2011.01.12 13:00 - Cause ans Effect

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    The Guardian for this meeting was Fefonz Quan. The comments are by Fefonz Quan.


    Wol Euler: shalom, fefonz.
    Fefonz Quan: Hi Wol!
    Wol Euler: I haven't seen you in a while, so "happy new year"
    Fefonz Quan: happy new year, yes :-)
    Wol Euler: how is family life
    Wol Euler: ?
    Fefonz Quan: wonderful, filled with exciting things every day
    Wol Euler smiles.
    Wol Euler: I'm glad to hear it
    Wol Euler: are you taking new-father leave?
    Fefonz Quan: papa started been smiled at :)
    Fefonz Quan: nope, we don't really have that hting here
    Wol Euler: ahhhhhhh :
    Wol Euler: hmmm
    Wol Euler: and yet Israel seemed so socially progressive in many ways :)
    Fefonz Quan: i took 1 an a half weeks of, but thenback to work
    Fefonz Quan: well, my wife get 14 weeks
    Wol Euler nods.
    Fefonz Quan: gets*
    Wol Euler: I *believe* in Germany that there is something like a total of six months (!) available, and either partner can take as much of that as they wish
    Wol Euler: so people divide it up, or Daddy stays home the whole time ...
    Fefonz Quan: sounds nice...
    Wol Euler: hello djag, welcome to Second Life (born today!)
    DJAG Resident: tk
    Fefonz Quan: yes hello
    DJAG Resident: hi
    Avatar Scorpio: hello
    DJAG Resident: hi
    Wol Euler: feel free to join us, this is a meditation group called "play as being"
    Wol Euler: hello zon
    Zon Kwan: hi all
    Fefonz Quan: Hello zone
    DJAG Resident: cool
    Wol Euler: right-click on a cusion and choose "sit" to join us
    Avatar Scorpio: are you all meditating?
    Fefonz Quan: you shoudl know Djag, that we re4cord our conversations here
    Fefonz Quan: and put them on a website
    Wol Euler: hello av, sorry, I didn'T see you arrive
    Avatar Scorpio: hello
    Fefonz Quan: hello avatar
    DJAG Resident: thanks boys
    Fefonz Quan: (that's a generic name) :)
    Wol Euler: yes, we record and publish these sessions on our website, http://wiki.playasbeing.org/
    Wol Euler: may we have your permission to include your SL name and your comments in the published log?
    Fefonz Quan: so we should have your permission to be on those records aswell,
    Avatar Scorpio: I have been here before thanks
    DJAG Resident: sure
    DJAG Resident: no problem
    Fefonz Quan: (guess we are talking to Djag)
    Wol Euler: ty
    Fefonz Quan: thanks.
    Fefonz Quan: and then they were three
    Wol Euler: :)
    Avatar Scorpio: is there a subject today?
    Wol Euler: not yet :) Do you have one?
    Avatar Scorpio: sure, how do you choose subjects and why?
    Wol Euler: what a good subject :)
    Fefonz Quan: ah, the meta-subject choice :)
    Avatar Scorpio: :)
    Wol Euler: basically we tend to talk about matters that arise from practice, or our thoughts about it, or what our monkey mind was saying while we were *trying* to practice :)
    Wol Euler: or sometimes we just chat, as Fef and I were doing, about his new daughter
    Avatar Scorpio: so this group is social as well as meditative?
    Fefonz Quan: which is a very worthy subject i haev to say1
    Wol Euler: agreed
    Wol Euler: and yes, it's definitely a community of friends
    Avatar Scorpio: your first child?
    Fefonz Quan: yep
    Wol Euler: there is a great feeling of companionship, of acceptance and non-judgement and even affection here.
    Avatar Scorpio: bring her up well !
    Fefonz Quan: she is still asleep now :)
    Avatar Scorpio: the few times I have been here it seems so Wol
    Wol Euler smiles.
    Fefonz Quan: though we could all take lessons from her in appreciating the appearnaces, in focus and concentration, in being in the moment :)
    Avatar Scorpio: like a sponge taking in the now every minute
    Fefonz Quan nods
    Wol Euler: hello aph!
