Sunday, February 8, 2009

Intellectual case study: modern thinking problem

Life could not exist without some expectation of constancy of results. In fact, one could argue that animal and human life is the epitome of achievement of constancy of results. Even the inanimate objects of the universe, such as the stars, require constancy of results to exist, even though they of course have no “expectations” since they are not living, conscious beings. This is very important to understand because moderns have become so disarranged in their thought processes that they need to learn to recognize the meaning of orderliness again.

The universe and life within it does not work according to “rules.” Rules are simply the way that humans express in speech what they have noticed about the constancy of results. The term constancy of results means that similar actions result in similar outcomes and can be repeated with confidence. Gravity is the premiere example of a constancy of result. Gravity is always “on” and everything, whether living or inanimate, experiences the same effect of gravity which is the tendency to move toward the center of the earth. If a child stumbles he or she falls because gravity pulls him or her toward the ground. If a rock breaks from the face of a mountainside, the rock will travel toward the ground, either by falling or rolling until it reaches a point of stability.

How would life exist, or planets even form in the first place, if gravity “worked sometimes” and “did not work other times?” Planets would not exist at all because the material that makes them up could never clump together and stick into a cohesive mass that becomes a stable body of rock and magma. So if there were, just to use this example, a place in the universe where gravity was fickle, and it was “on” sometimes and “not on” other times, a planet or a star could not form there. Obviously the problem would be impossible for humans or other life to exist. Gravity flickering on and off would disrupt all plant life, so that one could not have vegetation grow at all, and thus there would be nothing to eat and no animal life. Shelters could not be built and young animals or human babies could not thrive. In fact, one would have to wonder if the human body could ever have developed as the heart would have had to form a way to pump blood with forces that suddenly change direction as gravity fluctuated. It is thus clear that without the constancy of expectation of gravity that not only would the planets not have developed into solid clumps of matter that hold together, but no life could develop.

The ability of space suited humans to go into space in zero or low gravity conditions does not make the point that gravity is consistent weakened or challenged in any way. In fact it only points out further the constancy of results of gravity, which is that it is present to a greater or lesser degree according to very observable measures of its presence. For example a large planet exerts greater gravity than a smaller one. People can use their powers of observation to learn more about gravity, and when they use a commonly agreed terminology and numerics to describe what they observe they call it “physics” or “rules.” But gravity would “work” and have perfect consistency of results whether humans were around to observe it or not. For example, gravity was obviously “around” before humans were, and we can study how the ancient dinosaurs evolved to cope with the constancy of gravity (such as how did their bodies pump blood to their small heads when they had large bodies? We can observe similar biological adaptation to the absolute constancy of gravity in modern day giraffes).

Therefore, continuing with our example of gravity, a constancy of results, that is, “gravity always works the same way” is essential to 1) the inanimate structures within the universe, such as stars, 2) the biological existence of life forms, both plants and animals, including humans, and 3) the sanity of humans. Humans could not adapt, assuming they would have even come into existence, if, for example, gravity winked on and off every several feet at random places and intervals. It would have been impossible to walk, breathe, eat… any of the actions that require confidence that one’s body has all that it needs to function from moment to moment.

So it’s not like “rules” and supernatural forces “allow” life to exist. Science is the discovery of the facts and how constancy of results explains just about any life or other phenomenon that one experiences or observes. The sun shines and it makes surfaces warm; the sun is hidden and thus surfaces receive less heat. The constancy of results is that stars generate wavelengths that are known as “heat.” Humans can observe and learn how this works, and even invent rules to describe it (the gradations of the thermometer for example). Heat and coolness exist no matter where one goes in the universe because they are part of the basic infrastructure of existence. However, the conditions of coolness or heat, whether it is enough at the right times and places determine if life can arise in those locations. In other words, you may take a thermometer out into the middle of space and it can tell you how absolute cold it is and you know that without protection of a space suit it is “too cold” for a human to exist. That is because it is not that the painted number on the dial of the thermometer has “magic power” and only when it gives the “magic number” is it “OK” to live. The thermometer works because it is a human tool for measuring the constancy of results, which is that the principles of heat and cold are the same everywhere. If you rubbed out the number on the thermometer that said it is like a thousand degrees below zero or something like that and painted on a different number, that it is a nice 80 degrees Fahrenheit, you better not step out of that space suit expecting it to now be warm enough just because you painted different numbers on the thermometer!

