instinctively or scientifically- to our own making sense of the world.
It is the process of splitting the world from nondual, animal type of the world, into our world, with the division into the personal world, “subjectivity’ and the real world, “objectivity”. This process is very gradual- both in phylogeny and ontogeny. This is the process, which is absent in animals, or almost absent? We do not remember going through it – is it a coincidence , that we do not remember the events occurring in the first two years of life?
The subjective world for the animal “feels’ like real, only world. The same for a child, the same for a caveman , for a shaman in trance, for a schizophrenic with hallucinations, and probably during the dreaming.

But the child grows fast in the hypersocial, human world. She learns from mom, dad , others. The behaviors, the images repeat themselves, becoming consistent, they are beginning to feel normal and “out there” . The child learns to use this world, rely on it, it is fool-proof, real, only world.
In comparison the subjectivity recedes towards the personal , emotional, infamously unreliable place. “ I like it today, I’ll hate it tomorrow, I remember today, I’ll forget this tomorrow- it is annoying and everybody has different take on it. We see things differently, we disagree,” nobody understands me” etc. And now the science and the technology drive more nails into the coffin of the subjective world. If a drunk shaman sings the story, it is one thing, but if millions of white-coated geniuses tell their story, how can you compare this with your toothache.” These are facts and here are you with your misery…and they do not mix.”
It is not enough to say that the observer influences the results of observations. It is not enough to suspect that we do not know about things but only about observations ( it means somebody’s observations). It is more: the things are like they are observed. The philosophers often go half way: “we can not pierce through the veil of the perception”, the “noumena”: they are unobservable phenomena, “everything is seen through the lens of the our senses”. How about : “there is nothing beyond the veil”, there are no “noumena”, “the buck stops at the lens” .
The things are how we see them. Seeing creates the things. There is my universe. This universe tells me that you created a similar one, and you and you and you. But there is no Nobody’s universe.

