Worldview

AWM deleted this article before he realized that some off-site pages referred to it. Apologies for those inconvenienced.

Recovered from:

http://web.archive.org/web/20080512040419/http://amorrow.wikidot.com/worldview

Worldview

I have a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from RPI. 1983. My family spent a lot of money and I spent a lot of time getting that degree. RPI is the oldest technical University in the Western Hemisphere. Spending that kind of time and money shapes my world view. I find it convenient to start with atoms and thermodynamics and to slowly zoom back out to the millimeters-to-miles distance regime and examine the world in which I live with a fresh perspective based strictly on well-established, non-controversial scientific knowledge and to have my mid-life crisis which that information as the foundation upon which I will decide how I will spend the remainder of my lifetime. My intention is for the reader to see the world through eyes unclouded by hate, fear or other human emotion, such as a Martian might see us on Earth if some imaginary Martian mind visited and observed our world, to evaluated out our nature, our nurture and our behavior. This intention of the world-view is the empower the reader and further probe the mystery of existence.

My religion is approximately Deism, where God created the universe like a clockwork, set the escapement of the clock in motion and then left it alone to let the mainspring unwind as it may. The laws of thermodynamics describe the unwinding of the mainspring fairly well.

My mind is flexible and I have some talent. At the moment, I will ignore the vast mathematical complexity of thermodynamics and focus on the philosophical implications of its "laws". Since I have a devout faith that I am capable of offering some knowledge for good purposes in my life, I will speak of our minds and our souls, even through you might find my view of souls to be somewhat non-spiritual. You might even be disappointed by my attitude towards souls, so let us just focus on our minds and our limited lifetimes. Like my father, I have been able to make my living and my money by using my mind.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_view

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nature_versus_nurture

Warn up exercises: alien zooming

Go to Mars, in your mind. Get comfortable there. Now return to Earth and notice how alien everything starts to look. Take notes. Zoom to the atomic scale and then out to stars. Back, forth, back forth. Notice the messy millimeters-to-miles regime where some people get uncomfortable. Notice that after you pick a zoom point, it might end up in a person's personal space, perhaps even a rather private space. Tough. That i s how homogeneous coordinate systems work. Those numbers are neither a house address or a telephone number: they are physical and, perhaps, more akin to reality that these arbitrarily assigned other numbers and identifiers.

Note how complex natural settings are with forests and such. Notice how crowded urban settings are and how they are designed to provide a false illusion of privacy.

They mystery of existence

Birth and C-sections should be more public, if the mother can stand it. We hide that too much in our urban setting. Sexual intercourse can continue to remain private because the Internet (which is for porn, according to that Avenue Q song) more than makes up for it.

After accounting for the good prenatal behavior of our parents, especially our mother, in trying to avoid fetal alcohol syndrome (FES) and many other bad behaviors. Such avoidance requires information and good judgment, if not good advice from the best available advisers. Pediatricians (like my ex-wife) are a good place to start for such advice.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fetal_alcohol_spectrum_disorder

A number planned for the hand or forehead

"Is there a number or mark planned for the hand or forehead in a new cashless society? YES, and I have seen the machines that are now ready to put it into operation." Ralph Nader (1934-) American attorney and political activist.

http://web.archive.org/web/20080723133416/http://www.worldproutassembly.org/archives/2008/02/a_number_planne.html

Of course, that is too much like Nazi camp serial numbers which is not allowed so it will never happened, right? Oh wait, the number that is your genotype is nature's number so it is already written across your forehead, so to speak. Uh, this is confusing. Those are convenient numbers assigned by man, but there are other numbers that are assigned by nature. We almost all have two hands, two eyes, etc., so many teeth at the moment, etc. but there is another, much larger number that is a significant amount of our nature: Our genotype. It is a big number, and our identical twin has the same number, but it represents a large part of the nature. When does the nurture start? After you get the FET? The boundary is not crystal clear, but you get the idea. After you are conceived, you could, in a thought-exercise, draw the huge number of Nature on your forehead and that is an empowering viewpoint for understanding this "nature" part of who you are. Now, the genoism of that childish film "Gattaca" was presented in a silly fashion. Many high-level behaviors, such as dating, was inordinately controlled by the genottype of the characters, but that is silly. The vast majority or humans born are Earth are perfectly good blank pages on which to compose a good citizen. I am not a racist, but I am a culturalist (some cultures are better than others).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Identification_in_Nazi_camps#Numbers
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genotype
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_discrimination

