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Category Archives: Philosophy

Theory of Everything

I remember pausing the first time I read those words. They were in an astronomy book or magazine or something, and it initially struck me as a bit conceited that a bit of cosmological discussion could suddenly lay claim to an word that literally referred to everything. Might not musicians or archaeologists or some other unfamiliar professional discipline have already taken the “everything” name and applied it to one of their own big ideas? Perhaps an idea that was pervasive through their own fields but hardly relevant in others? Before I got to understanding what a ToE really embodied or even attempting the cut-down version that the text presented, I conjectured my own theory of the phrase’s meaning and came up with something that I feel, to the non-physicist, applies to everything even more than the Theory of Everything does. Watching… more →

Crime and affliction

Who is responsible for poverty? Whose fault is disease? All but the most skeptical of people agree that there is unpleasantness in the world whose persistent endurance is beyond the wicked capacity of any one person, but instead is the result of simple things that we understand but cannot control. Searching for the answers to these questions quickly reduces your humanitarian contemplation to rehashes of the physical properties of matter. At their essence, there is no cause for sickness and death beyond antagonistic configurations of elementary blocks and flaws in our quaternary information storage system1. Consequently, we have to introduce abstract entities before we can really plunge into these philosophical problems: humans, their affiliations, and their relationships among one another. Whom do we blame for heartbreak? Whose sin is mass deception? And whose is envy? To understand a human being,… more →

Manifesto

A great number of people publish from positions of power, after experience has granted them a gift of wisdom along with the responsibility of spreading it throughout the world. They then find their task very clear and simple. They command authority over some particular subject in which other seek insight and validation. In short, people write about what they know best. However, the great majority of people are not experts nor leading researchers on anything at all, other than themselves. It falls upon them to identify subjects using which they can write assured of their own competence. Many choose the circuitous solution and become the expert they need to be, but even more will shirk the duty and end up abandoning their honest efforts or redirecting them to wasteful self-entertaining ends. Likewise, I disclaim and despair to know little outside… more →

Flowering random

As human beings, we have misconceptions of the nature of randomness. Try it and write down a sequence of random digits. You’ll notice that certain numbers tend to be repeated, or that no two consecutive digits are the same. Maybe your numbers tend to go up and then down and then up again, or that you’ll use all the digits before repeating any. It’s simply our natural tendency to look for patterns where there may not be any. All cell phone numbers appear, to the human mind, to exhibit patterns. Some follow a circular path around the keypad and the digits of others are contained within an unnaturally small subset of the ten possible digits. It is the same reason why we cannot at first understand how a group of only twenty-three people have a 50% probability of containing two… more →

Functional unity

It seems like the next big thing is always trying to combine the knobs and buttons of your life into a single revolutionary new paradigm of luxury. Especially exemplary are the new developments in heads-up display devices1 and the various misnomers for cloud computing. At a primitive level, we understand the advantages. It’s integrated. All of it is, like a strict building code in a top-dog neighborhood. As human beings, we’re predisposed to patterns because it’s part of our innate behavior. The predictability and uniformity of life comes from the hunter-gatherer era when fewer things to worry about meant an easier life. But, humans, as usual, make bad choices for themselves. Think about every invention in the world that has stood the test of time. Each does only one thing and it does it well. From the resistors and capacitors of integrated… more →

Epiphany highs

Epiphany highs are those times when you feel awakened and renewed after supposedly having a breakthrough. They are very common as adolescents in the course of character development. You find a clever bit of wisdom—change comes from within—and you think it’ll solve all of your personal problems if only one thing were different. For a few weeks, you feel pumped up and excited to live with a renewed philosophy. You might experience temporary successes thinking this is what I’ve been doing wrong all this time1 But the effects always wear off in the end. That’s when you start looking for another life-changing realization to kick-off the cycle again. In retrospect, all of these profound sayings will end up sounding trite and absurd. No philosophical outlook can satisfy you forever. Perhaps on another day, you might hear don’t fix it if it ain’t… more →

