2009.02.11 13:00 - "Man as a Cooperative Survival Machine"

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    The Guardian for this session was Genesis Zhangsun.  The comments below are hers.

    InFree Fall: Thx for the tp
    Wol Euler: hello gen, hello free
    genesis Zhangsun: Sure!
    InFree Fall: Hey
    Wol Euler: and hello lia
    genesis Zhangsun: Hey Wol!
    genesis Zhangsun: hey Lia!
    Lia Rikugun: hello everybody
    Wol Euler: gen, which group does your "seminarist" tag come from?
    quen Oh is Online
    genesis Zhangsun: oops sorry
    genesis Zhangsun: Philosophical Seminar
    Wol Euler: ah, ty.
    Lia Rikugun: ah cool this is in one hour
    genesis Zhangsun: How is your visit to Piet's department going Lia?
    Lia Rikugun: thank you very good

    Time wiki

    Lia Rikugun: i was writing someting about our perception of time
    Wol Euler: mmm?
    genesis Zhangsun: Yes...
    genesis Zhangsun: would you like to say more?
    Lia Rikugun: i am not sure i am confused myself
    Wol Euler: :)
    Lia Rikugun: we are planning on opening a wiki
    Wol Euler: perhaps talking it over here will help you understand?
    Lia Rikugun: ok
    Wol Euler: it often works for me :)
    Lia Rikugun: well.. lets see
    Lia Rikugun: in our every day life
    Lia Rikugun: we perceive time
    Lia Rikugun: as something linear
    Lia Rikugun: (as piet told me yesterday)
    Lia Rikugun: past present future
    Lia Rikugun: but we can nly be aware of what is happening now
    Lia Rikugun: even our understanding of the past is something we have now
    InFree Fall: There is a workshop on "trust" coming up at Brains stimulators I think.
    Lia Rikugun: memories of the past are not hte past but ideas that are present now
    Time and Trust
    InFree Fall: It seems to me that trust is one of the ways we perceive time
    InFree Fall: Do u see what I mean ?
    Lia Rikugun: can you explein in free fall
    InFree Fall: Sure
    InFree Fall: If you trust someone, it means you are focused on some promises he has made or will make. In all cases, trust involves a projection into the future.
    InFree Fall: And the past is what you search for clues to support trust or undermine it.
    Wol Euler: hmmmmm
    InFree Fall: Trust is actually the most practical and frequent relationship we have with time
    Lia Rikugun: hm
    InFree Fall: We are always planning things
    InFree Fall: This is what we do
    Lia Rikugun: i think it has to do with assumptions
    InFree Fall: Living is planning
    InFree Fall: Planning is impossible without trust
    Lia Rikugun: in each and every moment you have assumtipons about hte world
    InFree Fall: Yes but hardly ever in isolation
    Lia Rikugun: and depending on those you react
    InFree Fall: Our assumptions depend on what others tell us
    Lia Rikugun: or what we self think
    InFree Fall: And therfore are undergirded by trust relationships
    Lia Rikugun: trust seems to be too subjective for me
    InFree Fall: 99% of the assumptions we have is based on the reports of others
    Lia Rikugun: actually i am not sure if i undertsnad
    Lia Rikugun: yes ok
    InFree Fall: Hence, 99% of what we think depends on some form of trust
    InFree Fall: This is actually the most important role time plays in our life
    Lia Rikugun: but usually you dont take 100% of what someone else tells you as true
    InFree Fall: Sure
    InFree Fall: But 99% of what you do hold as true has come from someone else
    InFree Fall: and hence is based on trust
    genesis Zhangsun: So are you suggesting InFree that my sense of time for example that there is a tomorrow and the sun will rise is a result of my trust in what others have told me?
    InFree Fall: No
    genesis Zhangsun: ok...
    InFree Fall: But you seldom worry about these things
