Wednesday 2 February 2011

Intellectual pride is responsible for modernity, and also its destruction


The pride of intellectuals is a powerful thing. Indeed, after a certain point, it becomes the only thing: since pride is what holds them together, gets them out of bed in the morning, and keeps them striving.

(A world fueled and sustained by the worst of all sins...)


Intellectual pride led to the demand for intellectual independence - to throw off constraints, to follow though wherever it led, to make a mark, to gain status, to change the world - to use knowledge for power in this world, to use power to alleviate misery and to make happy.

(The voice of conscience stilled by the assurance that power would be used not selfishly, but for the general good...  ultimately.)


The first steps were rewarded with power undreamed of: philosophy, science, technology, the arts...

Creative genius everywhere...

The industrial revolution - continual economic expansion, power in war, increasing capability to act on the world and on other humans.

All 'thanks' to the pride of intellectuals, in particular to creative genius unleashed.


But then the same process led to dismantling and destroying the whole thing (while consuming the products and living of the processes of the previous stage).

And people didn't really seem to care...


Well, pride is the worst of sins, and self-disgust could not forever be held in check, nor distracted-from.

But neither the intellectuals not the people repented - not at all, not one whit; they continued to want power - but, somehow, they just couldn't do it any more.

They became passively sinful - mistaking passivity for virtue.


They worshipped pride in others even when they did not feel it in themselves; they had turned away from the light and now it hurt their eyes, so they doused the light, and made way for the pride of darkness to triumph.

They became secret allies of darkness: at all times, and everywhere - even in the solitude of their thoughts.

In sum: they hated the light more than they feared the dark.


How could they be so foolish?

Well, pride is like that.



a Finn said...

Why intellectuals are paradoxically so stupid? Lenin despised intellectuals and perspicaciously (and approximately) said when he gave instructions for the revolution: "The intellectuals are the least of our problems. They believe everything we say (including any lie)." Quite often extremes resemble each other, in this case low IQ and high IQ people. There are of course psychological, economical, organizational/ sociological, division of science etc. reasons. And there are the Clever sillies -theory of Charlton and his other writings on the subject. I expand these in one direction.

I have said that society is now ruled and to large extent organized by monetary calculation, however faulty. But ultimately power, when arrangements are made in society, is overwhelmingly dependent on words. Words arrange and uphold the situation where e.g. monetary calculation is the highest ruling principle. Thus the ultimate power always resides in words, although this is not a reason to underestimate the numbers.

A small Words and intellectuals -theory:

It is noticed in e.g. physics that the differences between level of understanding of numbers and formulas is sharp and large between people, but it seems to many that every person with normal intelligence can understand almost any text and at least large part of the most complex texts, and hence the differences in text comprehension are considerably less. But there are reasons I think this is largely an illusion, exacerbated by delusions of understanding.

People estimate status differences in different fields of work and hobby quite effortlessly and quickly, whatever the quality of the estimations. Having observed debates and conversations in inertianet (sic) for a long time, I have noticed that they are often dominated by word dominant persons who:

1. Can produce complex word, idea and story structures.

2. Can produce internally coherent stories, but logic and truth value of the constituent parts are often partly faulty. At least part of the constituent parts must be true and logical. The word dominant person must contribute at least some valuable and true information.

3. Can produce many long stories/ X time, with good syntax and grammar, sometimes flooding the discussions with their answers. I have tested how long debates you need to exhaust their brains. In blogspot it might require well over 200 answers, overwhelmingly between the two participants.

4. Who sow here and there words or strings of words which are unknown or poorly understood to many readers.

Who have larger general knowledge of different fields and matters and perhaps a special field of knowledge, where they are mostly clearly superior compared to others.

5. Who are in all of these qualities at least somewhat above the others.

Continued ...

a Finn said...

Part 2.

People replace with this true or false, ability and status - estimation heuristic the actual content and logic estimation of the text. Consequently the following things happen:

a) No matter how intelligent the participants, they often believe almost blindly and immediately what the word dominant person says. They have no ability to see his mistakes or distortions. When I correct the word dominant person's mistakes or lies, those who believed are reluctant to change their minds, no matter how vivid the mistakes or lies were. To the participants the difference between the word dominant person and others is as clear as the difference between A who can lift 500 kilos and B who can lift 50 kilos.

No matter how many times I show the word dominant person to be wrong, the same people are ready to believe in him again and again with childish credulity, like it was the first time and they were impressed. I have to painstakingly prove him wrong every time.

b) Even if try to teach the participants how to see through the logic mistakes and lies of the word dominant person, the participants can't learn. They fall for the mistakes and lies of the word dominant person time and again.

c) Moral depravity, e.g. regular deliberate lying which I demonstrate, mostly doesn't change the participants positive image and trust for the word dominant person.

We can also notice:

d) Sometimes, but especially when pressed, word dominant person's word spinning might get out of control, and he produces word complexity he can't understand or analyze, and I have to sort it out for him. He believes in his own production initially as a default position, but is more ready than normally to acknowledge his mistakes after the sorting out.

e) Even if the word dominant person lied or distorted initially deliberately, as time goes by he starts to believe more in his distortions and lies, but obviously never believes in them totally. Normal continuity and commitment -principle explains part of this, but the word dominant person also, as times goes by, produces such a large quantity of word spinning (both true and false information) to support his lies and distortions, that he partly loses track which was which, what was what.

f) Common sense, normal intelligence, strong opposite opinions or strong convictions protect people better from word dominant persons than high IQ (alone).

g) The PC/ liberal word dominant persons have a couple of advantages over their opponents. It easier and shorter to produce part-fiction, not so accurate, logical and truthful stream of consciousness, than to explain why these are false and not logical. The quantity of text of the word dominant persons tend to drown out their opponents' answers.

The sarcastic detachment of the liberal word dominant persons from almost everything else than their pleasures and income sources gives wide latitude to their tactics. They can "destroy and burn" with their words almost everything. It is more difficult to build and uphold things, communities and systems with words than to destroy them.


In practice differences between understandings of texts might be as large as differences between understandings of physics mathematics, but partial understanding of texts conceals this from view and creates illusions of abilities to estimate and judge the quality of texts, and delusions of understanding more about them than in reality is the case.

Bruce Charlton said...

Welcome back Mr Finn!

Modern culture, PC, is only possible in the world of words - where almost anything can be made 'true'.

A world where experience is primary is - by contrast - highly constrained.

When the world of words collapses, or perhaps even if it just stops growing, modernity will collapse along with it.