[FRIAM] Posts from the Scotts

Steven A Smith sasmyth at swcp.com
Sun Jul 28 17:20:36 EDT 2019

glen∈ℂ wrote:
> The 3 excerpts below seem to indicate the (my?) problem. At first, I
> though Marcus was agreeing with me by listing options for
> harm-of-eating-animals. But then he goes toward monism-by-unification
> with "agreeing on what matters" and
> whole-equilibrium-implies-part-equilibrium. And I thought Steve agreed
> with me by arguing for complexification and allowing duality. But then
> he reduces to unification-by-hidden-variables and
> ways-that-are-fundamentally-opposed.

I am inspired/excited by your use of an implied "pattern language" in
these hyphenated flaws-in-thinking or is it modes-of-thinking?   I'm
reminded of a book (long misplaced) I inherited from my grandfather's
library (born in 1898) who was for a modest time (<10 years) the
principal of a High School.  The book's title was "Straight and Crooked
Thinking" and had a modest amount of marginalia in his (I think?)
hand...   it was ostensibly written to help with the problems associated
with a newly literate (nouveau-literati?) class of people his age (and
perhaps older) who were abruptly inducted into RRR (readin', 'ritin,
'rithmatiken) by the introduction of widespread public schools in their
era, as well as the attendant bump in periodical publication and radio

I think we (both the plebians and elites alike) suffer from "crooked
thinking".... I don't know if a "pattern language" (ala Christopher
Alexander) is accessible enough to the masses to help, but might provide
good reference material for trying to straighten *some* of our crooked
thinking out.

> The heart of the problem is this *intolerance* for inconsistency
> (otherwise known as reductionism?).
And of course, what I propose/suggest/allude-to above is more of this,
as if all thought patterns can be reduced to a (small number of) finite
archetypical patterns.
> Why do we (and I'm not immune, despite my schizotypal rhetoric) insist
> on boiling everything down to 1 or a few fundamental, self-consistent,
> things? Why can't reality be an inherently unpatterned mess of
> infinite, inconsistent, things? 
This is the classic tension between Logos and Chaos which may only be an
illusion auto-generated by the Logos itself.
> The heuristics that work in one era fail in another era, and so on,
> forever? The heuristics that work for one agent (e.g. 2 eyes, 10
> fingers) fail for another agent? Why do we need universality across
> space, time, and world-cuttings?

I think it is a natural "holy grail" to seek (for Logos itself, of which
we seem to be poster-children)... not a GUT necessarily, just another
gradient-following... up the gradient of entropy with myriad
false-summits in an infinite dimentsional manifold?

> I really like the idea that we need such things because we're resource
> and inference-style constrained computational devices ... as I imagine
> someone like David Wolpert might argue.
I can see how this might support that, but I'm not sure it is
necessary.   Just another "world-cutting" as you say... but an
interesting one, though I would want to characterize it more in the mode
of "the nature of consciousness itself".
> But why can't the types over which one infers and one's inference
> style be dynamically context-sensitive such that practically,
> methodologically, deep pluralism is a more accurate way to model what
> it is _we_ are? Why is that sort of thing so repellent?
I don't know that what I understand your "deep pluralism" as, to be *so
repellent*, but definitely somewhat rare, exotic and often chosen only
as a "last resort".   To the extent that *I* have both modes pulling at
me, I like to think of "deep pluralism" as the superposition of a
plurality of monist views...   it doesn't add anything except maybe a
bridge from the more monist to the more plural mode...   or perhaps
provides a poor substitute for the authentic pluralism the way digital
music doesn't match the warmth of analog vinyl tracks conditioned
through vacuum tubes (or is that just nostalgia?).
> Maybe I'm a victim of my culture? Maybe deep pluralism is less
> repellent in Eastern philosophies, with multiple gods, or a reliance
> on "mystery" or somesuch? But, sheesh, I too get irritated when
> surrounded by *woo* people unwilling to really play some zero sum
> game, some admittedly temporary local what-if, set up by whoever the
> dungeon master is that evening. 
I'm on yet another fence here... amongst woo-peddlers, I become fairly
painfully reductionist and linear, but when the dominant mood in the air
is more cartesian and reductionistic, I tend to feel
protective/defensive.    Following Carse's "Finite and Infinite Games",
i contend that zero sum games really arent' that interesting, and when
they *are* interesting it is in a higher dimensional, non-zero sum
game... a couple of old friends rotating and iterating through a variety
of zero sum games (basketball, golf, canasta, swordfighting) to search
the space of their *relationship* which grows and enrichens through the
play, with any given zero-sum score meaning little-to nothing except as
a game-piece in the non-zero, synergistic game?
> So, my willingness to play reductionist games prevents me from hanging
> out with the woo-peddlers who prescriptively and without irony,
> embrace pluralisms like "all is one" or "the Lord works in mysterious
> ways", seemingly just so they can be comfortable in their reductive
> grokking.
Yes, there is a paradox in that... using "the unknowable" as an embrace
to actually achieve the "need to know".  I used to have a friend whose
nature was very reductionistic right up until he got cornered, whereupon
he would say "well, you never know!" in a tone that pretty much wasn't
that different than flipping the chessboard on check(mate) and
pretending that nothing had happened.
> Bah! The jet lag must have scrambled my brain.

Back from the UK Swarmfest meetup?  How was it?

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