Archive for the ‘philosophy’ Tag

Quora answer: If someone self-identifies as a polymath, is he/she actually one?

Quora answer:  If someone self-identifies as a polymath, is he/she actually one?

Kent Palmer http://kdp.me Copyright 2011


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polymath

I am a polymath. I refer you to my answers on Quora, and my works as evidence. Now it is for you to decide if I am actually one.

For instance, Socrates claims to not be a Sophist. But in certain circumstances Plato makes him look precisely like what he is against. Thus, what are we to take from that when we become disillusioned with Socrates and his difference from the Sophists as Nietzsche did for instance. Socrates was an anti-polymath, and the sophists were seen as the polymaths, and that is one of the things that Socrates held against them, he thought of them as Hydra, having many heads, and said that they escape into holes with many exits in the course of arguments. But Plato can be seen as a Polymath, if you read all his dialogues. So we have a Polymath with a character who is not a polymath, and who is against Sophists who are normally polymaths, from whom Socrates is hard to distinguish except by external factors like the fact that Socrates is from Athens and not a foreigner. and that Socrates does not ask for money to engage in conversation. Rather than knowing anything himself, Socrates is seen as one who is good at asking, hard to answer questions bout the real meaning of abstract words. So eventually you are completely caught up in Plato’s irony and you don’t know what to think. Basically to your point Plato and Socrates have the ideal of not being Sophists but in the end it seems that they themselves may be sophists. And so their claims must be pointing to something else than the nature of sophistry, something beyond sophistry like the Nondual for instance. Something not recognized in the tradition that followed, and something truly lost in oblivion in our tradition due to active suppression.

Being a Polymath in our society is highly discouraged. Everyone is a specialist. And specialism is in fact nihilism. Thus if you are to overcome nihilism oneself one is forced to try to become a polymath, but in that search for knowledge one puts oneself beyond the pale of academia, because the whole purpose of academia is to control knowledge and who might claim to have it. And everyone says that it is impossible for anyone to know everything in our age, but no one claims that it is impossible to know everything that is significant. That is still open as a goal. But then how do you decide what is significant? My measure is whether or not it relates to the structure of the Western Worldview as it is rooted in the Indo-European worldview. And significance is gained by comparing that to the various nondual traditions like Taoism, Buddhism, DzogChen, Sufism, etc. Significance comes from ones problematic. My problematic the nature of Western Science in relation to the structure of the Western worldivew, and we do this by studying anomalous cases like Acupuncture that has no scientific explanation, but is recognized to work by the establishment even though no one knows why. These anomalies suggest we might have blindspots in our own scientific approach to the world, which come from the structure of our worldview, which is now world dominant. Significance comes from the spread of the Kurgans due to horsepower, Colonialization, and now Globalisation by the Indo-Europeans whose worldview has become world dominant. This coincides with the ultimate nihilistic act which is destroying the planet, i.e. the ultimate terrorist act of destroying the planet and taking everyone else including all other species with you, which this world dominant Worldview seems to be in the process of attempting to realize. The fact that it cannot control itself to stop the emissions that is causing global warming and leading to a greenhouse planet suggests that there is something fundamentally self-destructive in this worldview, which is terrorizing the rest of the planet. In some respects Terrorism is a reflection of ourselves in the mirror of the world. The first terrorists were European anarchists. We developed the weapons of mass destruction which are being used to kill masses of people. If we had not spread them all over the globe we would not find them being used by others. So it seems fairly clear that the Western worldview is its own worst enemy, and unfortunately the enemy of all, including the other species on the planet.

So it is from this global crisis that we take the significance of our problematic. And it is from this crisis that we take the energy to pursue the quest for self-knowledge whereever it may lead. And it is the fact that it leads to many disparate fields that produces the polymatic qualities, which are a side effect of the intellectual journey being taken over a lifetime. And in fact I would guess that all polymaths have a similar motivation, they find something which is fascinating and they pursue it whereever it may lead in the pursuit of understanding, and knowledge of many subjects picked up as tools along the way is the result. They are not seeking to be polymaths, but they are seeking an elusive query, that continually hides in various fields of inquiry or endeavor and the only way to continue the pursuit is to master to some extent those various fields.

