Sunday, July 02, 2006

Wanted: A New Concept for Society – or – Why Philosophy matters

Philosophy...

most people think of it as a luxury of the educated – but it is much more, because the science called “Philosophy” is nothing else than the description of what people think, believe and hold for truth – the description of the foundation of their minds, of the philosophy of everbody, on which (s)he decides everything in life, the big and the small, the important and the forgettable.

That’s why i couldn’t stop to write in reply to Robert’s post “The American/Israeli War Against Islam”. But making too many words kills each comment (except for the brave mannning, defending the genuine american superiority) i decided to reply on my own blog – where the flood of words doesn’t wash away Roberts readers...

Robert said:
Will it always be this way?
Will it always be that even the peaceful and the innocent will become twisted by the violence they are forced to commit to simply keep their homes and keep their families alive?
Why is it that mankind's history is one of conquest?

that's the myth they tell us – since our birthday, that's called "train the pavlov-dogs". Why they tell it to us? Because if you believe that something is "natural", you simply think that you cannot change it

as i was young i thought it to be "natural", too – that man kills man, that the strong hurts the weak and grows fat of their work while their children have to starve – and so you are handicapped, because if you can't see how to win you mostly will not start to fight...

but then i stumbled across books about early humankind – and i realized that all what we are made to think wasn't valid at that time – and that simply means: it is not natural to kill each other, it is not natural, that the strong beat the weak, it is not natural that one commands and the others obey.

Actually, that is our Original Sin – to have allowed it because it was so convenient. We need someone to judge between us, we need someone to teach us and the best and brightest did it for us – alas, only in those long forgotten times it were the best and the brightest (because they were chosen due to their mathematical skills) – nowadays only the “pathological personalities”, attracted by power (Frank Herbert), are the big bosses...

and so, nowadays we have to pay the price

Robert said:
Why is it that mankind's history is one of conquest?

conquest needs defense – needs “ministries of defense”, needs warriors and commanders-in-chief, needs elites to be paid by the peasants – that's why "mankind's history is one of conquest?" – and it needs fortresses: walls, strong, high walls of stone.

so you see, it had a beginning, because the first cities had no walls.

Accept it, that humankind could be peaceful once! Sure, there were always private struggles or thieves, but all in a tit-for-tat-manner. You can see it in the Egyptian Maat – the ancient principle of justice higher than the Pharao...

but as time goes by, Pharao "grew up" and in the end, the power had won and Maat had lost.

Robert, i can tell words and words and words and will probably never be able to make someone else understand what a huge difference it was for me simply to see the existence of another world: that neither brutality nor the law of the strongest are natural.

Because “self-evidence” doesn’t exist.

At least it is not natural for humans – the banana-heap-behavior of the greedy alpha-male and the obedient whores (either male and female) is a behavior of chimps and lesser apes, but not humans

you can see it everywhere when you look beyond the Iron Curtain of the Warmongers – the winners, who write history, as you know. But there are so many hints that they are not the natural way for humans – and looking back it seems to me that the great progress of humankind ended at the time of the Original Sin...

because the only lasting inventions of the “modern” cultures were weapons – and our time may soon be gone equally, as any other high peaceful culture, the only ones creating knowledge via science.

Greece? Was divided – a more peaceful part, where math and philosophy prospered – and the part our culture particularly loves: the winners and warriors.

Rome? Most of her inventions were known long before, at least in the Indian reagion (which wasn’t as far away at those times than later in the Middle Age).

Egypt? The Pharao, Ramses III, we so heartily adore because of his “great wars” – was nearly the last one, not able to create a survivable dynasty. The high culture, lasting for thousands of years, consumed mostly the knowledge of the early times – it simply ended with “the greatest warrior” – the last step of the decline.

War is destruction – it will never create something, the only thing, you can say about it is, that scorched earth forces people to create things new, to try another way of life.

There never was a good war or a bad peace. – Benjamin Franklin

Robert said:
Yeah, these are all freshman-year-sitting-around-the-bong sorts of questions, but they are on my mind these days. It's hard to be optimistic when everything on the international scene seems to be going to shit.

that’s the reason why they tell us the story of the “natural winners” – you see?

but you also can see, that your brain knows exactly, that this myth isn’t true – because it is “on your mind these days”. There is a big contradiction and your brain is optimized to solve problems, particularly by analyzing contradictions...

to let you survive. It is its job – and if it cannot solve the problem within a given system, it has to change it. And that is, to question everything.

Trust no one, especially don’t trust the strong in our days – they are only PPs, as Kurt Vonnegut called them: “the medical term for smart, personable people who have no consciences” or Prostitutes of Power, as i call them.

Robert said:
How does this violence in Iraq and Palestine affect us here?

You know the answer – some years ago i watched a report about Nepal, as far as i remember. Those people used domesticated animals for milk and wool, but usually didn’t kill them for food, except in hard winters, when nothing was left to eat, neither for the humans nor for the animals.

