Blog powered by Typepad

« I'm for Trump | Main | "It's all over, it's all over" »

Friday, 19 August 2016


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

I have thought about this long-prevailing "doom and gloom" human persuasion. In one of my more philosophical moods I once wrote:

"Anything that has dimensionality can be quantified and, therefore, can be marketed (i.e., the market can, in principle, serve as a passive system of allocation for it); anything that does not have implicit dimensionality [such as consciousness, love, pornography, hope, etc.] can not be allocated by a market allocation system. Therein lies the source of our world's contentiousness, and in particular, our society's penchant for litigation and political protest.

The issues that invariably lead to controversy between individuals as well as between collective ideologies are those that are not quantifiable. Hence, they are not in principle amenable to market solutions.

What we need is not an alternative to market solutions, which work just fine for quantifiable concepts. We need an alternative solution for disputes that involve non-dimensional issues, other than the old standby — war."

You may think things are ok.
BUT (1) we can see what is coming and (2) the things that are missing.
Such as - more very rich people and or funds who can easily outvote tiny democratic votes.

Few brothers or sisters. Family life is gone to be replaced by 'isms'.
Especially feminism and cultural marxism.

Owning fancy phones means little.


Love can be marketed: How many books have been written, the subject matter of which, is Love?

Consciousness? If you want a little dose of consciousness in your life and you're not able to make one yourself, you can always get someone else to make one and buy it off them, or simply adopt. And isn't the labour market simply a market in consciousness?

Pornography - eh, you what? I would share my naughty collection of pay-to-view diets, but I'm sure you've got your own!

Hope. How many faith healers on 50 bucks an hour are there?

You picked the wrong concept to claim is analytical only; the market is up there with all those greater concepts that defy analytical formulation.


Those Chaldeans were right, of course; they were long gone by the middle of the sixth century B.C.

That something else will come along to replace one's dying civilization doesn't mean that one's civilization isn't dying.


If you read my entire blog post, you will understand that it is about the concept of dimensionality, which is a property that can be measured in terms of specified units. Examples of such units abound -- meters, seconds, dollars, kilograms, etc. Units such as these correspond to the properties distance, time, money, mass, etc., respectively.

Concepts such as consciousness, love, pornography, hope, etc. can not be measured in terms of any defined units because they are intrinsically dimensionless. And if they can not have a measure assigned to them, these concepts can not be evaluated. And, therefore, I asserted that these concepts can not be marketed -- you can not market something that can not be evaluated.

The examples you gave are arbitrary representations of the concepts I enumerated, not the concepts themselves. I whimsically chose to include pornography so as to illustrate a remark that was famously made by Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, “I know it when I see it”. He had been stuck on how to describe pornography because it is a dimensionless concept, which can not be measured nor evaluated nor marketed as such.


I'm 100% with your neo-Platonism!

Kurt Godel proved circa 1931 with his incompleteness theorems, and his mates Tarski, Turing et al, that "truth and form exists that cannot be proved or formulated in a logical or analytical system" - and he proved that using a logical analytical system!

So there are truths in this world that cannot be proven, and there is matter, shape and form that cannot be formulated - modelled off the back of an E=MC^2, F=MA, F=GxM1xM2/R^2, or similar, formula

And since 1931, that is not an act of faith; it's proven in a logical system.

The materialists and mechanists really don't like that: Being proved wrong by their own essential, foundation tools, those of logic and analytics!

The even better news is to be able to follow the proof you have to have a mind that is at least partially made out of the "well formed but unformulatable in a logical system" stuff, and a dash of the "true but unprovable in logic or analytics" stuff.

So when Marxist professor Max in Tom Stoppard's Rock-n-Roll said ...

"Her mind is her brain. The brain is a biological machine for thinking. If it wasn't for the merely technical problems of understanding how it works, we could make one out of beer cans. It would be the size of a stadium but it would sit there, going, 'I think therefore I am'"

... he was wrong - and has been since 1931!

You're striking in the right direction with numbers too.

It turns out that Godel used the axioms of number theory (the terse definition of numbers), and placed them in a logical, analytical, deductive system, much approved of by materialists as the only engine of new, valid (well-formed and truthful) knowledge discovery, and turned the handle, and out came the deductively proven statement "Either there is a contradiction in the axioms of number theory, or there is truth and form that I - the logical system - have proven is there, but I - the logical system - cannot prove or form".

That's put the materialists in the best full-Nelson in the history of full-Nelsons!

Either, they have to accept that numbers are a contradiction by definition, inconsistent, and therefore about as useful as an act of faith in their eyes. No more 5 year plans - yay!

