AndersB

What is truth?

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It has been a year of reflection for me. And the end of the year was a reason to take stock of a lot of things.

 

Apart from "what the heck should I do with my life now?" there has been the gnawing question about the concept of reality and our knowledge of it.

 

In an earlier post I mentioned that returning to Sweden has been weird with 3 degrees of separation between the experience of being here now and the memories/expectations of what it was like in the past:

  1. perceptions as a youth are coloured by inexperience
  2. memories of those perceptions have faded and (sometimes romantically) distorted
  3. experience of reality now as a middle-aged man

Even though I expected life back here would be challenging (is that a 4th degree of separation?) it has been very different still from what I expected.

 

So, what is truth about experienced reality?

 

Try answering these two questions:

  • Are house prices at crazy bubble levels?
  • Was Julia Gillard a good Prime Minister?

Depending on your point of view - your perceptions of the reality (answered truth) of those two questions could end up being vastly different from some other persons perspective. Well, there were at least a few differences of opinions in the old GHCP forum...

 

If the truth of experienced reality is so wildly relative - is there any point in trying to find truth itself? Is there any point in debating anything?

 

Maybe we should just pick a viewpoint that makes us happy, gives us confidence - and meets our selfish needs.

 

But somehow, that seems to be so shallow. Yet, society doesn't seem to put much value in truth seeking analysis anymore. It pays way better to be able to communicate/debate justifications for agendas - i.e. having a talent for bullsh*t.

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...Depending on your point of view - your perceptions of the reality (answered truth) of those two questions could end up being vastly different from some other persons perspective. Well, there were at least a few differences of opinions in the old GHCP forum...

 

If the truth of experienced reality is so wildly relative - is there any point in trying to find truth itself? Is there any point in debating anything?

 

Maybe we should just pick a viewpoint that makes us happy, gives us confidence - and meets our selfish needs.

 

 

IMO, it boils down to how strong you feel about how the government policies are:

  •  directly impacting the life that you desire for yourself & family,
  • likely to impact your descendants when you're gone

 

 

But somehow, that seems to be so shallow. Yet, society doesn't seem to put much value in truth seeking analysis anymore. It pays way better to be able to communicate/debate justifications for agendas - i.e. having a talent for bullsh*t.

 

That has been an (unfortunate) fact since eternity. The smartest and best fit for the role persons don't always get the job - often a good BS artist trumps them. I've seen this happen in management roles throughout my working life. How well you communicate/BS also has a big impact during interviews, irrespective of your knowledge, including for technical roles. Politics is often about manipulating the herd with BS. As Armstrong often mentions, career politicians are not the best option for society.

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IMO, it boils down to how strong you feel about how the government policies are:

  •  directly impacting the life that you desire for yourself & family,
  • likely to impact your descendants when you're gone

 

That has been an (unfortunate) fact since eternity. The smartest and best fit for the role persons don't always get the job - often a good BS artist trumps them. I've seen this happen in management roles throughout my working life. How well you communicate/BS also has a big impact during interviews, irrespective of your knowledge, including for technical roles. Politics is often about manipulating the herd with BS. As Armstrong often mentions, career politicians are not the best option for society.

 

Armstrong is a very interesting writer. His views and purported insights into the shenanigans "behind the curtain" are fascinating. And yes, politics seem to be mainly about BS from vested interests. There is nothing one can do about it - other than be aware of the BS de jour that gets served up. But even that seems pointless. The "sheeple" always wins - that is how markets work. House prices go up regardless of the absurdity of it.

 

The question about truth affects so many areas in life. Apart from figuring out if X is a good investment, it also goes down to life's choices. Why do I want a certain thing? Is it just culture and BS that creates this desire for - investments, bigger houses, status, career, etc, etc.

 

To truly go your own way is both difficult and hard. The hard thing is that the sheeple normally wins and you lose. It takes a certain type of obsessive weirdos (like tor :)) to make a success of a life of individuality.

 

Maybe another way is to just want less.

