Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Non-Aristotelian states of consciousness

I have been following up Dr. Pamela Gerloff’s post about the ‘Possiblity Paradigm’ with a few comments of my own, most of them on this page. I pointed out a number of logical flaws in her argument, and she has finally replied exactly as I thought she eventually would, by saying “From within your paradigm it appears to be gobbledlygook, and full of logical inconsistences. That's correct, when perceived from within your paradigm,” and “You are trying to understand what I'm saying from within your philosopher/logician's thought framework/paradigm.”

This is the ultimate get-out-of-jail-free card for the purveyor of New Age mumbo-jumbo. If you try to point out any flaw in their reasoning whatsoever, they will simply reply that the flaw is from your ‘logical’ standpoint or ‘paradigm’. It is a limitation of your mind constrained by ordinary logic. And of course there is no reply to that. If your opponent in argumentation refuses to abide by the rules of logic, the argument is over. Except to note that New Ageists nearly always use ‘ordinary’ logic to put forward their arguments. In her original post, Gerloff claims that Lester Levenson exists, and backs up her claim by saying she knows former students of his, which is an obvious appeal to standard scientific reasoning (give evidence). She cites evidence that Lester recovered from apparently incurable cancer as reason for believing the more extraordinary claims, such as being able to withstand nuclear blasts by the power of thought. So she is trying to persuade us using ordinary logic as a first step. Yet as soon as we question her second step, she explains that ‘ordinary’ logic fails. But if that were true, the first step would fail. This is inconsistent.

This reminds me so much of the 1960s and 70s. The 13th Floor Elevators were a 60s band who advocated chemical agents (such as acid and weed) as a gateway to a higher, 'non-Aristotelian' state of consciousness, which would transcend ordinary ‘Aristotelian logic’. I remember many conversations, or what passed for conversations with the smokers of weed and the herb where this very same argument was propounded. Not really arguments, of course. Any substantial logical point was met with that irritating condescending smile of the weeder who is already at the ‘higher state of consciousness’. “You simply don’t understand, man”. The fact being, of course, that marijuana blocks all short-term memory so effectively that any movement from premisses to conclusion – which requires remembering what the premisses were – is impossible.

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29 Comments:

Blogger Michael Sullivan said...

The medieval antidote to this sort of drug would be to punch one's interlocutor in the face until he admitted that getting punched in the face and not getting punched in the face were not identical. There's not only no argument without the principle of non-contradiction; there's not even meaningful speech of any kind. The philosopher's thought-framework-paradigm is the one where words have meanings which can serve as the basis for communication. Deny it, and you're denying that you are communicating anything beyond emotions and gestures.

2:24 pm  
Blogger Pamela said...

PAMELA'S RESPONSE-PART I

What Edward has not understood about my column is that it is not meant as a scientific, logical treatise. It is a playful column about possibility. It is written as an artist writes. It presents ideas in ways that are aesthetically pleasing to the writer. It is an invitation into a fun and delightful game.

I am proposing a different paradigm--a basic thought framework from which we can think, act, and play in possibilities, in order to explore and possibly realize new potentials, both individually and as a species.

Edward cannot understand this paradigm from within his own existing paradigm. It is simply not possible. To say this is not pulling out a "get out of jail free" card, as Edward asserts. It is simply to acknowledge that two paradigms--two games--with nearly opposite rules don't mesh. A more productive way to approach them, I suggest, is to explore them each separately without needing to assert that one paradigm is superior to the other.

Edward doesn't have to play the game. But to pick apart a column written about and from within a different paradigm--instead of trying it out and playing the game--is like a soccer player being invited into a game of baseball and, instead of playing, standing on the sidelines and claiming that the rules of baseball are inconsistent and illogical and not worthy of play because they are not the rules of soccer. (Every game has its own internal logic.)

In the Possibility Paradigm and the Possibility Game, argument does not have a place. The Possibility Game is not about whose perspective is right or wrong, what is true or false, objective or subjective, logical or illogical. The game is about expanding awareness through a different method than other paradigms use.

That's why Edward's and his colleagues' arguments miss the point. Logicians and philosophers, scientists, lawyers, all argue and debate--that's how they function; that's how their game is set up, in order to develop a body of knowledge and advance the collective understanding in their particular domains.

In the Possibility Paradigm, you approach things differently. You don't argue and debate. You try something out, you compare your experiences with others', you inquire of others' points of view, to see what insights they might offer you. You brainstorm together, you deliberately blow your mind circuits. And you laugh. The method of engagement is both an individual and a joint, collaborative effort of searching for connections and possibilities, not disconnections and impossibilities.

(continued, see PART II)

3:01 pm  
Blogger Pamela said...

PAMELA'S RESPONSE-PART II (continued from PART I)

Until Edward and a few similar-minded others commented on my article, I thought all that was obvious. From within the Possibility Paradigm it *is* obvious.

