Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Consensus "Reality" vs. All-The-Way-Fool

I need to say a few more words about this before going on with the commentaries on the anomalies. In any of our Problem-solving situations that we face in life, there is the possibility of a "conservative", a "liberal", or an "All-The-Way-Fool" type of solution. [If one has two operating brain-cells to rub together, one should sometimes decide for any category, based on "facts" and not on "philosophy". Why anyone would degrade themselves by putting a one-word descriptor on themselves, like "conservative" or "liberal" is beyond my ken---"Yeh, boss, just tell me what way you want me to march, boss, Yep, I'm right with you."] If someone wanted to sell Grand Tetons Park for a lumberyard and a new real estate development, I'm a "conservative"--I say stick that idea where the sun doesn't shine. If someone says we need to keep business-as-usual and revel in using up that Oil as fast as possible, then I'm a "liberal" [lot more radical than that, actually]. One hopes that all ones fellow travelers think. On the right first diagram are four simplified "situations" as might arise to a thinker. One can view the Status Quo as alright. Or it's not, but minor tinkering will do. Or tinkering will not get you where you need to be, and some significant change must be made--in some way, the Status Quo needs to be redone. Or, All-The-Way-Fool, a major thought and behavior-shifting has to occur. This applies to "real life" as well as the "mysteries". Example: the complexity which is the Energy, Global Climate Change, Restricted resource availability, Destabilization of Countries, War, etc. crises. Status Quo says: don't worry, business-as-usual and market forces will provide the solution. Don't meddle. Tinkering says: Yeh, pretty much true, but we need more nuclear plants so we don't have to build new fossil fuel ones, and we should supplement the gasoline with corn ethanol. We'll be alright. Change says: We've got to seriously cap carbon emissions and do some sacrificing of wasteful lifestyles. We need to seriously alter the fuel efficiency of automobiles. We need massive retooling of homes and buildings to conserve heat. And, on. The Fool says: all those roads lead to hell, sooner or later. The only sustainable world does NOT burn fossil fuels at all. The most important thing to do now is gradually but quickly get rid of the individually owned automobile. Etc, etc. The Fool, even if he's right, is as unwelcome in polite company as an orangutan in heat. Anomalies researchers face these same choices.---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
It has been my observation that colleagues in the anomalies would like to "be loved" but are stuck with a problem that won't resolve on either status quo or tinkering grounds. Still, many of them put forward solutions to their anomalies which they label as just tinkering with the status quo, and therefore no threat and no reason why one should not just look at the facts and add this little new thing on to the consensus reality. And it has been my observation that in almost every case, my colleagues have been greatly misjudging the threat that their ideas have on the guardians of what is "real". The graph on the side color-compares what the anomalist feels is appropriate vs. what the consensus is.[ the life of the Anomalist is spent in the column on the left of the graph. We battle against a consensus reality that sees no truth in what we are trying to bring to their attention]. Almost everyone likes Peace. Peace often means no change. Don't rattle me. There's a large incentive to "stay at Peace". When one believes one has to move out of the status quo, the incentive is to move as little as possible. This happens with anomalists even in the face of evidence that they haven't moved enough. A Bigfoot researcher, who would like still to be loved, moves only to an out-of-place gorilla or a mutant grizzly bear. Forced past that, he might stop at a surviving Gigantopithecus or a Neanderthal. Most will already think that he is wrong, and seriously so, but not ready for the Asylum. Almost no one, even in the anomalies, will want to go All-The-Way-Fool. A major part of the conceptual landscape for theorizing about the anomalies engages the Spiritual and the Psychic. ALL of which is All-The-Way-Fool. Anomalists are actually real people and [usually] not abnormal at all. They, like everybody, would like others to share their views and beliefs...even their "faith". Very subjective and emotional of course, but very human. All of us would like our view of the anomalies to be part of the consensus reality. And sometimes we hold our views short of what has to be expressed to deal with what we know. We fool ourselves, but, unlike what the rest of the world thinks, the fooling is on the "conservative" side rather than the radical. Well, we want to be loved. And we want to be at Peace in our beliefs. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Once upon a time there was an island in a Great Sea. Its name was Scientia. It was small, but it was well understood. The Scientians had minutely observed the hills and forests and rivers. They were well understood. They had minutely observed the animals and plants and microlife, and they were well understood. They had observed themselves. Some thought that they were well understood; some said: well, what can you do? We're complicated. Occasionally fist fights broke out over this, but otherwise Peace-of-Mind reigned. And they saw that that was good.------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Punctuating the Peace-of-Mind were three periods during the day when the Scientians went to the Science Pub to eat, greet, and repeat the well-understood things everyone knew. These things were the Orthodox Knowledge, the OK. Repeating these things accurately meant that you were OK too. Sooner or later at most Pub sessions, some Scientians would get tired of eating and repeating the OK, and would, well, get soused. This phenomenon was well understood. What was particularly well understood was that when you were well soused you might say any manner of strange thing, almost all of it definitely NOT OK. Since getting soused meant scrambling what were normally OK mental processes, all that was well understood, and in a strange way, OK, and forgivable. When a Scientian spoke non-OK things, he must be soused.-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Whereas the Island was well understood, the shore was less so. There was a Sea there and that Sea had the disturbing characteristic of throwing up things at the Island. Most of these things were poorly understood and some were rumored to be not understood at all. The shoreline was a place of chaos and threat. Few Scientians visited it. Almost none ever went fishing. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------At unexpected intervals something not well understood seemed to appear within the Island itself. This was neither peaceful nor OK. Once it was gone, and thankfully that was almost always quickly, the best solution was to think that it had never been there at all---and since it wasn't there at the moment, that seemed just about right. A few days later and it would be OK. A few of the less pleasant Scientians always belabored the point, saying how many kinds of mistakes one might make to explain the not-well-understood Error, and making it clear that they were more OK than everyone else since it was always well understood by them. Fortunately, sooner or later they'd shut up as no one cared about them or the phantom whatever anyway.----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------On very rare occasions, a Scientian would not let one of these phantoms go. This was usually someone who was spending too much time on the shoreline. Sometimes such a Scientian would suggest at the Pub that maybe there were phantoms and that they came from the Sea. This of course was very unpleasant and not OK. A few friends might persist: How? From Where? Why? The Scientian could only shrug and say that such things are not well understood. But the other Scientians had better evidence from which to draw. He was soused...and not OK. That was well understood. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Almost no one enjoys standing at the edge of a cliff and wondering what will happen if they jump into a Sea far below. And no one really believes in building a Bridge to Nowhere. Anomalists fight a pessimistic battle. Peace and Comfort protect themselves. Maybe one needs to get Olde and Irish to not care so much about such "comforts".

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