RE: Memetic/Ontological *understanding*

Aaron Agassi (
Fri, 2 Jul 1999 18:02:43 -0400

From: "Aaron Agassi" <>
To: <>
Subject: RE: Memetic/Ontological *understanding*
Date: Fri, 2 Jul 1999 18:02:43 -0400
In-Reply-To: <>

> -----Original Message-----
> From: []On Behalf
> Of
> Sent: Friday, July 02, 1999 4:31 PM
> To:
> Subject: Re: Memetic/Ontological *understanding*
> In a message dated 7/2/99 11:24:34 AM Central Daylight Time,
> writes:
> JS:
> > While some correspondence to reality
> > is necessary to exercising control, exercising control over reality and
> > corresponding to reality are not entirely compatible goals.
> Aaron:
> >>Surely, as the old saying goes, knowledge is power, not impotence!<<
> It's still a good saying as far as it goes. But in terms of any
> function --
> efficiency is important as well as power. We don't need a
> nuclear warhead
> for a small demolition job. In any given context there is a point of
> diminishing returns.
But this already stands to reason, Methodologically, even in the purest
research or inquiry, even with no ulterior motive, even survival.

>We don't need absolute correspondence with
> this reality
> stuff what-ever-it-may-be to exercise effective control -- and seeking
> absolute correspondence could in fact prove a paralyzing goal.

> At some point
> we have to stop trying to define truth and knowledge strictly in terms of
> correspondence, and grant that *understanding* plays as much a
> role in our
> use of the terms "truth" and "knowledge" as actual correspondence
> does.
What is understanding, or comprehension, if not correspondence? Perhaps you
mean an over all Gestalt grasp. But this is only a better metaphor than the
rote learning of every detail, which may not even bring understanding, no
matter how accurate, if it fails to draw the interrelationships and their
ramifications. And so, it is the applicability of the metaphor. And that,
too, is a manner of correspondence. If it is true.

> of the correspondence in the universe does us no good without
> understanding
> attached to it.
I agree.

>Indeed we don't need absolute correspondence, because we
> already have the universe -- it already corresponds to itself
> absolutely. No
> need for duplication, and due to self-reference problems,
> duplication is not
> even really possible.
Correspondence to reality was only meant as the most basic definition of

> JS:
> > What emerges are correspondences (recognizing them as matters of degree
> > rather than necessarily dichotomous true/false status) that are mutually
> > coherent and consistent, and those that are not, fail to be
> favored and tend
> > to be selected out. Incoherent and inconsistent correspondences are of
> > little use to an embodied conceptual system regardless of their
> degree of
> > correspondence, and so we naturally favor rationality.
> Aaron:
> >>And so, hypothetically, if and in so far the Universe incoherent and
> inconsistent, reality might elude the observer. That sounds rather silly,
> doesn't it?<<
> It might if you believed that I said or thought that the universe is
> fundamentally inconsistent or incoherent. Here I am talking about
> representational correspondences of that reality, not that reality itself.
Then incoherence is merely a sign of suspect datum, as it should be.

> Aaron:
> >> In fact, sometimes real data gets mistakenly filtered out as
> static, because it doesn't seem to fit. And we can disbelieve
> what does not
> tend to fit.<<
> Mostly we just tend to forget it.
> >> And it might be crucial.<<
> Some of it might. But a lot of it isn't.
Such is the drama of Science!

> Aaron:
> >> That is a classic motif in detective novels.<<
> It does make for good fiction, and occasionally real life
> imitates art. But
> most of the time it doesn't. Art frequently tells us more about
> ourselves
> than about the rest of reality.
> Aaron:
> >> Still, the survival goal searches, rationally, to build a
> simulation that
> corresponds to reality, in order to better function and survive. Okay, it
> ain't Pure Research. But what of it?<<
> A simulation not only corresponds, but it is at least coherent, if not
> consistent as well.
> JS:
> > Likewise, as a result, our conceptual system will be as much
> metaphorical as
> > it is definitional. That's good, because it is one indication that our
> > conceptual system is functioning more or less ideally -- using
> correspondence
> > in the pursuit of control, not just pursuing correspondence to
> the detriment
> > of exercising control. It's much more simple and yet profound
> than a mere
> > neurological itch.
> Aaron:
> >>Sounds like good Methodology to me. Is there a problem?<<
> Sounds like we have returned to the same page -- a sort of philosophical
> rendezvous.
> Rondo!
> -JS
> ===============================================================
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