Re: [pcp-discuss:] Re: Fwd: Comments on _One Half Of A Manifesto_by Jaron Lanier

From: Norman K. McPhail (norm@SOCAL.WANET.COM)
Date: Tue Nov 21 2000 - 18:08:53 GMT

  • Next message: John J Kineman: "Re: [pcp-discuss:] Re: Fwd: Comments on _One Half Of A Manifesto_by Jaron Lanier"

    Don Mikulecky wrote:
    > Norm,
    > In the spirit of what we seem to agree about, there *should* be more than one way to
    > present the case. Many of us are extremely comfortable with this way. others clearly
    > are not. The reasons for that are many and we are clearly not dealing with absolutes
    > here. See below for the rest.

    > > > You are right about the nested circularity of using the modeling relation to
    > > > capture itself. That's a start. When we see our new approaches tackling
    > > > self-reference head on we can know we have broken free from old restrictions and
    > > > are beginning to see *more* of what reality is all about.
    > >
    > > I agree again. I'll only add once more that for me, the use of simple
    > > and complex as modifiers to the models and those phenomena we are
    > > attempting to model, causes unnecessary confusion and misunderstanding.
    > I question what the cause of the confusion and misunderstanding is here. Many of us can
    > communicate in a clearer way with better understanding as a result of this. It probably
    > revolves around where your real interests lie.
    > Don

    I think that your point about where our interests lie is the key to our
    differences here. In the area of your and Rosen's expertise, I am a
    quintessential outsider. In fact, even though I have a number of
    friends that are part of the academic and scientific communities, I have
    no ties to academia as such and I am certainly outside the scientific

    Perhaps you know that vocationally I'm a public finance investment
    banker. Nevertheless, I have a deep and burning interest in a very
    broad range of subjects. I consider myself a generalist. I've also been
    fortunate to have the luxury to have spent a lifetime exploring all
    these interests.

    As you'd expect, most people that know me usually aren't able to find a
    neat way to classify my all diverse interests. A few conclude that
    since they can't pigeon hole me, I must be a philosopher. I find that
    "a jack of all trades and master of none" has a nice ring and a fair
    amount of truth in it.

    As you noted, we do have much in common when it comes to the ideas we've
    been talking about. But from what you said, you seem to be focused on
    the academic and scientific community. On the other hand, I'm primarily
    interested in finding ways of communicating these ideas to the broadest
    possible audience.

    As perhaps you know, I spent over five years writing a 33 part treatment
    for a documentary television series I call "The Dawn of Human
    Understanding." The purpose of this TV series was simply to provide the
    general public with a cohesive blend of the emerging understanding we
    humans are gaining with respect to our selves, each other and the
    universe we are a part of. I think you also know that since I failed
    raise the $30 million to produce the series, I did the next best thing
    and simply put it on the web:

    I suppose that this is a long way of saying that I'm trying to tell this
    story to anyone who has an interest in learning more about the human
    condition. In this endeavor, I have worked very hard to include as many
    views or models as possible. I've also paid particular attention to the
    difficulty of integrating these multiple views into a better human

    In this effort to integrate multiple views, I found that most of the
    academic and scientific specialists actually make an effort, whether
    conscious or otherwise, to isolate their field of expertise. I also
    discovered that they have a strong tendency to interpret other areas of
    inquiry using the thought modes and criteria from their own field of
    expertise. The net result is that the average person finds it almost
    impossible to make much sense out of all these apparently conflicting
    and confusing views.

    But taken as a whole, our human understanding is expanding at an almost
    incomprehensible pace. What's more, as we survey the components and
    then work through all the apparent conflicts, we find some truly
    profound implications coming out of the fog.

    I am of the opinion that self governing peoples need to be able to sift
    through the ever increasing deluge of information that is inundating
    us. We need to understand for ourselves what the benefits and risks of
    our individual and collective democratic choices are. My goal is to
    improve this understanding and hopefully improve our individual and
    collective choices.

    This is where I'm coming from. And this is the context within which I
    recently posted my thoughts and comments on some of the ideas we
    enthusiastically share.


    Posting to from "Norman K. McPhail" <>

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