Determinism

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Re: Determinism

Postby peacegirl » Wed Oct 21, 2009 9:46 pm

Oughtist wrote:
peacegirl wrote:Thank you for the suggestion, but I can't be a liar in all honesty. If I don't understand something, I need to admit it.


Oughtist wrote:You wouldn't be a liar by entering a discussion and seeking to understand it through dialogue. You'd be free to admit your lack of understanding, and express that which you do understand. It is important for others to have the opportunity to explain to those who do not understand. For instance, in the present thread you might explain the position more to we who do not understand, rather than simply referring us to the primary source. First and foremost, we're interested in what you have to say, not yet another book.


Oughtist, I have been around this mountain more than once. I would love to understand what is important to you, but reading this tract was difficult for me since I don't have enough conceptual framework in which to analyze it. I also know that if I start to explain in my own words why man's will is not free because people choose not to read the chapter, I will only make it more confusing since it requires reading the text in a step by step fashion. I will be hurting, not helping, the author. I cannot simplify it anymore than it already has been, without losing its original meaning.

peacegirl wrote:That does not mean that just because I don't understand one thing, that I don't have a grasp on another.


oughtist wrote:Well, if you don't understand one thing, that may very well relate to how well you understand something else. It depends on whether the things are related.


It could, if the things are related and the topic is controversial. Then all kinds of theories could be up for grabs.

peacegirl wrote:It's amazing how false conclusions are drawn, and we're talking about people who should know better regarding premises and conclusions.


Oughtist wrote:Yes, as a Teacher, you're no doubt aware that good pedagogy involves breaking things down and teaching them in a developmental manner, not just plopping down the whole thing in advance and saying, "Questions?"


That's not what I am doing. I purposely put the book online (except for Chapter 10) for that very reason, so people would be able to follow the principles.

peacegirl wrote:I don't want to do the very thing I can't stand other people doing, which is to offer an opinion based on very little knowledge.


Oughtist wrote:Is your opinion of the text in question informed through a critical awareness of related perspectives? If not, you may want to learn more about other persoectives in order to strengthen your own understanding of the text.


I believe I have enough knowledge regarding the free will/determinism debate to feel confident that I understand the text. But you are right in that new knowledge is not created in a vaccuum. It is the coming together of many ideas, old and new.

peacegirl wrote:If you think I'm being naiive, I'm really sorry. I just can't act like I know something when I don't. I put the entire book out there (I have the rights to this), in the hope of the internet gaining momentum. I think that is happening as we speak. Only time will tell whether this work is authentic or not. In the meantime, we all must go on with our lives. I'm just sorry that the people who have the capacity for understanding are the very ones who are quick to judge a book by its cover.


Oughtist wrote:Think of it this way: you are being cruel to yourself by the way you're setting things up. Philosophy has a deep and rich history of ceaseless critical inquiry. When someone simply shows up unannounced and says "Here it is", that someone sets themselves up to be thoroughly analysed, if you will. So, by not participating in the broader forum, or at least doling out the text's arguments in a structured way in your own words (as opposed to relying on others to guess the "truth", and repeatedly responding that they don't have it yet), you're doing a disservice both to yourself and the text.


I don't know what else to do. I have tried to put things in my own words, but it only confused people more. Believe me when I tell you I've been there and I've done that. It won't work because there are too many loopholes when I say it in my own words. This doesn't mean I don't know what I'm talking about; it just means that I cannot express it in a way that improves upon the author's own words.

Oughtist wrote:If the message of the text is worth sharing, it should be shared in a critically informed mannner, otherwise you just become another target of derision attempting to prove that everyone is wrong (and this is by no means an uncommon plight, as anyone spending time on a forum such as this can attest)...

So relax, get comfortable, and let us get to know you... maybe even teach you something, if you'll allow us. :D


I appreciate your trying to help me Oughtist, I really do. But I am not trying to prove everyone wrong. That is not my intention. I also do not want to come off as if I'm preaching. I'm kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place because what is required of me (to express everything in my own words before there can be a discussion) is not going to do the book justice. As far as you all teaching me something, I always learn something new when I'm conversing with people. It's not a one way street. :wink:
Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.
Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

“Just look at us. Everything is backwards, everything is upside down. Doctors destroy health,
lawyers destroy justice, psychiatrists destroy minds, scientists destroy truth, major media destroys
information, religions destroy spirituality and governments destroy freedom.” – Michael Ellner



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Re: Determinism

Postby Amorphos » Wed Oct 21, 2009 9:52 pm

the underlying implication is that once a person makes a choice; he is a free agent because this breaks the line.


The choice is already made though ~ hence one may not make a choice.

This author demonstrates that, although it appears as if this causes a break in the line of determinants, it actually does not.


How?

there has been something misunderstood regarding the will, which has caused a lot of confusion.


This is the part I am trying to get too. What is being misunderstood?
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Re: Determinism

Postby peacegirl » Wed Oct 21, 2009 10:15 pm

quetzalcoatl wrote:
the underlying implication is that once a person makes a choice; he is a free agent because this breaks the line.


questzalcoatl wrote:The choice is already made though ~ hence one may not make a choice.


After the choice is made one obviously could not have chosen otherwise because it was already chosen, but this is not what is being referred to. The word 'choice' is extremely misleading because it appears as if we can pick A just as easily as B, or B just as easily as A. But this is a delusion.

peacegirl wrote:This author demonstrates that, although it appears as if this causes a break in the line of determinants, it actually does not.


questzalcoatl wrote:How?


You must not think in terms of external causation. This is where the confusion lies. Nothing from the external world causes us to do anything. It just creates the conditions upon which our desire is aroused to choose one thing over another, but it does not cause.

peacegirl wrote:there has been something misunderstood regarding the will, which has caused a lot of confusion.


questzalcoatl wrote:This is the part I am trying to get too. What is being misunderstood?


