Schizoid Logic

I’ve just recently returned from a business trip where huge amounts of brain power and logical thinking are required in concentrated doses.  I like those … a lot.  But this trip taught me something that has been taunting me from the outskirts of my consciousness for a long time, something about myself that I should have seen and (maybe) corrected long ago: I think linearly, but I explain laterally.

Wassup wi’dat?  Instead of trying to draw what I mean with words, I’ve drawn a picture.

Lateral logic approaches a linear progression laterally, or from the side.

I love lateral logic.  Sometimes it’s called fuzzy logic, but I don’t subscribe to the implications of fuzzy.   I would posit that it’s only “fuzzy” to people who aren’t used to making lateral associations to a progressively building argument.  And since I live in a Western culture where linear rules, it’s no wonder that people look at me with confused looks or their eyes glaze over when I launch myself into an anecdote to illustrate point of logic.

Fuzzy, though, really refers to inference.  You’re given a few dots with other dots missing, and you’re expected to fill in the missing dots to complete the foundation for the conclusion.   In logical analysis, it’s thought of as approximative in the sense that .7 + .59 = 2-ish — degrees of truth.  Or more precisely, it is “to arrive at a definite conclusion based upon vague, ambiguous, imprecise, noisy, or missing input information.1”  In the logic of  human philosophy, tho, it’s more like making strings of comparisons of one thing to another in order for a definite super “thing” to emerge as truth. (For those who read the Bible, the Eastern practice of lateral logic is a salient feature of the Psalms.)

Maybe I’m simply illogical operating under the delusion of being logical.  I think I’m logical when inside my own head, but when the resulting thoughts get exposed to the air (other people’s ears), how illogical I am becomes apparent.

In any case, when I reflect on past attempts to explain things, my sense is that I’m looking for a short-cut: some way to explain a logical flow by encapsulating it into a story or example without exposing every point of logic that would go into a thorough (or even adequate) exposition.  So my anecdotes are comparisons presented with the expectation that people will accurately infer the point I’m trying to make.

They didn’t call me the “mad scientist” for nothing.  I’m pretty sure that I appear ‘mad’ to most people.  And inference is not one of the three Rs. (Infer from that, why don’t you!)

Letters to Laurel — Keep Your Eyes on God

The following is a set of responses that I wrote to my ex-wife, Laurel.  I share these letters because they are reflective of the way I think about a topic that is close to me: Homosexuality & Christianity.  I hope that these thoughts will be instructive to others as well when finding themselves needing to reconcile religion & faith to the fact of the homosexuality of a family member. (I’ve changed and deleted personal matter that was either too personal or not directly relevant to the main points I wanted to make with Laurel, in case you were wondering.)
I’ve added section headings after-the-fact in order to facilitate comprehension of the whole.

A life with children … now that’s a full life indeed. No one can say that raising kids ain’t work. And being a “professional volunteer and Mother” — it’s not what I imagined you had planned for your life. But then, I didn’t really know you all that well. You had plans that either you didn’t share or I was too blinded in my selfishness to figure out.

A Little Perspective on Where I’m At

But I’ve figured out selfishness since then. Did a ton of theological studying. Wrote a number of treatise on the subject of sexuality and Christianity. And have been fairly well adjusted since! That’s not to say that my estimation of humanity has changed much. I still think that we humans are pretty much a cancer on the planet, consumed with our petty concerns and using God as a means to get to know ourselves rather than Him, arrogating unto ourselves knowledge of the divine Will that we don’t/can’t possess, and superimposing our pathetic (as in measly) capacity to comprehend over the top of the infinitely divine, hobbling what God can be to the minds of so many.

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The Problem of Fault in Dogs

The other night, I was having a conversation about a couple of dogs that had attacked my little puppy while he was on leash and the attackers were not. During the course of the conversation, we used words like “fault” and “responsibility,” which turned the conversation decidedly philosophical.  What is “fault” and “responsibility” as it applies to a dog?  One end of the continuum would say that no dog is at fault — only the human (owner) is, because the human is supposed to be the Alpha (dominant ranking) of the pack that includes this dog and, therefore, the human establishes the pack parameters.  Apart from a dog having an owner, how does “fault” and “responsibility” shake out, if it can — is it true “no dog is at fault”?