My Universe is all I have.
It is rather strange place: it is real, solid ,scientific , but it changes. When I learn something it expands, for example- the rhetoric analysis is new thing, also my new tennis shoes. When I forget something- some chinese words, for example, it shrinks. All is real, no division into subjective and objective, all real, but some things are more solid than other, some more reliable than others. The beauty of it is its simplicity; to accept this concept , you do not need to reject anything or believe in anything.
It is just my weird interpretation of the evolution of the nervous system, of my understanding of the complexity .
Every organism builds its own world with its nervous system. The reason for its existence is to direct non-random actions of the organism. Non-random actions (one can call them behaviors) have evolutionary advantage over the random actions. All the organism does is to try to improve these behaviors. The nervous system has to remember them and then attempt to improve them, failure to do it means death. Therefore the organism is programmed to be rewarded for birth and punished for death. The improved behaviors have to “remember’ all previous stages , therefore are by definition more and more complex.
This part is simple as we have the reasonable language to describe it. Of course for this sequence to make sense, the events prior to the creation of the nervous system, have to follow the same algorithm. Even more tricky is the more recent history , when more complex organisms started to reflect on themselves and name different behaviors as they would have possessed different nature. This sure pleased the complexity principle, but it created an awful philosophical and spiritual mess.
I guess people always treated solid things as solids and reliable and shifty things as “subjective”. The division of the world into objective and subjective was the biggest mistake of all. As the initial quotation suggest , Einstein and other scientists, all knew it. But why normal people do not? Nick Herbert felt like behind his back was a flowing soup of quanta. It is not radical enough. Nothing moves behind, the things, or whatever it is behind, do not move. The time , the space, the matter, and the movement are the categories or dimensions or whatever we decided to name and use them as such.
In “The book on the taboo against knowing who you are” Alan Watts tells us about similar world, but more esoteric, mystical and eastern, based on Vedanta. I say that only personal worlds exists, he says that there is no person. He hoped that just a small shift in understanding can change us and the world. He was famous, wrote 20 books, he died in 1973 and nobody knows about him anymore. No shift happened, for sure.
For millennia we were not bothered much by not knowing what we do not know, why now?
The reasons I come up with are feeble and strange. One is that the developments in neuroscience and the knowledge about the evolution of the nervous system made it accessible for such a dilettante as me.
The other , even stranger, almost messianic, is that we urgently need a new metaphor. This new metaphor has three parts:
1. Our understanding of the world is just a metaphor, like the fish’s understanding of the fast , huge object with the open jaw and a lot of teeth, is just a metaphor. For the fish this metaphor doesn’t appear in the language but in the form of the neural network in its brain, and it is also fish’s real world, the only one it has. In our understanding we’ll keep going further and deeper and faster and more beautiful and this is the world for each of us.
2. Beyond our understanding it is an” immobile soup of pre-quanta” and is not behind my back but all around when I half-close my eyes. It has no characteristics, not eternal, neither powerful, like math equation endlessly complex as a possibility, but completely determined, as this is this, and not that, and I am I, and not you. It may even not exist, maybe this is this because we call it “this”? It (literally!) does not matter.
3. In a paradox , the image of our universe being determined and immobile, allows for the image of the journey. We name and explore and categorise and it looks like a trend. It looks like our fate/purpose/system is to figure things out. This trend is the clear part of the evolutionary algorithm, “improve behavior or die”. It can , in different words, ( Llinas’” I of the vortex”) be extended to the evolution of the pre-neuron systems , even pre-life systems.
Can it also be told to the modern world, through the metaphor, through the language powerful enough to save us? If we take away our real, crazy, dying world, and leave humans with Herbert’s personal observations in front, and quanta soup behind everybody, will it be enough? Or in my version, if we leave everybody with his or her personally build world, which we share with others, with the soup of pre-dimensional, immobile forces around us when we half-close the eyes , and nothing else? Linda says that the metaphor of “there is no Nobody’s Universe” doesn’t work. Ok, but how to replace it?
The other metaphor is of the tapestry of our personal worlds, connected like brain’s neurons, all of them, since the beginning of the Universe until the end. There is really no movement there just the view changes–like the image of the fractal equation- this is this and that is that.
Well, so what? If we accept this crazy hypothesis, that here is no nobody’s Universe and
everybody has personal real, solid Universe , so what? Does it help us in the real world, does it tells us what to do, how to act?

Aside

TER (towards evolutionary reality)- the concepts of time and explicitness

Many complicated concept are greatly simplified and demystified.

The time.

The Universe is still. It is such  and such, mathematically pure and complete.

It is completely implicit, no communications, no axioms, conventions, paradigms.

As I am trying to understand it , I am doing it in the way my mind allows me to do it.

I am naming , making sense, categorising, communicating.

This creates my Universe, the only reality I can get.

I have been creating this and learning about this reality since birth.

Now, almost 70 year old, I believe that that process is common for all beings.

All beings who have nervous system,  create their Universes with the a marked degree of explicitness.

It is possible to prove this by examining their nervous system and find  some description of the reality or understanding.

As we would use our mind for this investigations, we’d find that even very primitive  beings

would “use’ two categories very familiar for us.

1. good-bad category

2. Level of intensity category.

Both of them contain the concept of time in them:

1. “Good” means – live longer- means- bigger number of behaviors/ experiences/ choices/units of understanding/ chances to multiply between birth and death.

2. “Intensity” divides immediately into the energy concentration, distance( space) and time.

This will tell how many of these behaviors can be packed between birth and death.

So, so simple- this is the origin and nature of time in the intellicentrism. Without doing something, without understanding, making sense of something what is time good for.

Remember: there is no Nobody Universe!

The explicitness.

Simple behaviors/experiences/units of understanding shift from implicit to explicit rapidly.

