The Pen is mightier than the sword, but the Pen must sometimes move the sword against corruption if the corrupt are not moved by the pen.. An idea without an implementer is useless. "The Rulers do not carry the sword in vain"Rom 13:4

Sunday, December 21, 2014

If it's comprehensible, it's not deep....Foucault

When Michelle Foucault was asked why he wrote so badly and incomprehensively by Academic John Searle who said "When you speak, you speak clearly, why do you write so badly?", Foucault replied.. "In France you have to write 10% incomprehensive or people won't think it's deep".

Once Richard Dawkins observed that there is an accessible portal at Monash University where you can log in and request an 'essay' which is politically correct and will contain such obscure, ethereal, twighlight zone, bizarre socio babble, that you are guaranteed to impress your professors to the extent you will get an 'A' grade. He quoted some examples and showed that it was absolutely meaningless twaddle.

In a detailed post-mortem of his famous hoax, submitted to Social Text but predictably rejected by them and published elsewhere, Sokal notes that, in addition to numerous half-truths, falsehoods and non sequiturs, his original article contained some "syntactically correct sentences that have no meaning whatsoever". He regrets that there were not more of these: "I tried hard to produce them, but I found that, save for rare bursts of inspiration, I just didn't have the knack." If he were writing his parody today, he would surely be helped by a virtuoso piece of computer programming by Andrew Bulhak of Melbourne, Australia: the Postmodernism Generator. Every time you visit it, at http://www.cs.monash.edu.au/cgi-bin/postmodern, it will spontaneously generate for you, using faultless grammatical principles, a spanking new postmodern discourse, never before seen.  (source)

This reminds me of the Yale experiment where students were told that "that person over there' is a very intelligent and brilliant mind, especially in political science"... later, students tended to approach this man in ad hoc situations and one asked him something about a political science issue and he responded with some meaningless babble about the ducks he was observing on a nearby pond.   The students were in awe, they were dumbstruck, not having a clue about what the man meant, they concluded it was so deep that they were simply below his towering intellect and would need to study his utterance for some time to gain it's deep insights.

The truth was, that this man was a moron, a man of well below average intelligence with an IQ that was back at primary school level.  But the students didn't realize or catch on, because they were told earlier that he was smart.

What does this tell us about the mindset of French Students, or any Tertiary student of higher learning?  In fact it tells us a lot about ourselves, no matter what our level of education is.  When a black youth is killed by a white policeman, irrespective of the reasons, is it not the case that black activists will claim it was 'guilty white on innocent black, violence?'... and so it goes.

If you are told that Dr Lawrence Kraus and Dr Sam Harris and Dr Richard Dawkins (vanguard of the "New Atheists) are 'brilliant men'... will you interpret their statements about God, Creation and Christ in terms of that predisposed information rather than the actual facts of the matter?

Dr John Searle, speaking about 'Consciousness' related how some heavy duty philosophy professors said "It's ok to talk about concsiousness, but get tenure first"... Now this might actually be a bit deep!  You do have to think about it...or..see the context here.

Searle says some very very dangerous things about "Consciousness"... when he maintains that it is purely a "biological" phenomena. 

 As we learn more about the brain processes that cause awareness, accepting that consciousness is a biological phenomenon is an important first step. (Searle)

Such an apparently simple assertion is probably more dangerous than a Nuclear holocaust of a major city. I'm not so much worried about that 'first' step, it's the second and third that bothers the heck out of me. If consciousness is purely biological, then nothing we 'do' is either right or wrong, good or bad, because at best it would be 'legal/illegal'.  This leads to the next logical mindset of "If I don't get caught, what does it matter?"  So you can imagine a world and a society driven by primal  "biological" forces alone, where "conscience" has been relegated to some outmoded, old fashioned, dualistic and dud idea from superstitious religious wingbattery and nuttery.  The only possible (philosophically consistent) social outcome of Searle's ideas being translated into mainstream thought, and filtering down into the class rooms of our Universities and high schools, not to mention primary schools would be one of total narcissism and nihilism as Neitzsche pointed out long ago.

Nietzsche could be categorized as a nihilist in the descriptive sense that he believed that there was no longer any real substance to traditional social, political, moral, and religious values. He denied that those values had any objective validity or that they imposed any binding obligations upon us. Indeed, he even argued that they could at times have negative consequence for us. Source

I suggest that one of the most pressing needs of today is clear and unbiased thinking about crucial issues. When Jesus says "I am the light of the world"... will you take this as just some misreported, or misconstrued or invented saying simply because Dr Sam Harris says it is? (FYI....Harris is half Jewish and would have an ethno/religious motivation  for make such an allegation)  Kraus is also Jewish, though Dawkins is not.  People speak not only because of what they believe, but also because of what they 'are'.  I hope you the reader can filter what you hear and furnish yourself with some facts on issues you confront in your educational life.

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