Edited by AndersB

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You've poked my interest Anders.

You know there is no answer to your question, don't you?

It is a magnificent question, in the same vein as that which Pontius Pilate asked Jesus, two millenia ago.

"What is truth?"

In fact it is one of the major threads of John's gospel.

Take for example this gem.

John 14:17 (NRSV)
17  This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.

"Truth!" A fascinating subject to say the least.

 

Truth can be both subjective and objective.

It can be relative and yet obscure.

Truth can be real and yet mystery.

Truth is tangible and yet intangible.

Truth is often paradoxical rather than factual.

Truth may be expressed by myth, as well as narrative.

Truth can be fictional and yet also non-fictional.

eg; We make decisions early in our life based upon our assumptions about a particular truth of life. For us at that moment it is almost absolute truth.

Only to discover decades later that we were wrong. It was all an illusion.

 

I am discovering what a nation and a society exists like without the knowledge of the vagaries of truth.

We believe "science" alone tells the truth.

Remember the context of my question from the previous GHPC forum. "Is economics a reality, a science, a religion, or a myth?"

We believe history, as if it is based upon scientific fact. Is it?

Even to "believe", something suggests it is not fact but mere belief.

We know electricity is real because we have developed the means to measure it.

Is this what constitutes truth?

Measurable results?

Yet many people believe what the media (social, main stream, etc) says, even if they have nothing to guage it against.

There is a place for mythbusters in ever generation, but even they arrive at inclusive results at times.

People are willing to accept the astrologers predictions, and the dream merchants peddlings, without a moment's hesitation and yet the considered arguments of the philosophers are dismissed as "mumbo jumbo"

 

There is no answer to your or Pilate's question.

Ask any judge whether they ever arrive completely at the truth.

Many convictions are made on the "weight" of evidence, not whether it is the truth, or not.

If two people observe an accident and give conflicting eye witness accounts, are they wrong, or simply expressing perceptions.

 

We live in the age of personal opinion.

Truth has become obsolete.

Absolute and ultimate truths are a fantasy of our collective imagination.

How could Jesus ever possibly claim?

"I am the way, the truth and the life."

Because now, apparently, each of us is!!!

 


So, what is truth about experienced reality?

 

Try answering these two questions:

  • Are house prices at crazy bubble levels?
  • Was Julia Gillard a good Prime Minister?

Depending on your point of view - your perceptions of the reality (answered truth) of those two questions could end up being vastly different from some other persons perspective. Well, there were at least a few differences of opinions in the old GHCP forum...

 

If the truth of experienced reality is so wildly relative - is there any point in trying to find truth itself? Is there any point in debating anything?

 

Maybe we should just pick a viewpoint that makes us happy, gives us confidence - and meets our selfish needs.

 

But somehow, that seems to be so shallow. Yet, society doesn't seem to put much value in truth seeking analysis anymore. It pays way better to be able to communicate/debate justifications for agendas - i.e. having a talent for bullsh*t.

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Perhaps the hardest part is defining what is important in one's life? Too many options? Not passionate about one thing in particular? Fearful of change? Not enough time to do everything? And it becomes exponentially harder married with children. Compromise is the order of the day.

 

I'd suggest that becoming an obsessive weirdo may be in your best interests! I find weirdos make far more interesting company even if their 'truth' doesn't always align with what mostly appears to be the truth. They are also more likely to become specialists in what they 'do'.

 

I have abandoned the concept of society. I don't vote, don't 'pay' infringement notices, avoid MSM like the plague and intend to stop paying taxes in the future. In that respect I am selfish. I seek happiness for my family, to support my communities, and enough time to pursue my curiosities and creative interests. I think there is still merit in debate, because it helps us discover new perspectives (or points of ignorance) so we can grow. But this is not the 'debates' that politicians have so best to avoid those.

 

If you have trouble defining what is important then I'd suggest an ayahuasca tour in the Amazon or a peyote ritual in North America. At a minimum you'll have a memorable holiday far removed from your regular routines. :)

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I'd suggest that becoming an obsessive weirdo may be in your best interests!