Now I realize that the Possibility Paradigm is, for some people, a whole other world. The Possibility Game is a whole other game. For such people, it's like going to another planet that has completely different "laws of nature" than are operative on their home planet.
In cases like that, you have to orient yourself before you can function there.

Edward, dear being that he is--I rather like, enjoy, and appreciate Edward, from what I know of him through his comments--is not interested in playing the Possibility Game, nor in orienting himself to its rules of play. He has made that clear. He is interested in playing his game, which is to apply his already-existing operating framework to a piece of writing in order to provide evidence that demonstrates or proves (in his mind) that the Possibility Game is not worth playing.

And, by the way, Edward has musunderstood, and therefore misrepresented, various assertions in my column. Lester did make the nuclear statement, as far as I can tell from my sources. I am saying that instead of automatically dismissing Lester's assertion, which sounds fantastical, we play the Possibility Game and see if we can expand our thought frameworks enough to enable ourselves to take it in *as a possibility*, and then see, from there, what other possibilities can open up for us in our own direct experience.

That's not illogical. That's playing the Possibility Game to the hilt. (as was/is obvious to many readers.)

As I noted in my comments on the Psychology Today website, there are different levels of play in the Possibility Game, from beginner to advanced. Lester was a master player, probably one of the most advanced Possibililty Game players of all time. I myself aspire to such a level of mastery. I still have a ways to go. :)

Thanks, Edward, for the opportunity to respond to your critique.

3:05 pm  
Blogger Tony Lloyd said...

Hi Pamela

“In the Possibility Paradigm and the Possibility Game, argument does not have a place. The Possibility Game is not about whose perspective is right or wrong, what is true or false, objective or subjective, logical or illogical. The game is about expanding awareness through a different method than other paradigms use.”

We are well used to this sort of thing. Works of fiction, sports, childhood games or just plain daydreaming. Mental exercises, foci of meditation, techniques to unlock the subconscious. We all understand that these are not about right or wrong, what is true or false, objective or subjective, logical or illogical.

With that we do not claim that they are about right or wrong, what is true or false, objective or subjective, logical or illogical. We use words of criticism, or approval, based on what they are “this is a gripping novel”, “this song is a terrible cacophony”, “to relax, if find it useful to clench every muscle really tightly”. A similar (though more trivial) “game” to yours is that old advice to visualise an interviewer naked. No one believes the interviewer is naked, no one claims it as true. Everyone accepts it as plainly false.

You however talk as if your game of “possibilities” is true.

Or you do at first. At first you claim that the things really are attainable:

“For me, the word and idea of "possibility" literally opens up a whole range of new possibilities, not just an outcome or possibility I hope for. When I am in this state of openness to possibilities, the next step is to actualize a possibility I prefer, which can be done through neutral, clear intention--if I am in an attention-free state of awareness.”

“literally”? “actualize”?

In effect it is the claim that if you imagine your interviewer naked then his clothes will evaporate.

Your reaction to criticism is revealing. What would you say to several skeptics questioning the veracity of a Dungeons and Dragons world or whether Randi really produced a $100 bill out of an ordinary looking black box. You’d say something about them not supposed to be “true”, not supposed to be “real” that they are methods of unlocking the imagination, giving amusement and aiding creativity.

What you would not say that you knew of this chap who actually went to the Dungeons and Dragon’s world. You would not mention some other chap who could sell me Randi’s $100 bill making machine or tell me that Randi’s methodology had been studied by Harvard or claim a plausible magic mechanism for Randi’s trick.

You do, though:

“In recent years scientific and metaphysical frameworks have emerged that provide plausible explanations for how such seemingly unbelievable things might occur”

and

“The Release Technique has actually been reasonably well-researched, by researchers at SUNY, Harvard, Columbia, and more.

And, of course, “Einstein!”

At first, you make truth claims. Later, as your pronouncements are challenged what you claim to be saying sliiiiiides. At first your combatative, you defend the assertions that (you now say) are not assertions. You claim evidence (you don’t produce it, but you claim it). You imply that those who disagree are close minded. You mis-represent criticisms to attempt to divert attention from cogent criticisms to straw men you can knock down.

All of this is utterly, utterly, pointless for something that is not supposed to be true.

And it’s when all these fail that you claim that it's not supposed to be true anyway.

It’s like someone who makes a barbed comment, checks for the reaction and, as soon as it looks like the reaction will be unfavourable, tries to pass it off as a joke.

You treat your assertions as assertions just as long as you think you can get away with it and then, when you can’t, claim they weren’t assertions at all.

4:01 pm  
Blogger Adzcliff said...