Just because we have the ability to pick between alternatives (which, in philosophical circles, would automatically negate determinism), does not make those choices free. There is much misunderstanding here. During each moment of our existence, from moment to moment, there is a compulsion to pick the choice that gives the greatest satisfaction, rendering any other choices in this comparison, impossible. The author writes:

To prove that what we do of our own free will, of our own desire because we want
to do it
, is also beyond control, it is necessary to employ mathematical (undeniable) reasoning. Therefore, since it is absolutely impossible for man to be both dead and alive at the sametime, and since it is absolutely impossible for a person to desire committing suicide unless dissatisfied with life (regardless of the reason), we are given the ability to demonstrate a revealing and undeniable relation.
Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.
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Re: Determinism

Postby Oughtist » Wed Oct 21, 2009 10:26 pm

peacegirl wrote:and since it is absolutely impossible for a person to desire committing suicide unless dissatisfied with life (regardless of the reason), we are given the ability to demonstrate a revealing and undeniable relation.


I'd suggest there remains a relevant issue pertaining to mental illness here... Also, something to do with 72 virgins. :D
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Re: Determinism

Postby Oughtist » Wed Oct 21, 2009 10:30 pm

..sorry, lost the first half of my post above ^^

peacegirl wrote:I appreciate your trying to help me Oughtist, I really do. But I am not trying to prove everyone wrong. That is not my intention. I also do not want to come off as if I'm preaching. I'm kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place because what is required of me (to express everything in my own words before there can be a discussion) is not going to do the book justice. As far as you all teaching me something, I always learn something new when I'm conversing with people. It's not a one way street. :wink:


Good to hear. I trust you take your Schopenhaurian signature seriously? If so, then no sense complainin'! Also, don't be too worried about "doing the book justice"... do yourself justice and develop your understanding of how to express itby going through the gauntlet (if, of course, you feel it's actually worth it).
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Re: Determinism

Postby peacegirl » Wed Oct 21, 2009 11:08 pm

Oughtist wrote:
peacegirl wrote:and since it is absolutely impossible for a person to desire committing suicide unless dissatisfied with life (regardless of the reason), we are given the ability to demonstrate a revealing and undeniable relation.


I'd suggest there remains a relevant issue pertaining to mental illness here... Also, something to do with 72 virgins. :D


Your questions as to whether mental illness will exist are very relevant. The main point I was making earlier was that certain mental illnesses often come from hurt that one has experienced. It is these types of mental illnesses that will be virtually wiped out due to changes in the environment. If someone is mentally ill due to a birth defect, that is a different story.
Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.
Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

“Just look at us. Everything is backwards, everything is upside down. Doctors destroy health,
lawyers destroy justice, psychiatrists destroy minds, scientists destroy truth, major media destroys
information, religions destroy spirituality and governments destroy freedom.” – Michael Ellner



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Re: Determinism

Postby peacegirl » Wed Oct 21, 2009 11:14 pm

Oughtist wrote:..sorry, lost the first half of my post above ^^

peacegirl wrote:I appreciate your trying to help me Oughtist, I really do. But I am not trying to prove everyone wrong. That is not my intention. I also do not want to come off as if I'm preaching. I'm kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place because what is required of me (to express everything in my own words before there can be a discussion) is not going to do the book justice. As far as you all teaching me something, I always learn something new when I'm conversing with people. It's not a one way street. :wink:


Good to hear. I trust you take your Schopenhaurian signature seriously? If so, then no sense complainin'! Also, don't be too worried about "doing the book justice"... do yourself justice and develop your understanding of how to express itby going through the gauntlet (if, of course, you feel it's actually worth it).


I'm not sure how long the discussion will last but at least the people here will have 'the choice' (lol) to read the book in the future, if they so desire.
Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.
Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

“Just look at us. Everything is backwards, everything is upside down. Doctors destroy health,
lawyers destroy justice, psychiatrists destroy minds, scientists destroy truth, major media destroys
information, religions destroy spirituality and governments destroy freedom.” – Michael Ellner



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Re: Determinism

Postby Oughtist » Thu Oct 22, 2009 3:01 am

Ok, here's a different tact: start by describing what you think the major weakness(es) of the theory is, and seek to explicate its strengths by describing how they relate to that weakness. That way you get to avoid appearing to be "preachy" and yet are able to share the more convincing aspects of the position. It allows others to see that you have a critical perspective on your favored position.
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Re: Determinism

Postby peacegirl » Thu Oct 22, 2009 3:25 am

Oughtist wrote:Ok, here's a different tact: start by describing what you think the major weakness(es) of the theory is, and seek to explicate its strengths by describing how they relate to that weakness. That way you get to avoid appearing to be "preachy" and yet are able to share the more convincing aspects of the position. It allows others to see that you have a critical perspective on your favored position.


Hmmm, I really don't know what the weaknesses are except for the fact that, if it is proven to be a genuine discovery, it won't be able to solve every problem in the universe. If the author turns out to be right, it will be able to do what it claims to be able to do; that is, prevent war, crime, and hatred between man and man, but it won't be able to solve other problems such as global warming, genetic mutations, and natural disasters. This will require more scientific investigation.
Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.
Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

“Just look at us. Everything is backwards, everything is upside down. Doctors destroy health,
lawyers destroy justice, psychiatrists destroy minds, scientists destroy truth, major media destroys
information, religions destroy spirituality and governments destroy freedom.” – Michael Ellner



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Re: Determinism

Postby Pandora » Thu Oct 22, 2009 3:58 am

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Re: Determinism

Postby Only_Humean » Thu Oct 22, 2009 9:03 am

I've been shamed by Oughtist's calm and patient responses :)

Can I try and offer a summary of what I took from the first two chapters of the book? You can then comment on what I've missed or misunderstood, and everyone has an overview with which to understand your position.

