Hope: "/doing the right thing, no matter how you think it will turn

On 10/8/23 2:21 PM, Marcus Daniels wrote:

I would center nihilism not on devaluation but on deconstruction. If value is about a set of lived experiences, is it a detached reflection on something special that was discovered, or more because of membership in that ecology – because of an investment? Deep membership makes it harder to talk objectively about discoveries and to move on to making other discoveries. Generally attaching to one value system means not attaching to another value system.   For example, adopting the value of tolerance logically is at odds with policing intolerance, e.g., one Jewish neighbor remarked this morning he drove past a home with a Hamas flag on it and was scared. (Reducing that fear by removing the flag would be reducing tolerance.)

It seems to me that ideas that work have power and things that don’t work don’t have power.   It is reasonable to be skeptical about investment in ideas that may require years or decades of investment and not result in a return. Unpacking an idea to a Silicon Valley venture capitalist as to why there could be a return is deconstruction not devaluation.

I see these folks on MSNBC talking about the nihilism of DJT or Bannon and I don’t really get it.   Democracy isn’t a value system; it is a way to avoid (violent) conflict in a pluralistic society.   There’s a case to be made for the merits of such societies, and a case to be made for limiting violence.  They should make those cases, not just throw out a placeholder word like nihilism to judge the people who don’t value those types of societies.   (Apparently many people in North America.)


*From: *Friam <friam-boun...@redfish.com> on behalf of David Eric Smith <desm...@santafe.edu>
*Date: *Sunday, October 8, 2023 at 10:40 AM
*To: *The Friday Morning Applied Complexity Coffee Group <friam@redfish.com>
*Subject: *Re: [FRIAM] Language Model Understanding

Zang!  I had not made that connection.

Hmmh.  What do I think?  I seem to have viewed uninterpreted models much as I view a hammer or a shovel; as a tool in the world for doing a certain job (in this case, a job of perceiving the world in valid ways), neither here nor there w.r.t. questions of nihilism.

Where then would I try to center nihilism?  (It’s being a topic I haven’t spent a lot of time on historically).  Maybe if I had to choose one phrase, it would be “the devaluation of values”.   Brown uses it in her book, but I think it is old and standardized.  Don’t know if it came from Nietzsche or Weber, or is much older than either of them.

How would I orient to try to address such questions, that I do not want to go into support of bombs?  I think my current cast of mind is that there is a large class of “discovered thing”, meaning that they are not willed into existence, but are brought into existence (if there is even any bringing) through lived experience, and “noticed” after the fact.  Or maybe given in the ineffable from the start, and noticed along the way (all of Descartes’s cogito, the rest of “the self”, and much else).  It seems to me that there is room for aesthetics to be given much more and better attention than perhaps it has had in philosophy (or whoever is in charge of this question).  Aesthetics certainly not being the only domain from which discovered things can originate, but useful in that we can recognize it as a source, but not have the impulse to conflate it with dogma, as many other notions of “belief” tend to drift into.



    On Oct 8, 2023, at 12:30 PM, Marcus Daniels <mar...@snoutfarm.com>

    Eric writes:

    “Bears on how many things make up the machinery of nihilism,
    extending well beyond relations I recognized as part of an
    integration, though mentioning many things I rail against in daily

    The willingness of physicists to use uninterpreted models, e.g.,
    quantum mechanics, seems like nihilism to me.  I don’t mean that
    in a judgmental way, nor do I mean it in an admiring way.  On the
    other hand, there are many people, I reckon most people, that
    provide their beliefs as both explanations and justifications.  
    Bombs follow soon after.


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