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icosahedron last won the day on March 9 2011

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  1. Exactly! You need multiple, overlapping, and not necessarily one-to-one containment hierarchies. That is, for each quasi-independent aspect that you want to focus on, you need a hierarchy; and then, you tie the hierarchies, one for each aspect, back together at corresponding nodes, i.e., where they line up. This is exactly how transparency books of the human body systems work: each page layers on the next system, bone, organ, nervous, blood, muscle, etc. each system has it's own transparency layer in which it is a complete hierarchy; but you need multiple such systems to cover off the whole body, and they weave, interleave, interlock, tie up together at certain special points. Hence accupressure and related ideas, btw. Another system with multiple aspects interwoven that is common is a home, where plumbing, electric, heat, etc. must be routed efficiently and controlled centrally. This is the "game" we are playing with reality: multiple interlocking hierarchies of related aspects necessary to accomplish holistic knowledge. It takes at minimum two complementary but not identical aspects to understand a whole. Can you say: Tai-Chi? Maybe this will help: http://taoism.about.com/b/2008/04/02/the-yin-yang-symbol.htm Old idea. Now we have the technology to visualize it in real time. Fractals also about this same idea, if you turn them inside out you will see that. In fact, there are more than two, there are four aspects at minimum in any given entity. Inside/outside is one pair of essential complements; and this/that is the other. Inside this, inside that, outside this, outside that -- those are the 4 prime aspects in considering things. So there ought to be at least 4 complementary hierarchies necessary to complete one's knowledge to the point of full understanding of any given set of experiences, to the extent that those experiences contain useful information. By knowing that there ought to be at least four aspects to any given area of study, one won't be tempted to drop context and stop looking with a smugness belied by the lack of perseverance. Rules of the road. Nature of thought. - ico
  2. If I actually thought this was yet a serious possibility, I would be trying to find a decent place to build a self-sufficient life -- farm animals, vegetable garden, good house, maybe some close friends on an isolated property. I grew up on a farm so I can kinda take care of myself if I have some "seed corn" to start with. Point being, I don't want to have to rely on the grid for energy or food. My only problem is communication, I'd probably commit suicide if the internet was lost, it would depress me to such a degree because it would spell the beginning of a dark age -- literally. Not really, but that would be the thing I couldn't provide for myself, it takes other people. Other people are the greatest value to me for all sorts of reasons, as long as they respect my right to refrain from doing things if I choose to -- and my right to get what I deserve, bad if I do bad, good if I do good. Gold and silver will be less valuable than foodstuff and know-how and, dare I say it, guns, in case the world goes to heck, economically -- at least until things settle down. Then the gold and silver will indeed be worth a good bit as they will be the first currencies to come back into circulation in any size. The internet may allow the process of social degradation to be reversed, and society bullet-proofed from idiocy -- the power of so many minds communicating so quickly is unprecedented and the long term social effect is likely to be extravagantly different than even the most outlandish pundits predict. - ico
  3. A. Proof cannot begin without having a functioning thinking apparatus, which must exist at minimum as such a facility that understands what proof is. As soon as you reference proof, you reference the existence of your facility with such apparatus, and hence you reference, by containment, Existence. B-G: Similarly. I don't see the issue here. Existence came first, I'm along for the ride -- or maybe I should say, inside for the ride. - ico
  4. Powerpoint is an inferior tool in this day and age if you really want to present sizzling, hyperlinky stuff. Which is ABSOLUTELY a better way to present knowledge. Peikoff was not being metaphorical: knowledge is hierarchical, and one's organization of it ought to reflect as closely as possible the structure of it ... with appropriate unit economies used to reduce its size without disconnecting pieces of it, folding it up "algorithmically" and "structurally" so that it fits in one frame of thought at each "page", but allows quick navigation to deeper and/or more over-arching concepts. You want a hierarchical containment structure as base representation, and you won't want to allow self references, so XML is just fine and nicely transparent. And can be flipped onto a hyper-linked web format with ease. Within each node, you have a set of referents plus (a set of) boolean predicates defining how those referents were chosen from among all the entities of one's experience. The root node refers to the set of all things that one has experienced. A conceptual structure, or framework if you will, is an individual's means of classifying experienced things into categories by identifying their similarities and differences. This is naturally a set-theoretic process of REDUCING the set of all things into smaller, related subsets -- and then creating sets of these subsets. This is a fractional distillation of sets of experience to refine them, plus a re-factoring/re-association of the refined components into one's chosen structures; the purpose is progressive efficiency of thought and resultant leverage vis a vis executing one's plans in reality. Ditch PowerPoint, it is woefully limited and will never catch up. Even PDF format is preferable (and actually has some coolness in there from what I've seen). But at the end of the day, it's the combination of sets of experiences that are as complete as necessary to make conclusive identifications; and a classification structure, an abstraction framework, a containment hierarchy to break down the sets of experiences into more refined sets, and then also build back up more general ideas across sets. All this can be done with XML or equivalent to represent class types and class hierarchies and class instances and class evolutions; and then tools can be used to display in browsable fashion. - ico
