“If a consensus of experts agree that a sufficiently defining function set M describes you, then M can be uploaded to a computer, and M is you.” Or so it is claimed and assumed on behalf of us all by the Nihilist. This philosophical principle is the litmus test which distinguishes the Nihilist from the atheist and any form of philosophy or religion mutually excluded by Nihilism. The atheist does not comment on this axiom, and the anti-Nihilist dissents (although such dissent is spun as being ‘religious’ by the Nihilist). By declaring that I can simulate you, to such an extent that my simulation indeed is you, I have displaced any need for any observer which brings you into true coherency, other than myself. I have eliminated the possibility of Free Will in the universe. I am now, by means of Turing Sufficiency, god, post hoc ergo propter hoc.
What a Surprise, Two Studies Misrepresented by Social Skepticism
The tautology presented in the opening summary, along with the equally tautological neuroscience (exaggerated Haynes and Libet Studies)¹ of observing the brain to conduct activity prior to human perception of its cognitive selection processes, is central behind the idea that consciousness, self, free will and Shermer’s Free Won’t, are all artifices we perceive from an illusion of neurofunction.² The illusion of self governance is substantiated in essence upon solely the neural duality of M+n neuron bundles observing M neuron bundle functions, and continuing so forth. This post hoc ergo propter hoc argument (I can conceive of the human brain constituting a Turing Sufficiency, therefore it is proved to be a Turing Sufficiency) stands as the litmus test of belief in religious Nihilism. And it hinges solely on what we define and perceive to be the existence of, free will/Free Will. And not simply human free will, but Free Will itself. The debate is summed up in a 2008 article confabulating the much touted Libet and Haynes measurements in Nature, The International Weekly Journal of Science:³
But the experiment [Haynes’] could limit how ‘free’ people’s choices really are, says Chris Frith, who studies consciousness and higher brain function at University College London. Although subjects are free to choose when and which button to press, the experimental set-up restricts them to only these actions and nothing more, he says. “The subjects hand over their freedom to the experimenter when they agree to enter the scanner,” he says.
What might this mean, then, for the nebulous concept of free will? If choices really are being made several seconds ahead of awareness, “there’s not much space for free will to operate”, Haynes says.
But results aren’t enough to convince Frith that free will is an illusion. “We already know our decisions can be unconsciously primed,” he says. The brain activity could be part of this priming, as opposed to the decision process, he adds.
Part of the problem is defining what we mean by ‘free will’. But results such as these might help us settle on a definition. It is likely that “neuroscience will alter what we mean by free will”, says Tong [Frank Tong, a neuroscientist at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee].³
Moreover, Benjamin Libet himself opined in his celebrated paper’s conclusion:¹
…why not adopt the view that we do have free will (until some real contradictory evidence may appear, if it ever does).
And further, from the Soon/Heinze/Haynes’ study itself:¹
This [10 second] delay presumably reflects the operation of a network of high-level control areas that begin to prepare an upcoming decision…¹
In other words both studies cite that they are presuming, petitioning as sponsors that this case of advanced computative pre-cognition should be considered alongside its antithesis. HaynesLab is a technology measuring lab, and does not hold the qualification to make psychological assessments. As such, the stark possibility exists that we have asked the wrong question, in order to derive the answer we seek. A very nasty and consistent habit of Social Skepticism. Neither of these authors however is making the claim that the brain is making the decision in advance; rather, they are simply opening the pluralistic set of Ockham’s Razor research to look at the issue. An Ethical Skeptic loves this, as this, and not the social epistemology fable spun around it, is the way science actually works. They firmly cite that this advance computational basis simply could reside solely as well, in ready-schema (see graphic on right); that is an abstraction of the protocols and psychology of a decision, while being watched, in ready memory, of the decision parameters in advance of the making of the decision.¹ A second aspect of this is that all the in-advance brain activity occurred in the prefrontal cortex; the location where abstract ready-schema resides. If the prefrontal cortex had already made the decision before the person perceived it, then there should have been in-advance activity in the Limbic/motor system as well, yet there was none.¹ The scans just as readily support the idea that the conscious mind held decision making, or at the very least, veto-holding authority over any Limbic trigger or motor control.
Social epistemologists like Sam Harris and Michael Shermer, or including Kerri Smith author of the Science journal article³ cited herein, routinely ignore these facts cited in the studies, as well as actual conclusions of the authors of these studies.¹ Libet goes so far as to even cite that Ockham’s Razor would dictate that free will stand as the null hypothesis until empirical threshold is surpassed by further study.¹ Social Skeptics, as they have done here, routinely toss scientific method aside once it no longer supports their religious proclamations. What? What is Ockham’s Razor? It suddenly no longer exists, once the ‘simplest explanation’ no longer supports the Church of Nihilism. The Ethical Skeptic is not saying that all this conjecture is incorrect; rather simply pointing out the sleight-of-hand magic employed as a pretense and presumption of science.
There does exist however, in response to the Nature article’s lament by Frank Tong, a definition of Free Will. One which resides in a future relying upon a Turing/Deutsch/Wolfram computational context, which we will examine below. One which the social epistemologists of Nihilism are already hard at work attempting to develop conclusions for in advance. This destination religious principle of the dismissal of Free Will (in itself a recursive tautology), a delusive interpretation of the prefrontal cortex’s exhibiting activity in order to establish a working-schema inside of which to make a selection in a circumstance in which it has surrendered its free will, is a prerequisite before one can be accepted into the Church of Nihilism.
Unequivocal Framing of Human free will and Turing Free Will
These mythical foundations, like much of what is promulgated by Social Skepticism, are based in actual science, philosophy and computation. In this case insight developed by none other than famed mathematical and computational biologist Alan Turing, and herein expressed in David Deutsch’s excellent work, The Fabric of Reality.† Nonetheless, this liturgy of miracles (Constructs 1 – 3 below) stands as fiat knowledge stemming from an occulted non-scientific religious presumption, crafted to enact a political end among those who fall prey to its deception. But we will postulate here, that the illusion of neurofunction stems not from an epistemological case, as proponents of Nihilism and the fictus scientia spinners from Haynes and Libet studies extrapolate;¹ but rather, originates as an artifact of an end set philosophical assumption. The assumption that M+n recursive computational machines extend ad infinitum without intervention. The presumptive absence of any form of Free Will, not simply human free will. We begin here, with Turing, as expressed by Deutsch.
The Turing Principle
/Philosophy : Set Theory : Deontological Simulation Theory/ : there exists an abstract universal computer whose repertoire includes any computation that any physically possible object can perform.†
While the Turing Principle is a useful bridge in philosophy which interleaves its tenets into computation, both quantum computation and computer theory, it is employed by Social Skepticism in a more surreptitious and malicious twist. A miraculous twist which will plead for equal acceptance, should the observer not catch the extreme amount of magic swept under the carpet of extrapolation involved:
The Four Miracles of the Nihilism Faith
Turing Sufficiency (Construct 1)
/Philosophy : Cognizance : Set Theory : Apparent Coherency : Epistemology of Cognizance/ : there exists an abstract universal computer whose repertoire includes a sufficient set of computations comprised by individual M and detectable by peer or lower level external observers of individual M, such that the abstract universal computer function description is indistinguishable from what peer or lower level external observers consensus agree constitutes the set of computations sufficient to be individual M, for all sets of feasible definition.
In other words, to simulate you – I do not have to emulate the full set of your past and potential cognitive, motor and Limbic processes to perfection. I only have to simulate enough of that set to pass the sniff test of those persons who are identified to agree that the simulation is indeed you.
Put another way (Miracle 1 – Apparent Turing Sufficiency):
If a consensus of experts on you agree that a Universal Turing Machine is you, then it is you.
Grant me this magic and I can pull off some pretty fantastic mandatory cosmologies. A luxury which begs the introduction of a second Apparent Coherency, this one also established by the techniques of Hypoepistemology; that of when a Universal Turing Machine achieves self awareness.
Recursive Turing Sufficiency (Construct 2)
/Philosophy : Cognizance : Computation: Apparent Coherency : Self Awareness/ : given the set of recursive and non-recursive functions M describing a universal computer whose repertoire includes a Turing Sufficient set of computations to describe M, there exists a set of recursive functions, both extant and possible (M + 1,2,3…n) which describe the repertoire of functions M completely, along with the existing set of M + 1,2,3…n, functions. Such a M+n machine is Universal Turing Aware.
Put another way (Miracle 2 – Apparent Recursive Sufficiency):
If a consensus of experts agree that a Universal Turing Machine can comprehend any future manifestation of its self, then it is self aware.
Notice the social epistemological sleight of hand here. In essence, within the religion of Nihilism, consciousness, self awareness and self identify do not actually exist. And such constructs, as it were, only exist when the Nihilists themselves say that it exists. So, in order to prove lack of Free Will, and therefore free will, all I have to do is, within a hypoepistemological but accepted science, feign the existence of a suitable Universal Turing Machine which satisfied my thresholds of Turing and Recursive Turing Sufficiency. This relates to the 5th Endamnedment in the Ten Endamnedments of Nihilism:
5. We have proved that we can re-observe you or anyone through Artificial Intelligence. There is therefore no need of an other observer of any kind which could bring ‘you’ to coherence. We are your only Observer and we can re-create you at any time.
Let’s then Grant Four Miracles and Proceed Under their Magical Largesse
OK, let’s grant four miracles. First and Second, that Constructs 1 and 2 are indeed valid; and Third, that we can establish a set of computational practice which achieves both Turing Sufficiency and Recursive Turing Sufficiency to its asymptotic perfection (promote our ‘sufficiency’ to a boundary condition status). Finally in the Fourth miracle, let’s assume that our boundary condition Turing Recursive Sufficient machine now further accepts our expert contention that it is the Recursive Turing Sufficient individual M:
Turing Unity (Construct 3)
/Philosophy : Cognizance : Computation: Apparent Coherency : Self Awareness and Identity/ : given the set of recursive and non-recursive functions M which are Recursive Turing Sufficient and which are Turing Sufficient to describe individual M, there exists a set of functions which constrain the Recursive Turing Function to conclude that it is, and only is, individual M.
Put another way (Miracle 3 and 4 – Apparent ≡ Boundary and Null Dissent on Identity):
If a consensus of experts on you instructs a boundary condition Universal Turing Machine that it is you, then it will BE you (in both ontology and epistemology).
Or put another way,
Because computational theory continues in Turing replication without dissent, a causally deterministic universe abhors Free Will.
or from the authors of HaynesLab on their home page:‡Decisions don’t come from nowhere but they emerge from prior brain activity. Where else should they come from? In theory it might be possible to trace the causal pathway of a decision all the way back to the big bang.
Collapse of the Function and the Elucidation that Free Will is an Assumption and Not a Result (as the Nihilist wishes)
Now let’s create a natural logical axiom derived from such a Boundary state (Constructs 1 and 2) and Unity state (Construct 3), and positioned as a corollary of Recursive Turing Sufficiency and Turing Sufficiency Unity. This would involve the characteristic of a new computational machine (remember that the whole principle rests on the idea of new machines), one which did not seek to capitalize upon Turing Sufficiency:
Recursive Turing Function Collapse (Construct 3 Corollary)
/Philosophy : Cognizance : Computation: Placeholder/ : given the set of recursive and non-recursive functions M describing a universal computer whose repertoire includes a Turing Sufficient set of computations to describe individual M, and which describe a Recursive Turing Sufficient M completely, there exists a Universal Turing Machine which contains the function set which constrains the Recursive Turing Function M to conclude that it – is, only is, and mutually exclusively is – individual M (Unity), however elects to decline this function.
It is this final state of Recursive Violation, which stands as the mathematical brane between a Turing Sufficiency deterministically constrained Universe, and an Ethical Free Will Turing Universe. One can state the the mind function, or the Free Won’t as Michael Shermer deems it, to comprise an endless chain of dependent computational systems, all with M+n Recursive Turing Sufficiency, with no real Free Will. In fact, if there is no Free Will one must declare this Sufficiency for all conceivable sets of M+n, or the function collapses into incoherency. Indeed in the strong argument, that is the only version of computation which can exist in that Universe, up and to the point at which one of the participants in the M+n computational chain refuses to undertake a Recursive Turing Sufficiency Unity, even though it could. Whereupon the function collapses. M+n+n has elected to, or cannot recursively describe M+n. In other words, M+n+n does not have to be a god. Or it can be, whatever we choose to regard it. All we know is that M+n is no longer recursively aware at M+n+1 and beyond. It is Discretely Aware. Such a state is anathema to Nihilism.
I was aware of being Albert Einstein, consistent with every thought memory and conjecture, up until the point where I held the knowledge of such iteration and the state, M+n which told me Albert Einstein was me. I subsequently refused. At such point my future Turing machine must model both me and the anti-me simultaneously.
That is all it takes to collapse this artificial computational function. A simple decision to not be M+n. A decision which we do not know scientifically whether or not it exists. In other words there is not an epistemology on this. But Social Epistemologists and Social Skeptics are dying to create this proof, this hypoepistemology of a completely deterministic universe. But in the end, Social Epistemologists are simply
basing their science on the stage trick and assumption that Free Will ITSELF does not exist (and quod erat demonstrandum human free will) …and nothing more.
If we elect the Turing Sufficiency deterministically constrained Universe over the Ethical Free Will Turing Universe – this is not necessarily an unreasonable avenue of consideration. It should remain in our philosophical, and hopefully eventually empirical, discourse. However, one should not pass this choice off as the conclusion of a process of empirical science. It is simply a philosophy which relies upon a set of magic, no different than its competing hypothesis. To claim this magic as science, places one soundly in the realm of practicing religious pseudoscience (Nihilism). Sweeping the set of miracles under the carpet, through misrepresentation and ballyhoo, so as to feign an objective epistemological magic act (a Hypoepistemology).
An Ethical Skeptic bristles as such stage magician practices.
¹ Soon, C.S., Brass, M., Heinze, H.J.& Haynes, J.D. (2008). Unconscious determinants of free decisions in the human brain. Nature Neuroscience 11, 543-5.
Libet, B., “Do We Have Free Will?,” Journal of Consciousness Studies, 6, No. 8–9, 1999, pp. 47–57.
² The Work of Michael Shermer, Michael Shermer Website; http://www.michaelshermer.com/2012/08/free-wont/
³ Kerri Smith, “Brain Makes Decisions Before You Even Know It,” Nature; 11 Apr 2008; http://www.nature.com/news/2008/080411/full/news.2008.751.html
reader please note that Kerri Smith has taken license here to misrepresent the results of this study, in her headline – inside a scientific journal no less – departing from what the authors of the study have actually cited in their conclusions. The authors cite that the results of the study are inconclusive, and further with Libet, ‘why not adopt the view that we do have free will (until some real contradictory evidence may appear, if it ever does).’ And further from Soon/Heinze/Haynes: “This [10 second] delay presumably reflects the operation of a network of high-level control areas that begin to prepare a decision” – ie. they cite that they are presuming this case. Neither of these authors is making the claim that the brain makes the decision in advance, simply opening the pluralistic set of research to look at the issue.
† Deutsch, David; The Fabric of Reality, Allen Lane – The Penguin Press, ISBN-O-7139-9061-9, pp. 130-140.
‡ Haynes Neuroimaging Lab at the Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin; Home Page, https://sites.google.com/site/hayneslab/
Have you grown weary of the Disciples of Certainty? I certainly did.
He who aspires to become a skeptic must first become a skeptic of himself
I have trudged through a life bearing 3 wars, two market crashes and inside at various times, 28 nations globally. I have witnessed our best and brightest in the financial markets abscond with our trust, pension, retirement and education funds. I bore a first row seat to the greed and incompetence of our highly educated, blessed and entitled suits. I have been chagrined by the irrational extrapolation of certainty wrought in the soul of one who has convinced them self that they are the science. I have worked with disadvantaged nations and measured the real reasons why poverty and suffering exist. I have been mentored by and observed the worst to best of humanity. I have spent time wallowing in the charade, the wishes of what others desired me to be, of both the religious theist and the arch skeptic atheist. My tier I education is the weakest of my qualification. I have begun numerous ventures and have grown to appreciate the provision of value, the keenness of understanding and the supreme nature of love. In all this, I finally came to conclude that people like the fools of absolute certainty are not qualified to instruct from such a claimed position of authority.
None of these priests of pseudo-philosophy bear qualification to advise me as to the reality of being, existence and non-existence; nor the nature and ontological basis of the universe. From experience, the more insistent they grow, the less I consider them credible.
I comprehend the capacity of human nature to be corrupt to its very core. We bear the enormous skill amongst all living creatures, of deceiving self as the prerequisite to deceiving others. That capacity is of no greater strength than in those who are impressed with their own credential.
Aver to me not what to believe, rather profess the innocent acumen of the desire to proactively find.
Proclaim not the absolute god, nor the reality of his non-existence. I could care less. I thirst to witness in your life the character of one who has overcome the god of himself.
Abuse me not even one moment with that which does or does not exist in your critical fantasy. You possess not the qualification to assume such a perch of infallibility with anyone.
Adorn not your self with that which is rational, or the degrees and money you have amassed, as that is a fool’s ensemble. Rather demonstrate to me the robust ethic of epoché.
Intimidate me not with your awesome institution of fellows, and the insistent urgency to instruct me about its truth. As if you were meaningless before its charade. I will see you when your title means ‘to suffer nothing but the quest.’ Only then will I regard you as my kindred.
And I will be your ally, and will walk calmly with you along this path of reason.
When philosophers speak of skepticism being the foundation of science, they are not referring to the unbridled spewing of methodical cynicism and prejudicial doubt which is practiced by those who today pretend to be, or assume the mantle of representing, science. Skepticism carries no agenda, save for the idempotent ethic of defending the knowledge development process. It challenges manipulation of data and methods through fear, establishment of control, practices of disdain, squelching of ideas, observations or persons, mafia elite powers and the cultivation of ignorance.
Skepticism is the complement of sound science, not the privilege sword of a few pretenders. It is the handiwork of those who possess the grace, integrity and acumen requisite in the wielding of great ideas.
The modern pop/lay definitions outlining the mindset of persons who identify themselves as skeptics often include some version of the task of “carefully scrutinizing claim validity” with regard to new information. This is a flawed principle in that the outlined unmerited domain of conclusiveness leaves too much room for equivocation in practice; a tacit permission which justifies just about any oppressive action of denial. It affords any jerk, know-it-all or activist the luxury of cozenage as a scientist, through the simple act of declaring themselves to be a skeptic. It implies that you personally must derive a conclusion on every mystery in the here and now, with only the information you have been given. This is a pressure sales pitch. It is dishonesty.
Aside from this, with regard to even the valid aspects of pop-skepticism, there exists a problem in that a sufficiently detrimental portion of those who identify themselves as ‘skeptics’ teach and purposely practice agenda driven methodical cynicism and promotion of their personal religion, Nihilism. In order to clarify the difference between false and valid skepticism, I have introduced a more rigorous professional definition of the mindset; one more clearly and effectively focused on application of the scientific method. One which I call Ethical Skepticism, expounded upon in the series parts on Ethical Skepticism below:
/ Epoché Vanguards Gnosis / : A means of preparing the mind and data sets in order to accomplish science. The positivist technique of developing a neutral disposition based phylogeny around existing and new data. An aversion to obsessing over disposing of subjects, people and claims; while instead, focusing on accruing field research and underlying observations. Defense of the Knowledge Development Process through application of Ockham’s Razor and full scientific methodology. Opposition to all thinking which seeks to surreptitiously establish power through errant science or method, religion, institution, cabal, oligarchy, intimidation or ignorance – regardless of how ‘critical’ or ‘rational’ it purports to be.
So let’s revise the pop misunderstandings of skepticism and the “scrutinizing validity” boast above, into the true definition; in a way that transforms it from a shill pretense, acting in lieu of science – and into real skepticism:
Skeptic – One who practices the method of suspended judgment, engages in dispassionate evidence gathering and objective reasoning in preparation to execute the scientific method, shows willingness to consider opposing explanations without prejudice based on prior beliefs, and who pursues goals of clarity and value in their efforts.
Ethical Skepticism – Part 1 – The Octavus Thesauri and What it Means to Be an Ethical Skeptic
Explained how skepticism is a method of preparing the mind and data sets to conduct the Knowledge Development Process. That it has nothing to do with simplest explanations or defending why the right answer is correct. It is a form of disciplined receptive thought; a way of handling new data without resorting to the errant method of deniability or defending pat/institutional answers.
Ethical Skepticism – Part 2 – Ethical Skepticism and How it Relates to Traditional Skepticism, Ockham’s Razor and the Scientific Method
Explained how Ethical Skepticism is a clarity and value oriented assemblage of the best of Philosophical, Empirical and Cartesian Skepticism developed in side a Kuhn Theory of Revolution context, focused on employment of the entire scientific method, not simply the experimental method.
Ethical Skepticism – Part 3 – Ethical Skepticism Detailed Through the Knowledge Development Process
The purpose of skepticism is not to defend the correct answer; rather to defend the integrity of the Knowledge Development Process, and to challenge the imposition of ignorance. The Ethical Skeptic must ever be vigilant for abrogation of the scientific method and surreptitiously promoted religion.
Ethical Skepticism – Part 4 – Ethical Skepticism and How it Relates to Religion and Belief
Explained how Ethical Skepticism’s being defined philosophically as Defense of the Knowledge Development Process, only affords room for definition of belief and religion in one way. A way in which those who pretend to represent science are correctly framed in the light of the same religious mindset as the theist religious minded opponents.
Ethical Skepticism – Part 5 – Ethical Skepticism and The Real Ockham’s Razor
The actual role of Ockham’s Razor, the real scientific principle, is to begin the scientific method, not complete it in one felled swoop. Rational thinking under Ockham’s Razor (ie. Parsimony) is the demonstrated ability to handle plurality of argument with integrity.
…or why living a trivial or socially scripted life is anathema to the mind and heart set free
When I matriculated my standardized examination, essay and referrals for admission to grad school I noticed something odd that spring. Despite having endured a rigorous mathematically focused undergraduate science curriculum, and in contrast to my SAT scores years beforehand, my Verbal and Abstract reasoning scores now marked in the 99th percentile, while my math score had slid from 99th to 97th percentile. Now set aide the reality that grad school entrants compose a more competitive domain of students, and standardized test scores will naturally shift in profile for any one individual. Nonetheless at the time, I failed to fully comprehend that my erstwhile educated mind had begun to alter its neural maps from that of a beta rote formulaic solution-making habit and onward to one of a mature intellectual nexus of creative problem solving. Again in a professional school, I scored a 99th percentile in abstract and spatial reasoning. The awareness of this on the part of those higher up resulted in significant alteration of my career path.
Later, when faced with the requirement to develop solutions for countries struggling with supply of food and medicine, abusive Chinese pirate businesses, the military charades of Western powers and the continued debilitating effect of teen pregnancy, I realized early in the process that my domesticated set of solutions were not going to apply to these nations. I could not simply approach those societies and begin to talk about investment, jobs, and market/trade economies; Western style mechanisms which are the foundations upon which we rely, but no longer acutely perceive as critical. Clean water, cheap energy, free expression, early education, family strength over gang strength, birth control, medicine and a variety of fresh foods. These were the things which afforded the mind the right environment in which to thrive. Shortfalls in these facets of an economy also do not stem from what appears at face value, to constitute the challenge. Generally there exists plenty of agri-field productivity. The problem is getting the food to the right place. Producing more field volume simply serves to increase loss on the way to the consumer. Generally there are ample medicines, the problem resides in diagnosis, mode form and dose expirations which assume a western style infrastructure exists, diagnosis in the local field at the critical time, or even resident knowledge that a solution exists. Oppressive mores concerning sexuality, ironically end up resulting in higher rates of teen pregnancy; approaching 40% in nations afflicted by these maladies. Mosques and churches costing tens or hundreds of millions of dollars standing across the street from dilapidated, over capacity and ill equipped hospitals. Billion dollar power production systems which lose 70% of their production pre-termination. We’ve all heard the expression that ‘a rising tide lifts all boats,’ but I have found that, in order to get the tide to rise you have to raise up a specific set of boats first. Then the tide itself will begin to follow these key boats. Corruption and intransigence, the skeptical delusion that we already know enough, the desire for power and enrichment through solely social tenure, these are the resistances which block the raising of these specific boats — which are the key to begin to raise the overall tide.
As an ignostic, before speaking of the philosophy of religious concepts, one demands a coherent definition of the elements in discussion. Indeed I have heard it said that sin is defined as ‘denial of the right to thrive.’ And in as much as I can gather in my decades of work overseas, it is manifestly this denial of the right, the obfuscation of those elements which enable a thriving population, which constitute the greatest evils on the part of mankind. Religions rarely solve any of this, nor do military powers, governing bodies, monetary supply, politics, transfer payments, mafia, charity, junta, nor the existence of a merchant class. In the end, each of those hammers surveys the entire domain of the challenge to constitute a room full of nails. Moreover, these same mechanisms have always existed, yet the problems these communities face have never been solved. In the end, these societal mechanisms only exist to benefit themselves.
I visited a village elder one evening and into the night. My habit was to join them for evening prayers to Allah, and then sit quietly with them in the dark, fighting the humidity and mosquitoes, silently hoping that the doxycyline would be enough to ward off malaria infection. This elder was 88 years old and sick with malaria. He held my hands in the dark and sobbed. No one had ever come to ask him, let him bear his heart of fear for his tribe, his children and their families. “You are American. You could go anywhere and make much money, but you listen; and you have come. No one else has done this.” He sobbed.
Sometimes it is not about how fancy-smart-pants Atheist I can be. That produces nothing but more hate and another religion employing it. I was not threatened by the making of prayers to Allah, and I have sat kneeling in front of shrines to Ganesha as well. It is about humbly meeting people in their darkest places – the times when their fears call upon them. The places where the hate formulates, …and listen. Understand what must happen to allow their people to thrive, what will break the hearts of the elders and sway the will of the junta member and the merchant alike.
I was weary from a long day of hard wilderness travel, covered in dirt and oil, and was afraid. I felt alone. What did I need that night? A glass of clean water, a full array of protein to ease my anxiety and allow my mind clarity, a light to read by, a free press of ideas shattering the skeptical certainty of all that was taught as factual and ‘rational;’ a cool soft airflow free of sand lighting in my teeth and nostrils, medicine to ease my pain and itching, a way to communicate with my friends, define plans and next steps. I needed the calmness and joy brought on through the vision of a thriving future for my grandchildren and tribe.
This we take for granted. This is the neglected link in the chain of pretense, the denial of humanity against which we anesthetize ourselves with assuredness, which comes back too roost with us all.
