Craig,

The danger to society comes not from mathematicians, rather it could come from technologists. Recently I have read


Jaron Lanier, You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto

and the author shows that the society should pay more attention to what Silicon Valley geeks are silently doing. Just one quote

"Ideals are important in the world of technology, but the mechanism by which ideals influence events is different than in other spheres of life. Technologists don't use persuasion to influence you - or, at least, we don't do it very well. There are a few master communicators among us (like Steve Jobs), but for the most part we aren't particularly seductive."

"We make up extensions to your being, like remote eyes and ears (web-cams and mobile phones) and expanded memory (the world of details you can search for online). These become the structures by which you connect to the world and other people. These structures in turn can change how you conceive of yourself and the world. We tinker with your philosophy by direct manipulation of your cognitive experience, not indirectly, through argument. It takes only a tiny group of engineers to create technology that can shape the entire future of human experience with incredible speed. Therefore, crucial arguments about the human relationship with technology should take place between developers and users before such direct manipulations are designed. This book is about those arguments."

As for sensations, I do not know. Yesterday after I have read your email, I went to an Italian restaurant. A small dinner, actually I wanted just a glass of good red Italian wine, but then I took also a small plate of cheese assorti with a couple of salad leaves, pepperoni and bread. I have enjoyed my dinner. Whether wine, bread, cheese, salad and pepperoni have enjoyed it too, I do not know. I would not mind, if they did.

Evgenii


On 05.03.2012 06:33 Craig Weinberg said the following:
On Mar 4, 3:07 pm, Evgenii Rudnyi<use...@rudnyi.ru>  wrote:


I personally still at the position that there are some material objects,
atoms, molecules, crystals, etc., that are independent from the mind.

If you assume that the human mind is the only sense in the entire
cosmos then there are going to be a lot of strange conclusions that
come up. Think about the hundreds of billions of galaxies...the
billions of organisms on this planet alone.. were all of them utterly
blind and deaf to their own existence for their entire history until
the moment that Homo sapiens began to take an interest in them from
their home on this remote speck of dust?

"Thereafter I have got suddenly a question, why mathematical models
(physical laws) are working at all to describe the Universe when there
was no mind. "

It has to do with levels of perception, or what I call perceptual
inertia. Worlds. The more intelligent you are, the more worlds you can
make sense of. The more you can make sense of the motivations and
processes of lesser worlds. As the collective intelligence of our
species has concentrated the knowledge available to each of us, we
gathered meta-perceptual commonalities. Mathematical models are
actually common perception/participation strategies as characterized
by ourselves as outside observers. We are made of matter, so we see
ourselves reflected in a particular way in matter. A way which is both
intimately familiar and alien to us.

The problem is that matter is only half of the story. We are also made
of ourselves. We need mathematical models to plumb the depths of
mysteries which are beyond our own frame of reference. Mysteries that
cut across distant levels like physics and chemistry. The closer we
get to our own level of perception however, the less mathematical
models tell the whole story. Biology, zoology, anthropology,
psychology, all benefit from mathematical models to some extent, but
they fall short of modeling what it is to be alive, to be a person,
etc. Mathematics is by definition an exterior facing manipulation. It
begins by counting on our fingers - an exterior computation which
transforms part of our body to a true set of objects - generic,
recursive, controllable. Our fingers are not a mind. They are the
beginnings of the mind offloading its grunt work onto objects. It is a
way of generalizing part of ourselves to make it seem like it is not
part of ourselves.'

Right now, in the post-Enlightenment era, our success with mathematics
has been so impressive that we have begun to imagine that we ourselves
have a mathematical basis. It is a little like following the counting
of the fingers back into the brain to find where smaller and smaller
fingers are counting. If we try a sense-based model instead, there is
no problem with mathematics being both a high level symbolic
experience within a human cortex as well as indirect experiences of
low level microcosmic events or other events which can be detected and
controlled externally with physical instruments. This is what sense
does. It jumps to conclusions. It ties levels together figuratively.
We want to move our hand, and we just do it. We don't have to
consciously transduce a signal through neural and muscular fibers. We
couldn't find a muscle fiber even if we wanted to.

This is what mathematics does for us, it extends our minds
figuratively outside of our native scale of perception, so that we
can, in a way, make more of the universe part of our figurative body.
Of course, just as we control our limbs without knowing what is really
going on under the skin, we should not mistake our success with
controlling through mathematical models for understanding the truth -
particularly the truth of our own native perceptual frame, which as
much more subtle and non-mathematical potentials. It could well be the
case that introducing our external control schemas into our own world
is having increasingly toxic consequences, draining the significance
out of culture and promoting an unstoppable drone of financial
computation which consumes the whole of civilization. We may find out
that our mastery over our universe has a Sorcerer's Apprentice side
which reduces itself to an automaton even as it automates everything
around it.

Craig


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