Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Spinoza

Deterministic or free-will behavior: What is priming the “Thief Program”?

Do you know that a few universities have opened courses in “experimental philosophy“?

This new field of study combine neurosciences research with theoretical philosophical concepts such as finding out whether people believe that their behaviors and actions are determined (or perceived as predetermined) or if the “free-will factor” is a working concept…

This field of study wants to associate reflective and elaborate concepts with experimental studies.

Last September, the John Templeton Foundation contributed $4.4 million to a 4-year program in interdisciplinary research projects among natural scientists, philosophers, and theologians…

Apparently, Joshua Knobe and Shaun Nichols are working on 3 domains:  One, using neurosciences tools to study cerebral activities of subjects confronted with philosophical problems;

Two, adopting questionnaires to clarify intuitions and modalities of everyday reasoning, and

Three, conducting field experiences for observing the manners individuals behave in particular circumstances and situations.

US philosopher Daniel Dennett published “Theory of the evolution of liberty, (2004)” claims that we have tendency to dissociate the “I” from “my brain”.  For example, is there a specific zone in the brain exclusively reserved for the “I” or the “Cartesian theater of operations“?

The neuropsychology Benjamin Libet demonstrated that we become conscious of a decision half a second after our body gets prepared to react to a decision.

For example, the disparate “I” in our constitution and brain parts contribute to the decision.  It is sort every single muscle has an “I”, our genetic constitution has an “I”, every section and network of neurons has an “I”.

All our “I” have to reach a working consensus before the body react and a decision can be carried out. Isn’t that how a skill is described?

Neuroscientist Patrick Haggard wrote: “When we talk of free-will, we mean the richness of the act, of our capacity of acting intelligently, of not reacting in the same manner to the same stimuli…”

Scientists, neuroscientists, neuropsychologists, philosophers, theologians, and the legal profession have to agree on baseline consensus principles before any reasonable set of experiments can be carried out for the purpose of resolving this critical question.

First, operational definitions of “what is free-will decision” and “what is understood by deterministic behavior” we are measuring?

For example, how can these concepts be measured and quantified in any experiment? So far, neuroscientists consider an excitation of neurons in the brain as indication of a decision to act.  Their preferred measuring sticks are time of onset of the excitation and its duration…

Second, what kinds of excitations and their intensity level can be indicators of a particular decision? Sort of we need to agree on a taxonomy of decision.

For example, pushing a button, decisions for submitting to a test, an exam…considering an opportunity, running for election, committing a crime…

Third, the legal institutions must be involved in the definition and operational decisions. For example, will the court accept the definition and findings of the neuroscientists as valid in court under the principle of “individual responsibility”? Otherwise, how pragmatic any results can contribute to better mankind existence?

Four, how to separate community moral and ethical standards from how the real world functions and how people actually have tendency to behave?

For example, experiments demonstrated that group of subjects who were induced to believe in a deterministic world tended to cheat significantly (statistically) more often than the compared groups… Does cheating an indicator of community culture or an individual moral value…?

In Jan. 23, 2010, I published an article titled “Abduction field” or a priori “stealing” program” behavior.

I coined the term “abduction field” to describe and explain how people manage to function in their daily routine. People move and act as if executing an “a priori program”:  They seem to mentally “pick up” objects and event as they go about. People seem to know in advance what they want to do.

Hazards are just obstacles that the “abduction field” in the brain failed to adjust, in a timely manner, to redesign the plan.  It might be a good idea to explain what abduction reasoning means before I venture into this topic, and I urge you to read note#1, before you resume reading.

People use the abduction reasoning technique as routine behavior to decide, move, or act. People have implicitly a priori (idea, plan, concept, hypothesis, path, or line of actions) before they get moving.

People move as if they already know what will happen next; they adjust their plan as frequently as obstacles occur.  Thus, abduction reasoning is the rule instead of the exception in most commonly used strategies.  We either start our “conscious day” with a priming thief program or we opt for the default “Habit thief program” to carry on our daily decisions and activities.

The abduction field explains the contradictory feeling we have that our actions are frequently determined or occasionally following a free-will course of action.

For example, if we consciously start with a thief program that is pre-programmed to suit what we want today, we tend to steal objects, events, opportunities on our way.  Otherwise, the default value is the “habit thief program”, and we feel that the day is pretty much determined.

The individual “I” is spread all over our organism, physical, genetics, and mental (brain). Decisions are delayed until all the different varieties of “I” reach a working consensus, or a particular “I” or a set of “I” override the other I, depending on which thief program we launched at the start of the day, rejump it during the day according to our circadian cycles.

For a set of “I” to be able to override the many other “I” it requires a conscious effort of training and awareness for a long time. That is why, we have the feeling that our behavior is pretty much determined because we allow the “conventional wisdom”, habit of convenience, comfort, and “common sense” attitude to taking over our decision processes.