The principle of the constancy of results is the origin of the old saying that “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.” Obviously that is not the definition of insanity, but a pithy old folk saying to describe that there are certain constancies of results that allow life to exist and that it is crazy to expect otherwise.

Suppose that you have a slippery spot in the lobby of your office building and every once in a while someone slips and falls. Sane people recognize that this is a risk that the building management is either willing to live with (and possibly get sued by an injured visitor) or not risk, and therefore they fix that problem spot. There is a whole slew of constancy of results principles at work in that example. First we hat tip our old friend gravity, since gravity both allows walking to even occur, but is also the mechanism by which people fall. Gravity is working just fine, the way it always does, whether you are passing over the slippery spot or not. Second the whole idea of a slippery spot refers to constancy of materials, which is that certain molecular structures allow more or less impeded movement of another surface over them. This is why marble floors that become wet can become very slippery, because there is a constancy of results that water molecules easily insert themselves, clinging to the surface, and then the sole of your shoe, made of other materials such as leather, can more easily glide over the marble and hence perhaps slip. Scientists know why people slip and fall (and it’s not because ghosts push them).

If one starts to believe that one lives in a world where both material science and human behavior are not the result of constancy of results, one rapidly loses perspective and sanity. For example, if building managers in NYC did not recognize that it is a good idea to put mats in the lobby when it is raining or snowing outside so that their lobbies are not so slippery, then we would have a building management and safety problem, one that can be remediated by education and investment. If, however, people start to think that there is no connection between the marble floor, the rain outside, the soles of people’s shoes and their slipping, but instead think that the people “were meant to fall” because “it was their unlucky day,” then we have a real sanity problem.

When humans progress in science they do very well for themselves except for two problems. One is the lapse between science and technology development and morals or ethics, which is something all humans have had to grapple with. The other problem is the perversity of humans which is an almost paranoid self destruction instinct that comes with becoming grandiose. This can be summarized like this: as people learn more science, they start to think that “not” science becomes “more glamorous.” Humans have always been troubled by what psychologists call in certain patients “oppositional defiance disorder.” Humans just want to say “no” all the time because they feel it gives them power. Saying “no” becomes just about the favorite word of many children when they reach the “terrible twos.” A child will say “no” to doing even something he or she wants to do, just to stick it to mommy or daddy. That’s normal and fine and this is how children learn choices and boundaries. However we all know defiant children, teenagers and adults who are defiant to the point of self harm and harm of others. Well, I am using that mental health diagnosis as a parallel to explain to you one of the problems of modern thinking (and faith), which is why I am writing this particular essay.

The Bible explains this in terms of God, where there is the great temptation to say “no” to God, even when it is for one’s own good. Lucifer, the fallen angel, is the obvious example. Well, the desire to say “no” is part of human nature, and a good one when it is part of, as mentioned above, normal childhood and adult development. But there is a very strange and disturbing modern affectation of wanting to say no to mundane, prosaic scientific facts just so that one can indulge in paranoid or self inflating “searches” for the “real” reasons. As recently as fifty years ago humans were eager to learn the scientific facts and principles of constancy and thus engineering and other scientific activities flourished. The motivation of science was not just curiosity but more important to discover ways to improve human life and survivability. However, many modern humans have lost interest in science and reality since they don’t worry about where their next supper comes from. With prosperity has come a lessening of interest in science and reality and it is replaced with 1) an almost entertainment perspective rather than one that is fact finding and 2) research that is agenda driven and niche oriented.

