Posts Tagged ‘creativity’

NEW WISDOM, NEW TURMOIL

August 11, 2014

NEUROGENESIS IS NEVER CALM

Abstract: Wisdom requires turmoil. Too much calm brings neuronal, intellectual, and even moral disaster. A case in point is the devil-may-care attitude of the USA in the 1930s, lauded by those who celebrate calm and peace, yet condemned by common decency.

Wisdom is about embracing turmoil, and then, dominating it. It requires heavy construction inside the brain, and the greater the new wisdom, the greater the new effort. Prometheus did not just discover fire, but a multiverse of expanding possibilities.

This is why the biologically given philosophy of Homo crushes that of theocrats and other superstitious, ravenous plutocrats. Men are all about overcoming themselves. At least those men who think hard enough so as not to finish as the main course.

Learning > Neurogenesis > Effort, Pain, Struggle

Learning > Neurogenesis > Effort, Pain, Struggle

[Neurogenesis in the Hippocampus.]

Careful meditation is often helpful to establish new wisdom. Yet, turmoil is always necessary, to foster higher wisdom, in individuals as in societies. It’s important to know this, because promoting too much calm comes at the expense of wisdom. Let me explain.

Whenever we try to define a mental state, nowadays, we have to remember that there is more than 100 neurohormones known. Some are correlated to rage, others to anxiety, fear, love (oxytocin).

Neurohormones define chemical states, somewhere in the brain. Maybe in just one place, maybe in many places. Those correlate with emotions, often through the activity of sub-units in the brain (say the amygdala for fear). Which neurohormones are tightly connected to which emotions, and how, is yet to be ascertained in nearly all cases.

We just know that, to define which emotion a brain, or part thereof, is undergoing, it will be necessary to determine neurohormones, their presence, secretion, or suppression.

People love to project “calm”. When “calm” is faked, is it real? “Calm” is not far from stealth. Any predator, be it the average cat, or the ancient Chinese strategist Sun Tzu, knows that stealth is of tremendous advantage for a successful aggression (Sun Tzu’s book, various treatises on war, and a casual look at history show that surprise is half the victory).

Is there a neurohormone of “calm”? That’s unlikely: the lion stealthily, crawling on his belly in the grass toward the prey projects “calm”, but for the occasional twitch. Yet its neurohormonal war systems are primed up for maximum violence. At the time of the attack, they will be unleashed with great fury, demonstrating that feline clam is just a tactic.

A sleep hormone does exist: that’s Melatonin.

Conclusion? “Calm” is rather deceit, or computation, or then relaxation and laziness (something brains need, just as they need sleep… probably because they need to establish a hierarchy-network of knowledge).

Alex Jones wrote a second post on “Wisdom comes out of calm”. He explains that calm is how to deal with dogs. Meanwhile he explicitly said in a preceding reply to me, that the Americans were wise to calmly wait for Hitler’s attack (see below).

Alex’s position is interesting, because it reflects the popular expectation about what wisdom ought to be: something calm, a form of torpor. No wonder, calm is typical of herd behavior. The herd calmly grazes and ruminates, when lions are not pouncing. Here is Alex:

“The mind that has no calm is like a drunken person, it has no wisdom, rushing from one crisis to another, lacking the anchoring of wisdom, the drunk does stupid actions and ruin is the drunks ultimate reward. When a cat comes to me inviting me to stroke it, I gain opportunity to find my inner calm in a world of war.”

Equating lack of calm with being “drunk” is alien to me. I drink water, I find that smart. A mind that is not calm, does not have to be angry: there are other moods. When the anger neurohormones are on, the mind is certainly not calm, but that does not mean that, when the mind is not calm, the mind is angry. It could, simply, be an attentive, or hard thinking mind.

Defining “calm” neurologically has not been done. Yet. The only calming hormones I know of, serotonin and melatonin, rather induce sleep.

Too much calm puts morality to sleep, if nothing else. In a preceding comment of Alex, one finds:

“Calm provides the opportunity for wisdom to emerge, metaphorically like soil waiting for the seed. The mind that is angry, in emotional turmoil, acts like the drunk, and they will never make wise choices or actions.

The Americans were wise to avoid war, and they were wise to stay out of other peoples political problems until those aggressors began to attack them.”

Here Alex is alluding to my position that American calm while Hitler raged, killed and attacked, was monstrous. Hitler had given explicit instructions not to make Americans angry. Hitler considered white, racist America to be half Nazi already, and thought of the USA as a natural ally. Hitler’s plan went awry, in great part because enough Americans had the great courage to get angry, in spite of their compatriots’ selfish calm tolerance of infamy.