Done!

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You've poked my interest Anders.

You know there is no answer to your question, don't you?

It is a magnificent question, in the same vein as that which Pontius Pilate asked Jesus, two millenia ago.

"What is truth?"

In fact it is one of the major threads of John's gospel.

Take for example this gem.

John 14:17 (NRSV)

17  This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.

"Truth!" A fascinating subject to say the least.

 

Truth can be both subjective and objective.

It can be relative and yet obscure.

Truth can be real and yet mystery.

Truth is tangible and yet intangible.

Truth is often paradoxical rather than factual.

Truth may be expressed by myth, as well as narrative.

Truth can be fictional and yet also non-fictional.

eg; We make decisions early in our life based upon our assumptions about a particular truth of life. For us at that moment it is almost absolute truth.

Only to discover decades later that we were wrong. It was all an illusion.

 

I am discovering what a nation and a society exists like without the knowledge of the vagaries of truth.

We believe "science" alone tells the truth.

Remember the context of my question from the previous GHPC forum. "Is economics a reality, a science, a religion, or a myth?"

We believe history, as if it is based upon scientific fact. Is it?

Even to "believe", something suggests it is not fact but mere belief.

We know electricity is real because we have developed the means to measure it.

Is this what constitutes truth?

Measurable results?

Yet many people believe what the media (social, main stream, etc) says, even if they have nothing to guage it against.

There is a place for mythbusters in ever generation, but even they arrive at inclusive results at times.

People are willing to accept the astrologers predictions, and the dream merchants peddlings, without a moment's hesitation and yet the considered arguments of the philosophers are dismissed as "mumbo jumbo"

 

There is no answer to your or Pilate's question.

Ask any judge whether they ever arrive completely at the truth.

Many convictions are made on the "weight" of evidence, not whether it is the truth, or not.

If two people observe an accident and give conflicting eye witness accounts, are they wrong, or simply expressing perceptions.

 

We live in the age of personal opinion.

Truth has become obsolete.

Absolute and ultimate truths are a fantasy of our collective imagination.

How could Jesus ever possibly claim?

"I am the way, the truth and the life."

Because now, apparently, each of us is!!!

 

It would be great to catch up with you in person one day over a meal and plenty of fortified drink to go with this kind of interesting discussion.

 

Everything we know turns out to be belief. At the risk of sounding trite and undergraduate - there is no true knowledge about anything. Granted, empirical observations give you statistical samples. How you interpret the data depends on your knowledge and skills for analysis. I 'believe' in the math that produces implied knowledge from statistical methods. (BTW, gravity is curved and relative, apparently). And of course, there are ways of dealing with information and "knowledge" that lead to practical uses.

 

But what about all personal anecdotal observations in life? I used to think that my adoptive mother caused a big missing part in my sense of identity because she flatly refused to talk about my original background. It was a taboo subject at home, which made me fear the worst about who I truly was. Only after her death did I find the original documentation for the adoption process. Something had gone seriously wrong and my adoption was deemed illegal by my birth country for many years. It was not resolved until I was 8 years old! No wonder she was panicked about the whole situation and rejected anything that could even remotely suggest that I wasn't fully her son.

 

So now I see things differently about the past. I was wrong and indeed saw an illusion.

 

Perhaps you can re-interpret your whole history? Does changing your history change who you are today?

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...

I'd suggest that becoming an obsessive weirdo may be in your best interests! I find weirdos make far more interesting company even if their 'truth' doesn't always align with what mostly appears to be the truth. They are also more likely to become specialists in what they 'do'.

 

I have abandoned the concept of society. I don't vote, don't 'pay' infringement notices, avoid MSM like the plague and intend to stop paying taxes in the future. In that respect I am selfish. I seek happiness for my family, to support my communities, and enough time to pursue my curiosities and creative interests. I think there is still merit in debate, because it helps us discover new perspectives (or points of ignorance) so we can grow. But this is not the 'debates' that politicians have so best to avoid those.