Let’s use the gravity example and I’m going to be a little bit silly with it, but just so you can see the thought process I am describing to you. An entertainment oriented modern might think, “Well, so there is something called ‘gravity.’ But no one can yet describe how it actually works. What if aliens have put invisible Velcro hooks on the bottom of the shoes of the people they like, and that is why gravity works really well on earth?” Scientists used to (and hopefully some still do) “peel the onion” of research, which is to use logic based on facts and sound, defensible observations and suppositions to posit theories and hopefully prove them or not in a step by step basis. So I hope that those scientists who are working to better understand gravity, for example, are still doing so using the scientific method and sound logic that builds upon real facts and discoveries. The problem is that many of the funders of “research” and the consumers of research (corporations, governments and the public) have a lot of that loony “entertainment” thought process, where without any genuine logic or education they have an almost “let’s slap a theory against the wall and see if it sticks because this is fun and crazy” approach. Reality is boring and science is boring because improving human survivability and making genuine advances in humanitarian projects is boring. For example, no one seems to care about affordable latrines and toilets for the billion or so people who don’t have them (and thus there is an environmental crisis of extreme importance) but scads of people want to be the first to give poor children a laptop. Science used to be pursued because it was urgent, important and humanitarian, not because someone got their kicks from it. So you see a crisis in, for example, students majoring in entymology (insects) and plant diseases in the area of food production (read about that crisis of talent in California, for example) but thousands of students want to use computer graphics to design bug shaped alien invaders for the entertainment industry.

When I was growing up one of the favorite wished for toys of children was a microscope. I grew up among the generation of children who all wanted to learn about science and how to save the world. The green movement is an example of where that has gone dreadfully wrong. I’ve written about that before where a genuine science, the conservation of natural resources, has been pre-empted by a very anti-human and anti-life New Age ethos that is illogical and counterproductive in both the long and short run, since it is not based on science tempered with morality. It is based on entertainment and fear tempered by a presumption of ethos.

That leads me quite neatly into the second example, which is agenda driven research. We all know that virtually all research is now funded by people pushing either their commercial product or their personal societal agendas. Research in pharmaceutical drugs and food items has been funded by those who seek to benefit from “good results.” There is nothing wrong with that except when it gets to the point it has today which is that funding of research for the greater good has dried up since the money is directed toward the niches and the more obvious problem of increasingly meaningless individual research projects since each one is funded for one product or purpose and thus is out of context. We see this constantly with the “magic food” research, which hopes to identify those foods that are “best” at some “purpose” such as “fighting cancer.” Ironically the society that claims to be so “holistic” is anything but holistic as it single mindedly pursues one after the other of isolated agenda driven projects and purposes. No one notices the inconsistencies. For example, many people promote, wisely, an “eat your locally grown food” perspective, arguing that it is most natural to eat the types of natural foods that are fresh and common to your area. Yet another group then studies some Amazonian berry for its almost “magic” qualities and pushes it around the world for both nutrition and weight loss. How does that jibe? Do you believe that you should eat what is abundant, fresh and natural in your area? Or do you create an artificial diet that is constructed of the “best” “wonder foods?”

The problem is that humans have forgotten that science and reality are about day to day life. They have developed agenda driven isolationist (regarding the human body) viewpoints that just are erroneous and unsatisfactory from both a nutritional, for example, and a spiritual context. I am almost speechless when I read the anti-meat cow belching and farting global warming “threat” on one hand, but then a total lack of understanding the role that eating meat has had in the survivability and thriving of the human species on the other. I am constantly astounded at the “instant experts” who know nothing about the fields from whose realities they freely draw and distort. Modern humans have fallen into a crisis of compartmentalization.

It is one thing to be a specialist, where one selects, for example, one field of medicine for one’s specialty. However, being a compartmentalizer is something else. A compartmentalizer thinks that he or she is being holistic but is in fact being the opposite of holistic. A compartmentalizer tries to form theories and “realities” about one “thing” at a time. They visualize it as being “above” (hence the holistic delusion) “previous” and “old fashioned” thinking. I saw one of the first warning signs of it with the popularity of “thinking out of the box” riddles and puzzles. The implication is that one solves the riddle or puzzle only by thinking of something really “liberating” that one has “not thought of before.” I had a former intimate friend who loved these riddles and I could not solve a single one of them. Why? A good riddle or joke relies on genuine facts and reality but with a twist. “Out of the box” or “lateral thinking” relies on alternate realities to make their point that one just would not think of logically. Thus logic and facts are made to be seen as insufficient, limiting and inferior, and a truly “open mind” would not be “bound” by “the box” of “old fashioned thinking and assumptions.”