    Wol Euler: no but I do plan using them
    InFree Fall: Most of what you think about is not the sun or whether there is ground under your feet
    genesis Zhangsun: indeed and the idea of a tomorrow of a future is within this linear notion of time
    InFree Fall: Our head is filled with projects, duties, chores, hopes etc
    InFree Fall: All of which rely on some kind of promises we have made or received
    genesis Zhangsun: so time is very subjective in this view
    InFree Fall: Hence our primary relationship with time is through promises.
    genesis Zhangsun: but don't these all rely on the existence of a future?
    InFree Fall: Sure
    genesis Zhangsun: where does trust come into this aspect of time?
    InFree Fall: But implicitly
    InFree Fall: Trust is about promises. Promises are about the future.
    InFree Fall: Future is time
    genesis Zhangsun: well who promised me the sun would come up?
    InFree Fall: Again, you dont really care about that every day
    InFree Fall: But you do care about your next appointment at the dentise
    InFree Fall: *dentist
    InFree Fall: or about what you are going to do at work tomorrow
    Subjective v. Objective time
    genesis Zhangsun: ok so your belief in time is completely subjectively bound then
    genesis Zhangsun: you don't believe in any sense of time objectively
    InFree Fall: I am not sure
    genesis Zhangsun: what is your sense about this Lia?
    genesis Zhangsun: Do you think time is entirely subjective?
    Lia Rikugun: i cannot say anything about time
    Lia Rikugun: i dont have a proof
    Lia Rikugun: i am experimenting with my deas
    Lia Rikugun: and leaving away assumtions
    Lia Rikugun: and if i do that
    Lia Rikugun: there is no time
    Lia Rikugun: no past no future
    Lia Rikugun: just now
    Lia Rikugun: i cannot say anything about yesterday
    InFree Fall: What I am trying to say is that the fabric of time is percieved by us through our relationship with others. ANd that particularly through promises. A person in isolation soon looses track of time.
    Lia Rikugun: or one second ago
    Wol Euler: mmmmmmm, I disagree.
    Lia Rikugun: with who`?
    Lia Rikugun: :)
    Wol Euler: that our memories of that second converge and coincide suggests to me that we can prove that it happened, and what happened in it
    InFree Fall: Our daily schedule is what makes us aware of time
    Wol Euler: as would walking past a video surveillance camera
    InFree Fall: And these schedules are based around promises we have made or received
    Lia Rikugun: well i dont say anything is true or false
    Lia Rikugun: i dont know
    Wol Euler: the sun makes me aware of time, and the seasons, and the weather
    genesis Zhangsun: so InFree and Lia perhaps as Infree says time is about trust, promises and when we drop all of those there is no time
    Wol Euler: and being hungry or thirsty or tired
    genesis Zhangsun: would you both (Lia and InFree) agree with that
    InFree Fall: Every morning we wake up to go to work. ie to make good on a promise that we will be at a certain time and place
    InFree Fall: Wol, this is not your primary perception of time I think.
    InFree Fall: You have it of course, but only in passing
    FeFonz joins us...
    Fefonz Quan: Hello Wol, Lia, Gen, InFree :)
    Lia Rikugun: hello fefonz
    genesis Zhangsun: Yo Fonzie!
    Lia Rikugun: nice to see you ;)
    InFree Fall: Hi fonz
    Wol Euler: fascinating. How do I primary percieve time?
    Wol Euler: hello fefonz
    InFree Fall: Wol, you remember that you have to be at this meeting in 5 minutes, then have to go pick up some clothes at the dry cleaners at 5pm and so on and so forth.
    Natel Avro is Online
    InFree Fall: Our most intimate perception of time is this sequence of small events