Suddenly i asked myself if there could be a connection.

A connection between how you treat life in general and how you treat humans. I asked myself if a person who can feed an animal and then easily can kill it hasn’t sold some of the ancient wisdom of humanity – and without understanding it, has sold the respect for life in general. I asked myself if a person “professionally” slaugthering animals isn’t as easily able to “professionally” slaughtering humans (except maybe for the ones the butcher knows)...

Justice.

It is not a myth. It is an equilibrium of physical actions, surely complex in human relationships, but nevertheless – in principle – measurable.

Simply because of that, simply because justice is a physical state with clear physical conditions, Mother Nature was able to program it in our brains to protect the human society, the stabilizing Uber-Body of the weak species of losers, needing creativity and intelligence to survive.

And that’s the reason why everybody pays if (s)he deranges the equilibrium, dares to upset the balance – because the brain knows how important it is to have a just society and only three kinds of brains can ignore that: the ruthless, the stupid or the sick.

Any other will know that something went wrong and will wait for the punishment, getting more and more paranoid...

and Robert, isn’t it true, that all those “People keep looking at me like I have three eyes because these things concern me”, as you call them, really do that? Get more and more paranoid?

Because...

Robert said:
Do they think the violence done in their names will go unpunished?

No, they don’t. It’s even so, that they clearly know, they will not go unpunished – and so they try hard not to think about, but it’s always somewhere beyond the consciousness, waiting....

making them fearful for anything and anybody, because they know

it (fate, physics, justice) will hit back.

Robert said:
No, I'm not happy about it. No person with anything to lose should be happy. I would dearly love for our nation to turn itself around, and for the first time in history become that beacon that it claims to be. But I'm a realist. I think the time for learning is past us. Now is the time of the gun and the blade and there's little you or I can do about it but watch.

Me, too.

But looking at history and at the sad state of Earth, it’s much more at stake than only America, Robert.

We talk about life as we know it, exactly as Prof. Lovelack said. “civilisation as we know it is now unlikely to survive

Robert said:
It doesn't depress me anymore. The transparent lies still enrage me because so many of my fellow citizens believe them. But the actual facts, understanding that this is all going to end very, very badly.....it's only the cold, inescapable truth.

Yes, problem is, that it is inevitable – because no system can progress forever. It’s one of the myths of the non-thinking alpha-apes they tell us to make us the “dumb livestock” eager to feed them and obey them, that progression will always continue, that the way of humankind always leads upwards...

that’s not true.

Each and every system of information processing has its inherent limits. Limits, kids, not just something fading away while whispering the mantra: “i can do it, i will succeed”.

And the only way to overcome the limits is to change the system.

Mother Nature started it long ago.

How?

Look at the true difference between humans and apes: the language.

It is the competence to intensify the communication between individuals to create the Uber-body “Human Culture”. Mother Nature went this way once ago.

From the single cell to the multicellular organisms, even sacrificing individual immortality.

But as complex as this step might be – the architecture of passive intelligence is much easier than the architecture of active intelligence, based on unique experiences. And because Mother Nature would not waste the definite advance of the individual intelligence, the Uber-Body of Humankind will be of nearly infinite complexity, i fear.

And therefore there are many reasons to think that we, humankind, with the fast pace downwards to chimp-behavior, back to non-intelligent violence with only counterproductive results simply are no longer be capable of reaching that point.

Every day, we ignore the laws of Nature, the decency and justice, Mother Nature tried to program in our brains (our human brains), every day, we prefer the more older, more deeper and so, alas, more stronger apish behavior in our interbrain...

each of those days we lose a little more capability to manage the needed complexity of the Uber-Body, which would allow us to survive...

and to develop further...

I often ponder about Harappa and Mohenjo-daro. "A nation of millions of people, spread over an area of some 1,250,000 km²...The culture's sudden appearance appears to have been the result of planned, deliberate effort" – creating well-planned, well-constructed cities for tens of thousands of individuals, bigger than Egypt and Sumer, but caring for anybody. Each house had access to fresh water, all the “houses were protected from noise, odors, and thieves”, the “urban plan included the world's first urban sanitation systems, ... far more advanced than any found in contemporary urban sites in the Middle East and even more efficient than those in some areas of modern India and Pakistan today”....

there were no temples, no palaces...

There is no conclusive evidence of palaces or temples—or, indeed, of kings, armies, or priests.

but wealth for everybody.

Although some houses were larger than others, Indus civilization cities were remarkable for their apparent egalitarianism. All houses had access to water and drainage facilities. This gives the impression of a vast middle-class society.

How could they do so?

How did they escape the Alpha-males, the ones full of greed and violence, grabbing all the wealth, creating poverty for others to get rich themselves, creating suffering for others to be able to dominate?