So the sign of a true polymath in my opinion is one who has a deep enough problematic that it cannot be bound by specialization, and who thus becomes a renegade from the Academic control structures built to reign in and control knowledge.

A Crank on the other hand is someone who is obsessed with something which is not related to the cutting edge of the tradition and does not recognize the tradition and its judgment on what is valuable and what is not valuable. Every polymath is somewhat of a crank, because they are willing to develop ideas that totally break the mold of the tradition. But the crank really does not understand the tradition, and thus pursues a vision completely out of kilter with it. The Polymath on the other hand is so involved with learning pursuing his goal that he just happens to learn a lot along the way, without regard to whether the knowledge is useful or fits into normal categories manufactured by Academia to control knowledge, The Crank is the person who is filtered out by the academic control system. The polymath does not care about the boundaries for learning established by the Academic knowledge control system because he is pursuing a problematic that is a crosscutting concern and too busy doing that to bother with specialization and the peer pressure of peer reviewed publications. The the true polymath has no peer. Because all the peers implicitly recognize the boundaries of specialization and are loath to transgress those  boundaries.

This brings us to the trees in the Garden (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_Trees). But it appears there were actually five trees  trees of life, of immortality, Knowledge, comprehension, and knowledge of good and evil (http://www.bardic-press.com/thomas/saying19.htm). Aristotlec says “There are five virtues of thought: technê, epistêmê, phronêsis, sophia, and nous (1139b15). ” (http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/episteme-techne/). Throwing Blake into the equation we have several lists of terms we might try to reconcile.

<pre>
5 trees                     nonduals        Aristotle    Blake
(source of 4 rivers)  Root              nous          albion
Immortality               Source          sophia       Urthowna
Life                           Fate             phronesis   Tharmas
Good & Evil             Good           (metis)        Luvah
Comprehension      Right           techne        Urizen     (reason)
Knowledge              Order           episteme    Beulah Land
(Information)          InfoEntropy  (senses)      (created world)
</pre>

Only a Polymath can come up with a table like this. Whether it is meaningful or not you have to judge for yourself. If it is not meaningful then you would have to judge me a crank. If it is meaningful then it means that there is a lot more to life than just knowing a lot of things, and being a polymath is merely the most superficial of characteristics that we would desire as human beings if we could have all the depth we might  be able to attain.

Nous also called intellect or intelligence, is a philosophical term for the faculty of the human mind which is described in classical philosophy as necessary for understanding what is true or real, very close in meaning to intuition. It is also often described as a form of perception which works within the mind (“the mind’s eye”), rather than only through the physical senses.[2] The three commonly used philosophical terms are from Greek, νοῦς or νόος, and Latin intellectus and intelligentia respectively. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nous

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sophia_(wisdom)

Note: “Phro­nesis is the histor­ically implicated, communally nurtured ability to make good sense of relatively singular contexts in ways appropriate to their relative singularity.” (https://sites.google.com/site/praxisandtechne/Home/architecture/knowledge/episteme/phronesis)

The Polymath merely collects knowledge though his fascination on his intellectual quest after what is sought from his problematic. This is indeed only the surface. What we need is something deeper that takes from all the trees in paradise rather than only one.

19. Jesus said, “Blessed is he who exists from the beginning before he comes to be. If you are my students and listen to my words, these stones will become your servants. For you have five trees in Paradise, which do not move in summer or in winter, and their leaves do not fall down. Whoever knows them will not taste death.”
http://www.bardic-press.com/thomas/saying19.htm

Reference: https://sites.google.com/site/praxisandtechne/Home/architecture

http://kp0.me/GQuvME

http://www.quora.com/If-someone-self-identifies-as-a-polymath-is-he-she-actually-one

Posted March 26, 2012 by kentpalmer in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , ,

Quora answer: If someone self-identifies as a polymath, is he/she actually one?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polymath

I am a polymath. I refer you to my answers on Quora, and my works as evidence. Now it is for you to decide if I am actually one.