The Americans refused to support France and Britain, and the Commonwealth, in 1939-1940. Calmly supported by hordes of American plutocrats and their corporations, the Nazis came very close to annihilating France and Britain in 1940.

Consequence? More than 70 million people died, including six million Jews assassinated calmly. I understand that this vicious American policy calmly established the empire of the USA, and its famed “American Century”. And that calm propaganda has made most people believe that the intervention of the USA was purely to rescue democracy, instead of the much greater plot that it truly was.

In 1945, and thereafter, the USA supported massively at some point, Stalin, Mao, Ho Chi Minh, Nasser, the FNL, Saddam, even bin Laden, or the Taliban. Those details have to be forgotten: the Devil dwells therein.

I refuse to call that “right”. I call it wrong. I even call it an infamy, or a whole succession of infamies.

Something the USA ought to be eternally ashamed of was the support American political and business leaders gave to the Nazis. Consider this telling detail: the USA, as a state, had to wait for Hitler to declare war to them to find something wrong with him. It was more than despicable, and unwise. It was outright criminal. That, of course, is my calm opinion, forged by decades of calm, careful considerations.

And the real truth is even worse: German generals asked for American and British help to get rid of Hitler. Would the democrats please make clear that they would join France in a war against Hitler?

Calmly, British and American authorities denounced the generals… to Hitler.

So calm is definitively not wisdom, but something that can masquerade as wisdom.

In truth, no new wisdom can be reached without turmoil. Most great creators lived in turmoil. And that’s no accident. There is an obvious neurological reason for it.

Emotions build reasons (neurohormones guide the construction of new neuro-geometry, by growing axons, dendrites and synapses just so). To have new, better ideas, one needs to wipe out the wrong brain geometry, thus new neurohormones, that is new emotions, have to invade, submerge, and grow new geometry.

Thus fresh passions and actions bring new and better reasons. To model the world better, we have to engage the world, further. Experiments do this.

Indeed exercise itself, let alone challenges, bring higher mental performance. And it’s not just performance, that they bring, but also even neurological existence. Rats with a non-stimulating environment see their neurology shrink. Neurology was evolved for turmoil. Without it, the very reason for its existence disappear.

And so it goes for entire civilizations: the more turmoil, the more wisdom. The Greeks, a notoriously bickering lot, as Nietzsche pointed out, were not just about Apollo (calm, beauty, poise, balance), but also about Dionysus (agitation, turmoil, passion, mess, craziness). This is the main idea of Nietzsche’s “Birth of Tragedy”, an analysis of the genesis of Greek greatness.

Civilizations which are too calm produce nothing, not even their own survival. This may be the problem of Europe now.

Pathological calm was certainly the problem of the civilizations that Genghis Khan and his generals overran. The Mongols said so explicitly. The fierce horsemen accused those they invaded to be sleepy plutocracies mistreating their own people.

Notice that Greek civilization, although it was conquered, greatly survived, so strong were its animals spirits. There is nothing calm about the main Greek notions. Nor is there anything calm about science. Physics has energy at its core. In physics, calm does not exist.

Truth comes out of trial, error, and the passion to engage in them, which rampant imagination. Really new ideas disturb all brains, that’s why they are new. I have had many of my comments censored, all over the Internet, because they contained what was perceived as new, thus inconvenient, ideas, or facts.

Latest example? Scientific American publishes carefully controlled articles on the climate. I dared to mention that there was coral in the Mediterranean. The six words comment was censored. (An email informed me of this.) I guess that, as long as I stay calm, I will keep on paying for “Scientific American” (which is neither scientific, nor American). But is that the wisest course? Would not anger be a better adviser?

Highly conservative types may object that they do not see why we need new wisdom, and thus the exhausting task of neurogenesis. Indians, Egyptians, Pythagoricians, Stoics, and their parrots, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, believed in Eternal Recurrence, the fact that nothing is really new under the Sun. Wisdom consisted into accepting what had been, as it sure, will be again. Related to this is the Arabic “Inch Allah” (If God wants it.)

However, an achievement of modern science, was to disprove these philosophies of Amor Fati (Love of Fate).

Starting with the discovery, and subsequent disappearance, of Sun spots in the Seventeenth Century, and then the discovery of biological, and geological evolution by Jean-Baptiste Lamarck and his somber company, turmoil was found to reign all over. The universe, biology, man himself, let alone technology and civilization, are never, ever standing still, nor repeating themselves. Everything is a force that goes.