I wonder if the possibility paradigm would invite a destitute shopaholic to 'play' with the idea of debt being a social fiction, or that they are are actually infinitely rich; or the paedophile that child-abuse is actually a morally necessary act? These may be harsh examples, but arguably no more harsh than the prospect of a nuclear blast at point blank range. I can think of no argument within the Possibility Paradigm (as far as I understand it) that could refute these as worthwhile 'games' - at least not without some appeal to logic, reality or some sort of moral realism.

Anyway...

Adzcliff

4:34 pm  
Blogger Phronesis said...

"If your opponent in argumentation refuses to abide by the rules of logic, the argument is over. Except to note that New Ageists nearly always use ‘ordinary’ logic to put forward their arguments." Well, this still is worth noting (it's a kind of pressure to whoever makes extraordinary claims - to not step too lightly or too quickly from the path of ordinary logic, or else to embrace the leap away from ordinary logic [always a curious move to watch]).
Paulo Lopes

4:50 pm  
Blogger Edward Ockham said...

>>What Edward has not understood about my column is that it is not meant as a scientific, logical treatise.

Now you are backing off from your original post. Your original claim was that it was possible to cure cancer, or survive nuclear armageddon, by the power of thought. You gave reasons i.e. arguments in support of your claim.

Logicians call this 'ground shifting' or just 'moving the goalposts'.

5:25 pm  
Blogger Edward Ockham said...

>>The medieval antidote to this sort of drug would be to punch one's interlocutor in the face until he admitted that getting punched in the face and not getting punched in the face were not identical.

Avicenna, no?

5:25 pm  
Blogger Michael Sullivan said...

Yes, and quoted approvingly by Scotus.

6:26 pm  
Blogger Pamela said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7:36 pm  
Blogger Pamela said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7:38 pm  
Blogger Pamela said...

LOOKS LIKE PART 1 GOT LOST. HERE IS IT AGAIN.


PAMELA’S RESPONSE TO TONY ET. AL.-PART I
Tony (and Edward), you are right that my initial response to some of the comments on the original post was to try to clarify and to discuss within the terms of your framework. As I began to do that, I saw that in order for you and your colleagues (who are also posting on this site) to understand what I was/am saying, you would need to be willing to play a bit, at least temporarily, within the Possibility Paradigm. If you were committed only to your own paradigm, you wouldn't be able to understand the Possibility Paradigm at all. So I said as much.

What appeared/appears to you to be “backing down” from my assertions was, rather, from my point of view, me recognizing that we were not speaking the same language, and that you were never going to try to understand the language I was speaking. Your language and framework come from a particular point of view--and what I would call a particular “level of awareness.” In my experience and observations, your approach narrows what I call “awareness”. The Possibility Paradigm is intended to expand awareness. You don’t have a definition for what I mean by awareness within your lexicon and so you aren’t likely to understand what I mean. Just as Edward cannot understand how two opposites can both be true at once.

The point of the article was not that Lester's "nuclear claim" was true or untrue--it was that there is value to treating any claim-- even that seemingly outrageous one-- *as if* it *could* be true. My invitation was for readers to give it a shot and see what it might open up in their experience.

I personally choose to operate from the basic belief/approach that "anything is possible"; stated otherwise, I am open to the possibility that anything might indeed be possible-- and that what Lester said could be true. If you insist I choose, Is it true or false?, I will choose true—but *of course* I don’t know, nor do I have any “evidence” for his assertion. I lean on the side of Lester’s “true” as opposed to your “false” based on my experience with Lester’s method and other things he said. I will take Lester’s wisdom any day over your logic. No contest.

What Lester’s life demonstrates is that what is not possible from one level of awareness, can indeed be possible from another. It is not possible for you or Edward to do what Lester did because you are not operating at the level of awareness that Lester was. (You’re not even interested in doing that.)

As for asserting (Edward) that cancer can be cured through Lester's method--Yes, I absolutely assert that. Lester did it. Other people have done it. That one's a no brainer to believe.

7:45 pm  
Blogger Pamela said...

MY ORIGINAL PART II TO TONY WAS CUT OFF. HERE IS THE FULL VERSION--
PAMELA'S RESPONSE TO TONY ET. AL.--PART II.

We could also call a “level of awareness” a “level of mastery” in the Possibility Game. I am able to do some things that Lester was able to do, but by no means all. I keep playing the game, to arrive at higher levels/degrees of mastery.

It was through the PT discussion that I began to realize that the Possibility Game might productively be thought of as having different levels of mastery--and that most Level 0 players of the game probably cannot jump immediately to the higher levels. I hadn't realized that before all the logical-philosopher comments.

Lester's "nuclear comment" probably cannot even be entertained as *possibly true* unless you are willing to engage with the game at a rather high level, and unless you first have some direct personal experience that suggests that higher-order impossibilities might possibly be true. Level 0 and maybe Level 1 players--and people who choose not to play at all--are probably likely to respond as you, Edward, and Adzclif have.

