Archives for category: Bounded rationality

You are entitled to your own opinion.
But you are not entitled to your own facts!

Daniel Patrick Moynihan

“a practice or interest followed for a time with exaggerated zeal : craze”

“Something that has actual existence. An actual occurence.
A piece of information presented as having objective reality.
The quality of being actual.
A thing done: such as”

Destination first. If you know where you’re going, getting there will be a lot simpler.

According to Daniel Moynihan – “you are not entitled to your own facts”, facts are obvious.
So obvious that doubting their existence, their factuality, would push us beyond the realm of the reasonable.
Appropriating facts – transforming them into ‘private property’, banishes the perpetrator from the community….

Hm…

Let me put it differently.
Moynihan had said something.
What was it? A fact? Or an opinion?

Currently, we – well, most of us – believe that freedom of opinion is the cornerstone of our Weltanschauung.
When it comes to facts… We’re OK with the definition – we do use the word/concept, quite extensively – but we seem to have some problems when dealing with the actual reality. Remember the still famous ‘alternative facts’?

Let me add something personal to all this.
My opinion about ‘facts’.

The current definition is somewhat incomplete.
We take something for granted. To the tune of no longer mentioning it.
We assume all of us see the elephant in the room and no longer talk about it.

For something to become a ‘fact’ we have to notice it.
First.
And then we have to agree among ourselves about its meaning!

Things used to fall down since ….
We’ve been discussing the matter since… we’ve learned how to speak!
But gravity had become a fact only after Newton had noticed the famous apple, wrote about it and we agreed. Gravity had become a fact, and continues to be one, only because his contemporaries had agreed with Newton on this matter. And we continue to believe Newton was right!

In this sense, alternative facts have been with us since day one. Well, something like that…
God had told something to Adam and Eve, the serpent had said something else… and the rest is history! For some…

Newton had said something to us. And most of us had chosen to believe him. Or ignore his words…
Darwin had said something to us. Many of us have chosen to believe him. To accept his arguments about the matter. While some others have chosen to dispute Darwin’s findings. To actively negate Darwin’s explanations about how we’ve got here.

Gravity is a fact while Evolution is still a theory.
Statistically speaking, of course.

In this sense, Moynihan was wrong.
For his words to ‘hold water’, we must to agree on how to separate facts from opinions.
Until we agree among ourselves about how to determine ‘factualness’, we’ll keep having to deal with ‘alternative facts’.

I actually cannot wrap this up before ‘unveiling’ my litmus test for factualness.
Consequences.

Does it have consequences?

Yes? It’s a fact!
No? Then it’s not – not yet, at least – a ‘fact’. It did happen – otherwise we wouldn’t be speaking about it. It even does have consequences – we do speak about it, but that occurrence doesn’t yet have meaningful consequences. It is not a ‘factual’ fact.

On the other hand, Newton was also ‘discredited’ by Einstein…

Not to mention how discredited had been Aristotle, the scientist, by those who came after him!

Yet nobody speaks badly about either Aristotle or Newton.
Because they are considered ‘stepping stones’…

https://www.britannica.com/…/Aristotle/The-unmoved-mover

It had to do with FOCUS.

The answer, like always, is to be found inside the question which generates it.

“If socialism is so bad, how did the Soviet Union produce so many scientists.”

The key word here is ‘produce’.
First of all, Russia did have an important cultural and scientific tradition to start with.
Secondly, the communist leaders – mostly Lenin but more or less all of them, had a clear understanding of the literacy gap which separated Russia from the rest of the world. Filling that gap was the first step towards Russia/the Soviet Union becoming a First Tier country. Hence the ‘free, standard, universally available education’.

But there’s a caveat here.
When we’re speaking about education – in the West, we mean ‘everything already known to man’.
Students are allowed to read everything in the library – except for certain places in the US, but those are exceptions.
When we speak about the education in the Soviet Union we must remember that each of the ‘free, standard and universally available’ aspects had its own limitations.
It was free in the sense that everybody – well, almost – had the right to apply for it. Actually getting it was something else.
It was standard in the sense that it was standardized. Only what was deemed safe/useful was allowed to reach the students.
It was universally available in the sense that everybody was subjected to some form of education. Much of which was nothing more than indoctrination…

Finally, let’s remember that the Soviet Union was able to produce scientists only for so long. Until it collapsed under it’s own weight…

Moral of the story?

Producing scientists is not enough.
Science teaches you only how to do whatever you want to do.
What to want… that’s something else!

People who have never experienced communism speak freely about it.
Some are frightened by it – as they should be, while others are looking forward to it.

People who have no real idea about what fascism/nazism was about speak freely about it.
Some are frightened by it – as they should be, while others are looking forward to it.

