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Saturday, March 25, 2017

My Book Part 2

I use this blog as a place to develop ideas. Most of this writing is first draft.
So if it appears "daft", remember it is "first draft daft" and hopefully will emend.

I know I said that film editing and what-not would form the body of this post, but I lied... again. It is about what I am trying to say about "belief-systems".

When we speak of belief-systems, we are actually talking about People-and-their-Beliefs-Systems.
Without the individual people, belief systems are nothing but empty, bloodless creeds - possibly like those data bases one used to call 'expert systems' - which are pretty much lifeless.

Beliefs on their own are inert and inane. They are a collection of propositions or statements that have no behavior of their own, they have no inspiration of their own, they cast no shadow - as it were - nor do they have a reflection within a mirror.

I must remember that I am dealing with People-Belief-Systems, not merely some arcade of propositions.

Now, what invigorates People-Belief-Systems? The people themselves are living, but that does not explain when and why a People-Belief-System ( which I shall call P-B-S from now on for brevity) is alive and vigorous rather than in a dormant state, or - worse - in a moribund state.

Consider Religion. There are P-B-Ss where the practice of religion is humdrum and there are occasions of spiritual awakenings and revivals. There are periods during which Judaism was a tidal wave in parts of the world, and there were times asleep in shtetls scattered across Eastern Europe.  There were times when Islam was a tidal wave of change, and there were times it slumbered - providing sustenance for its children, yes - but it did not thrust itself outside the avergae run of history.

A P-B-S system requires dynamic inputs to rouse itself from somnolence to activity.
The individual people that form the P-B-S may indeed be veritable boiling maelstroms of activity and creativity and - in the case of religion - enormous spiritual journeys and attainments, but the overall P-B-S in which these individuals form the parts may yet be somnolent.

Here we have arrived at a point where we ponder:

Science is not Inevitable

What was the "input" that created modern science? What was the "dynamo" that powered its development? I see no reason to believe that the rise of Science was inevitable. There must have been at least one dynamic input and most probably many more than served to transform society.

I am talking about Science, not the Industrial Revolution, not about the use of technology to build continent spanning railroads, telegraphs, telephones, roadways, etc. I am talking about Science as practiced by scientists.

The invention of a set of verification procedures to prove and to re-test and prove again in order to establish "scientific truth" was the dynamo that drove Science.

It was Galileo's
... eppur si muove!

"Yet, it does move!" which he is reputed to have uttered after certain forces in the Catholic Church forced him to publicly recant his views on the motion of the Earth.
It does not really matter whether he said it or not, for his subsequent life still shows his devotion to experiment and the scientific truth derived therefrom.

 The dynamo of the Indistrial Revolution may have been British coal, the limited size of the island kingdom, the status of the commons or even the Corn Laws. But the dynamo of Science was the invention and establishment of experiment as the accepted verification manner by which we could establish the Truth value of a scientific proposition!

It is not at all inevitable that a group of bricoleurs - people that assemble this and that of worldy thing in various ways and pastiches - will turn into scientists. Not a bit. The group of bricoleurs, collage-makers of gears and clepsydra, need to be galvanized by truth.

note: "bricoleurs" in more or less the sense that Levi-Strauss uses it.

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