Message sent to Scott Andrew following listening to the interview above.
Very much align with many aspects of what you and Daniel are trying to do. Have read a lot of Daniel’s writings, and he mine, and we talked on skype for a couple of hours last year.
I have a few issues with some of what Daniel said in that interview:
40:04 Daniel uses the term “mile long trawlers” – they do not exist. The largest trawlers are about a tenth of a mile long.
51:50 – Daniel states “still have less certainty than most less aware people. This is something we need to fix.”
Why? Why assume certainty is beneficial? Why not be willing to accept and stand in the fundamental uncertainty, and see it for the well of creativity that it is? Why try and force it to some polarity?
53:00 – Daniel states – “You’ll notice that for all the most consequential possible topics nobody has any idea what the fuck is actually going on.” That is not clear speech. Some people have an idea what is going on, but the interpretive schema those individuals are using are so far outside of the schema used by most people that the understandings encapsulated in them are not available to the vast majority. Most people would rather die for their inaccurate “truths”, than admit of the possibility of uncertainty or error. That much has been clear from my journey with a terminal cancer diagnosis over the last 8 years.
54:01 Daniel states – “There is profound difficulty in the ability to make sense of both what is true and what is right behaviour in response to what is true. And we can get, without getting into what the solution is yet, we can get that these are problems that we have to – that should at least be central to our conversation – right! We should centrally be focused on how do we go about knowing what is true, how do we go about getting rid of disinformation, how do go about (like in the me too movement it wasn’t so much disinformation as in people creating false information as people hiding information, right – that allowed negative things, abusive things, to continue for so long). So how do we start getting an accurate information ecology, and how do we start having conversations about what the right strategic approaches to problems are? Do we have to change capitalism? Do we have to change government? What are the right ethical approaches to some of these macro dynamics? I think that at minimum these should be more central to the conversation because they actually are central to what needs to happen.”
55:15 – Your response – “Absolutely!”
I say – No.
Consider the possibility that the very idea of being right is actually the biggest problem we face.
The idea of being right is founded in the idea that we can actually model reality perfectly, that we can have Truth.
Certainly we want to be as accurate as possible in our speech.
Certainly we need to avoid saying things we are confident are false.
And being as accurate as we can be is not the same thing as the classical notion of Truth.
To me that classical notion of Truth is all illusion.
Any modern understanding of the complexity of reality, and the nature of our neurophysiology, and the nature of understanding itself, clearly shows that all understanding is some sort of heuristically based model of reality. Some sort of simple model that worked in the context of our past, but may not be well adapted to our future.
We need to get in our bones that what we experience as reality isn’t. Our experience is of a model of reality that our subconscious neural processes create based on a complex mix of physical hardware selected of deep evolutionary time (our brains), software systems selected over deep cultural time (our language and culture more widely), our actual physical interaction with reality (whatever that actually is), and whatever choices we make at whatever level of choice and distinction we manage to instantiate.
It now seems beyond any shadow of reasonable doubt that the very idea of “Truth” is a very simple approximation to something profoundly more complex and fundamentally uncertain.
The very idea of “a right way” is a profound simplification of what seems to be an infinite variety of possible ways all with similar utility, and a much larger infinity of possible paths with substantially negative utility, some subset of which actually contain existential risk at some level.
https://tedhowardnz.wordpress.com/on-being-human/key-themes-required-for-understanding/ is a recent work of mine on this general subject.
One needs to be able to relax the notion of “A Right Way” enough to be able to see some beginnings of the infinity of the possible actually present, and to start negotiations about which general direction we head in, and how we continue to navigate through the troubled waters ahead. And in times of very high risk, it is powerful to have one experienced individual making the calls about where to point the ship. In calmer times, greater degrees of discussion and negotiation are both possible and desirable.
And one has to be alert to the possibility of artificially created storms, created to mask some other purpose.
1:20:00 – align completely with Daniel on the issues of “how to sense make”.
On the wider issue of McMurtry’s “primary Axiom” – for me it fails in many fundamental ways – it looks more like prison than freedom as written. And if you are interested, I can elaborate on that in depth.