Bruno Marchal wrote:
>> Bruno Marchal wrote:
>>> Now, just recall that "Platonia" is based on classical logic where  
>>> the
>>> falsity f, or 0 = 1, entails all proposition. So if you insist to say
>>> that 0 = 1, I will soon prove that you owe to me A billions of
>>> dollars, and that you should prepare the check.
>> You could prove that, but what is really meant by that is another  
>> question.
>> It may simply mean "I want to play a joke on you".
>> All statements are open to interpretation, I don't think we can  
>> avoid that
>> entirely. We are ususally more interested in the statements that are  
>> less
>> vague, but vague or crazy statements are still valid on some level  
>> (even
>> though often on an very boring, because trivial, level; like saying  
>> "S afs
>> fdsLfs", which is just expressing that something exists).
> We formalize things, or make them as formal as possible, when we  
> search where we disagree, or when we want to find a mistake. The idea  
> of making things formal, like in first order logic, is to be able to  
> follow a derivation or an argument in a way which does not depend on  
> any interpretation, other than the procedural inference rule.
Yes, I get the idea. I agree that the derivation does not depend on any
interpretation (other than one we can easily agree on). But what the axioms
and the derivations thereof "really" mean is open to interpretation.
Otherwise we would have no discussion about "Do numbers exist?".
I don't think we can understand "1+1=2" without some amount of
interpretation. We need to interpret that the two objects are of the same
kind, for example.
Formal results are useless if we are not able to interpret what they mean.

I have to admit I'm not sure if it is valuable to make everything as formal
as possible, if we want to find a mistake. My intuition says it is not, at
least not always. It might to lead into a loop, where we formalize
everything as much as possible and make very little progress in what we
really want to achieve.
If in our informal communication we want to find where we disagree (which
seems to be an important function of communication), we should formalize our
natural language, too. I think it has been tried, but I'm not sure whether
there is much value in doing that. It might lead to a language that is too
difficult, too little flexible and too much restricting for almost all

I'm not sure, either, if it is - even just in science - always a good
approach to try to find mistakes. Maybe there are none and we never really
know and trying to do will lead nowhere or there always some mistakes and
trying to eliminate them will just spawn new ones. Maybe both are true in
some way.

I guess both sides are important: We have to formalize, to establish
structures, that give us some frame of reasoning and we have to break
formalities (which might manifest as some kind of behavior that appears very
mad, if not evil, like denying God in the middle ages) in order to discover
new structures.
This might be the reason for the dream state.

I don't feel we can make an easy distinction between formal activities and
informal activities, too (like "banishing" structure-breaking creativity
into the arts). It just feels wrong for me. It will lead to zombie
scientists (actually there are already quite a few of them, I think you whom
I mean ;) ) and utterly mad artists.

Bruno Marchal wrote:
>> Bruno Marchal wrote:
>>>> 3=7 may mean that there are 3 objects that are 7
>>>> objects which might be interpreted as aserting the existence of (for
>>>> example) 7*1, 7*2 and 7*3.
>>> Logicians and mathematicians are more simple minded than that, and it
>>> does not always help to be understood.
>>> If you allow circles with edges, and triangles with four sides in
>>> Platonia, we will loose any hope of understanding each other.
>> I don't think we have "disallow" circles with edges, and triangles  
>> with four
>> sides; it is enough if we keep in mind that it is useful to use  
>> words in a
>> sense that is commonly understood.
> That is why I limit myself for the TOE to natural numbers and their  
> addition and multiplication.
> The reason is that it is enough, by comp, and nobody (except perhaps  
> some philosophers) have any problem with that.
I'm not so sure about this. There seem to be many people who have a problem
with numbers, especially with ascribing existence to them (even if it seems
obvious to you) - not just "some philosophers".

