Contemplation Tools: a modern survey

I will share a couple of examples of existing software-aided contemplative practices, take a bow to a related mind control controversy, and mention my own software-aided contemplative initiative. First, I will ignore the plethora of Mindfulness apps and related software. Contemplating one’s own inner sensations during relative relaxation is useful, it’s not the same as … Read more

Defensive Scientists

Why are scientists more defensive about science than religionists are of religion? (question from Quora) To me this question looks most interesting in relation to where I live, the US, at this moment in history. Since Trump’s election, the pendulum has swung wildly from science being the dominant rational means of discourse to imposition-by-faith being … Read more

Is Stuck Science Stoking Authoritarianism?

Karl Popper, the beloved scientist-philosopher, was critical of historicism. He argued, for instance, that Marxist historicism is what lends it to authoritarianism. I was recently asked if, ironically, Popper ever examined historicism in relation to science. I didn’t know the answer, and still don’t. Having pondered deeply about science, philosophy, and culture in modern times, and … Read more


Is seeking an end in and of itself or a means to an end? You know pinball stories? It’s common when communicating informally in small groups. Like monkey mind, only with others. Metaphorically speaking, one person launches the collective pinball with an energizing story or theme. It whizzes through the pair or group, connecting with … Read more

Philosophy and mapping

Novel uses of computing are being brought to the aid of many modern challenges. So why not philosophy as well! Philosophy since ancient times was born of the need for interdisciplinary inquiry and understanding. Without that foundation, opportunities for circular speak become endless. Futilely so. Modern philosophy has splintered, and that trend cannot be separated … Read more

Pretense, the blessed curse

Are theistic arguments truly weak, or do atheists lack the rationality to be convinced of the theistic arguments? (original Quora question) The problem the question identifies can be summed up in one word: PRETENSE Atheists pretend to know. Theists pretend not to. Just as the tautology, ‘Fictitious objects do not exist,’ leaves open the question whether … Read more

Hidden Metaphors

metaphor of hidden in plain sight

The physics of what is hidden, that is, all causative and representational aspects of theoretical physics, reflects often unconsciously held tensions. Theoretical physics’ multiple conflicting theories each reflect complex internal tensions – emotional, mental, and physical – externalized through metaphor and shared beliefs. Electrodynamics reflects tensions around dualism. Relativity reflects tensions around reductionism and contradictory … Read more

Nobel Prize in Useful Paradoxes, or why paradoxes exist

The 2017 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences delivered a zinger of a paradox. People’s behavior is predictably irrational. The wisdom that springs from it is known as behavioral economics and aims to systematize people’s actual behaviors rather than preconceived, idealized behaviors.

It’s proven useful for economics (thus the prize), and yet it’s counterintuitive (thus the prize).

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The Shadow of Logical Relief

What is the correlation between the abstract and the concrete? What symbolic or deductive knowledge corresponds exactly with the concrete knowledge learned from sensory experience? (original Quora question) Based on the source provided, the questioner desires an answer that is also an ontological argument, that is, an argument for the existence of God. I have … Read more

Cowgirl Science — It’s a ramble

Super-Compliance Mob?

I’m flummoxed at the idea of a science march on Washington, DC. The first ever is slated for April 22, 2017. The theme seems to be equally climate change and the promises of science. Scientists, especially the young, are itching to show their moxy. Forget waiting for make-believe super-heros to save the planet. It’s time for Super-Compliance Mob to do the job.

Scientists achieve a position the hard way — they prove it, and then recruit others to take heed. And generally, there are sufficient reinforcements for said proofs and positions, and science and the policies it informs march forward in a sort of intangible but traceable provisphere.