I will make a slight correction here to what I initially posted on this site: When I say it is not possible for Edward to understand what my column said from within his operative paradigm, I mean that I think it is generally not possible unless there is a willingness on Edward's part to at least step into the Possibility Game a little bit and try to incorporate the new paradigm into his existing one. This requires sincere inquiry, a certain facility of mind, and an ability and willingness to hold two apparent opposites in mind at once. Edward’s philosophy, I think he said on the PT site, specifically states that two opposites cannot both be true at once. That automatically excludes him from participating in the Possibility Game, or in understanding its potential.

It's too bad that Quenton (Vern) Hunter, an amateur philosopher I knew, died suddenly a short time ago. He was a rare master of both paradigms, demonstrating that it is indeed possible for philosophers to productively play the Possibility Game with elegance and skill, and delight in it. I suspect he'd have a few useful comments to offer here.

People who play the Possibility Game at very high levels OF mastery and awareness, as Lester did, seem to discover that what lower-level players consider to be impossible actually becomes possible when you play at higher skill levels, which includes the ability to enter into, and act, from more expanded states of awareness. (That's one reason an assertion can be both true and untrue. It is true at one level of awareness and not at another.)

You can argue and hypothesize about impossibilities all you want, but until you actually play the game, you won't have a clue about any of it.

I stick by my suggestion that probably Einstein would not have engaged in the kind of mental argument and gymnastics people are doing on this thread. I think he would have just entered into the game--and perhaps, eventually, after experimenting awhile, reported back.

The Release Technique, by the way, has a quote from a psychiatrist associate of Einstein's, who taught and researched at Columbia and UCLA, and who actually did this—experimented with Lester’s method. He pronounced it a "profound breakthrough in the history of behavioral science."

You can challenge that--that's fine. But for me, it is much more fun, and more productive, to play the Possibility Game and see what I can find out about the limits—or no limits—of human potential. Debating about what is true or untrue in my article or my personal belief system seems to me not to advance human potential very much, if at all.

7:50 pm  
Blogger Pamela said...

CORRECTION--Let's correct this Edward. My original column didn't assert that people can cure cancer through thought. It did say that Lester became completely healthy by using his method--and that included healing himself of heart disease (heart attack) and numerous other infirmities.

I do assert, however, that people have rid themselves of cancer by applying Lester's method to themselves. Cancer has also been compeletely healed by numerous other methods. To discount that is, in my view, an example of how pre-set beliefs will not allow in contradictory data. The modern medical paradigm is a whole other discussion.

8:00 pm  
Blogger Pamela said...

ONE MORE CORRECTION:
Well, I just realized I do have to "walk back" on one assertion. I don't want to get myself or others in any legal trouble. (The medical world can be vicious!)
Let's be very clear that Lester's method *makes no medical claims whatsoever*. Moreover I am *not* a spokesperson for Lester's method.
I hereby withdraw any assertions I have made on this site that might suggest that I am making medical claims for anyone's healing method or approach, Lester's or otherwise.

That said, I will say that there's no doubt in my own mind that cancers and other diseases that are considered incurable by standard medicine are not necessarily incurable. Some are not currently known to be curable from within the standard medical model, but there are many cases of "impossible-to-cure" cases being completely healed by approaches other than the standard medical model.

8:52 pm  
Blogger Edward Ockham said...

Sorry Pamela some of your comments are ending up in the spam box. You should be able to delete any superfluous ones.

8:55 pm  
Blogger Edward Ockham said...

Picking up just one of your points:

>>Edward’s philosophy, I think he said on the PT site, specifically states that two opposites cannot both be true at once.

I absolutely never said this. I was talking about the 'principle of contradiction', which says that a sentence and its denial cannot both be true. That is, 'snow is white' and 'snow is not white' cannot both be true.

That is fundamental to all human thought. The possibility of disagreement itself depends on it. Unless I am able to deny what you say, we cannot even disagree.

Pamela, you really have to understand this before we can proceed any further.

8:59 pm  
Blogger Pamela said...

Did PART II to Tony also disappear?
Here's the full version, with slight modifications:

PART II of PAMELA'S RESPONSE TO TONY, ET. AL.

We could also call a “level of awareness” a “level of mastery” in the Possibility Game. I am able to do some things that Lester was able to do, but by no means all. I keep playing the game, to arrive at higher levels/degrees of mastery.

It was through the PT discussion that I began to realize that the Possibility Game might productively be thought of as having different levels of mastery--and that most Level 0 players of the game probably cannot jump immediately to the higher levels. I hadn't realized that before all the logical-philosopher comments.

Lester's "nuclear comment" probably cannot even be entertained as *possibly true* unless you are willing to engage with the game at a rather high level, and unless you first have some direct personal experience that suggests that higher-order impossibilities might possibly be true. Level 0 and maybe Level 1 players--and people who choose not to play at all--are probably likely to respond as you, Edward, and Adzclif have.