    InFree Fall: We notice the sun only every once in a while. Once a day perhaps. While we have to worry about hundreds of promise-related events each day.
    Fefonz Quan: i thought our primary notion of time is the passing of things
    InFree Fall: Our macro-perception, yes.
    Fefonz Quan: no, micro
    Fefonz Quan: tick-now,tock-now,tick...
    InFree Fall: But we have a more fine grained perception every day in the sucession of mundane events that fills our schedules
    InFree Fall: What I am trying to say is that we are used to think of time as something separate from our lives, like a scientist drawing the time axis on a phase diagram.
    InFree Fall: But this is not actually like that we truly (phenomenologically) experience time.
    Fefonz Quan nods
    InFree Fall: Time is present in our lives as a sequence of small promises.
    Fefonz Quan still find it hard why this promise is so basic.
    InFree Fall: And big ones from time to time.
    genesis Zhangsun: yes why are we naturally inclined to seek out this promise
    Fefonz Quan: sitting alone, watching the sky, what promise is there?
    genesis Zhangsun: or are we conditioned?
    Fefonz Quan: and the fly of the bird - ah, it's time, something is moving
    InFree Fall: Every animal is a survivl machine.
    InFree Fall: *survival
    Competition is cooperation
    InFree Fall: Man is a cooperative survival machine
    genesis Zhangsun: in the latter view the idea of dropping the conditioning as you said Lia works but what if there is nothing to drop it is just naturally what we are?
    InFree Fall: Promises are what we exchange btw ourselves to help us mutually survive
    genesis Zhangsun: sometimes man doesn't seem so cooperative
    InFree Fall: There is no cooperation without promise
    genesis Zhangsun: we seem quite competitive in fact
    genesis Zhangsun: competing for the world's resources so much that we are destroying it
    InFree Fall: Competition is a form of cooperation.
    Wol Euler: what?
    InFree Fall: Sure
    InFree Fall: Look at an auction for instance
    InFree Fall: Competition is not the same as violence
    InFree Fall: Or chaos
    Fefonz Quan: but wouldn't i feel time all by myself?
    InFree Fall: Maybe but you will never know
    InFree Fall: Because you will never be alone for long
    Fefonz Quan: what won't i know?
    Lia Rikugun: but now we are talking about the perception of time, subjectively
    InFree Fall: Because you will never be alone in your whole life for more than a few days.
    genesis Zhangsun: :)
    Wol Euler: bollocks, pardon my french
    Fefonz Quan: still time won't vanish from my experience during those days
    InFree Fall: Who has ever spent a month totally alone ? I mean totally.
    Fefonz Quan: m-o-n-k-s
    InFree Fall: You dont know that
    Lia Rikugun: hello buddha
    InFree Fall: Time wil probably not vanish
    genesis Zhangsun: Hey Buddha
    InFree Fall: But your perception of it would certainly change a lot
    Fefonz Quan: just in time Buddha :)
    buddha Nirvana: Hi genesis, hi all :)
    genesis Zhangsun: So Wol...let me get this straight you believe that there is some sort of absolute time?
    InFree Fall: Time is even present as promise in epistemology
    genesis Zhangsun: separate form ourseleves?
    Wol Euler: hello buddha
    InFree Fall: What is a paradigm if not a bundle of promises
    InFree Fall: When you say that a theory is validated by an experiment, you are making a statement about a promise which was fulfilled after some time.
    InFree Fall: Science itself is based around the idea of promise.
    InFree Fall: Theoreticians make promises to experimenters
    InFree Fall: Who then test them
    Science as promise v. science as observation

