Lebowski Enlightenment #6

WARNING:  Thinking like this is unreliable as a guide to action.

I have been on a rant about the imprecision of human thought as revealed in historical action, for some reason as part of some thread of thought or other, I found these.*

First this as an example of how reason alone is not a good guide to action :

Caesar’s legions, with vast experience in building, march up to the Rhine and build a bridge across it in 10 days — Shock and Awe for German tribes.  Modern engineers struggle to bridge a small stream in a week with the same technology.  Documents describe the machines, but not details of how to accomplish each step.  That takes trying alternatives in meat-space because modern minds don’t have the information to decide, and reasoning is too-low precision to produce the required answers.

Watch these for as much understanding as you can achieve because the thing to appreciate is the depth of their abstractions.  Mathematicians have invented-discovered huge structures in human-mental-mathematics space which connect to other huge structures in human-mental-mathematics space in strange ways, and human-mental-science-spaces conceptions of our physical space in other strange ways.  Look upon those and not be awed**, I will think you less than human, this defines some of the best of human achievement, and in many dimensions.

So 300 years of mathematics patiently piling up brick by brick with brilliant architects now and again laying out the type of bricks needed for the next layers of construction.  And the work was done in a very cooperative way.  Barring the usual human failings, personal feuds and national pride, mathematics has displayed the best of human civilization consistently over centuries and produced an amazing mental and social edifice as it did so. In all of history, not a single mathematician has been shot because of a disagreement over a theorem or stabbed because of a lemma.  There have been no wars over mathematics or mathematicians. There are not many professions that can make such claims.

Easily amazed by the obvious as I am, this seems to be a very different record than the rest of human history.  One would expect that others must have noticed the obvious, it should be a major goal of the rest of our intellectual elites to do as well!  In both peaceful development and precision of concepts, mathematics*** is worthy of emulation.

So you have read the seminal texts that critique the rest of the humanities and the rapid fall-off of precision in thinking that they represent?  Taken the History 101 course that focuses most of its attention upon the dismal history of government actions and political strategies with the so critical comparisons to human intelligence in other matters?

Me neither.  Why do you suppose that is?

*Do not be impressed by that.  I have dozens of threads of thoughts going all the time, it is more unusual when a web link doesn’t connect to one of them.  I think any web researcher can find 5 examples of anything with small effort.

**But not by the connections between these awesome worlds.  That is an inverse category error, trying to think that all 3 of those have more reality than mappings within human minds, mappings requiring long training, as they are not part of our full-body world.  It would be more surprising if there were no connections. However, I am still surprised, completely wowed again and again, our human mind maps produce such interesting results again and again so far forever.  With luck, our AIs will illuminate the natural mechanisms.

***And also many other areas of study, although there are none whose concepts stack so high as math.  But I am amazed how little I know and have been able to find about that obvious problem of reasoning about the real world.  How can it not be obvious? I am missing something.

Added later.  My brother sent me this, interesting in itself and an example of how dealing with the real world requires more than just thought, even when the dealer is very experienced at the work.  At 4:00 he cuts a slice of wood into 6 segments, and takes 3 tries.

Yet later : more mathematics, another link to ‘depth of concepts and amazing connections‘.


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