Archive for the Logic Category
Reality operates in an utterly subtle and macabre way at the same time.
It allows itself to be discovered, revealing layers, showing new edges each time, that change the perception we had of it before.
In such manner, the quantity of planets in the Solar system is permanently changing (that it’s not actually that it changes, but that astronomy “adjusts” its knowledge, under the light of new data). Thus, we must adapt our representations and our beliefs.
We learn at school that all planets orbit around the Sun, that many have moons, some of them just one, some even twelve. Pluto, comes and goes, one day it’s the ninth planet, the following, it’s left out of the “club”.
Then we learn the world is round, but the year after, we must correct this idea, under the detail that the Earth is slightly flattened at the poles, which, again, it turns out that they are not “vertically” aligned, and that the Equator forms an angle of twenty-odd degrees with the ecliptic.
Then, one day, we discover that not all the planets rotate in the same way: Uranus polar axis is horizontally laid on the ecliptic, and therefore only its poles have days and nights. Uranus equator is constantly in a mixture of sunsets and dawns.
It has been discovered lately vast masses of ice in Europe, one of Jupiter’s moons, and more or less since four years now, it is known that there is an ocean of liquid water in Titan, another moon, but of Saturn this time.
To new stages of knowledge correspond a privilege over past times, that automatically become “obsolete stuff”, and which will no longer be credible (as when a magic trick is unveiled).
This mutation of beliefs or assumptions of a given knowledge into irrefutable fact, happens in all fields of our lives. And even there are so many things we’ll never confirm “scientifically”, we know the way they are.
On the contrary, there are plenty of ideas and concepts backed by objective data at hand, we refuse to dismantle, against our own rational thought. We prefer to think that our faith is larger than any mountain, and that it’s a good thing.
Openness of mind must be at all times within our purposes, for too many decisions in our lives depend on our knowledge of and approach to reality and truth.
Try this excercise, think of any of your current beliefs and ask yourself:
– What if…?????
I will earn not few opponents with this, I know. And for FREE!
Thursday nights have become awfully dull and boring, since they took “House” out from air. My and my wife’s best option yesterday evening was a documentary about wonders of the Universe.
Astonishingly, it suddenly became really interesting, when the narrator at some point started to unveil the discovery of “life” within ice masses. This discovery although being made on Earth, opened up unimaginable doors to extreme speculations. Europe, one of the moons of Jupiter, would apparently be covered with ice, and under that ice, oceans 100km deep.
The most amazing thought arose when, by means of an impeccable logic, the narrator came up with the conclusion that, obviously, there could be microbial life in Europe, and therefore, that should undeniably demonstrate that life was not originated on Earth.
What the documentary did not dare to say, was the following logical conclusion: God did not create life, at least as we’ve been told. It could well be said then, that life might have nothing to do at all with “a” God. But, if life is not depending on God, according to all human religions, then what would sustain the existence of God except, once more, a weakened faith?
I, however, will rescue just one thing from all religions, not to be pointed as a revolutionary person: mind your own life, and let others live theirs. But the truth is, I’m convinced, that camels, rich men and needles, as well as counting sheep to fall asleep, have become part of the culture of our childhood, as Society.
Will we ever grow up?
In recent posts I’ve been addressing the apparently irrelevant difference between mental concepts and their names, and reality. Also, how actions like inverting concepts can enlighten some of our previous inaccurate conceptions. This structure of thought is also very usual in the cause-effect approach to phenomena, so for instance, if we don’t know what the solution for a certain problem is, then it’s no use to frame the problem (which avoids the effect of having to face the reality).
Another image that’s been going round my mind lately is that of the jigsaw puzzles.
When we are kids, puzzles are probably one of the first things we learn to do. Very simple first, more complex later, the puzzles demand from us to develop a methodology, some tactics and even some tricks (starting by corners, following with the edges, completing it by parts, and so on).
But there’s a particular moment we all must have experienced, and it’s when you come up with a piece that “almost” matches the gap, but actually is not the right one. No matter how little that “almost” can be, no matter how much we try. We turn it round, we check the colours, pay attention to the shape again. It’s no use: it doesn’t fit. That’s when you realize that you don’t do “a little” or “a lot” of a Puzzle. You know then, for the first time, that either you finish it, or you’ll have failed.
Puzzles are a perfect example for the idea that could be expressed like this: “nothing fits unless everything fits”.