 

If you have trouble defining what is important then I'd suggest an ayahuasca tour in the Amazon or a peyote ritual in North America. At a minimum you'll have a memorable holiday far removed from your regular routines. :)

 

Hmmm... this recipe for success in life seems to have legs. Perhaps we should start a Society for Obsessive Weirdness?

 

Be careful with that "alternative" information lifestyle of yours - or you will lose touch with the state sanctioned "reality"! :)

 

On a completely different note - I once thought about starting the opposite of the Skeptics Society - the Society for the Extremely Gullible. The website would promise all sorts of indirect benefits with paid membership. It should have stories of people that shortly after joining the society had noticed restored hair growth and amazing success with the opposite sex. Or instructions on how to write letters asking for financial support and send them to Nigeria. That kind of stuff. But I haven't had the heart to do it. No doubt there will be some people that will take such a spoof site seriously! :o

Edited by AndersB

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It would be great to catch up with you in person one day over a meal and plenty of fortified drink to go with this kind of interesting discussion.

 

Everything we know turns out to be belief. At the risk of sounding trite and undergraduate - there is no true knowledge about anything. Granted, empirical observations give you statistical samples. How you interpret the data depends on your knowledge and skills for analysis. I 'believe' in the math that produces implied knowledge from statistical methods. (BTW, gravity is curved and relative, apparently). And of course, there are ways of dealing with information and "knowledge" that lead to practical uses.

 

But what about all personal anecdotal observations in life? I used to think that my adoptive mother caused a big missing part in my sense of identity because she flatly refused to talk about my original background. It was a taboo subject at home, which made me fear the worst about who I truly was. Only after her death did I find the original documentation for the adoption process. Something had gone seriously wrong and my adoption was deemed illegal by my birth country for many years. It was not resolved until I was 8 years old! No wonder she was panicked about the whole situation and rejected anything that could even remotely suggest that I wasn't fully her son.

 

So now I see things differently about the past. I was wrong and indeed saw an illusion.

 

Perhaps you can re-interpret your whole history? Does changing your history change who you are today?

"Everything we know turns out to be belief!!"

Exactly.

And when you know this, you know the truth.

This is the revelation Jesus is renowned for, and died for.

He was crucified for others beliefs. Certainly not the truth!

The resurrection is a belief.

Is it the truth, or not?

Are any beliefs truth, or not?

 

Us human beings like to believe that we are logical, mechanical beings, unaffected by experience of our natural world and our own human life.

I believe we simply cannot.

We are organic, creative, thinkers; affected by the natural world and the elements. We think differently when we are hot to when we are cold. We act differently when it is raining to when the sun is shining. Our emotions are aroused by a small beetle stuck in a bottle, and yet we can be apathetic about a massacre of thousands of people.

What effect does this have on our interpretation of the truth?

Despite our best efforts, truth still defies our grasp.

Refer to this essay from Stanford Encyclopedia or Philosophy.

 

"Perhaps you can re-interpret your whole history? Does changing your history change who you are today?"

Reflective learning constantly re-interprets ourselves, in the light of new experience.

That is why we never remain the same person.

Every experience of life impacts upon our interpretation of who we are.

Every encounter with another person influences my perception of myself.

Sometimes to reinforce what I think I know about myself and at other times to contradict what I thought I knew.

The development of the Johari Window by Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham helped more clearly identify the "dark unconscious" or "unknown self".

This is not a process whereby we become a completely new person, but rather we have more of our true self revealed.

So much of life's experience is unconscious.

Bringing it into the conscious, can be a painful and revealing exercise.

 

Thank you Anders for sharing your story of your childhood with us.

It enabled my previous post to be so much more personal than simply a set of generic ideas.

From your words I gained a little more insight into your true self.

I also think/believe, that your journey through that experience has opened you to so many other possibilities that other people miss.

Are our individual selves ever fully known to us, or to others?

That's another branch of truth.

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Armstrong is a very interesting writer. His views and purported insights into the shenanigans "behind the curtain" are fascinating. And yes, politics seem to be mainly about BS from vested interests. There is nothing one can do about it - other than be aware of the BS de jour that gets served up. But even that seems pointless. The "sheeple" always wins - that is how markets work. House prices go up regardless of the absurdity of it.

 

The question about truth affects so many areas in life. Apart from figuring out if X is a good investment, it also goes down to life's choices. Why do I want a certain thing? Is it just culture and BS that creates this desire for - investments, bigger houses, status, career, etc, etc.

 

To truly go your own way is both difficult and hard. The hard thing is that the sheeple normally wins and you lose. It takes a certain type of obsessive weirdos (like tor :)) to make a success of a life of individuality.

 

Maybe another way is to just want less.

 

In terms of investment, anyone that doesn't invest in property is swimming upstream in this country at least. That is an objective truth. I haven't ever chosen to do so because I don't like being in debt. I do believe that qualifies me an obsessive weirdo. 

 

Your point about other life choices is an important influence in my personal weirdness. 

 

I spend a lot of time trying to work out what I actually want. Needs are universal (food, shelter, air, relationships and employment) so there's not much point discussing them. Although relationships and employment are likely optional for most I'm counting them as needs personally. 

 

The things you mention (big house, status, career etc) are meaningless unless your desire is to impress others. Some want this above all else.

 

Don't get me wrong, I like to own things. Perhaps not the usual things. I rather enjoy owning a sailing dinghy, a sh*tload of music CDs and a smoker BBQ among other things. The gist of which is that these things not only give me pleasure but are functional. I would like a better push bike now I'm riding to work but in reality my old bike will serve until I prove I can rise above adversity and ride through winter (in Canberra - no mean feat) I'll pay for experiences nowadays but possessions are a burden. 

 

We recently filled a skip with collected detritus and donated a bunch more to charity. My soul if I had one feels lighter. 

 

In terms of truth as I remember it - it is entirely subjective. My recollection of anything you care to name is flawed and only ever seen through the filter of my own unreliable memory. If you really want to remember events as they appeared I suggest wearing a go-pro at all times.  :)

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"Everything we know turns out to be belief!!"

Exactly.

And when you know this, you know the truth.

This is the revelation Jesus is renowned for, and died for.

He was crucified for others beliefs. Certainly not the truth!

The resurrection is a belief.

Is it the truth, or not?

Are any beliefs truth, or not?

 

Us human beings like to believe that we are logical, mechanical beings, unaffected by experience of our natural world and our own human life.

I believe we simply cannot.

We are organic, creative, thinkers; affected by the natural world and the elements. We think differently when we are hot to when we are cold. We act differently when it is raining to when the sun is shining. Our emotions are aroused by a small beetle stuck in a bottle, and yet we can be apathetic about a massacre of thousands of people.

What effect does this have on our interpretation of the truth?

Despite our best efforts, truth still defies our grasp.

Refer to this essay from Stanford Encyclopedia or Philosophy.

 

"Perhaps you can re-interpret your whole history? Does changing your history change who you are today?"

Reflective learning constantly re-interprets ourselves, in the light of new experience.

That is why we never remain the same person.

Every experience of life impacts upon our interpretation of who we are.

Every encounter with another person influences my perception of myself.

Sometimes to reinforce what I think I know about myself and at other times to contradict what I thought I knew.

The development of the Johari Window by Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham helped more clearly identify the "dark unconscious" or "unknown self".

This is not a process whereby we become a completely new person, but rather we have more of our true self revealed.

So much of life's experience is unconscious.

Bringing it into the conscious, can be a painful and revealing exercise.

 

Thank you Anders for sharing your story of your childhood with us.

It enabled my previous post to be so much more personal than simply a set of generic ideas.

From your words I gained a little more insight into your true self.

I also think/believe, that your journey through that experience has opened you to so many other possibilities that other people miss.

Are our individual selves ever fully known to us, or to others?

That's another branch of truth.

 

Is there any objective truth in your view sol? Or is all truth based solely on belief?

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... I do believe that qualifies me an obsessive weirdo.

 

Great! Another card carrying member to the rapidly growing Society for Obsessive Weirdos - SOW.

 

The things you mention (big house, status, career etc) are meaningless unless your desire is to impress others. Some want this above all else.

 

I would feel great pain in not fulfilling my potential. It would feel like a waste of my life and whatever talents that have been my lot. It is not about impressing anyone else (at least not primarily).

 

In terms of truth as I remember it - it is entirely subjective. My recollection of anything you care to name is flawed and only ever seen through the filter of my own unreliable memory. If you really want to remember events as they appeared I suggest wearing a go-pro at all times.   :)

 

Even a go-pro would not help. We can continually re-construct the meaning or details of what we see.

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We recently filled a skip with collected detritus and donated a bunch more to charity. My soul if I had one feels lighter. 

 

This! When we left australia and gave away almost everything we owned it was incredible. I won't lay claim to a soul either though.

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Is there any objective truth in your view sol? Or is all truth based solely on belief?

This is actually harder to answer than you might imagine SC.

There are several schools of philosophical thought which suggest that all objective truth is only truth when it has passed through the mind of a human being.

ie; Gravity exists, but human beings have labelled it, and human beings have defined what the word gravity refers to. Water is wet, but what do we mean by wet?, etc, etc.

Can the basic elements or building blocks of life be something different?

Prof Einstein, (as I was informed and so I "believe" to be true) claimed that even the theory of relativity may not hold true, if space and time are not constant.

If we could manipulate the dimension of space and time, would that change the physical nature of things we currently regard as tangible and empirical truth.

I wish I had just a fragment of his mind to understand such things on a mathematical level. (I don't)

And again we have to consider are mathematics truth?

We place such incredible value upon numbers, (Martin Armstrong = Pi), but are mathematics an invention of our human intellect, or do they exist even if we did not?

 

The power of our mind to attach ultimate values to very mundane things, is a fascinating capability of human beings.

What importance do we place on water, food, beer, gold, etc, etc.

Is this objective truth?

 

Personally, I'm inclined to believe there is objective truth.

I am, therefore I am.

I'm intrigued that God claimed the name of YHWH in Hebrew. "I am who I am".

 

But on a philosophical level, the true test of objective truth is; Truth that exists whether we exist or not.

I guess it depends then on what you claim to be "objective" truth.

The philosophical imperative will always challenge the human description of the truth, which you might hold to be objective. There concern is; Where does the human bias or influence intersect, with the known?

I would hold the view that a large proportion of what passes as objective truth is basic human belief or even human perception, and maybe even human assumption.

 

This is my rather simplistic answer to an extremely complex subject, SC.

I cannot give justice to the many magnificent thinkers who have pondered such things in the past and continue to do so in the present.

In the end though we have to simply live our life. Making decisions as we are required to.

Such is life.

The fact that you ask the question, is a testament though to your own avid curiosity and enquiring mind.

I wish you well in the pursuit of truth.

A truly magnificent and mysterious quest.

Once you commence this journey you can never be satisfied.

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This! When we left australia and gave away almost everything we owned it was incredible. I won't lay claim to a soul either though.

 

TBH you guys were a bit of an inspiration for this. 

 

 

...

 

 

Well it's a pretty damn good attempt at an answer. it covers a lot of bases. Thank you. I knew it wasn't an easy question. i wouldn't insult you with an easy question Sol.

 

I tend to think that mathematics doesn't need human understanding to be true.