Trumpeting charity

One of our most bizarre social stigmas is against the trumpeting of good deeds. We are taught from birth that real charity shouldn’t bring attention to itself, that selflessness is somehow better when it passes undiscovered to all but oneself. But in a society of open-minded individuals, this paradigm may honestly be one thing holding back progress. This ideal which is taught across cultures and religions1 did apply at one time in the past when the world was not as connected as it is now. The advent of globalization has done wonders to the standards of the First World, primarily that an individual need no longer live walled in by the limitations of social and governmental precedents. The communities we build online transcend these historical boundaries and cultivate a generation of people in which Indians and Pakistanis can laugh and play together.… more →

On living among humans

Human beings are so bizarre. It took many years before I could grasp adequately the combinations of relations that can exist among numbers of sentiment-ridden friends. In my head, it’s all graph theory: vertices, formations in a ‘Z’, bridges and nodes with adjacency matrices and relational costs manifested in humans as motivation and want. I get the feeling that typical people come to the conclusions I have by experience alone, meaning trial and error in frequency, or perhaps it’s by upbringing. Thinking it out mathematically does take me a while longer, but I need more evidence than just the empirical. I’m convinced that the best of us enjoy living for amusement. The things that we as a species can plausibly endeavor to do, above any contempt, they are life’s profoundly cruel jokes on whatever existence we hope to find important. That… more →

On responsibility and context

I think we’re a pretty responsible group. You and I, I mean. The audacity to dive into such a lengthy body of text, is it habitual or a shot at betterment? Perhaps we’re into displeasure. Things like drinking tea, and reading novels or persisting through thirty minutes of better nate than lever, they require a degree of enlightened perspective or philosophy that generally coincides with responsibility. So I say, we are a pretty responsible group. How much effort does it take? I’d say a whole damn lot. Effort, if the universe can be said to exert such a thing, in its relentless irony poking into our lives1. Responsibility is a rather abstracted term when you examine it. When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to haul ass, such presumptuous words as responsibility come into use. In… more →

Value in art

Given the final futility of our struggle, is the fleeting jolt of meaning that art gives us valuable? Or is the only value in passing the time as comfortably as possible? What should a story seek to emulate? A ringing alarm? A call to arms? A morphine drip? [The Fault in Our Stars, John Green] Before you write, before you speak, before you even think: you must establish one point of context. That is, abstraction. When you’re truly free to think as logically, as broadly and imaginatively as your endowed mind enables you to, there should be no boundaries, nothing irreverent or sacred above scrutiny. That is the naive but understandable way in which the rationalist and the realist perceive reasoning. But following this, all meaningful inquiry digresses into futile fundamentals—the point to it all. It is because of this that the… more →

Where technology is leading mankind

Tell me, every time there is new technology, are there not always people who oppose change? They said television would distort reality. They said mass communication would saturate and destroy our minds. They said transportation would make us provincial and narrow-minded. And they keep saying it and fighting it, completely disregarding that centuries of change have on average improved our standard of living. I suppose it makes little sense to the rationalist how some people can continue fear mongering nonsensically when scientific progress is only the continuation of what has been occurring for millenia. On the other hand, technology is used in weapons for warfare. It is abused and used to avoid human contact, to connect the world in a most asocial, secluded, and apathetic display of conceit. These two sides of technology1 obscure its true nature and breed haughty ethical arguments… more →

On the existence of distasteful restaurants

Is it good? That’s a common question when picking a place to eat. It has become an idiom, almost. But the question is really moronic if you think about it. Why on earth would you ask if a restaurant is good? That’s like asking a student if he’s smart, or an employee if he’s competent. This sort of dogma is built into our language and culture, and it takes a clever mind to avoid them, which is why most of us don’t bother. But what if we did? Could we build a world where the ingenious reassessment of cultural idiosyncrasies would be an indicator of class, where the comments on my final grade calculator1 would be an unacceptable embarrassment to all society? You know, when I read about global consciousness and existentialism and models of utopia, they start building on… more →