A specialist used to become a very well educated generalist first, who then studies further their specialty and adds that knowledge onto their firm general foundation. A medical specialist, for example, would be first a good general doctor and then gain education and internship in his or her practice. While that may be still the process today the mindset is no longer as systematic. Thus I met around twenty years ago a “female gynecologist” (that holy grail for women self conscious around men) who did not know that a doctor must use a tongue depressor in order to look at a sore throat. (Makes me wonder to this day if she was ever a patient herself, because even lay people know that the muscles force the tongue upward and the doctor must use a depressor to push the tongue down and see the throat and tonsils). To this day I am astonished that a Park Avenue gynecologist was angry at me (yelling that I should “keep my tongue down” when she tried to look at my sore throat and yes, I had to use my finger as a tongue depressor). Even specialists are at risk of modern thinking and lack of education rendering them to be less effective and often erroneous.

Compartmentalizers are even worse than the weakened specialists, however, since they do not attempt to gain the grounding education and experience in the areas in which they pontificate. Sometimes it does done innocently due to the slippery slope of expertise. Thus you have people with degrees in meteorology (the weather) think they are qualified to comment on global climate change. They genuinely do not realize that they need much more education and information from other fields such as paleontology and geology (to better understand the climate of the earth's historic epochs). Modern people are not humble enough to recognize when they have stepped outside of their specialized areas of expertise (and how limited even those may be). But more to the point are those who deliberately present themselves as experts in a modern so called "enlightened" sense. They have come to believe that traditional education and the scientific method of proof, logic and deduction are “unnecessary” and “limiting.” One of the reasons they are so led astray by themselves and each other is that they do not understand the constancy of results.

When compartmentalizers see the “same thing” “happen” twice in row, for example, they believe they have “discovered” a “connection,” rather than recognize that they are part of a sane, normal and ordered world where similar activities yield similar results. For example if someone painted a painting today that looks a lot like one painted by someone five hundred years ago, the modern deluded will wonder if they were “reincarnated” from the previous painter or one of the painters cohorts. I am only slightly exaggerating. Sane humans used to realize that all people are alike, generation after generation, and that given canvas and paint some will paint landscapes, some will paint still life settings, and there will always be people who are inspired by and attracted to the same things using the same techniques. I mean, duh. But a compartmentalizer takes an event totally out of the human context and immediately inflates its own importance (and his or her “power of observation”) to incredible degrees. I've noticed that an astonishing number of people look for some "connections" between the most ordinary of repeatable events, such as two people having the same taste in art, food, books, decor, etc. If two people in a row walk into a magazine shop and buy the same magazine, I swear some people will think that it is an "alien message," a "sign from a deceased loved one" or "a past life experience." It would never occur to them that maybe the first person walked down the street with the magazine visible, and the second person sees it and thinks, "How interesting that cover story looks, I will buy one too." It's called free advertising. Or a plethora of other reasons (a class was just dismissed where that magazine was discussed, or people heard about it on a news show, etc) but usually it is just one of those things: people buy magazines and sometimes people with the same taste walk into a store one after the other. I mean, duh.

I’ve written about this before under my “debunking cults” label, especially in relationship to numbers. I mean, there are only ten digits and there are an infinite number of things that can be measured or counted, yet day after day a large segment of people drive themselves and everyone else crazy over “matching numbers.” I don’t even want to go into the whole astrology and numerology nightmare anymore, as I’ve already written all I have to say on the subject and what a mess it has become. But these are the classic examples of people no longer understanding the constancy of results in a real and factual world and compartmentalizing two events or pieces of information and forcing an “out of the box” connection.

That’s what I meant with my “maybe gravity is caused by aliens putting invisible Velcro on the soles of the shoes of people they like” example. Rather that just plodding along in science discoveries and research, building upon and revising as necessary the theories of before and the established body of facts, compartmentalizers see the universe as a jumble of individual things that are connected in ways that must be contrary to the mainstream belief and reality. Yes, smoking marijuana has been a great factor in this development. The generation that views weed as a creativity enhancer and relaxant did not recognize that by definition weed is also a disconnection from reality. One does not have to ingest weed to be part of the weed mindset, by the way. Even if you yourself do not smoke weed, if you “recognize” that it “enhances creativity” and “relaxes” other people, you are buying into a mindset that is less based on facts and reality within a genuine holistic context and instead, one that is more based on compartmentalizing.

