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

Hagbard Celine (
Sun, 06 Jul 1997 17:47:02 -0400

Joshua F. McMichael wrote:

> >> 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
> abstrations.

We may be talking past each other here. Learning is not about how many
abstractions you can make. The purpose of learning is to *provide a
basis* for further abstraction, extension and investigation. This is not
the same thing as what you are saying. I am arguing that this is
accomplished by acquiring a foundation in the *facts*, or more to the
point, the things that have already been decided as probably true. From
there, abstract yourself into Next Tuesday, but without the facts,
you're dealing with just that, an abstraction.

To say that my definition does not involve the use of higher-order
abstractions is inaccurate, I merely suggest that this is not the
purpose of learning, but a purpose in and of itself.

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

Notice that at first I said, "Accurate meta-level abstractions are an
important part of the learning prcoess." Then I went on to say, "But if
they're inaccurate, I can't see how that helps you learn concrete

I think this answers your question.

> >> 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?

Discursive construction from my law school days. Would you rather,
"Allow me to apply E-Prime to this one," from my EMT days?

> How does asking "What is man?" suggest that "Man does not become."

If man is something then he is that thing forever. If not forever, then
for how long? "What is man?" is a question that misses the boat (and
also has no answer because we are evolving). I think, as I said in my
earlier post, that knowing the nature of man's relationship to the
universe is much more fluid and dynamic knowledge that includes my
extropian and transhuman ideals.

> What is becoming, and how does man do it?

Umm...look through the extropian and transhuman archives for the answer
to this one.

> Why
> does one stop evolving if one learns more about one's self?

This is a classic case of words being put in the mouth. I never said any
such thing. I am merely saying that knowing what you are has zero praxis
unless you are staying the same forever. Theoretically, it's nice,
you'll be able to write a grand memoir. But I would rather know first
what my relationship is with the universe and then *become* what I want
to be. It's the difference betweeen hindsight and foresight to me.