Even more examples: Architecture. See the drawing below: it’s the first (main) floor of Ville Savoie of Le Corbusier. You cannot add or take out any part, room, space, without altering it’s concept or it’s functioning. It reached its utmost perfection itself. If you move even 10cm any partition, they you’ll have to rearrange the whole plan.
We all know our civilization reached this point of accuracy long time ago.
One last example of our everyday life: any trip we have to do: you simply don’t get “more or less” somewhere. And should you get lost in a place you don’t know, you won’t ask for instructions to get as closest as possible to your destination, but EXACTLY to it.
So, if we are so familiar with all these examples of achievement, accomplishment and/or success by fitting every single piece, why is that we accept so acquiescently so many loose ends in our societies?
What’s the problem with societies, that we find reasonable a model of random, chance, linear evolution, with an unpredictable future?
Is it that we are 100% sure that we are moving in the right direction?
Are all of our institutions 100% reliable?
Have we got the guts to stand and ask out loud: “Is this ok? Is this fine with me?”
What could happen if one day, any day, too many of us find ourselves saying: “Hey, this piece does not fit”?
It’s Saturday evening. I’ll make it short.
I actually don’t know what the exact expression in English would be since I’m not native speaker, but it’s quite possible that all of us, at a doctor visit, have heard the expression: “Take off your clothes”. And very improbable that any of us have not asked: “Everything?”
When we speak, the closer we get to extreme concepts, the higher the chance that expressions are not taken literally but as a metaphor in the best case, an euphemism in the worst.
When we say “Democracy” it seems that goes without saying (sorry for the repetition), that we are not talking of a pure, perfect and ideal government system, but with some degree of distortion, which is well-known and, moreover, accepted.
When we say “CSR – Corporate Social Responsibility”, what are we talking about? Yes, yes, I know what it’s supposed to mean, but to which extent the “true” meaning of CSR corresponds to its’ “true” concept?
If we say “ethic banking”, isn’t that a contradiction in itself? How can a bank be sustainable in the financial market and still be socially “ethic”?
Referring to Health systems, just by including the term “health” in its name, we give for granted that “Health” constitutes its’ main objective, and all other aspects are conditioned to that first aim.
I was referring to “second nature” patterns in our society in a recent post, but what is starting to deeply worry me, is how much of this “distortion” between concepts (and the terms used to name them) and reality, is becoming more and more “natural” each time.
Without noticing it, I suddenly found myself retrieving experiences from the past, or at least, making connections with them.
Lately, in the post “Problems/Solutions – Inversion of terms“, I got in contact with the method of inverting concepts again, as at the University, studying Architecture, sometimes when we were not completely satisfied with some results, we used to turn drawings on tracing paper round, to find out how a layout that had been developed one way, now fitted much better with some of the restrains, just by operating on symmetry of the plan.
What was so surprising was not only the improve in the design, but the unexpected outcome of such simple action of flipping the drawing on one of its axis. This set a completely new relation, for instance, between the variables of the design and the constant factors of site (geometry of plot, neighbour constructions, North, sun, etc.).
This “accidental” method awoke us about how a geometrical operation, which in advance and just by simple symmetry, should not have a major impact, changed substantially our perception of the project and made us realize how little “natural” decisions had to be.
Inversions, thus, apply in many other aspects of our lives, and reveals a completely different approach of the matters we are dealing with.
An example I like is that of the concepts of “strength/weakness”, so commonly used in SWOT analysis by marketers.
Although it’s not that obvious, almost every time the same features that constitute the strongest resource of a company, paradoxically are at the same time, the weakest link.
Think about a car, which designers decided for whatever reason, to provide it with the most powerful engine, that would allow it to reach speeds as double as the usual in the same type of cars. Considered in itself, it could appear that engine is the best advantage of that design, but what happens in terms of fuel consumption, what about the cost of developing that design from conceptual stages to manufacturing. Would it be sensible from a profitability point of view? How will the market respond to such defying design?
I think this is what must have happened with the Concord, as an example of the “most” anything, that in the end didn’t work.
Another example is any sport team. There’s a star player that scores at least a couple of goals in each match. Again, that would clearly be an advantage in terms of winning games. But, quite contrary, the team would be weakened if the rest of the players start to depend on their brilliant mate, to play their game. The team is completely off-balance. What would happen if, for any reason, this player suddenly disappears?
What I’m trying to get at is that having full control of things is not as easy and evident as it might seem, if we wanted durable results, sustainable behaviour, long term success.
The question is then, who wants long term success these days?