education, the brain, and questions

Once I was in an education class where the teacher was telling us when you teach you are wiring the students brain. I asked him: isn’t learning also losing a connection in the brain? Say you want to learn to stop drinking. You have to lose the pathways that lead you you drink. So he said “yes” and I got a lot of “ahas” from the other students. But the teacher wasn’t going to mention that part.

For me, teaching and learning is asking a question, and then answering it. Yes, that is everything, its almost boring to say that. Maybe you like the learning stages “learning is synthesis and analysis” but actually, that is just as boring and unhelpful. I think the question answer model can be helpful. Education is coming up with a problem you see or that you want to shed light on; or seeing an opportunity for how you want to help with problems in the world. The next part is having the capacity, the energy, and the resources to answer the question or shed light on the problem. All human development comes from that process.

So we are told from on high that education happens in the brain. Well, if learning is wiring and unwiring the brain, both, it might as well be neither. Whats the difference? Learning could have nothing to do with the brain. At all. And all the arguments about learning-as-brain come down to the same basic problem that you know things that aren’t wires or connections or brain pathways. There are non-connections that are not just good, but necessary for a good life, like learning not to go down negative rumination pathways.

Just give your self a moment, where you ask a question. A free moment. And you are free to answer with your energy, capacity and resources, and you can see that learning is not the brain.

More on the Axiom of Completeness

An interesting empirical example of the axiom of completeness is the night sky with a telescope of ever-increasing magnifying power. Take any space of darkness in the night sky and assume you can magnify as much as you want. The axiom of completeness asserts that you will eventually find a star in that space. Take another, smaller space within (not containing a star) and magnify more, you will find another star in that smaller space, or any space, no matter how small*.This, of course, is impossible under the standard physics mandate that there is an edge of the universe and it is not unlimited. In any case the idea of a limited universe is in direct tension with an elementary empirical (if we could inductively continue to magnify) example of the axiom of completeness. The use of stars instead of points gives an alternative to formulating analysis with 0-dimensional objects such as points. They appear like points only at certain levels of magnification.

Another iteration of the axiom of completeness is one in two or three dimensional space. The usual axiom expressed in two dimensions uses objects of 0-dimension: points, and asserts that a bounded increasing sequence (of points) has a least upper bound. Using more realistic objects of the sequence— instead of points, three dimensional shapes such as spheres or cubes—The cubes have to get smaller and smaller, and be contained in the previous cubes of the sequence (after cube N). The problem is that this sequence always contains some space, and asserts that the sequence converges to a point instead of a cube. This is not the inductive inference. The inductive inference requires that all cases that can be reasonably checked by hand resemble the cases beyond, approaching infinity. If the cases known resemble the cases beyond, there would always be some space inside the cube, and the axiom of completeness fails. All this is related to the unrealistic belief in 0-dimensional objects.

  • just for fun lets be precise and say the next smaller circle has 1/4 the radius of the current circle. It is easy to see that this circle can always be found so that it does not include the star you found. Oh, and what if you find two (or more) stars at the same time? leave as an exercise!

sand and foam sand and
foam sand and foam sand
and foam sand and foam
sand and foam sand
and foam sand and
foam sand and foam
sand and foam sand and
foam sand and foam sand
and foam sand and foam
sand and foam sand
and foam sand and
foam sand and foam
sand and foam sand and
foam sand and foam sand
and foam sand and foam
sand and foam sand
and foam sand and
foam sand and foam

Darkness and Light

The darkness of space, if one performs an experiment and looks through a toilet paper roll towards the sky in a way that no stars or lights can be seen, is quite precise. There is little qualification or need to distinguish details, and that makes it clear and precise. Light is the same, if, for example, you put the toilet paper roll on a flat clear surface in front of fluorescent light, this boring view of light is without feature and easily referred to precisely.

Other experiments yield different results. If we have things in a completely dark room, we have the same thing as our toilet paper experiment yields, but light will yield a room with things, and is both complex, and vague. This kind of experiment shows how light is not precise, when darkness is.

The more experiments we think of the more we should be able to conjecture that darkness is more precise than light. In any situation where the experiment is to “look” at darkness (not to feel things, or smell odors at other things (whether in darkness or light), and there is no light to look at, darkness will be easily referred to with no vagueness/with good precision. Another experiment would be to look at a rainbow. It is reasonable to say there is no darkness in a controlled look at a rainbow, and involves vagueness. Any view of no light will be easily and simply referred to with no vagueness. Light is much more vague in comparison.

etc

So you’re walking down the …
One “.” at a time, wings, like scare quotes, folded…
The dots down a salt-flat superhighway
To the horizon line across, and inwards,
Where is the end of the world?
When does that line open up and we spill beyond, cupped in a question,
When do we say rest?

You with wisdom say that walking is a controlled fall,
Alas there is no falling without ground, no fear,
No control.
In that sudden “V” shape birds make with open wings, when
Out of the darkness cracks light in the distance,
When all that we know, held in our hearts, is put behind us,
Are you to be left behind too?

The Origin of Color

An outlandish red was once discovered, the vermillion knide, on the feather of a lady’s hat. Investigation suggests it may have come from a peacock fed a diet of microphospherous. For the most part, however, photons are not small enough for the total description of the human iris, let alone the mythical iris.

Color is not a leaf.
I wouldn’t put it in a jar
without refining into white powder,
but if you must know, colorful nanoplastics were once used in a mosaic
As big as all seven oceans put together.
(it is well known that such a synthesis is beyond imagination)
The fluid dynamics of watercolor can be caught even in motion.

It was the red ghost star
That showed us the primary primary color
Was more elusive than a silver space octopus.
Yet there are those exalted observers, observing science with science, who
Cloister themselves and meditate on the octopus
That the Venerable Full Professor Doctor Rodimus Vindicatus once caught.
He stood virtually alone in his insight into color,
virtual color though it may be,
Surpassing even a fledgling eagle.

The dance of the two elemental colors, proto-red and electro-blue,
Leave a wreath-vacuum for the neutro-green/neutro-yellow duality to occupy.
The general relative theory of minipigmypigments,
which are even more atomic than atoms,
but not quite as atomic as subminipigmypigments,
take as many tomes as there are rooms in Buckingham Palace.
The base foundation
Of the theory is thoroughly supported by ghost data,
and the death scribblings of Dr Vindicatus himself,
with a probability of one in one ten-thousand.
Nothing is beneath mentioning, but with a probability that small,
we might as well mention it.

The super-Walmart of ideas, by and large,
has seen the theory last the test of the consumer,
who knows such theories take a lifetime to even try to understand,
and longer to communicate. With introspection into four-colordimensional space,
The many happily educated imagine they can almost see red
for what it really is.

The Masters of Meaning

Who decides what words mean? In a way I believe it was somewhat organic. People used the word for server for a robot (robotiti) as a metaphor, and then that became the word for robot, the metaphor of robotiti “dies” a natural death. But then there is the case of USA politics and terms like “democrat.” (or people like Aristotle who gave new meaning to words like essence and substance in a very deliberate way). I believe words in the USA are kind of like commodities. (the term “organic” is certainly a commodity in the USA) The word democrat starts out appealing to people, and the alternative affiliations being repulsive, people get entrenched under the word democrat. Once the word democrat is “bought” it begins to change: kind of like how a new product uses extra flavoring to start, and once it gains name-recognition, the substance and essence of “democrat” put through the sausage-grinder of US media, gradually reduces in substance and essence the idea of “democrat,” as much as can be gotten away with. It is common knowledge that at one point “republican” was more similar to some current ideas of what a “democrat” is, and this will continue as fast as it needs to to maintain control over voters’ minds.

How do you resist?

We ought to know what meaning means first. “Pending a satisfactory explanation of the notion of meaning, linguists in semantic fields are in the situation of not knowing what they are talking about.” (Quine 1961 p 471) People say a word, what do they mean? They mean whatever it was that they wanted to mean. In other words, I don’t know. If you can figure out even a little of what they meant, success! That is communication. If you talk to someone who thinks meaning is decided from on high and they have to fit their lives into those meanings, then you have to talk to someone who is mind controlled. It is good practice in serious situations to use your mind first and then your mouth, not the other way around. And who decides what words mean? Usually editors and Elite People who are usually interested in consolidating the power of their class or profession, so they are “conservative,” at least as far as that word has any meaning.

Of course there is the problem that people might not know what they themselves mean. I would offer that this doesn’t matter, in a skeptical sense. What appears to person A when they utter a phrase B need not be analyzed by the listener until person A doesn’t know what they mean anymore. It is enough that it appears to person A that “phrase B”, and Aristotle’s eternal project of digging for a subject without a predicate (substance) need not be carried out.

The metaphors of “top down” and “bottom up”, are relevant, as is just about everything, since we are talking about what can be accomplished with language, and how to resist what has been accomplished. People, especially in the USA, are very used to words and their meanings being fixed, and think it is a sign of intelligence when they are used precisely. There is a great deal of anxiety in patients when words like their diagnoses are adjusted in official handbooks identifying (mental) illness. Playing with words is an important way to resist this top down understanding, but in the USA doing so will make you sound mad. As I have said before “English is not a language to play a language game with.” So English speakers in the USA and elsewhere are rather in a bind.

Sexual Identity and the Tao Te Ching

Female/Male is the Yin/Yang of the West. The Tao Te Ching includes a system of description that is basically the binary number system endowed with the meanings of Yin (0) Yang (1), mingling, so “100” is “Yang, Yin, Yin” and has certain intuitive meaning.

The Western Female/Male shows how reducing the world to binary fails: take the terms Manly Female (10), Womanly Female(00), Manly Man(11), Womanly Man (01). And then: Girlish Manly Female (010), Girlish Womanly Female, Girlish Manly Man, Girlish Womanly Man, etc.

What I want to show is how more and more people fall through the cracks as the system becomes more exhaustive. When you get to three digit precision, most people wont identify with any of the terms like “Girlish Manly Female,” etc.

So exhaustive language, precise language, cuts out more and more of reality as “off topic” and people who are too sensitive about what is or isn’t relevant become debilitated when trying to make connections or make sense of the senses (including the sensation of ideas by the mind).

The debilitation of the mind, and the way precision language makes people fall through the cracks of technical terminology (diagnoses, identities, etc) are precisely why they are uplifted by the powerful oligarchs of the USA. Precision language is in no way superior to everyday, or poetic language, except that if you show yourself as someone who follows the rules of mathematics (equivalent to “understanding” “accepting” the rules of mathematics) you’ll get funding, or get published, or pass whatever gate you are trying to pass. It doesn’t really matter what the term “micronutrients” means, what matters is that it is very precise, and by being hypnotized by it, you cut out the rest of the world from view.

Trash

Trash

I will be the one you throw away.
I will do that for you.
When I was thrown away, I used to become dirt,
But now trash is dirtier than dirt
Because it is preserved in landfills.
“Still-recognizable-25-year-old-grapes,”
Says a university-produced heavy-analyzed language-substance, saying,
That art is forever,
At least, recognizable,
As an image of a
—a single-serving
Building kept in its wrapper, keeping in a city, keeping
In the fake snow, and
“That dirt is organic!” says the mathematical salesman with the fake
Little book of poems,
Where he decries his daily consumption
of babies.

Godhood

Morty’s Microverse

This clip shows how Rick is effectively god of a universe, and how he uses the sentient life in his “microverse” to work to power his “car” that he built. In the end, we see Rick struggling with a scientist from his microverse who has made himself god of a “miniverse,” basically the same thing only it fits inside the microverse, in a much smaller space. They are struggling with each other to get to Rick’s machine that takes him back to the “regular” universe (which happens to be only a parallel universe to the one he “normally” lives in).

What we ambitiously call the “universe” is splintered and shattered into universes parallel and universes contained. The struggle between Rick and this scientist, if we are given a moment to stop and think, is pretty pointless. Its true that because Rick wins the struggle, the scientist he struggles with has to return to powering Rick’s car or Rick will destroy their universe. Even though the struggle was ultimate a struggle for who is “god” of microverse, what about the god that created Rick’s “normal” universe? How is Ricks position any different, whatever universe he ends up in?

This is why godhood, at least in a way, isn’t much different from personhood. Obviously the scientist has an elevated position, both intellectually and socially, in order to be in a position to vie with Rick for godhood over Microverse. However, the status of godhood, once you’ve already reached the level of this scientist, isn’t worth struggling for anymore. There will always be a god over your “home” universe. And that is the universe you want to be in.

So what now? Godhood isn’t worth striving for, and being a genius scientist like Rick isn’t all its cracked up to be either, as an alcoholic who has little sense of faith, love, friendship or any kind of meaning of any other ideal. This is a case where being a genius just isn’t enough; it isn’t the ideal that people need. Rick needs happiness, a sense of fulfillment or soul-nourishment. Not another amazing gadget that bends all sense of reality. We come away, from a scientists point of view, feeling as though reality isn’t real. The current state of modern physics is similar, where there is no consensus about what “physical” even is any more.

Well a genius is a master of thinking, but not of thought. Rick can’t control what he thinks, but he is a master of producing amazing thoughts that turn into amazing technologies. If he could control what he thought, he would make himself happy. Controlling what you think is the greater mastery. In other words, there is something better than godhood. Somehow people have to be aware of what thoughts are about to manifest, and be able to either pick the best one, or think nothing at all.

And what about faith? Faith in god doesn’t make much sense in this context. I think faith in impermanence is a better bet. It is slightly pessimistic compared to putting your faith in Rick, but what it means is no matter how bad things are, they will eventually change. Rick qua god will die, even if that is a long time to microverse. Morty knows Ricks secret about microverse now, maybe faith in him is better, but faith in impermanence is much more reasonable. Godhood? impermanent. not worth striving for. Sent to hell? Impermanent. Even if a lot of collective faith is built up around a permanent hell, or more appropriately a permanent abyss, that faith will change. Yes, faith in impermanence can change into faith in permanence, but because it can change, faith in permanence will eventually change back into faith in impermanence. So faith in impermanence appeals to reason, and has a powerful upside, even in this thought-world of Rick and Morty.