03/03/2011

Potted History of Practical Reason



For a long while, all we seem to have had was the formula


(1) "Try."


(This is our best guess as to how ancient technology arose; blind iteration, & the occasional Black Swan leap.)


Then, someone - someone who was not even a priest - said:


(2) "Think and try"


Almost immediately she was countered by other new priestly non-priests who said:

(3) "No! Think and think!"


Thus, thanks to midwife Parmenides, Illusionism/Platonism arose. And rose, and rose...

Another one, soon after, said:

(4) "Look and think!"

But he didn't mean what we mean by "look" (he meant pigeonhole and presume).


The priests got back in then, and tutted at all these options and had a bunch of conferences, and eventually said

(5) "Solved! Now, obey."


And so we did that for ages -and didn't exactly stagnate- but our new formulae were all careful ones:

(5.1) "Argue, then obey"

(5.2) "Pause, then obey"

(5.3) "Invent easier ways to obey"


After that money-and-government racket got going properly, people tried again, with cutting-edge technology:

(6) "Look and think and try and think"

Galileo, famous for being a looker-tryer, was actually really bad at the game. (It was anyway enough.)

A bunch of well clever boys then tried to solve the whole thing at once with formula 6, but placing on the end of the recipe:

(7) "Think, think- & believe; then try."


It was risky to say even this; priests were sensitive folk, back then.


(7.1) "Think and think and think and accept."



And what most of us currently live under is not far removed from these, you know:


(8) "Guess and count and think and try and guess..."


The last great turn has not earned the crossover success of the other formulae:

(9) "Create."

It remains to be seen.


"
it makes sense if you don't think about it."
- James


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