Bruno Marchal wrote:
>> I think it is a bit authoritarian to disallow some statements as  
>> truth.
>> I feel it is better to think of truth as everything describable or
>> experiencable; and then we differ between truth as non-falsehood and  
>> the
>> trivial truth of falsehoods.
>> It avoids that we have to fight wars between truth and falsehood.  
>> Truth
>> swallows everything up. If somebody says something ridiculous like  
>> "All non
>> christian people go to hell.", we acknowledge that expresses some  
>> truth
>> about what he feels and believes, instead of only seeing that what  
>> he says
>> is false.
> This is a diplomatic error. Doing that will end up with everyone doing  
> war to you.
There is definitely some truth in that. Many people don't like lack of
opposition, or even interpret too much agreement as a kind of opposition. I
experienced this quite a few times.
But then, it is not possible to not offend anyone. There will always be
someone waging war against you, even if just subconsciously.
I don't have the experience that "everyone" is doing war to me, when I am
very much inclusive in what I believe to be true (or good). Some people,
especially those holding unconventional beliefs, will appreciate your
You will not have the masses or authorities behind you, though (they like
people reiterating their beliefs in strong and authoritative manner). But
neither do I want to. Well, maybe in some way I would like to, but then I
would probably fall into the trap of authoritarianism myself. There seems to
be inherent tension between being believed in and not being authoritative.

Bruno Marchal wrote:
>  It is far too much "politically correct'.
I don't think I am politically correct.
Saying that the state or conventional religion is harmful (or just
superfluous) - like I do sometimes - will lead you into much opposition (the
second not so much in my particular environment).
I am not saying we shouldn't disagree (even vehemently). We may disagree,
but at the same time realize that there is some truth to what is being said
by the other party. I agree, though, that it is a hard line to walk between
disagreeing too much and agreeing to much. Most confusingly sometimes
agreeing to much might seem like disagreeing (with disagreeing) too much.

Bruno Marchal wrote:
> Of course, when someone genuinely says that all "non christian people  
> go to hell", there are many possible "truth" behind the statement,  
> like " the atheists", " the agnostics", "I hate you", "you  
> have to obey to what I say", "You don't belong to my club", etc. 
Or "I believe there will be justice and non-Christian people are inherently
evil and thus have to go to hell for justice to prevail, even if I don't
like it" or "I believe what I have been told, because I cannot believe only
what I see myself".

Bruno Marchal wrote:
> On the contrary, when you want to make a point, especially a new one,  
> it is far better to respect the truth of your opponents, but then you  
> have to distill what you and your opponent agree on. In science this  
> works very well in theory (in practice we have often the obligation to  
> wait that the opponent dies).
"On the contrary"? What you wrote seems to be a confirmation of respecting
that there is truth in other people beliefs.

Bruno Marchal wrote:
>> I believe the only way we can learn to understand each other is if we
>> acknowledge the truth in every utterance.
> That is extreme relativism, and makes truth so trivial that it lost  
> its meaning. 
I think truth is a naturally very relative notion, today it might be true
that "it rains today" on Monday and it might be false on Tuesday. It might
be true that x=3 in some context and in some other x=4.
But paradoxically it seems like an absolute notion, too. There really seems
to be an absolute truth regardless of circumstances.
So I am an extreme relativist, but also an absolutist.
It's the same with triviality. Truth is trivial, it simply is true and it is
hard to say anymore about it that is surely true. On the other hand, it's
highly non-trivial, as seen in this non-trivial world; there seem to be
infinite structures in or of truth.
"I" or "thing" are very relative words, too. Yet they still have meaning.

Bruno Marchal wrote:
> On the contrary I think that once we truly love or  
> respect someone, we are able to tell him "no", or "I disagree", or  
> "you are wrong".
I agree.
But I think we can disagree on some level and agree on another level and we
will always find some level we can agree one (but probably also some we can
disagree one).

Bruno Marchal wrote:
> There is absolutely no shame in being wrong. The shame is when someone  
> knows that he/she is wrong, but for reason of proud or notoriety, is  
> unable to admit it.
Right, but it is easier to admit being wrong if you feel you were right in
some sense.

