Between Excitement and Horror

5 Jul

That’s how I’d describe my experience of philosophical exploration.  It’s much more complicated than that, but these are two antagonistic moods I find popping up.

One thing I’m motivated by is a drive to find a non-arbitrary basis for civil advance and/or ‘morals’.  A close examination of the present moral reserve is not particularly reassuring.  Enter horror.  I tend to think that a lot of good might come from more honesty and fewer forced cultural creations from corporations.  Bad things happen when trust and respect go down the tubes.  It strains credulity and investment across the board.  Nobody wants to be the sucker.  Still, the reception to figures like the early Obama and Ron Paul shows how eager so many people are to believe and trust even in this ridiculously phony and cynical time.

On the other hand, I can see enough to know that incredible things are possible from here.  Human understanding and technology are within medium range of sensational leaps.   Groundbreaking ones, too.  Not just incremental extensions of old ideas.  It’ll take a while, but I think it’ll come.  Complexity science is an especially ripe area ; self-ordering systems are very alluring.  There’s much promising work already being done on these sorts of things.  For example: I recall reading about ‘evolving turbulence’ in a pipe.  Too bad I don’t have a physics PhD.

One major question that I’m in no serious position to answer is what the advantageous relationship between software and hardware might be in digital systems designed to facilitate self-ordering.  What sort of hardware models would be best for that?  Could such things effectively program themselves?

I find myself very limited by my intelligence and education.  This stuff is hard.  It will take very smart people who have rigorous expertise of considerable breadth and a significant capacity for original thought.  Lotta determination, too.  Philosophy can be fun and revealing, but it works best as a complement to empirically grounded rigorous expertise and practice.  Many of the German physicists of the early 20th century had that nice combination.




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