"The people of the Indus Civilization achieved great accuracy in measuring length, mass, and time. They were among the first to develop a system of uniform weights and measures. Their measurements were extremely precise. ...Brick sizes were in a perfect ratio of 4:2:1, and the decimal system was used...In addition, Harappans evolved new techniques in metallurgy, and produced copper, bronze, lead, and tin. The engineering skill of the Harappans was remarkable, especially in building docks after a careful study of tides, waves, and currents....that the people of Indus Valley Civilization, even from the early Harappan periods, had knowledge of medicine and dentistry"

How did they escape the death of science and democracy, so often be seen in ancient cultures? How could they do it? How could they protect peace and science and humanity and wealth without regressing into barbarian chimps, as all others had done?

Our predecessors included.

If we can solve that riddle, we may have a chance to survive.

And my bet – it was their philosophy.

They didn’t believe in the strongest – they can’t have done it and all their relics show, they didn’t do it.

And they are the most developed ancient culture of all – more developed than Egyt, more developed than Sumer, far, far more developed than the warmongering younger cultures later on.

Remember the myth of the strong leaders, who “where needed to trigger the stupid masses to high cultures”?

The Indus civilization appears to contradict the hydraulic despotism hypothesis of the origin of urban civilization and the state. According to this hypothesis, all early, large-scale civilizations arose as by-product of irrigation systems capable of generating massive agricultural surpluses. To build, maintain and coordinate the operations of these systems, one or several despotic, centralized states emerged that was able to suppress the social status of thousands of people and harness their labor as slaves. It is very difficult to square this hypothesis with what is known about the Indus civilization. There is no evidence of kings, slaves, or forced mobilization of labor.

You see it?

Fact is: The Philosophy of the Strongest is less capable of anything than the Philosophy of Decency.

And so, Robert...

don’t support the Alpha-Apes by believing their myths, that humankind was “always” a race of “slaves and victims”. It’s just not true, it’s only convenient for the slavemakers and victimizers.

Cui Bono: This myth has just one reason: “Resistance is futile” - to make you accept your “inferiority”, to stop resistance. Like the snake hypnotizing its victim before it strikes.

Like the Borgs.

Btw: You see the dominance of philosophy over the human brains in an earlier version of the above article as well: It is, as if modern people aren’t capable of accepting anything else than the law of the chimps:

“Unlike other ancient civilizations, the archaeological record of the Indus civilization provides practically no evidence of armies, kings, slaves, social conflict, prisons, and other oft-negative traits that we traditionally associate with early civilization, although this could simply be due to the sheer completeness of its collapse and subsequent disappearance.”

... although this could simply be due to the sheer completeness of its collapse and subsequent disappearance...

We found little toys and bathrooms, knifes and tools – but the proofs of the all-conquering armies, kings, slaves, prisons with their eagerness to build the strongest and biggest things should be vanished?

You see, those words don’t make sense (and i guess, that's the reason why they were deleted) – they are only proof for the power of philosophy.

“What must not be, cannot be.”

We have to go back to the roots, to the basic foundation of all our convictions and “truths” to find the concept of a true civilization.

And the first thing to do so – is to realize, that the law of the strongest is not a human law – and to obey it and to accept it is to regress to our animal history.

We cannot create a humankind with apish rules – forget it.


28 Comments:

Blogger Mannning said...

>>>We cannot create a humankind with apish rules – forget it.<<<

At this point in time, it is futile, in my opinion, to postulate Utopias, whether based on past achievements, or current perspectives of the good and the right. Thus, we cannot create a humankind...at all. We are what we are, and there is little evidence of spiritual growth of mankind in four thousand years.

Yes, there is value in studying the past, and the philosophies invented then, but we must live in the NOW, and cope with what we find, one day at a time, and with an operative, current philosophy.

It is hard for me to follow your "strong vs weak" argument. There are so many possible strongs and weaks: strong in power; strong in intellect; strong in body; strong in spirit; and weak in the same attributes, often in various combinations. This is humanity. You must have a specific "strong" group in mind, or a specific "weak" group.

How about searching for and investigating a philosophy that combines spiritual growth and values with objective and rational rules? Then, LIVE it.

12:02 PM, July 02, 2006  
Blogger Robert said...

It doesn't surprise me in the least that Manning doesn't get it. I'll deal with him in a minute.

That is, without a doubt, one of the most profound and thought-provoking things I've ever read.

I'm going to have to digest this for a while before it sinks in.

But the point is so frighteningly revolutionary that the mind boggles.

Not evolution that's needed
but de-evolution. An ability to return to the old ways and still manage to use our technology with wisdom.

Much thinking to do....thank you.

Very much.

Now, Manning. I want to aplogize. As of late I've run up against right-wingers that have made me appreciate, though I disagree with just about everything you have to say, your genteel style of debate.
Your conversations with my good friend here seem cordial and perhaps even informative. So feel free to tell me to piss off and I would not blame you, but I would like to invite you to come and comment at Thorn Tree. I was very wrong to ban you outright and I have lived and learned.