Bruno Marchal wrote:
>> Bruno Marchal wrote:
>>>> I don't think the omnipotence paradox is problematic, also. It
>>>> simply shows
>>>> that omnipotence is nothing that can be properly conceived of using
>>>> classical logic. We may assume omnipotence and non-omnipotence are
>>>> compatible; omnipotence encompasses non-omnipotence and is on some
>>>> level
>>>> equivalent to it.
>>>> For example: The omnipotent God can make a stone that is too heavy
>>>> for him
>>>> to lift, because God can manifest as a person (that's still God, but
>>>> an
>>>> non-omnipotent omnipotent one) that cannot lift the stone.
>>> That makes the term "omnipotent" trivial. You can quickly be lead to
>>> give any meaning to any sentence.
>> Well I think this makes sense on some level. Language is symbols  
>> that are
>> interpreted. There is no absolute rule how to interpret them, so we  
>> *can*
>> interpret everything in it (but we don't have to!).
> We can do poetry. But if you allow this practice in science (including  
> theology) you will just prevent progresses.
I don't think science has to defend itself against something by disallowing
something; it follows simply from what we understand as science that is
doesn’t include poetry in the usual sense.
That we restrict our use of language in science does not mean there is no
sense in more extended use of language. I did say there is no *absolute*
rule how to interpret symbols, not that there are no locally valid rules.

Bruno Marchal wrote:
> Language are interpreted plausibly by universal machine (brains,  
> bodies). The interpretation have to follow constraints to be sensical.
But if there are no constraints they can follow constraints.

Bruno Marchal wrote:
>> In most cases it is most useful to interpret some quite specific  
>> meaning
>> into a sentence (if you don't want to act madly), but as we use more  
>> broad
>> and vague terms there are more and more ways to interpret what is  
>> said.
> I think that humans suffering is in great part due to a feeling that  
> in religion and in human affair we have to let people believe in what  
> they want to believe. We just tolerate superstition.
I disagree very much with that.
I think tolerating superstition is important. Otherwise we are just being
authoritarian. If people can't believe what they want to believe, they will
have to believe what you want them to believe - everybody needs to believe
What would you do with superstition, if not tolerate it? If you don’t
tolerate superstition you can’t tolerate superstitious people. And this will
lead to great disaster of leaders imposing their superstitions on other
people. Because the leaders will not be aware they are being superstitious.
They believe especially strongly that they are in possession of the truth.

Bruno Marchal wrote:
>> Bruno Marchal wrote:
>>> Did you confess that you killed your wife? yes, sure, but by "I  
>>> killed
>>> my wife" I was meaning that "I love eggs on a plate".
>>> This will not help when discussing fundamental issues.
>> Right, but I am not saying we *should* talk in a way that is  
>> impossible for
>> others to understand.
> OK. Now, in complex matter, like "is there something after life", even  
> when people agree on many things, the subject is so much difficult and  
> so much emotional, that it is part of the problem to be understood, or  
> even just heard.
I don't think "is there something after life" is really a complex question.
There is basically an answer “Yes” or “No” and if we introspect without
preconceived notions we will find that absolute non-existence of ourselves
just can't be predicted by ourselves.
But I agree "what is there after life" is a really complex question. 
It's one of the most fascinating questions, because all possibilities I can
conceive of are very strange, pose many new questions and have profound

Bruno Marchal wrote:
>> We should talk as clearly as possible.
> That is the point.
It is very difficult when we talk about fundamental matters, where many
things are in fact unclear. In this case talking as clearly as possible
might involve talking unclearly, rather than pretending you got it figured
out (this leads to pseudo answers like it is all just matter interacting).
It's quite subtle.

Bruno Marchal wrote:
>> But that it is impractical to speak in a in an incomprehensible way  
>> can be
>> reconciled with that it still makes sense on some level.
> Of course.
Well, that was my point.

Bruno Marchal wrote:
>  But that is the reason that we should avoid going to that  
> level.
So we should avoid about talking truth in the seemingly incomprehensible?
Honestly it seems that would lead to disregarding truth we simply do not
understand, which is not good.
I don't think we need to be afraid of any level.
If we avoid this level we will exclude persons from society that speak in a
way that is hardly comprehensible, for example schizophrenics (I know one).
Among them it is quite common that they talk a way that is hard to
comprehend. Most people simply won’t bother trying to find the truth in what
they say and will label them as totally devoid of reason and a danger for
others and themselves (which might be true *sometimes*) and then force them
for months into a mental institution, which is not necessarily better then
prison, especially when you are restrained (which might be done for
childlike, not really dangerous, behavior already). Often the so called
“mad” people are not being taken serious on any issue and they are forced to
take medications that have awful side effects (even if they are other
alternatives), because they are supposedly not even able to judge if they
have an unusual adverse reaction or they are lead to suicide because they
feel rejected by all of their surroundings.