For instance, Socrates claims to not be a Sophist. But in certain circumstances Plato makes him look precisely like what he is against. Thus, what are we to take from that when we become disillusioned with Socrates and his difference from the Sophists as Nietzsche did for instance. Socrates was an anti-polymath, and the sophists were seen as the polymaths, and that is one of the things that Socrates held against them, he thought of them as Hydra, having many heads, and said that they escape into holes with many exits in the course of arguments. But Plato can be seen as a Polymath, if you read all his dialogues. So we have a Polymath with a character who is not a polymath, and who is against Sophists who are normally polymaths, from whom Socrates is hard to distinguish except by external factors like the fact that Socrates is from Athens and not a foreigner. and that Socrates does not ask for money to engage in conversation. Rather than knowing anything himself, Socrates is seen as one who is good at asking, hard to answer questions bout the real meaning of abstract words. So eventually you are completely caught up in Plato’s irony and you don’t know what to think. Basically to your point Plato and Socrates have the ideal of not being Sophists but in the end it seems that they themselves may be sophists. And so their claims must be pointing to something else than the nature of sophistry, something beyond sophistry like the Nondual for instance. Something not recognized in the tradition that followed, and something truly lost in oblivion in our tradition due to active suppression.

Being a Polymath in our society is highly discouraged. Everyone is a specialist. And specialism is in fact nihilism. Thus if you are to overcome nihilism oneself one is forced to try to become a polymath, but in that search for knowledge one puts oneself beyond the pale of academia, because the whole purpose of academia is to control knowledge and who might claim to have it. And everyone says that it is impossible for anyone to know everything in our age, but no one claims that it is impossible to know everything that is significant. That is still open as a goal. But then how do you decide what is significant? My measure is whether or not it relates to the structure of the Western Worldview as it is rooted in the Indo-European worldview. And significance is gained by comparing that to the various nondual traditions like Taoism, Buddhism, DzogChen, Sufism, etc. Significance comes from ones problematic. My problematic the nature of Western Science in relation to the structure of the Western worldivew, and we do this by studying anomalous cases like Acupuncture that has no scientific explanation, but is recognized to work by the establishment even though no one knows why. These anomalies suggest we might have blindspots in our own scientific approach to the world, which come from the structure of our worldview, which is now world dominant. Significance comes from the spread of the Kurgans due to horsepower, Colonialization, and now Globalisation by the Indo-Europeans whose worldview has become world dominant. This coincides with the ultimate nihilistic act which is destroying the planet, i.e. the ultimate terrorist act of destroying the planet and taking everyone else including all other species with you, which this world dominant Worldview seems to be in the process of attempting to realize. The fact that it cannot control itself to stop the emissions that is causing global warming and leading to a greenhouse planet suggests that there is something fundamentally self-destructive in this worldview, which is terrorizing the rest of the planet. In some respects Terrorism is a reflection of ourselves in the mirror of the world. The first terrorists were European anarchists. We developed the weapons of mass destruction which are being used to kill masses of people. If we had not spread them all over the globe we would not find them being used by others. So it seems fairly clear that the Western worldview is its own worst enemy, and unfortunately the enemy of all, including the other species on the planet.

So it is from this global crisis that we take the significance of our problematic. And it is from this crisis that we take the energy to pursue the quest for self-knowledge whereever it may lead. And it is the fact that it leads to many disparate fields that produces the polymatic qualities, which are a side effect of the intellectual journey being taken over a lifetime. And in fact I would guess that all polymaths have a similar motivation, they find something which is fascinating and they pursue it whereever it may lead in the pursuit of understanding, and knowledge of many subjects picked up as tools along the way is the result. They are not seeking to be polymaths, but they are seeking an elusive query, that continually hides in various fields of inquiry or endeavor and the only way to continue the pursuit is to master to some extent those various fields.

So the sign of a true polymath in my opinion is one who has a deep enough problematic that it cannot be bound by specialization, and who thus becomes a renegade from the Academic control structures built to reign in and control knowledge.