Don't worry about JMF-Nemo or anyone else hurling *unwarranted* insults. You play nice, I will make sure they will as well. If you choose not to, I more than understand. Only know that I was wrong, and I am sorry.

The potential armageddon is making some strange bedfellows.

2:36 PM, July 02, 2006  
Blogger Robert said...

A couple more small things for you Again.

Your English is coming along in leaps and bounds.

If ever you decide to leave behind your current online moniker, I have a suggestion: Mentat

I'm certain Frank would approve :)

3:04 PM, July 02, 2006  
Blogger Mannning said...

robert: I was not aware that you had banned me from your site. I do not remember ever visiting it in any case.

Glad you have decided to remove the ban!? Perhaps there is something to comment on there from my perspective.

Would it be too much trouble to try to explain to me what I "don't get?" The comment about de-evolution? I was suggesting that instead, we should go forward NOW with a spiritual adjunct to our rational lives, and learn how to live together, all of the strongs and all of the weaks, whoever they are, and in whatever groupings or nations. Call it Love for mankind.

In the real world NOW we have a mighty conflict rising, and I have no illusions that we can solve it with Love. In fact, we are threatened by a sect that has a multi-century memory of the real and not so real wrongs they believe they have suffered from the West and Judeo-Christians. Their very religion teaches them to lie, cheat, steal, and kill the infidel. We are threatened with complete distruction, and we must react to preserve our way of life.

This seems to me to be an overriding issue that we Westerners must all solve, even if by the sword.

Must it always be this way?
Was it Nietzsche who said; "War is the natural state of man?" It would seem so, since the average number of conflicts around the world per year approaches 50 over the past two centuries.

Is it wrong for the US to attempt to bring peace around the world? To stop the killing. To stop the deaths from hunger and disease? Have we fallen into such a role because of our altruism and our value system? Should we aspire to do this? Is it not a worthy goal?
Why should we? Because we can? Are we afraid of being called Empire-Builders, when what we want to achieve is a lasting peace? These are immediate, NOW, kinds of questions, and they imply many philosophical tenets in the process of answering them.

9:35 PM, July 02, 2006  
Blogger Again said...

mannnnning
We are what we are, and there is little evidence of spiritual growth of mankind in four thousand years.

perfectly right!! And the spiritual growth was the least what hadn't grown...

actually i guess, the regression started about 8-10,000 years ago...

combines spiritual growth and values with objective and rational rules?

but why spiritual? And where did you see rational growth?? Do you know what the quoted sentence means: "Brick sizes were in a perfect ratio of 4:2:1, and the decimal system was used..."?

and I have no illusions that we can solve it with Love.

who talked about love?


Was it Nietzsche who said; "War is the natural state of man?"

never found that: but here's original Nietzsche:

"One pays heavily for coming to power: power makes stupid" – Friedrich Nietzsche, TWILIGHT OF THE IDOLS. What the Germans lack

Is it wrong for the US to attempt to bring peace around the world?

wow...

what a GREAT nation - for everbody to see and verify - just open your eyes and think like a true spiritual peacemaker

NOW, kinds of questions, and they imply many philosophical tenets in the process of answering them.

more wow....

i hear my father...

"how could anybody NOT see that"?

so please come back, mannnning, my father is dead and as you may understand, i could never understand him - but he was my father and i also wasn't able to stop to love him...

so much about "odious" ;-)

so you're welcome!

12:44 AM, July 03, 2006  
Blogger Again said...

robert
But the point is so frighteningly revolutionary that the mind boggles.

yes, it is, robert

because it makes you really "question everything"...

to make you question the foundation of all the "self-evidences" of our life allows you to discover a whole new world. And until now i claim, that this was the first precondition, that it was only me to understand Information (can prove it: my basic concept created in 1999 is now a hype, the basic architecture of SOA, my ML-method can explain you the "syntegration" of Prof. Beer. It really works. And to all kiddies lurking: No, it's not about my intelligence, it's only about physical laws: to be seen by everybody just willing to look at them and accept them) - because to understand Information you have to question anything - even the foundation of mathematics, the set. And THAT is something, even the most intelligent and wise Nobel Laureate are NOT able to do...

they don't think about their OWN "fundamentalities"...


Your English is coming along in leaps and bounds.

you mean "up and down"? Sometimes good and sometimes (say) "weird"?

It's about the time i invest - replies i sometimes write in hurry...


If ever you decide to leave behind your current online moniker, I have a suggestion: Mentat
I'm certain Frank would approve :)


Frank Herberts "Mentat"? One most wonderful and gigantic, greatest compliments i've ever got

1:09 AM, July 03, 2006  
Blogger Robert said...

No, I don't think you've been to Thorn Tree but I pitched a hissy fit at Green September and told you to go away.

"I was suggesting that instead, we should go forward NOW with a spiritual adjunct to our rational lives, and learn how to live together, all of the strongs and all of the weaks, whoever they are, and in whatever groupings or nations. Call it Love for mankind."

Heaven help me, I agree with Mannning.