Chapter 1
1.1 The universe is deterministic
1.2 Therefore, man's will cannot be said to be free:
- 1.2.1 Any choice made is the result of previous actions and conditions and natural laws; whatever man chooses is his greatest satisfaction at the time, determined by these.
1.3 Knowing 1.2, it is not reasonable to blame
(So far, so Spinoza :) )

Chapter 2
2.1 Blame is a natural human reaction, arising from a need for morality to overcome human problems
- 2.1.1 Hurting others is a response to being hurt
2.2 Morality is a human construction:
- 2.2.1 If we remove morality, we remove moral justification for retaliation
- 2.2.2 If we accept complete responsibility for our actions and absolve all others of blame, we will lose the will to hurt others:
(and this bit following is, I assume, the discovery)
- - 2.2.2.1 Having a "choice" between hurting and not hurting someone, knowing one is not compelled to hurt and knowing that no-one will blame one or inflict retribution for it, one cannot gain satisfaction from hurting.
- - 2.2.2.2 Hurting will therefore never be chosen.
2.3 The illusion of free will allows us to lie and cheat and then shift the blame:
- 2.3.1 If there is no free will, hence no blame, there can be no self-justification
- 2.3.2 Without self-justification, there is no desire to hurt or cheat others (see 2.1.1)
2.4 To abolish hurting and war, each person must know that she is completely responsible for her actions, and know that no-one is responsible at all for their actions (p. 83)

How is that? I even split it into a semi-Spinozan structure :)

peacegirl wrote:Oughtist, I have been around this mountain more than once. I would love to understand what is important to you, but reading this tract was difficult for me since I don't have enough conceptual framework in which to analyze it. I also know that if I start to explain in my own words why man's will is not free because people choose not to read the chapter, I will only make it more confusing since it requires reading the text in a step by step fashion. I will be hurting, not helping, the author. I cannot simplify it anymore than it already has been, without losing its original meaning.


peacegirl wrote:I don't know what else to do. I have tried to put things in my own words, but it only confused people more. Believe me when I tell you I've been there and I've done that. It won't work because there are too many loopholes when I say it in my own words. This doesn't mean I don't know what I'm talking about; it just means that I cannot express it in a way that improves upon the author's own words.


You require of people that they explain the discovery to you in order to see if they truly understand, yet you admit you can't do it yourself? Is that fair?

Not a personal attack, but if one can't explain something clearly, and if ones attempts to defend or explain it lead to confusion, it's generally a good sign of muddy thinking and incomplete understanding.
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Re: Determinism

Postby Sauwelios » Thu Oct 22, 2009 10:21 am

peacegirl wrote:You must not think in terms of external causation. This is where the confusion lies. Nothing from the external world causes us to do anything. It just creates the conditions upon which our desire is aroused to choose one thing over another, but it does not cause.

Determinism holds that the 'internal' world is as determinate as the 'external' world; moreover, that there is no absolute distinction between the two (hence the quotation marks).


peacegirl wrote:Just because we have the ability to pick between alternatives (which, in philosophical circles, would automatically negate determinism), does not make those choices free.

Wait, are you not now in 'philosophical circles'??


To prove that what we do of our own free will, of our own desire because we want
to do it
, is also beyond control, it is necessary to employ mathematical (undeniable) reasoning.

If "our own desire" (or "what we do of our own desire") is beyond control, that desire is no 'free will'). You should, as its editor, scratch the word "free". Also, "what we do of our own desire because we want to do it" is double. What we do of our own desire is what we want to do. There is no causal relationship ("because") between a thing and itself; unless---it be a self-cause! Is that what he's trying to say? That the will is free because it's a self-cause? But if so, is not the concept "self-cause" absurd? Is it not---illogical? Nay, I think you also ought to scratch "because we want to do it". Sadly, nothing remains of his 'two-sided equation' then (whose two sides, as I've pointed out ad nauseam, are mutually exclusive---contradictory---absurd).
"Someone may object that the successful revolt against the universal and homogeneous state could have no other effect than that the identical historical process which has led from the primitive horde to the final state will be repeated. But would such a repetition of the process--a new lease of life for man's humanity--not be preferable to the indefinite continuation of the inhuman end? Do we not enjoy every spring although we know the cycle of the seasons, although we know that winter will come again?" (Leo Strauss, "Restatement on Xenophon's Hiero".)
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Re: Determinism

Postby Sauwelios » Thu Oct 22, 2009 10:24 am

Only_Humean wrote:I've been shamed by Oughtist's calm and patient responses :)

Can I try and offer a summary of what I took from the first two chapters of the book? You can then comment on what I've missed or misunderstood, and everyone has an overview with which to understand your position.

Chapter 1
1.1 The universe is deterministic
1.2 Therefore, man's will cannot be said to be free:
- 1.2.1 Any choice made is the result of previous actions and conditions and natural laws; whatever man chooses is his greatest satisfaction at the time, determined by these.
1.3 Knowing 1.2, it is not reasonable to blame
(So far, so Spinoza :) )

Chapter 2
2.1 Blame is a natural human reaction, arising from a need for morality to overcome human problems
- 2.1.1 Hurting others is a response to being hurt
2.2 Morality is a human construction:
- 2.2.1 If we remove morality, we remove moral justification for retaliation
- 2.2.2 If we accept complete responsibility for our actions and absolve all others of blame, we will lose the will to hurt others:
(and this bit following is, I assume, the discovery)
- - 2.2.2.1 Having a "choice" between hurting and not hurting someone, knowing one is not compelled to hurt and knowing that no-one will blame one or inflict retribution for it, one cannot gain satisfaction from hurting.
- - 2.2.2.2 Hurting will therefore never be chosen.
2.3 The illusion of free will allows us to lie and cheat and then shift the blame:
- 2.3.1 If there is no free will, hence no blame, there can be no self-justification
- 2.3.2 Without self-justification, there is no desire to hurt or cheat others (see 2.1.1)
2.4 To abolish hurting and war, each person must know that she is completely responsible for her actions, and know that no-one is responsible at all for their actions (p. 83)

