The Reasoning Show - Miscellaneous Discussion

Some partial backups of posts from the past (Feb, 2004)

Postby bert » Wed Apr 11, 2007 3:01 am

eliz:
vicdan wrote:
I don't need to give you any examples of 'absolute' in order to refuse to accept any specific claim of absoluteness; I merely have to successfully counter-argue the specific absoluteness claims,


Okay, going with this definition of absolute, counter-argue that nothing is absolute.


the absolute appears to become other than itself,sufficiently.it is and is not,nor in,nor is it beyond,nor of,me,or anything else : it is 'unbalanced'.

the delusion is contained within A=A
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Postby Sapius » Wed Apr 11, 2007 4:26 am

Victor,

As i argued in the show, being undeniable doesn't equal being true.

I can give you metric boatloads of undeniable claims; but proving that a given claim is true is quite different from being unable to think of a way to deny it.

As it happens, the intuitively undeniable 5th axiom of Euclid was proven empirically false during the solar occlusion in 1919, in addition to having been proven to be logically arbitrary earlier.


Ok, I can understand that. So according to the same argument…

…although, given all conditions, that I am conscious, cannot be proven to be true?

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BTW, if David and yourself don’t mind, since the A=A discussion was not recorded, is it possible that you two touch on the subject here? If that is not asking too much, of course.
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Postby Elizabeth Isabelle » Wed Apr 11, 2007 4:41 am

bert wrote:the absolute appears to become other than itself,sufficiently.it is and is not,nor in,nor is it beyond,nor of,me,or anything else : it is 'unbalanced'.

the delusion is contained within A=A


But that is only appearance, which is flawed. The Absolute perpetually is or is not (etc.) what it is or is not (etc.).
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Postby vicdan » Wed Apr 11, 2007 5:06 am

Sapius wrote:So according to the same argument…

…although, given all conditions, that I am conscious, cannot be proven to be true?
Yup. Not in the absolute, logical sense. It can certainly be 'proven' true as an empirical statement, with all of its attendant vagaries.

The other question, of course, is that the very act of seeking absolute truths in human experience, despite the evident unreachability of anything of the sort, is an act of folly, and worse, deep-seated emotional immaturity, the grasping for the ultimate security blanket.

Life is the endless ocean of being. Both those who seek an immovable rock of certainty in the middle of the ocean, and those who despair of having any stability and coherence at all amidst the waves, are fools -- the latter being the same as the former, but after having given up on finding the aforementioned immovable rock.

Instead of being the objectivist fool or the relativist fool, you should ride the waves. Preferably on a surfboard.

BTW, if David and yourself don’t mind, since the A=A discussion was not recorded, is it possible that you two touch on the subject here? If that is not asking too much, of course.
I basically made fun of David in various ways, showing how the QRS sense of A=A ends up being just a packaging for a whole bunch of intuitions and ill-formed suppositions, not an atomic basis David wishes it to be. I felt kinda bad about it, it was like shooting RPGs into a barrelful of lame fish.
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Postby Elizabeth Isabelle » Wed Apr 11, 2007 5:53 am

vicdan wrote:I basically made fun of David in various ways, showing how the QRS sense of A=A ends up being just a packaging for a whole bunch of intuitions and ill-formed suppositions, not an atomic basis David wishes it to be. I felt kinda bad about it, it was like shooting RPGs into a barrelful of lame fish.


I think Sapius was looking more for the meat of the argument than the Siskel and Ebert review. If it is too much to type all that out, maybe there could be another show just on A=A? Is there enough material for that?
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Postby Sapius » Wed Apr 11, 2007 6:30 am

V: Instead of being the objectivist fool or the relativist fool, you should ride the waves. Preferably on a surfboard.


Hehehe… I prefer a speedboat.

I think Sapius was looking more for the meat of the argument than the Siskel and Ebert review. If it is too much to type all that out, maybe there could be another show just on A=A? Is there enough material for that?


Yes, Elizabeth, considering A=A is a corner stone, a talk show is justified and will have more than enough to talk about; but of course, meat, meat and meat. I’ve never been so keen on veggies, although a small side-dish is acceptable.
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Postby Unidian » Wed Apr 11, 2007 8:28 am

Sapius,

However, this is what I am pointing to… Look at your sentence in bold, and tell me how does the ‘therefore' follow? You have already understood THAT piece of knowledge indicated in BOLD. Is THAT NOT an understanding itself? So, therefore…. there is no ‘therefore’ beyond that in my view.

