I write complicated essays using knowledge which is all too often so esoteric as to leave readers frozen in disbelief. This is the times of brainmolded masses (an attempt is made to get out of it by using Trump as a ‘human Molotov cocktail’). (“Brainmold” is a useful neologism: we are beyond ‘brainwashed’. Appropriately molded brains never need to be washed. They are always clean, approved by our rulers.)
Oftentimes a simple cartoon can go to the heart of the matter, giving a more marking sketch of a particular point. Such is the case with Socrates, a fundamentally inhuman philosopher, prominently driven in his actions, Plato wrote, by sex, drink, food, and delirious sophistry to better drown the subjects at hand. As long as Socrates, Plato and Aristotle enjoy a quasi-divine status, civilization will be at bay (Nietzsche nearly said). But enough said, sometimes it’s easier to drown that to drone on. Here we drown:
[From “Existential Comics“.]
Highest, and deepest reasons are not about the next micro-step done right. If it were so, ants would be the most reasonable organisms. Highest, and deepest reason is about getting the big picture right. Humanity is a social phenomenon, where we learn not from the gods (as Socrates believed), but from the wisdom piled up by others. Thus, taking care of others is taking care of wisdom.
Somebody sent me mysterious messages I could not answer directly, coming to the defense of Socrates, telling me Plato was the real fascist, and that he, Plato, built up a fake Socrates, etc. Whatever: intellectuals have been in love, not to say awe, with Plato’s Socrates, fake or not. The fact the general amnesty was in the end overridden, just for Socrates, after the latter was to his old tricks, show that the “real” Socrates was surely anti-democratic, just like the “fake” one.
Socrates depended upon his rich friends, boyfriends, and lovers’ money, the money of Athens’ golden youth. That makes his critique of the Sophists all the strangest, and reflecting an hypocritical mood.
Verily, when thinking depends upon money, civilization turns into barbarity.
Nobel laureate says his scientific breakthrough on the accelerating universe ‘would not be possible’ today. Saul Perlmutter says that there is a ‘fundamental misunderstanding’ of the purpose of research: ‘the current funding climate means researchers are “very good at not wasting any money and also not good at making any discoveries”. He won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2011 after leading one of two teams that simultaneously discovered the accelerating expansion of the universe.
Speaking at the Times Higher Education World Academic Summit at Berkeley on 28 September, Professor Perlmutter said: “In the modern-day context there’s a tendency to ask: ‘What is it that you are planning to research? When will you finish it? And what day will your discovery be made?’”
Perlmutter said that it took 10 years for him to make the discovery that led to the Nobel prize, during which time he was working at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, which is supported by the US government’s department of energy. “I don’t think this particular project I’m describing would have happened in today’s funding environment. I think that would be very difficult in a world where you are managing every last cent and making sure you don’t waste any money.”
We are coming onto a world where machines will do the work. A world in which machines will do most of what constitute work now. What will humans do, what should they do? They should think as deeply as possible, and that means as sincerely as possible. Socrates’ refusal to see when people, or a civilization, his civilization was drowning, is not the most educational paradigm to emulate.
The age of robots & Artificial Intelligence will also be that of the deepest thinking, or won’t be. Because never have been the problems we can solve and have to solve, been as complex. The sustainability of the biosphere itself depends upon the deepest thinking imaginable, or won’t be. To strive towards the deepest methods, we have to eschew the Socratic method of cutting hair into pieces, somewhere out there, irrelevant to the situation at hand. Hypo-crisy means to be under-critical. By refusing to address what the problem really is, by claiming no animal knows anything, Socrates is not just ridiculous, he insults the very concept of brains, and thus civilization itself. That puts him roughly at the level of the Islamist State, and this is exactly what a jury of 2,000 of his peers in Athens decided.