    Wol Euler: funny, I thought science was based on observation.
    InFree Fall: Yes but the observation cannot be made if a promise was not made before
    Wol Euler: nonsense. I can observe by opening my eyes, even if I am alone.
    InFree Fall: An obsevation, in science, is always the test of an earlier promise
    InFree Fall: Yes Wol, but this is not science
    Fefonz Quan: well, galileo through the rock from Pizza tower with no need for a promise
    InFree Fall: Oh yes
    Fefonz Quan: Pisa*
    InFree Fall: He "promised" that both stones would reach the ground at the same time. And they did.
    InFree Fall: The whole point was to check the promise
    Fefonz Quan: no, i tried to see what would happen
    Wol Euler: that does violence to the meaning of the word "promise", free.
    Wol Euler: he proposed a theory which he tested. There was no promise.
    InFree Fall: No fonz.
    Fefonz Quan: i don't agree.
    InFree Fall: The tower of Pisa experiment was a public demonstration
    InFree Fall: Galileo had claimed earlier that he would do it and what the outcome would be.
    Fefonz Quan: many theories in physics started with a phenomena that jumped unplanned, that sent people to the drawing boards
    InFree Fall: The actual experiment was to validate this claim
    genesis Zhangsun: You are talking about Popper's idea of falsifiability
    genesis Zhangsun: ?
    Fefonz Quan: that ws an example, i gave the more general claim now
    InFree Fall: Yes fonz. It is when promises fail that we search for new ones.
    Fefonz Quan: no, i disagree
    InFree Fall: Ok
    Fefonz Quan: you look at the sky, using your new telescope, and suddenly - wow, there are rings around saturn!
    Fefonz Quan: what promise was broken? "there are no rigns around planets"
    InFree Fall: That is the exception
    Fefonz Quan: this takes out the whole meaning of the word
    InFree Fall: A really new observation like that is very rare
    Fefonz Quan: disagree again
    InFree Fall: What scientists do 99% of the time is check claims made by others.
    Fefonz Quan: it's rare today, after a few very successful scientific centuries
    InFree Fall: Or make claims of their own, to be checked by others
    InFree Fall: It has always been rare. Gallileo had 3 or 4 moments like that in his whole life. Not more
    InFree Fall: Ditto Newton
    Fefonz Quan: yes, but as a child, the first time you see a bird fly and wonder how comes, which promise was there before hand?
    InFree Fall: None.
    InFree Fall: But you are not a child anymore
    InFree Fall: I am talking about adult life
    Fefonz Quan: well, 3 or 4 are more then enough, 1 i good enough as counter-example, takling science herer :)
    InFree Fall: Ok
    InFree Fall: Fine
    InFree Fall: But we were talking about "time" and how to characterize it.
    Fefonz Quan: i don't argue with you promises, future planning etc. is a very important part of our time perception
    InFree Fall: I believe that if you try to do so and yet overlook promises/trust, you forget about what occupies the most space in our lives.
    Fefonz Quan: i just claim it's not all of it, and maybe not the basic one
    InFree Fall: And hence your concept of time cannot be correct if you do so.
    InFree Fall: "basic" is difficult to define
    Fefonz Quan: i wouldn't insult this forum with easy tasks ;-)
    InFree Fall: I think it is more productive to focus on what is the most massive.
    InFree Fall: What occupies the most space.
    InFree Fall: What we are involved with the most
    Fefonz Quan: coming from science, taht approach can be quite misleading
    Fefonz Quan: most of the time we move at speeds of 1-10000 meters per hour
    InFree Fall: We were trying to define "time" in general. Not only in the context of science ...
    Fefonz Quan: no relativity needed for that
    Andrej Babenco is Online
    Fefonz Quan: we can drop what i said about science)
    Fefonz Quan: but that is an example when what happens mostly cannot show you the nature of things.
    Fefonz Quan: iron is mostly solid, always whe no techn ology around.
    InFree Fall: You still believe one can know the "nature of things" ?
    Fefonz Quan: still the essence of iron is its molecular structure, not its solidity
    Fefonz Quan: i would appreciate not clinging to my word perce
    Fefonz Quan: nature in the way a molecule is more basic than a football
    InFree Fall: Well, it is smaller.
    InFree Fall: But it is less useful
    Fefonz Quan: i use a lot of oxygen molecules,
    InFree Fall: Most of the time, people who have to work with iron do not worry about its molecular structure, but only its tensile strength, malleability etc.
    InFree Fall: They just read a label on a crate with those informations written on it and leave it at that
    Fefonz Quan: right, but here we try to investigate, not to learn how to organize our schedule
    InFree Fall: In essence, they trust a promise made to them by the manufacturer
    Fefonz Quan: (though it might help :))

    The next sentence made the most sense to me in this whole conversation...

    InFree Fall: Yes but if your subject of inquiry is "time", you have to consider what you actually do in relation to it most of the time. Otherwise, the picture you get is distorted
    Fefonz Quan: i think we shell leave it with some disagreement, but thaks for the discussion :)
    genesis Zhangsun: well thank you for a great discussion but it is time for Gilles's seminar now
    InFree Fall: yw
    Fefonz Quan: (there is a meeting on 2pm SLT, nned to get there_
    InFree Fall: Bye everyone. I have to go.
    Wol Euler: yes, I must be moving on. Goodnight all, take care.
    genesis Zhangsun: bye InFree
    Lia Rikugun: byebye
    genesis Zhangsun: Bye Wol
    Fefonz Quan: night Wol :)
    genesis Zhangsun: Bye Lia
    genesis Zhangsun: thanks everyone
    genesis Zhangsun: Bye Fonz
    Wol Euler: Lia, it was nice meeting you, I hope you get your piece written
    Fefonz Quan: bye gen
    Lia Rikugun: :)
    Lia Rikugun: thank you gen
    Wol Euler: bye gen, bye fefonz
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