How is that? I even split it into a semi-Spinozan structure :)

peacegirl wrote:Oughtist, I have been around this mountain more than once. I would love to understand what is important to you, but reading this tract was difficult for me since I don't have enough conceptual framework in which to analyze it. I also know that if I start to explain in my own words why man's will is not free because people choose not to read the chapter, I will only make it more confusing since it requires reading the text in a step by step fashion. I will be hurting, not helping, the author. I cannot simplify it anymore than it already has been, without losing its original meaning.


peacegirl wrote:I don't know what else to do. I have tried to put things in my own words, but it only confused people more. Believe me when I tell you I've been there and I've done that. It won't work because there are too many loopholes when I say it in my own words. This doesn't mean I don't know what I'm talking about; it just means that I cannot express it in a way that improves upon the author's own words.


You require of people that they explain the discovery to you in order to see if they truly understand, yet you admit you can't do it yourself? Is that fair?

Not a personal attack, but if one can't explain something clearly, and if ones attempts to defend or explain it lead to confusion, it's generally a good sign of muddy thinking and incomplete understanding.

This.
"Someone may object that the successful revolt against the universal and homogeneous state could have no other effect than that the identical historical process which has led from the primitive horde to the final state will be repeated. But would such a repetition of the process--a new lease of life for man's humanity--not be preferable to the indefinite continuation of the inhuman end? Do we not enjoy every spring although we know the cycle of the seasons, although we know that winter will come again?" (Leo Strauss, "Restatement on Xenophon's Hiero".)
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Re: Determinism

Postby peacegirl » Thu Oct 22, 2009 3:10 pm

Only_Humean wrote:I've been shamed by Oughtist's calm and patient responses :)

Can I try and offer a summary of what I took from the first two chapters of the book? You can then comment on what I've missed or misunderstood, and everyone has an overview with which to understand your position.

[quote=Humeon]Chapter 1
1.1 The universe is deterministic
1.2 Therefore, man's will cannot be said to be free:
- 1.2.1 Any choice made is the result of previous actions and conditions and natural laws; whatever man chooses is his greatest satisfaction at the time, determined by these.
1.3 Knowing 1.2, it is not reasonable to blame
(So far, so Spinoza :) )


1.1 Yes, the universe is deterministic, but you haven't explained why, so people are starting with a premise they aren't sure about.
1.2 The two first statements are lacking in the proof.
1.2.1 Yes, based on our environment and heredity, we move in the direction of greater satisfaction.
1.2 The author is not saying it isn't reasonable to blame. It is reasonable until we take this concept further to see where it leads.


Humeon wrote:Chapter 2
2.1 Blame is a natural human reaction, arising from a need for morality to overcome human problems
- 2.1.1 Hurting others is a response to being hurt
2.2 Morality is a human construction:
- 2.2.1 If we remove morality, we remove moral justification for retaliation
- 2.2.2 If we accept complete responsibility for our actions and absolve all others of blame, we will lose the will to hurt others:
(and this bit following is, I assume, the discovery)
- - 2.2.2.1 Having a "choice" between hurting and not hurting someone, knowing one is not compelled to hurt and knowing that no-one will blame one or inflict retribution for it, one cannot gain satisfaction from hurting.
- - 2.2.2.2 Hurting will therefore never be chosen.
2.3 The illusion of free will allows us to lie and cheat and then shift the blame:
- 2.3.1 If there is no free will, hence no blame, there can be no self-justification
- 2.3.2 Without self-justification, there is no desire to hurt or cheat others (see 2.1.1)
2.4 To abolish hurting and war, each person must know that she is completely responsible for her actions, and know that no-one is responsible at all for their actions (p. 83)

How is that? I even split it into a semi-Spinozan structure :)


2.1 Blame and punishment are the basis of our civilization. There has been no way other than threats of punishment to deter people from hurting others.
2.1.1 Hurting others is a 'natural' response to being hurt, but it isn't the only justification people have for hurting others.
2.2 Morality is a human construction. This does not mean there is not a place for the moral code in our society. That is why the Ten Commandments was written. This does not mean we don't have a conscience, which is not a human construction.
2.2.1 If we remove all judgment (only under the changed conditions), our internal moral compass goes up, not down.
2.2.2 It isn't a matter of accepting responsibility. We cannot help but own what is our responsibility when we are not being blamed. I think you are confused here.
2.2.2.1 That's accurate.
2.2.2.2 That's accurate.
2.3 Not the illusion of free will. It's the fact that blame and punishment allow our conscience to be clear by our ability to pay a price for hurting others.
2.3.1 If you know in advance that no one is going to ever blame you for anything, and by not hurting someone does not make you a loser (which would then not be a first blow but a retaliatory blow), the desire to strike a first blow is not justified.
2.3.2 Without the ability to justify what one is about to do, there can be no satisfaction in striking this first blow.
2.4 You are missing the most important point. This is not a matter of anyone knowing they are responsible for their actions. They can't help but be responsible for their actions when they cannot make excuses. How can you excuse your actions when no one is blaming you? When a person knows IN ADVANCE that he will never be blamed again for anything at all (by the entire world regardless of the hurt that might be inflicted on others), there is no way satisfaction can be gotten under these changed conditions. Until the global economic situation can prevent people from being hurt by falling below a basic standard of living, this principle will have no effect at all because the first blow to them has already been struck.

to be cont...
Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.
Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

“Just look at us. Everything is backwards, everything is upside down. Doctors destroy health,
lawyers destroy justice, psychiatrists destroy minds, scientists destroy truth, major media destroys
information, religions destroy spirituality and governments destroy freedom.” – Michael Ellner



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Re: Determinism

Postby Only_Humean » Thu Oct 22, 2009 4:05 pm

OK, for clarity (and thank you)

peacegirl wrote:1.1 Yes, the universe is deterministic, but you haven't explained why, so people are starting with a premise they aren't sure about.
1.2 The two first statements are lacking in the proof.
1.2.1 Yes, based on our environment and heredity, we move in the direction of greater satisfaction.
1.2 The author is not saying it isn't reasonable to blame. It is reasonable until we take this concept further to see where it leads.


This is a summary of the propositions - for the I arguments of proofs I would of course refer the reader to the book. Regarding the reasonableness statement - I changed it from rationality as you seemed to equate rational thought with natural thought. All I'm saying is that once we accept 1.2, blaming is rationally impossible. He says this explicitly on p. 46.

2.2 Morality is a human construction. This does not mean there is not a place for the moral code in our society. That is why the Ten Commandments was written. This does not mean we don't have a conscience, which is not a human construction.


Agreed on the first two sentences. Where is evidence of this last sentence to be found in the text, please?

2.2.2 It isn't a matter of accepting responsibility. We cannot help but own what is our responsibility when we are not being blamed. I think you are confused here.


Poorly worded, maybe? How about:
2.2.2 If we accept we will not be blamed for any actions, nor will we blame others, we will lose the will to hurt others:

2.4 You are missing the most important point. This is not a matter of anyone knowing they are responsible for their actions. They can't help but be responsible for their actions when they cannot make excuses. How can you excuse your actions when no one is blaming you?


OK, I must admit I'm stuck here - I went back to p. 83 and it wasn't the page I was thinking of. I'll have to reread and get back to you on that, sorry.
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Re: Determinism

Postby peacegirl » Thu Oct 22, 2009 4:43 pm

Only_Humean wrote:OK, for clarity (and thank you)


peacegirl wrote:1.1 Yes, the universe is deterministic, but you haven't explained why, so people are starting with a premise they aren't sure about.
1.2 The two first statements are lacking in the proof.
1.2.1 Yes, based on our environment and heredity, we move in the direction of greater satisfaction.
1.2 The author is not saying it isn't reasonable to blame. It is reasonable until we take this concept further to see where it leads.


Humeon wrote:This is a summary of the propositions - for the I arguments of proofs I would of course refer the reader to the book. Regarding the reasonableness statement - I changed it from rationality as you seemed to equate rational thought with natural thought. All I'm saying is that once we accept 1.2, blaming is rationally impossible. He says this explicitly on p. 46.


peacegirl wrote:2.2 Morality is a human construction. This does not mean there is not a place for the moral code in our society. That is why the Ten Commandments was written. This does not mean we don't have a conscience, which is not a human construction.


Humeon wrote:Agreed on the first two sentences. Where is evidence of this last sentence to be found in the text, please?


peacegirl wrote:2.2.2 It isn't a matter of accepting responsibility. We cannot help but own what is our responsibility when we are not being blamed. I think you are confused here.


Humeon wrote:Poorly worded, maybe? How about:
2.2.2 If we accept we will not be blamed for any actions, nor will we blame others, we will lose the will to hurt others:


peacegirl wrote:This has nothing to do with accepting that we will not be blamed by others. We have no say in this, which is what is confusing everyone.


peacegirl wrote:2.4 You are missing the most important point. This is not a matter of anyone knowing they are responsible for their actions. They can't help but be responsible for their actions when they cannot make excuses. How can you excuse your actions when no one is blaming you?


Humeon wrote:OK, I must admit I'm stuck here - I went back to p. 83 and it wasn't the page I was thinking of. I'll have to reread and get back to you on that, sorry.


No problem. This is difficult to grasp, but I hope you don't give up.
Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.
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“Just look at us. Everything is backwards, everything is upside down. Doctors destroy health,
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Re: Determinism

Postby peacegirl » Thu Oct 22, 2009 4:49 pm

Sauwelios wrote:
Only_Humean wrote:I've been shamed by Oughtist's calm and patient responses :)

Can I try and offer a summary of what I took from the first two chapters of the book? You can then comment on what I've missed or misunderstood, and everyone has an overview with which to understand your position.

Chapter 1
1.1 The universe is deterministic
1.2 Therefore, man's will cannot be said to be free:
- 1.2.1 Any choice made is the result of previous actions and conditions and natural laws; whatever man chooses is his greatest satisfaction at the time, determined by these.
1.3 Knowing 1.2, it is not reasonable to blame
(So far, so Spinoza :) )

Chapter 2
2.1 Blame is a natural human reaction, arising from a need for morality to overcome human problems
- 2.1.1 Hurting others is a response to being hurt
2.2 Morality is a human construction:
- 2.2.1 If we remove morality, we remove moral justification for retaliation
- 2.2.2 If we accept complete responsibility for our actions and absolve all others of blame, we will lose the will to hurt others:
(and this bit following is, I assume, the discovery)
- - 2.2.2.1 Having a "choice" between hurting and not hurting someone, knowing one is not compelled to hurt and knowing that no-one will blame one or inflict retribution for it, one cannot gain satisfaction from hurting.
- - 2.2.2.2 Hurting will therefore never be chosen.
2.3 The illusion of free will allows us to lie and cheat and then shift the blame:
- 2.3.1 If there is no free will, hence no blame, there can be no self-justification
- 2.3.2 Without self-justification, there is no desire to hurt or cheat others (see 2.1.1)
2.4 To abolish hurting and war, each person must know that she is completely responsible for her actions, and know that no-one is responsible at all for their actions (p. 83)

How is that? I even split it into a semi-Spinozan structure :)

peacegirl wrote:Oughtist, I have been around this mountain more than once. I would love to understand what is important to you, but reading this tract was difficult for me since I don't have enough conceptual framework in which to analyze it. I also know that if I start to explain in my own words why man's will is not free because people choose not to read the chapter, I will only make it more confusing since it requires reading the text in a step by step fashion. I will be hurting, not helping, the author. I cannot simplify it anymore than it already has been, without losing its original meaning.


peacegirl wrote:I don't know what else to do. I have tried to put things in my own words, but it only confused people more. Believe me when I tell you I've been there and I've done that. It won't work because there are too many loopholes when I say it in my own words. This doesn't mean I don't know what I'm talking about; it just means that I cannot express it in a way that improves upon the author's own words.


You require of people that they explain the discovery to you in order to see if they truly understand, yet you admit you can't do it yourself? Is that fair?

Not a personal attack, but if one can't explain something clearly, and if ones attempts to defend or explain it lead to confusion, it's generally a good sign of muddy thinking and incomplete understanding.

This.


You have not given me a chance to explain anything. Your summary is, in your mind, without flaws. That is exactly why I never broke the discovery down in bits and pieces as you have. This will give people the opportunity to attack without truly understanding what is being expressed. :(
Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.
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“Just look at us. Everything is backwards, everything is upside down. Doctors destroy health,
lawyers destroy justice, psychiatrists destroy minds, scientists destroy truth, major media destroys
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Re: Determinism

Postby peacegirl » Thu Oct 22, 2009 4:57 pm

Sauwelios wrote:
peacegirl wrote:You must not think in terms of external causation. This is where the confusion lies. Nothing from the external world causes us to do anything. It just creates the conditions upon which our desire is aroused to choose one thing over another, but it does not cause.

Determinism holds that the 'internal' world is as determinate as the 'external' world; moreover, that there is no absolute distinction between the two (hence the quotation marks).

peacegirl wrote:Yes, Sauwelios, that is the conventional definition, but that is not correct, and why no one has come up with a solution.



peacegirl wrote:Just because we have the ability to pick between alternatives (which, in philosophical circles, would automatically negate determinism), does not make those choices free.

Wait, are you not now in 'philosophical circles'??

peacegirl wrote:No I don't consider myself distinguished enough to be in philosophical circles. I wish I was. :(


To prove that what we do of our own free will, of our own desire because we want
to do it
, is also beyond control, it is necessary to employ mathematical (undeniable) reasoning.

If "our own desire" (or "what we do of our own desire") is beyond control, that desire is no 'free will'). You should, as its editor, scratch the word "free". Also, "what we do of our own desire because we want to do it" is double. What we do of our own desire is what we want to do. There is no causal relationship ("because") between a thing and itself; unless---it be a self-cause! Is that what he's trying to say? That the will is free because it's a self-cause? But if so, is not the concept "self-cause" absurd? Is it not---illogical? Nay, I think you also ought to scratch "because we want to do it". Sadly, nothing remains of his 'two-sided equation' then (whose two sides, as I've pointed out ad nauseam, are mutually exclusive---contradictory---absurd).


peacegirl wrote:Sauwelious, thank you for giving your all to understanding the concept being expressed. I cannot scratch the word 'free' because it means 'of our own desire'. That's the point. Just because it is of our own desire does not make our choices free. Do you see where the confusion lies? This does not mean that we self-cause. We are not in control of the choices we make, so how can we self-cause? That would mean we are totally responsible, which we are not. I hope you stick with me; this is not about who is right or wrong, but just with what is true.
Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.
Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

“Just look at us. Everything is backwards, everything is upside down. Doctors destroy health,
lawyers destroy justice, psychiatrists destroy minds, scientists destroy truth, major media destroys
information, religions destroy spirituality and governments destroy freedom.” – Michael Ellner



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Re: Determinism

Postby Only_Humean » Thu Oct 22, 2009 6:57 pm

peacegirl wrote:You have not given me a chance to explain anything. Your summary is, in your mind, without flaws.


I presume you're talking to me... it's a LOT easier to follow these things if you can work out the quote system :)

Of course I believed my summary was without flaws - why would I intentionally put something flawed out? However, I was asking for your comments and corrections; I allowed for the fact that other people might know more than me, have insights I don't have. However, this comment:
You require of people that they explain the discovery to you in order to see if they truly understand, yet you admit you can't do it yourself? Is that fair?

Not a personal attack, but if one can't explain something clearly, and if ones attempts to defend or explain it lead to confusion, it's generally a good sign of muddy thinking and incomplete understanding.


was directed at your earlier comment to Oughtist and my earlier comments about your approach here; namely that you have the tendency to simply dismiss any criticism as borne of ignorance, demanding that people clearly explain what they have understood of the book. Then you go on to say that you can't do this - and yet we have to take you on your word that you really do understand it.

That is exactly why I never broke the discovery down in bits and pieces as you have. This will give people the opportunity to attack without truly understanding what is being expressed. :(


The whole point of breaking it down is to clarify the arguments. The first two chapters are 80 pages, a great deal of which is irrelevant to the argument. If we can clarify the points that are being made, people don't need to wade through the rest (of which you know my stylistic opinion) to understand what is being expressed. The anecdotes and repetition of points are pure flourish and add nothing to the argument; what is to be understood can be condensed into a line of reasoning.

Also, use of the word "attack" is telling. Criticism of a text is not criticism of you; if it's inaccurate, you can point out why it is bad criticism, if it's accurate, you can adjust your knowledge and opinions. You can improve from it. All criticism is a favour.
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Re: Determinism

Postby peacegirl » Thu Oct 22, 2009 8:47 pm

Sauwelios wrote:
peacegirl wrote:You must not think in terms of external causation. This is where the confusion lies. Nothing from the external world causes us to do anything. It just creates the conditions upon which our desire is aroused to choose one thing over another, but it does not cause.

Determinism holds that the 'internal' world is as determinate as the 'external' world; moreover, that there is no absolute distinction between the two (hence the quotation marks).


I wanted to add to this post. It is true that the internal world is as determinate as the external world. The only reason he is making a distinction is to indicate that nothing in the external world can make us do anything we don't want to do, but this does not make our will free. In other words, you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink.

peacegirl wrote:Just because we have the ability to pick between alternatives (which, in philosophical circles, would automatically negate determinism), does not make those choices free.


sauwelios wrote:Wait, are you not now in 'philosophical circles'??


I am extending this to the general population of philosophers, not just this forum.

To prove that what we do of our own free will, of our own desire because we want
to do it
, is also beyond control, it is necessary to employ mathematical (undeniable) reasoning.


sauwelious wrote:If "our own desire" (or "what we do of our own desire") is beyond control, that desire is no 'free will'). You should, as its editor, scratch the word "free". Also, "what we do of our own desire because we want to do it" is double. What we do of our own desire is what we want to do. There is no causal relationship ("because") between a thing and itself; unless---it be a self-cause! Is that what he's trying to say? That the will is free because it's a self-cause? But if so, is not the concept "self-cause" absurd? Is it not---illogical? Nay, I think you also ought to scratch "because we want to do it". Sadly, nothing remains of his 'two-sided equation' then (whose two sides, as I've pointed out ad nauseam, are mutually exclusive---contradictory---absurd).


The reason he says 'of your own free will' is because nothing can make you do what you don't want to do, which is what the conventional definition of determinism implies. In other words, you can't say something external to you made you do something because nothing has that power. Let me repeat: It is fine to say "I did it of my own free will" if you mean that YOU YOURSELF MADE THE CHOICE TO DO SOMETHING. No one else did, YOU DID, based on your particular set of circumstances. It was important for him to show that even though we are influenced by external conditions, nothing external can cause us to do anything unless we want to do it, for over this we have mathematical control. This is an extremely important point in order to understand the two-sided equation.

He writes: Nothing causes man to
build cities, develop scientific achievements, write books, compose
music, go to war, argue and fight, commit terrible crimes, pray to
God, for these things are mankind already at a particular stage of
his development, just as children were sacrificed at an earlier stage.
These activities or motions are the natural entelechy of man who is
always developing, correcting his mistakes, and moving in the
direction of greater satisfaction by choosing the best alternative at
each particular moment in time. Looking back in hindsight allows
man to evaluate his progress and make corrections where necessary
since he is always learning from previous experience, but this does
not change the direction he is compelled to go. The fact that will is
not free demonstrates that man has been unconsciously developing
at a mathematical rate and during every moment of his progress
was doing what he had to do because he had no free choice. But this
does not mean that he was caused to do anything against his will, for
the word cause, like choice and past, is very misleading as it implies
that something other than man himself is responsible for his actions.

The most severe tortures, even the threat of death, cannot compel
or cause him to do what he makes up his mind not to do. Since this
observation is mathematically undeniable, the expression ‘free will’
which has come to signify this aspect — that nothing can compel man
to do what he doesn’t want to do — is absolutely true in this context
because it symbolizes what the perception of this relation cannot
deny, and here lies in part the unconscious source of all the
dogmatism and confusion since MAN IS NOT CAUSED OR
COMPELLED TO DO TO ANOTHER WHAT HE MAKES UP
HIS MIND NOT TO DO — but that does not make his will free.
In other words, if someone was to say — “I didn’t really want
to hurt that person but couldn’t help myself under the
circumstances,” which demonstrates that though he believes in
freedom of the will he admits he was not free to act otherwise, that
he was forced by his environment to do what he really didn’t want
to do; or should he make any effort to shift his responsibility for this
hurt to heredity, God, his parents, the fact that his will is not free,
or something else as the cause, he is obviously lying to others and
being dishonest with himself because absolutely nothing is forcing
him, against his will, to do what he doesn’t want to do, for over this,
as was just shown, he has mathematical control.”
Last edited by peacegirl on Thu Oct 22, 2009 10:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.
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“Just look at us. Everything is backwards, everything is upside down. Doctors destroy health,
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Re: Determinism

Postby Oughtist » Thu Oct 22, 2009 8:55 pm

Hi PG,

Glad to see the discussion is beginning to gain more of a dialectic flavor!

One question from me:

In terms of his saying nothing in the "external" world can make me do something I don't want to do, what of the following situations:

1. I'm stepping on stones across a creek, one of which is slimy, such that I fall in the creek.

2. I'm a tight end running into the end zone, focusing on the ball being thrown to me, when the sun suddenly shines in my eyes and I close them.
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Re: Determinism

Postby peacegirl » Thu Oct 22, 2009 9:25 pm

Only_Humean wrote:
peacegirl wrote:You have not given me a chance to explain anything. Your summary is, in your mind, without flaws.


I presume you're talking to me... it's a LOT easier to follow these things if you can work out the quote system :)

Of course I believed my summary was without flaws - why would I intentionally put something flawed out? However, I was asking for your comments and corrections; I allowed for the fact that other people might know more than me, have insights I don't have. However, this comment:
You require of people that they explain the discovery to you in order to see if they truly understand, yet you admit you can't do it yourself? Is that fair?

