Archive for the ‘Metaphysics’ Category

Soloing, & Celebrity Cult

March 16, 2015

We are living in the Internet age, and the plutocratic age. Plutocracy wants celebritism to rule the minds. When people feel, think, and live through celebrities, they are ready to do so through plutocrats.

Plutocrats hence push everywhere for the celebration of the unique act, because unicity is what they extoll.

And no act is more unique, and useful, to plutocrats than those which say life is not important.

My Friend John Bachar Free Soloing, Showing Off. Fell To His Death, Free Soloing

My Friend John Bachar Free Soloing, Showing Off. Fell To His Death, Free Soloing

[I was told, Oct. 2015, that this is actually Dan Osman, see comment; Dan was also, and more than John, living off stunts; he died jumping off Leaning Tower, close to where the pic above was taken, when his rope broke.]

Hence it is no wonder that the New York Times wrote a long article on a solo climber (I have known the author, Dan Duane, a friend, for decades, but, as one will see below, this does not make me blind, or, otherwise said, it’s dangerous to be my friend…I have been pitiless with my friend Barack, trying to set him right about non-battlefield usage of drones, in no uncertain terms…).

In The Heart-Stopping Climbs of Alex Honnold, we read that the master of climbing without ropes spends his life cheating death (By Daniel Duane, March 12, 2015).

“Honnold could afford to buy a decent home, if that interested him. But living in a van — a custom-outfitted van, in his case, with a kitchenette and cabinets full of energy bars and climbing equipment — represents freedom. It also represents a commitment to the nomadic climber’s ideal of the “dirtbag,” the purist so devoted to climbing that he avoids any entanglement that might interfere… When he’s not climbing overseas in places like Patagonia, France or Morocco, he lives an endless road trip through the Southwestern desert, Yosemite Valley, British Columbia and points between. Along the way, he has turned himself into the greatest living free-soloist, meaning that he climbs without ropes, alone.

Unroped climbing is, of course, the oldest kind, but ropes and hardware can provide such a reliable safety net that nearly all climbers now use them. This is typically done in pairs, with one climber tied to each end of the rope…”

What happens then is that, if one climber falls, but the rope has been put around prominences, or through safety equipment that the lead climber may have installed (“nuts” or camming device, or ice screw) or found (bolts or pins), then, hopefully, the rope will not break, and the fall not be so long that death or injury will occur.

Sometimes, everything fail, and both climbers fall to death (although this is rarer on harder rock walls). Sometimes the rope fails, sometimes some pieces fall out, and the tumbling leader is gravely injured and the other climber has to go alone for rescue (something that happened to me).

Dan pursues:

“But using gear slows progress. A roped pair, taking turns climbing and fussing with all that equipment, might spend six hours on a climb that a free-soloist floats up in 30 minutes — focusing purely on the pleasure of movement, the tactile sensation of hands on rock. Free-soloing also carries the mystique of self-reliance in the face of extreme risk: On cliffs where even elite climbers employ complicated rope systems, the free-soloist wears only shorts, a T-shirt, a pair of climbing shoes and a bag of gymnast’s chalk to keep the hands dry. Honnold has free-soloed the longest, most challenging climbs ever, including the 2,500-foot northwest face of Half Dome in Yosemite Valley, where some of the handholds are so small that no average climber could cling for an instant, roped or otherwise. Most peculiar of all, even to elite rock climbers, Honnold does this without apparent fear, as if falling were not possible.” “Peculiar” is the word. Some people have defects in their agmydala. Or they just have no culture: the most famous soloists died, soloing.

I sent the following comment:

***

If everybody tried to live like him, nobody would.

That’s the problem.

It’s not a morality, it’s a lethality.

I have climbed my entire life. Much more years that the gentleman. However, there were many close calls. Some from avalanches, including rock avalanches. My closest friends died in the mountain. They were top professionals of climbing, having achieved the highest guiding status in existence. Higher than Mr. Honnold. And one of them soloed at a higher level (he died from an avalanche).

This last friend, Damien Charignon, kept most of his 5-13+ soloing secret. Not to worry his family. And he knew it was amoral. So he did not do it much. I tried to discourage him as much as I could. Because soloing is amoral.

All serious mountaineers have to solo at one point or another. Soloing is not really a choice.

But it should stay an exception. Flaunting it will just bring more death. I have on sighted, roped, including in Yosemite, pitches where famous soloists fell off. And I did not fall (although I was much less of a climber than them).

So what to say? Those with a moral soul will not flaunt soloing. Doing so leads other young, impressionable people to try it, and they would surely die. This has happened many times in the past.

A devil may care attitude is not exactly something to encourage for humanity at large nowadays. There is already much too much of it… Under the sponsoring of corporations determined to instill in all the feeling of playing around with life.

Another example: a French “reality show” called, appropriately enough, “Dropped”.

