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the mind has to form belief systems because without them it could never connect up all its different experiences. they are practical and necessary. the nerve networks in the brain very easily set up the circularities that probably form the basis of our belief systems. This 'connecting' funciton of the brain arises directly from the way the nerves are wired up and allows us to believe in cause and effect and other relationships (as Kant supposed).
we put great faith in evolution as a path to progress. this is because we believe that it works well--and also because we are highly suspicious of the opposite of evolution, which is 'design'. we are suspicious of designed ideas and designed futures because we believe that ll designes are from a particular point of view. we believe that designs cannot take into account all the relevant factors, do not fit human nature and human needs, and cannot foretell reaction to the designs. we immediately think of hte design of tower blocks. many of these points are valid. but we do design things: constitutions, legal systems, mediciens, cars and carpets.
we prefer to put our trust in evolution. this is because evolution is gradual and allows the pressure of needs, values, reactions, and events to mould ideas. it allows the shaping force of criticism. bad ideas will die. good ideas will sruvive and become even better. we really like the method of evolution becuase it fits our traditional thinking habits. change has its own energy and we can modify and control this by the use of our critical faculties because criticism is the basis of our thinking tradition. evolution is also collective and seems democratic, whereas design always seems autocratic.
in spite of all these excellent reasons for preferring and trusting evolution, there is a serious flaw in the evolutionary process. ....
the flaw in evolution is htat hte sequence of development will determine the ideas and structures we can use. if the line of development is adequate we proceed along that line. only if it is disastrous do we go back and think again. so the ideas and the structures we use may be far short of what can be done with available knowledge. evolution is by no means an efficient mechanism (because of hte dependence on sequence). at best it is just adequate.
in many problems we cannot find the cuase. or, we can find it but cannot remove it--for exmaple human gree. or, there may be a multiplicity of causes. what do we do then? we analyse it further and analyse the analysis of others (scholarship). more and more analysis is not going to help, because what is needed is design. we need to design a way out of the problem or a way of living with it.
operacy involves such things as an examination f the consequences of action, a consideration of relevant factors, the assessment of priorities, attention to other peopl's interest, a definition of objectives, etc.
the innuit ...used to spend a long time huddled together in Igloos in teh long winter nights. if you are forced to be in such close quarters human relationships become very important--and very subtle. so , i believe, the Innuit developed a rich language to describe nuances of human relations. they also have about twenty words to describe snow, which is also much part of their lives. in terms of human relations they have more than twenty words along the spectrum ranging from love to hate. for example, there is one word to describe the following sentiment: 'I like you very much but I would not want ot go seal hungting iwth you.'
the invention of the 'zero' in mathematics made a fantastic difference. previously, in both greek and roman mathematics, multiplication and division were immencsely complicated. the zero was a clever and difficult concept because it was a position without a value.
we badly need the euqivalent of a 'zero' in human thinking but we do not have one. we cannot conceive of what we cannot yet conceive. this seems obvious enough. we cannot see what there is to see if