  5. At the end of the day, however, God is a postulate with no evidence, i.e., an arbitrary postulate. And one can, if one cares to, realize that even the postulate of God may not contradict the facts of Existence without becoming invalid; however, that is NOT the sort of "God" that traditionally is associated with the sound/symbol "G-O-D". THAT God, the God of the various monotheistic philosophies, contradicts him/her/itself, and therefore Existence, in some fashion. Contradictions not only cannot exist, they do not exist, period! So, if you create the perfect God in the image of Existence, all you have done is reflected Existence back onto itself, which while at least not destructive of other people's time, neither does it aid others; and it is a waste of yours, too, because neither does it give you engineering advantage over planning your future (success). Basically, you end up wasting time and phrasing things awkwardly to preserve an idea that has no useful function that is not already covered by some other idea. God is irrelevant. That is why faith is a matter of choice and may not be restricted; but knowledge, by the same token, may not be a function of faith. Yup. - ico
  6. As an afterthought, if my hypothesis is more or less correct, then anything that alters brain chemistry can have the effect of altering the process of forming associations among neurons, and hence likely result in a different dendrite web that gradually forms and might have formed otherwise (and may or may not be reformable, not sure there is good science on that yet). In particular, medications which alter brain chemistry as a side effect should be looked at very closely prior to use. My arch-example in this regard is cholesterol lowering drugs. Cholesterol is instrumental in allowing the body to insulate nerves so they don't jangle too much, and the brain is chock full of cholesterol (those on low cholesterol diets will not be eating sweetbreads). If your ability to produce cholesterol is lost for some reason, you die a horrible, screaming death of extreme pain within very short time. So I seriously doubt the wisdom of using cholesterol lowering drugs except in cases where the cholesterol is so high that it is a clear and present danger -- otherwise, you may be disarming the brain and nervous system of a primary means of regulating stress and emotionally generated physical responses. The result may be brain cancer or alzheimers over prolonged exposure ... these drugs haven't been around long enough for the long term side effects to be noticed, let's wait and see if I am not correct in my plausible hypothesis. - ico
  7. Okay, the video is pretty simple to explain. The baby thinks it understands the nature of its mother better than it does any other single entity of its experience -- even including itself! And it has never before seen its mother NOT respond in her characteristic ways, so this is an unparalleled pattern of behavior for this creature that the baby thought it recognized so well. Interesting! Let's explore ... and maybe get a bit uncertain, learning new things here, wonder why mom isn't "normal" all of a sudden ... hmmm, in a new place too, strange ... etc. The baby alters its behavior as a cognitive response, not primarily an emotional response. The emotional response is secondary, upon evaluation. If the mother started doing this regularly, as a joke say, then the baby would quickly regulate its behavior also. It does prove that the baby is evaluating the data of its senses both cognitively and emotionally, very nice experiment which I will suggest to parents. As for the possibility of irreversible psychological damage, any such damage must have a physical manifestation; and if that physical manifestation is destructive enough, and not stopped and even reversed, then the psychological damage will also be irreparable. There is a feedback loop where mental and emotional patterns get etched into the dendrites, so if the dendrites become too chaotically interlocking, it may be difficult to recover use of parts of the brain. Long term evasion has the effect of chopping the brain up into islands of dis-coordinated groups of idiosyncratic neurons. No, I can't prove that. It's a hypothetical claim backed up by what I do know, if poetic and imaginative on the mechanism. If the mind is warped far enough for long enough, it won't be able to recover because the holistic cross-linking necessary to create higher-order concepts will be permanently damaged in the physical substrate -- however implemented, that is the principle, the same one that causes granules to form in old cheese. So, yes. But it usually requires a blunt instrument. - ico
  8. Alright I must admit I missed the "quiet and 100 yards away", tho' I'm still not happy being exposed to that when I'm grieving. But I guess I can get philosophical about it at that point -- still don't get how this is free speech, rather than free assembly. Is the media just calling anything under the First Amendment "free speech"? Or did the Supremes actually state it that way? And please: free assembly and free speech are different. Neither of these are the root Right (life, property, self-determination -- one of these will do, depending on how you do the math -- they are logically equivalent if properly stated in any case), but both are deducible from the root.