Not a personal attack, but if one can't explain something clearly, and if ones attempts to defend or explain it lead to confusion, it's generally a good sign of muddy thinking and incomplete understanding.

was directed at your earlier comment to Oughtist and my earlier comments about your approach here; namely that you have the tendency to simply dismiss any criticism as borne of ignorance, demanding that people clearly explain what they have understood of the book. Then you go on to say that you can't do this - and yet we have to take you on your word that you really do understand it.


peacegirl wrote:That is exactly why I never broke the discovery down in bits and pieces as you have. This will give people the opportunity to attack without truly understanding what is being expressed. :(


Only_Humean wrote:The whole point of breaking it down is to clarify the arguments. The first two chapters are 80 pages, a great deal of which is irrelevant to the argument. If we can clarify the points that are being made, people don't need to wade through the rest (of which you know my stylistic opinion) to understand what is being expressed. The anecdotes and repetition of points are pure flourish and add nothing to the argument; what is to be understood can be condensed into a line of reasoning.


peacegirl wrote:The only way I can know whether the knowledge is understood is if you explain it to me. I can then see where there may be misundertandings. If I explain it to you in my own words, it will be even more confusing, but I am trying. I am at a disadvantage because I read the book in its entirety many times. The people here seem to think that they can read the first two chapters one time and understand it fully, when I'm telling you it isn't that easy. If it was, this discovery would have been made long ago. Where is there pure flourish? Please point out where anything that is written adds nothing to the argument and I'll show you where you're wrong. As far as repetition, I can't imagine what anyone would understand if things were not repeated. It's so easy to think you have a grasp of the material when, in actuality, you don't.

Only_Humean wrote:Also, use of the word "attack" is telling. Criticism of a text is not criticism of you; if it's inaccurate, you can point out why it is bad criticism, if it's accurate, you can adjust your knowledge and opinions. You can improve from it. All criticism is a favour.


I don't mind criticism if it is meant to help and it is not mean-spirited. But when people try to criticize what they don't fully understand, it's difficult to accept.
Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.
Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

“Just look at us. Everything is backwards, everything is upside down. Doctors destroy health,
lawyers destroy justice, psychiatrists destroy minds, scientists destroy truth, major media destroys
information, religions destroy spirituality and governments destroy freedom.” – Michael Ellner



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Re: Determinism

Postby Sauwelios » Thu Oct 22, 2009 9:27 pm

Only_Humean wrote:OK, for clarity (and thank you)

peacegirl wrote:1.1 Yes, the universe is deterministic, but you haven't explained why, so people are starting with a premise they aren't sure about.
1.2 The two first statements are lacking in the proof.
1.2.1 Yes, based on our environment and heredity, we move in the direction of greater satisfaction.
1.2 The author is not saying it isn't reasonable to blame. It is reasonable until we take this concept further to see where it leads.


This is a summary of the propositions - for the I arguments of proofs I would of course refer the reader to the book. Regarding the reasonableness statement - I changed it from rationality as you seemed to equate rational thought with natural thought. All I'm saying is that once we accept 1.2, blaming is rationally impossible. He says this explicitly on p. 46.

Yes, and it is logical, of course. Then again, that is precisely the department in which peacegirl is lacking.


2.4 You are missing the most important point. This is not a matter of anyone knowing they are responsible for their actions. They can't help but be responsible for their actions when they cannot make excuses. How can you excuse your actions when no one is blaming you?


OK, I must admit I'm stuck here - I went back to p. 83 and it wasn't the page I was thinking of. I'll have to reread and get back to you on that, sorry.

But the fact that you can't excuse your actions when no one is blaming you has nothing to do with the existence or nonexistence of responsibility. To be responsible for one's actions is not the same as to not be able to excuse one's actions. As you and any other person capable of rational thought must see, responsibility was already thrown out of the window in chapter 1 (see my first remark in this post).
"Someone may object that the successful revolt against the universal and homogeneous state could have no other effect than that the identical historical process which has led from the primitive horde to the final state will be repeated. But would such a repetition of the process--a new lease of life for man's humanity--not be preferable to the indefinite continuation of the inhuman end? Do we not enjoy every spring although we know the cycle of the seasons, although we know that winter will come again?" (Leo Strauss, "Restatement on Xenophon's Hiero".)
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Re: Determinism

Postby Sauwelios » Thu Oct 22, 2009 9:33 pm

peacegirl wrote:
Sauwelios wrote:This.


You have not given me a chance to explain anything. Your summary is, in your mind, without flaws. That is exactly why I never broke the discovery down in bits and pieces as you have.

That is called "analysis". Unless one accepts the 'discovery' without thinking about it---swallows it whole, so to say, without tasting it---(as you seem to do), one has to analyse it. One cannot digest it if one does not first chew on it.
"Someone may object that the successful revolt against the universal and homogeneous state could have no other effect than that the identical historical process which has led from the primitive horde to the final state will be repeated. But would such a repetition of the process--a new lease of life for man's humanity--not be preferable to the indefinite continuation of the inhuman end? Do we not enjoy every spring although we know the cycle of the seasons, although we know that winter will come again?" (Leo Strauss, "Restatement on Xenophon's Hiero".)
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Re: Determinism

Postby peacegirl » Thu Oct 22, 2009 9:34 pm

Oughtist wrote:Hi PG,

Glad to see the discussion is beginning to gain more of a dialectic flavor!

One question from me:

In terms of his saying nothing in the "external" world can make me do something I don't want to do, what of the following situations:

1. I'm stepping on stones across a creek, one of which is slimy, such that I fall in the creek.

2. I'm a tight end running into the end zone, focusing on the ball being thrown to me, when the sun suddenly shines in my eyes and I close them.


These two situations are obviously not within your control. The external world acted upon you and now you have to make a choice. You quickly survey the situation to determine what your next step should be. In the first example, should you call someone (if you have a cell phone), try to get up on your own and continue doing what you were doing, or go home and change your clothes. Whatever you choose, it is not of your own free will because you are moving in the direction of greater satisfaction. Does that make sense?
Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.
Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

“Just look at us. Everything is backwards, everything is upside down. Doctors destroy health,
lawyers destroy justice, psychiatrists destroy minds, scientists destroy truth, major media destroys
information, religions destroy spirituality and governments destroy freedom.” – Michael Ellner



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