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May 29, 2013

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Andrew

A lot to consider there Kent.
We need to deepen our perception of both the universe and our fellow members of society, instead of persisting to manipulate each other and our ecosystem with materialism and exploitation. In this information rich world reality is perceived in a limited, material way by individuals imagining themselves to be merely separate, independent beings, and we see only what they expect to see. This constant bombardment of information causes this awareness to be lost.
Looking forward to the book.

Charles Faulkner

I have before me a book of postcards of "People and Possessions." The wealthier the people pictured, the more things they have. I recall Ivan Illich talking about the pervasive human perception of scarcity in the 1970s as did Bucky Fuller for that matter. Both thought, and wrote, that this needed to be addressed first.

Next, may I suggest that there is a current confusion between information and difference. This is understandable given the fundamental episodic way we take in experience. Each episode gets sorted as new. However, lots of social media episodes, to take but one example, do not necessarily add up to more information. At Piaget's developmental Concrete Operations these are taken to be different information units. Most people cannot see the difference between a definition (in this case, of information) and observation ("there is nothing new here") – though Krishnamurti and Simon were certainly among them.

Kent Thune

Interesting, Charles. It sounds like second point may align with aspects of Kohlberg's Theory of Moral Development, which is adapted from Piaget's teachings.

According to Kohlberg, most people do not reach the higher stages of development, which he calls "Post-conventional," where they have a broad worldview.

Most people do not move beyond the Conventional stage, which is marked by blind herd behavior and lack of authenticity. This would also include the inability to understand that there really is no "new" behavior, just the same conventional, sheepish behavior that prevents people from having a clear, healthy perception of reality.

Thanks for adding to the conversation...

Kent

Charles Faulkner

Following up -
Just found out this is coming out soon: "Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much" by Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir.

Two points on developmental theories of moral development.

First, moral development can be operationalized in terms of available POVs and content/context awareness and flexibility with them. We all start out with a situated personal point of view on what is right in front of us, and expand on these dimensions to some degree though not reliably.

Second, it is now known that the advanced mental and emotional developmental levels are only achieved in areas of expertise with formal educational assistance, and even then regresses to lower levels under strong emotions – positive and negative. This means so-called moral development is only achieved in limited areas of life and even then is easily overwhelmed – which I think is what we pretty much see around us.

This is not to sound defeatist. This is the way of the world, and each individual must find his/her way. Nassim Taleb addresses this same topic from another perspective in his book Antifragile and offers a stoic prescription.

Kent Thune

Thanks again, Charles. To follow your comment, I do see that each individual must "find his/her way" because theories and systems are too abstract for application at the individual level.

Yet theories, systems, concepts and language are necessary to deliver some kind of framework for that "educational assistance" you mention.

This is why I believe the abstract is important; however it is also important to stress that each individual make the abstract into concrete. In different words, it is necessary for mastery of life to enter the conventional stage, to learn how the world works, and then pass into post-conventional, to "unlearn," if you will.

In my forthcoming book I simplify this by demonstrating how people become "covered" by outside influences. At some point in life, one must "uncover" these influences to find themselves and live an authentic existence.

Again, the ideas are abstract but I remind readers to transform the abstract into concrete.

I have not read any Taleb but I am familiar with his ideas through a few of my philosophical friends.

"Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise. Seek what they sought." ~ Basho

Charles Faulkner

All ideas are abstract in that they are generalizations of specific instantiations. And there are degrees of abstraction. As researchers into expertise have noted, expertise is the accumulation of (50K+) distinctions within an overarching conceptual framework – that changes from one that is received (conventional) to one discerned by expert. Simultaneously, more and more sensory and categorical distinctions are added while encompassed by increasingly abstract conceptual frameworks.

So, there is the unlearning of the conventional. As well as learning how to de-categorize, observe, and re-categorize. And these are level 5 skills – post Formal Operations – that come after years of study and guidance as well as individual effort and hands on experience.

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