Saturday, April 30, 2016

Nikhil Sonnad — The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: This Free Online Encyclopedia Has Achieved What Wikipedia Can Only Dream Of

A fundamental problem faced by the general public and the members of an academic discipline in the information age is how to find the most authoritative, comprehensive, and up-to-date information about an important topic.

That paper is so old that it mentions “CD-ROMs” in the second sentence. But for all the years that have passed, the basic problem remains unsolved.

The three requirements the authors list—”authoritative, comprehensive, and up-to-date”—are to information what the “impossible trinity” is to economics. You can only ever have one or two at once. It is like having your cake, eating it, and then bringing it to another party. 
Yet if the goal is to share with people what is true, it is extremely important for a resource to have all of these things. It must be trusted. It must not leave anything out. And it must reflect the latest state of knowledge. Unfortunately, all of the other current ways of designing an encyclopedia very badly fail to meet at least one of these requirements….
The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: This Free Online Encyclopedia Has Achieved What Wikipedia Can Only Dream Of
Nikhil Sonnad
ht Miles Kimball at Confessions of a Supply Side Liberal


jrbarch said...

Thankyou Tom ....

jrbarch said...

The first article I read over at SEP was the Cosmological Argument (“makes an inference from certain alleged facts about the world (cosmos) to the existence of a unique being, generally identified with or referred to as God).”

My very first thought on perusal was ‘oh my G.O.D. – there has to be a simpler way than all of this (as interesting as it is)’. One of the descriptors of the Divine is: - ‘beyond the range and reach of any human thought or expression’. So, why is there an argument one might ask? And the answer is, we have a mind: - and mind loves to discuss things - is curious. So unperturbed by one of its own descriptors, it will jump happily into nivekb’s rabbit hole. Mind goes around and around, and there seems to be no resolution. Mind is undecided on the question of divinity; although a lot of reason points that way – I thought the arguments For were good, and decided materialism is more emotional and physical than mental.

The second thought was, someone should tell the philosopher’s that a human being has another power besides thinking, which leads to direct knowledge. It is the power to ‘feel’ – the power to enter into the heart, to experience for oneself and understand – the Divine can only be known through feeling. But I guess it would be hard work convincing philosophers (and scientists) they need to learn how to feel, if they want to answer the enduring questions ! Mind finds it hard to comprehend knowledge through feeling. In raj yoga this power to feel, to uncover what is in the heart, is superior to lower mind, lifting consciousness to a ‘higher plane’ (buddhi) where the divine is obvious. Then mind begins to understand. This is true or it is not – there is only one way to find out.

Another thought was how Time is treated as something that is linear, and G.O.D. is something that is personal to be squeezed into a religious mold, rather than a universal energy, forever NOW, of which consciousness is an aspect: - linear at one level, timeless at another; questions at one level, the Originator and Answer to all of the questions at the other.

As energy units, the human consciousness is vibrating so quickly and vibrantly now, we cover the planet in motion, communication, the search for food and water, stepping up or amplifying the physical fires of propagation (sex) and the emotional fires (desire) through money, and their combined effects on human relations; and political disaster. The mental fires creating almost more smoke than light. We need a lift.

Is now not a good time in human evolution, to feel Peace?

jrbarch said...

Link above should read:

nivekvb said...

Very interesting, thankyou. I'm highly rational, so organised religion was not for me. My mind is atheist, but my body is spiritual. When I have those magical moments, like seeing beautiful sunset, and I connect with eternity, it is awesome.

I'm not very good at mindfulness, but I try. I prefer to do mindful walking. Sometimes, when mindful walking I manage to shut up my chattering mind for a few minutes, and then sometimes time might spread out into eternity in either direction.

I was lost all fear of death in one of the mystical moments. I can't explain it, but I saw and felt eternity, and I saw that everything exists in eternity, for always. It's not rational, and yet it feels entirely right.

Once, when I was totally focused on a words, the autumn red leaves in the for grounds and in the trees went in forever. I became totally immersed, one with everything.

But this morning my cynical and rational mind came into play as I was thinking about my mindful walking. I was thinking about this before I even read this article. What I experienced during mindful waking felt pretty special to me, so why do the Buddhists say that only the most experienced mediators can existence nirvana. I think that say that to keep their hierarchy. Buddhism, like all religions, is very hierarchical.

The scientists and psychologists who invented Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) say that mindfulness can be learnt fairly quickly with their advanced scientifically tested methods. In other words, religion puts a lot of BS in the way.

Tom Hickey said...

@ nivekvb

Sounds like you are on the right track from the POV of perennial wisdom.

It appears that you have graduated from the external forms to the internal substance.

jrbarch said...

Mind will declare: ‘religion is the opiate of the people’. But the mystical experience too, is a part of human experience. We should never confuse the teapot with the tea. Religion in essence, is the best teapot that people come up with to hold onto the experience, replete with human foibles. Mysticism leads to occultism, where the physiology is mapped out in the same way a biologist maps out the working of the body, unifying the mystical and mental nature. The human heart is our universal teapot and the energies it contains, our potential, path and destination, no matter what is happening outside in the world. For me, changes on the inside manifest as changes on the outside. The world walks the burning ground. How closely are human beings connected to each other now, from the time we walked at 3kph, and knew only our family group. We have no idea of our true potential, not even in our wildest dreams. An aspirant is anyone who feels that beautiful energy of Love within, the engine of all experience - and decides they want to feel more. They are warriors, of the heart; sometimes creating thought-forms, that serve the whole.