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–1 vote
Whilst searching for a mathematical short-cut, the conservative German physicist Max Planck begged his colleges to please explain the joke complaining that a sense of humor was never amongst his list of job requirements. What he could not have known with any certainty, but must have suspected, was that this particular shortcut would haunt the modern sciences for the next century. In fact, for decades afterwards a popular subject at cocktail parties among physicists was how to design experiments to discourage practical jokers. Planck's friends noted in his later years that he had intentionally acquired a very agreeable sense of humor and, along with the enduring mystery of quantum mechanics, other physicists thought it prudent to do the same. More than half a century after his initial discovery a few bold physicists whose reputations were beyond question began cultivating a more off-the-wall sense of humor with John Wheeler once famously declaring, "A black hole has no hair! Gravity without mass! Time is what prevents everything from happening at once! There is no law except the law there is no law!" To which Richard Feynman was quick to add, "Some say Wheeler's lost his mind in his later years, but he's always been that way."

More frequently Feynman is quoted as saying, "If you think you understand quantum mechanics you are wrong." The implied corollary joke being that if you believe you don't comprehend quantum mechanics then you most certainly do understand, because it never made any sense to begin with! Once, someone frustrated with my arguments insisted that I don't know anything about the subject and should stop talking about it altogether, to which I was quick to promise that the minute I have anything intelligible to say about quantum mechanics I will. Over a century later, in the hallowed halls of academia the continuing howls of indignation are now beginning to spread to every branch of the sciences along with the slowly dawning realization that mother nature has a wicked sense of humor and an endless supply of zingers because existence itself is paradoxical and instant karma is always gonna getcha baby!

Donald Hoffman, for example, is a Game theorist who spent ten years studying all the neurological evidence and after running one computer simulation after another he finally concluded that, according to all the evidence, if the human mind and brain had ever remotely resembled anything like reality we would already have become extinct as a species. Which, of course, means that his own discovery can be considered just more self-contradictory nonsense along the same lines as quantum mechanics which, nevertheless, appears to be much more useful than anyone's silly ideas about reality. In response to this relentless string of zingers some, like Stephen Hawking, have championed taking one upon the chin for queen, country, and tradition insisting Einstein had to be right and God would never be so malicious as to leave us completely in the dark. Nevertheless, in spite of all the objections from researchers that they see little to laugh about under the circumstances, the evidence continues to mount that, assuming there is a God, its impossible to know with any certainty what he had in mind when he created the universe.

Without realizing that they had corroborated this, a group of mathematicians examining all of classical mathematics and causal physics concluded that any number of simple metaphors can be used to describe causality equally well. If you want, you can take your pick and insist that everything as merely composed of black holes, balls of string, bouncing springs, rubber bands, clockwork, wavy gravy, lime Jell-O, or lotions in motion on vibrating rubber sheets for all I know! A similar mathematical study established that, not only can you take your pick from among countless causal explanations, but only two dimensions are required as if, in reality, life were merely a cartoon. Like Donald Hoffman and Max Planck before them, what the mathematicians have just confirmed is that all of academia has traditionally relied upon what Rainbow Warriors call "Cartoon Logic", that is, the logic of small children who will adopt whatever rationalization conflicts less with reality as they know it or just happens to appeal to them more at the time.

So, the question is, should anarchists reject classical logic as merely another tool for allowing money to do all driving at the point of a gun? Does classical logic, according to the evidence, define anarchists as conformists?

1 Answer

+1 vote
Too deep for me, wuliheron. Hey, this is just anarchy101. I've read some relativity stuff, some stephen hawking and quite a bit of game theory stuff, and I find it entertaining but wholly irrelevant to my existence and provide no answers to the only urgent questions we face (ethical questions). Logic is just for fun; like with ping-pong, it's only fun if you play with someone at your skill level.

While I don't have enough self-confidence to debate someone as obviously well-read and free-thinking as you, I can offer some cud to chew on: adherence to anarchist political/social ideas responds to an innate, directly inherited knowledge of right and wrong experienced by all living, feeling organisms: it's Jimeny Cricket; no rationalization required. In fact, our enjoyment of reason and logic might well make us (forgive the generalization) the dumbest creatures on this planet; certainly the most self-destructive species I observe.  It isn't knowlege or understanding that humans gain through scientific or philisophical inquiry, only deeper confusion.  

Whether they admit it or not, I think anarchists long for widespread obiedience to a sort of natural law -- the same that governs a community of weeds in an abandoned field. In this way, anarchists are conformists to a larger set of "social" conventions mass human society flouts. So yes, in the society of all living things anarchists are the conformists and logicians are non-conformists.
by (600 points)

"adherence to anarchist political/social ideas responds to an innate, directly inherited knowledge of right and wrong experienced by all living, feeling organisms"

so when one individual's "innate" knowledge of "right and wrong" is dramatically different from that of another individual, whose inherited knowledge is faulty? who or what could possibly make that determination (except for an accepted authority)? objective moralism is in no way compatible with my anarchy.