I will make a slight correction here to what I initially posted on this site: When I say it is not possible for Edward to understand what my column said from within his operative paradigm, I mean that I think it is generally not possible unless there were a willingness on Edward's part to at least step into the Possibility Game a little bit and try to incorporate the new paradigm into his existing one. This requires sincere inquiry, a certain facility of mind, and an ability and willingness to hold two apparent opposites in mind at once. Edward’s philosophy, I think he said on the PT site, specifically states that two opposites cannot both be true at once. That automatically excludes him from participating in the Possibility Game, or in understanding its potential.

It's too bad that Quenton (Vern) Hunter, an amateur philosopher I knew, died suddenly a short time ago. He was a rare master of both paradigms, demonstrating that it is indeed possible for philosophers to productively play the Possibility Game with elegance and skill, and delight in it. I suspect he'd have a few useful comments to offer here.


People who play the Possibility Game at very high levels, as Lester did, seem to discover that what lower-level players consider to be impossible actually becomes possible when you play at higher skill levels, which includes the ability to enter into and act from more expanded states of awareness. (That's one reason an assertion can be both true and untrue. It is true at one level of awareness and not at another.)

You can argue and hypothesize about impossibilities all you want, but until you actually play the game, you won't "get" it. You don't have any useful frame of reference.

I stick by my suggestion that probably Einstein would not have engaged in the kind of mental argument and gymnastics people are doing on this thread. I think he would have just entered into the game--and perhaps, eventually, after experimenting awhile, reported back.

There is, by the way, a quote about the method Lester introduced to the world from a psychiatrist associate of Einstein's, who taught and researched at Columbia and UCLA, and who actually did this—experimented with Lester’s method. He pronounced it a "profound breakthrough in the history of behavioral science."

You can challenge that--that's fine. But for me, it is much more fun, and more productive, to play the Possibility Game and see what I can find out about the limits—or no limits—of human potential.

I don't actually understand why debate about what is true or untrue in my article or in my personal belief system seems to be so riveting to some people. It doesn't seem to me to advance human potential very much, if at all.

9:02 pm  
Blogger Edward Ockham said...

>>Just as Edward cannot understand how two opposites can both be true at once.

If the Principle of contradiction is false (as you seem to suggest) then it would both be true that

* I cannot understand how two opposites can both be true at once,

and true that

* I can understand how two opposites can both be true at once

(since "I cannot ..." and "I can" are contradictories. As Michael says above, all discourse collapses if this principle fails.

9:05 pm  
Blogger Tony Lloyd said...

You’re doing it in the same post now! Cancer can be cured! But that’s neither true nor false. Yes it is! It’s both true and false. At the same time! All these things are possible but you have to use this special way that is only open to especially enlightened people using special esoteric knowledge. You can’t even understand what this knowledge is unless you immerse yourself in it and accept what your guru tells you. Other people, people who don’t share this knowledge, who don’t know the secret think it’s ridiculous. They laugh because it seems ridiculous to them in their square world, full of square people doing square things. They, like, can’t dig it, man.

The thing is, we can.

I find the “anything possible” theme utterly banal. Like Popper I take Hume’s criticisms of induction seriously. Anything, not “virtually” as you put it but absolutely anything is epistemologically possible. There may well be things that are metaphysically impossible but, as I don’t know what they are I have to treat them as possible. So your “paradigm” is hardly new to me. And, as Stephen Law pointed out, many of us have explored similar “paradigms”. (And we have tested out the “well, this one’s different”. Our Mother’s refuted that one when they claimed that these peas were nice). We’ve explored these “paradigms” and rejected them (“paradigms” can, off course, be tested: it’s what leads to crises and “paradigm shifts”).

We do not reject your article because we’re on a different wavelength, we reject it because we think it’s bollocks and you have given us no reason whatsoever to reconsider that opinion. (Your hint at the Copenhagen interpretation of Quantum Theory sticks out like a sore thumb, BTW.)

Now that wouldn’t be enough to get me riled up. There’s plenty of bollocks on the internet. That this bollocks comes from someone billed as an “expert” on philosophy is mildly irritating, but no more.
The problem is that it goes beyond some little fantasy. You may not profit directly from sales of that DVD. It doesn’t matter. The person offering you that free personality test outside the Scientology office is very unlikely to profit directly from it. Scientology is still a corrupt, sinister and dangerous cult. It works like this. At its core is “auditing”, which is tarted up “talking about your problems”. But that isn’t going to buy a yacht. So it gets very tarted up, there are props and deep mysteries. There is a "paradigm", one that cannot be understood by outsiders. There are levels.

They get their money by mixing woo with an otherwise unprofitable product.

The same with “Brain Gym”, “Power Balance” bracelets, “Miracle Mineral Solution” etc. So it seems with those DVD’s, $10 DVD + woo = $179.

