“She just walked into my office. She was really cute, a beautiful blonde. (That helped; it's not supposed to, but it did.)”
Richard Feynman

Surely You're Joking Mr. Feynman

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-03-07

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  • "I wish it so, that all who go through among my people may find peace when they come in, and leave it when they go out" http://bit.ly/dx0EZL #
  • life currents: http://bit.ly/d785NE #
  • … oh and I am selling my CD collection: http://bit.ly/9zAD6Y please have a look and pass it on 🙂 #
  • "The idea that 'all men are created equal' is a gift to the world from the American Indian" http://www.bit.ly/dx0EZL #
  • "First you say things our way and then we'll listen to you… an invisible wall of prejudice… a 'cultural immune system'" #
  • "Quality doesn't have to be defined. You understand it without definition, ahead of definition…. it is a direct experience #
  • Quality is indivisible, undefinable and unknowable in the sense that there is a knower and a known #
  • but a metaphysics must be divisible, definable and knowable .. it is a kid of dialectical definition #
  • this means that a "Metaphysics of Quality" is essentially a contradiction in terms, a logical absurdity #
  • he himself had insisted…that Quality cannot be defined. Yet here we was about to define it. Was this some kind of sell-out? #
  • the minute u open ur mouth to say 1 thing about the nature of reality you..have a whole set of enemies who've said reality is something else #
  • 'Ahh, do it anyway, it's interesting.' this was the intellectual part that didn't like undefined things #
  • To the intellect, the process of defining Quality has a compulsive quality of its own.. produces a certain excitement … leaves a hangover #
  • Writing a metaphysics is, in the strictest mystic sense, a degenerate activity … avoidance of degeneracy is a degeneracy of another sort #
  • Purity identified ceases to be purity…objections to pollution are a form of pollution #
  • The only person who doesn't pollute the mystic reality of the world … is a person who hasn't yet been born #
  • The rest of us have to settle for something less pure. #
  • Getting drunk and picking up bar-ladies and writing metaphysics is a part of life #
  • if you are using WordPress you don't need to be concerned with SEO: http://bit.ly/dkqFlE #
  • "From bitter searching of the heart, Quickened with passion and with pain
    We rise to play a greater part." http://bit.ly/dgfV3c #
  • "Any person of any philosophic persuasion who sits on a hot stove will verify without any intellectual argument whatsoever #
  • that he is in an undeniably low-quality situation; that the value of his predicament is negative. #
  • This low quality is not just a vague, woolly headed crypto-religious, metaphysical abstraction. It is an experience. #
  • It is not a judgment about an experience. It is not a description of experience. The value itself is an experience. #
  • It is verifiable by anyone who cares to do so. It is reproducible. Of all experience it is the least ambiguous, least mistakable there is. #
  • Later the person may generate some oaths to describe this low value, but the value will always come first, the oaths second. #
  • …Our culture teaches us to think it is the hot stove that directly causes the oaths… that the low values are a property of the person #
  • Not so. The value is between the stove and the oaths. Between the subject and the object lies the value. #
  • This value is more immediate, more directly sensed than any 'self' or 'object' to which it might be later assigned..more real than the stove #
  • … It is the primary empirical reality from which such things as stoves and heat and oaths and self are later intellectually constructed. #
  • The reason values seem so woolly-headed to empiricists is … they keep trying to assign them to subjects or objects. You can't do it. #
  • You get all mixed up because values don't belong to either group. They are a separate category all their own. #
  • The Metaphysics of Quality would show how things become fabulously more coherent when..Quality is the primary empirical reality of the world #
  • "The feeling left was one of enormous confusion and weariness, a kind of back-to-the-drawing board, back-to-square-one feeling #
  • ..you get when you're thinking you're making great progress and then suddenly some question like this comes along #
  • .. and sets you back to where you started." #
  • "For a while he had wondered why his boat always seemed to stop in the oldest part of each city it came to, and then he realized that #
  • ..small boats stopping right there is what got the city started in the first place" #
  • "The idea that the world is comprised of nothing but moral values sounds impossible at first. Only objects are supposed to be real. #
  • …but we see objects and subjects as reality for the same reason we see the world right side up although the lenses of our eyes actually #
  • ..present it our brains upside down… The culture in which we live hands us a set of intellectual glasses to interpret experience with #
  • .. and the concept of primacy of subjects and objects is built right into these glasses. If someone sees things through a somewhat #
  • different set of glasses or, god help him, take his glasses off, the natural tendency of those who still have their glasses on is #
  • to regard his statement as somewhat weird, if not actually crazy… #
  • As Einstein said, common-sense (non-weirdness) is just a bundle of prejudices acquired before the age of 18 #
  • The Metaphysics of Quality .. [says] that the values of art and morality and even religious-mysticism are verifiable [empirical] #
