Rationality and Erisology

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So, imagine how thrilled I was after reading "Erisology" is not a real word -- or even a common one -- but rather a recently made up term for a made up field of study!
They're all made up. }:-)

Is this the value of our existence
Should we proclaim with such persistence
Our destiny relies on conscience
Red or blue, what's the difference
Stand or fall, state your peace tonight
I'm not familiar with The Fixx, gonna check them out!

My off-the-cuff observations:

- Bias and heuristics: I think many of us don't consciously recognize the terms or mechanisms, but can admit they are there. I think this is a case of not knowing what we don't know. I don't know if I totally agree with the textbook notion of bias because "perception is reality." What one can call a bias or "wrong" could be perfectly right and justifiable to another. My perception is reality and YOUR perception is bias; it is all relative.
- I think some of the above does a great, though nerdy, job in explaining why we disagree. While it can rationalize our thoughts, our thoughts are ours. I hate to use the tautologies here, but "mine is mine" you know?
- The articles reminded me why I don't go down these rabbit holes and love what I can conceptualize, concrete matters for me to process. Theory is great, but beyond me. Talk about bias, when a person bogs down on the subject of being rational, they will move on. Now they are part of the problem because they can't/ won't grasp some esoteric* theory? I have to reject that notion.
Point-by-point response:
  • Hard disagree on the "perception is reality" bit. See my updated 'Study Guide' upthread.

  • Nerdy as all get out, oh yeah! But then, I'm a nerd... works for me.
    Sure 'yours is yours', but this isn't not about preaching and converting. It's about optimizing/improving/efficacy. Take the Trigger Control is a myth thread. If you don't understand the difference between trigger control and anticipation (or even that there is one), you're going to have a hard time learning to shoot well. It is possible to think and argue badly, just like it's possible to shoot badly. This point of all of this is to improve performance.

  • I totally understand the rabbit hole burn out. This is a subject that I geek out on, and have been digesting for a long time. It won't be interesting in the same way to everyone else. That's to be expected.
    But we can all be more effective at whatever it is we are doing in life. Leaning about the biases that lead our thinking astray makes us somewhat less vulnerable to them. As with the gorilla video linked in the updated study guide upthread, it doesn't work on you once you know what is happening.

    Developing our rational skill is akin to developing our physical skill. It's not like someone who never exercises can't walk to the mailbox, or that their body will literally fall apart. There's baseline competence and ability. Same with this. If you never encountered any of these concepts, you'd still be able to think, argue, persuade, make good decisions and so on. But with this kind of training you will do them better.


  • Kind of a wrap-up comment:
    We don't need to go around always opening with a meta-level conversation about the object-level conversation we want to have. We can be effective without even bringing it up, simply by being aware of the pitfalls and maneuvering to avoid them. This doesn't even require both participants in the conversation. If one of the participants is aware of this stuff, that person can steer the conversation away from hazards and towards productive grounds.

Philosophy (erisology/rationality/whatever) tends to be a self licking ice cream cone.

You end up spending lots of time talking about things like ‘How SHOULD we discuss this issue? Is it right to discuss the issue like this?’ And you end up spending no time just having a conversation about the issue because there’s no good enough answer. It’s a masturbatory endeavor.
While the self-licking metaphor is one of my favorites too, this is a hard disagree. Sure, lots of people talking about philosophy do fall into the trap of masturbatory navel-gazing, and playing the /r/Iamverysmart game. But that's philosophy done poorly, or it's sophistry.

Now, as to your points on meta-level argument, it's certainly possible to get bogged down or paralyzed by it. It can certainly go too far and distract from the object-level questions at hand. I do believe that it has a time and a place though, and it doesn't need to paralyze. We live in an ambiguous world, and (as my Skepticism bit in the study guide suggests) I would say we never have a good enough (for certainty) answer to anything! But if you want to have a conversation about some contentious issue, and there's some point to the conversation (persuasion, learning, etc.) rather than just being masturbatory debate for it's own sake, presumably you want to be effective in the conversation. If you and the other person massively disagree on the meaning of words that are foundational to the discussion but don't realize it, neither of you are going to get anywhere. If you think someone on the other side of issue X is some kind of mutant, reprobate, or deviant (and/or they that about you), the conversation isn't going to go anywhere.

So, hashing out the conversational meta-level issues can, in some cases, be the only thing that enables a real meeting of the minds and meaningful exchange.