9:37 pm  
Blogger Pamela said...

PAMELA'S RESPONSE TO EDWARD--PART I

To Edward re: your comment: "I absolutely never said this. I was talking about the 'principle of contradiction', which says that a sentence and its denial cannot both be true. That is, 'snow is white' and 'snow is not white' cannot both be true."

I should clarify: I was referring to when you wrote: ""There are two things you could be saying here. (1) You can enter a state of awareness in which certain things become true 'for you', but not true for anyone else. Indeed, not true at all. I.e. you change only, not reality. Or (2) the awareness actually involves reality itself changing. Such as certain laws of Physics becoming false. I.e. reality itself changes."

I wrote: "My observations and experience suggest that both can be the case."

You wrote: "Both cannot be the case. The first view is that reality does not change, although you change. The second view is that both change. Both of these cannot be true (because that is a truth of logic)."
I repeat: I consider both to be true. You apparently assumed I meant both at the same time. I meant they can both occur, and seem to. (You did not ask how it is I understand that both can be the case.)

Later I said that you cannot understand my paradigm when you are approaching it from within your own paradigm exclusively. If you were or are genuinely trying to understand my article, not just debunk it, you could ask--when confronted with statements that your paradigm does not accept--"How can that be so? How does your thinking framework allow for that?" But you don't. You say, unequivically, "That cannot be true." The antithesis of the Possibility Paradigm.

Additionally, you say, "In basic logic, the statements 'snow is white/snow is not-white' cannot both be the case." If you actually cared to understand from a different viewpoint, you might say, "How do you see that it is possible to make both statements? From within my logical/philosophical paradigm, both cannot be true." That would be discussion and inquiry, not argument and debate with the purpose of "winning" or debunking. That would be seeking to understand from within the Possibility Paradigm.

Moreover, when you say it is not possible for both statements to be true, you say that if I don't see it that way, then we cannot proceed. That's fine--except *then you criticize me* for saying that you cannot understand what I am saying from within your paradigm.

(continued in Part II)

3:28 am  
Blogger Pamela said...

PAMELA'S RESPONSE TO EDWARD--PART I

To Edward re: your comment: "I absolutely never said this. I was talking about the 'principle of contradiction', which says that a sentence and its denial cannot both be true. That is, 'snow is white' and 'snow is not white' cannot both be true."

I should clarify: I was referring to when you wrote: ""There are two things you could be saying here. (1) You can enter a state of awareness in which certain things become true 'for you', but not true for anyone else. Indeed, not true at all. I.e. you change only, not reality. Or (2) the awareness actually involves reality itself changing. Such as certain laws of Physics becoming false. I.e. reality itself changes."

I wrote: "My observations and experience suggest that both can be the case."

You wrote: "Both cannot be the case. The first view is that reality does not change, although you change. The second view is that both change. Both of these cannot be true (because that is a truth of logic)."
I repeat: I consider both to be true. You apparently assumed I meant both at the same time. I meant they can both occur, and seem to. (You did not ask how it is I understand that both can be the case.)

Later I said that you cannot understand my paradigm when you are approaching it from within your own paradigm exclusively. If you were or are genuinely trying to understand my article, not just debunk it, you could ask--when confronted with statements that your paradigm does not accept--"How can that be so? How does your thinking framework allow for that?" But you don't. You say, unequivically, "That cannot be true." The antithesis of the Possibility Paradigm.

Additionally, you say, "In basic logic, the statements 'snow is white/snow is not-white' cannot both be the case." If you actually cared to understand from a different viewpoint, you might say, "How do you see that it is possible to make both statements? From within my logical/philosophical paradigm, both cannot be true." That would be discussion and inquiry, not argument and debate with the purpose of "winning" or debunking. That would be seeking to understand from within the Possibility Paradigm.

Moreover, when you say it is not possible for both statements to be true, you say that if I don't see it that way, then we cannot proceed. That's fine--except *then you criticize me* for saying that you cannot understand what I am saying from within your paradigm.

(continued in Part II)

3:28 am  
Blogger AC said...

Pamela wrote (That's one reason an assertion can be both true and untrue. It is true at one level of awareness and not at another.)

When you stumble upon the level of awareness where the above is untrue, dig your heels in and try to stay there with everything you have. It's called reality. And, it's amazing what's possible here.

3:31 am  
Blogger Pamela said...

RESPONSE TO EDWARD - PART II

Edward, it is obvious that you did not understand what I said in my article and do not understand what I am saying now--nor does anyone else on this thread. Moreover, no one here seems to be interested in understanding. You seem to be interested in displaying your skills of logic and debunking what you think was a dangerous and specious piece of writing.

This I find puzzling. Truly. It is such a harmless little piece.