The air is like an ocean (and weatherman and their barometers know that about as well as anybody else). Recreational pilots know that they navigate in a manner similar to naval ships. Drive safely; school is always in session!

God: We all have a mind and a soul, except that I do not know if the soul is real. Let's not further discuss souls, since it means different things to different people. Terri Schiavo's mind pretty-much went away after her cardiac arrest. She had less of a mind than an insect, but what was left of her was still fully human life. The fine points of this issue seem lost on George Bush, but that is not big deal. Most people's ideas about the soul is that their mind will continue beyond death (they will go to something called "heaven" and they will retain their mind which will enable them to recognize their mother and father in Heaven and blah blah blah. Tell me: if Terri no longer had enough of a mind to recognize her parents here on Earth, then where did that mind go? How does she recover that mind when she gets to heaven? Oh, that is her soul? I dunno; it sounds like her mind to me. You know, the mind we want to have tomorrow morning when we wake up (or when our forest-dwelling ancestors had when the woke up in the woods after surviving another night of sleep and vulnerability). I dunno, I think that we evolved with a notion of heaven and God so that we could calm down even to stop worrying about waking up tomorrow and get some much-needed sleep. And we have to believe that our Terri's mind is going to wake up after death and be ready-to-go to recognize her parents in heaven? Oh, that is her soul? Uh huh. I think that we just evolved with a trend towards believing in heaven, getting good rest and surviving better than our over-worried cousins who did not get good sleep and then failed to thrive.

On God's will: it is really simple. Life is not fair; some babies are born with croocked backs and that is not fair. That is God's will. Once you take that into account, then the rules are simple: The past is God's will and the future is our will. (Well, the future that our free will allows us to foresee and control and make somewhat responsible decisions about).

We, each legal person, are each a mosaic of atoms. A simplified view (with vastly reduced data volume) is to view each of us as a mosaic of cells. No one cell is necessary because biopsies, etc can remove any one (or more) cells and we are still ourselves. That counts even for the brain stem. I suppose, intellectually, I am licking your hypothalamus and making your free like some sort of amphibian frog or whatever. Anyway, that is what you are. You replace almost all the cells in your body every seven years. You are merely borrowing your current set of atoms from the commons of the biosphere. You are like a wave in the ocean. At one point, you are at point A and later at point B. The shape of the wave (your health) is preserved but the atoms where the wave is are now an entirely different set of atoms. You can also say that people are a mosaic of tissues and organs. The mind exists in the brain and maybe some parts of the spinal column. There are many different kinds of macromolecules in our bodies. Some interesting molecules that we introduce are: water, ethanol, nicotene, TCH, aspirin, warfarin. All very interesting. Your eyes are very interesting. They have lens and irises (which are stringy and twisty). Very beautiful.

We are living in an interesting time. We understand the stars well enough. We also understand our DNA down to the atoms. The practice of sequencing the C-T-A-G sequence is getting to the point where we can sequence our own individual sequence (580,000 base pairs) for only $1000 at http://23andme.com/ for a regular guy like me. You do not have to spend $1000 because you are smart enough to see that my analysis of this situation is correct and non-controversial. If you find this view too objectifying or depressing, then think of this: your father squirted 300 million sperm during ejaculation. Those sperm all swam independently. Only one of them was you. You already won the lottery of life.