A Crank on the other hand is someone who is obsessed with something which is not related to the cutting edge of the tradition and does not recognize the tradition and its judgment on what is valuable and what is not valuable. Every polymath is somewhat of a crank, because they are willing to develop ideas that totally break the mold of the tradition. But the crank really does not understand the tradition, and thus pursues a vision completely out of kilter with it. The Polymath on the other hand is so involved with learning pursuing his goal that he just happens to learn a lot along the way, without regard to whether the knowledge is useful or fits into normal categories manufactured by Academia to control knowledge, The Crank is the person who is filtered out by the academic control system. The polymath does not care about the boundaries for learning established by the Academic knowledge control system because he is pursuing a problematic that is a crosscutting concern and too busy doing that to bother with specialization and the peer pressure of peer reviewed publications. The the true polymath has no peer. Because all the peers implicitly recognize the boundaries of specialization and are loath to transgress those  boundaries.

This brings us to the trees in the Garden (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_Trees). But it appears there were actually five trees  trees of life, of immortality, Knowledge, comprehension, and knowledge of good and evil (http://www.bardic-press.com/thomas/saying19.htm). Aristotlec says “There are five virtues of thought: technê, epistêmê, phronêsis, sophia, and nous (1139b15). ” (http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/episteme-techne/). Throwing Blake into the equation we have several lists of terms we might try to reconcile.

<pre>
5 trees                     nonduals        Aristotle    Blake
(source of 4 rivers)  Root              nous          albion
Immortality               Source          sophia       Urthowna
Life                           Fate             phronesis   Tharmas
Good & Evil             Good           (metis)        Luvah
Comprehension      Right           techne        Urizen     (reason)
Knowledge              Order           episteme    Beulah Land
(Information)          InfoEntropy  (senses)      (created world)
</pre>

Only a Polymath can come up with a table like this. Whether it is meaningful or not you have to judge for yourself. If it is not meaningful then you would have to judge me a crank. If it is meaningful then it means that there is a lot more to life than just knowing a lot of things, and being a polymath is merely the most superficial of characteristics that we would desire as human beings if we could have all the depth we might  be able to attain.

Nous also called intellect or intelligence, is a philosophical term for the faculty of the human mind which is described in classical philosophy as necessary for understanding what is true or real, very close in meaning to intuition. It is also often described as a form of perception which works within the mind (“the mind’s eye”), rather than only through the physical senses.[2] The three commonly used philosophical terms are from Greek, νοῦς or νόος, and Latin intellectus and intelligentia respectively. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nous

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sophia_(wisdom)

Note: “Phro­nesis is the histor­ically implicated, communally nurtured ability to make good sense of relatively singular contexts in ways appropriate to their relative singularity.” (https://sites.google.com/site/praxisandtechne/Home/architecture/knowledge/episteme/phronesis)

The Polymath merely collects knowledge though his fascination on his intellectual quest after what is sought from his problematic. This is indeed only the surface. What we need is something deeper that takes from all the trees in paradise rather than only one.

19. Jesus said, “Blessed is he who exists from the beginning before he comes to be. If you are my students and listen to my words, these stones will become your servants. For you have five trees in Paradise, which do not move in summer or in winter, and their leaves do not fall down. Whoever knows them will not taste death.”
http://www.bardic-press.com/thomas/saying19.htm

Reference: https://sites.google.com/site/praxisandtechne/Home/architecture

http://kp0.me/GQuvME

http://www.quora.com/If-someone-self-identifies-as-a-polymath-is-he-she-actually-one

Quora answer: Why is quantum physics not deterministic?