I reiterate that this was not a scientific treatise, nor even a journalistic report. It was a playful column on possibility. A very short and outrageously, humorously fun one, just to get the game started. I really don't see that it is worth the time any of you have invested in debunking it, nor the time I've put into replying--which I am now doing so that you don't just get a free pass at calling other people's viewpoints junk. Your thought police vigilante-ism--which is how I see your hyper-vigilance about keeping the Web safe for truth-as-you-see-it--is as dangerous as anything that could possibly result from my column--because it tends to make people afraid to offer viewpoints that are different from the accepted norms--even playfully offer them for the purpose of fun and expansive thinking.

This, of course, is the way of history. Plenty of people have been killed for less. But I think it's time to change that. We need new solutions to pressing problems. I would respectfully suggest that possibility thinking is more likely to get us some truly new approaches to the world's problems than rehashing old arguments about whether a statement and its denial can both be true.

Incidentally, re: white snow/black snow. In fact, I can think of a scientific framework where I think it might be considered possible to make such a statement about snow. It's a framework I don't understand and don't know enough about to expound on (I don't even remember its name), but I heard the basics of it presented once. The point was that it made certain real-life phenomena possible to understand, and enabled certain things to be accomplished, when other frameworks did not enable that. I say this to suggest that what, on the surface, may look obvious to you may not be so cut-and-dried. (And I dare say, the world wouldn't really fall apart if your apriori rules about argument were one day violated. What if a statement and its denial *could* both be true. [It wound't necessarily mean that it would *always* be true.] Perhaps that could be one of our six impossible things to believe before breakfast...and maybe then we could have a genuinely exploratory and friendly discussion.)

I assume there must be some good and worthwhile intention behind your blog post, but I don't see that you're really interested in what I have to say. You guys seem to like to argue and debate.

Please note for Tony that I am not a philosopher and have never claimed to be one. The rest of his post is so far beyond reasonable, I'm just going to sign off now.

Thanks for the adventure.

3:33 am  
Blogger Pamela said...

PAMELA'S RESPONSE TO EDWARD--PART I
(This must have gone into the spam file. I'm reposting it, though it's now out of order.)

To Edward re: your comment: "I absolutely never said this. I was talking about the 'principle of contradiction', which says that a sentence and its denial cannot both be true. That is, 'snow is white' and 'snow is not white' cannot both be true."

I should clarify: I was referring to when you wrote: ""There are two things you could be saying here. (1) You can enter a state of awareness in which certain things become true 'for you', but not true for anyone else. Indeed, not true at all. I.e. you change only, not reality. Or (2) the awareness actually involves reality itself changing. Such as certain laws of Physics becoming false. I.e. reality itself changes."

I wrote: "My observations and experience suggest that both can be the case."

You wrote: "Both cannot be the case. The first view is that reality does not change, although you change. The second view is that both change. Both of these cannot be true (because that is a truth of logic)."
I repeat: I consider both to be true. You apparently assumed I meant both at the same time. I meant they can both occur, and seem to. (You did not ask how it is I understand that both can be the case.)

Later I said that you cannot understand my paradigm when you are approaching it from within your own paradigm exclusively. If you were or are genuinely trying to understand my article, not just debunk it, you could ask--when confronted with statements that your paradigm does not accept--"How can that be so? How does your thinking framework allow for that?" But you don't. You say, unequivically, "That cannot be true." The antithesis of the Possibility Paradigm.

Additionally, you say, "In basic logic, the statements 'snow is white/snow is not-white' cannot both be the case." If you actually cared to understand from a different viewpoint, you might say, "How do you see that it is possible to make both statements? From within my logical/philosophical paradigm, both cannot be true." That would be discussion and inquiry, not argument and debate with the purpose of "winning" or debunking. That would be seeking to understand from within the Possibility Paradigm.

Moreover, when you say it is not possible for both statements to be true, you say that if I don't see it that way, then we cannot proceed. That's fine--except *then you criticize me* for saying that you cannot understand what I am saying from within your paradigm.

3:38 am  
Blogger Pamela said...

PAMELA'S RESPONSE TO EDWARD--PART II

Edward, it is obvious that you did not understand what I said in my article and do not understand what I am saying now--nor does anyone else on this thread. Moreover, no one here seems to be interested in understanding. The commenters here seem to be interested in [often snidely] displaying their skills of logic and debunking what they think was a dangerous and specious piece of writing. (Maybe it's a guy thing?)

This I find puzzling. Truly. It is such a harmless little piece.

I reiterate that this was not a scientific treatise, nor even a journalistic report. It was a playful column on possibility. A very short and outrageously, humorously fun one, just to get the game started. I really don't see that it is worth the time any of you have invested in debunking it, nor the time I've put into replying--which I am now doing so that you don't just get a free pass at calling other people's viewpoints junk. Your thought police vigilante-ism--which is how I see your hyper-vigilance about keeping the Web safe for truth-as-you-see-it--is as "dangerous" as anything that could possibly result from my column--because it tends to make people afraid to offer viewpoints that are different from the accepted norms--even playfully offer them for the purpose of fun and expansive thinking.