  9. You mean, like there might be Martians we haven't found yet? That's arbitrary. True, but you are confusing "a long time" with "eternal", psychologically. A long time looked at from the perspective of an even longer time is a short time. Time periods are relative. Presumably, if the creature is alive and conscious, it will die of boredom if it does nothing. It needs something interesting to do, and it knows it has a long time to do it, so it will pick something ambitious, eventually. And then it will want to improve its project. And eventually that death knell will loom large, because it will want to keep improving the things it cares about. Time is relative to the scope and scale of what you are doing with it -- which will expand to fill the available time. The problem is, eternal is NOT the limit of a progressive sequence of greater and greater units of "a very long time". So even your hypothetical is on the clock -- and it can't help but know it, and that will affect its behavior. You can't escape from reality.
  10. When does this cross the line into harassment? When someone goes to the hospital? Why must I be subject to the outbursts of others, exactly? Shared pain?
  11. And, if it is public property, then we each own a share, so why not vote on it? -- just to underline the absurdity.
  12. Oh, let's make it even more realistic. You have a 10 year old daughter and neighbors watching this go down. And you don't have a house in the Hamptons to escape to. - ico
  13. Let me change the context slightly to show you what I see. Imagine if someone decides to stand in the street out front of your house, yelling obscenities at/about you at the top of their lungs so that you can hear them over the television and can't sleep because of the noise, and holding signs that indict your character, and harassing you and/or your visitors as they try to pass. What are the essential differences between this context, and standing outside a funeral doing the same thing -- other than the fact that, at the funeral, the obscenerators are actually subjecting EVEN MORE people to their temper tantrum? Free speech means free expression, not freedom to yell and scream and generally harass others. That's my point: expanding rights beyond their natural meaning is just as dishonest and despicable as restricting rights. - ico
  14. AP - The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the First Amendment protects fundamentalist church members who mount anti-gay protests outside military funerals, despite the pain they cause grieving families. Now that is just not right. The Supremes once again show that they have no philosophical compass. Sheesh. - ico
  15. Au contraire, mon frere Grimes: it MAY BE a positive development, long term, if it wakes the honest folk out of their slumber. The world wars were awful, but as they were unavoidable, they did provide an excuse to blow up the fascists -- and to this day, European politicians are wary about being labeled fascist, which is a good thing. People in a fog will wake up when they see some sharp light source, even if the only light sharp enough comes from the headlights of a mac truck bearing down on them at high speed. It may be too late for them so save themselves, and that would be terrible, but they will wake up. The problem I do have with predictions of military doom are that, if it's so predictable, then why don't we just nuke 'em now, while they are still "babies" economically, before they can catch up militarily? That is the natural consequence of assuming that war is inevitable; if it is unavoidable, then put down "Leaves of Grass" and pick up "The Art of War", where Lao Tzu makes clear that one should choose the time and place for battles to one's greatest advantage. - ico
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