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I Sympathize with Hossenfelder

How do theoretical particle physicists respond to Sabine Hossenfelder’s article “How Popper Killed Particle Physics”? (original Quora question) Hossenfelder’s argument is complicated to the point of being so convoluted that it misses its own point. In her attempt to create dramatic cross-currents, she does not settle into the existential clarity needed to assess what is, … Read more

Mystery Clubs Aren’t About Fraud

Christopher Langan’s Cognitive Theoretic Model of the Universe, or CTMU, is not is a fraud. Fraudulence implies willful deception. Langan is proud of and dedicated to CTMU. No crime in that. I have no reason to question his intelligence either. I do conclude that Langan commits a likely unconscious deception in perpetuating cultural biases towards … Read more

Me Think’st Thyself Trivial: deconstructing the corrupt spirit

“Think’st thou that duty shall have dread to speak when power to flattery bows? To plainness honor’s bound when majesty falls to folly.”

-- from Shakespeare's King Lear

Corruption is a scourge, and all kinds of systems are vulnerable to it. Why? Is it something insidious about human nature? If so, is it true about me?

Corruption is not a moral failing but rather a shared vulnerability. When the human spirit does not develop immunity to mental triviality, the systems it creates or is obliged to respond to get fueled not by the fullness of reality but by the power of terminal belief streams. What do I mean by that?

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The Unicorn Went to the Shrink, or when philosophy isn’t becoming

Philosophy’s strength is that it doesn’t deny that we are each partial. It’s many branches offer ways of navigating the real feedback of Being, and sometimes the Becoming too. Which brings me to summarize philosophy as the exploration of, or Becoming towards, the ideal of Full Unconditional Listening. Listening to what? To that which we know … Read more

When Empathy and Teaching Collide

Is teaching empathy abusive? (original question on Quora) If by “teaching” you mean punishing non-empathetic behavior, it could be considered abusive. The roots of empathy are familial, and families grow in social and cultural contexts often beyond their control. Punishing lack of empathy is more likely to further engrain the original difficult context that gave … Read more

Semantic Despair

“Semantics” refers to words. Despair from them comes from observing that the same things (in this case words) that work, on the one hand, to clarify and garner understanding among us can also work to deceive and break down understanding. Resignation and despair about semantics reflects doubt that what we say or write has a … Read more

The Hollow Ring of Mind-Reality Equivalence

Prolific these days are interpretations of reality science that equate “consciousness” and reality. The result is mind-reality equivalence, a tempting though hollow solution to the modern dilemmas created by information-rich systems. Mind-reality equivalences are solipsistic. Only one’s own mind is sure to exist. They risk conflating a mind that can conceive of reality with a … Read more

The Oxymoron of Quantum Coin-Flipping

Is the thought experiment of Schrodinger’s cat similar to the experiment of coin flipping? Is it quantum physics or a simple probability problem? (original Quora question) The question makes a good point. There’s a problem in interpreting QM as something separate from simple probability relationships, and thereby attempting to wrangle reality into QM’s various mathematical … Read more

Politics and Pretense

Politics, pretense

Today I was asked about politics, power, and justice. "How does it look with ONT?"

Interpreted very loosely and using common terminology, I suggested that left-wing politics focuses on "mind over matter" strategies and right-wing politics focuses on "matter over mind" strategies.

This is interesting in and of itself. But now, what of emotion? Few would displute that mind, matter, and emotion are inextricably linked -- somehow.

What the dominant political factions have in common is that both function (and fuel their mutual struggle) by  pretending that emotion is not at play. I'm going to write that sentence one more time and put it in bold so you are sure to pay close attention. 

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Emotional Systems

To a large degree, modern troubles in our systems of government, education, and well being have had a tendency towards, let’s call it, intermittency. The kinds of troubles your car mechanic hates to be asked to diagnose and fix! Well, intermittency no more. The U.S. is speeding down an unknown road with a sea of … Read more

String Theory: a ball of yarn

String theory is to physics what conspiracy theories are to politics. Self-satisfying disorientation spun like so much yarn on distress from the question, What does it MEAN?!*?!* Original publish date Nov 20, 2017