A reality based scientist, for example, would in reply to the creativity claim reply with a dozen ways other than weed to develop one’s creativity. Compartmentalizers buy into the first or second thing that they hear without examining alternatives in a reality based context. A reality based scientist would also reply to the relaxation claim with wise advice to examine the causes of the stress and deal with them rather than trying to mask and cope with weed. Again a compartmentalizer immediately assumes, without even realizing it, that if the weed user says that he or she must use it to relax that their stressful condition and lack of better options is a given.

Lawyers too used to have much in common with fact and reality based scientists, and they also used to have a great appreciation for the constancy of results. However many lawyers are also compartmentalizers for a practical reason “they immediately focus on a tactic that works” and the more unsavory one that we’ve been discussing, stemming from them thinking they are social engineers and “agents of change.” The grandiose thinking of many lawyers is a temptation toward that compartmentalizing that I’ve described, where they have become less wise students of human nature and more enchanted with “noticing two things in a row that must be connected in some metaphysical or social justice way.”

What is frustrating is that once compartmentalized and grandiose thinking takes over it is very hard to make someone aware of it and eradicate it even with proof. For example, suppose a lawyer gets two cases in a row that makes him or her tingle with the thought that these cases “came to him” due to a “greater purpose and truth” and that it has numinous meaning. Suppose I went into a library and found a book written by a lawyer five hundred years ago who had the same types of cases come to him, and he just recorded them and what he did and thought nothing else of it. I would point out that documentation to the modern compartmentalizing lawyer and say, “See, there is nothing strange about the two cases you got, because Giovanni here had a similar set of cases five hundred years ago.” Stuff just happens in human history that is due to constancies of results, in this case, people tend to get in trouble and litigate over the same old issues generation after generation. So against the backdrop of the constancy of human behavior over centuries, even if two really strange cases in a row popped up, looking at the holistic totality of litigation in human history, that would not be so unusual at all. Probably every lawyer in history would have an example in his or her career of two weird similar cases in a row being handled. However, with the mindset I am complaining about and exposing here, even with this proof the odds are that the modern compartmentalizing lawyer, rather than allow him or her self to be deflated back to reality would then claim that he or she is the reincarnated Giovanni, LOL. Not really LOL because it’s scary and not funny.

Those of us of a certain age knew what women through the centuries have known, which is that fads and taste skip a generation. Thus grandchildren tend to have tastes in fashion and d├ęcor like their grandmothers, while the mothers would be disapproving. We saw that with some in the hippy generation, where when they had children some of their children wanted more of the tradition of the grandmothers. Nowadays if a child has the same interests as their grandmother, rather than realizing this is the constancy of results, some moderns say “the child is mawmaw reincarnated” or is “channeling granny.” I wish I was joking.

Moderns have parsed and compartmentalized every event and behavior by every person (and even animals), magnifying every minutiae independent of its context. These type of people have become some sort of strange combination of a blender set on “dice” (chopping up everything into small pieces) and “jigsaw puzzle assembler” where they then ignore all previous established realities and look for the “real connections” between the diced pieces of what people are, what they say and what they do. They have driven themselves crazy and also much of society and commerce around them. They would throw TNT around in a public theater and yet tell you if you objected to chill out and not worry because TNT is not really an explosive because “Mars is in an astrology sign that doesn’t favor explosions right now” or that TNT is the number “nine” in “numerology” and therefore nine sounds like the German for no which is “nein” and therefore it is not going to explode. I wish I was joking but I am not. If it did explode and kill a baby they would tell you that the baby must have had their natal Mars in a “bad position.”

What is really scary is that this thinking infects engineering projects and other things that desperately rely on reality and facts based on a sound education and honest use of high quality materials, not on imaginary compartmentalized pseudo-relationships.

The worst that has happened is when like a cyborg these compartmentalized “thinkers” meld their crazy pseudo-relationship seeking to Holy Scriptures. Holy Scripture cannot be understood by compartmentalists. Holy Scripture is meant to be about the holistic constancy human life (both their virtues and their sins) through the ages, since that is what the Bible, specifically, and the Qur’an records. Real people had real babies, grew real crops, fought real wars, had real conversations with God’s messengers, and faced the same problems (and potential results) and sinned the same ways generation after generation. Thus when God gave the Law to the Israelites, even though God gave the Law to them, the human behavior that is referenced is the same constancy of human reality that is everywhere, among all cultures and individuals. This is why the Bible, as every scholar realizes along with all the thoughtful laity, always has two messages in parallel: what happened then and how to apply that to future generations. Thus one can read about a one and only event in the Bible, yet see how it can apply and guide to similar circumstances in the present, remaining fruitful and meaningful for each generation.

Compartmentalizers read parts of the Bible and then look for “the same thing to happen again” and then apply their crazy pseudo-relationship glue to derive some insane “out of the box” linkage in hidden meaning. They don’t recognize that the Bible and the Qur’an (together with the rest of the history of Islam) records natural life events within the steady background of generation after generation of life where there is continual constancy of results. A huge stumbling block for them is their lack of understanding that the Bible records one and only events, but it is meant to be relevant to the continuum of human experience.

I mean, it’s not like the results of a battle, for example, are much different in one century than the next. Oh wait, there’s that one battle where after it was fought gravity suddenly turned off and the aliens applied Velcro hooks to the soles of the losers feet because they felt sorry for them and the bodies might float away while the gravity is off. I wish I was joking about the extent of the lunacy, but I’m not, and if anything I’m understating its insidiousness, its error, its danger, and the great toll it has taken to date on everyone. But let's look at a battle for example. The Bible may record a battle that takes place where God favors one side and that side wins. Someone who uses the Bible properly will try to discern from that example several things 1) why God favored one group over the other 2) guidance about morality or wisdom in the context of the battle event and its aftermath and 3) recognition that conflict is part of the human condition. Thus if nothing else one understands that conflict and its suffering is not new upon any generation, but part of the panoply of the human condition. Compartmentalizers, however, "look" for the battle to "happen again" by expecting repeating and replicable "signs" such as names, numbers, places and so forth. With their slice and dice compartmentalizing they view the Bible as being a bunch of clues, cues and signs about "what will happen next."

For example, far too many people try to take a bad event that happens today and compare it to an event described in Biblical prophecy, such as the Apocalypse, and say, "Is that event or is it not one of the signs of the end?" But here is what they forget. The end is comprised of the same old dreadful human events that have always happened, except when it is really the end there will be no way out and the destruction of the world and the Second Coming will take place. So the error in logic is that people don't realize that many of the events described as tribulations may take place without it being the actual Second Coming and end of days yet. For example, how do people not know that maybe there is a dreadful fulfillment of one of the tribulations in that such an event occurs, but it is not the one that is part of the tribulation itself? The earth might suffer several earthquakes and catastrophes that look like they are the ones described in Revelation, but are simply forerunners. The Bible is not a textbook listing every time that an earthquake or some other disaster might destroy one third of the world's population. So it is not unrealistic to understand that humanity might undergo at their own hands one disaster after the other, seeming to follow the order described in Revelation, yet it is not the actual Apocalypse yet at all.

More to the point, it is entirely possible that God will warn (and is now warning humans) by taking them through their own self inflicated mini versions of the tribulations. The more people war and hate monger for occult reasons the more likely that they will bring down upon themselves continual implications of their presumption, which will be like preliminary seals being broken. History repeats itself because of the constancy of results; humans behave the same way and life has the same continuing risks and also humanity's doubting and ungrateful relationship to God also repeats itself. Thus in modern times, just as in Biblical times, living in a world where there is much goodness, but there is also much need for grace and good behavior, while in a life that is limited and does have perils, it is not a good idea to stick a thumb in God's eye when God is needed more, not less, than ever. That is reality and that is constancy, not the linking together of goofy delusions based on some sort of version of Hollywood Squares.

This is the only generation, these past two, who cannot understand that reality really is exactly as it appears. As former President Bill Clinton said, “It depends on what ‘is’ is.” Only these past two generations have trouble discerning day to day reality that is all around them and that they are part of. That is because, to use that analogy again, they have abandoned real life and used a dicing machine to make little square blocks of everything a human being says, does or even “is.” It is terrifying, not because it scares me personally (disgust and immense pain is more accurate to say), but because I am terrified for the survivability, sanity, ruination and damnation of every man, woman and child.

This generation thinks that if they check the fire extinguisher on one side of the world that they don’t need to check the fire extinguisher on the other side of the world because it all “balances out.”