New wisdom is necessary for survival. It’s not a matter of choice, and esthetics. Those who will still stand in the future, individuals or civilizations, will have thought anew, and their brains will have mutated, from their own volition, or dismal condition. Others will have turned into the main course, literally, and figuratively.

Patrice Ayme’

 

REASON FROM UNREASON

July 27, 2012

Superior CRAZINESS For Superior LOGIC.

CALM IS OVERRATED, CRAZINESS A LOGICAL NECESSITY:

Abstract: Why do people go crazy? Is it fate, or is it evolution? Is it disease, or is it creativity?

 Two of the creators of modern mathematics and metamathematics, Georg Cantor and Kurt Godel, experienced some craziness. Nietzsche produced some of his best work before he went insane. Van Gogh experienced serious mental difficulties. Bolztman killed himself. All these cases were within a generation. Those may all be unrelated accidents, sure. 

 However I will show below that superior intelligence in a species can only come from an ability to engineer (productive) craziness. (Perhaps the reason why chimps and bears are so unpredictable: they are not just clever, but a bit crazy!)

 What president Roosevelt said of the bankers:”I welcome their hatred!” may sound crazy to some, and it is exactly the opposite of the praises the all too cool Obama bestow on bankers, every chance he gets. But Roosevelt domesticated the bankers, whereas Obama got domesticated by them. Of course the superior intelligent one was Roosevelt, who knew it was smart to go crazy on the bankers. It’s certainly crazy to cling to an appearance of sanity in an insane situation (Eichmann used Kant to justify his crimes, an appearance of philosophy to promote infamy.)

Thus insanity is hardwired in Homo Sapiens Sapiens. Perhaps Homo Wise Wise, Homo Sapiens Sapiens, should be renamed Homo Crazy Wise: Homo Sapiens Demens

This has some fascinating, but sinister implications for Artificial Intelligence. In his Turing Test for intelligence, Alan Turing forgot craziness. That was crazy.

 It also means that, as insanity will follow a normal distribution, some substantial part of any human population will be insanely dangerous

 As technological capability improves exponentially, the danger exists that this insanity will be also exponentially amplified (as happened with the death camps of WWII).

 Hence the necessity of counterbalancing it by augmenting truth, and thus transparency, just as exponentially, too. 

 If we want survival, we have to become truth fanatics. A new religion.

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 MADNESS AS THE SOLUTION TO LOGICAL INCOMPLETENESS:

[Advanced.]

 The Incompleteness Theorems in logic say that any logical system big enough to contain arithmetic is incomplete, in the sense that there is an infinite number of propositions, about natural numbers, which are true but that cannot be proven in that logical system.

 If it cannot be proven, it has to be assumed (and that, an infinite number of times! It’s a crazy world out there: it turns out that, if a logical system is complete, it’s inconsistent, etc. (If one supposes the usual properties of arithmetic to be true.) 

 These facts were demonstrated in the 20C, but they were true all along. I claim that there is a strict correspondence between brain circuitry and logical completeness. Thus, brain operations stumbled on circuitry incompleteness, all the time, ever since there are advanced brains, and they think. 

 The problem of logical incompleteness is solved in metalogic by making assumptions. The same holds with brain circuitry: logical incompleteness there is also solved by making assumptions. 

 How does the brain make assumptions? Well it just connects different neurons, or different parts of the brain with axons. In other words: Axons for axioms.

 How does the relationship work? Incompleteness in logic is caused by a confrontation between the finiteness of logic on a piece of paper (or in a Turing Machine), and the uncountable infinity it gives rise to (modulo some assumptions mathematicians classically do). Basically the finite axioms allow, modulo some infinite choice procedure (for example Cantor’s diagonalization), to build an infinite number of further axioms.

 The same happens with neuronal and neuroglial networks: they are finite. But, once given, it’s possible to build other neuronal and glial networks different from them. That’s the equivalent of the Godel proposition built from a Godel number. How does one build such a number? Well, with dendrites, etc. That in turn happens if and only if, some astrocytes get in high gear, andthat happens in case of high emotions. In other words, if the brain builds new assumptions through new emotions. And probably, the more different the assumptions, the more different the emotions.

 Hominids who practiced a bit of craziness were evolutionary advantaged, because they found more readily solutions to logical incompleteness at hand. Craziness allowed to find new, necessary axioms. Thus evolution learned to exploit logical incompleteness.

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 NO UNREASON, NO CREATION:

 An excellent example is geometry without the parallel postulate; it’s a logically incomplete system. For more than 2,000years mathematicians tried to prove that it could be made complete. 

 But the solution was very obvious, and very crazy: take a sphere, and try to do geometry on it. Take a saddle, and try to do geometry on it. 