Ten people died, most of them French, including three celebrities, last week in Argentina, when their helicopters collided.

Some will whine that I am unfair.

Not so. The Argentinian pilots were experienced, the French crafts brand new. The cause of death was clear: even experienced pilots are not trained for formation flying, something very special, and that the military trains for specially. Especially with helicopters, which can rob, each other air, so to speak. “Reality TV” shows love formation flying, and they don’t worry so much human life: celebritism is more important.

Patrice Ayme’

Quantum Metaphysics Unavoidable

March 5, 2015

 

Quantum everything is unavoidable, because the world is Quantum.

When a non-Quantum explanation is advanced it has to be simple enough to be clearly non-Quantum. Yet, much that was thought to be very simple, turns out to be Quantum!

QUANTUM EFFECTS SHIELD LIFE ON EARTH:

Here is an example: the magnetic shield which protects life originates, everybody agreed, with something more or less like molten iron at more or less at the temperature of the surface of the Sun, circulating below our feet. However, the details did not work out. Researchers at the universities of Washington, Rutgers, Carnegie Institution, just revealed that “Quantum correlations between electrons” were crucial. They help generate twice the thermal convection that the old theory (from 1930), which neglected electron to electron scattering, had found!

Down In Hell, Electrons Collide, Convection Goes Up

Down In Hell, Electrons Collide, Convection Goes Up

“We uncovered an effect that had been hiding in plain sight for 80 years,” Cohen, one of the physicists, said. “And now the original dynamo theory works after all!

Of course the dynamo theory had to work, for the good and simple meta reason that there was nothing else imaginable in sight! This will to make the dynamo theory work, is an example of metaphysics in action.

METAPHYSICS HELPS DISCOVERY, PHYSICALISM IS ALL THERE IS:

Meta-whatever has its use.

Because of this Meta-Physical reason (the Dynamo Theory HAD to works, thus (some) researchers kept on searching). This is a typical aspect of how metaphysics works. The Will To Explanation is intrinsically metaphysical. (Especially when it is a will to a BETTER explanation.)

According to so-called “physicalism”, a philosophical theory, all that exists in our world (including consciousness) is physical.

Indeed, what else could it be? By definition of physis, nature is all there is. Even the god(s) would be part of nature, should they exist.

(That problem, the problem of who created god, should god exist, makes the existence of god unlikely, let me say in passing; or then “god” is another word for nature, physis… Let a million Jihadists faint.)

Nature is all-encompassing (differently from Allah in the Qur’an, who is one actor out of many, including Shatan, Djinns, Believers, Unbelievers, etc.)

Jealousy is part of nature. So is hope.

***

CLASSICAL PHYSICALISM HAS NO UNKNOWNABLE SOUL, HOWEVER, QUANTUM PHYSICALISM DOES:

All this “physicalism” sounded scary and unlikely, even ridiculous, as long as the world was viewed as made of tiny billiard balls. How could small balls, predictably colliding, do it all? What happened to Free Will? Was god himself deprived of Freedom, let alone Will?

Tempers flared.

However, a Quantum peace should have come all over. All over those aware of the Quantum, and its Wave.

The world is made of Entangled Quantum Waves, and no one knows what this entanglement exactly is, if it has a range, if it collapses. Nor does anyone know how these Quantum Waves really behave in all imaginable cases, nor how they achieve their non-locality, or whether they truly collapse, and then why and how if they do.

This is not just all metaphysical sounding, it is also at the core of extremely practical considerations for making a Quantum Computer. Life is a Quantum Computer. Since god does not exist, we need to make our own.

Nobody has any idea what these Quantum Waves are made of. Space? Mind? Even time seems to be sitting on the sidelines, as the Quantum Waves pass by, and fill the universe.

In other words, by going from Classical mechanics to Quantum Physics, our view of nature went from certain, and certainly all-too simple to the point of silliness, to certainly very mysterious, full of baffling possibilities, and nearly as ethereal as consciousness itself.

Quantum Waves can be proven to exist experimentally… with the correct philosophical perspective.

And they don’t reduce to waves a la Bohm (potential waves), or Born (probability waves; Born got the Nobel for that idea). Quantum Waves’ nature and existence can be demonstrated just a bit better than consciousness itself (especially in academic zombies).

A number of physicists, confronted by the sudden possibilities imagination was overwhelmed with, thanks to the Quantum, got over-stimulated, and fell victim of a collective mania, the Multiverse Derangement Syndrome (an attempt to deny the reality of Quantum Waves).

However, it’s somewhat also deranged to consider nature, and consciousness, while trying to go around the elephant in the bathroom, Quantum Physics, as if it did not exist.

This is what all too many thinkers are apparently doing.

