Monday, September 16, 2013

Cosmo-Economics and the Metaphysics of Surprise

Same post, just a better title. It's all I had time for today...

If the second law of thermodynamics -- i.e., the inevitable drift toward entropy -- is true, why then do so many processes wind up instead of winding down?

For example, we are told that the cosmos starts off in a state of such maxed out order that it will someday be possible to reduce its recipe to a simple equation or discrete tattoo.

And yet, the cosmic story doesn't end in an abyss of dissipation, nor arrive in a land of bland randomness. To the contrary: here we are as laughing proof, hosting the most irreducibly complex object in the entire universe right inside our very skulls.

Speaking of the guffah-HA! experience, this weekend I stumbled across a scientific explanation of it in Kahneman's provocative but not mandatory Thinking, Fast and Slow.

It has to do with the sudden intuition of a hidden coherence between seemingly unrelated words and concepts. When this occurs, "measurements of electrical activity in the muscles of your face" will detect "a slight smile."

He doesn't go into what happens with the experience of a BIG coherence -- the biggest of all known as God -- but the impression of coherence "appears to be mildly pleasurable in itself." No kidding.

And it can also work the other way around, a point we have made on many occasion, e.g., how a depressed mood dismantles our pneumacognitive links and plunges us into a space of lesser dimension.

Thus, there is explicit humor in this blog, but the most important comedy is implicit, always revolving around the inexhaustible punchline -- meaning it never gets old -- of cosmic wholeness. For it is written:

Lesson! My yokes are easy, my words enlight. Beholied!

At any rate, this question of complexification, of "winding up," is of course one of the recurring motifs of the ink and pulp version of the blog. One fine day, after nine or ten billion years of matter just doing what matter does, it suddenly comes to life. Wo. Didn't see that coming.

Then, just as suddenly, life becomes self-reflective and enters a higher-dimensional space of truth, beauty, virtue, luv, laffs, wholeness, etc. And in the past few posts we've been discussing how man's economic condition suddenly vaults into a new space some 300 years ago, again, after thousands of years of stasis. In each case, the system breaks out of order and into a higher realm. But how?

All you metaphysical Darwinians and other tenured apes out there, why engage in the auto-pullwoolery of pretending to understand? In your case you really do need to read Thinking, Fast and Slow, because you're all laboring under a lazy and simplistic narrative fallacy, a theory-induced blindness resulting in the illusion of understanding, all revolving around a substitute heuristic (in which you totally beg the question of what Life is) and instead persist in your deluded state of WYSIATI (What You See Is All There Is).

Or, as Gilder describes it, you need to abandon your "futilitarian, zero-sum view of the universe," which "reduces credulous biologists and neuroscientists to the intellectual penury of a materialist superstition that denies the objective significance of their own scientific thinking." So, crawl out from under your academic crock and into the light!

For the cosmos -- the real cosmos, not your dead and hollowed out abstraction of it -- "is an engine of ideas, an information system, like an economy." (Although I would put it the other way around: a functioning economy is a microcosmos.) "It is a singularity full of detailed and improbable information. It is a 'super-surprise.'"

Again: it is the ultimate guffah-HA! experience.

You might be asking yourself: how is all this cosmic happy talk, this odious pneumababbling, different from merely deepaking the chopra? Well, for starters, it results in conclusions that are exactly the opposite of his Obama-worshiping liberal fascism. For

"The supply side, with all its intricacies of goods and services, commands far more information than the homogeneous money-dominated demand side." Top-down order "means lack of surprise and absence of creativity." Which is precisely why Obama's LoFo base of useful idiots is so surprised at his economic failures. But that's not surprise -- rather, the opposite. Nor is the joke funny to its victims.

Now, we do need order in order for the order to yield upside surprisal. However, this order must be at the "bottom," so to speak -- better, the foundation -- not imposed at the top by an all-powerful state. But the left specializes in imposing order at the top, while destroying it at the bottom, resulting in social and economic disorder.

The stable, low-entropy order includes such things as "moral codes, constitutional restraints, personal discipline, educational integrity, predictable laws, reliable courts, stable money, trustworthy finance, strong families, dependable defense, and police powers," not to mention sane and sober leadership and orthodox religious beliefs. This is where the real exceptions of American exceptionalism lay.

Thus, "All the surprising singularities of creative capitalism depend on the boring regularities of political order.... The entire saga of the history of the West conveys the courage and sacrifice necessary to enforce and defend these values against their enemies."

In short, conservatives defend the Permanent Things so as to engender real hope for improvement in one's material circumstance, and to facilitate benevolent change, i.e. progress. Conversely, progressives poison the conditions of progress at the root. They undermine and denigrate the Permanent Things that make progress possible, replacing them with their relativistic fantasies and malignant dreams.


Blogger mushroom said...

