Tuesday, 5 August 2008

THE ANTHROPIC UNIVERSE...(in which post the leggy, five-foot- seven Selena is attempting to squash a false mythology).



“Oh and a thought about the human mind shaping the universe ... don't you think it is kind of arrogant that 'things' don't exist without us observing them?” Bob


“Why oh why are you so anthropocentric, Selena? Why do you think we matter so much, and have such powers...?” Jonathan



Pray, what powers?

‘Ever fewer climb with me up ever higher
mountains,' Nietzsche wrote in Thus Spake Zarathustra, but you, my dear gentlemen, are actually putting the cart before the horse.

I am - for I am an absolute idea...? Nonsense!

Nothing could be further from the truth. I am a relativistic concept,
at best. Forget man’s self-made image as the universe’s supreme conceptual authority. Or that the validity of epistemological conceptions are dependent solely on the species for whose personal comfort they have been created. Nor can homo sapiens arbitrarily dictate the course of events in what is, de facto, a conceptual vacuum.

Heaven forbid!

Man is the most feeble, perhaps, of cosmic animals. Indeed, the first
image that comes to mind - gnashing, primordial apemen pondering the concept of
fire and howling at the moon. Faced with a plethora of dimensions, the only
thing we can do is try to form a reasonable view of the realities attached to
them. Nor have we solved the ancient problem of getting past the appearance of
things. Indeed, there is no proof for the empirical constitution of scientific
concepts such as Black Holes, strings and super-strings or the curved phenomena
that Newtonian dynamics first attributed to the force of gravity. And since it
denies existence to objects having both spatial locations and well-defined paths
of motion simultaneously, not even the atom will stand up to scrutiny. These are
elegant constructs, drawn up by mathematicians and propagated by theoretical
physicists. Indeed, physics has a tendency to deprive reality of all its
homocentric attributes, leaving it no other import but that of economy and
function. Equations are no measure of reality, they are merely terms that allow
us to describe a certain limited number of interactions between the mind and the
world. And our experience of the world reflects only how we represent it to
ourselves, and that has nothing to do with the thing itself.

What anthropocentrism categorically does not mean is that man
intrinsically causes all things to exist (even though he may well have invested
them with the essential attributes by which they are to be distinguished). What
it does mean is that we have established a universal system of measuring reality
which fits the expectations of the human mind, with the added proviso, perhaps,
that all combinations and attributes are theoretically possible - in an infinity
of universes that are at best contingent: the fabled multiverse!

Believe me, gentlemen, we know nothing until we know everything!



Dreamy







8 comments:

mutleythedog said...

Have you noticed that the new lady in Estenders has permanently erect nipples? I observe them from the phenomena they create without actually seeing the nipplis erecticus meself... like most sciencey stuff I guess?

Jonathan said...

'Man is the most feeble, perhaps, of cosmic animals.'

Are you sure! More so than the slug or the hamster?

'gnashing, primordial apemen pondering the concept of
fire and howling at the moon.'

Interesting you mention the moon...Please xplain what it is about the moon then, in your own words.

This sounds like a very modernist conceit to me btw.

I never denied that allied to your epistemological anthropocentrism goes a stubborn misanthropy, btw. I'm not asking you to be ashamed of either.

"Nor have we solved the ancient problem of getting past the appearance of
things."

Well, not as a collective, but individuals have, or say they have, and society either can or can not choose to believe them. Besides, not all societies are as obsessed by mere image and appearance as is ours.

'Equations are no measure of reality, they are merely terms that allow us to describe a certain limited number of interactions between the mind and the world.'

Great point! Marvellously expressed. Capturing my youthful lack of enthusiasm for algebra precisely.

'our experience of the world reflects only how we represent it to ourselves, and that has nothing to do with the thing itself.'

Hmmm... either you have modified your views from a week or so ago, or I didnt understand your original position, but I totally agree with this, in any case. I would call it 'Non-realist realism'. The world is out there without us in-itself, independently, but cannot be known by us except through the filters of our styles and lenses of knowing, etc. Whether or not we then in our knowing of it then change it is a separate debate.

'we have established a universal system of measuring reality
which fits the expectations of the human mind,'

Good point, but when you talk of the human mind here, I have in mind a quite particular human mind...western, scientific, male, mystically uninitiated..given to firm distinction and excacting, excluding definitions.

So not the human mind in general, in total, then, which I see, as did the hermeticists and alchemists, as a microcosmic reflection of the macrocosm, etc

what do you think?

Selena Dreamy said...

"The world is out there without us in-itself, independently, but cannot be known by us except through the filters of our styles and lenses of knowing"

Eureka! - you've cracked it, Jonathan.

...except, of course, it should read "the thing is out there..independently" - for the world is us, we are the world!

And thank you for your perseverance..

Selena Dreamy said...

“Have you noticed that the new lady in Estenders has permanently erect nipples? I observe them from the phenomena they create without actually seeing the nipplis”

That, Mutley, is as good an example of deductive reasoning as I’ve ever come across.

Frankly, as its producers have began to probe more deeply and deductively into this irresistible combination of science and salaciousness, and created a more sophisticated vision of how this sit-com operates, I might even be tempted to switch it on. Thus far I’ve been unable to watch Eastenders without awakening and producing in my own mind lustful and perverted ideas of how to strangle everyone who‘s in it...

All Shook Up said...

the world is us, we are the world!

Goodness. As good a plug for Panthiesm as I ever saw. Between you and Tennyson, I'm becoming converted!

mutleythedog said...

I brought a new yo-yo... would anyone like to see some of the tricks I am learning?

Jonathan said...

"...except, of course, it should read "the thing is out there..independently" - for the world is us, we are the world!"

Er...what 'Thing'? You are presuming that the Universe is not alive and conscious?

By 'world' I should have said Universe, ok (or Multiverse, yes).

I am very happy to have shown myself an acceptable tutee! Now, what about that game of croquet you promised me on the college quad?

Hurrah, we agree. And yet we tend to strangely fall away from each other just when we thought we were seeing eye to eye.

Oh, how that there shadow does fall.

I suppose by 'world' (as opposed to Earth - the physcal planet) I really mean the matrix of shared psycho-social human understandings about what is going on for humans on this planet. For example, that it is 2008. Of course, this is just us agreeing to think something about our shared life - nothing else. Money also is a property of the 'world' for example - since a shared consensus of belief regarding its potency keeps it afloat, and without that it is nothing.

It's interesting how we all really do live in each other's minds...which, as it happens, makes our tendency to hate one another, when we do, somewhat logically fraught (can the one validly hate the one). This irrespective of any moral consideration of the inadvisability of such a mutual stance for other reasons.

Thanks for doing my questionnaire Dreamy.

Bob said...

Well excuse me, I missed this post. Therefore the late reaction.

If you put it like that, I must agree, ofcourse. It sounded different though.

On accessibility of texts. Let me compare that to a software product (because that's the only thing I know). I'm a software-engineer and was often puzzled by the lack of user-friendlieness of german software. I had a discussion with a german colleague once about this where he claimed that complex software is just hard to understand and thus hard to use. I managed to convince him that it is HARDER and MORE work to make a complex peace of software easy to handle by the user. That's one of the reasons of the succes of Nokia e.g.

If you are aiming to climb your hills alone or with a select few, then ofcourse that's your prerogative. I'm still on the path but you sometimes disappear from my sight.