Monday, 2 April 2018

Existential Dread

We're all just putting on a front, pretending all is well, losing ourselves in the daily activities of existence, pretending things are important. Lest existential dread consumes our souls.

We need to open our hearts and minds to realities beyond our ken. Know that all things will come right at the end. That all things ultimately matter. It is an inner light that shines . .if only we open our eyes to see it.

Preposterous Beliefs

Just read the following article:

Atheists who bring logic to the Easter story are missing the point

The author, Julian Baggini, is conflating one's degree of education with intelligence. The belief in the resurrection might indeed be preposterous, but so are many things that highly educated people believe e.g. colours, sounds and smells don't actually exist out there in the world, they are pure creations of the mind. Or Parallel Universes exist where everything I could do is played out slightly differently in another Universe, hence there are a squintillion differing versions of me! Or animals are not actually conscious (since they lack language).

Sunday, 1 April 2018

At last I understand...

I think on reflection I have got everything wrong about there being an afterlife. We desperately want an afterlife, but we have to face facts. Just consider the radical personality changes that may be brought about by injury to the brain. Phineas Gage, to take the most famous example. If his new obnoxious personality was caused by his damaged brain, it would be silly to deny that his normal personality wasn’t caused by his pre-damaged brain!

And what is this thing, this “supernatural soul”, which is supposed to survive anyway? It’s invisible, has no mass or indeed any other physical properties. In fact it cannot be detected by any means whatsoever. What is left by saying it exists??

Since the birth of modern science in the 17th Century, science has been stunningly successful in furnishing us in with knowledge about the world, and has been an extraordinarily fruitful one in terms of the subsequent prediction and manipulation of our environment and in the creation of our technology. This strongly suggests that modern science pretty much accurately describes reality. OK, we have yet to fully explain consciousness. But the brain is the most complex object in the Universe. Give science a chance! Eventually we should be able to understand how the brain produces consciousness. There is no need to invoke a magical soul.

Are we really to suppose there might be supernatural and spooky entities and influences -- such as souls, magic, spirits, demons and what have you-- which somehow escapes the steely gaze of science, and to achieve this by having such supernatural entities exert no measurable influence on reality whatsoever! Why should we believe in the existence of the non-physical, which, by definition, our measuring instruments cannot detect?

People need to get real!

I have got real . .at last, finally I have got real. I now fully admit to my previous error in thinking there is an afterlife. Or sky daddies, or anything else magical. Let us henceforth trust what SCIENCE is telling us about the world.

HA HA!!!....No, not really ...APRIL FOOLS!!! 

Saturday, 24 March 2018

Technological and Scientific Predictions

From here.

[E]ngineers working on quantum computing at both Google and IBM say that a quantum “dream machine” capable of solving computing’s most vexing problems might still be decades away. 

So much for all the hype about Quantum Computers. Press accounts always wildly overstate the progress of scientific discoveries, technology etc. Quantum Computers are just around the corner? No one will be driving cars soon? Earth-like planets are being discovered left, right and centre? Conscious robots indistinguishable from humans will soon be here? We'll soon be able to upload our consciousness to computers and achieve immortality? Man will soon land on Mars? The singularity is almost upon us? It's all nonsense. All of it. Be very cynical of reports of rapid technological progress.

Conscious robots? Well, for a kick off they're assuming that brains produce consciousness.  So if brains can do this, and we replicate their function, then we should, in principle, be able to eventually have conscious computers too. But how do we know that brains produce consciousness?

I stress to add that I do think certain technological breakthroughs will eventually happen. Autonomous cars for example. I predicted 4 years ago that all cars on the roads will be autonomous by 2060. But 2060! That's a long time away. Also I think Virtually Reality will eventually completely change everything.

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Chidren's novels

As an adult I scarcely ever reread novels. But as a child I used to reread novels all the time. I used to read all the Enid Blyton books I had maybe once every 2 years or so. Same for the Narnia books (all 7 of them), and the Jennings books by Anthony Buckeridge, and the Oz books (well 3 of them -- The Wizard of Oz, The Marvellous Land of Oz, Glinda of Oz), didn't know about the existence of any others). And reread "Tom's Midnight Garden" countless times and each time I cried at the end.

I think because reading children books as a child was so much more enjoyable than reading adult novels as an adult. Children books had a kind of magic, they instilled in me a yearning to be there, to experience what the protagonists in the novels were experiencing. I identified and emphasised with the characters. That doesn't happen now.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Insouciant about being cold

Apparently people are baffled why people voluntarily go out in the cold without being well wrapped up.

This student went out in freezing weather wearing shorts and people can’t get enough of it

According to the above link a woman on twitter said:
[T]he same boy was on the 80 with me this morning again in a t-shirt and shorts. I'd love to know his reasoning!

I would imagine the reason is to demonstrate one's indifference to the harsh elements. Not to be craven and shiver and slink into a hole to get warm, but to walk erect, be proud, shake a fist at the Gods' who try to break our will with inclement weather. To be a man. To be special!  To be a hero.

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Enjoyable work

What makes one's job enjoyable? What makes us work hard? I think essentially one needs to be intimately and emotionally involved in the product you're creating or the service you're providing.

Our society tends to assume how hard we work, how much effort we put into something, is closely related to how much we get paid for that work. I disagree. I reckon what motivates people to work hard is not so much how much you get paid, but rather the sense of achievement in producing something that other people really appreciate together with the knowledge that not many others have the requisite skills to do what you've done. It's working towards some goal, and for others to exclaim "wow" when they see what you've done. It's pride in producing something, or providing some service. And this in turn will make one very much enjoy the work they're doing.

But much work under capitalism tends to be repetitious just doing one task. You're not creating the object, only part of it. Hence you're a cog in the overall machine as I said in this blog entry. And the object is not ours. It belongs to someone else. Hence we are alienated from that we are creating, or the service we're providing.

Existential Dread

We're all just putting on a front, pretending all is well, losing ourselves in the daily activities of existence, pretending things are ...