...In other words; you already DID! End it NOW! That’s all that I am pointing to. There is literally nothing beyond THAT to understand. That understanding is exactly what leads to how you live IT, and that's my point.


Yes, I mention this in the show. I acknowledge that a certain understanding is required to get beyond the need to understand. Maybe I didn't make this clear enough. Speaking is not my forte.

Thanks for the good discussion.
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Postby Ryan Rudolph » Wed Apr 11, 2007 8:36 am

To Dan, David and Kevin.

Your first episodes of The Reasoning Show were quite engaging to listen to; the most provocative moment with Victor is when he started to protest on how to properly define the word ‘infinity.’ The lesson learned; the signifier is not the signified; it took me awhile to get that one too. I remember when I first came to Genius, I was quite attached to my own unique way of defining words, and there was a revolt to how the QRS were using them differently. Then I realized that they are using the same words to point to different things, or different words to point to the same things, but either way it doesn’t matter. What a relief that was to not be attached to the word. It was like an elephant was lifted from my shoulders. That realization alone ended a lot of emotionalism within me.

One of the provocative moments with Nat is when he defended the notion of man-woman love, and how we are all in a state of progress, and nobody is perfect. This seemed like weasel-type of circumvention to me, I only know because I’ve done it; many times. It was also interesting how Nat had a problem with the unconscious/conscious distinction, but calling a spade as a spade is only way one can progress. If someone is inferior, they need to feel their inferiority in relationship to superiority, we live in an age where we are terrified to hurt people’s feelings and that is why no one matures because we are self-protective of what is weak in people.

And a comment to Kevin, I find your percentage grading system useful to a point, but overall limited. I agree that we can label most people as 1% conscious, or 99% unconscious, and Gandhi was slightly higher, maybe 10% in comparison. However, knowing what 100% is doesn’t seem possible to me. For instance suppose one ranks some of the wisest thinkers out there; first of all, the most recent thinkers such as UG Krishnamurti will rank much lower than some of the older sages like Socrates, Buddha and so on only because we have more dirt on UG, based on all the details of his life that have been recorded. However, imagine what wasn’t recording about some of the older sages. So we are never fully aware of the totality of someone’s imperfections, and also we have no idea what percentage of those imperfections cannot be changed due to genetics, neurology, conditioning and so on. So I agree that we can measure to some degree, but in the larger scope of things, at a certain point the entire system of measurement brings down…
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Postby Unidian » Wed Apr 11, 2007 8:55 am

vicdan wrote:The other question, of course, is that the very act of seeking absolute truths in human experience, despite the evident unreachability of anything of the sort, is an act of folly, and worse, deep-seated emotional immaturity, the grasping for the ultimate security blanket.

Life is the endless ocean of being. Both those who seek an immovable rock of certainty in the middle of the ocean, and those who despair of having any stability and coherence at all amidst the waves, are fools -- the latter being the same as the former, but after having given up on finding the aforementioned immovable rock.

Instead of being the objectivist fool or the relativist fool, you should ride the waves. Preferably on a surfboard.


This is an extremely Taoist statement, regardless of its source. Those interested in the psychology of the ideas I was discussing on the show would do well to understand what is being said here.

Much of the quibbling in many Taoism and Zen discussions centers around the distinction between the "absolute" and the "relative." But in my view, a correct understanding of these traditions involves throwing out the whole distinction and rendering the associated concepts meaningless. That is what I mean by "dissolving the question," a phrase I use in the podcast and in previous discussions here and elsewhere.

As I mentioned earlier, Taoism and related views are not about inventing a new theological God or "absolute security blanket" (as Victor puts it). This form of salvationism (my term) is dismissed in Zen with the "sticky buns" and "three pounds of flax" approach. Instead, the "chop wood, carry water" insight expressed in these traditions is all about the psychology of dealing with life as it is - letting go of the need for concepts of the absolute (as well as concepts of the relative which arise in response). As the Tao Te Ching points out, it's about un-learning all of these fixed, restrictive ontological frameworks and immersing oneself in the dynamic stream of existence.

Lao Tzu (Chapter 48) wrote:In the pursuit of learning, every day something is acquired.
In the pursuit of Dao, every day something is dropped.
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Postby David Quinn » Wed Apr 11, 2007 9:05 am

Victor,

Sapius: BTW, if David and yourself don’t mind, since the A=A discussion was not recorded, is it possible that you two touch on the subject here? If that is not asking too much, of course.

Victor: I basically made fun of David in various ways, showing how the QRS sense of A=A ends up being just a packaging for a whole bunch of intuitions and ill-formed suppositions, not an atomic basis David wishes it to be.

It isn't a case of what I wish A=A to be. It is simply a case of my perceiving that A=A doesn't have any meaning without the law of non-contradiction already built into it. Trying to separate the two is like trying to eliminate one side of a coin. It can't be done without destroying the coin beyond all recognition.

I articulated the reasons for this in a previous post in this thread.

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Postby David Quinn » Wed Apr 11, 2007 9:23 am

Nat,

Victor: The other question, of course, is that the very act of seeking absolute truths in human experience, despite the evident unreachability of anything of the sort, is an act of folly, and worse, deep-seated emotional immaturity, the grasping for the ultimate security blanket.

Life is the endless ocean of being. Both those who seek an immovable rock of certainty in the middle of the ocean, and those who despair of having any stability and coherence at all amidst the waves, are fools -- the latter being the same as the former, but after having given up on finding the aforementioned immovable rock.

Instead of being the objectivist fool or the relativist fool, you should ride the waves. Preferably on a surfboard.

Nat: This is an extremely Taoist statement, regardless of its source. Those interested in the psychology of the ideas I was discussing on the show would do well to understand what is being said here.

The trouble is, both you and Victor are making these assertions on the basis of a rock-solid belief in an absolute certainty - e.g. "life is an endless ocean of being", "relative and absolute are meaningless distinctions", and so on. But you're both trying to pretend this isn't happening.

The human mind always operates, without exception, on a platform of what it believes is absolutely certain and true in life. This occurs in all situations, even if the person involved is in denial of it. The mind cannot function in any other manner.

One of the main differences between you and Victor, on the one hand, and Kevin, Dan and myself on the other, is that we are conscious of this and openly work with it. "Riding the waves on a surfboard" is just a pretty euphemism for settling into a passive, unconscious mode of existence.


As the Tao Te Ching points out, it's about un-learning all of these fixed, restrictive ontological frameworks and immersing oneself in the dynamic stream of existence.

The "dynamic stream of existence" is itself a fixed, ontological framework.

There is something seriously wrong if you and Victor are in agreement in these matters, considering that he knows nothing beyond the empirical mentality. I would be deeply concerned at this, if I was in your shoes.

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Postby David Quinn » Wed Apr 11, 2007 9:30 am

Jason,
Reality is right here, right now, everywhere, everything. Isn't it obvious? How could you ever avoid it? Is there anything more that needs to be said or done?

Plenty. What you're describing, while important and true, is only one aspect of Truth. There are literally thousands of other aspects of Truth which also need to be discovered. Settling into just one of them can only result in a narrow understanding of things.

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Postby vicdan » Wed Apr 11, 2007 9:39 am

David Quinn wrote:Nat, The trouble is, both you and Victor are making these assertions on the basis of a rock-solid belief in an absolute certainty - e.g. "life is an endless ocean of being", "relative and absolute are meaningless distinctions", and so on. But you're both trying to pretend this isn't happening.
I guess you simply don't get the deeply contextual nature of reality. You just aren't enlightened enough, David. :D

The human mind always operates, without exception, on a platform of what it believes is absolutely certain and true in life. This occurs in all situations, even if the person involved is in denial of it. The mind cannot function in any other manner.
prove it, David. Don't just assert it -- prove how we must possess absolute certainty in order to function.

Me, I don't feel certain that my computer will still turn on each time I push the power button; but i still push it.

One of the main differences between you and Victor, on the one hand, and Kevin, Dan and myself on the other, is that we are conscious of this and openly work with it. "Riding the waves on a surfboard" is just a pretty euphemism for settling into a passive, unconscious mode of existence.
Riding the waves is a very conscious experience -- it's constant, unceasing, active interaction. It's not like riding the rollercoaster, where you simply sit and experience. This constant contextualization is anything but passive.

You are the one pretending that you are sitting still on a rock, accusing everyone else of being passive... The irony aboundeth.
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Postby Cory Duchesne » Wed Apr 11, 2007 9:47 am

Victor wrote:Me, I don't feel certain that my computer will still turn on each time I push the power button; but i still push it.


For one, you are certain of the appearance of the computer, the fact of its appearance is certain. You can doubt it, but very act of doubting it implies that you are experiencing the appearance of the computer.

And two, you are certain that whether or not the computer will turn on or not, is uncertain.
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Postby vicdan » Wed Apr 11, 2007 9:58 am

Cory Duchesne wrote:For one, you are certain of the appearance of the computer, the fact of its appearance is certain.
And the fact of the facticity of that appearance is certain, and the fact of the facticity of the facticity, etc.

No, the appearance simply is. I experience it. All that other stuff is just an attempt to overload the human experience with artificial and utterly superfluous abstractions.

You can doubt it, but very act of doubting it implies that you are experiencing the appearance of the computer.
Well of course i am experiencing it. Whatever I experience, that is my experience. What's your point? That I must be certain that i experience it? The experiences comprise me, you got the relationship between the self and the experience completely wrong -- you are thinking of the self as a casually disconnected observer, a subject fundamentally distinct from the object; but the two are inseparably intertwined, we are all a part of the process, we define it and are defined by it. To speak of being certain of experiencing the experience is a category error.

And two, you are certain that whether or not the computer will turn on or not, is uncertain.
<shrug> Round and round she goes... look above. I had already addressed this silly little semantic trap.
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Postby Unidian » Wed Apr 11, 2007 10:18 am

David Quinn wrote:The trouble is, both you and Victor are making these assertions on the basis of a rock-solid belief in an absolute certainty - e.g. "life is an endless ocean of being", "relative and absolute are meaningless distinctions", and so on. But you're both trying to pretend this isn't happening.


I'm not pretending it isn't happening, it just isn't. "Life is an endless ocean of being" isn't an "absolute certainty," it's a metaphor. The concept of "absolute certainty" in this context doesn't even arise for me. It is a concept you are projecting onto the discussion which is apparently meaningful for you, but not for me. I see the metaphor as a useful way of pointing to the way things are in our experience; a term of convenience.

The human mind always operates, without exception, on a platform of what it believes is absolutely certain and true in life. This occurs in all situations, even if the person involved is in denial of it. The mind cannot function in any other manner.


I think you should show how and why this is the case. Merely asserting it without support is extremely unpersuasive.

One of the main differences between you and Victor, on the one hand, and Kevin, Dan and myself on the other, is that we are conscious of this and openly work with it. "Riding the waves on a surfboard" is just a pretty euphemism for settling into a passive, unconscious mode of existence.


And one of the main differences between you guys on the one hand and Taoism, Zen, science, epistemology, Chuang Tzu, Nagarjuna, Quine, myself, and Victor on the other, is that you guys cling to these ideas, concepts, beliefs, and positions about "absolute reality" and "ultimate reality" while nobody else does. Victor pointed this out on the show where you guys mentioned that philosophy was opposed to science, and Victor responded that both philosophy and science are opposed to you guys.

But yeah, I know, this is more herdly unconscious thinking. I'm going down a dead-end road here, because you guys have never shown any willingness to give this issue due consideration.

The "dynamic stream of existence" is itself a fixed, ontological framework.


I was afraid it would be taken that way, and I considered adding a disclaimer but decided to conserve my energy. I guess I should have gone ahead and added the standard disclaimer that by "dynamic stream of existence," I don't mean a fixed ontological concept. Like the term "Tao" itself, it's just a term of convenience pointing to what is. This is explained in the opening lines of the Tao Te Ching as well as elsewhere throughout the text.

There is something seriously wrong if you and Victor are in agreement in these matters, considering that he knows nothing beyond the empirical mentality. I would be deeply concerned at this, if I was in your shoes.


I dunno. I think you may be unaware of my actual stance regarding empirical matters and the relationship of ontology to Eastern thought. If you haven't already, you should probably go read this essay which should clarify my position enormously and save you some time and energy.
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Postby Unidian » Wed Apr 11, 2007 10:31 am

Hate to say it, but Victor is on a roll. This is another enormously Taoist/Zennish statement:

And the fact of the facticity of that appearance is certain, and the fact of the facticity of the facticity, etc.