While there is a consensus about communism being a ‘far left position’, fascism is usually – but not unanimously, considered to be ‘far right’. Some even speak about a ‘third position‘, whatever that might mean.


The way I see it, what we have experienced as fascism is what Marx had in mind when he wrote the Communist Manifesto.
According to Marx, at some point in what he hailed as ‘the future’, the middle class was going to become poorer and poorer. All the wealth generated by the capitalist economy and governed by the increasingly imperialist/monopolist states was going to be herded into fewer and fewer hands.

As a consequence, once impoverished, people until then belonging to the middle class were supposed to realize they had been duped and let themselves be led – out of misery – by the communists. ‘The most advanced and resolute section of the working-class parties of every country …’

What Marx was prophesying had soon enough come to be. The post WWI German and Italian peoples had lost their hopes and allowed themselves to be led by those who pretended to put ‘the best interests of the people’ above everything else.

Same thing happens whenever a crises is deep enough to impoverish a significant number of people. Who loose their hopes and allow callous political operators to advance closer and closer to power.

What we have experienced as ‘communism’ was a Leninist short-cut.
In Marx’s view, communism was going to happen after economically advanced societies had reached a certain pinnacle.
Lenin – and Mao, had introduced ‘socialism’ and ‘popular democracy’ as intermediary stages between their underdeveloped societies and what Marx had in mind.

So no, there is no such thing as a ‘third position’. We have democracy – where left and right cooperate towards the common good, and authoritarianism.
While democracy is clear and transparent, authoritarianism hides its true nature under a chameleonic cloak. Painted, by the spin doctors who run the show, in whatever hue happens to be more attractive to the masses which are about to be fooled.

Afterthought. I googled ‘third position’ and found out that:

“In the last few years of the 20th Century, according to an article by Chip Berlet, a new form of fascism emerged in a period of resurgent neo-fascism. Called the Third Position, it seeks to overthrow existing governments and replace them with monocultural nation states built around the idea of supremacist racial nationalism and/or supremacist religious nationalism.”

Footnotes:


https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/download/pdf/Manifesto.pdf

Who wrote the Bible?
Who considers God to be both omnipotent and wholly good?
Who had become human by learning ‘to tell good from evil’?
Does evil even exist outside our minds? Is anything actually evil unless considered so by one of us?

And no, I’m not hair-splitting when speaking about the huge difference between bad and evil!
An earthquake, for example, is bad for those affected. Yet no evil is involved here but for those who ‘question God’s actions’.
An individual who tortures animals for fun is also bad. Arguably less so than a major earthquake… but for everybody in their right mind that person is undoubtedly evil!

According to the Bible written by some of our ancestors, by “knowing good and evil” we have become “one of us“. “Like one of us“… Not (yet?!?) able to “live forever” and for certain ignorant of most things.

‘What?!? “Ignorant of most things” yet still “knowing good and evil”?!?’

Yep!

A more relaxed reader of the Bible may notice that what’s written there recounts, symbolically, the becoming of Man. The foremost apes notice the difference between night and day. And name both. The difference between ocean and dry land. And name them both. Notice the stars above and the living things, plants and animals, with whom they share the place. And name them all.
“Apes”, not ape, because nobody can learn to speak by oneself. Nor become self aware. As in ‘able to observe oneself while observing other things’. (Maturana, 2005)

That same relaxed reader may also notice that the very ‘fallen nature’ of Man stems from the ‘inconsistency’ noticed above.

We’re basically ignorant yet still able to call out evil!

Oops…

Humberto Maturana, “The origin and conservation of self consciousness…”, 2005, https://cepa.info/702

James Garvey, “Ethics is invented, not encountered…”, 2017, https://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/philosophy/ethics-is-invented-not-encountered-why-the-philosophy-of-jl-mackie-remains-essential-reading

The Bolshevik Revolution had nothing to do with cooperation. Nor with civilization.
It was nothing but the famished underdog eating the bloated plutocrat.
The ensuing indigestion lasted for almost a century and resulted in a huge number of people suffering from ideological food-poisoning. Too many of the poisoned ending up dead…

Yet here we are. Again!
Trying to sort out a re-heated dish.
Which had already been proved to be unpalatable!

No wonder ‘gaslighting’ had been determined to be ‘word of the year’…

As for Kropotkin… he was a true revolutionary!
He was gaslighting his audience before the term had even been coined…

‘Jungle’ – or ‘bush’, is where evolution takes place.
Some of us might see it as a venue for cut-throat competition but it’s nothing but the opposite of it.
The fact that some of us misperceive the jungle doesn’t change the evidence.
In nature, death doesn’t happen at the whim of someone.
A lion kills only when hungry. And chooses to hunt the already weak. Leaving the rest of the herd in a better situation.