There is something strange here that I would like to point out. Plato made the Divided Line the center of the Republic over 2000 years ago. Not enough thought has gone into this diagram which describes the core of the Western worldview. If we think about it a little more than an intellectual curiosity from antiquity then we realize that there are two kinds of lines that cross the divided line, there are those three through the middle and the two at the ends. Now the ends are called Limits, because there is nothing beyond them. The ones through the middle describe the ratio and they are intersecting lines, but not limits. Now if we look at the Divided Line its two main phases are Ratio and Doxa. If we ask what the limits of these two phases of the divided line might be then we can answer that the Ratio is limited by the Supra-Rational and the Doxa is limited by Paradox. Now here is the strange thing. Supra-rationality is a lot like super-position, and Paradox is a lot like entanglement. So why is it that in Quantum Mechanics which takes over at the limits of what we can know about the universe in terms of smallness of things, that we see phenomena like the limits of the Divided Line. That suggests that the phenomena we are seeing in QM is actually a projection. It is also interesting that the Divided Line is an interval and can be seen to have a relativistic phase structure with its central and two in phase points of reversibility. It turns out that Relativity and Quantum Mechanics apply to the physus (phusis) at the same time, i.e. supra-rationally. But on the other hand if we apply them both to the Planck scale we generate a bunch of paradoxes that are incomprehensible. Thus it seems that the two dual approaches to physics also reflect the structure of the Divided line, so that from the point of view of Plato’s understanding of our worldview Relativity Theory and Quantum Mechanics are merely reflections of the relation between the limits of our worldview, and not something physical, per se, but rather the way that a priori synthetic projections appear back to us through our intuition. In effect our intuitions concerning the physus are non-intuitive. It is not just a Divided Line in Euclidean Geometry as Plato thought, but a relativistic interval, with limits that are duals of each other, and these limits apply to the relation of the interval to its limits. I think this is an argument for the Athropomorphic Principle starting from the structure of the Worldview, and Experience in general as posited by Plato, and accepted by Kant and elaborated by Husserl, and exhausted by Heidegger.

http://kp0.me/GQbL3G

http://www.quora.com/Why-is-quantum-physics-not-deterministic

Quora answer: Who are Western philosophers of self-realization?


This is a difficult problem, because I don’t know of any, except perhaps Plato. My own opinion is that all philosophers are sophists, including yours truly. The Western tradition, despite Plato’s warning is basically Sophistry, and we do not see much self-realization in this lot. They were trying to describe everyday mundane experience, and particularly the role of science. They were not going beyond that into self-realization or any type of spirituality for the most part. The closest thing we have to a purely nondual spiritual master is Meister Eckhart. Mostly those who advocated nondual perspectives were killed off by the Inquisition if they arose. Meister Eckhart was careful to say that if you had a vision, or some other conceptual or experiential psychic phenomenon that you have not really begun the way to god that must go though the emptiness of God’s essence, in order to arrive at self-realization. If you want self-realization then you best bet is Buddhism, Taoism or Sufism, i.e. some non-Western nondual tradition. But Ironically this does not mean that the Western worldview does not have a nondual kernel. The core of the worldview generates nihilism, but due to the fact that the core is fragmented showing signs of discontinuities, like the lines in the divided line of Plato, means that ultimately in the kernel there is nonduality there. That is why it could spawn Buddhism and Islam as nondual heresies. And ultimately to these nondual heresies that are rejected by the Western worldview must return home, i.e. realize themselves in their source and origin which is in the kernel of the worldview.

Thus in a sense, in spite of the fact that all the Western philosophers are Sophists, whose only goal is to portray the essence of mundane consciousness or being-in-the-lifeworld, in fact they all together are pointing toward nonduality of the kernel of the worldview. And this was made possible because if read in terms of nondual understanding, Plato set the stage for this possibility. This is because in Plato’s dialogues, we really have a hard time to distinguish Socrates from the Sophists, yet all the various characters in the dialogues together point toward the nondual kernel of the worldview as the inherited wisdom of Egypt. So just as the distinction between the wise man and the fools cannot ultimately be made, all of the characters (who were actual people) in the Dialogues together point toward wisdom via irony.

The Western dualistic tradition was very effective at stomping out nondual heresies. So much so that it is hard to name anyone who made a fundamental indication of nonduality in the tradition. Now most heresies in the West were extreme nihilistic reactions to the nihilism of the worldview like Gnosticism for instance. An excellent exposition of this is in Morris Berman’s Coming to Our Senses.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morris_Berman

http://morrisberman.blogspot.com/

http://kp0.me/H25EK1

http://www.quora.com/Who-are-Western-philosophers-of-self-realization

Posted March 26, 2012 by kentpalmer in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , ,