Monday, February 11, 2019

Cosmic Area Rug Update

This is what I'm talking about. It's from a poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay that I bumped into the other day:

Upon this gifted age, in its dark hour / Rains from the sky a meteoric shower / Of facts... they lie unquestioned, uncombined. / Wisdom enough to leech us of our ill / Is daily spun, but there exists no loom / To weave it into fabric.

So, that's where we come in: a loom with a view toward weaving the threads into fabric, and fabric into rug. By the end of the week I will have gone through around 1,300 posts, so, less than 2,000 posts to go after that.

However, these newer posts might well take longer to review, since they will presumably be superior to the ones I've slogged through thus far. If they aren't better, then I think we can throw out the whole "10,000 hour" thingy.

We know all about "information management." What about "wisdom management"? That would be the purpose of the Cosmic Area Rug: you could just look at the rug and see where things fit in, and where everything relates to the whole encirclopedia of existence.

What? Yes, I am aware of the fact that it is an impossible undertaking. Why else would I try to do it? The possible is boring.

I recently read a book called Too Much to Know, which is essentially a history of man's information overload, which actually began long before the "information age." For example, Descartes lamented that

Even if all knowledge could be found in books, where it is mixed in with so many useless things and confusingly heaped in such large volumes, it would take longer to read those books than we have to live in this life and more effort to select the useful things than to find them oneself.

Too little time, too many tomes. And way before the Enlightenment there were already too many books; we read in Ecclesiastes 12:12 that "Of making many books there is no end, and much study is wearisome to the flesh."

Or Erasmus 500 years ago: "Is there anywhere on earth exempt from these swarms of new books? Even if, taken out one at a time, they offered something worth knowing, the very mass of them would be a serious impediment to learning..."

There was a time when man had insufficient information. But now there is so much that we can't cope with it -- indeed there is more new information produced in a year or two (or whatever it is) than all the information man has produced in the past.

But wisdom doesn't increase in a similarly exponential or even linear manner. Indeed, one could argue that by definition wisdom cannot increase, since it goes to essences -- to the very nature of things. Nor is it possible to have too much of it. Which is the only excuse for another book: my only promise is that it will be entirely free of information.


ZenGolfer said...

Thanks for the Update!!!

It's still good to hear from you from time-to-time - and I'm sure we all appreciate the degree of difficulty of what you're doing, etc.

Even this one simple post - gives me so much to think about!!!


Gagdad Bob said...

This book is the most difficult thing I've ever attempted.

Then again, I've never attempted anything truly difficult, in the sense of possibly being beyond my abilities. Most things just require time, self-discipline, and persistence. But in this case it's 50/50 that my reach exceeds my grasp.

doug saxum said...

Checking in
Are you a speed reader Bob?

ted said...

With all that content over the years, I would almost assume the book could write itself. But I get it. It's hard to say all that so simply.

Gagdad Bob said...

Must be concise, essential, universal, timeless, and amusing. For,

--Wordiness is not an excess of words, but a dearth of ideas.
--A few lines are enough to demonstrate a truth. Not even a library is enough to refute an error.
--Words do not communicate, they remind.
--In each moment, each person is capable of possessing the truths that matter.

Van Harvey said...

"We know all about "information management." What about "wisdom management"? That would be the purpose of the Cosmic Area Rug: you could just look at the rug and see where things fit in, and where everything relates to the whole encirclopedia of existence."

Sounds like what Myth (in the non pejorative, the tale being told, sense) used to do. Which the literalist - scientistic or brimstone slinger - snags, unravels, and deprives their society of.

julie said...

Wisdom enough to leech us of our ill / Is daily spun, but there exists no loom / To weave it into fabric.

Analogously, we have been working slowly on sorting out the sheer, overwhelming amount of stuff accumulated over decades between two households. On the one hand, it's a little like when galaxies "collide" - they appear to smash, but really there is so much space between stars that they pass by without danger of literally crashing into each other. Everything just keeps on as it is, only moreso, or something. On the other hand, it is a Sisyphean task of organizing, sorting, shuffle and reshuffle until eventually, in theory, there will be a Place for Everything; I suspect everything will not often be in its place.

Gagdad Bob said...

Speaking of timeless truth, an old post called Thomas Jefferson vs. Charles Darwin.

The cosmos isn't big enough for both, unless seen from the right side up. In short, there is ample room for the truth of natural selection in a divine cosmos, but no room for moral or political truth -- or any other kind, really -- in a wholly naturalistic one.

Gagdad Bob said...

Or this, from the subsequent post:

I have never had a feeling, politically, that did not spring from the sentiments embodied in the Declaration of Independence.... I would rather be assassinated on this spot than surrender it. --Abraham Lincoln

"Talk about a non-Darwinian sentiment! First, the absurd proposition -- indefensible on any scientific basis -- that all men are created equal (or even created). And then, the vow that he would prefer biological death -- indefensible on any Darwinian basis -- to abandoning this spiritual principle. But only because of a relative handful such great souls -- often mysteriously appearing in the right place at the right time -- has the nation survived in the form it has. Call it transnatural election."

Gagdad Bob said...

But one inevitable problem among the irreligious is that in rejecting religion, they detach themselves from the accumulated wisdom of so many generations. Wisdom, unlike scientific knowledge, is not subject to change, since it is very likely that the proposed change has already been tried and found wanting.

After all, this is how wisdom is won in the first place: through painful experience... Which in turn is why, no matter how much you warn them, each generation of young adolts with skulls full of mush will be attracted to leftism. For many it will be a mere flirtation, while for others it becomes a developmental arrest -- just a lifelong adolescent rebellion against reality and common sense.

America's founders were not just intelligent, but wise. Thankfully, they didn't just possess "scientific" knowledge, but had genuine insight into human nature. There is no contemporary psychology class they could have taken to acquire such wisdom....

The idea that truth was contingent or time-bound would have been rejected out of hand by the Founders. Nevertheless, "job one" of the left is to subvert truth in order to ultimately replace it with power (for it is either one or the other). As Watson explains, the Founders "had a principled understanding of natural rights, which were not to be culturally determined or time-bound or subject to infinite incremental growth, but applicable to all men everywhere and final."

.... for the Founders, no further evolution is possible, the reason being that in arriving at his own freedom, man has arrived at an absolute. What you do with it is up to you....

Just try asking a Darwinist why slavery is wrong, with recourse only to Darwinian principles. Does this mean that Darwinists are pro-slavery? Hardly. It just means that they have no universal and timelessly true argument against it -- just as they have no argument against infanticide, or government theft, or racial quotas, or death panels, or euthanasia, or the designated hitter, or anything else that is plainly wrong.

Gagdad Bob said...

"It's just too bad for the Confederacy that they were too occupied with the Civil War to know what was going on across the Atlantic with science, but if Darwin's magnum opiate for the scientistic masses had only come out a decade or so earlier (it was published in 1859), they would have had the perfect rejoinder to Lincoln's nonsense about natural rights and the dignity of man. There would have been no need for that silly war. Instead, we would now have the north living under the principles of the Founders, and the south living under the principles of Darwin."

julie said...

Ted has a post up today that is relevant here.

Quoting Ted,

"Where there was once a beautiful continuity and progress of all orders, e.g. between metaphysics, reason, revelation, theology, cosmology, etc, all now got reduced down to biological continuity. And if there was a God, He now got reduced from an object of knowledge to an object of experience (where there were no principles to render those experiences intelligible)."

Anonymous said...

Wisdom this: