RE: Selection in a Competitive Marketplace
Lee Smolin argues that a limited notion of time is holding physics back. […] ”There are few ideas that, like our notion of time, shape our thinking about literally everything, with major implications for physics and beyond — from climate change to the economic crisis.” Lee Smolin (Time Reborn review; my bold)
The problem with comparing evolution and the marketplace is that we are continuously evolving through history while “objectifying” anew our artificial living environments on false assumptions about “space and time” in which we do not have any competition, thus becoming the ultimate destructive “monopoly” of evolution. Nature does not have any control on us anymore and is presently paying the price for it…and an exorbitant one for that matter.
We are indeed unique for being the only species living in “space and time. No other species are aware of these a priori concepts that we use to “explicate” reality and ourselves in it. So, because they are not aware of space and time, contrary to us who live attached to the past and in fear of the future, all living systems are totally “implicated” in each instant of their being.
In accordance with Kant’s claim, non-human animals would not be able to know [perceive] objects. …. Perception, … according to Schopenhauer, is intellectual and is a product of the Understanding. Perception of an object does not result from the mere data of the senses. It requires the Understanding. Therefore, if animals do not have Understanding, in accordance with Kant, then they have only Sensation, which, Schopenhauer claimed, gives only raw sense data, not perceived objects. Schopenhauer Critique of the Kantian philosophy (My brackets)
PS I came to the same conclusion on my own forty-five years ago after a close encounter with horses which showed me that we don’t live in the same reality as non-human animals. Following this close encounter with the animal world, I hypothesized that we are the only species conscious of living in space and time, while all the other animals and all living entities live in their environments without any representations. As the components of our bodies live in them while knowing what to do at each instant. E.g.:
The myriad of instinctual decisions taken on earth at each instant by all selfish living entities is driven by immediate sensations and guided by what worked in the past. All living entities are thus logical in that they affirm their antecedents, while Humanity is a fallacious species in that it affirms itself as the consequent of evolution.
Species are defined by the environment in which they live. If there is not enough variation in a given species to adapt to a changing environment, it is in danger of going extinct, unless beneficial mistakes (mutations) are made, by “Chance and Necessity” (Monod), in the replication of knowledge in one or a few individuals, giving the species a further ability to adapt.
Being such a monopoly in “the marketplace” of evolution we are the antithesis of this process…we have to correct,” through hard work and creativity,” the mistakes we always make while defining the environment in which we live. Indeed, if species are determined by the environment for which they have the resources to survive, we are not the same species now that we were when we believe to be fixed at the center of the universe. We did not have the same resources then than those we have now that we know better about our position in space. We have transcended our genome by being defined by our understanding.
Kant made a reasonably good case about the relationship that exists between space and time, our intuitions and our understanding, but he did not know about evolution, genetic, developmental psychology, general relativity, quantum mechanics, etc., and the role that time plays in them. Now that we know, the time has come for us to understand the true nature of space and time, which are the unconscious assumptions which we had to make as evolving Hominids when we first entered the Savannah and had to “objective” its resources to survive in it…the same unconscious assumptions that are still now biasing our “objective” scientific knowledge.
Lee Smolin, author of the controversial bestseller The Trouble with Physics, argues that a limited notion of time is holding physics back. It’s time for a major revolution in scientific thought. ”There are few ideas that, like our notion of time, shape our thinking about literally everything, with major implications for physics and beyond — from climate change to the economic crisis.” Lee Smolin (Time Reborn review; my bold)
This capacity we have acquired as “scientific apes” to objectify reality and use its resources to our benefit is also our downfall because the knowledge that we need to adapt ourselves to the “objectified” world is not given to us in our genes, like it is for all other species, but is founded on axioms and have to be thought: “Our knowledge is axiomatic” (Popper).
Space and time are the fundamental axioms we had to make to “objectify reality while becoming humans and the ones we still have to instilled anew in us and still unconsciously as individuals at each generation, while “recapitulating” our humanity in what I have dubbed the “postpartum social womb.”
Without which we never become humans (C.f. feral children) since without it we cannot objectify reality and express it using a grammar “instilled” in us “by one damn thing after another” (Piaget) while individually observing our social surrounding for the two first years of our life. Contrary to Chomsky who believes that grammar is universal and innate at birth. It is “universal” because it is used in all languages to describe the same external reality. Humpty Dumpty sits on the same wall and has the same great fall in every language, and nobody in any language can put Humpty together again. And not innate but acquired after birth through the gradual building of association is the blank neocortex, which has gained through evolution the capability of forming an objective consciousness using the information that comes from adults in a “social womb” as bodies are formed in physical wombs using the information coming from the genes.
The only thing that is innate is the capacity of our “blank” neocortex to be imprinted in the first two years of our life by our spatiotemporally-conscious social surrounding. If DNA molecules can unconsciously create complete biological organisms with one nose and ten fingers, families of grown-ups can, also unconsciously, imprint phenomenal consciousness on them and the means (grammar) to express it.