Agree.

Love the subject matter but my own interpretations tend to include Physics (or is it metaphysics?).
ETA:
I tend to experience things in a vacuum. The things I like tend to be considered "fine." Even without knowing it.
Example: My first taste of caviar was at 16. It was the good stuff. Didn't know squat except that I loved it. So this article (what-r-u-missing) isn't so much educational as "Dismissed on the grounds of those who are too aware of the world are not experiencing life as the Buddha."
It sounds like you're saying that focusing too much on comparative experience isn't helpful. That sounds fine to me. But my take away from that article isn't really about that. It's that people often have radically different experiences of the world at a basic, perceptual level. And we all fall prey to the Typical Mind fallacy - expecting that other people basically think/feel/experience like we do. For me, the linked article shows just how deeply wrong (as in factually incorrect) that is. There are accounts in the comments there, of people without a sense of smell not even realizing it until their late teens!

In any case, I'm not confidant that I fully understand; the Buddha objection kind of t-boned my "T" box. I'd love to read more about you (meta)physical considerations.

You're bulverizing as usual. 🤓😜
I had to give you some love on that. Not to say that Dame was bulverizing, but that I enjoyed your use of the word! Awesome.
 
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Dame

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It sounds like you're saying that focusing too much on comparative experience isn't helpful. That sounds fine to me. But my take away from that article isn't really about that. It's that people often have radically different experiences of the world at a basic, perceptual level. And we all fall prey to the Typical Mind fallacy - expecting that other people basically think/feel/experience like we do. For me, the linked article shows just how deeply wrong (as in factually incorrect) that is. There are accounts in the comments there, of people without a sense of smell not even realizing it until their late teens!

In any case, I'm not confidant that I fully understand; the Buddha objection kind of t-boned my "T" box. I'd love to read more about you (meta)physical considerations.

Not that I am a follower of the sources, but these quotes explain my post on Buddha and physics.

"This is the basis of zen itself – that all life and existence is based on a kind of dynamic emptiness (a view now supported by modern science, which sees phenomena at a sub-atomic level popping in and out of existence in a quantum froth)." Tim Lott

"See the world as if for the first time; see it through the eyes of a child, and you will suddenly find that you are free." Deepak Chopra

"I've tried to explain that I see life through the eyes of a child. I can get excited over a red balloon, a fire truck, a fast car, etc.
Even though I try to act like an adult, in my head is: "Oh, Neat!" If I'm having fun and have to get serious, I do, but then I go right back to this child-like mode. I don't act like a child (usually) but I have been told I get "excited over the stupidest things." Suretta Williams, Autist

It's like the fourth dimension is very, very present to me. Things are different today than they were yesterday. Even the same things are not the same things, so my perception is based on personal information, not what I've heard others say.

As for the bulverizing, I think @Ocoka is right. I tend to discount what I hear/read from others I think of as having no personal experience with that which they espouse. So, I do not take child rearing hints from people with no children. Usually not a problem but if others notice it, it might be.
 

Gunz

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One of the problems I have in overthinking life and existence is the false reality of life and existence in the material world that takes most of my attention and time. Dealing with all this false-reality shit. In my spare moments I'm perfectly satisfied to reflect that everything in the "real" world as far as we know is just a composite of sub-atomic particles that may not be particles at all but waves comprised of sub-Plank-length vibrational strings...although no one is willing to bet their life on that...because the most basic element of the cosmos that has yet to be found may never be found. So no matter how "real" something seems even on the quantum scale it may not be the "true" reality. The quantum world is so screwy anyway, doing things Einstein would be pulling his hair out over, and may be comprised of so many unseen dimensions (unseen by us) that we may never get to the bottom line common denominator of all existence.

So, the best thing, IMV, is to kick back and enjoy the sunset for what it is without obsessing over air molecules, Rayleigh scattering and pollution aerosols. As Douglas Adams wrote:

"The last ever dolphin message was misinterpreted as a surprisingly sophisticated attempt to do a double-backwards-somersault through a hoop whilst whistling the ‘Star Spangled Banner’, but in fact the message was this: So long and thanks for all the fish."
 

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Thanks for clarifying!

