You know, there are problems with Post-Modernism: different opinions have the same weight; no grand narratives; science is not objective; no objective reality etc. To some extent I may agree almost with all those premises. For example, I’m questioning so called expert knowledge, and in some fields, especially, in arts, this knowledge is based entirely upon subjective feelings. I’m also questioning grand narratives e.g. that society somewhat progresses. Here I adhere to the (maybe) reductionist argument: no progress until we escape the burden of our biology including the brain itself. So the question is could we potentially combine rationality with post-modernism? Some people argue that it’s possible. That we can combine it in Skeptical Modernism where there are such premises as (I quote here):
Seemingly objective facts are often actually subjective (the date when Rome fell depends on how you define “falling” and perhaps the date we use is affected by incentives)
Objective criteria of what counts as what are generally dependent on subjective opinions about what should count as important
The answers to popular debates are often less interesting than the question ‘why are we having these debates at all?’
Science is not quite as objective as it appears, as while there are certain standards or rules as to how various pieces of conflicting evidence should be compared, there isn’t a comprehensive, universally agreed upon standard for this
Our culture raises us from birth to think a certain way and it is impossible for us to completely escape this influence
Most people have a tendency to generalise their beliefs of how society should work to other societies with a very limited understanding of the cultural context. Even people who are well educated generally don’t have the same experience that people in that culture have.
The language that we have access to makes some ideas easier or harder for us form and communicate
That moral intuitions differ widely between societies so we should strongly question whether our moral beliefs are well justified
Society seems to have been progressing over the last few hundred years, but not in all ways and this progress is far from guaranteed
Democracy is generally good, but it requires a specific type of cultural context to work
I don’t know to what extent it would be useful to develop this idea further though. But it adds something to think about at least.
Fight, flight, fear & fuck. You may not like it but that’s how it goes. Yes, you’d have said that there is a one more F: find. You’re desperately trying to find some crack between those strong Fs. Something that cannot be related to Fs. But probably you’ll fail. I’d like to hope you won’t. Fs bless you. Moloch bless you.
Recently Scott Alexander wrote about the policy decision-making dichotomy: Mistake vs. Conflict. I.e. there are people who engage in policy making in the mistake way (you thouroughly think over every decision regardless of your interests/self-interests/class interests, gather smart guys together to help you etc., and you find that the current bad state of affairs is because of some error in the decision-making process), and who engage in the conflict way (you stop your thinking at the “this is all about conflict of interests” thing). Sure, this dichotomy is not that staright, and it’s hugely simplified but you get the gist. There are a lot of comments there. But I think they are missing the neuro/genetic part of the story. I mean there are people who are conflict-y by nature (some environmental factors exist too), there are those who more rational, there are people who are more or less on the both sides. This leads to obviously different ways in dealing with problems (not only political ones). Besides, as someone already mentioned in the comments, people may behave differently in different situations. So in the end it’s useful to know that such dichotomy may appear in the decision-making process. Though I don’t know exactly how to rule out this in reality considering that we are all humans after all. And even scientists are humans too.
I wrote a post on LJ regarding OKcupid blog post. There were some interesting (alas in Russian) comments why the trends described in the OKpost may emerge. In particular, it seems women pay more attention to their appearance than men which makes sense. And that should have skewed the graph on women attractiveness to the right but in reality (and if we assume the data presented there is true) the graph is normalized. So it’s possible that women’s attractiveness (maybe due to paying more attention to appearance that somehow skewes overall rating to the average) eventually are normalized — i.e. the graph becomes more or less evenly spred.
Low-status is, in some particular cases, to be too honest. Meditate a couple of minutes on this. You’ll see it’s so true that it hurts.
Yep, I should quit watching TBBT. At the 4th season I gave up. Producers should have stopped at the 3d one. Humor became so obviously vulgar, flooding with too much of low quality social interaction issues. I cannot identify myself with some of the main characters anymore. Where should I go to relax my brain at the end of the day now?
By the way, regarding indentifying yourself with some characters. Recently I had conversation offline where the thought had slipped that on some level you should identify yourself with characters/cases in an artwork to fully appreciate and like that artwork. The more you identify yourself, the more
you immerse into the artwork. That also increases the probability of remembering it. Sure, there are many factors at work here, not only identification. Sometimes there is also no identification at all.
It’s done: now irritation, anger, and other nice things are called as misophonia disorder. They claim in the article that in sensitive persons such sounds may induce outbursts of violent behavior towards the source of noises. It also claims you can only “deal with it” using coping mechanisms, and can get rid of the disoder only with some yet discovered medications.
Here is some interesting observasions from the person who was on ‘acid’ for almost a year. Some caveats to keep in mind while reading: there are potential memory biases involved because I suppose it’s quite hard to remember yourself before the experience, and compare your before- and after-states; also it’s the one such case known so the data there is anecdotal.
Really, on the one hand we have early European electronic scene which started in the late 70s, on the other we have 80s’ Detroit techno where, basically, techno was born as we know it today. Sure, things are much more complicated here with some elements of dub and other stuff involved but let’s it stay as a beautiful metaphor.
I think I’ve found a pretty interesting blog about physics. It contains not only posts on physics but about other science-y stuff. Here is the one that I stumbled upon on a Reddit thread recently. It proposes a possibility of emergence of space from quantum mechanics which is a rather straightforward idea (though a quite hard one for laypeople like me): if quantum mechanics is the basement primitive element in our understanding of the world, why we cannot use it to describe space & time. Yeah, sure, quantum effects are hard, if at all possible, to transfer to macrolevel but what if they’re connected, and we have not been aware of this fact? I do not think I understood it fully but it seems the work given there opens an interesting can of worm
holes. And that work is related to the paper issued a couple of weeks ago.