No, the appearance simply is. I experience it. All that other stuff is just an attempt to overload the human experience with artificial and utterly superfluous abstractions.


Nagarjuna or Chuang Tzu couldn't have said it better themselves, although they and other authentic Zen and Taoist types did say it with equal clarity over and over throughout their writings. "All that other stuff" is precisely the stuff which allows certain people the psychological luxury of viewing themselves as "enlightened," "70% conscious," and so on. But to the authentic Zen master, that sort of thing is "buns" and "three pounds of flax" - just stranding people on conceptual rocks and getting in the way of direct, unconditioned experience. And before anyone points out the obvious contradiction in my use of the term "Zen master," it should be noted that to such a person, that term itself is no different. It's just a term of convenience pointing to a certain psychological approach.

"Zen master," taken as anything more than a term of convenience, is a dried dung stick. And so is all the rest of this conceptual talk, or these "artificial and utterly superfluous abstractions," as Victor puts it.

The Buddha (Diamond Sutra) wrote:Truly I tell you, Subhuti, there is no named thing which is not merely a name.
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Postby vicdan » Wed Apr 11, 2007 10:50 am

David Quinn wrote:Nat,
...
There is something seriously wrong if you and Victor are in agreement in these matters, considering that he knows nothing beyond the empirical mentality. I would be deeply concerned at this, if I was in your shoes.
Hahaha. Talk about missing the point! A perfect case of someone who is concerned only with appearance and posture of understanding -- presumably for narcissistic purposes.

Don't you just want to pet your reflection each time you see it in the mirror, for being so wise? You might consider having a new photo taken for the Genius site, of you sitting on the pose of Rodin's Thinker.

P.S. before you ask -- yes, I want to pet myself too: below the belt, for being so darn hot. :)
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Postby Elizabeth Isabelle » Wed Apr 11, 2007 10:52 am

Unidian wrote:
The Buddha (Diamond Sutra) wrote:Truly I tell you, Subhuti, there is no named thing which is not merely a name.


If indeed the Buddha stated that, the Buddha was wrong. A name is a name, and the thing is a thing.
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Postby vicdan » Wed Apr 11, 2007 10:55 am

Unidian wrote:Hate to say it, but Victor is on a roll.
Yeah, disappointments abound.

Nagarjuna or Chuang Tzu couldn't have said it better themselves
Enlightened and hot. Am I super, or what?
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Postby Unidian » Wed Apr 11, 2007 11:08 am

E,

If indeed the Buddha stated that, the Buddha was wrong. A name is a name, and the thing is a thing.


No, he wasn't wrong. This statement is the centerpiece of the Diamond Sutra and key to the whole Eastern puzzle. You get this and you get the whole deal, complete with Captain Crunch Secret Decoder ring. Think about it a little more.

Victor,

Yeah, disappointments abound.


Only for a few moments. Soon my outrageous Warrior Seer photo shoot complete with Thinker pose will be finished and all disappointments will melt away. Thanks for the suggestion, BTW. David's loss is my gain.

((((((((((((BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!))))))))))))

Enlightened and hot. Am I super, or what?


I swoon.
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Postby Katy » Wed Apr 11, 2007 11:15 am

I dont understand the parallel lines thing.. why would it be possible to only make two paralell lines? Can't I make any number of paralell lines next to one another?
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Postby vicdan » Wed Apr 11, 2007 11:29 am

Euclid's parallel postulate is that for a line and a point not on that line, you can only draw one other line parallel to the first. If you alter the postulate to be 'no parallel lines' or 'at least two parallel lines', you get elliptic or hyperbolic geometries, respectively -- for positive and negative space curvature.
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Postby Katy » Wed Apr 11, 2007 11:29 am

vicdan wrote:Enlightened and hot. Am I super, or what?


Did anyone else get the intonation of the teacher from South Park saying that? :p
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Postby Katy » Wed Apr 11, 2007 11:35 am

vicdan wrote:Euclid's parallel postulate is that for a line and a point not on that line, you can only draw one other line parallel to the first. If you alter the postulate to be 'no parallel lines' or 'at least two parallel lines', you get elliptic or hyperbolic geometries, respectively -- for positive and negative space curvature.


hyperbolic geometry is when you have more than 180degrees in a circle and elliptic is less?
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