A good way to explaining the abduction field theory is by observing someone who is familiar with a particular supermarket.  The customer moves around and pick up items in a determined manner.

A few times, the customer stops and study particular varieties of the “same” items for prices, weight and chemical contents.  The supermarket guide the customer to pose and attend to special new items displayed on shelves. The customer might look as if he just woke up or is disoriented, but his action is kind of planned: he behaves pretty “sober” in his decisions.

People move and act within abduction fields of reasoning, otherwise, how can we imagine extending a step forward without advanced planning? The initial schemas of abduction fields are not that well oiled, and many errors and pitfalls occur during the abduction plans.  By the by, the human brain gets adjusted and trained to secure better fit in forecasting next steps and moves.

Highly intelligent people differ from normal intelligence in that, more frequently than not, they consciously apply deductive and inductive reasoning on their initiated abduction fields.  The implicit purpose is to optimize the “abductive field” performance by supporting it with better formal or coded laws among the working laws.

With conscious training and application of the other two reasoning methods, the individual acquire higher intelligence reasoning choices or diversified perspectives to viewing and resolving a problem.

Brainwashing is an application phenomenon of abduction field distortion.  Brainwashing is not so much a process of feeding misinformation or disinformation as in ideologically and dogmatic State-controlled government.  Brainwashing is the process of altering the abduction field so that an individual lacks the objective flexibility to pick up the appropriate objects, tools, or events to place on his “abduction path”.

For example,  the individual is picking what is available on his path, including ready-made terminology and definitions, and not what his brain was more likely to select in normal conditions.  The more institutions restrict the freedom of choices, the more the citizen is expected to select what is available to him.

The citizen starts emulating the “ideology” or the opinions of what have been displayed to him.  Most State institutions control people in restricting the availability of choices and opportunities, regardless what names are given to them (communist, socialist, democratic, capitalist, theocratic…)

When we say “this guy is a one track-mind or one-dimensional mind”, we basically means that his abduction field has been restricted by habit: His brain ended up lacking the potential flexibility and versatility to train and develop his abduction field reasoning.

Note 1: It might be a good idea to explain what abduction reasoning means before I venture into this topic.  Human mind uses many reasoning methods such as deduction, induction, and abduction.

Deductive reasoning is a process that starts from a set of basic propositions (proved or considered the kind of non provable truths) and then prove the next propositions based on the previous set.  In general, a law, natural or social, or a theorem in mathematics guides the demonstration.  Practically, it is like using a function to find the appropriate pieces of data or information that are available on a well drawn path or trend.

Inductive reasoning is a process of selecting samples from a phenomenon or a basket of items and then studying the samples.  If the items are the “same” in each sample then the individual is prone to recognize that a law is guiding that phenomenon. The sample taker is ready to form a law, though he knows that logically, if in the future one sample is wrong, then the law is logically invalid. In the mean time, the sample taker can resume his life as if the law is valid, as long as it is working (more frequently than not).

We call a “paradigm shift” the period when accumulated samples or observations are showing to be “false” and that the law has to be dropped for a better performing law.  The process needs time before the scientific community reaches a consensus for a change in venue, simply because it was comfortable using well-known mental structures.  The paradigm shift period is shortened if a valid alternative is demonstrated to work far better, not just slightly better, than the previous theory.

Abduction reasoning is an “intuitive” process such as having a few facts or data and we manage to find a connection among these facts.  In a way, we got an idea that the facts follow a definite trend.

For example, the astronomer and mathematician Kepler started with the notion that planets move in circles around the sun; his observations of Mars detected two positions that didn’t coincide with any circle. Kepler selected another trajectory among those mathematically described in geometry that might be appropriate.  The elliptical shape accounted for the two observed positions of Mars.

Kepler got convinced that planet trajectories are elliptical, but he needed to convince the “scientific community”. Thus, Kepler worked for many years waiting for Mars to cross different positions that he knew would inevitably be on the ellipse anyway.

Note 2: I am under the impression that Spinoza had the same philosophical theory when he wrote: “The movements of our investigative spirit obey real laws”.  If we think well, we are bound to think according to rules that link things one to another.  Kant adopted this reasoning and offered the “a priori” dispositions of the mind.

Note 3: You may access experimentalphilosophy.typepad.com

Note 4: I stumbled on this topic reading a piece in the French weekly “The International Courrier” #1095.

Reply to “How to have great sex…”

In order to follow the discussion, you might have to read the source of the topic in https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2011/10/15/when-to-have-great-sex-or-how-to-have-great-sex/

Jay replied to my post (with slight editing on my part): “I’d like to assume that you’ve got reason, that you are the gender I think you are. However, based off of your generalizations, I would just like to ask you some questions before I make a statement:
First, What gender are you?

Second, Did you write this essay yourself? (because I’m confused as to its source that you mention among the other links in the piece)
Third, Have you read On the Origin of Species in any amount?”