 

Could the universe exist without humans? I think it could and has in the past and could in the future. Actually, the sheer numbers involved lead me to believe that through pure random chance that a civilisation somewhere always exists that may be pondering the same questions as we are now. (Yes I believe in aliens)  :)

 

Mathematical explanations for things such as the way plants grow can be deduced with the advent of computers. Mandelbrot sets can simulate the form of plants for example. This in no way reduces my awe at a forest. But being an empirical sort of chap it removes another barrier to my understanding of the world. I'm always happier when this occurs. 

 

I think you are 100% correct with human interpretation of truth. Way too many filters for any reliable data to be obtained.

 

I do get a sense that you are on the same quest for truth Sol as am I. I think we can embark together.

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If you aren't going to retreat down the solipsist rabbit hole you have to accept certain truths. Geometry is a good place to start.

 

Then mostly it comes down to what you accept as truth and what you accept as faith. And working out how to avoid the internal contradictions.

 

You can consider quantum physics truth and you can consider free will truth, but only if you believe in a God that can change the universe and does every time you exercise free will.

 

Unless you want to claim logic is not a truth but logic lead to quantum physics.

 

Gets tricky pretty quick.

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If you aren't going to retreat down the solipsist rabbit hole you have to accept certain truths. Geometry is a good place to start.

 

Then mostly it comes down to what you accept as truth and what you accept as faith. And working out how to avoid the internal contradictions.

 

You can consider quantum physics truth and you can consider free will truth, but only if you believe in a God that can change the universe and does every time you exercise free will.

 

Unless you want to claim logic is not a truth but logic lead to quantum physics.

 

Gets tricky pretty quick.

 

I'm not for turning. Mathematics don't require our existence. The golden ratio exists whether we are here to interpret it or not. This has been evidenced to me most recently with a shot of NYE in Manchester. It's beautiful and terrifying. Just like the universe. It's not a case of trees and forests. Which of course comes down to belief again. Man, I love this conversation.  :)

 

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/jan/03/like-a-beautiful-painting-image-of-new-years-mayhem-in-manchester-goes-viral

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My thread is derailed!  :unsure:

 

I had hoped we could get deeper into how to practically apply epistemology to constructing your version of reality that is helpful.

 

How do you turn this philosophical trickery https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epistemology into a winning strategy?

 

For example, can redefining your past help you in the present? When do you "know" with enough confidence that an investment is good?

 

But, since we are on the subject of drunken revelry, it is good to see that age-old traditions are still maintained by the current generation.

1371001992_William_Hogarth_-_Gin_Lane.jp

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I had hoped we could get deeper into how to practically apply epistemology to constructing your version of reality that is helpful.

 

How do you turn this philosophical trickery https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epistemology into a winning strategy?

 

For example, can redefining your past help you in the present? When do you "know" with enough confidence that an investment is good?

I think people in general don't need help using that kind of trickery. Success is highly correlated with "What I did" beliefs.

 

If anything I would suspect that looking for why your erroneous beliefs happened to be successful is a better recipe for success.

 

If it is, like the example of the guy with 10 coins in his pocket, purely random and self absorbed then it is useless.

 

However if the action correlation to success was tangential then working out those tangents and taking advantage of them is not a bad idea. As an example:

 

I bought a bunch of cigars, effectively a lifetime supply.

I constructed a series of rational arguments as to why this was a good investment (some cigars age well I tried to buy them before everyone knew which ones would, America is likely to open Cuba and through demand either destroy quality or increase prices etc).

When leaving Australia I sold them all and made a decent profit.

 

A tiny part of this profit was related to my theories (I did choose varieties pretty well). But the vast majority of it was because Australia has over priced cigars (I bought internationally due to the volumes), excises go up by more than inflation, and very few people buy a lifetime supply of things let alone invest in cigars.

 

If I continued to believe my theoretical reasons rather than actual ones I wouldn't learn a thing which would help me live a better life.

 

But by assuming I am an idiot that will happily claim unwarranted success I can identify a new thing which might make my life better (any investment which increases in value directly due to a tax which outpaces inflation is worth considering).

 

I can also learn something which makes my life more fun! (taking things I enjoy to the extreme can be profitable).