The general point of 'seeing like a child' is a fantastic one; it's a skill that the rationalist community intentionally cultivates. See this post on 'original seeing', which is basically a copy-paste from Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

As to the general point/observation of the seeming congruencies between quantum mechanics/particle physics and eastern mythology/(some schools of) Buddhism, I've been a fan for quite a while! There are some traps in the field such a Chopra using quantum/emergence either as a Mysterious Answer to a Mysterious Question or as a Semantic Stopsign. It's all too easy to use these words as a find-replace for "magic" - especially as we, the laity, don't really know what the hell we're talking about.

That said, it's a really fascinating area to read/speculate about. My favorite book on the subject is The Dancing Wu Li Masters, which came out of a conference as Esalen in the late 70's. One of my favorite classes in college was Comparative Cosmology. It's interesting to notice how similar many cosmologies (stories of how the world/universe/everything got started in the first place) echo or rhyme with one another, and at least metaphorically line up with what our best physics currently tell us of the beginning. You get a formless void, and then an explosion of light, leading to the creation/coalescence of various properties/deities and so on.

Perhaps we do have some sensing faculty beyond the purview of strictly empirical examination that has allowed people since waaay back to get the gist of physical reality without the benefit of particle accelerators.


One of the problems I have in overthinking life and existence is the false reality of life and existence in the material world that takes most of my attention and time. Dealing with all this false-reality shit.
Somewhat related to my response to @Dame above, is the hundu/Buddhist idea of Maya or from a more Western perspective, Plato's Cave. Also, though less accessible, Wittgenstein's Ladder. The upshot of these diverse worldviews (taken together) is that what we experience isn't necessarily reality - the world as it actually is.

I'm particularly amenable to this viewpoint. See my 'study guide' section on categorical perception (upthread). I think there are two schools of (accepting - you could always reject this, as many do) reaction: (1) throw up your hands, kick up your feet, and have a beer (kudos for the Adams quote - I love HGttG!) or (2) try to penetrate the mystery. You are partial to 1, and I am partial to 2. Of course, there's good reason to expect that the mystery in impenetrable (how can we approach the truth when all of our senses and ways of apprehending the world are inherently suspect), so I tend to think that following option 1 is at least as valid a strategy as option 2.

note: for those who haven't seen it yet, there are some updates to the 'study guide' post upthread.
 

Dame

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Thanks for clarifying!

The general point of 'seeing like a child' is a fantastic one; it's a skill that the rationalist community intentionally cultivates. See this post on 'original seeing', which is basically a copy-paste from Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

As to the general point/observation of the seeming congruencies between quantum mechanics/particle physics and eastern mythology/(some schools of) Buddhism, I've been a fan for quite a while! There are some traps in the field such a Chopra using quantum/emergence either as a Mysterious Answer to a Mysterious Question or as a Semantic Stopsign. It's all too easy to use these words as a find-replace for "magic" - especially as we, the laity, don't really know what the hell we're talking about.

That said, it's a really fascinating area to read/speculate about. My favorite book on the subject is The Dancing Wu Li Masters, which came out of a conference as Esalen in the late 70's. One of my favorite classes in college was Comparative Cosmology. It's interesting to notice how similar many cosmologies (stories of how the world/universe/everything got started in the first place) echo or rhyme with one another, and at least metaphorically line up with what our best physics currently tell us of the beginning. You get a formless void, and then an explosion of light, leading to the creation/coalescence of various properties/deities and so on.

Perhaps we do have some sensing faculty beyond the purview of strictly empirical examination that has allowed people since waaay back to get the gist of physical reality without the benefit of particle accelerators.

Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance was recommended to me ages ago. I never got around to reading it. I'll have to now.

ETA: Is it anything like Richard Bach's Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah?
 

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Is it anything like Richard Bach's Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah?
I'm not familiar with it, but from the wikipedia description, it sounds as though there are some similarities.

Sounds a bit less focused on the practical philosophy (kinda-sorta tao-ish) of everyday living (Zen), and a bit more metaphysical or abstract 'everything is an illusion' (Illusions).
 

Gunz

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I'd also recommend Herrigel's Zen and the Art of Archery, a book I read years ago when I was semi-seriously into Zen, post-Vietnam. I think post-war malaise (PTSD?) drove me in that direction and I must admit I derived some peace and comfort from it...but eventually the imperative rush of "false-reality shit" swept me along in its stream and I left Zen behind. The only Zen applications I practice now relate to marksmanship.
 
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