Re: Islam and Europe

From: Jon Gilbert (
Date: Fri 22 Nov 2002 - 05:51:41 GMT

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    >And who decides who does and does not understand a given text? And
    >whether that person understands enough to make such a
    >determination? In the absence of empirical evidence, such an
    >imputation remains entirely subjective; one person's fool is another's
    >guru, and verse-vice-a.

    It's not a matter of understanding the text. It's a matter of understanding the lesson of the teacher. The text is a tool for the teacher to impart a lesson.

    Let us say that the lesson is how not to be negative. How to be calm and happy. Now, I know when I am negative, rather than calm and happy. For me, that is empirical evidence of whether or not I have learned the lesson.

    Esoteric knowledge is gained empirically, but it is not testable through the scientific method because no instrument is capable of reading and recording qualia/thoughts/experiences/dreams/emotions/etc.

    Perhaps you believe only fools are calm and happy, and you are an existentialist careening through life in angst and pain. Or maybe, like most of us, you're both. Whatever; I think reject spiritual truths because of the limitations of scientific instruments, when they know good and well what they themselves are experiencing, and you don't need a P-value to grab your ass with two hands.

    > >
    >> I could write a whole book on Adobe Photoshop, but the only way to
    >> teach what I know is by showing someone. Oral transmission is not just
    >> about language.
    >It's about showing rather than telling, and that involves demonstration
    >and imitation. I wrote a paper on this.


    > >
    >> Memes are not things one can be conscious of, when they are operating
    >> within oneself; they "are" oneself, at a moment, unless they are
    >> non-identified with.
    >Actually, one can be aware of memes that one does not even share. I
    >certainly do not believe that if I murder an infidel for the greater glory of
    >Allah, that I will enjoy an eternity in Paradise blessed by the erotic
    >ministrations of 72 renewable virgins, but I am well aware of the
    >existence of the meme, and the fact that others will kill and die because
    >of their belief in it.

    I agree basically. But, it's one thing to know about a meme, but another thing to have been possessed by one, and then freed from it, such that you _understand_ it. Knowledge and understanding are very different if you take the words in that sense, which can be a useful way of taking them.

    JS Gilbert

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