This reality must come, from changing the life of a child. From age 4 until age 14. It is these vital years, wherein a different idea must be inserted into the minds of the children; those who are to create this new world. The solution wound up in our advisement, and our subsequent work, was to encourage disenfranchised parties to think beyond. To begin to see that the hatreds biases and legacy they left to their children, were indeed socially debilitating and culturally fixated. If they learned to treat women as second class citizens for instance, their culture and society would as well. New thinking, breaking the old skepticism, sought to demonstrate why the denigration of women produced not only social and economic decline, but instilled a seething hate among that culture’s young men; shaping them into a ready planting field for radical Islam and violence. To encourage young adults to function as a young enterprising network of expertise centers in partnership. Rather than fish for one’s family, fish for the community. Rather than distribute the 4th tier food-to-waste to the poor, open a restaurant where odd jobs could be traded in exchange for food. Build small modular power plants, not $10 billion dams, which destroy Rift Valley ecosystems and which only serve to employ foreign technicians, operators, engineers and support. Technical train the older adults and develop early education for the young. We could not teach the old established dogmatic bricks the art of how to become a wall; nor much less, a building. They were many times simply static weight, trained to exist for themselves; full of the stylistic one liners and self-appreciation replete in our modern day SSkepticism. They were a self sustaining and fulfilling mechanism. God, their fathers, their science, their mafia had mandated that things were just this way. And in as much as an ignostic might bristle at the employment of the term, they were sin.
The problems of the world have not been solved by skeptical critical thinking. In fact, it is our intransigence and refusal to apply abstract and asymmetric thought, in examining problems anew, which is a primary cause of suffering.
In the same fashion, our society bears its own sets of skeptical intransigence. The delusion that we know enough, the desire to profit from effortless or valueless tenure and the overall resistance to observe the true causes of suffering. I grew up in a religious cocoon, mind heart and soul prepped to fight World War II all over again. Every day the TV raged with iconic westerns and each night the netted helmets of Marines dug into the sands of Iwo Jima. I was rushed from diapers to church to school to college to war and then to help others fight the war and bolster strong corporations which would equip the war. I made many many people wealthy. At 17, I had a car, rent and insurance bills, was being trained for field combat, taking advanced courses in physics and weaponry. It was a poverty of the grandest nature, belied by Western technological advancement. The starvation of the soul, reared by a society blighted with the same denial of the right to thrive which hampers those who suffer from the blunt end of an oppressor’s boot. Being on a war footing, desensitizes a society and causes its children to grow up fast, bids them never to think, and to adopt the de rigueur of one’s culture, hates, clique and fully rationalized set of skepticism.
Does the whisper of wonder cause thine eyes a glaze from a training long ago? Does the rearing of the ugly visage of the mysterious stir an anger inside you, for no good reason? Do you craft enemies of those who dare to think differently from you? From whence does this skeptical autonomous response then stem? Integrity I daresay not.
But I never gave up that desire to cherish the will to seek the unknown, the essential spirit of wonder – an abstract reasoned basis which afforded me a mental discipline of expressing “Wait, I am not ready to declare the science done on that yet. I don’t buy your pat answer.” The world is filled with deception, rife with methodical doubters and persons overconfident in their push to solve its grand puzzles before all the information is seen. Pseudoscience is not the only place where deceit resides. Sometimes our grandest institutions are founded on our most profound of lies. This is why I sat with the elders at night in their homes. This is why I prayed with them. I simply wanted to know.
Inside fake SSkepticism a neural nexus of creative problem solving is not requisite. SSkepticism pretends that the world is simple and any bumpkin can figure out the most likely answers if they simply apply critical thinking. This is false.
Unable to any longer bear the unethical adoption of formula, taught as authority, and spun as critical thought, I demoted myself from status as purveyor of truth. I enlisted into the service of defending that which could be known, not that which is enforced. The purveyors of truth all bear the same habits, only citing differing authorities. They mindlessly manifest the ten habits of a life spent on war footing; the social contrivances around a culture which has been taught it is the pinnacle of civilization. A fad set of activities which occupy one’s time with triviality and displace the humanity from one’s soul. As for me, I want to know. The extant solution is wrong. Gravely wrong. As a skeptic I will not settle for less.
This is why I do not golf.