For the cosmos -- the real cosmos, not your dead and hollowed out abstraction of it ...

Dead things are so much easier to dissect, like looking for the keys under the lamppost.

9/16/2013 11:45:00 AM  
Blogger James Sheives said...

I may be revealing my simplistic understanding of entropy and order, but it seems to me entropy can be slowed or reversed by forces acting on the system. In the case of the early universe this force was gravity, which 'pulled together' the slightly ordered cosmos into higher order and eventually created sold material objects. In the same way in can be said that vertical reality acts as a force on human systems to create order from chaos.

9/16/2013 04:03:00 PM  
Blogger ge said...

It's hard to be off-topic when entropy and humour are being dealt with, so, anyone else got-getting the new Pynchon? Said to be his funn[i]est though revolving around NYC 9/11... seems he is a bit anarcho-leftier than anyone need be. I have been bit by a just 'read the reviews' & save a dollar bug: must have seen 2 dozen this week! 68% positive

9/16/2013 04:12:00 PM  
Blogger Peyton said...

James, I think entropy operates in a closed system. The materialist world is a closed system -- gravity is part of the closure. The Vertical operates from outside the system, according to Its own (non-materialistic) designs -- and gives us freedom to co-operate with Itself. Hence the movement toward -- and the desire for -- entropy is (randomly???) thwarted.

9/16/2013 04:19:00 PM  
Blogger James Sheives said...

Ahhhh... yes that makes sense. So, is that's Bob's point,that there MUST be a force (the Vertical) acting on our system to explain the 'surprise' order?

9/16/2013 05:01:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I don't think it explains any particular surprise per se; rather, it explains the fact of surprisal. The attractor functions as a lure that both destabilizes the existing order and pulls it toward a higher integration.

9/16/2013 05:23:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I say this because it is very "experience near," and describes emotional, cognitive, and spiritual growth, so it must apply to other domains as well.

9/16/2013 05:25:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

... assuming the higher explains the lower, rather than vice versa.

9/16/2013 05:26:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Obama being a malignant narcissist, it stands to reason he would also be a malignant dreamer, but an excellent link that connects the dots irt Obama and Putin.

9/16/2013 05:45:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

One could say that the beginning of wisdom is the opposite of WYSIATI.
Particularly since it's missing an n, or (n), as in "what you see is NOT all there is." The n connoting wisdom, of course.

9/16/2013 05:50:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Thus, there is explicit humor in this blog, but the most important comedy is implicit, always revolving around the inexhaustible punchline

One of the reasons, I'm sure, that the Bible continues to be the number one best seller...

9/16/2013 06:42:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

This book, America 3.0, is quite interesting so far, and a great complement to Gilder. It focuses on the low-entropy channels that have made America so exceptional, in particular, our unique conception of the family. Thus, it also dovetails nicely with our cosmic thesis that the trimorphic family is the hinge of psychopneumatic evolution. And the authors are quite optimistic that we will eventually recover from the present crisis via a recovery of American values, and that, one way or another, the malevolent progressive fantasy of America 2.0 is over. They're just the last to know. You might say that Obama represents the crest of a wave that can now only crash.

9/17/2013 09:14:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

America 2.0 -- nice theory, wrong species.

They thirst.

9/17/2013 10:11:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

2.0 "worked" for awhile, for the same reason that drugs do. As they say, you can try to drown your troubles with booze, but they eventually learn how to swim.

Obama has drowned us in debt, but economic reality definitely knows how to swim.

9/17/2013 10:16:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

The best defense I've seen of Obamacare now is that Medicare was a wreck at the beginning.

So the defense is that it is 'inevitable'? Sounds like the rigor and zeal of 'Progress' has given way to the torpor of exhaustion... one might suppose that having so long used Post-modernism as a weapon, the Left is now surprised to find that they have polluted our psychological and social space with it to the extent that they will succumb also to its ill effects.

9/17/2013 11:38:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

As the Schuon book in the sidebar is by Cutsinger, thought I'd send this link caught recently of an interview with Cutsinger...if you haven't seen it. Some interesting parts -- especially his mention of Owen Barfield's concept of "figuration" (I think that's what he's saying) which begins around 5:30 in:

A Conversation on Orthodoxy and Modern Science

9/17/2013 01:26:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

Here is the book by Barfield that Cutsinger mentions. Wonder if you've read it, Bob, or other things by Barfield.

Saving the Appearances: A Study in Idolatry

9/17/2013 01:29:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, read it a couple of times. I can't help thinking it's a little overrated, although I guess it was somewhat of a landmark in its day.

9/17/2013 02:07:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

BTW, I read it the second time because I didn't seem to get out of it everything that was supposedly in it. Still didn't.

9/17/2013 02:10:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

Ok. Thanks, Bob.

9/17/2013 02:20:00 PM  

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