In one pocket you have 2 dollars and in other also 2. Your being 4 dollars worth is completely implicit. Then , ka-boom- you pulled them out – everybody sees 4 dollars, or you just say “ I have 4 dollars” or  just 2+2= 4. or you scribble this on the blackboard- whatever you do – the shift to explicit is rapid and complete. The communication is full across very broad social spectrum. At least most humans , excluding the infants and imbecils, will get it. You feel kind of strange- implicit- then you think- I know , I am hungry!- more explicit, but except for you and your wife, nobody knows. Then you shout”I am hungry”, then you tweet it to the whole Universe, then additionally you gesture ‘ mangiare, mangiare”- more and more explicit. But the concept is more complex and communication less complete, less explicit. (see also “implicit and explicit worldviews”)

With the evolutionary march of complexity, the level of the explicity is very important. The animal’s expression of its life purpose  is mostly implicit- it is the sum of its behaviors experienced by its parents, mates , offsprings and the rest of the social group. Very, very few of these behaviors have the characteristics of communication, even fewer , of the metaphor.

But still, the nervous system has the ability to mushroom complexity relatively easily by increase of explicity, that the other systems of the nature just have no chance. The development of the metaphor, then language, then the culture, then reflective thinking, is so energetically cheap that the rest of the all life systems(eyes, necks, crocodiles, birds and monkeys, civilizations, et caetera, et caetera ) practically stop evolving.

Also, most of the systems have clear evolutionary constrains:

the neck can be only so long – see giraffe’s dilemma,

the brain can be only so large- see pelvic dilemma,

the  population can be only so large- see Malthus, or year 2050 dilemma.

But explicity? Can you see the limits of the depth of communication, closiness of relationships, or how much you understand or love? And all of these with the shift of the hierarchy of the few synapses and a smile.

Philosophy Network “On social engineering”

All of us “philosophers” share the love for broader perspective and for asking big questions.
This make us;
1. closer to the human nature, inquisitive and good.
2. seeing more misery and more hope in the same time.
So, we all have an urge to be social engineers , and we are scare of it , because of the terrible mistakes humankind made.(and is making)
To make this great meeting of minds beneficial, maybe we can agree on some broad principle of doing it , but doing it safely?

I am a pediatrician, so every day , when I tell kids and parents to read books and turn off tv, I do some social engineering, don’t I?
I am also a host of the web site, which encourages building and sharing of the personal worldview (philozophy.com) Well , nobody’s doing it, so this is an example of failed social engineering….

How about starting with 3 points safe social engineering:

A. promote education, reading, thinking
B. promote communication- discussions, cultural exchange, nonviolent communication.
C. promote individuality, being your own person, critical thinking.
..

TER (towards evolutionary reality) and Nobody’s Universe

The evolution determines why and how we try to figure out this world – with the brain, the heart and the soul. “Nobody’s” emphasizes the illusion, created by the evolution, the science and the religion- that we live, each of us lonely, in the huge, unknown foreign Nobody’s -or God’s Universe. If so, you and me with our senses and our intellect could just clumsily collect its random and tiny, meaningless samples  And this would be our life.

But, there is no Nobody’s Universe.

 

The animal’s nervous system creates a small universe around this animal. This “ reality” around it provides the best possible set of data to secure animal’s goals, which can be translated into human language as happiness. or well being or understanding.

The animals brain is small but very efficient. It ”knows” only what is necessary, like DNA “remembers” only what is needed, the rest is discarded by merciless evolution.  For the animal’s genes, it translates as “survival and continuation’, for the scientists looking at this animal it translates as the source of increase of complexity, the “factory” where the energy is consumed and the information is produced.

  The TEO sees this animal’s universe as one of the myriads of the single organism’s universes, past, present and future. We should look at the World as Personal Universe, constructed exactly the way this animal’s small universe was constructed. Build from birth for happiness, built “from the scratch”, by the developing nervous system. In the process of trying to understand this , we humans divided the functions of our nervous system into perception, thinking, memory, instincts, feelings, dreams, consciousness and others. We categorized endlessly the data (actually the stories) into “reality”, “truth”,”myths” or “faith”.

We humans are hyper-social , so we used in the building process the data from our nervous system and the data from the nervous system of others. The tight mix of data begins from the baby’s first perception of the mother’s smile (“what’s the heck is that? It sure resonates deeply and feels good”) and ends at the death bed. Our Universes overlap, creating a wonderful , eternal tapestry of the personal worlds. They overlap and mingle across the World , but also into the past and in the future.