"Is it wrong for the US to attempt to bring peace around the world? To stop the killing. To stop the deaths from hunger and disease? Have we fallen into such a role because of our altruism and our value system? Should we aspire to do this? Is it not a worthy goal?"

Well, that didn't last long.

Are you telling me, that from your point of view, the US is trying to "bring peace to the world"?

Like in Iraq? Are you telling me that this invasion and occupation of Iraq was to bring peace?

Have you read anything in the last couple of years about what's been going on in Iraq?

What we did in Fallujah. "Making an example" of an entire city.

The fact that the justification for war in front of the Security Council has been proven to be false. That we decided after things like the Downing Street Memo came out that "OK now instead of hunting WMD's that aren't there we're spreading freedom?

Mannning you may have to be my new special project. I know, I just know that you're too damn smart to believe some of the stuff you say. It's OK. I was once an arch-conservative and I manged to see the light. It was harder than anything I've ever done but It's possible with courage.

I would never be so naive as to say that Love can make it all better. Unfortunately at this stage of the game there's lots of bloodletting to be done before we can fix anything.

But, in the dark of night, when the guns are silent, people have to be able to dream a different world.

If you don't allow yourself to dream of it, you can never build it.

2:30 AM, July 03, 2006  
Blogger Again said...

oooooops - apropos "write in hurry" - it should mean "One of the most wonderful and gigantic, greatest compliments i've ever got"

robert
If you don't allow yourself to dream of it, you can never build it.

Amen

6:54 AM, July 03, 2006  
Anonymous Barnita said...

That is a wonderful post Again. Each time you use the Indus Valley civilisation as an example, I get well, I get teary-eyed. I'm going to reread your post very slowly again.

10:16 AM, July 03, 2006  
Blogger Mannning said...

robert:
>>>Well, that didn't last long.<<<

I believe that every sentence I wrote in that paragraph was a question, not an implication. The cluster of questions were meant to open up the idea that we in America hsve some serious choices to make regarding world conflicts. Should we...not, "we are."

My view was further out in time than the immediate Iraqi situation, in the sense of: what should we be doing with our power and riches in this world. With a definitive answer to this, we can more confidently champion course corrections to fit.

I believe we will watch Iraq reach some kind of stability in the next year or so, not without more bombings, but with a growing economy and sense of safety.

US troops will be reshuffled around and mostly out of direct participation with the Iraqi government in the fight against terrorists. We will leave behind many moral and political issues, especially after the 2006/2008 elections, and return to the more urgent issues of Iran, NK, and home security, and making money, while enjoying our lives.

But, what about the rest of the world? Do we have any responsibility at all to contribute to world peace? If so, how? Should we not have a plan that everyone understands? What are the main features of our contribution then?
How does this dovetail with the conflict between the West and Islam?

Tough love is a major factor, I think; the hardest kind of love to practice.

If one focuses on purely rational philosophies, such as Objectivism as an example, there is little to excite the spiritual side of existence; the senses of wonder, the feelings of worth, the emotions of love, and the satisfactions of seeing dreams (yes, dreams) come true.

Thus, I don't want to be governed by unadulterated reason, devoid of spiritual content, like an automaton.

12:54 PM, July 03, 2006  
Blogger Again said...

barnita
Each time you use the Indus Valley civilisation as an example, I get well, I get teary-eyed.

i know what you mean - it is good to be able to be proud of the parent-generations

that's why i'm so eager to find more and more about ancient humankind - at those times, you COULD be proud of that species, really

what they were capable of is unbelievable! Look at us today! We COULD know so much, but most of us just deny to do so. How many learn physics or mathematics to simply use their own brains correctly to understand their own world correctly?

Most of our "modern world" prefer "faith" - it's easier to close your eyes than stand tall in a mighty universe

the ancient people preferred knowledge - sure, they weren't pampered and rich like many of us today, if they wouldn't have understood the course of sun and moon it could have risked their survival - but despite of us: They KNEW that, while we believe we can destroy air, water and earth without destroying ourselves...

what a measly species we had become...

so yes, i prefer to look back to Harappa in India, where the people believed in measurements and inventend so much, we thought to be invented FIRST IN OUR TIMES...

the brick e.g. - it was a "great" discovery of modern times, because those simple arrangement 4:2:1 means simply, that you can use it as "modules" in every direction - something like an ancient "Lego"...

neither the kingdoms of Sumer nor of Egypt used this efficient technique - so simple and easy and useful, but the kingdoms weren't able to. It needs engineers to be clever, not warriors. Period.

Their sewage-system? It needs Paris of the 19th century to RE-invent it again...

Water for everbody, the whole city build on a plane platform that no one had to go up or down...

and (!!) - toys everywhere: sophisticated, carefully designed and worked, cars and animals...

look at those toys and you know, what Ursula K. Le Guin meant, as she said: "If civilization has an opposite, it is war. Of those two things, you have either one, or the other. Not both."