    Fefonz Quan: Hey Aphro
    Avatar Scorpio: actually she's taking lessons from you though
    Aphrodite Macbain: I'm appreciating your appearance here!
    Fefonz Quan: one lesson I learn intensely, is that of impermanence
    Aphrodite Macbain: Hi Fefonz
    Wol Euler listens.
    Avatar Scorpio: hello Aphrodite
    Wol Euler: say more, fef?
    Avatar Scorpio: impermanence?
    Fefonz Quan: she changes so quickly, that it's like a new person every couple of days,
    Avatar Scorpio: we are too, so I hear
    Aphrodite Macbain: like the weather
    Fefonz Quan: so the temorarity of things, experiences, is so solid and clear (and frustrating sometime)
    Aphrodite Macbain: how frustrating?
    Fefonz Quan: Av, I hope you didn't gain 50% of your weight in the last month ;-)
    Avatar Scorpio: better to accept it than fight it
    Fefonz Quan: of course.
    Wol Euler: :)
    Aphrodite Macbain: perhaps understand why
    Avatar Scorpio: why?
    Aphrodite Macbain: why it has happened. The cause of the change
    Avatar Scorpio: ultimate causes?
    Fefonz Quan: well, this change is the way things are - babies eat, sleep, grow and develop. it's the right course of things
    Avatar Scorpio: does everything have a cause (another subject?)
    Fefonz Quan: and it is wonderful.
    Aphrodite Macbain: usually
    Avatar Scorpio: usually?
    Aphrodite Macbain: I hear an echo
    Avatar Scorpio: funny
    Wol Euler: funny
    Aphrodite Macbain: funny
    Wol Euler: sorry :)
    Fefonz Quan: sorry
    Avatar Scorpio: nice come backs
    Wol Euler laughs
    Aphrodite Macbain: very clever
    Avatar Scorpio: but the question was real
    Fefonz Quan: IN my experience, many things are very difficult to find causes for
    Aphrodite Macbain: It's an interesting question. Does everyghing have a ause (and maybe an effect)
    Wol Euler: hello cal
    Calvino Rabeni: Hi everyone
    Fefonz Quan: HI Cal
    Avatar Scorpio: hello Calvino
    Calvino Rabeni: Nothing has "a cause"
    Avatar Scorpio: do you discuss topics like that?
    Aphrodite Macbain: yes that's part of wghat makes life interesting, to work out the causes of things
    Aphrodite Macbain: can you expand on that Cal?
    Fefonz Quan: I emphasizze more witht eh knowing that everything has an effect
    Fefonz Quan: that seemsto me a more fruitful practice and contemplatin object
    Aphrodite Macbain: someone has their mic on...
    Avatar Scorpio: both are good contemplation objects
    Aphrodite Macbain: thanks fefonz
    Calvino Rabeni: One of the biggest confusions in western folk philosophy is that there are events that line up in nice little linear chains of causes... even to think there is a single or main cause for anything
    Fefonz Quan nods to Calvino
    Calvino Rabeni: even aristotle had a more complex categorization of types of causes
    Calvino Rabeni: it's been downhill since then
    Calvino Rabeni: in terms of thinking generically about causes
    Wol Euler: :)
    Aphrodite Macbain: ah, I see what you mean. But we can't deny the very simple facs of cause and effect
    Aphrodite Macbain: facts
    Calvino Rabeni: Such as - everything is a billiard ball?
    Calvino Rabeni: we pay attention to certain aspects of how things work
    Wol Euler: well, there is gravity, for example. A clear physical cause and effect
    Aphrodite Macbain: no but an action results in a reaction
    Avatar Scorpio: probably a little more complex than that
    Wol Euler: thermodynamics too
    Calvino Rabeni: it says a lot about what is important to us, and about how we can analyze things, and our motivations, more than about how reality "works"
    Aphrodite Macbain: what says that Cal?
    Avatar Scorpio: well, we are limited by our brains and how we process things
    Calvino Rabeni: It's not even well defined and agreed on by philosophers
    Aphrodite Macbain: cause and effect?
