November 05, 2012

Oversimplification and underdetermination

Rebirth, if restricted to the physical mechanism, adds little meaning to our lives, as it becomes an endless repetition of births with no goal other than pure existence. This leaves the questions about the significance of life and the reason for existence unanswered. Once we couple this physical mechanism with the concept of a soul evolution, a continuously progressive development that utilizes rebirth as the means of achieving results that cannot be attained in any single birth, we have the key that fits virtually all the locks, and we open up a new understanding about why we are here, and what we have to do.]

In The Life Divine, Sri Aurobindo strives to achieve this internal consistency.  He takes each argument (for and against) to its logical end and aspires to justify it. Of course, the problem is that the system is under-determined because all the available phenomenal evidence is insufficient to prove the existence of anything occult or Divine. By Sandeep (?) 1:32 PM]

Finally, the purpose of the blog is to introduce you to the sublime wisdom present in the teachings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, which cannot be captured entirely by any secondary work, including this blog.  So read the original works whenever you can. It will take time to grok their teachings, but it is worth the effort.]

[By immersing oneself in the original works, one gets a sense of the depth, comprehensiveness and majesty of Sri Aurobindo’s being that no compilation or third-person essay can ever convey. – Matthijs Cornelissen SABDA Newsletter, May 2008]

In 1897, American psychologist William James suggested the “transmission theory” of mind, in which the brain is merely a mediator in the action of a mother-sea of consciousness which lies above it. This is similar to the mechanism that has been described above and is opposed to the “production theory”, prevalent in current Western psychology and philosophy discourse, which suggests that the brain produces consciousness.]

Funny thing about William James is that his fucking book comes before the big break produced by WWI — a consolidation of a certain trajectory that has since been decisively critiqued. Apparently people regard him as the end-all — I had no idea. Over 100 years, and absolutely nothing has happened in the field! I’m so embarrassed not to defer to him in all things!
Seriously, does it ever occur to anyone that maybe there’s a reason something like the William James comes out around that time? You don’t even need to know academic theology — haven’t you ever read the chapter debunking the late-Victorian concept of the sacred in fucking Homo Sacer? That’s common currency, even though I know Karl Barth isn’t. 9:44 AM]

Re: Lenin. I think it is a gross oversimplification that leads one to total falsification… For me, and this isn’t a majority view and you certainly are not going to change your mind because of me, all philosophical taxidermy is repugnant falsification of actual philosophical thought. I just don’t find them helpful and very, very unpersuasive. In the ecosystem of thought I’m a Gleasonian. Still, I know it is not a popular view, … 3:59 PM]

[I Agree: It’s Religious from Cafe Hayek by Don Boudreaux
Talk matters.  Words matter.  They matter greatly.  (See Deirdre McCloskey.)
And talk and words have a history that unavoidably imparts meaning to them. The meaning that strikes the ears or eyes and then enters the minds of listeners is determined not merely by what the speaker (or writer) wants to convey – not exclusively by what he or she imagines others will understand – but also by what his or her audience brings to the conversation.  Conversation is a two-way street, not a one-way dictation.
Importantly, in the case of scientific writing the meaning that fellow scientists generally ‘get’ from a sentence uttered by a colleague is often quite different from the meaning that non-specialists ‘get’ from the very same sentence. This fact is especially important in the social science and, I believe, especially especially important in economics.
Economics is about the real world – or at least non-economists who hear or read pronouncements from people called “economists” will assume that these economists are making statements about the real-world… So when economists speak to the general public, they are duty-bound to be cognizant of the public’s biases and to communicate in ways that do not reinforce those biases but, instead, have some prospect for correcting those biases.]

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