Bruno Marchal wrote:
>  If you approach that level, you can please everyone for a time
> but soon enough, everyone will disagree and feel betrayed.
I am not saying we should pretend to not disagree if we do disagree. But we
still can appreciate some underlying truth in every utterance.

Bruno Marchal wrote:
>> Bruno Marchal wrote:
>>>> A have a few questions regarding the non-technical part of
>>>> explanation,
>>>> though:
>>>> What does it mean that the soul falls, falls from what?
>>> From Heaven. From Platonia. From the harmonic static state of the
>>> universal consciousness to the state with death and taxes.
>> How come that we don't have memories of falling from heaven?
> Plotinus begins his treatise by that very question (at least in the  
> Porphyry's assemblage).
> It is a very good question. The 'official' answer is that we ate the  
> fruit of knowledge and God was pissed of.
> Some people do, or at least pretend they do have memories of heaven,  
> or sometimes hell. They usually get such memories either 'naturally',  
> or after an extreme conditions (like with Near Death Experience), or  
> after ingesting some mind altering substance. 
These memories are usually not memories of a state of living in heaven, but
of a temporally altered state of mind, though. Or do you know of a case of
pre-birth heaven memories? 

Bruno Marchal wrote:
> The case of salvia divinorum is particularly interesting with respect  
> to your question. 
I had some experience with salvia. It is an interesting herb. One of the
most interesting entheogens it seems.
My experiences were a bit disappointing, though. I tried maybe 10 times;
first with minuscule amounts (that didn’t do anything at all), then with as
much of 30x extract as I was able to take in. I was sometimes giggly,
relaxed, confused or physically uncomfortable. I had the feeling of
belonging into another (quiet strange) place, or being (slightly) physically
and mentally pulled into another realm. During some tries I was compulsorily
making movements or repeating syllables/words. During another try if felt
like I was dying during each moment of experience.   But none of these
experiences were really profound.

Bruno Marchal wrote:
>  Many experiencers get a distinct feeling that they  
> got information that they are not supposed to know, or to memorize,  
> and still less to make public. 
It is an interesting aspect of the experience. It is hard to judge whether
it is more than a feeling that is induced by the drug, or whether there is
something more profound behind it.

Bruno Marchal wrote:
> You are not supposed to remember "heaven", because ..., well, because  
> if comp is correct, that kind of information belongs to G* minus G. It  
> is true but unbelievable, incommunicable. So, to make them public,  
> makes no sense. 
It conflicts I bit with the observation that seemingly many of the people
having an awakening / enlightenment experience try to convey what they

Bruno Marchal wrote:
> It is the paradox of enlightenment: it has no direct use here at all. 
Otherwise it would maybe have evolved to be common already. But maybe it is
not so easy to evolve a brain that is commonly capable of enlightenment
(while retaining the capability to act like usual) and it really would have
a big use.
Enlightenment is a very mysterious thing in general. It surely seems to be a
real experience, but why it happens, what it’s purpose is, why it happens so
seldomly or whether it is really such a (o rather *the*) absolute view of
the world and not merely heightened awareness (that due to its profoundness
is mistaken to be an absolute experience rather than one of many states of

Bruno Marchal wrote:
> Many dismiss the mystical experience as 'just' a brain neuronal firing.
> Of course, such a dismiss would also be a brain neuronal firing, and  
> to reduce knowledge to such firing makes no sense at all.It is a self- 
> defeating idea. It is as absurd as saying that the theory of  
> relativity is only but ink on paper. 
I agree. I wonder why we are prone to trying to reduce every experience to
neuronal firing, when it seems so obvious that it is something more primary.
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