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Posted by Richard D. Stafford, Ph.D. on January 13, 2004 21:15:25 UTC

Hi Mike,

I had almost given up hope on this forum. I thought John had just decided he didn't need it. It is quite nice to have a rational conversation with you. Check out Arthur's (posting under ecopilgrim)
comments on intelligence (posting as ecopilgrim); you might find his perspective interesting.

And yes, I have been following the message board referred to on Trying to get a handle on the "real" situation.

I very much agree that "correctness" is a very difficult concept to define "when evaluating something without its full context". What you are talking about here is the fundamental problem with communication itself. Until a conversation is over, we are always dealing with less than the full context and must always hold on to the point that it is possible that absolutely every last word in that conversation has been incorrectly defined in our understanding of what was going on. To ignore that possibility is to be simple minded.

Since logically defending the definitions I use to understand what you are saying is simply beyond me, I simply refuse to put up a defense. "Squirrel decisions: whenever the number of elements which must be considered vastly exceed what we can consciously think of and we must depend on our subconscious mind to provide the conclusion. We then do what "feels" like the best thing to do. We presume our squirrel conclusions are valid and claim them as a defense of our actions."

The difference between me and everyone else is that I recognize that there is no need to presume our squirrel conclusions are valid in order to act on them. As Obi Wan says, "feel the force Luke, let it control your actions"! Or as Buddha may have said, "be one with the world". Cicero was saying the same thing when he said that, "belief in the gods did not require that they existed": i.e., validity plays no role here.

We have the power to make squirrel decisions; so go with it: do and think what your gut tells you is the right thing! As long as you follow that path, how can you ever be unhappy with your decisions? And, if you are not unhappy with your decisions, then the only source of unhappiness resides with things outside your control and how in the world can you take such things seriously. To quote someone, give me the will to do what I can and the wisdom to accept what I cannot change.

So, what do I know? Absolutely nothing. I define a "correct" decision to be one which will not change no matter what additional information is provided to me. Under that definition, one is led to the conclusion that there exists no such thing as a "correct' decision. But, then again, against that conclusion I put logic! If my axioms are valid and my logic is valid, then the conclusions are valid. I simply define that conclusion as correct. Not that it is correct, but rather that, using that definition, I can come up with all kinds of "correct" decisions: i.e., the power of mathematics!

"Too often it is said that there is no absolute truth, but only opinion and private judgment; that each of us is conditioned, in his view of the world, by his own peculiarities, his own taste and bias; that there is no external kingdom of truth to which, by patience and discipline, we may at last obtain admittance, but only truth for me, for you, for every separate person. By this habit of mind one of the chief ends of human effort is denied, and the supreme virtue of candor, of fearless acknowledgment of what is disappears from our moral vision. Of such skepticism mathematics is a perpetual reproof; for its edifices of truths stands unshakable and inexpungable to all the weapons of doubting cynicism." -- Bertrand Russell, 1872-1970

True or not true, it at least gives you something to think about! Squirrel decisions are simply not worth thinking about. If logical thinking leads to experiences which influence your Squirrel thinking, so be it, but don't be intellectually bound by belief in the correctness of any of your views.

"Mike: Human societies are "controlled" by hierarchies of self-indulgent dominant primates, which, unlike most of nature, deliberately use formal systems to create false thought perceptions and manipulate information to degrade other formal systems. " It's part of the game Mike; the environment we live in! Everybody does what they do. I do not believe there is anyone out there who is intentionally "evil"; they all think they have very good reasons for doing what they do. In fact, I might even go so far as to say that "evil" is just another way of saying "stupid".

My only problem with the rest of your post is "so what?" People are always putting forth their opinions of the whats and whys of our environment. It's a real difficult problem so I leave it entirely to my ability to make squirrel decisions. Hopefully I will survive!

God save me from people who know what should be done!

Have fun -- Dick

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