Or, they have to accept that there is truth and form that cannot be formulated or proven by logic and analytics, and therefore all their dismal sciences are limited and insignificant compared to the great concepts and material beyond what's conceivable and perceptible by their tools and any machine.

And best of all, because you and I can know numbers by their vigorous definition and proof of incompleteness or inconsistency, and automatically in practice - when I say "there are three sheep in that field" you know what I mean right? - it can't be our brain, yes, a mere meat machine, that's doing the do. It has to be something more powerful in our mind to be able to do that; a little piece of the great "well-formed but unformulatable in a logical system" and "true but unprovable in a logical system" world. When a machine tries to do numbers it has to cheat and use an abbreviated form, otherwise it crashes and goes into an infinite loop; likewise when it's fed the proof of incompleteness and inconsistency.

So although I agree with your drift, you're targeting numbers as one of the dumb-asses and the other concepts as "up there", when really numbers are "up there" with the best of them.


Oh God, what have I produced?

"I dunno, it's a mystery." (Er, that's from Tom Stoppard, too!

"Shakespeare in Love" actually.

And 'SoD', where did you find that Stoppard quote from "Rock and Roll"?


I think I catch your drift, though I must say my knowledge of philosophy is limited to one undergraduate (elective) course on the philosophy of religion. My professional expertise is nuclear physics, applied mathematics, and computer simulation. With those caveats, I will grant that we are in agreement.

"And 'SoD', where did you find that Stoppard quote from "Rock and Roll"? "

It stuck in my mind (not brain, hoho) since I heard it on stage whenever we saw the play.

Here's the correct link to it in google books: -'n'+roll+beer+cans&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjR0eO7qNPOAhUKOsAKHc5UBNIQ6AEIHjAA#v=onepage&q=beer%20cans&f=false

Use the little blue and yellow lines on the right scroll bar to go to his dying wife's riposte.

In fact, I'm going to type it out to feel what it feels like to be able to write like that: -

Eleanor: They've cut, cauterized, and zapped away my breasts, my ovaries, my womb, half my bowel, and a nutmeg out of my brain, and I am undiminished. I'm exactly who I've always been. I am not my body. My body is nothing without me, that's the truth of it.

She tears open her dress.

Look at it, what's left of it. It does classics. It does half-arsed feminism, it does love, desire, jealousy and fear - Christ, does it do fear! - so who's the me who's still in one piece?

Max: I know that - I know your mind is everything.

Eleanor (furious): Don't you dare, Max - don't you dare reclaim that word now. I don't want your 'mind' which you can make out of beer cans. Don't bring it to my funeral. I want your grieving soul or nothing. I do not want your amazing biological machine - I want what you love me with.

She hits bottom and stays there. Max waits, not comforting her. Then he crouches close to her.

Max: But that's what I love you with. That's it. There's nothing else.

Her drowned face comes up.

Eleanor: Oh, Max. Oh, Max. Now that did take some guts.

Max gathers her and rocks her.

Blackout and 'Welcome to the machine' by Pink Floyd, three minutes and fifty seconds in.

Well, there's some more concepts to add to your list, BigHen!

Godel also proved in his spare time that God exists, using logic only - provided you accept the axiom of Love.

A bit of a problem for Max that - whether or not his mind is made of beer cans, if he Loves her then he accepts from the logic of the tools of his trade that God exists. Full-Nelson number two against the materialists!

I was asked to read a poem at a dear friend's funeral this Summer, and thought it rather complimented the above: -

Death is nothing at all - Henry Scott Holland

Death is nothing at all.
I have only slipped away to the next room.
I am I and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other,
That, we still are.

Call me by my old familiar name.
Speak to me in the easy way
which you always used.
Put no difference into your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

Laugh as we always laughed
at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me. Pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word
that it always was.
Let it be spoken without effect.
Without the trace of a shadow on it.

Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same that it ever was.
There is absolute unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind
because I am out of sight?

I am but waiting for you.
For an interval.
Somewhere. Very near.
Just around the corner.

All is well."



Your son is a philosopher, a logician, a mathematician, and a lover of poetry. Not too shabby.

Henry, he is also a right royal pain in the arse - especially on matters European!

Lawrence, thanks for that link to Stoppard's play. It prompted me to ransack my book-shelves and at last I found the hitherto missing copy of the script. I was more than somewhat dejected recently when I discovered that I had lost all interest in theatre. If anyone could re-ignite it, it would be Stoppard. Can't wait to see 'Travesties' in October.

The comments to this entry are closed.