    Calvino Rabeni: there is the problem of emergent properties
    Avatar Scorpio: we deffinitely have a perspective
    Wol Euler: cause and effect can explain simple physics, but most interactions are not simple
    Calvino Rabeni: synergies, etc. what happens depends on the interaction of the parts within the whole
    Calvino Rabeni: but the whole influences the parts
    Calvino Rabeni: circular causality is the standard case
    Fefonz Quan: when i take it to more mundane issues, i find it hard to find a causeforevery little thing that happens to me during the day
    Aphrodite Macbain: you accept things as they are?
    Fefonz Quan: I do hope so
    Calvino Rabeni: If you wanted to catalog the factors that "caused" some little thing, you'd get back to the big bang
    Avatar Scorpio: you are a whole and a part - so difficult to see everything clearly
    Aphrodite Macbain: or you find it too difficult to find the answer and let it go?
    Fefonz Quan: and i know that my actins will have an effect - which is a good reason to act rigtht
    Calvino Rabeni: "the" answer?
    Calvino Rabeni: Life presents - actually consists of - irreducable complexity
    Fefonz Quan: exactly calvino - which makes it in a way a non-interesting questin
    Aphrodite Macbain: It allows us to predict with relative certainly
    Fefonz Quan: Aphro - i don't believe there is a clear answer, that's the issue
    Calvino Rabeni: A lot of guesswork and faith comes into that prediction
    Calvino Rabeni: and willingness to accept where it doesn't match the model
    Aphrodite Macbain: If a runner hats t run faster, he will find all the different factors that allow him to move with speed through a space
    Calvino Rabeni: and maybe pretend that mismatch doesn't exist
    Fefonz Quan: because of the complex interconnectivity between so many things, the assumptin that you can go back in a linear line to find a cause for something seems unreasonable to me
    Calvino Rabeni: yes
    Aphrodite Macbain: Of course there are many times that I just accept something is the way it is; other times I wonder why- either because I'm just curious, ir because it's urgent I know
    Fefonz Quan: so the runner is looking for actions that will result in the future
    Aphrodite Macbain: yes fef
    Calvino Rabeni: People also usuall retrofit their interpretations of what happened to imply more grasp of causes
    Avatar Scorpio: good to be curious, makes like interesting
    Calvino Rabeni: like - "I knew it all along"
    Wol Euler: true!
    Fefonz Quan: we are all in favor of curiousity - yet there is a choice of the direction to shine it in
    Aphrodite Macbain: sounds more like an ego thing
    Avatar Scorpio: that's why there are so many directions
    Fefonz Quan: what sounds like an ego thing?
    Aphrodite Macbain: I'm interested in understand how things work because I'm interested in the world. Not because I want to look wise
    Calvino Rabeni: The main purpose of the idea of causality is an ego thing - to create the reassuring illusion of being in control and directing events ... the secondary purpose is to feel wise .. the third is to get things to happen in a predictable way
    Fefonz Quan: hope we didn't make Aphrodite leave
    Calvino Rabeni: I was wondering that, Fef
    Avatar Scorpio: one can't be curious for it's own sake Calvino?
    Calvino Rabeni: for its own sake ... without cause or effect ?
    Calvino Rabeni: are we curious about curiosity?
    Calvino Rabeni: people find curiosity motivating
    Calvino Rabeni: fun
    Wol Euler: defintitely :)
    Avatar Scorpio: :)
    Calvino Rabeni: learning about things is a way to engage with them
    Calvino Rabeni: and maybe those side effects are "enough"
    Calvino Rabeni: I think si
    Calvino Rabeni: so
    Calvino Rabeni: but it does serve the needs of the organism
    Fefonz Quan: somehow from the conversatin it seems like we said that we dont' look for linear causes because wer are not curious
    Fefonz Quan: I think this is not what - I at least - were saying.
    Fefonz Quan: on contrary - I feel that because i have spent a lot of time on analysing and judging every single jesture and action in order to understand the 'cause' of the happenings,
    Fefonz Quan: I came to the conclusin tat this is - in many cases - a dead end.
    Fefonz Quan: that the way to understand the course of things - up to the oint they can be understood at all - is by looking at the bigger picture,
    Avatar Scorpio: may not lead to ultimate answers, but can help in understanding some level of things to promote flourishing
    Fefonz Quan: point*
    Wol Euler: I mailed Aphro, btw, she had to answer the door. She *thinks* she said so here, but clearly was lagging and her words were lost
    Wol Euler: she's not upset :)
    Calvino Rabeni nods at "promoting flourishing"
    Fefonz Quan: good to know that Wol
    Fefonz Quan: sometimes the need for clear 'causes' and roots in the past are just a cover for not accepting the present - which is for me one of the major practices
    Avatar Scorpio: the past has a lot to say about the present
    Fefonz Quan: (to DO accept the present, of course)
    Calvino Rabeni: Well that Fef would be, no longer being so interested in using causality to structure ego
    Calvino Rabeni: but on the other hand it could be turned around
    Calvino Rabeni: and the lessons and chains of how things work could be turned to educating and promoting a larger self
    Avatar Scorpio: nice to talk with you all, have a nice rest of your day :)
    Calvino Rabeni: lessons of the past instead of justifications for the present
    Fefonz Quan: I agree with that too calvino
    Calvino Rabeni: Thanks for stopping by Avatar
    Fefonz Quan: good night Avaatar
    Calvino Rabeni: It's not a property of the concept or idea - such as causality - it's how that idea is used
    Fefonz Quan: so i'll use one lesson from the past - if you go to sleep late - you are very tired in the morning
    Wol Euler: :)
    Fefonz Quan: hence my resulting action will be to say good nigth to you all :)
    Wol Euler grins.
    Wol Euler: goodnight fef, sleep early and well.
    Wol Euler: big hugs to the family!
    Fefonz Quan: _/!\_
    Calvino Rabeni: Practical Wisdom :)
    Calvino Rabeni: _/!\_
    Fefonz Quan: (early has already passed away...)
    Fefonz Quan: thanks Wol, by Cal, wol
    Calvino Rabeni: Low probability events are interesting
    Wol Euler: mmhmm
    Calvino Rabeni: because they present things that have to be dealt with but can't be predicted
    Wol Euler: "black swans" :)
    Calvino Rabeni: yes
    Calvino Rabeni: so my black swan was a pool of water on the roof
    Wol Euler: mm?
    Calvino Rabeni: today, so I got up on the roof by ladder to clear it
    Calvino Rabeni: it was only there because of an unlikely weather pattern, snow, rain, some plant debris, and how a prior weather pattern disrupted a maintenance task
    Calvino Rabeni: When the local newspaper does a low volume edition, there ends up being a section that mixes local crime reports with recent scientific curiosities
    Wol Euler: :)
    Calvino Rabeni: I think its basically the Black Swan section
    Calvino Rabeni: random seeming unpredictable events
    Wol Euler: a nice descriptoin
    Calvino Rabeni: that don't fit well into other narratives
    Wol Euler: though a true black swan is not a non-sequitur
    Wol Euler: it's relevant and related, just unexpect-able
    Calvino Rabeni: Once you learn of a new type of astronomical mega object
    Calvino Rabeni: which was unexpected
    Calvino Rabeni: the rules of what is expected are then amended
    Calvino Rabeni: but perhaps the black swan idea
    Calvino Rabeni: is about outliers within existing frameworks?
    Wol Euler: outlier is a good word, yes.
    Wol Euler: like unfolding the map to reveal a new previously unknown territory
    Calvino Rabeni: An unexpected emergent property
    Wol Euler: the connection is obvious once you see that the roads go through, but you couldn't have guessed what was concealed
    Wol Euler: usually, yes.
    Calvino Rabeni: Exploding oil rig?
    Calvino Rabeni: Mass behavior of a financial system?
    Wol Euler: well, the oil rig might have been considered predictable by some.
    Calvino Rabeni: By some ... the same is true of the financial system
    Wol Euler: if you switch off safety features, then you can expect Life to remind you of why they were invented.
    Calvino Rabeni: you can find someone who predicted its meltdown
    Wol Euler: yes, and they are sometimes just pessimists who opposed it on principle :)
    Calvino Rabeni: I think, if you take a system and encumber it with enough safety features, it will collapse due to black swan events
    Wol Euler laughs.
    Calvino Rabeni: so for instance, when you solve all the common human health problems
    Wol Euler: that is probably also true
    Calvino Rabeni: then new diseases emerge from the "creativity" of life
    Wol Euler: and the population suddenly explodes
    Calvino Rabeni: they were not able to emerge previously
    Wol Euler nods
    Calvino Rabeni: because they were covered by the prior problems
    Calvino Rabeni: Because the causal "system" does not have closure
    Calvino Rabeni: any adjustments create their own unmanaged side effects
    Calvino Rabeni: often involving a change in scale, I think
    Calvino Rabeni: overpopulation and resource depletion being emergent issues we haven't seen the last of
    Wol Euler: not by a long shot!
    Wol Euler: and peak oil will be only the first of them, alas
    Calvino Rabeni: and are the result of the success of the technology of agriculture
    Calvino Rabeni: to solve one problem is to change the rules of the sytem and create a new class of problems
    Wol Euler nods.
    Calvino Rabeni: I wonder what part of the "mass" of software systems currently, is security related, for example ... certainly a larger percentage than when the technology was simpler
    Wol Euler: we are addicted to single-shot solutions" to ... actually, that's wrong. That is not the core of it
    Wol Euler: the root addiction, the core problem, is to seeing the world as a field of unrelated tiny single-shot problems
    Calvino Rabeni: agree
    Wol Euler: and willfully ignoring the connections
    Calvino Rabeni: and that is a good synopsis of the concept of "cause" we were talking about earlier
    Wol Euler: and the context
    Calvino Rabeni: "Causality" - the practice of seeing the world as a fiend of unrelated tiny single-shot problems
    Calvino Rabeni: but classically it goes a little beyond that into the power of making chains of those little units
    Wol Euler: single-linked chains of single beads
    Wol Euler: whereas we really need a spiderweb at least, if not a mesh of them
    Calvino Rabeni: Yes
    Calvino Rabeni: There are folk-philosophy concepts like Occams Razor that we might be better off without
    Calvino Rabeni: in favor of some well-thought-out ideas about causality and complexity
    Wol Euler: though it does have its uses, e.g. puncturing pseudo-religions
    Wol Euler grins
    Calvino Rabeni: Except that it is an and aesthetic idea, an article of faith
    Calvino Rabeni: And what you're suggesting is pragmatist
    Calvino Rabeni: which makes sense to me
    Wol Euler frowns. Is there a word missing from that sentence?
    Calvino Rabeni: a noun after "pragmatist" ? OK pragmatism
    Wol Euler: [14:50] Calvino Rabeni: Except that it is an and aesthetic idea, an article of faith <<-- in there
    Calvino Rabeni: The idea that we don't care so much, if a notion is actually true, but rather, what the pragmatic effect is of believing it
    Wol Euler nods.
    Calvino Rabeni: :) the sentence seemed complete to me
    Calvino Rabeni: Anyway you can't prove Occams Razor, or deduce it from anything
    Wol Euler: true, it's primarily a way of short-circuiting discussoin
    Calvino Rabeni: so to use it as a way of reinforcing another notion - that the world is intrinsically simple - doesn't have logical force
    Wol Euler nods
    Calvino Rabeni: that's why I called it aesthetics and metaphysics
    Wol Euler: reprehensible, I realize.
    Wol Euler: yes
    Calvino Rabeni: no, they're both fine I think,except insofar as they bias inquiry into "reality"
    Calvino Rabeni: perhaps by causing reductionist approaches to be favored over synthetic ones
    Calvino Rabeni: I think you might be intested in David Weinberger
    Calvino Rabeni: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Weinberger
    Wol Euler: it's midnight, I must get some sleep. And yes, I am :)
    Wol Euler is a Cluetrain fan
    Calvino Rabeni: I like the way he opened his thought process within his blog, in the writing of his latest book
    Calvino Rabeni: trying to figure out in what ways intellectual work needs to simplify things and where not
    Calvino Rabeni: etc.
    Calvino Rabeni: Good talking to you Wol
    Calvino Rabeni: Sleep well
    Wol Euler: ty, you too. enjoy the evening
    Calvino Rabeni: For the log a couple more on Weinberger
    Calvino Rabeni: http://www.evident.com/
    Calvino Rabeni: And his work at Harvard's Berkman center
    Calvino Rabeni: http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/people/dweinberger
    Calvino Rabeni: Where they're trying to figure out where we're going with all this technology stuff

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