I answered: “Tell me what On Origine of Species may shed in intelligence as to my gender, and I promise to tell you mine…”

Jay forwarded a developed answer, and I construed that Jay is highly interested in the sex headache. Jay replies goes:

“The Origin (of Species) seems to confound the nature of man by generalizing man and beast in order to readily compare the traits of the two groups. Science and gender studies have since become much more political, which is why your perpetuation of these generalities, although recognized as such, is disturbing. The man described in the essay above does not fit my identity in any way, (“Males want sex all the time”)

Jay resumes: “Parading as an erudite opinion seems fraudulent because there is a lack of scientific basis, with phrases like that women go into heat too; this, despite having writ “I’m carefully using the word”.

“I don’t want be cast as a reader who is “reading too deeply” into an article, or worse, have my comment removed, so I’ll conclude my response by saying that the philosophical component is weakly supported because of this essaywriter’s lack of resources: Claiming opinion as scientifically based is ridiculous, and I may avoid commenting on such lousy articles in the commercial press that we both know are published daily, but blogging is meant to be the epitome of the good qualities of freelance journalism.

However, this article has disappointed me as a person who is curious about the polymath studies of sex. There are some books you could read and it would make the writing significantly better with comparatively little work.

I liked the “second sex” bit, it would be pleasant if you got the Simone de Beauvoir/Jacques Lacan side of the story, too. The writing of this essay shows that the writer has an interest. However, the interest has not been invested with any even shallow research. That, and this is the first of one of your articles I find worthy of replying to; adonis49 fills up my inbox with mostly unread messages, so the sex spin seems to have been a pot-boiler title, in reflection…” End of quote

I promised Jay to reply with an article for the time he invested, and because I didn’t managed to get a handle on which angle he is focusing on.  This article is also meant for readers to send feedback on what Jay means and whether my article fit Jay’s description…

First, I value Spinoza thinking who wrote: “Study the animal Kingdom, but never emulate it”.  We have our mind and we should try to prioritize our strongest passions and act upon them.

Second, I didn’t yet read the voluminous On Origin of Species.  What I do know is that Darwin described all specimen he collected, and it is in the final couple of paragraphs that he hinted that mankind might be linked to the development of other species… I strongly doubt that Jay read this book (contrary to what he is insinuating), though I agree that we should not “confound the nature of man by generalizing man and beast in order to readily compare the traits of the two groups”

Third, “Males want sex all the time”?  “Females want sex all the time?”  These are strange statements in their generality: General statements are “always” wrong or deficient.  Males and females can’t want sex when feeling sick; they don’t feel like having sex most of the day, and in many nights, and in many occasions…I guess wanting is different than actually having sex: Ask all these people (both genders) who spend the best of their youth not having the opportunity to copulate for various reasons…Wanting sex should not mean wanting compassion, close physical touching, smelling, friendly conversation…Wanting sex is such a mout expression: So many factors have to converge in order for copulation to materialize within mankind communities…

Four, as for “reading too deeply” into an article should not be the exercice: An article is not a research thesis, and I refer and quote when necessary. I apologize to Jay for getting confused with parts in the posts are mine or which are others.  Apologizing does not mean that I am wrong, it simply means I am trying to connect and keep the discussion going…I suggest to Jay to re-read the article, and he will be settled of which portions are mine…

Five, I read a large chunk of the “second sex” by Simone de Beauvoir and in the French version, and I wrote a review of what I read. I think that Jay is trying to show his erudition, but he failed to prove it…

Six, that this is the first of my 2,400 articles in 50 categories that Jay “has read” and found it worthy of reply is an honor.  Finally, a humor article generated an excited reaction…Why is it that articles on sex and titles refering to sex generate so many hits?  Is it because both sexes are terribly unsatisfied with the sex exercises and find it stupid and unfulfilling that their curiosity is ever so hightened on that subject matter?

It is alright that Jay feels so strongly about my latest post.  My wish is to locate the part in the article that infuriated him most and inflamed his emotions.  If Jay can just focus on what disturb his “identity” we can discuss it more elaboarately.  Going on tangents is frustrating and not profitable.

Note: I promised Jay to reveal my gender if he explains to me “How the On the Origin of Species” predict the sex.  Jay forgot to deliver in his second reply. All promises are cancelled, until further demonstration of good-will…?

Maimonides (1138-1204) resurrects Ibn Rushd (Averroes) rational works

Maimonides (Mussa ibn Maimun) was 12 years younger than Ibn Rush (Averroes); they both were born in the same cultured city of Cordoba (southern Spain).

Cordoba was for over a century the center of intellect and civilization around the Mediterranean Sea basin.  In 1149, the family of Maimonides were given the option of leaving the city or convert to Islam:  A new Islamic tribe from Morocco (Almohades or the Al Muwahhidun) imposed a conservative climate in that free-spirited city where Moslems, Christians, and Jews lived in harmony.

