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.

34 comments:

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!!!

ZG

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:

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/03/how-kleptocracy-came-to-america/580471/

Gagdad Bob said...

"The stupid are surprised by stupidity and the corrupt by corruption. The intelligent and the innocent are less easily disconcerted."

Anonymous said...

The intelligent and the innocent used to do something about it. Today their emotions rely on blaming the other stupid surprised guy, while they cling to their own.

Gagdad Bob said...

Random passage from an old post:

I just recently read What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848, and there is an instructive passage about the American intellectual consensus of the early 19th century, at the very time we began our ass-kicking world-historical ascent (and bear in mind that this is a secular scholar with no religious agenda whatsoever):

"As this chapter is written in the early twenty-first century, the hypothesis that the universe reflects intelligent design has provoked a bitter debate in the United States. How very different was the intellectual world of the early nineteenth century! Then, virtually everyone believed in intelligent design. Faith in the rational design of the universe underlay the worldview of the Enlightenment, shared by Isaac Newton, John Locke, and the American Founding Fathers....

"The commonly used expression 'the book of nature' referred to the universal practice of viewing nature as a revelation of God's power and wisdom. Christians were fond of saying that they accepted two divine revelations: the Bible and the book of nature." (Raccoons, of course, accept three, including the mirrorcle of the human subject.)

Gagdad Bob said...

"Howe goes on to say that the belief that nature revealed the divine power and wisdom 'constituted one of the principal motivations for scientific activity in the early republic, along with national pride, the hope for useful applications, and the joy of science itself.... The perceived harmony between religion and science worked to their mutual advantage with the public.'"

julie said...

I'm reminded of the lovely video Vanderleun posted recently showing the development of a salamander from single cell to tadpole stage, when it bursts through the fragile membrane that sustained it and enters into the next stage of its life.

Who, seeing the mystical transformation in action, can come away from it believing it could be merely accident? Funny, even as it reveals a secret never witnessed before the advent of modern science, it only renders the subject even more, not less, mysterious than before. And at the same time it tells the story of the cosmos: First, a single, complete, perfect, and undifferentiated whole, which is nevertheless perfectly incomplete. It is only through the process of diminishing, multiplying, differentiating and interacting that it becomes something. If we could go back and within every aspect of the "mechanics" behind the miracle of life, we would still never be able to properly understand what moves the cell to become a creature.

julie said...

Anonymous, the intelligent and the innocent have the same recourse to act that anyone has: faith, prayer, caritas, and hope in the promises of Christ. Putting your trust in anything and anyone else is bound to lead to disappointment.

If the world vexes you, pray for it to be conformed to the Lord's will, and in your daily life try to live as He would have you live. It's all any of us can do, and more than enough for most people to focus on.

Van Harvey said...

aninnymouse said "The intelligent and the innocent used to do something about it. Today their emotions rely on blaming the other stupid surprised guy, while they cling to their own."

Do you own a mirror?

Gagdad Bob said...

Sounds like action at a distance in the brain, AKA nonlocality. I would think that grace works the same way, i.e., as a field.

I've been reading a couple books on quantum physics, so the subject was already in my brain...

Gagdad Bob said...

For example, this guy is a heavy hitter in the field. As a reviewer says,

"For years, Einstein taught that the speed of light is a fundamental maximum for the transmission of information; a teaching that now appears to be wrong, in spite of Einstein's endorsement. There is indeed, compelling evidence that information can be transmitted at higher speeds than 'c', with practical demonstrations of essentially instantaneous propagation over paths in excess of several hundred Kilometers demonstrated with relative ease."

Gagdad Bob said...

Wrong link: here's the book.

julie said...

I can't help thinking there's a gag about projection in there somewhere, but maybe that's just the flu talking.

Or maybe it's just the one about how a lie travels around the world before the truth gets its bootlaces tied.

Interesting, in any case. It might explain not only grace, but those instances where intuition seems to be at work and people may know things before any ordinary message is received.

Gagdad Bob said...

Information fields would explain a LOT -- in many types of experience, and in diverse disciplines.

Change my mind!

Gagdad Bob said...

Pentecost, for example. Or the British invasion in 1964.

Van Harvey said...

Statements such as this, from Prof. Pageblurb's comment to Gagdad's book ref: "Einstein'™s steadfast refusal to accept certain aspects of quantum theory was rooted in his insistence that physics has to be about reality", fascinate me. Was Einstein refusing to accept aspects of Reality™, or refusing to entertain doubts about the possibility that Reality™ might be different from what he imagined it to be? IOW, his way, or the highway?

I'm a pretty big fan of Reality™ as it is, rather than with what it could be if only it adhered to how I imagined it should be. I had this discussion again with a budding relativist who tried to say that because we assume that wood is solid, when in fact it's mostly space between atomic particles, we can't really know reality. But the fact is that because we can know reality, we are able to use its rules to discover that what makes wood as solid as it is, is the structure of those atomic particles and the charges that hold them together, and it is the Relativists who are running in fear from our ability to really deal with Reality™ as it actually is.

Ditto for Quantum Entanglement. Instantaneous non-local mysteriousness doesn't invalidate the concept of Reality™ in any way, shape or form - it simply means that the process by which I feel a rock whacking into my head, is even more mysterious than we could have ever imagined it to be... but because Reality™ is knowable, and if we put it as it is, before our presumptions of how we think it should be, we can learn ever more about it.

Gagdad Bob said...

Einstein would say that physics must begin and end in experienced reality. We begin with the ponderable world, from which we use induction to come up with abstract principles and axioms. In between are models and hypotheses that may be confirmed or disproved. One can hardly deploy abstractions to prove that the abstracter isn't real!

Gagdad Bob said...

An amusing line of hatethought from 2010:

'... the ears are more "feminine," while the eyes are more "masculine" (bearing in mind that the one is always present in the other).

'Clearly, men are more visual beings -- think of their fixation on the female form, for example, -- whereas women tend to be more auditory, hence the well-known ability of even gargoylish men to attract women with an appealing line of bullshit. For this reason, men are most often deceived by the beautiful form, while women are most often deceived by the seductive BS.

'Note also that "female porn," such as harlequin romances, is primarily verbal, not visual. Also, single women (and feminized men) overwhelmingly vote Democrat, another instance of the tendency of our less evolved sisters to fall for the superficially appealing but vacuous rhetoric of seducers such as a Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, or John Edwards. Truly, leftism is "political porn," just as materialism is a kind of crude "cognitive porn" (and just as porn represents the domain of sexuality wholly exteriorized and materialized).'

*****

Certainly helps explain the ascent of AOC and the further descent of the left into the abyss.

julie said...

There was a video making the rounds a few weeks ago, of a conservative trying to have a dialog with a leftist protestor. He was being calm, reasonable, and rational, and she was having a breakdown and crying that facts aren't real, only emotions are real. The frightening thing is how many people - either female or soymale - were agreeing with her. Not sure how that ties in with eyes and ears, but definitely masculine and feminine traits writ large.

***

Completely unrelated, but we had snow here today. Crazy weather!

Gagdad Bob said...

"So anyway, a list of intellectual heresies came to me in a flash. In no particular order, they would include denial of the Absolute, and with it, the promulgation of relativism (moral, intellectual, aesthetic and cultural); equality as the highest political value (which generates chaos, disorder, and injustice); failure to discern the intrinsic relationship between truth and freedom; ignorance of Hayek's "knowledge problem" in economics; ignorance of Gödel's theorems; nominalism (i.e., denial of transcendence and of essences); materialism (i.e., denial of the vertical); humanism (replacing God with man); determinism (denial of free will); and denial of the boundary between man and animal".

Gagdad Bob said...

"And one of the first things you will notice is the materialist / relativist / historicist / socialist / deconstructionist / metaphysical Darwinist / secular humanist leftist emerges as the ultimate intellectual heretic, in that he somehow manages to combine all of the above. That's quite an accomplicement of evil."

ted said...

Is that going in the new book? It should...Good stuff!

ted said...

I would add the heresy of privileging the abstract over common sense.