“Most people aren’t trained to want to face the process of re-understanding a subject they already know. One must obtain not just literacy, but deep involvement and re-understanding.”
'News is to the mind what sugar is to the body'
“Afraid you will miss “something important”? From my experience, if something really important happens, you will hear about it, even if you live in a cocoon that protects you from the news. Friends and colleagues will tell you about relevant events far more reliably than any news organization. They will fill you in with the added benefit of meta-information, since they know your priorities and you know how they think. You will learn far more about really important events and societal shifts by reading about them in specialized journals, in-depth magazines or good books and by talking to the people who know. (…)
The more “news factoids” you digest, the less of the big picture you will understand. (…)
Thinking requires concentration. Concentration requires uninterrupted time. News items are like free-floating radicals that interfere with clear thinking. News pieces are specifically engineered to interrupt you. They are like viruses that steal attention for their own purposes. (…)
[F]ewer than 10% of the news stories are original. Less than 1% are truly investigative. And only once every 50 years do journalists uncover a Watergate. (…) The copying and the copying of the copies multiply the flaws in the stories and their irrelevance.”
“The middle ages did not care much for alphabetical order, because they were committed to rational order. To the medieval mind, the universe [is] a harmonious whole whose parts are related to one another. It was the responsibility of the author or scholar to discern these rational relationships — of hierarchy, or of chronology, or of similarities and differences, and so forth.”
"If things can be seen that differently, how many ways can they be seen differently? Try to get people to stop waiting for the president to enlighten them. Stop waiting for history and the stream of historical events to make itself clear to you.
You have to take seriously the notion that understanding the universe is your responsibility, because the only understanding of the universe that will be useful to you is your own understanding. It doesn’t do you any good to know that somewhere in some computer there are equations that perfectly model or perfectly don’t model something that is going on. We have all tended to give ourselves away to official ideologies and to say, ‘Well I may not understand, but someone understands.’
The fact of the matter is that only your own understanding is any good to you. Because it’s you that you’re going to live with and it’s you that you’re going to die with. As the song says, the last dance, you dance alone.”
— Terence McKenna
, an American ethnobotanist, philosopher, psychonaut, writer, (1946-2000), True hallucinations: and, the archaic revival
, MJF Books, 1998, p. 88.
“A database can be listed; a human mind has to be stimulated.”
David Deutsch on Artificial Intelligence
“What is needed is nothing less than a breakthrough in philosophy, a theory that explains how brains create explanations. (…)
What distinguishes human brains from all other physical systems is qualitatively different from all other functionalities, and cannot be specified in the way that all other attributes of computer programs can be. It cannot be programmed by any of the techniques that suffice for writing any other type of program. Nor can it be achieved merely by improving their performance at tasks that they currently do perform, no matter by how much. Why? I call the core functionality in question creativity: the ability to produce new explanations. (…)
What is needed is nothing less than a breakthrough in philosophy, a new epistemological theory that explains how brains create explanatory knowledge and hence defines, in principle, without ever running them as programs, which algorithms possess that functionality and which do not. (…)
The truth is that knowledge consists of conjectured explanations — guesses about what really is (or really should be, or might be) out there in all those worlds. Even in the hard sciences, these guesses have no foundations and don’t need justification. Why? Because genuine knowledge, though by definition it does contain truth, almost always contains error as well. So it is not ‘true’ in the sense studied in mathematics and logic. Thinking consists of criticising and correcting partially true guesses with the intention of locating and eliminating the errors and misconceptions in them, not generating or justifying extrapolations from sense data. And therefore, attempts to work towards creating an AGI that would do the latter are just as doomed as an attempt to bring life to Mars by praying for a Creation event to happen there. (…)
Present-day software developers could straightforwardly program a computer to have ‘self-awareness’ if they wanted to. But it is a fairly useless ability.”
"I think the Net generation is beginning to see knowledge in a way that is closer to the truth about knowledge. (…) Knowing looks less like capturing truths in books than engaging in never-settled networks of discussion and argument. (…) This new topology of knowledge reflects the topology of the Net. The Net (and especially the Web) is constructed quite literally out of links, each of which expresses some human interest. (…) And that’s the sense in which I think networked knowledge is more “natural.” (…)
To make a smart room — a knowledge network — you have to have just enough diversity. (…) There is no longer an imperative to squeeze the world into small, self-contained boxes. Hyperlinks remove the limitations that objectivity was invented to address.”
"The internet makes dumb people dumber and smart people smarter. (…) Just as globalization and de-unionization have been major drivers of the growth of income inequality over the past few decades, the internet is now a major driver of the growth of cognitive inequality."