Because this world was a world made for children - there must be laughter and future for the little...

not Mr. Bush and the Freedom Fighters...

you see? Physics is much more than just a science - it is a philosophy, the only capable to conquest the future

The only capable of anything which you could enjoy without bad conscience:

Harappas engineering was so perfect, that until today, after about 4,000 years, you can't move a credit card between the stones of the Great Bath of Harappa...

what humankind would have been able to if not the lesser minds of the believers had won - and it clearly seems that not those "believing winner"-types made the Harappans vanish. It is likely that it needs both climate change and the whole continent's drift to beat those great engineers...

12:20 AM, July 04, 2006  
Blogger Robert said...

Mannning,

Yeah you're right. Forgive me I've been dealing with extraordinarily nasty people these last few days and it's rubbing off on me. I'm seeing confict everywhere.


"In the real world NOW we have a mighty conflict rising, and I have no illusions that we can solve it with Love. In fact, we are threatened by a sect that has a multi-century memory of the real and not so real wrongs they believe they have suffered from the West and Judeo-Christians. Their very religion teaches them to lie, cheat, steal, and kill the infidel. We are threatened with complete distruction, and we must react to preserve our way of life."

"We are threatened with complete distruction,"

That's where I believe you're wrong and where a large segment of the American population is wrong as well. They want us out of their countries. They want Americans out, physically and influentially, of the Middle East. They want us to stop giving billions of dollars and unconditional support to Israeli persecution of the Palestinian people. They want American soldiers out. Gone from what they consider to be holy ground in Saudi Arabia.

We gave Iran the Shah, we supported Saddam against Iran, we continue to bankroll an arm a rogue terrorist state (Israel) and we continue to prop up the corrupt government of Pakistan against the will of the majority of it's people.

American foreign policy is the problem. Change that and deal fairly and justly with the people of the Middle East and attacks against Americans, here and abroad, will cease.

Not overnight. Too much hatred remains for that to happen. But if want to ensure any future at all for America, it must start somewhere. Withdraw our forces and influence, and within a generation, this jihad will be but a memory.

1:50 AM, July 04, 2006  
Blogger Mannning said...

robert:

There has never been a time when I could be really proud of US foreign policies worldwide. Somewhere there has been a clash of wills, a clash of economics, or a military clash of some sort where we have not been prescient enough, strong enough, or unbiased enough to take a winning approach.

That said, correcting our foreign policy is certainly another NOW question, and unfortunately, I am not well-informed on that subject on a worldwide basis. There are some 200 or more nation states that we must deal with, and I believe that no single policy is adaptable enough to meet all of the circumstances we face daily.

Then too, I believe that there are significant conflicts within the US government as to the right policies and courses of action all around the world, between the Office of the President, DOS, CIA, and Congress, not to mention a public that is largely ill-informed about the rest of the world, and appears to treat foreign policy as an expensive nuisance and a potentially terrible threat.

To top this off, the media in general do not attack this deficiency of knowledge of the citizens in an unbiased way when they deign to address any of the countries, and especially the smaller and less important countries from a news point of view. One must make a concerted effort to become informed about any foreign country, unless that country is highlighted by some situation our MSM decides is worth the coverage.

Having rambled on about all this as a sort of stage setting, I jump again to the NOW questions. They need answers, and that is my current thrust, starting with general principles, but I most surely need help to create a cogent list of them. Care to lend a hand beyond the current ME situation?

10:25 AM, July 04, 2006  
Blogger Mannning said...

It seems that we must look at the Middle East question, because it is so dominant in the minds of some. I wish I had the sure knowledge to understand fully the real objectives of the World of Islam. What I have read gives me little hope for such a simple solution as withdrawing from the ME unilaterally and rapidly.

The jihadist leaders of the Muslim communities are on a path of conquest, in my view, and they are much further along that most people suspect, in the ME, in Europe, Indonesia, Asia, and in America itself. Give back full control of the ME, and they will be vastly encouraged to move faster in their plans.

In any event, we must remain alert to this movement and react with whatever is necessary in a timely manner, unless we wish to become dhimmitudists.

When looking at causes and effects of the many centuries old conflict between Jews and Muslims, "Who Shot John First" is impossible to decide, since it reaches back into the fog of ancient history. The NOW solution would seem to be STOP! Forget past hatreds and wounds and go forward in peace.

This has been tried many times in my own lifetime with little success. I believe it will continue in Israel and Palestine until one wipes out the other, especially when Iran obtains the nuclear bomb. So says the Koran too, and so says the past major attempts to overrun Israel.

The current situation is a minor broken truce in a long history of broken truces between the parties. Nothing I know of will change this situation for the better. Does anyone?

11:11 AM, July 04, 2006  
Blogger Mannning said...

again: you might enjoy the article by Gilder in National Review'

http://www.uncommondescent.com/index.php/archives/1290

9:03 PM, July 06, 2006  
Blogger Again said...

mannnning
you might enjoy the article

"evolution and tooth decay are problems that need to be overcome by design."

enjoy?

