Re: mindfulness (e-prime, rand, epistomology, etc.)

Joshua F. McMichael (
Sun, 6 Jul 97 09:01:28 -0500

Hagbard wrote:

[the following quote is from , a introduction to e-prime
- jm]:

>> >(1) Noun Phrase-1 + TO BE + Noun Phrase-2 (Identity)
>> >(2) Noun Phrase-1 + TO BE + Adjective Phrase-1 (Predication)
>> >where TO BE represents an appropriately inflected form of the verb "to be."
>> >Critical thinkers have argued against using statements having the
>> >(1) because they *immediately produce high order abstractions* that lead
>>> user to premature judgments.
>First of all, my initial post never cited the above text. I merely said,
>"For an interesting discussion of E-Prime see..."
>At the very least, I'm glad you found it interesting, if not amenable to
>your own views on discourse.

Very sorry about that. There's a nasty "feature" in my email program that
makes it too easy to send out incomplete messages that have been saved to
disk. I skimmed the article on e-prime and grabbed this quote from it. I
intended to write a longer essay, but got sidetracked.

>> Hmm... seems to me that the whole purpose of learning is to "immediately
>> produce high order abstractions". Are you against forming high order
>> abstractions?
>No, I agree that accurate meta-level abstractions are an important part
>of the learning process, not to mention the creative process. But, if
>they're inaccurate, I can't see how that helps you learn concrete facts,
>unless you ask someone about it and then they give you the correct
>answer. That of course assumes that there's someone around teaching you
>all the time. Regardless, premature judgements seem to be a bad thing
>for the most part. I can't say much more than that other than that what
>I originally wrote was:

I would venture that the formation of higher-order (meta-level)
abstractions is the *purpose* of learning. I'm curious to hear your
definition of learning, and how it doesn't involve the use of high-order

>But, if
>they're inaccurate, I can't see how that helps you learn concrete facts,
>unless you ask someone about it and then they give you the correct

Wait a second - who said high-level abstractions are inaccurate? Is that
a given?

>> I must plead E-Prime on this one. To ask what man *is* suggests that man
>> does not *become*. Knowing one's nature and the nature of the universe
>> in which one exists is IMO the ultimate goal. If I can finally know what
>> I *am*, then I have stopped evolving. Since time doesn't stand still for
>> me, I become incorrect about what I *am* only a millisecond later.

What does "pleading E-Prime" mean? How does asking "What is man?" suggest
that "Man does not become." What is becoming, and how does man do it? Why
does one stop evolving if one learns more about one's self? I don't mean
to badger you, but I can't understand this paragraph well enough to judge
if I agree with it or not.

Joshua McMichael
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