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You can see and hear Gary Marcus discuss Kluge with Carl Zimmer at the following link:



The Financial Philosopher


Thanks for the link! It was certainly interesting. You have, yet again, given me another place (bloggingheads.tv) to find more interesting thoughts and ideas!

Thanks again...



This post reminds me of a picture of the soul that Plato gave in his Republic. He posited that the soul was formed of three parts: reason, spirit, and desires. He did not say any one of the three were intrinsically bad in themselves, but they were only good when they worked together in harmony; with reason ruling, spirit rousing the person in reason's aid, and desires obeying the first two as necessary. While I don't completely agree with way Plato divides the soul, it does give an interesting account of how a person can knowingly do something that is bad for them: when one of the three parts is in conflict with the other or out of balance with each other. If we believe in this, we can explain short-term selfishness and shortsightedness by saying our desires are not in harmony with our reason and spirit.

Your consistent referrals to Buddhist quotes makes me wonder if you're not a fellow practitioner as well! Either way, I believe you're right in he need for more awareness or mindfulness.

"If there is any holy book in Buddhism it is the holy book of meditation that you read in your own heart in the stillness of your mind"

If you get the chance and are willing, the above quote was spoken by one of my favorite monks, Ajahn Brahm. Thank again for the post, looking forward to more in the series.



Here are some additional links concerning insights on thinking about thinking, perceptions and mental biases, and cognitive dissonance:

From the CIA, "Psychlogy of Intelligence Analysis": https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/books-and-monographs/psychology-of-intelligence-analysis/index.html

and an interesting discussion between Joshua Knobe and Laurie Santos about cognitive dissonance: http://www.bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/10783


The Financial Philosopher


Thanks again for sharing the links and knowledge. I have found more useful information from readers than mainstream media, as I would expect!


I like to balance western and eastern philosophy. If were to describe my philosophical "foundation," it would be Plato's ideas of being, knowing, and acting. Where my philosophies part with Plato's is his world of "becoming," which was later spotlighted by Hegel and Nietszche. I agree, as Plato believed, that this "physical world" is misleading, but I believe that it can also be properly aligned to ultimately lead to our "ideal self" or proper "being."

Eastern philosophy does not necessarily address "the world of becoming" directly but, instead, incorporates the word into the usage of metaphors, such as "becoming the path." In other words, I prefer to use "becoming" as part of our "acting," or as a verb, instead of a noun that describes the physical world.

Do you think this makes sense? I am still working through these thoughts...


Well, self-awareness doesn't really lead to self-improvement; it leads to acceptance of one's self as one is, without the need for improvement. Sure, things could be better, or worse -- but the fundamental self would remain the same.

It is when you stop becoming and simply start being....

The Financial Philosopher


I love your point! Self-improvement, as most people view it, implies that we must change "who we are" to become a "better person." This, I agree, is absolutely a flawed view.

Self-awareness, ideally, will have us embrace our being (who we are). The only change, or "improvement," would be our doing (what we do).

My point, better expressed, is that, once we obtain self-awareness, most of us will realize that our actions, or our "doing," is not in alignment with our "being."

Self-improvement then would not imply that our "being" is flawed but that our "doing" is leading us further away from it. Our self-awareness (knowing) will help us identify this misalignment.

Perhaps self-improvement would be better defined as the act of aligning our being (who we are) and our doing (what we do) and this can effectively be a better definition of "becoming."

What do you think?

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About Kent Thune

  • Kent Thune is a wealth manager, a writer and a philosopher... Read More


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