"overcome by design" - intelligent design?

i guess, you still believe that to create that kind of "intelligence" "proved" by those words it needs someone to create such "hugh" intelligence...

mannning, dear visitor, daddy-twin - i do exactly know WHAT intelligence is (not just that so perfectly sounding blablabla of all the authorities of any possible science, but a real "working manual" for programmers) because i do know what information is and therefore i do know that each intelligent system (may it be humans or the famous Drosophila melanogaster) have limits for the information processing to advance, i even made some rough estimations about at least the relation between environment and intelligence system even considering the two basic processing modes - it's just a question of resources, of something like "earn and burn" - free market "in action"...

so I do beg for SETI - Search for Endo-Terrestrian Intelligence...

11:51 PM, July 06, 2006  
Blogger Mannning said...

again:
I presuppose no higher intelligence, but the point there in the article seemed to be that intelligence must precede formation, else there is nothing to insert...and no organization of matter into which to insert. An interesting point of view.

Are you saying that you accept this or refute it? If you refute it, how?

9:03 AM, July 07, 2006  
Blogger Again said...

mannning
there in the article seemed to be that intelligence must precede formation...If you refute it, how?

wow, mannning - really, that's exactly the style of argumentation, my father used....

so first - please explain how and why you see the foundation of the statement "intelligence must precede formation" - and please, you know, i'm a little slow (as my father said), you must explain it checklist-like. So i ask first for a definition of intelligence and a definition of formation, i guess, the "must precede" will follow then immediately

12:51 AM, July 08, 2006  
Blogger Mannning said...

again:

I was merely pointing out the main theme of that essay by Gilder, which I thought interesting. I was not "buying in" to the argument, nor was I contemplating a definition war. So if you wish to have such definitions I suggest you look up Gilder. He seems to have been rather prolific on the subject of an information hierarchy, which you had also expressed knowledge of in your posts , if I read you correctly. You seem, however, to be hostile to the essay for some reason, so I was trying to bring out the why of it. Perhaps the ID words are at the root of it, as though any mention of those ideas is an immediate emotional turnoff. Your response was a ripose intended to deflect the argument back to me, when I didn't write the essay. Interesting!

12:44 PM, July 08, 2006  
Blogger Again said...

mannning
a definition war

who talks about war?

You said "the point there in the article seemed to be that intelligence must precede formation" - and "seemed to be" is a simple statement of your interpretation, so i asked for exactly that: your interpretation

and you said "If you refute it, how?" - and to do so, i had to know what "it" means

you know: it all depends on what the meaning of the word ~it~ is ;-)

5:57 AM, July 09, 2006  
Blogger Mannning said...

Ah! reductio ad absurdum. "It" is Guilder's theme. And "seems to be" is what it is in my opinion, which I stated.

A "definition war" is what one begins by demanding definition of terms, which then leads to challenging the given definition, many times leading to an infinite regression or circularity, with zero progress in understanding. Which war suffices to avoid the original issue nicely.

2:15 PM, July 09, 2006  
Blogger Again said...

mannnning
A "definition war"

thanks for that definition - i see, you know the mathematical way of life ;-)

3:06 AM, July 10, 2006  
Blogger Mannning said...

again:

How much background do you have in the development of artificial intelligence programs? Researchers using the LISP programming language long ago developed several powerful systems using both declarative and procedural methods in multitiered structures to effect a level of intelligent behavior in specific emvironments.

The main effort was at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Lab during the 70s and 80s, at the TJ Watson Labs of IBM and at Stamford. The list of people (that were) using LISP is rather long, but I have long since stopped tracking their efforts, and keeping papers of interest on the subject.

Some of the work of interest was done under government contracts, and had restricted access, but perhaps the principal results can be found in the open literature from these Labs.

For example, an automatic (but supervised) command decision system was developed for combat in the European Theater that used multisensor signal and image inputs to predict the early formation of a major OMG attack situation. This was quite successful in various army exercises in Europe. I believe this system was put on the backburner or abandoned when the USSR imploded. I no longer have the access to find out.

10:42 AM, July 10, 2006  
Blogger Again said...

How much background do you have in the development of artificial intelligence programs?

was interested some years ago - but (forgive me) LISP was as boring as the Relativity Theory (for me at that time, just a personal statement)

sure, the AI was "high hopes" - the lesser they knew the higher the promises, but the problem of AI was exactly that: promises without results

why?

no axiomatic foundation, no clear definitions

in the year 2003, Prof. Yasuo Kuniyoshi called "intelligence" the "eternal conundrum"

because?

no clear definition, always blablabla, always only best practices

yes, sure - that's also always the first step into science - best practices

that's how the Egypts build the pyramids, but that's also the reason why the colossus failed - no clear understanding of the forces, they used

because? Only best practices...