This, of course, is the way of history. Plenty of people have been killed for less. But I think it's time to change that. We need new solutions to pressing problems. I would respectfully suggest that possibility thinking is more likely to get us some truly new approaches to the world's problems than rehashing old arguments about whether a statement and its denial can both be true.

(By the way, I've noticed from this thread that proudly philosophical "realists" display characteristics similar to Biblical literalists...)

Incidentally, re: white snow/black snow. In fact, I can think of a scientific framework where I think it might be considered possible to make such a statement about snow. It's a framework I don't understand and don't know enough about to expound on (I don't even remember its name), but I heard the basics of it presented once a few years ago. The point was that it made certain real-life phenomena possible to understand, and enabled certain things to be accomplished, when other frameworks did not enable that. I say this to suggest that what, on the surface, may look obvious to you may not be so cut-and-dried. (And I dare say, the world wouldn't really fall apart if your apriori rules about argument were one day violated. What if a statement and its denial *could* both be true. [It wound't necessarily mean that it would *always* be true.] Perhaps that could be one of our six impossible things to believe before breakfast...and maybe then we could have a genuinely exploratory and friendly discussion.)

I assume there must be some good and worthwhile intention behind your blog post, but I don't see that you're really interested in what I have to say.You guys seem to like to argue and debate.

Please note for Tony that I am not a philosopher and have never claimed to be one. The rest of his post is so far beyond reasonable, I'm just going to sign off now.

Thanks for the adventure.

3:50 am  
Blogger Pamela said...

PAMELA'S RESPONSE TO EDWARD--PART II

Edward, it is obvious that you did not understand what I said in my article and do not understand what I am saying now--nor does anyone else on this thread. Moreover, no one here seems to be interested in understanding. You seem to be mainly interested in displaying your skills of logic and debunking what you think was a dangerous and specious piece of writing. (Maybe it's a guy thing?)

This I find puzzling. Truly. It is such a harmless little piece.

I reiterate that this was not a scientific treatise, nor even a journalistic report. It was a playful column on possibility. A short and humorously fun one, just to get the game started. It doesn't seem worth the time any of you have invested in debunking it, nor the time I've put into replying--which I am now doing so that you don't just get a free pass at calling other people's viewpoints junk. Your thought police vigilante-ism--which is how your hyper-vigilance about keeping the Web safe for truth-as-you-see-it comes across--is as dangerous as anything that could possibly result from my column--because it tends to make people afraid to offer viewpoints that are different from the accepted norms--even playfully offer them for the purpose of fun and expansive thinking.

This, of course, is the way of history. Plenty of people have been killed for less. But I think it's time to change that. We need new solutions to pressing problems. I would respectfully suggest that possibility thinking is more likely to get us some truly new approaches to the world's problems than rehashing old arguments about whether a statement and its denial can both be true.

By the way, I've noticed in these discussions that [proudly] philosophical realists tend to display characteristics similar to Biblical literalists...)

And incidentally, re: white snow/black snow. In fact, I can think of a scientific framework where I think it might be considered possible to make such a statement about snow. It's a framework I don't understand and don't know enough about to expound on (I don't even remember its name} but I heard the basics of it presented once a few years ago. The point was that it made certain real-life phenomena possible to understand, and enabled certain things to be accomplished, when other frameworks did not enable that. I say this to suggest that what, on the surface, may look obvious to you may not be so cut-and-dried. (And I dare say, the world wouldn't really fall apart if your apriori rules about argument were one day violated. What if a statement and its denial *could* both be true? [It wouldn't necessarily mean that it would *always* be true.] Perhaps that could be one of our six impossible things to believe before breakfast...and maybe then we could have a genuinely exploratory and expansive discussion--which is the point of the Possibility Paradigm.

I assume there must be some good and worthwhile intention behind your blog post, but I don't see that you're really interested in what I have to say. You guys seem to like to argue and debate.

Please note for Tony that I am not a philosopher and have never claimed to be one. The rest of his post is so unreasonable, I'm just going to sign off now.

Thanks for the adventure.

4:32 am  
Blogger Edward Ockham said...

>>(Maybe it's a guy thing?)

This is a bit sexist. Are you promulgating that old stereotype that guys are interested in logic and the principles of correct reasoning, whereas girls are not?

8:34 am  
Blogger Adzcliff said...

Hi Pamela.

So would you invite the paedophile to 'play' with the possibility that child abuse is a morally necessary and harmless act? I mean, if successful, it would surely be a path to his/her happiness, and eliminate his/her victim/partner/beneficiary's suffering?

Ta.

Adzcliff

11:48 am  

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