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Posted by Aurino Souza on September 16, 2002 13:46:49 UTC

Hi Alan,

Am curious to know what I am allegedly fooling myself about?

You are fooling yourself when you think you have figured out what nobody else knows. We all fantasize about making intellectual discoveries, but the fact is it's pretty damn hard to discover anything new. Most of the time all we do is play word games with ourselves.

As for "mental health"; it is a metaphorical and dangerous way to use the term "health".

What is really dangerous is to think that brains, unlike livers, kidneys, hearts, are completely immune to disorders. The reality is that strain can and does damage parts of our bodies and brains are not immune to that.

Today moral values have been hijacked and are now dictated by a new priesthood of thought-policeman called psychiatrists. See

This is ridiculous, outrageous, and absurd. Psychiatrists are serious people dealing with serious problems which cause real suffering for real people. Instead of reading this silly website, why don't you go out and talk to the parents of children with psychological problems, and ask them what they think of psychiatry and neurology.

Come on Alan, get serious!

George Orwell's book "1984" gives a good account of the kind of logic that one could do with being wary of.

If George Orwell were alive he would probably regret having written his book, as it has been more often misinterpreted than appreciated for what it really is - a critique of authoritarian political systems.

Actually we have a storm in a teacup here: see my reply to Harv. He has simply misunderstood my use of language; and apparently forgotten it isn't that unusual in physics. (Note the "Mr. Tompkins" books too, as colourful depictions of physics; though I am proposing a literal negotiation theory, not just a pretty story).

Alan, it's not news that I'm as critical of physics as the next guy, but the only aspect of physics (and science in general) I criticize are the flights of fancy it inspires in some people. As far as I'm concerned physics is about doing things, and in that respect it is one of our most wonderful intellectual achievements. Thanks to physics we can have cars, planes, computers, medicine, pianos, books, and practically everything else that distinguishes our species from the rest of the animal kingdom.

But physics is not supposed to "explain" things, and anyone who thinks the assumptions and the way of thinking of physics perfectly reflects reality is just fooling himself. If you really understood Dick's paper as you claim you do you would see that. If you really understood Dick's paper you would lose your interest in physics just like Dick did, because you would understand that no rational approach to reality can possibly unravel its mysteries.

So stop fooling yourself and start getting something done with your life! It's never too late.

How about Everett's "many worlds" theory of quantum mechanics? Pretty crazy!

Everett's "many worlds" is a mathematical model, nothing else. If we find ways to use Everett's model to actually do something, we'll keep it, otherwise it will be forgotten because it has no real value in itself. Physics does not exist in a vaccuum.

Also see Stephen Hawkings recent book: "The Universe In A Nutshell": he talks of a slight quantum fuzziness in people because their child might one day come back from the future and assasinate their parent before they the child were born! Is that nuts or.....?

The world is full of nuts, but most of them are not Stephen Hawking. Being crazy is not enough.

I defend myself: I ask you: think.

The more I think, the more I realize thinking is useless unless I can accomplish something with it.

But I think these opinions are not taking into account the context of among other things, the kind of history of radical interpretations in quantum mechanics that suggests innovative thinking goes with this subject.

Quantum mechanics has probably inspired more nuts than any other theory in the history of mankind. But the only truth of QM is that its mathematical models work, the "craziness" is just an undesired by-product.

If you still think I'm fooling myself: how and in what way?

Come on Alan, look at your own posts! Just recently you said you figured out what gravity is. Come on, you can't possibly be serious or sane. We have a mathematical model for reality, it's called the General Theory of Relativity. It's full of differential equations, tensors, Gaussian geometry, all in all pretty hard to understand and requires the acceptance of some very counterintuitive ideas. Are you saying you have done something better? Give me a break!

If you do not believe I can recall when I was a newborn baby; that is understandable. Few people would be likely to accept that. But it is true nonetheless.

It's not that I don't believe you can recall your pre-linguistic experiences, the problem is that you don't understand there is no way to tell whether you are truly remembering things or just fooling yourself. It's common knowledge that people make up memories without realizing it, how do you know the same is not happening to you?

But as long as you're entertaining those ideas for the fun of it, that's all fine, I have some crazy ideas of my own. The problem with you is that you seem to take your crazy ideas seriously, to the point that they have an impact on your life. That is dangerous but, hey, it's your life, do with it as you please. Just don't be surprised if people don't applaud you.

If "mental health" means "submissive obedience to orthodox thinking as dictated by the pscho-pharisees [...] then as I have no desire to be restricted by such dictatorships; I may be regarded one day as wrong by the powers that be. And they might mask their moral judgement with a rhetoric of health.

Mental health means entertaining good thoughts, leading the good life, maintaining good relationships, being at peace with yourself, your family, your friends, your society, the whole universe. By that definition I have to agree with you, few people are 100% mentally healthy. I just don't think your recipe will make things better, I think they can make things far worse.

It is interesting that early explorers who travelled across the oceans were sometimes regarded as dabbling in witchcraft, by townspeople fearful of the unknown; I seem to have read somewhere.

That is twisted logic. Just because genius often happen to be misunderstood, it doesn't follow that misunderstanding is a sign of genius. More often than not it's a sign that a person has lost touch with good old commonsense.

The strangest thing in all of this is that I suddenly find myself telling you things Harv told me in the past, to which I reacted negatively, just like you are reacting now. I guess I must recognize that I did learn a lot of stuff from Harv, so perhaps you will too. Listen to the guy, he's a bit hard to swallow sometimes but I still regard him as the wisest person on this forum.

Once again, good luck,


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