Locked-In

24 Jul

It’s true that science, technology, and basic know-how have accumulated many permanent gains which won’t expire unless something better comes along.  These gains aren’t limited to particulars — they involve the structure of the conditioning process itself.  Basically, a ‘rationality’ is gradually coalescing as the human perspective is guided more by calculated exploration and less by Hail Mary’s.

That’s all good news so far as I can tell, and it’s the sort of thing optimists like to emphasize — with good reason.  Life is getting a lot easier at an astonishing pace, and it’s a global trend.  One would think that this message would be a far more popular rallying cry.

The Sacred remains in play, but maybe even the Sacred will eventually be formalized.  Rather than being a big-minded word for ‘system’ or ‘law’ or ‘morals’, I use this word to refer to the hypothetical ‘consciousness codex’ or whatever one might call it.  I also use it to refer to a life form’s foundational self-regard, and I bet this will turn out to be intimately related to consciousness.  It turns out to be related to a lot of artifacts and rituals, too, but perhaps these all orbit the curious core which has as much to do with mathematics, philosophy, and physics as it does with religion.  I wish I knew more, but I can at least see there’s probably something to this.  Removing it from the picture appears to complicate and confuse things.  If the idea is wrong, then someone will figure it out eventually.  No harm no foul.  But I see a real place for this idea of the Sacred, and I don’t imagine that it should have a trendier secular name.

My only grievance with some factions of the modern intellectual climate: the virtue of the rigorous methods has been reified and exported to areas where it probably doesn’t belong.  I feel it’s a great disservice to science and skepticism to plug them into vaguer, less-specified belief systems which are plainly designed to soothe the anxieties born of the unknown.  The unknown is real and important, and hand-waving about how it’s supposedly a known unknown thanks to science and probability theory amounts to a lot of caca.  The claim is unfounded.  No one has incontrovertible evidence for such an extravagant claim, and our present ideals of evidence are probably limited, anyway.  Those who claim to believe in the totalistic view of science simply assert it as self-evident at the base of their thinking.  They would rather not admit of their colossal ignorance.  Boo-hoo-hoo!  Don’t let philosophy get ya down!

Maybe science is the best we can do, but that doesn’t make it total.  Some may perceive this as an idle distinction, but I sure as hell don’t.

Nevertheless, the study of adaptive systems could knock out some of the as-yet unknowns, and that’s about as much as I allow myself to hope for.  Some folks flip out when confronted with what’s really going on in their brains when they ‘know’ something, so it’s probably miraculous that humans have made it as far as they have.  Then again, maybe existence itself is a miracle.  It feels like it.  I take it all in humorous stride.

 

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