"I think anarchists long for widespread obiedience to a sort of natural law"

why some people (specifically self-identified anarchists) seem so deeply and unquestioningly attached to the very concept of "law" - especially some "natural law" - truly leaves me boggled.

calling "gravity" (or any  other observable behavior) a law is absurd to me. gravity is a word someone gave to the phenomenon related to the fact that mass attracts mass (however one puts it). i eat, therefore i shit. that's the law of funky shit, eh? bizarre...

i find it interesting that so many people - across the political landscape - are so sure that they know the answer, the right way, for everyone. as if every possible indicator of mass human society doesn't provide overwhelming evidence of the impossibility of it.

funkyanarchy: ask yourself these questions:

Is slavery ever ok?

Is anarchy the right way for everyone?

Are you indifferent to whether or not life itself continues to exist tomorrow?

I read somewhere that to be an anarchist is to view government as a criminal gang. Morality underpins anarchist thought. This forum is fueled by righteousness.  I don't have a problem with that. I do suffer from the irony of hating myself for hating haters. I am so fucking pretentious to dare denigrate those I see as pretentious. But that's just part of the torture of self-awareness; I either have to put up with it or find a reason to die.  What the hell am I gonna do? If I'm an amorphous, relativist blob of who-gives-a-shit I sure won't be pondering ideas of how to push social change towards greater individual autonomy.

By all means continue to challenge my bullshit. It would be great if you could destroy my insufferable morality.
Anyway, the observation that this forum's most active contributors are not very receptive of binary, dialectical thinking makes me feel all the more needed here. In true binary fashion, someone has to provide the antithesis if we're going to resolve any of the contradictions inherent in our topic of shared interest and move on to the new contradictions inherent in that resolution :)

(to clarify: I think several of you don't like the white/black nature of objective morality -- even in the absence of authority. I detect a preference for "neither," but that isn't so different from my own preferece for "both.")
"Is slavery ever ok?"

it would be easy to say no. but... ever? i guess if that term could possiby apply to a completely voluntary relationship between individuals capable of being in such a voluntary relationship, then perhaps yes. i cannot personally see such a possibility, but that's me, and i don't assume i can imagine every possible situation that could ever occur between 2 (or more) autonomous individuals.

"Is anarchy the right way for everyone?"

i honestly can not think of any kind of "right way for everyone" - it makes absolutely no sense in my world. but going with your flow, i'd say it is highly unlikely that anarchy is a way of life every individual would choose.

"Are you indifferent to whether or not life itself continues to exist tomorrow?"

i am not sure if you mean MY life, or all of life. in either case, i am not exactly indifferent. as long as i can enjoy my life, i would choose to have it continue. and if i was gone, as long as beings that i care about can enjoy life, i would probably choose to have life in general continue as well. on the other hand, i do not consider life to be sacred, as many do. i would end another life just as quickly as i'd end my own, if the situation called for it.

"Morality underpins anarchist thought. "

a few issues with that statement:

1. it assumes some monolithic "anarchist thought".

2. it demonstrates your claim (and desire) to define that monolithic anarchist thought.

3. it attempts to (super?)impose your ideas on others.

contrast what you said with this: "morality underpins MY anarchist thought". just saying...

"the torture of self-awareness"

fantastic phrase! i dig it.
"to clarify: I think several of you don't like the white/black nature of objective morality -- even in the absence of authority"

you apparently misunderstand, at least where i am coming from. in my mind, objective morality CANNOT exist without an authority - the (objective) source of the morality. the authority you seem to look to is "natural law" (probably with gaia in there somewhere). i do not acknowledge "natural law"; what folks call that is nothing more than observation of behavior in the world around them. calling that "natural law" simply underscores one's need for "law and order" (control), rather than just acknowledging the infinite beauty and uncontrollable-ness of the world around us.
Thanks to this forum my philosophy is evolving a lot right now. I can no longer hold onto the idea of Natural Laws of morality. It is true that what I have long viewed as Absolute Ethical Rules by which it is possible to judge right and wrong are based on observations of non-human life and the assumption that non-human organisms, unburdened by a psychological need for logic/reason, unquestioning, follow Natural Laws of Ethics applicable in general form to all life.

Now when I converse with myself I refer to these "rules" as "guidelines." After all, they are not enforced by any authority. Enforcement wasn't part of my philosophy anyway; I've found the idea of gaia or God disgusting for many, many years now, seeing anyone's claim to know the will of "greater organisms" as pretentious and often manipulative.

So, as you say, the terms "rules" and "laws" aren't appropriate.

While rules and laws imply constraints on freedom, guidelines are useful to organisms pursuing freely chosen objectives. Now I see Right and Wrong -- ethics -- as judgements of intentions and decisions relating to an ultimate objective: The continued existence of life as a phenomenon.

So I still believe in absolute right and wrong, but now I see ethics in relation to a specific objective nearly all organisms appear to have in common. I no longer see "doing the right thing" as an objective in itself.
appreciate your sharing. always cool to find different ideas that resonate, and have your own ideas solidify and change.

i don't dismiss the term "guideline", nor the term "principle", depending on how they are used. i do dismiss the notion that there is "a specific objective nearly all organisms appear to have in common" - that is, other than the base instinct of survival. though humans (at least those subsumed by mass society and democrapitalism) seem to be losing that instinct, both at the individual and the species levels.