Is Our Naive Sensual Comprehension
of the World Worth Stock?
The Micro-Internal Universe
The Middle Place We Occupy
Science contradicts our sense that the earth is flat, that God created it and that we were spontaneously invented by him as spirits in the material element. Overtime, we have traveled from the superstitious to observable facts by rational necessary connections. For reasons I explain elsewhere, it took far too long to get to a point where we know a few things about the world fairly clearly. The micro universe is filled with so much space that the solidity of such things as a chair is an illusion. When you sit on one you are actually free falling, figuratively speaking. There is atomic space between atoms so great it can to be likened as an analogy to the distance between solar systems.
It is a fact that galaxies are receding away from The Milky Way, and this means that the macro universe is an expanding, ever-changing, out of control event where our sense of its permanency and regularity is human fantasy. Apparently a great percentage of the universe is made of dark matter, (dark energy or dark gravity makes up around 68 percent, dark matter 27 percent, and visible or baryonic matter, 5 persent). which like atomic structure itself we cannot directly sense anymore than thousands of years before we could have been certain the earth was round. M Theory and the full laws of quantum gravity can lead us to multiple universes and the generation of a spontaneous cosmos. We can fire God from his day job as the Creator and He could be free to join a rock and roll band at night. They could call themselves String Theory. Even in the middle place between micro and macro, the world is a dull grey affair to which we as perceiver bring all of the colors, smells and other sensual attributes to the world.
Is our naive comprehension of the material world valueless then?
You could offer a good answer to that if you thought for a moment that we are creatures so subjectively challenged that when our egocentric world views are confuted by facts, we often deny them. The observer presents the theory that the earth is round to the king. The king may have the observer beheaded. Progress for humankind has gone torturously slow. Many things are counter intuitive but there is no conspiracy of the senses. We are not stuck in a cave, life is not a legerdemain and the chimera of matter is not a prestidigitation.
We come from trees and were evolved to be with them as one, that is to say, it is our natural home from which we sprang. This then is certainly enough of a solid regular event for us to thrive, leave the trees, build civilizations and even find out a few things scientifically. However, in the real world, if you run into a wall, the subatomic theory of matter won’t make a bit of difference even if you believe in telekinesis. We evolved to survive the dangers of life and to know for sure an event like the tree: its shape, smell, taste, feel, everything about it. If we record on film the tree in its entirety and show it to a million viewers, took them to the actual tree to verify it, what we’d realize is a massive agreement among them about two events: the viewing of the recording and the tree itself. There would be unanimous agreement. The tree and the recording of the tree identify the same event.
Objectivity can be achieved even in a creature so crippled by subjectivism that after all of this time we are still having this conversation. While we can’t see the actual event at the subatomic level, the tree is not open to what we might call pathological sciences such as religion, politics, psychokinesis or paranormal reality. Everyone comprehends it; we were built to. As for its seeming objectivity: just as perfect goodness is worth striving for even if you know you can’t actually attain it, so is philosophic, journalistic and scientific objectivity. How do we get from the tree to the subatomic event which we can’t see to the greater cosmos where we can only speculate? It isn’t so hard as you might imagine.
Some 2500 years ago, Democritus coined the word ‘atom’ and invented the atomic theory. “What is in water-earth-fire-wind is the immutable tiny substances which I call atoms,” he wrote. “They form all things and have two properties: size and shape. All other properties we attribute to matter, such as weight, color and taste. These are the result of difficult interactions between atoms. The real attribute of atoms direct the perceived attribute of matter. What is solid, such as rock, is made of large atoms at rest. What is liquid, such as water, is made of small atoms in motion. By convention sweet, by convention bitter, by convention hot, by convention cold, by convention color. In reality, only atoms and void.”
Our senses are modified by our reason, incoming data is enough information for a good start to the basis of knowledge. We need some staple facts to build on, or heaven forbid we might be even more incredibly subjective and wishful thinking than we already are. Material events are occurring slowly enough for us to study and grow. The senses are strangely reliable. Rene Descartes was somewhat unjust about them; John Locke was more to the mark and no one since has given them their due, especially David Hume and all his philosophic descendants.
The reason why some psychologists disdain such concepts as Neuroplasticity, rich home environments for children, (versus all other factors in their environment) and the 10,000 hour rule is its ancient wisdom—“Practice makes perfect”— that confutes the counter intuitive facts that we are often fooled by induction. However, it needs to be stressed to members of the social sciences that Karl Popper solved this problem by falsifiability. The sun does not move across the sky. That's an illusion. The bird which does move across the sky has no intrinsic colours; we supply those by human perception. That is also an illusion. Human excellence depends on work and has less to do with human created artificial barriers than most social scientists think. It’s just plain damn hard work. Staying in at night to do four hours of homework after school—Black, Yellow, Brown and White—is painstaking for everyone, but whoever perseveres applies for the 10,000 hour revolution in your own project: the self! So in some ways the mind isn't always reliable when using induction, racists don’t realize we came from Africa (a group of Black African Hunter-gatherers 40 to 80 strong or more). That’s induction gone horribly wrong and leading to so much bad philosophy, especially from all the progressives, Antisemites and Teutonic intellectuals of the last century who jump to conclusions about Homo sapiens which now seem completely laughable yet ended in so much calamity. But we have a superior explanation now with modern critical thinking (i.e., neo-evolution theory), including: induction, deduction, reduction, science, self-criticism, intuition-pumps, falsifiability, Affect theory, scepticism and so forth i.e., reason. Given our propensity to form patterns that don't exist and judge behaviours that are not intrinsic to any group but to all people (each and every one of us), the best counter balance for most people is excellence in human capital, fairness in trade and optimism about the market economy where we are all forced to excel to earn a living (as it were). There the 10,000 hour rule and human capital walk hand in hand and many psychologists hate that fact, many are biased toward large government involvement in the lives of people; however, human excellence doesn't stop at 10,000 hours, but 20, 30, 40, 50 and maybe even 60,000 hours if you live long enough; that's why wisdom only comes with age and the smartest thinkers in the world are in their nineties. Amy Chua’s version of the 10,000 hour rule, won't be every parent’s cup of tea—it wasn’t my wife or mine's for our kids—range and a generalist’s approach seems in most cases to be preferred over a head start with a single focus on one skill-set; otherwise there could be huge unintended downsides. One last thing: there are eight billion brains on the planet working on the problems we face: the future is looking so bright it is indeed splendid in hope.