I like philosophical questions, especially for matters that I know will come up time and time again. And while I can’t hold a candle to one of my favorite theologians, C.S.Lewis (with particular relevance to his book, “The Problem of Pain”), let the exploring begin!

We’ve got the following elements all mashed together that we’re trying to sort out:

  • Nature of dogs.
  • Individual dog personalities.
  • Human affect on dogs.
  • What is an environment.
  • Reasoning, free will, and responsibility.

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Walking off a Cliff: the Progress Blindfold

While watching CNN International, I saw a commercial for a program  “Planet in Peril” that was going to have a discussion about vanishing species, which discussion was taglined (a verb?) “Planet vs. Progress.”  Not unlike the name “Planet in Peril,” which really isn’t the case — it’s life in peril or life system in peril — something about that tagline didn’t sit right in my head.  Part of the commercial talked about “balancing” the needs of a system where layers upon layers of living things depend on each other in order that the system actually be viable…or should I have understood that as balancing the needs of the natural system with the economic “needs” of a human society?

Not too long ago, I wrote a post on this, wherein I pondered (using basic things as examples) how humans, having conceptually divorced themselves from nature, could rationally think that we aren’t harming our environment. I also mused over how humans have institutionalized the conceptual divorce, officially boxing in our perspectives: our economics, cultural institutions, religion*, laws, ways of life have all been inextricably codified and form the basis of all that we seem to know. We can’t easily re-align our consciousness to be part of nature without destroying what we view as indispensable to human society. The notion of “progress” is a significant problem to overcome.

Here now again, I wonder: how can we call anything “progress” if it really isn’t?
I suppose we have to lay out in the open what it is we mean by “progress.” Continue reading

Am I arrogant

As I was writing a response to a political post the other day, a question flashed through my mind (or maybe someone actually said it, I can’t tell you which).  I had to push it to the side until I completed writing, but now I’m going to consider it.

Am I arrogant?

One of the things that is easy to do in our language (I don’t know about in any others), is that we confuse pride and arrogance.  We say, “don’t be arrogant” when what we’re really referring to is pride.  “Don’t be so prideful.”  We do the same thing with jealousy and envy — there he is, lusting after someone else’s new car, and we say he being jealous, when really he’s envious.  So, we need to start with some clear definitions. Continue reading

A Spiritual Path

Today on Facebook, I was compelled to post the following:

I do not claim to be Christian, altho I have a long & deeply studied history with the faith & various of its derivative religions. There are some really smart people who recognize that the “path” to heaven involves actual terrain, which merely following lists of rules cannot substitute for. People who understand that spirituality is getting to the core of the divine & not merely trying to mime a facsimile. For that reason, I read Slacktivist. His article on Sex & Money (part 3) is an inspiring example. His intelligent spirituality is inspiring for divinity’s sake.

The fact is, I am not a Christian in the sense that I practice any brand of Christianity.  My problem is that I so abhor how the faith is practiced that I simply cannot subscribe to it and the intellectual stunting that so often results in concentrated congregations of followers.  But I think that, within the guides (to wit, books) of many faiths, there is legitimate spirituality to be learned.   Continue reading

Planetary Consciousness

I ran across an interesting theory, while reading a James Rollins book (“Alter of Eden”), that artfully wove together fractals, the fact that all animals have strange magnetite crystals in the brain, and perspectives on what makes a human-animal bond so strong.  The theory, roughly stated, is that at one point in the movement of animals through developmental time, our brains shared a composite consciousness by means of a fractal web of these magnetite particles in our brains creating satellite-dish-type communications that formed a “single-mind” sort of approach to shared survival.

It is a fantastic thought, and one that fits in rather nicely with another theory: Noetics, which I ran across in the Dan Brown book, “The Lost Symbol.”  Roughly, that theory goes that the soul and thoughts have measurable substance.  Given laser-sharp focus, will to sustain or emotion to Continue reading