A Fragment of Aix


Raku tea bowl [chris 73 CC BY-SA 3.0]

Raku tea bowl                                                                                                       [chris 73 CC BY-SA 3.0]

I am the Artist that Plato warned you of, the one who knows nothing of the True. I know nothing of Generals though I know something of being a soldier. I know nothing of the Politician, though I know something of the citizen. I know nothing nothing of being a Father, though I know something of being a son. I know nothing of Rikyû and Chôjirô, though I know something of being a potter. I know nothing of Rodin, but I know something of carving stone.
By what right? what truth? then, do I pull these essays of mine out of Imagination? Can genius, imagination, and hard work suffice to do justice to Truth? What authority does inspiration alone permit, by what mandate does method and technique warrant such license?
With patience, and diligence, I pursue my practice. From master to student, and master to student again, and so by commodious vicus of recirculation, as every Artist since Eve and Adam, I betoken the dissemination of an unbroken lineage leading to the Ur-Source. Is what I am benefit of key to a path as candid as philosophy?
God knows. I know not.
Can the pearl thief stealing the luster off the pearl from within its unopened shell, capture the very truth of its iridescence? Does the divine something that whispered into Sorceresses’ ear whisper also into mine?  What can I make of that?
I bend imagination to my sway, not holy convinced I do not err.
The beautiful. The good. The true.
If I hit one of these marks, does my work suffice?
ϕ
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Comment on Kloor – Trusted Influentials – Rising in the reasonableness ranking


Science journalist Keith Kloor, has an article up at his blog Collide-a-Scape at the Discover.com website titled: Trusted communicators who shape the GMO Discourse.  Kloor seems to be a fairly sensible fellow, and is a journalist who is generally rising in the Meme Merchant’s quality blogger index.

Lately, KK has been on a sort of anti anti-GMO tear, that is trying to roll back some of the fear, hysteria and disinformation that is surrounding the entire anti-gmo movement.  In today’s case he talks about the role of people he terms “influentials” in shaping the debate within the anti-GMO movement:

Influentials are the information brokers that have major media platforms and big receptive audiences. For example, on the GMO issue, top influentials include Michael Pollan, Mark Bittman, Dr. Oz, and Vandana Shiva. Each of these influentials have been responsible for spreading or endorsing nonsense about GMOs via social media and other highly trafficked venues.

Its not the point of this blog post to take on the topic of Genetically Modified Organisms in general, or even the anti-GMO movement in particular.  I am much more interested in the notion of “Trusted Communicators”, why do we trust them?  And why do we continue to trust them even if they have been demonstrated to be wrong on many occasions about what they are saying?

Trusted is not the same as trustworthy, as I’m sure we can all agree – at least in principle.  But when it come to your own cherished beliefs however…

Kloor quotes Princeton social scientist Linda Fiske:

People trust people they think are like themselves. This is human nature. They trust people who they think share their values and goals.

I would paraphrase Ms Fiske slightly, ‘People trust people who think like themselves’. People like having their world view reinforced, its very natural.  People don’t like cognitive dissonance, they don’t like doubt or uncertainty.  An excess of doubt or uncertainty can make decision making difficult, or even day to day functioning.  People walk out the door every day with the expectation that they will not be run over by the bus or a planetesimals will fall out of the sky and wipe out civilization.  We tend to reserve doubt for critical situations, and ones where we expect to need it.

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When the Uncertainty Monster Rears its Wicked Head Should We Tell the Truth?-A Comment on Curry


The Incredulity of St Thomas - Caravagio c.1601 - Truth is vouchsafed to the doubter

I have a comment in over at Judith Curry’s blog Climate Etc. on her recent post, Should We Tell the Whole Truth About Climate Change?  – Good long title there, I approve.  There are already almost 400 comments, so I am promoting my comment to a slightly expanded post here to cut through the torrent of bits over there.

Judy writes:

In principle, yes of course.  In practice, many journalists, scientists and government officials are not so certain as to how to balance telling the whole truth and being truthful in an “effective” way.

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