Thursday, September 06, 2007

Let's Get High On 'Nerd'

Let's look at one the most basic precepts of the way we view the world."There is, and there is not". We all have a concept of nothingness; it's basicly the antithises of everything else. A cup can be or empty or full (sure, it can be half-full, but thats just a combination of the two, not a wholly different middle ground). A piece of paper can be empty, or written on. You either love them, or you don't. You get the idea; we found our worldview on the concept of a filled/void contrast.

But where does that concept come from? Like most (or all?) of our ideas, we derive it from experiences we have in the natraul world. And what experience would teach us about the difference between being full, and being empty? Air. In our daily lives, the atmosphere is the negative space to positive objects. Look across the room to the far wall. Don't you consider the space between you it empty (even though you know it's full of gas)? Sure, it's empty; you could throw a ball through that space and it would reach the wall. But you can't throw a ball into the next room because it would hit something "full" (the wall).

But that's wrong. That space isn't empty; it's full of atmospheric gases, and that ball didn't move through it unimpeded; it lost speed as it hit all those little particles. Even space isn't empty; it's full of cosmic rays and radiation.

So could everything we believe be wrong? Could our entire view of the world be flawed at its most fundemental level? Could our experiences with nature ultimately lead us to misunderstand it? Maybe there is a middle ground, something between full and empty. Empty-ish? Maybe that coffee mug isn't "half empty", its going through a weird transitional period during which it's full of a coffee/not coffee hybrid substance. Our idea of nothingness makes us see ourselves as isolated objects seperated by void, but what if we're all part of the same soupy continuum?

Think about it.

8 comments:

The Juicy One said...

*laughs at collegiate style pseudo-intellectuallism*

though I actually was just thinking the same thing the other day as I observed the bubbles in some hair gel...

But the most important point you make is that we do, infact, know that what we see is not always what's there. We're not ever (?) going to know everything about the unieverse around us, but at least now we know enough to realize that we must be open to new ideas, and we may well be completley wrong.

This is also a good opportnity to give some shout outs to the humanities (though maybe not so much history)...you can argue about, prove, and disprove science all you want, but in the end, is what is considered "real" as opposed to "unreal" (or true v. false) really very important? i was also just thinking today that when looking at the bigger picture of a human experience, little details that might be considered fact or fiction often become irrelevant, while what is important about the experience is very real, even though it was displayed or taught by unreal means. For example, a story can be entirely fictional, but its contents and actions and emotions of its characters often teach us something about the real world either by mimicking or juxtaposing it.

ohh, we might have found another blog post...

Oh, and watch V for Vendetta (sober)

The Juicy One said...

OMG I THINK I FINALLY UNDERSTAND THE ATHENS JERUSALEM PARADIGM IN THE BIGGER PICTURE!!!!!!!!

The Juicy One said...

oh, and as for that half way point thing...look up "the hegelian dialectic" you'll be intruiged....

justifiably_vertical said...

ok...well, most of that seems odd and out of place BUT, here's what I have to say about science and humanities:

You're right, the meaning of an experience is more important to us, but knowledge about the nature is more usefull to society. Therefore the humanities and natrual sciences fill two different, but both important roles: one if good for your soul, the other for your brother.

The Juicy One said...

exactly...which means you have finally just realized that the humanities and sciences are equally important pursuits!!! (which i thought you would never say)

though, I don't see how youre making science out to be more utilitarian, i mean it is, but not necessarily more so than the Humanities. Humanities help people talk about feelings and communicate with each other, which makes everyone feel better and (hopefully) not go too crazy. it is crucial to be able to communicate ideas to one another, even to progress the sciences. But then you could get into a debate over which is more useful at what extent which could last for days...(PS i would totally take that on)

justifiably_vertical said...

agreed, a long debate isn't necessary, but i feel i must point out that the language skills required to write research papers, etc are 1) slightly different, and 2) far less than those done in college level english courses.

And i imagine a semester of shakespeare is far more likely to drive me insane than keep me from it

Gavrich said...

Well gee whillakers, JV, it looks like you've finally seen the light. I'm proud that you've climbed out of the swamps of concreteness and taken some time to do a little real (i.e. philosophical) thinking.

justifiably_vertical said...

Keep your shirt on kids, just because I believe in liberal arts, doesn't mean I'll be switchin' my major on you or anything.