An excellent opinion piece of the growing concerns regarding the reliability of the content of our conscious domain. It is still surprising to see how the shock of the new causes wailing and gnashing of the teeth, as if the end of the world is upon us.

Basically, human beings are severely limited in their ability to gather information of their surroundings even though we are the evolutionary champions in this regard. Our intuition is WhatYouSeeIsAllThereIs, but as a result of this heuristic our image of ‘reality’ is riven with error, deception, fantasy, illusion and delusion. It is not easy to be a ‘primitive’ human.

Science will continue to destroy the comfortable but false myths of the past, as well as any other kinds of myth. The old certainties and verities are damaged goods. Philosophy has been feeling the heat lately. It is not that philosophers will not keep up, it is that they can not because the tidal wave of information rises exponentially. The foundational texts of the major religions need to be rewritten or discarded. Humanity will stumble on as all this information percolates, slowly, through the culture. Change is slow, but it seems to be accelerating, and progress does not run in a straight line.

Scott Bakker asks “Is there anything else we can turn to, any feature of traditional theoretical knowledge of the human that doesn’t simply rub our noses in Square One?” Well, maybe. First, Square One is not so terrible, considering where we have come from: some atoms of C, H, O and N, i.a., having coalesced in a primordial soup, led to the emergence of life. That was no mean feat! In a few short billion years life has now acquired the ability to contemplate itself and everything around. Square One is actually pretty amazing!

Second, Square One is all we have, but it is not static, it evolves, and we have some control over it, but not much. Square One is the only address in town, but it is amazing; there are many rooms and lovely salons, a few torture chambers. A hive of incessant activity from which we escape in restful sleep, perhaps to dream. All we can do is invest in this house of experience and learning, and pass the best of it on before we die. Unfortunately, a lot of junk mail, fake news and delusional advice is delivered to the in-box at Square One. One can only expect that everyone will take the best care of their own house, which would be a huge improvement over the status quo.

We cannot know the future and the past is quite murky too, therefore we are not sure where we are headed or what is going on now. Perhaps it would be sufficient just to try to avoid the mistakes of the past.

Scientia Salon

intentionalby Scott Bakker

“… when you are actually challenged to think of pre-Darwinian answers to the question ‘What is Man?’ ‘Is there a meaning to life?’ ‘What are we for?’, can you, as a matter of fact, think of any that are not now worthless except for their (considerable) historic interest? There is such a thing as being just plain wrong and that is what before 1859, all answers to those questions were.” (Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene, p. 267)

Biocentrism is dead for the same reason geocentrism is dead for the same reason all of our prescientific theories regarding nature are dead: our traditional assumptions simply could not withstand scientific scrutiny. All things being equal, we have no reason to think our nature will conform to our prescientific assumptions any more than any other nature has historically. Humans are prone to draw erroneous conclusions in the absence of…

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