  • …They have been excluded because of the metaphysical assumption that all the universe is composed of subjects and objects … #
  • There is no empirical evidence for this assumption at all.It is just an assumption..that flies outrageously in the face of common experience #
  • Unlike subject-object metaphysics, the Metaphysics of Quality does not insist on a single inclusive truth… #
  • .. then one doesn't seek the absolute "Truth". One seeks instead the highest quality intellectual explanation of things #
  • with knowledge that if the past is any guide to the future this explanation must be taken provisionally.. until something better comes along #
  • One can then examine intellectual realities the same way he examines paintings in an art gallery #
  • not with an effort to find the "real" painting, but simply to enjoy and keep those that are of value. #
  • ..Saying that a Metaphysics of Quality is false and a subject-object metaphysics is true #
  • is like saying that rectangular coordinates are true and polar coordinates are false. #
  • A map with the north pole in the center is confusing at first .. but in the Arctic it's the only map to have. #
  • Metaphysics of Quality provide a better set of coordinates with which to interpret the world..because it explains more of the world..&better #
  • .. [it] can explain subject-object relationships beautifully..but a subject-objects metaphysics can't explain values worth a damn. #
  • This problem of trying to describe values in terms of substance has been a problem of a smaller container trying to contain a larger one. #
  • Value is not a subspecies of substance. Substance is a subspecies of value. #
  • "Early zoologists classified as mammals those that suckle their young and as reptiles those that lay eggs #
  • .. then a duck-billed platypus was discovered in Australia laying eggs like a perfect reptile and then,when they hatched,suckling the infant #
  • The discovery created quite a sensation. What a mystery! What a marvel of nature! #
  • Even today you still see occasional articles in nature magazines asking 'Why does this paradox of nature exist?' #
  • The answer is:it doesn't. Platypi have been laying eggs and suckling their young for millions of years before zoologists declared it illegal #
  • The real mystery is how mature, objective, trained scientific observers can blame their own goof on a poor innocent platypus. #
  • In a subject-object classification of the world, Quality is in the same situation as that platypus. #
  • Because they can't classify it, the experts have declared there is something wrong with it. And Quality isn't the only such platypus. #
  • ..free will vs determinism, relation of mind to matter, discontinuity of matter at the subatomic level… are all monster platypi #
  • The world comes to us in an endless stream of puzzle pieces that we would like to think all fit together somehow, but that in fact never do. #
  • There are always some pieces like platypi that don't fit.. we can ignore [them]..give them silly explanations.. #
  • or we can take the whole puzzle apart and try other ways of assembling it that will include more of them #
  • When one takes the whole ill-shaped, misfitting structure of a subject-object explained universe apart and puts it back together in a #
  • value-centered metaphysics, all kinds of orphaned puzzle pieces fit beautifully that never fit before." #
  • I am finding it extremely difficult to bring myself to write about things close to my heart #
  • "Trying to create a perfect metaphysics is like trying to create the perfect chess opening, one that will win every time. You can't do it. #
  • … Dynamic Quality is the pre-intellectual cutting edge of reality, the source of all things, completely simple and always new. #
  • ..It's only perceived good is freedom and it's only perceived evil is static quality itself – #
  • – any pattern of one-sided fixed value that tries to contain and kill the ongoing free force of life. #
  • Static Quality emerges in the wake of Dynamic Quality. It is old and complex. It always contains a component of memory. #
  • Good is conformity to an established pattern of fixed values and value objects. #
  • Static morality is full of heroes and villains, loves and hatreds, carrots and sticks. It's values don't change by themselves. #
  • Unless they are altered by Dynamic Quality they say the same thing year after year… sometimes loudly… sometimes softly…always the same #
  • ..When the person who sits on the stove first discovers his low-quality situation, the front edge of his experience is dynamic. #
  • He does not think 'This stove is hot' and then make a rational decision to get off. #
  • a 'dim perception of he knows not what' gets him off dynamically. Later he generates static patterns of thought to explain the situation. #
  • A subject-object metaphysics presume that this kind of Dynamic action without thought is rare and ignored it when possible. #
  • But mystic learning goes in the opposite direction and tries to hold to the ongoing Dynamic edge of all experience, both positive & negative #
  • .. of the two kinds of students, those who study only subject-object science and those who study only meditative mysticism #
  • it would be the mystic students who would get off the stove first. #
  • The purpose of mystic meditation is not to remove oneself from experience but to bring one's self closer..by eliminating static attachments #
  • …imagine that you walk down the street past a car where someone has the radio on and it plays a tune you've never heard before #
  • but which is so fantastically good it just stops you in your tracks. You listen until it's done. #
  • Days later you remember exactly what the street looked like when you heard that music… store window, colors of cars, clouds in the sky… #
  • ..and it all comes back so vividly you wonder what song they were playing, so you wait until you hear it again… #
  • One day it comes on the radio and you get the same feeling again.. you catch the name… rush to the store… and buy it… #
  • You get home. You play it. It's really good. It doesn't quite transform the room… but it's really good. You play it again. Really good. #
  • You play it another time. Still good but you are not sure you want to play it again. But you play it again…it's okay … you put it away #
  • The next day you play it again, and it's ok, but something is gone… you file it away and once in a while play it again for a friend #
  • What has happened?… has the song lost its quality? Either it's good or it's not good. If it's good why don't you play it? #
  • The first good that made you want to buy the record was Dynamic Quality… comes as a sort of surprise #
  • .. weakened for a moment your existing static patterns in such a way that the Dynamic Quality all around you shone through. It was free… #
  • The second good,the kind that made u want to recommend it to a friend,even when you had lost your own enthusiasm for it is Static Quality." #
  • "Life can't exist on dynamic quality alone. It has no staying power. To cling to [it] ..apart from any static patterns it to cling to chaos. #
  • Static patterns…provide a necessary stabilizing force to protect Dynamic progress from degeneration. #
  • Dynamic Quality-freedom..creates this world in which we live,Static Quality-order..preserves ourworld.Neither can survive without the other" #
  • "If a company shows..signs of slowing..innovation, it's a good idea 2 sell." shortsighted,ignorant business attitude http://bit.ly/9KV0F8 #
  • "'All life is a migration of static patterns of quality towards Dynamic Quality.'… #
  • .. In traditional, substance-centered metaphysics, life isn't evolving toward anything. Life's just an extension of the properties of atoms. #
  • It has to be that because atoms and varying forms of energy are all there is. Historically..[this] put a strain on the Theory of Evolution.. #
  • ..At the time of it's origin is wasn't yet understood that at the level of .. small particles the laws of cause and effect no longer apply; #
  • that electrons and photons simply appear and disappear without individual predictability and without individual cause. #
  • ..So today we have a theory of evolution in which man is ruthlessly controlled by cause-and-effect laws of the universe.. #
  • while the particles of his boy are not. The absurdity of this seems to be neglected. Physicists ignore it..they are not concerned with man.. #
  • Social scientists can ignore it because they are not concerned with subatomic particles. #
  • ..evolution… goes into volumes about how the fittest survives but never once answers the question of why. #
  • It's self-contradictory that life should survive. If life is strictly a result of the physical and chemical forces of nature.. #
  • then why is life opposed to these same forces in it's struggle to survive? Either life is with physical nature or it's against it #
  • If it's with nature there's nothing to survive. If it's against physical nature then there must be something ..[else] ..motivating it. #
  • The 2nd law of Thermodynamics states that all energy systems "run-down" like a clock and never rewind themselves. #
  • But life not only "runs-up", converting low-energy sea-water, sunlight and air into high-energy chemicals, it keeps multiplying itself #
  • into more and better clocks that keep "running up" faster and faster. #
  • Why, for example, should a group of simple, stable compounds if carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen struggle for billions of years #
  • to organize themselves into a professor of chemistry? What's the motive? If we leave a chemistry professor out on a rock in the sun #
  • long enough the forces of nature will convert him into simple compounds. It's a one-way reaction. No matter what.. #
  • we can't turn these compounds back into chemistry professor. Then why does nature reverse this process? #
  • What on earth causes the inorganic compounds to go the other way? It isn't the suns energy.. It has to be something else. What is it? #
  • Evolutionists..simpy say that in the scientific observation of the facts of the universe no goal or pattern have ever appeared… #
  • ..'… but has the question been taken up of whether life is heading away from mechanistic patterns?' #
  • In a metaphysics in which static..patterns are..fundamental, the idea that life is evolving away from any laws.. doesn't make any sense. #
  • 'No program controlled or directed this progression. It was the result of spur of the moment decisions of natural selection.' #
  • ..Dynamic Quality always appears as 'spur of the moment'. Where else could it appear? #
  • ..Naturally there is no mechanism towards which life is heading. Mechanisms are the enemy of life. #
  • The more static and unyielding the mechanisms are, the more life works to evade them or overcome them. #
  • The law of gravity..a ruthless static pattern..one could almost define life as..organized disobedience of [it]..birds fly, man..to the moon #
  • If life is to be explained on the basis of physical laws, then the overwhelming evidence that life deliberately works around these laws #
  • cannot be ignored. #
  • The reason atoms become chemistry professors has got to be that something in nature doesn't like laws that restrict the molecule's freedom. #
  • They only go along with laws of any kind because they have to, preferring an existence that does not follow any laws whatsoever. #
  • The patterns of life are constantly evolving towards something "better" then that which these laws have to offer. #

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