Progress of human's self view:

  • Copernicus and Galileo (the latter of whom got punished in part for his advocacy of a heliocentric cosmology)
  • Friedrich Wöhler and the synthesis of urea in 1828 from "non-organic" feedstocks.
  • Darwin
  • Freud (who demonstrated that the ambition of the Greeks to achieve a fully rational mind is a pipe dream)
  • Watson and Crick and the discovery of the structure of DNA
  • Andrew Martinez, (The Naked Guy) who pointed out that nudity is not intrinsically harmful
  • 23andme.com, that provides partial genotype sequencing for around $1K.

Note how long Andrew Wiles took to prove Fermat's last theorem and how many pieces he needed. Note how Pflouffe is able to compute an arbitrary hexadecimal digit of pi without having to compute all preceding digits. Note that computers can now beat all known humans at chess.

What is needed is a new philosophy without controversial assertions and just uses science to create a worldview that is NPOV to the max.

Memory

You can remember your dead mother and father in your life while you mind is still working and has avoided Alzhemier's etc. Please do not rely on the notion that your mind will wake up after death. Bad idea. When you die, you die alone, your mind sputters out and your soul…. well think what you will about your "soul", whatever that is.

Self-management

In school, we mostly learn how to love knowledge and we learn a little about how to manage our time. Our parents still help out on the more difficult decisions and self-management issues.

As adults, we have simple priorities in our urban settings:

Health - Medical, dental, eyes, etc. If you have your health, you can fix the other stuff.
Legal - Obey the law, both civil and criminal. As long as you are free, you have the option of making money
Financial - You have to spend money to make money. Simple formula: get the work, do the work, get the money (this works for the self-employed and for larger organizations)
Other: In our younger life, we can worry about our genetic legacy (having children), but please do not just follow your jungle-instincts and have lots of children. That used to work but it is getting to be an ever-increasing problem for our species on our finite Earth. Once you have had one or two children and you are older and wiser (and maybe sadder), you can work on your intellectual legacy, perhaps writing an ISBN-bearing book to benefit the next generation.

Long-term legacy

If you told a 1908 person about how wonderful 2008 is, they would agree except for some details like MAD and the Doomsday Clock. You response to this 1908 person might be: "Try not to let it bother you; you wanted to race into the future and here we are." You only live for three score and ten so race yourself into the future (choose a good one) and get there before you die; before your health fails. If you find yourself to be well ahead of your time, alone out in no man's land and not yet blown up by a mine or shot up really badly, then do not forget to turn around, stick your tongue out at your slow-poke comrades, and then keep going because once they see that you did not step on a mine and get blown up into a million pieces, then they will follow. You will be the best of leaders: they will imagine that following you was their idea, silly people.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mutual_assured_destruction
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doomsday_Clock

Death

When you have lived your three-score-and-ten years, you die. Your mind goes the way of Terri Schiavo's mind; all of those moments that only your mind had are lost in time like tears in rain, and the salty watery tears dissipate into the clean rainwater. Then your heart and lungs stop. Then the beauty of your body is revealed in an autopsy. Then your body is disposed of. Then something else is supposed to happen along the lines of your waking up and going to heaven, but I am not so sure about the details of that part. Whatever we tell innocent children about this last part should not be too frightening, at first.

You are a mosaic, or rather, a cascade of atoms with a mind. This is somewhat reductionist in its approach, but few would disagree with the dichotomy. After that, some might go further and say that that mind - all the thoughts and ideas - is just a product of a complex neurological process.

I have been focusing on the urban landscape, with its buildings and bodies, both down to their tiniest components and without censorship. That leaves little room for privacy except within our own unshared thoughts.

Additional progress has been made. see: http://www.thermo4thermo.org/ with the advent of Perinatal Lottery Sterilization . In the style of L. A. Martinez, I work on a few manuscript that he did not live to complete. It used to be called Einstein's Headache and the earlier form of some of the same material: A Periodic Table of Civics.

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