In Quantum Physics as we have it, PARTICULAR aspects (when particles show-up) are an epiphenomenon (that’s why, in particular, the definition of a “particle” is not too clear). All the machinery that leads to the particular is wavy, not to say fuzzy. How much? That’s what both Quantum Computer engineers and fundamental physicists such as Haroche are trying to determine. It is both hard physics, and hard philosophy (as not just the motivations are metaphysical, but the subject at hand, Quantum Waves, is certainly metaphysical, in the sense that it is beyond physics as it is commonly understood).

Those who are interested by “grounding” our fundamental views, in particular metaphysics, cannot ignore the Quantum (and, I add, somewhat more controversially, because the conventional, probabilistic (Born), Quantum Interpretation, denies their physicalism), its Quantum Waves.

Should those who claim to try to ground thinking do so, while disdaining the Quantum, they will look deliberately incomplete. Not to say downright silly.

There are non-Quantum explanations. However physics is Quantum, and what is beyond it, metaphysics, has to recognize it is therefore defined by it.

Patrice Ayme’

In Defense of Metaphysics

March 3, 2015

Metaphysics Rises From Brainy Ground, Including What Dreams Are Made Of:

Nihilism is what happens when Metaphysics is yanked out. And nothing could be further from the Truth. Much of the trouble with the present planet can be directly tracked to inappropriate Metaphysics. Let me explain this a bit in this first part. Metaphysics is, indeed, about religion, what ties people up together again, but it’s also about Logic (with a capital L).

Metaphysics is everywhere. Everybody uses it, in everyday language. Some will say: ”Oh, that just language.” Yes, but language is ideas, and ideas get embodied as brain structure. So here we see that not only metaphysics exists, but it is physically embodied. Any victim of Jihadism can testify that metaphysics has real consequences.

Before defining Metaphysics, one has to define “physics”. That was what the Romans called nature. Physis is “nature,” from phyein “to bring forth, produce, make to grow” (related to phyton “growth, plant,” phyle “tribe, race,” phyma “a growth, tumor”). Physis is everywhere.

Imagine You Are Being Watched Maybe Help You Be Good

Imagine You Are Being Watched Maybe Help You Be Good

[Helix Nebula, an expanding shell from a dying star, 700 light years away, being transformed into a White Dwarf; ESO Southern Observatory Near IR on the left; visible light, on the right.]

Science is physical phenomena so well known that they can allow us to predict how things will grow.

But in the original sense all discourses about what exists and changes in nature is part of physics. Call this

Common Sense. Call it CS. Metaphysics is about telling a story beyond what we are sure all others will agree they also observed.

The brain is all connected inside: that’s how logic is embodied. Much of it is individualized, call it I. So we have: Metaphysics = I – CS.

CS depends upon one’s tribe. Metaphysics and I are, of course dependent upon the Individual.

And what is the Individual (brain) made of, and with? Experiences. Individualized experiences. All metamathematics is, clearly Metaphysics in some sense (arguably mathematics itself is, literally, metaphysics).

Set Theory is Metaphysics. That can be demonstrated easily: as all genuine Metaphysics, it is full of contradiction(s).

Badiou’s aphorism holds up pretty well: “Set theory is all the metaphysics you need, and physics all of the ontology.” Well, all the Metaphysics you needed to do some basic mathematics in the Twentieth Century… But not even all of it, hence the rise of Category Theory in the 1950s. This demonstrates that Metaphysics is not just beyond physics, it is eminently practical (because the mathematics invented by Grothendieck, PBUH, this advanced Algebraic Geometry is… practical).

Category Theory is very practical Metaphysics.

Carefully tailored Metaphysics can prove much. For example, I can devise Metaphysics where the circle can be squared (I just use my finite mathematics, end of proof).

According to the definition I gave above, the very definition of Metaphysics is that it is the set of all thought systems that harbor contradiction(s) to Common Sense (otherwise it would be Common Sense).

Could we do without Metaphysics?

Of course not. Metaphysics is beyond Common Sense. But we know something exists beyond Common Sense, say for example future or possible science, research projects, and, in general various guesses of all sorts, including artistic ones.

So it’s not all a question of “data”, in the restrictive sense, or, even more generally, “quanta”. Metaphysics is grounded beyond “data” in the restrictive sense. Guesses, intuitions, even desires and provocations, the feeling of what might be, or ought to be, are part of the “data” that grounds Metaphysics.

Our minds are not just grounded in hard facts, personal experiences and feelings, but even dreams, vague tendencies, feelings and emotions, let alone collective rages, and misunderstanding of history, much of it that we harbor in our inner spiritual recesses, as various infantile trauma.

In all this our very individualized Metaphysics are grounded. Lots of dream stuff. So people are invited not to deduce lethal consequences from it.

We need it.

But we also need to understand it. Especially when it animates our thermonuclear hands. Or those of others. Especially those of others. To understand, and fight, the Metaphysics of banksters, greedsters, archeo-imperialists, or Islamofascists, we need better, improved, and fully aware Metaphysics.

Patrice Ayme’