it took a Newton to solve that problem

F = m*a

basic, clear, precise - a definition to deduce, a definition, where you can start your rules (and, i guess, a definition, the steam engineers of that time laughed about: "how can this help us?" - but it DID, we all know how "F = m*a" changed the world)

quantum theory? Best practices showed that Force wasn't really able to help here - then Planck, Schrödinger, Heisenberg - based on the Hilbert space

then the group - the nearly simplest structure of mathematical sets. How it changed the world? Noether's Theorem

Noether and Hilbert - precising the analysis, finishing the work of Euclid: precise mathematics by the most basic...

definitions...

functional analysis - my great love, Queen of Mathematics - the power of preciseness - the art of definitions in structure and rules

i guess it was Banach (contracting mappings), who taught me this simple truth - everybody did iterations and it mostly worked - but Banach showed when and why it works...

best practices are nice and if you don't have anything else, they really are good, but to UNDERSTAND is much better because then you know, WHY they work - sometimes...

and especially, why they sometimes don't work

precise definition - intelligence is "something around information processing", so AI is like any other computer science branch based on the one thing, computer science don't care about to define precisely: information

yes, Goedel tells us that even the most precise definition of structure and rules can't deduce ANY point of the phase space, as long as the rules aren't really simple - but that shows 2 things

1) if we can detect a part of the phase space depending on simple rules - we can determine it perfectly

2) if we have to consider a more complex system, we can overcome the "Goedel black holes" by enhancing...

our definitions...

2:07 AM, July 12, 2006  
Blogger Mannning said...

Your citing of Hilbert, Banach, and Goedel brings back old memories of struggling with Multivariate Statistical Analysis some half-century ago! I am afraid the neural rust has set in for good now, though.

We tried some time in the 60s and 70s to use APL, and then Smalltalk and Objective C for several problems, and it was tedious work, mapping your understandings about a system into code.

But for our purposes it worked well. Now a partially-trained operator could make almost exact diagnoses of system failures, and effect repair by replacement, and then tuning. The system was a rather large and complex gaggle of special hardware and software functions designed to analyze signals from airborne collection devices. Training up people to maintain it was difficult at best.

The object-orientation was a boon, however, as it allowed for progressive development and modification with little difficulty.

Goedel's results do get in the way of axiomatic systems if you insist on their consistency and completeness. So you are obliged to go meta, and meta, and meta....
ad infinitum, but never approaching completeness. Oh Hell!

I cannot imagine being further OT than this! :)

12:02 PM, July 13, 2006  
Blogger Again said...

mannning.:
it was tedious work, mapping your understandings about a system into code.

mapping understanding into code is quite easy if you understand information - my computer does much of that job now, i only have to feed it with clear definitions

the rest is calculation, using the length on the information for optimization, something like the hamiltonian of the system

that's why i nowadays love Lisp-like abilities - because now i can use it to create working systems out of definitions. That's btw the reason why i'm always a little late...

very interesting task...

So you are obliged to go meta, and meta, and meta....
ad infinitum, but never approaching completeness. Oh Hell!

I cannot imagine being further OT than this! :)


further OT?

"T" is philosophy - foundation of thinking

and the insight of Goedel, that you NEVER will be able to "approach completeness", as you've rightly said, is one of the preconditions to understand information and therefore our whole life and universe and everything (in memoriam Douglas Adams) -

100% determinism is just a dream of control freaks like kings and popes and other fuehrers, not able to stand reality as it is...

2:49 AM, July 16, 2006  
Blogger Mannning said...

again:

Yes, Goedel is on topic, but my excursion into mapping human diagnistic and analysis functions into programs for a special-purpose system was a few degrees off topic. But, on reflection, the Smalltalk software system permitted far faster mapping and aggregation of functions, just as you seem to be doing. It was the rules themselves that were difficult to teach to the programmers, who were not also EE engineers in that year--1984.

We collectively and individually may not have the time to develop and propagate an updated philosophy of life that would bring greater peace to the world. I am afraid that events are accelerating towards widespread war yet again, which reduces the collective hearing of new ideas to near zero.

What I am dreading to hear now is the callup of our reserves, and the introduction of the draft. That is, to put the US on a full war footing. It is coming to this about a year earlier than I had predicted, because of the insane preemptive actions of Hezbollah and Hamas, followed by the harsh and deliberate response of the Israelis.

It will take just one more vicious act or grave threat against the US to trigger the US into a response every bit as vicious as any perpetrated by ME nations, and I believe it will be focused on Iran this time. I hope my sense of this is off target, but every day that passes brings more violence and more opportunities for serious miscalculations on all sides. War on a large scale may not be inevitable, but to me it seems so, more and more.

9:13 PM, July 16, 2006  
Blogger Again said...

mannning
War on a large scale may not be inevitable, but to me it seems so, more and more.

yes, me too

and then history decides - not the strong of the moment, defining who's wrong and who's right...

btw: Mother Earth has enough time to try it again. I guess, it will be the last try, but one approach is still possible...

10:55 PM, July 16, 2006  

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