 

We live in  the World of the Evolutionary Objectivity. It is real and solid and following all rules of science. It is also mine and yours, our personal worlds intertwined as the complex mixture of perceptions, thoughts and feelings, some shared some not. They are felt and understood exactly as the evolution made the communication, the information, the function of the nervous system to be felt and understood for eons.

 

Each of us, me ,you and you and you, has been building this World since birth as the source of the pride, responsibility and concern.

Evo-ob belongs to each being completely….and separately.

Why would we need anything else,? Who and how and why would make anything else?

There is no Nobody’s Universe.

 

The implicit worldview and the explicit worldview

Explicit and implicit worldview,

The World is trying to define itself. We witness the paroxysms of the violence of the heroism , the faith and nihilism. But all of that is nothing else but the sum of each human personal struggle.
People define themselves by living their lives, and desperately trying to make sense of it.
For millennia some of them attempt to express this in literature, art and music.
The philosophers distilled that to several basic categories, represented by the infamous “Big Questions”.
This is the worldview.It is how you see the World, your opinions, your attitude and your guts. In the innate, experiential form, or implicit form- it is in the everybody’s bones.
In the modern times ,as more and more people, are educated, reflective, even obsessed with mindfulness and examining your own mind, the explicit (written down) worldview become more popular.
The domain of philosophers, religious doctrines and scientific theories become the object of the TED talks, self-improvement books or even party conversation.
In the Philozophy.com we are trying to encourage and help an ordinary thinking person to work on his or hers worldview. We think that the answer, or as Vidal call it-”position”, should be short enough to be easily digested and compared with others, but long enough to be meaningful and personal- yours. We arbitrarily decided on the wording of each question, but we included alternative wording or “sub-questions”.
These statements , if they feel yours and true, we believe, can be the very important signposts in your journey to live full and good life.
And if we put them together on the Philozophy.com – we’ll build a smarter planet.

End of Materialism on Philosophy Network

1.1.2014

The Evolution explains the origins and the function of the nervous system.

In the pre- NS world, the interplay between the environment and the organism determines the survival. With increased complexity of the organism, the repertoire of the adaptive reactions increased both in spatial and in the temporal realms.

In pre-NS world the changes of the environment and organisms adaptive reactions are random.

To relate these environment’s  changes to organism’s action you need the behavior.

The behavior includes the information about the environment’s changes (the niche) the ways to remember them , the organism’s action and the way to remember it. Intent/ reward system is also included very early. The evolutionary benefits of processing and of organizing these data, “ pushed”  the development of the nervous system.

So, as I understand this, the content of the organism’s nervous system are these information pieces or neural networks organised in systems  being actually behaviors. This is organism’s Universe with the intent/reward system unifying them into an agent, (in more complex organisms, it become “I” or consciousness).

These Universes overlap , as the experiences overlap, depending on the complexity and socialization  of the organism. This is so simple , especially comparing to the Quantum- everything world. Well, with the Human World it is slightly more complicated , as we are v.v. complex and v.v. hypersocial- so we created from those overlapping experiences  a “Nobody’s Universe”, we call real.

I do not believe such a thing exists.  Any animal’s Universe is perfectly real, and My Universe is real. Animal’s do not have any need to burden their nervous system with Nobody’s Universe, the evolutionary process would not allow for it, and I can’t think how the humans could have grown one.  Instead of Subjective vs Objective World, I have one, real My World, with some things more personal  , not overlapping  much, others- heavily overlapped.

Meditation 2014

The meditation becoming a delightful tool of my intellectual journey.

Most people, I think, see meditation as a spiritual practice, but I do not.

It allows me to be more mindful and more grateful.

It gives me peace of mind, new perspectives and new insights.

It is a lot.. and no signs of spirituality ( don’t you need to deal with Spirits???)

It helps me to demystify my mental functions, to see different shades of this function under the arbitrarily made subcategories- now  I am using my intellect, now the memory, now intent or soul or ego…

The meditation helped with my worldview, recently with the new name : intellicentrism.  It puts the reality upside- down and inside out, with meditating I feel that I am ok with it.