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We are rational, like everything else in the universe (Hegel) but we have gained the ability to be fallacious in our reasoning if our axioms are wrong, which they are always eventually (again: space and time).
The beauty and the curse of human knowledge are that it often doesn’t have to be completely right to be useful. That’s why, if it works, it’s hard for us to see why and how it might be wrong. Zat Rana
Zat is prudent here saying that “…human knowledge […] doesn’t have to be completely right to be useful.” I am not that prudent, and I can tell you that human knowledge is detrimental (not useful) to nature because it is utterly wrong since initially founded on false notions of space and time. If it were not, with all the scientific and philosophical resources that we have, we would not be in the mess in which we are at the moment: Philosophers would have formulated our present existential problem, and scientists would be on their way to apply the solution if they’d both eventually find the guts to go in politics…
The reason why academicians cannot formulate the problem in solvable terms is because they are “making a living” supporting it:
“It needs but half an eye to see in these latter days that science, the Grand Revelator of modern Western culture, has reached, without having intended to, a frontier. Either it must bury its dead, close its ranks, and go forward into a landscape of increasing strangeness, replete with things shocking to a culture-trammeled understanding, or it must become, in Claude Houghton’s expressive phrase, the plagiarist of its own past.” ( Benjamin Lee Whorf (1956) Language, Thought, and Reality. The M. I. T. Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, P. 246)
I know about the true nature of space and time. Everything that I am telling you here is based on this knowledge! However, I will not reveal their nature before I formulate my theory, which “bury [science]dead, close its ranks, and go forward into a landscape of increasing strangeness” (Whorf, above), though, since it is “the theory that decides what we can observe” (Einstein). Also, because I know by historical experience that it is dangerous to divulge a truth that is the complete opposite of the falsehood on which the establishments of the world are making their living. Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake in 1600 by a religious establishment who was selling indulgences on the belief that they were living in a closed universe in which they had direct contact with God and could not accept Bruno’s theory going beyond the Copernican model for showing the universe to be infinite.
However, I am not the only one who would be in danger but the whole world, since my postulate is so simple that the world would be in danger of crumbling under the quake created by scientists’ and philosophers’ simultaneous head slapping.
If You Can’t Explain it to a Six Year Old, You Don’t Understand it Yourself” Einstein
Indeed, besides what I have told you here, this new understanding of “time” will allow us to unify the general theory of relativity with quantum mechanics. My theory has indeed the capacity to explain to nine-year-olds (I’m no Einstein!):
- why the movement of objects is curved when observed in space but straight when time is taken into consideration;
- why electrons jump from one state to another;
- Monarchs and turtles migration;
- why newborn Cuckoos can joint their parents hundreds of miles away even if they have never met them and start their migration one month after them;
- and everything else unexplained or wrongly explained by science;
- and finally, what our understanding of time has and still play in human evolution.
Contrary to Forrest Gump who said everything he knew about “boxes of chocolate,” I have much more to say about “that,” but I’ll stop here. There will be more in my PhD dissertation, De evolutionibus res naturas: Learn to know thyself…as a species which I am presently on the verge of starting writing as soon as I have ended my rambling in the “Tour of Babel” of human ignorance. Well! It is not ignorance, but, like Tycho Brahe, modern specialists of science and philosophy make all the right observations from wrong individual perspectives.
As a learned-ignorant generalist of science, I am “abnormal.” I have been diagnosed with BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) for having these views. The problem is that my doctor was right in considering my being on the border of a personality disorder but wrong in thinking that I am on the wrong side of the border…it’s the whole human species (species are individuals) that is, not me. I am what humanity needs now, an extraordinary (in Kuhn’s sense) scientific mutant.
I am sometimes perceived as an idiot by “normal” academics, but it happens that in these instances it is always a matter of “speck and beam.” How do you think I was perceived at the university twenty years ago while talking about time to know-it-all physicists and about Kant to a six-foot-ten philosopher? It is true that my arguments were not as developed than they are now, but they were on their way to be…and not because of them!… I don’t recall having had any significant revelation in any of the offices I have visited there.
PS You are lucky that English is not my first language; if it were, I would have been a lot harsher. Indeed, as a learned ignorant generalist, I consider all specialists not aware of being an anomaly of evolution to be “Homo ignorens” as relevant to control the force of nature that we have become as our forbears were to discovering these forces while believing to be at the center of the universe. You can also be thankful to my doctor to have warned me not to tell you what I really think of modern scientists and philosophers. As a French BPDer, I can be pretty harsh in English.
The only ones I can thank at the University of Guelph are late Dr. Nora Cebotarev and Dr. Denis Lynn. I am thankful for the former who accepted me in the Master program of sociology and anthropology although I had not followed one course in either sociology or anthropology in both my previous general BA, but on the basis of my thesis that philosophers and scientists are incapable of formulating the present existential problem of humanity in solvable terms. And the latter, the zoologist with whom I mainly worked during my four-year stay, for having kept his patience while correcting my English punctuation before proofreaders, while continually correcting “another” which I was continuously writing “an other” since it is written “un autre” in French.