“Even in our most intellectual conceptions,” Peirce wrote, “the more we strive to be precise, the more unattainable precision seems.”

(PW 295) as quoted in Chiasson, P. (2001). Peirce’s Logic of Vagueness. In M. Bergman & J. Queiroz (Eds.), The Commens Encyclopedia: The Digital Encyclopedia of Peirce Studies. New Edition.

“our knowledge is never absolute but always swims, as it were, in a continuum of uncertainty and indeterminacy.” (Peirce, PW 356)

Science (which has become too general and ambitious a word) is usually regarded with directly conveying the facts of the world. An interesting cross-section of scientific facts is the belief that “growth” of the brain is always good. (a belief that is strangely shared with corporate models of economics)

The NGF or “Nerve Growth Factor” is a chemical found in the brain. It was isolated and recognized as important for the brain to “develop” and survive almost 70 years ago. In 2006, NGF levels were found to be heightened at the beginning of a romantic relationship.

Emanuele, Enzo; Politi, Pierluigi; Bianchi, Marika; Minoretti, Piercarlo; Bertona, Marco; Geroldi, Diego (2006-04-01). “Raised plasma nerve growth factor levels associated with early-stage romantic love”. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 31 (3): 288–94. doi:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2005.09.002. ISSN0306-4530. PMID16289361. S2CID18497668.

The communication with people interested in science is usually that brain development is caused by the birth of neurons, or nerve cells. This birth is called Neurogenesis. Along with Neurogenesis, brain development is associated with the development of connections between neurons that can carry messages that are found to be both chemical and electrical. The more cells and the more connections between cells, the more brain development. And brain development is good.

Unfortunately, for example, you could develop certain neural pathways that cause you to behave in “bad” ways, such as those neurons and connections involved in becoming an alcoholic or a kleptomaniac. When this happens, the “good” thing to do is to lose cells and connections, so that your brain does not compel you to behave in these bad ways. In other words, you need to destroy some of what is normally termed “brain development”. This means that some kinds of brain development are good and some kinds of brain development are not good.

The point is that “Science” (once again, an overly ambitious word for anyone really interested in science) is written rather indirectly when the writers suggest we should regard brain development as good. How indirect is this suggestion? Well, seeing as how all good and bad behaviors could conceivably be brain development, the suggestion that brain development is “good” is completely unhelpful. Brain development has no bearing on what is good or bad, because all good and bad behaviors are brain developments.

Of course, we could say that all good people invariably have well-developed brains, and all generally bad people invariably have ill-developed brains. Unfortunately, we are left to figure out what a good person or a bad person is before we can figure out if their brains are well developed or not. This makes the study of brain development secondary to ethics, and is certainly not something a brain scientist would want to suggest.

There are growing groups of people who prefer to speak and think magically because they think it is more “direct”. The arguments for why this is not the case are already widely repeated, often in shameful and shaming ways.

The way that these magical-minded groups may be defended is to look at whether the phenomenon of “love” is more directly referred to with magical kinds of terms, rather than referred to as something that stimulates brain development (since brain development was found to be lacking in directness).

“Some say love, it is a river
That drowns the tender reed.
Some say love, it is a razor
That leaves the soul to bleed.
Some say love, it is a hunger,
An endless, aching need.
I say love, it is a flower,
And you, its only seed.

It’s the heart afraid of breaking
That never learns to dance.
It’s the dream afraid of waking
That never takes the chance.
It’s the one who won’t be taken
Who cannot seem to give,
And the soul afraid of dying
That never learns to live.

When the night has been too lonely,
And the road has been too long,
And you think that love is only
For the lucky and the strong,
Just remember, in the winter,
Far beneath the bitter snow,
Lies the seed that with the sun’s love,
In the spring, becomes the rose.”

やさしさを 押し流す
愛 それは川
魂を 切り裂く
愛 それはナイフ
とめどない 渇きが
愛だと いうけれど
愛は花 生命の花
きみは その種子挫けるのを 恐れて
躍らない きみのこころ
醒めるのを 恐れて
チャンス逃す きみの夢
奪われるのが 嫌さに
与えない こころ
死ぬのを 恐れて
生きることが 出来ない長い夜 ただひとり
遠い道 ただひとり
愛なんて 来やしない
そう おもうときには
思いだしてごらん 冬
雪に 埋もれていても
種子は春 おひさまの
愛で 花ひらく