The fathers of Maimonides and Ibn Rush are friends:  Ibn Rushd’s father is a Moslem judge while Maimonides’ father is a Rabbi of the Jewish community. Maimonides’ father encouraged the Jews who could not afford to leave to convert to Islam:  Islam is one of the purest monolithic religion and the mosques have no idols, icons, or pictures, on the basis that in due time, converted Jews can leave in order to resume their traditional ceremonies and way of life.

The family of Maimonides opted to leave:  It stays in Toledo (a city under King Alphonse VII of Castile), then move on to southern France to join a large Jewish community.  In 1160, the family is in Fez  (Morocco) and stayed there for 5 years; the family transfer to Tanger where Ibn Rushd is judge there.

In 1165, the family immigrated to Palestine. The father dies in Akka.  Maimonides is head of the family and they move to Alexandria (Egypt) and then to Fostat, 5 miles away from the Capital Cairo.  Maimonides will remain there and become the Ayubid Sultan’s physician.

Maimonides relied on Ibn Rushd’s works to perpetuate the rational and scientific trend.  He wrote:

“We may dispense of Platon’s works:  Aristotle’s works suffice, since they are the foundations and roots of scientific rational methods.  Aristotle’s works are difficult and many propositions cannot be comprehended without the commentaries and interpretations of Ibn Rushd.”

When Ibn Rushd was banned from publishing books or communicating what he wrote  in the last six years of his life, the increased pressures on Ibn Rushd’s freedom of expression resulted in regular events of  public burning of the scholars’ manuscripts.  Luckily, copies reached Cairo, northern Spain, and southern France (Languedoc province) where they were read and translated in Hebrew, Latin, and local languages.

As Ibn Rushd, Maimonides believes that “It is proven that all actions done by man emanate from his own volition.  No external forces oblige him to tend to virtue or evil doing.  Every man can become just or guilty, good or bad; it is his own will that select the way of what he desires.  If we suffer, it is by what we inflict upon ourselves; we tend to attribute our pains as originating from God. Mankind is but another species and element in this cosmos and the universe does not revolve around man.  God is but an abstract concept, even if the Books refer to hands and fingers of God just to accommodating the limited abstraction power of common people.  God should not be described as good, benevolent, compassionate, jealous or any other character attributes since they will break the unity of God.”

In 1199, Judah bin Tibon, who had been translating Maimonides works from Arabic to Hebrew in southern France, expressed the desire to visit him in Cairo. Maimonides discouraged Tibon to undergo this perilous voyage since he won’t have time to meet with him because of his tight schedule.

Maimonides wrote:  “Early every day I have to ride 5 miles to check on the health of the Sultan, his extended family, and the officials in the castle.  I rarely returns home before late in the afternoon.  When I arrive I am met by many visitors, judges, notable people, and mostly patients waiting for health check up.  I barely have time to have my only meal of the day.  By the time the patients are gone it is late at night, frequently until 2am.

On the Sabbath, the Jewish community pay me visit after morning prayer and we study till noon and give them instructions for the week. Frequently, they return after the afternoon prayer and we study some more til evening prayer.  Thus, I never have time for any private meeting.”

Maimonides spread the advice of Ibn Rushd:  “Have no fear searching for truth in sciences.  Truth cannot contradict truth; sciences is in accord with God’s revelations. God has nothing to fear when you use your rational intelligence to discovering the universe and the causes of phenomenon.  Dialectical and rhetorical reasoning cannot compensate for demonstrative reasoning.

Generally, common people confuse inferences with conclusions that are drawn from several premises. For example:  common people say “this person is a thief because he was seen wandering at night” and do not evaluate all the other factors that determine a thieving behavior.  Common people conclude that they will see God as we see the sun when they are told that God is light.

Learned people comprehend that beatitude and grace increase knowledge.  Truth is not intuitive but the accumulation of knowledge; we cannot become astronomer without learning and assimilating geometry and mathematics. Forbidding people from applying scientific methods on the ground that they lead to errors, abuse, and blasphemy is like forbidding someone from drinking lest he dies of thirst on the excuse that some people die from drowning.

Scientific methods of reasoning is not meant to defining God or the operations that lead to the creation of the universe:  It attests to its existence.  We cannot apply to God the categories and human concepts””

In 1180, Maimonides wrote to a Jewish community in Yemen asking for a second opinion:  A Jew proclaimed to be the Messiah

“It is not rare that such type of persons appears in history.  The Messiah cannot keep the promises that this person is spreading of happy eternal life:  The Messiah is not to change the laws of nature; pain, suffering, and injustice will not disappear; deserts will not become green and mountains will not be leveled out. The Messiah is not supposed to be a supernatural entity but someone to put an end to violence.  Those proclaiming to be messiah are but charlatans and mentally sick.”

One of the most known manuscripts of Maimonides is “Guide to the perplexed” or those who cannot help it but constantly raise questions relevant to the meaning of life, the universe, the identity of God… He suggested that the perplexed person gets on with the effort of studying philosophy and apply reason and scientific methods to resolving their uneasy conditions.

In Central Europe of the 18th century, the Hasidic Jewish sect would proclaim Maimonides and all the followers who consider him as their spiritual leader as “heretics”.  Nevertheless, Maimonides works influence Spinoza, Kant, Fichte, Darwin, Freud, Lancan, and Leo Strauss.

Ibn Rushd dared reflect on every single question exposed by the civilization of the period concerning the coherence among religious dogmas and scientific verities; he dared to write his answers.  Maimonides reflected too on the corny questions but refrained from writing them down; you could know his positions by inference to his answers.

A brief background:  In Maimonides life, Europe is still battling among its various Christian schisms of monophysite, Niceans  (Catholics), Nestorians, Arianus followers (predominant among the Germanic and Slavic people).  The Calif of Baghdad is reduced to a figure-head while the Turkish princes are the main power (the Mogul hordes will soon sack and destroy (in 1250) this famous city of Baghdad that concentrated 3 million urban citizens back then).

The Western Roman Empire had vanished, and the Byzantium Empire was weakening (soon will be reduced to a vassal condition to the Ottoman expanding power in Turkey).  Papal Rome is being selected by the Germanic monarchs as well as the bishops, and in many occasions, two popes are elected and backed by various monarchs. The political and military confrontations among the many Christian religious schisms on the nature of Jesus have taken their toll on Europe.

The crusaders are loosing their grips in the eastern parts of the Mediterranean Sea, and Saladin recaptured Jerusalem.  The Catholic monarchs of Castile and Aragon (Spain) had started the “reconquista” and Andalusia was wracked by wars among the multiple small kingdoms of Islamic monarchs; these internal wars were called “wars of Tawaif”.  In

In 1112, Ibn Tumar, a literate Berber from Algeria who spent ten years in Iran, returned to proclaim that he is the awaited “hidden” Mahdi (since 874) of the Islam sect the Shias and formed the Almohades (Al Muwayidun) or united Islam.

The Spanish Catholic monarch Alphonse 7th put siege to Cordoba in 1148.  The  Caliph of Cordona Abd Mu2min calls on the Almohades for rescue and outset the Almoravids dynasty (Al murabitun) or the ones in vigilance.  The Almoravids originated from Mauritania and were a powerful tribe of traders in the western Sahara that captured Morocco.

In 1497, Papal Rome encouraged the institution of a university in Padua (Italy) to teaching Aristotle’s works and be translated directly from ancient Greek.  It was a strategy of ignoring the influence of Islamic culture that was spreading in Catholic Europe.  The Renaissance scholars dared not communicate the sources of their knowledge and learning.

Since then, European scholars have continued this custom of deliberately ignoring seven centuries of Islamic civilizations when accounting for western Europe civilization.

Note 1:  I refrained to approach the theological questions and their corresponding responses because I am not interested in abstract concepts that lack demonstrative methods for confirming or denying veracity. Mind you that current borders among the Maghreb States were delimited by the mandated powers of France and Spain. Unless we know exactly the name of the towns and regions, it is difficult to confirm from which current State the persons were from…

Note 2: Ahmed sent me an interesting comment stating that Maimoune had racist attitudes, pretty normal during the Middle Age and and still going strong even today.

“I copied and pasted the translation you mention from the following website:

http://failedmessiah.typepad.com/failed_messiahcom/2011/01/judaism-or-racism-the-rambams-view-of-black-people-456/comments/page/2/

This website gives the source as the following: Maimonides, Guide To The Perplexed, Translation from the Hebrew Version.

The popular Jewish Israeli thinker Israel Shahak confirms that Maimonides did indeed express anti-black racist views, also confirming that Kushite means Black people in his book called, “Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years,” which was first published in 1994 by Pluto Press. It can be found online here:

http://www.iamthewitness.com/books/Israel.Shahak/Jewish.History.Jewish%20Religion-The.Weight.of.Three.Thousand.Years.pdf

Understandably translations vary from author to author and an example of this can be downloaded from the University of California internet archive:

http://archive.org/details/guideforperplexe00maim

Download the PDF book. On page 384 you will see the racist quote and the context.

The version of the book I have at home is translated by Michael Friedlaender. You can find it Online here:

http://oll.libertyfund.org/index.php?option=com_staticxt&staticfile=show.php%3Ftitle=1256&Itemid=27

Go to Part Iii, Chapter Li. The second paragraph is the following:

“I will begin the subject of this chapter with a simile.

A king is in his palace, and all his subjects are partly in the country, and partly abroad. Of the former, some have their backs turned towards the king’s palace, and their faces in another direction; and some are desirous and zealous to go to the palace, seeking “to inquire in his temple,” and to minister before him, but have not yet seen even the face of the wall of the house. Of those that desire to go to the palace, some reach it, and go round about in search of the entrance gate.

Others have passed through the gate, and walk about in the ante-chamber; and others have succeeded in entering into the inner part of the palace, and being in the same room with the king in the royal palace. But even the latter do not immediately on entering the palace see the king, or speak to him; for, after having entered the inner part of the palace, another effort is required before they can stand before the king—at a distance, or close by—hear his words, or speak to him.

I will now explain the simile which I have made. The people who are abroad are all those that have no religion, neither one based on speculation nor one received by tradition. Such are the extreme Turks that wander about in the north, the Kushites who live in the south, and those in our country who are like these. I consider these as irrational beings, and not as human beings; they are below mankind, but above monkeys, since they have the form and shape of man, and a mental faculty above that of the monkey.”

Many philosophical schools differ on the meaning of desire.  One line of thinking such as Platon, Sartre, Schopenhauer, Proust, and Freud… define desire as what we lack in object and subject and want to owning; this include missing past events and pleasurable memories.  For example, Proust suffers terribly when Albertine is away and then, he feels bored as Albertine returns and he talks to her.  We are excited making love and then, we feel this sensation of void after the exercise. 

Schopenhauer wrote: “Our life oscillate between suffering and boredom: Suffering for not having what we desire and boredom for having what we no longer desire.”  It is as if the object or subject of desire is superior to all other desires as long as it is out of reach.  Is it we want to live because there are a few desires we still hope to satisfy?  Woody Allen said it well: “How happy I would be if I were happy”

The other line of thinking and represented by Epicure, Spinoza and Nietzsche defines desire as being happy of what we already have such as feeling happy chewing leisurely on our food, happy of our company, happy of the foreplay, happy of letting orgasm be delayed, happy of the present moment, happy of enjoying good health, owning a home…  This is the desire of action or power desire.

The two major kinds of desires are real; desires of lacking is predominant simply because desire of action is a learning process in our civilization and requires investing efforts. 

A few people prefer the language to having vacuum in detailed meaning of words in order to generating interpretations and “enriching” our imagination; such as constructing philosophical structures based on confusion in the meaning of desire.  Suppose we research taxonomy for each word (classification of  possible meaning of a word or systematic detailed meaning of synonyms) then, could we not write long essays on each kinds of desires with the added bonus of being clear, transparent, and focused?  In the case of the verb desire we may specify mis-desire (desiring what we lack) and act-desire (desiring what we have).

Anyway, there can be no happiness as long as we keep desiring what we miss or lack in objects and subjects: We are then is constant desire mood of longing and expectancy.  Action desires, these acquired kind of desires, transform expectancy into joy that keeps giving; we can then eat with relish and pleasure and enjoy the company of the spouse and friends.

“I am mediocre; what’s in to you?” (Jan. 28, 2010)

            It is the fault of Spinoza; he told me “character is destiny”.  After good reflection, I think he is the responsible person. Spinoza hammered in me this idea: he used to say “it is okay for me to be mediocre but not okay for you”.  He said that I had potentials, intelligence, and competence: we were both mediocre in school and he made it a habit to be ranked in school just below me.  He kept saying that It is a shame that I should be contended being an employee.  Spinoza wanted for me to accede to success, be a public figure, and that I had an important part to play in the world in due time.

            My friend Spinoza wore me down; I kept hoping since then that this bright future is close till late in life as I realized that my proper place is among the average people.  The camp of the average suited me well: I am not ambitious; even my father was honest enough to encourage me to study accounting.  My dad said: “Son, you are conscientious, honest, and not dumb; no Sir. I just feel that you can’t stick it out to high flatulent projects.  Best for you is to exercise a job that is relaxing, secure, and comfortable.”

            I knew that any effort bores me and that my potentials are limited.  I would have not minded remaining an employee and getting yearly small raises in salary.  By the by, I would have acquired a decent car, a washing machine, a TV set, and a nice furnished apartment.  Yes, this comfortable job that pays enough for me to see a movie once a week and go out twice a month with my friends would suite me nicely.  I could have gone along easy; I wouldn’t have to repeat every hour “I am a looser; I could have done this; be that; seen foreign lands.”

            Why Spinoza would not leave me alone?  Why is it fine for him to be mediocre and not me?  Why every week Spinoza felt the urge to check the balance of my weekly achievements?  He loved to inflate my ego proportionally to degrading his potentials.

            What’s for Spinoza?  Why didn’t he leave me alone wallowing in my mediocrity?  Spinoza was feeling pathetic. A sad person always harps on his miseries.

Note: got the idea from “Clem” by Henry Muller (not Miller”

“Abduction field” or a priori “stealing” program; (Jan. 23, 2010)

I am coining the term “abduction field” to describe and explain how people manage to function in their daily routine. People move and act as if executing an “a priori program”: they seem to mentally “pick up” objects and event as they go about. People seem to know in advance what they want to do.  Hazards are just obstacles that the “abduction field” in the brain failed to adjust in a timely manner to redesign the plan.  It might be a good idea to explain what abduction reasoning means before I venture into this topic.

Human mind uses many reasoning methods such as deduction, induction, and abduction. Deductive reasoning is a process that starts from a set of basic propositions (proved or considered the kind of non provable truths) and then prove the next propositions based on the previous set.  In general, a law, natural or social, or a theorem in mathematics guides the demonstration.  Practically, it is like using a function to find the appropriate pieces of data or information that are available on a well drawn path or trend.

Inductive reasoning is a process of selecting samples from a phenomenon or a basket of items and then studying the samples.  If the items are the “same” in each sample then the individual is prone to recognize that a law is guiding that phenomenon. The sample taker is ready to form a law, though he knows that logically, if in the future one sample is wrong, then the law is logically invalid. In the mean time, the sample taker can resume his life as if the law is valid, as long as it is working (more frequently than not).

We call a “paradigm shift” the period when accumulated samples or observations are showing to be “false” and that the law has to be dropped for a better performing law.  The process needs time before the scientific community reaches a consensus for a change in venue, simply because it was comfortable using well-known mental structures.  The paradigm shift period is shortened if a valid alternative is demonstrated to work far better, not just slightly better, than the previous theory.

Abduction reasoning is an “intuitive” process such as having a few facts or data and we manage to find a connection among these facts.  In a way, we got an idea that the facts follow a definite trend.  For example, the astronomer and mathematician Kepler started with the notion that planets move in circles around the sun; his observations of Mars detected two positions that didn’t coincide with any circle. Kepler selected another trajectory among those mathematically described in geometry that might be appropriate.  The elliptical shape accounted for the two observed positions of Mars. Kepler got convinced that planet trajectories are elliptical, but he needed to convince the “scientific community”. Thus, Kepler worked for many years waiting for Mars to cross different positions that he knew would inevitably be on the ellipse anyway.

Most scientific discoveries are fundamentally of the abduction kind reasoning. Usually, in order to describe the discovery process, scientists prefer to introduce as many deductive or inductive reasoning in the explanation so as to avoid sounding that the discovery was a pure fluke of intuition and not hard mental work.

People use the abduction reasoning technique as routine behavior to decide, move, or act. People have implicitly a priori (idea, plan, concept, hypothesis, path, or line of actions) before they get moving.  People move as if they already know what will happen next; they adjust their plan as frequently as obstacles occur.  Thus, abduction reasoning is the rule instead of the exception in most commonly used strategies.

A good way to explaining the abduction field theory is by observing someone who is familiar with a particular supermarket.  The customer moves around and pick up items in a determined manner. A few times, the customer stops and study particular varieties of the “same” items for prices, weight and chemical contents.  The customer might look as if he just woke up or is disoriented, but his action is kind of planned: he behaves pretty “sober” in his decisions.

People move and act within abduction fields of reasoning, otherwise, how can we imagine extending a step forward without advanced planning? The initial schemas of abduction fields are not that well oiled, and many errors and pitfalls occur during the abduction plans.  By the by, the human brain gets adjusted and trained to secure better fit in forecasting next steps and moves.

Highly intelligent people differ from normal intelligence in that, more frequently than not, they consciously apply deductive and inductive reasoning on their initiated abduction fields.  The implicit purpose is to optimize the “abductive field” performance by supporting it with better formal or coded laws among the working laws.

With conscious training and application of the other two reasoning methods, the individual acquire higher intelligence reasoning choices or diversified perspectives to viewing and resolving a problem.

Brainwashing is an application phenomenon of abduction field distortion.  Brainwashing is not so much a process of feeding misinformation or disinformation as in ideologically and dogmatic State-controlled government.  Brainwashing is the process of altering the abduction field so that an individual lacks the objective flexibility to pick up the appropriate objects, tools, or events to place on his “abduction path”:  The individual is picking what is available on his path, including ready-made terminology and definitions, and not what his brain was more likely to select in normal conditions.

When we say “this guy is a one track mind or one-dimensional mind” then we basically means that his abduction field has been restricted by habit: his brain ended up lacking the potential flexibility and versatility to train and develop his abduction field reasoning.

Note: I am under the impression that Spinoza had the same philosophical theory when he wrote: “The movements of our investigative spirit obey real laws”.  If we think well then we are bound to think according to rules that link things one to another.  Kant adopted this reasoning and offered the “a priori” dispositions of the mind.  I think Einstein misinterpreted Kant’s “a priori proposal” because Einstein was engrossed with the deductive processes in resolving the restricted relativity theory.  Einstein was not concerned of how people behave in their daily routines.