 A modicum of craziness is intelligence’s friend.

 Hence a necessity, to make Creative Artificial Intelligence would be to contrive crazy robots.

 [I will deny all and any responsibility when Artificial Intelligence engineers use that idea to make more clever killer robots.] 

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 LYING AS THE WORST CRIME:

 So there is a hard core of badness out there. If one ignores it, it will grow: fascism, before and during World War Two is an excellent example. The more ignored fascism was, the bigger it got. 

 If one ignores the hard core of badness out there, one is lying, big time. Because one claims that something potentially lethal in giant proportions is of no consequence. That’s a lie, if there ever was one. Lying about nothing is not a lie. Lying about something that can turn into everything is a terrible lie.

 Look at the haggard, drugged out, half dead, passed out face of the cruel and crazed maniac who shot 71 people in a movie theater in Colorado. Or the other crazed maniac in Norway, killing 73 Norwegians to save them from impure blood, or to save Norwegian culture (whatever).

 Such people are bad, they are pathologically bad. Maybe they took too much drugs, maybe their neurohormones are all wrong from more natural causes. The basic fact, though, is that there will be pathologically bad people out there, always. 

 Or at least, there will be crazed out people as long as we do not have a thorough understanding of the human mind. And even then. Because when we understand why people become pathologically insane, some, the same as those who abuse drugs (starting with alcohol and psychoactive smoke), will decide to use their freedom (if they are left any) to become psychologically insane, deliberately so.

 Some will whine when they read this. But they understand neither evolution, nor the logical incompleteness theorems, and even less the fact that evolution has mastered both.

 It is even worse than that. It’s not just that there are bad actors out there. Power attracts bad actors, like flies are attracted by excrements.

 Those who rise up high in human hierarchies, all too often do so precisely because they are bad. This is the Achilles heel of representative democracy.

 Examples abound with dictatorships: there the worst do best. Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Stalin, are recent cases. Stalin overcame Lenin (founder and theoretician of the Bolsheviks) and Trotsky (head of the Red Army, and also a theoretician), precisely because Stalin was so much worse. as a human being. That was his best qualification (he started by robbing banks…wait…). 

 However, Stalin’s extreme badness allowed him to out-Hitler Hitler himself: that made him laugh, according to Churchill. That Stalin’s horribleness was viewed as an advantage by those subordinate to him seems unlikely, but it’s thoroughly demonstrated by the facts. 

 Hitler attacked his ally the USSR by surprise. Stalin had been leading the rapprochement with Nazi Germany, so he expected his colleagues in the Politburo to punish him severely. After sulking for days, he finally showed up, expecting the chop, and was enthusiastically confirmed as great war leader. Why? Because all his comrades knew he was the very worst. And indeed Stalin put in place policies considering that anyone not respecting an order was subject to immediate execution. Any soldier knew that his captain could kill him any time, and so on, throughout the Red Army. 

 Thus in Stalingrad, workers built tanks while other drove them to engage the Nazis in combat, at the other end of the factory. 

 The Nazis, who thought of themselves as the meanest characters on the planet, and had demonstrated it with engineers doing suicide attacks with explosives on their backs against the French after crossing the Meuse, could not sustain that level of ferocity.

 Hence not just craziness, but criminal insanity can be an advantage to rise to the fore in society. Certainly, if Alexander so called the Great had not annihilated the cities of Thebes and Tyr (crucifying all the men there), he would have been less Great, because Athens would have taken him, and his general Antipater less seriously.

 Ultimately, though, the criminal mood in the USSR was made possible by systematic lying on such an industrial scale that the connection with reality became increasingly tenuous. When enough truth was projected onto the system, the lying, and the political system that depended upon it collapsed.

 If craziness is so useful to augment those mental powers we need so much to survive as a civilization, how do we survive it? Precisely by augmenting the truth. Thus only craziness compatible with the truth will be able to survive. That is why I have not hesitated to tell various truths about Obama (whom I have intensely supported in all sorts of ways), or Hollande, whom I approved of, until he started to say lies about World War Two (details soon to come).

 Truth is my religion. A touch of craziness my sanity. (Latest demonstration: It’s not like I did not know of the danger in advance. I was slightly charged by a large bad mood moose with calf today on an Alaskan trail, where I was nonchalantly running with a bad ankle; after a high speed retreat, as a good predator, I circumvented the difficulty, and anxiety switched sides, the calf nearly spraining its own ankle in the process… . )

 There is no truth but the full truth, and a touch of craziness is its prophet.

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Patrice Ayme

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