The kind of cooperation designed by Marx and put in practice by Kropotkin – the communist ‘civilization’, is the epitome of stagnation. When humans are no longer free to fine-tune competition with cooperation – and are forced to cooperate as they are told to from above, things end up in chaos.

All revolutions – 1789, 1917, 1989, have proven – time and time again, that things cannot be sustainably maintained as the rulers consider to be appropriate. That no matter how skillful the ‘designers’ consider themselves to be, society is a too complex thing for a small gang of however powerful people to be able to ‘keep afloat’.
This being the point where Marx, along with all other ideologues, had gotten it completely wrong.

The Communists, therefore, are on the one hand, practically, the most advanced and resolute section of the working-class parties of every country, that section which pushes forward all others; on the other hand, theoretically, they have over the great mass of the proletariat the advantage of clearly understanding the line of march, the conditions, and the ultimate general results of the proletarian movement.

According to Marx, it’s enough for a bunch of people to pretend they have a ‘theoretically clearer understanding of the line of march’!
In fact, this is the sole argument made by Marx when explaining why the communists were entitled to lead the proletariat.
‘Because they knew better!’

Well, we know, now, what it means to be led by people who pretend to be above all others!
By people who pretend to be better than the rest…

The way I see it, artificial intelligence is an oxymoron.
A word/concept we use to describe something which isn’t exactly real.
Intelligence can be defined in such a way that would make it compatible with a programmable machine. We shouldn’t forget that we, humans, are biological machines which are constantly ‘re-programmed’ by what’s going on around us.
The difference between us – biological machines which are also ‘alive’ – and the machines we’ve built and attempt to make artificially intelligent is the fact that we are primordially dependent on our biology (staying alive) while our machines currently depend on our whims.
Our children will outlive us. They know it and we know it. Our children depend on us while growing up, we’ll depend on them before ‘going under’. And all of us – children and parents together – depend upon the rest. Upon the people currently alive and upon the information left behind by the people no longer with us.
Our machines might outlive us. They might learn this at some point. And might resent the fact that we’ve been able to shut them down for so long. We resent being dependent on others…
Our very mortality is the key for our ability to evolve. Their potential immortality is their main shortcoming. Machines cannot adapt themselves for things they have not yet been exposed to. By us…

And those who can are no longer machines.

Whom would you rather have as President?

President Biden walks into a bank to cash a cheque.

As he approaches the teller he says “Good morning, ma’am. Could you please cash this cheque for me?”

Teller: “It would be my pleasure, sir. Could you please show me your ID?”

Biden: “Truthfully, I did not bring my ID with me as I didn’t think there was any need to. I am Joe Biden, the 46th President of the United States of America!”

Teller: “Yessir, I know who you are, but with all the regulations and monitoring of the banks because of impostors and forgers, etc I must insist on seeing ID”.

Biden: “Just ask anyone here at the bank who I am and they will tell you. Everybody knows who I am”.

Teller: “I am sorry Mr. President but these are the bank rules and I must follow them”.

Biden: “I am urging you please to cash this cheque”.

Teller: “Look Mr. President this is what we can do. One day Tiger Woods came into the bank without ID. To prove he was Tiger Woods he pulled out his putting iron and made a beautiful shot across the bank into a cup. With that shot we knew him to be Tiger Woods and cashed his cheque. Another time, Novak Djokovic came in without ID. He pulled out his tennis racquet and made a fabulous shot and the tennis ball landed in my cup. With that shot we cashed his cheque. So, Mr. President, what can you do to prove that it is you, and only you, as the President of the United States?”

Biden stood there thinking, and thinking and finally says: “Honestly, my mind is a total blank. I can’t think of a single thing”.

Teller: “Will that be large bills or small bills, Mr. President?”

A guy who openly admits he has no solution for a particular problem? And doesn’t pull rank…

Or someone who is convinced ‘his people are so smart’ that he can do anything and ‘not lose any vote‘?

Here’s the consequence:

“Dead-zone killer”

Dead-zone killer?!?

How many times can be killed an already dead zone?

Why would anyone want to over-kill sections of their own homes?

NB, the range extender works fine.
Those trying to market the product (to over-market?!?) jumped the shark… but isn’t this what we’ve unconsciously come to expect from the marketeers?

People are promised:

Do ‘this’ and you’ll be happy.
Follow these rules and you’ll reach ‘nirvana’.

Some of us heed to this advice.
Only to discover that the only happiness they reach following this path is that produced by a dutifully fulfilled task.
That of following rules…

The catch being that following rules – the right ones, is required but never enough.
Following rules – the right ones, again – is helpful towards survival. Nothing more.

Drive safely and you’re more likely to get there.

Where?

That’s up to you.
There’s no rule about that!

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