Note 1: The abduction field explains the contradictory feeling we have that our actions are determined frequently or following a free-will course of action, occasionally.  For example, if we consciously start with a thief program that is pre-programmed to suit what we want today, we tend to steal objects, events, opportunities on our way.  Otherwise, the default value is the “habit thief program”, and we feel that the day is pretty much determined.

Note 2: The individual “I” is spread all over our organism, physical, genetics, and mental (brain). Decisions are delayed until all the different varieties of “I” reach a working consensus, or a particular I override the other I, depending on which thief program we launched at the start of the day.

Famous Manuscripts Banned by the Vatican: (Part 2, April 19, 2009)

Thousands of literary works were indexed by the Vatican from around 1200 to 1966.

Virtually no author was spared indexing. Pascal, Descartes, Locke, Spinoza, Rousseau, Kant, Diderot, Stendhal, Lamartine, Hugo, Flaubert, Balzac, Saint-Simon, Proudhon, Zola, Sartre, and even Gide were indexed for part of their work. 

Voltaire was the most indexed: each of his manuscripts was automatically indexed before reading it. Voltaire would occasionally sign Ecralinf meaning (Let us crush the despicable infamous Church of Rome)

Ironically, Darwin, Karl Marx, and Hitler were spared INDEXING.

The Defender of Peace” by Marsile of Padua (Rector of the University of Paris) is published in 1324 and banned by the Church. The manuscript said that the function of governance does not suit the Bishop of Rome (the Pope) because this urge for domination of the Church is the bane of all discords.  Communities should be governed by their own councils.

Baruch Spinoza published “Treaty on Theological-Politics” in 1670.  He is excommunicated (herem) by the Jewish Wise Men of the synagogue of Amsterdam and later indexed by the Vatican. Spinoza claimed that the Torah is false, that soul dies with the body, and that God exist only philosophically.  Religions instituted a God with 7 main characteristics so that their logical scaffold can hold: God should be One, Unique, Omnipresent, has absolute authority and rights over everything, that obeisance to God consist in justice and charity, that Heaven and Hell are the consequences of our behaviors, and finally that God is forgiving because everyone is a sinner. Faith does not dwell on whether God is fire, spirit, light, or thought.

Pierre-Augustin de Beaumarchais published “The Wedding of Figaro” in 1781. This manuscript said of the aristocrats “You were given the pain of being born, and nothing else”; and thus was blamed for disturbing the social construct.  Beaumarchais published also “The Barber of Seville”

“Praise of Folly” (L’Eloge de la Folie) by Erasmus of Rotterdam was indexed in 1511.  Under the mask of irony, Erasmus creates a Foul dominating the World and supported by ignorant idiots with humongous Ego; he attacks the theologians and scholastic specialties whom thrive in adding subtlety over subtlety in order to obscure any kind of comprehension.  In just the same century, the manuscript is re-edited 600 times.

“The Prince” of Nicolas Machiavelli is published in 1513 in Florence.  The book explains how a Prince should behave to acquire and then retain power and would be one of the founders of modern political thinking.

“The Third Book” of Francois Rabelais was published in 1532.  The previous publications “Pantagruel” and “Gargantua” were not spared indexing too.  The art of mockery far exceed that of Erasmus and his farces scorch all the princes.  Moliere would rely on Rabelais’ works for his comedies.

The Essays” of about 107 of essays by Michel Montaigne are published as of 1580 and was censured by the Church Inquisition.  The Church didn’t like the offhandedness of mixing sacred topics with profane subjects and the manuscript was judged morally too permissive.

“The new Stories” succeeds the famous fables of Jean de la Fontaine and are published as of 1674 and mocks the clerics and was indexed for “corrupting the moral and inspiring libertine behaviors”.  Before he dies, his confessor forced him to recant, and he did so that he may die in peace of that pest of cleric.

“The Spirit of Laws” by Charles-Louis of Montesquieu was published in Switzerland in 1748 to avoid censuring.  The author demanded that the three branches of executive, legislative, and justice enjoy independent powers for check and balance in governance.

“Therese the Philosopher” by Jean-Baptiste Boyer was published in 1748, in the same year that “Fanny Hill” of John Cleland was published.  This manuscript described in details the bacchant sacrilegious ceremonies that a Pope relished. The Marquis of Sade would imitate that genre of pornography.  It is rumored that these kinds of books influenced the French Revolution more than any other manuscripts.  The French National Library cataloged this book under “Hell” section.

“Emile” by Jean-Jacques Rousseau was published in 1762.  Rousseau offered a new educational system for kids so that the natural kindness of humankind is preserved; that kids enjoy their lives as kids and refrain from reading before the age of 12; that they wear loose garments to play leisurely.  The manuscript was indexed and publicly burned in Paris for inciting man to follow his instincts.  Rousseau will publish “The Social Contract” in 1766 and Geneva Council banished it.  In reaction, Rousseau abandoned his Switzerland nationality.


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