Technically Speaking

13 Jun

I have a lot of respect for engineers, scientists, mathematicians, and so on.  Their professions exact a ruthless integrity from which there is, ideally, no escape.  I like that.  A lot of good people do important work in many fields, and I believe in all those who are doing life-enhancing things.  I have my personal preferences.

This technical bias informed my mindset from an early age until I entered college.  I credit it with mostly keeping me from the worst of philosophy and superstition.  Even so, philosophy has taken me surprisingly far outside of this initial core.  Which is good.  Actually, one might say it was the negative space of philosophy which took me further.  Philosophy itself often gets lost in analysis and high-level assumptions.  However, enough art and Sacrality get through some of the little-known painted windows of philosophy to inspire a more vibrant outlook.

Plus, philosophy is in an unusually favorable position to be able to detect its own boundaries and assumptions.  It feels natural to apply philosophy to itself.

One alienating thing about the typical ‘scientific outlook’ when taken dogmatically is its obsession with description.  Life at its best is full of silent initiative which will only later be analyzed.  I’m referring to the popular perception of science, but these days that’s a very influential perception.  I’m sure that at the highest levels of science/math/etc things are more sophisticated and philosophical.

My take is that the world has a consumptive function, but it also has a generative one.  Given that intelligent life forms can alter their local thermodynamic landscape, I highly doubt the drive to classify life as mere epiphenomenon will survive much longer.  There’s also the very curious matter of consciousness, but some of these reductionist guys are doggedly devoted to their outlook.  They seem determined to push an ahistorical realism.

Life has a substance which only becomes real through its unprecedented leaps and twirls — via distributed enactment.  Science needs something to analyze, but that does not mean there’s no pre-analytic phase.  Life animates various ‘consistories’ which are then analyzed after the fact and treated ‘objectivity’.  Curiously, some such things were probably necessary to generate explicit descriptions in the first place.  Uh oh. 

This may seem woozily worded.  It can be made clearer: what are the limits of description?  What forms can description take and what are the properties of these(eg, integrated and compartmentalized)?  Is description always or sometimes context-dependent/relative?  What is the status of the real but ineffable?  How does description evolve through history?  Can the notions of the implicit and explicit be defined more adequately?  Physically, informationally?  What is meant by terms such as: ‘creativity’, ‘complexity’, ‘exploration’, and ‘the arrow of time’?  What is the relationship between pointing and the implicit?  How do/can plans incorporate not merely the explicit but also the implicit?  What is the relationship between the implicit, initiative, common sense, paradigms, sanity, membranes, sufficient conditions, role, and religion?  What is the status of irrelevant parts of history?  Etc.



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