 

So by using the reverse of the "redefining your past to support your beliefs" idea I figure you can have a better life.

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I'm not for turning. Mathematics don't require our existence. The golden ratio exists whether we are here to interpret it or not. This has been evidenced to me most recently with a shot of NYE in Manchester. It's beautiful and terrifying. Just like the universe. It's not a case of trees and forests. Which of course comes down to belief again. Man, I love this conversation.  

Ahh yes.

I'm sure mathematics existed before we existed, but much of the development of mathematics was constructed through human 'filters'. (I can't think of a better word at present)

The study of pi for instance was searched for by the Babylonians and Egyptians 3000 years ago, but it took Archimedes to finally develop a definite formula for calculating it.

 

Anders wants to know how we can determine the truth from an investment point of view.

Some people use graphs, others use tables, and some use cycles to try and pinpoint the future.

If there was such a thing as a surefire investment, I guarantee everyone would be in it. And of course, that would ruin it for everyone as well.

I struggle to make sense of the world as it is.

Some say take your cash out of the banks.

Others say put it in.

Some say invest in gold.

Others say it is a useless investment.

Some say a balanced portfolio for shares and bonds.

Others say you won't get ahead unless you have some money in a growth/risk area.

Some say invest in the share market.

Others say avoid the share market.

For the past 2 decades people have been spruiking real estate as the fail safe investment. (House prices never go down!)

I hate to imagine what happens to our economy in Australia, if they ever do go down.

Many of my own family will suffer.

I wish I knew what the truth is.

I don't and no one else does either.

In that case we are all speculators.

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Another aspect is the influence of nature vs nurture vs free will on our being.

 

The problematic bit is that our experience of both nature and nurture are up for interpretation and deconstruction - a relativistic pursuit with no fixed frame of reference.

 

So I get back to one of my points: can we by free will change who we are by just choosing how we see and experience the past and present world around us - and how we see and experience ourselves?

 

One practical example of this is how Buddhists follow a process of not needing anything to be content and happy. So being happy may not have to be forever linked to possessions, status, and experiences, according to them.

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We don't have free will unless there is a fundamental thing is the universe we haven't noticed whatsoever. Everything we have noticed is random or determinate (neither of which can produce free will).

 

It would be quite a big discovery to find a third thing!

 

Therefore, no, we likely cannot by free will change anything.

 

(Although I suspect we can, in a deterministic fashion, change how we see the world and be different people)

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We don't have free will unless there is a fundamental thing is the universe we haven't noticed whatsoever. Everything we have noticed is random or determinate (neither of which can produce free will).

 

It would be quite a big discovery to find a third thing!

 

Therefore, no, we likely cannot by free will change anything.

 

(Although I suspect we can, in a deterministic fashion, change how we see the world and be different people)

 

You are an obsessive weirdo that take things to the extreme!

 

That's why we like you.... :)

 

If everything is random and deterministic with no free will (together with the solipsism you have mentioned) - then everything is totally meaningless! Or as meaningful as a machine that has random malfunctions.

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The universe is deterministic, doesn't make it boring.

 

Given that there has been plenty of electrode in the brain type science which shows people arguing that they chose to do something and it was just a coincidence that they chose to do it at the same moment the electrode forced them to.

 

And given that there is no logical root cause of free will

 

I'd argue that the overwhelming feeling of having free will is indistinguishable from having it in some ways. As proof ask yourself if you have free will. I surmise that the illusion of free will is so powerful that it is functionally the same, philosophically, as having free will. Therefore the universe is no more meaningful with or without free will.

 

Solipsism is just a by product of taking Plato's cave to the extreme. If all you can recognise in others is interpreted via faulty observation tools and then the faulty observations are filtered through a poor modelling tool then when we deal with others we are dealing with effectively a construct that we may as well have created ourselves in terms of the uniqueness of people. I don't really feel solipsist but I realise I, for most intents and purposes, am.

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On other words, free will 'works' because it acts like a placebo?

Edited by Mr Medved

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