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Posts Tagged ‘knowledge’

A Zeitgeist quote is a good lead in:

They must find it difficult, those who have taken authority as truth, rather than truth as authority.

– Gerald Massey

Here’s from Jason Cooper’s new post today:

What is the truth?

Who can we really trust in this apparent world (The Matrix) of deception?

Should we trust:

• The Educational System?
• The Religious Leaders?
• The Media?
• The Law?
• The Government?
• The Conspiracy Theorists?
• Or in fact, any sort of so-called authority of information and knowledge, such as the ones mentioned above, who are suppose to be the benevolent and wise leaders of truth, integrity and justice?

The next thing I’m about to say may contain more than an air of cynicism and conspiracy, but if we are to be honest with ourselves, frankly, we have been led down the garden path for most of our lives.

Unfortunately, there are powerful people out there who choose to monopolise the dissemination of knowledge and information to the masses, and who wish nothing more than to seduce our minds to the point of slumber whilst manipulating us towards submitting our will, freedom and very lives for them to do what they wish – no matter how pernicious.

In other words, through our own ignorance (which is mostly conditioned into us from childhood) we are unbeknowingly empowering them to enslave us psychologically.

Now is the time to take back this power and learn to empower ourselves with the knowledge and wisdom that can eliminate these masters of deception (aka disinformation agents), so that we can then emancipate our minds towards a joyful existence filled with integrity, truth and meaning.

Read the rest here.

Mandatory reading for aspiring critical thinkers.

“Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless handheld”

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Thanks to planetjan for helping me find this. Here’s a short video on the speed of growth of information technology.

Also check out Ray Kurzweil’s TED talk related to this, and the dangers of the Petabyte Age.

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J.J. Abrams traces his love of the unseen mystery — the heart of Alias, Lost, and the upcoming Cloverfield — back to its own magical beginnings, which may or may not include an early obsession with magic, the love of a supportive grandfather, or his own unopened Mystery Box.

One of Abrams’ interesting insights: Mystery is the catalyst for imagination. There are times that mystery is more important than knowledge.

It’s that sense of infinite possibility that drives human curiosity, and inspires man to expand his awareness of the universe. However, on the flipside of that argument: is that man’s love for mystery can blind him from the truth–and forces man to cling to myths.

Wonderful insights from this talk from TED.

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Observation. Also referred to as the Scientific Method. At the heart of science lies the scientific experiment. The method of science is rather straightfoward. By some means, usually be reasoning deductively from existing theory or inductively from existing facts or through intuition, the scientist arrives at a hypothesis about some feature of reality. He then designs an experiment to objectively test the hypothesis. The data from the experiment are then analyzed statistically, and the hypothesis is either supported or rejected.

The feature of overriding importance in this methodology is that no matter what the scientist believes is true regarding the hypothesis under study, the experiment provides the basis for an objective evaluation of the hypothesis. The data from the experiment force a conclusion which is consonant with reality. Thus, science has a built-in safeguard for assuring that truth assertions of any sort about reality must conform to what is demonstrated to be objectively true about the phenomena before the assertions are given the status of scientific truth.

An important aspect of this method is that the experimenter can be wrong in his hunches and the data will tell him so. He can then alter his hypothesis in light of the data and test the new hypothesis. This method, however, can be painstakingly slow, but has a self-correcting feature which, over the long run, has a high probability of yielding truth.

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Intuition. Knowledge is also acquired through intuition. By intution we mean sudden insight, that clarifying idea which springs into consciousness all at once as a whole. It is not arrived at without reason. On the contrary, the idea often seems ot occur after conscious reasoning has failed. In The Art Of Scientific Investigation, W. I. B. Beveridge gives numerous occurrences taken from prominent individuals. Here is an interesting quote:

Here is Metchnikoff’s own account of the origin of the idea of phagocytosis: “One day when the whole family had gone to the circus to see some extraordinary performing apes, I remained alone with my microscope, observing the life in the mobile cells of a transparent starfish larva, when a new thought suddenly flashed across my brain. It struck me that similar cells might serve in the defense of the organism against intruders. Feeling that there was in this something of surpassing interest, I felt so excited that I began striding up and down the room and even went to the seashore to collect my thoughts.”

Hadamand cites an experience of the mathematician Gauss, who wrote concerning a problem he had tried unsuccessfully to prove for years: “Finally two days ago I succeeded… like a sudden flash of lightning the riddle happened to be solved. I cannot myself say what was the conducting thread which connected what I previously knew with what made my success possible.”

It is interesting to note that the intuitive idea often occurs after conscious reasoning has failed and the individual has put the problem aside for a while. More Beveridge:

“Freeing my mind of all thoughts of the problem I walked briskly down the street, when suddenly at a definite spot which I could locate today–as if from the clear sky above me–an idea popped into my head as emphatically as if a voice had shouted it.”

“I decided to abandon the work and all thoughts relative to it, and then, on the following day, when occupied in work of an entirely different type, an idea came to my mind as suddenly as a flash of lightning and it was the solution… the utter simplicity made me wonder why I hadn’t thought of it before.”

Despite the fact that intuition has probably been used as a source of knowledge for as along as a man has existed, it is still very mysterious process about which we only have a rudimentary understanding.

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Historically, mankind has employed four methods to acquire knowledge:

  • Authority
  • Rationalism
  • Intuition
  • Observation

Authority. When using authority, something is considered true because of tradition or some person of distinction says it is true. We may believe in the theory of eveolution because our distinguished professors tell us so, or we may believe God exists because our parents say so. This method is very biased and sometimes leads to grave error, however it is indispensible to living our daily lives. We simply must accept a large amount of information on the basis of authority, if for no other reason than we often do not have the time or the expertise to check it out firsthand. For example, I believe, on the basis of physics authorities, that electrons exist, even if I have never seen one. If the Surgeon General says smoking causes cancer, I stop smoking because I have faith in the Surgeon General and do not have time to investigate the matter personally.

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