Ladies and gentlemen, Sherman wants to get a word in edgewise. I opened the door by linking to the excellent article: "Mises On Mind and Method" by Daniel James Sanchez. So I can hardly deny my loquacious
alter ego friend a fair chance to compete. As anyone familiar with Sherman Broder can testify, competition is the man's middle name. Moreover, once the man gets on a roll, its hard to stop him anyway, let alone resist his logical charm. So here goes, but, as usual, buyer beware. If you're not familiar with Broder's style and substance, be forewarned and pay close attention. As always, I am not responsible for any consequence the reader suffers or claims to suffer as a result of actually succumbing to Sherman's charismatic way with words:
ON MIND AND METHOD, by Sherman Broder (excerpted from the book: "LOVE IS BARTER, by Sherman Broder")*
When a human being releases his rabbit of happiness and gives chase, he is constrained by reality to run in the expanding universe along a particular course and position in space and time. His rabbit, however, as a creature of the human mind, does not move in space and time. Thus, it is literally impossible for a human being to actually capture his rabbit of happiness. The best a human being can do is to act to achieve his most satisfactory course and position in the space and time of reality relative to the imaginary motion of his dream rabbit.
If his dream rabbit moves in an imaginary universe which is absolutely incompatible with the reality of our expanding universe, then that dreamer can never be satisfied. If his dream rabbit moves in an imaginary universe compatible with ours, but the dreamer’s own locomotion is incompatible with the reality of our expanding universe, then that dreamer as well can never be satisfied.
Reality sustains love and human life. A human being who loses touch with reality will sooner than later lose both his love and his life. For example, if the energy of the expanding universe did not condense into pink elephants, no amount of searching or contemplation can alter that fact. If a dreamer’s idea of happiness is to ride a pink elephant, then he will fail in love, he will never be happy (unless, of course, he is able to create a pink elephant by his own action, or to achieve happiness in the very impossibility of his search).
Fortunately for the human race, reality is sensate. In other words, the motion of the expanding universe and the course and position in space and time of animate and inanimate beings in the universe are sensate. In other words, reality can be perceived by means of the human senses.
However, motion is relative. Although individual human beings can sense motion, each human being perceives motion relative to his own course and position in space and time. Therefore, human beings are able to comprehend a particular sensed motion differently. Thus, no two human beings witness an accident exactly similarly. No two artists paint a portrait or a landscape exactly the same. The particular brush strokes of a particular artist can be imitated, but can never be exactly reproduced.
If a human observer in our expanding universe could observe motion, per se, he would observe that motion is not differentiable by any dimension. However, human observers cannot observe motion per se. Human observers cannot separate motion from the being that is moving. Still, connecting motion to a particular being will not in itself allow the human observer to directly perceive differentiated motion. Without differentiation, motion will still appear random. In order to differentiate any observed motion in space and time human beings require the imaginative and conceptual ability of their human mind. They require thought.
Concepts are human thoughts that attempt to classify and categorize observations. Conceptualization is human thought that differentiates random motion in order to make sense of it. Conceptualization is a human mind’s abstract attempt to distinguish and categorize the random motions of observed elements in space and time in order to comprehend them, i.e., have knowledge of them and, thus, perfectly predict their future movements.
Human beings strive to comprehend reality in order to predict reality and to act in reality. The ability to successfully predict motion in our expanding universe, i.e., the course and position in space and time of various elements of stuff in the universe, is essential to successful human action, i.e., to love.
Our human minds conceive the composite and relative motions of stuff in our expanding universe as three dimensions of motion which are distinguishable, categorical and predictable. These three dimensions of motion are: the Concatenate, the Locomotive and the Active. Animals are constrained to swim in the first two dimensions. Human beings are constrained to swim in all three.
Concatenate motion is the motion of inanimate beings (energy, matter and light). The Concatenate motion of inanimate beings is determined, directly or indirectly, by the original Big Bang-motion. Therefore, Concatenate motion is regular, consistent and constant.
If all the stuff of our expanding universe were inanimate, all the motion in our universe would be concatenate and, therefore, absolutely and perfectly predictable. There would be regularity and consistency in the unfolding of all events. The motion imparted to all inanimate stuff at the moment of the Big Bang would determine the course of all stuff and its position in space and time until the end of space and time. This would be true even if the course and position of elements of this original stuff of the universe happened to intersect and collide. The resultant relative positions of these elements in time and space after intersection and collision as compared to before would be different, but regular, predictable and consistent with the motion of the expanding universe. The combined total of the Concatenate motion of all elements after intersection and collision as compared to before would be exactly the same.
Locomotive motion is the motion of animate beings (plants, animals and humans). The Locomotive motion of animate beings is determined, directly or indirectly, by the animate beings themselves. Therefore, Locomotive motion is irregular, inconsistent and inconstant.
If all the stuff of the expanding universe were animate, all the motion in our universe would be imperfectly predictable. Although the motion imparted to all animate stuff would be locomotion and each animate being would determine its own course and position in space and time until the end of time, the instincts and nervous systems of each animate being would strive to keep their motion in concert with the original Big Bang-motion of the expanding universe. This would be true even if the course and position of individual animate beings intersected and inter-reacted. The resultant relative positions of each animate being in space and time after intersection and inter-reaction as compared to before would be different, irregular, unpredictable and inconsistent. However, the combined total of the Locomotive motion of all animate beings after intersection and inter-reaction as compared to before would tend to be in concert with the general flow of space and time in the expanding universe and in concert with the specific nature of the nervous systems and instincts within each species of animate being.
Active motion is the motion of human beings. The Active motion of human beings is determined, directly or indirectly, by human beings themselves, each seeking their own happiness. Therefore, Active motion is irregular, inconsistent and inconstant.
If all the stuff of the expanding universe were human, all the motion in our universe would be perfectly unpredictable. There would be no regularity or consistency in the unfolding of events. The motion imparted to all human stuff would be locomotion and each human element of stuff would determine his own course and position in space and time based on his individual pursuit of his unique rabbit of happiness until the end of time. This would be true even if the course and position of individual human elements intersected and interacted. The resultant relative positions of each human element in space and time after intersection and interaction as compared to before would be different, irregular, and inconsistent. Thus, the resultant relative positions of each human being in space and time after intersection and interaction as compared to before would be different and perfectly unpredictable. The combined total of Active motion of all human elements after intersection and interaction as compared to before might even be nil.
Knowledge of a particular element of creation is information about that element which perfectly predicts its course and position in space and time as it moves through our expanding universe. Human beings who have knowledge are smart. Human beings who don’t have knowledge are stupid.
Knowledge is either Subjective or Objective. Subjective knowledge is private and unique, knowable only to each specific and individual human mind by means of autistic action. Subjective knowledge is observation, experience and apprehension of a particular motion considered solely from the point of view of each individual human being. Subjective knowledge is the motion of a particular being considered and predicted by a particular human mind. Whether that consideration and prediction is correct or incorrect, i.e., in concert with that being’s real course and position in space and time or contrary to it, is impossible to say. Only the evidence of space and time can say for certain.
Objective knowledge is knowledge that has been verified as correct by the evidence of space and time to the best of our human ability by means of cooperative action. Objective knowledge is public and common, knowable by all human individuals. Objective knowledge is observation, experience and conception of a particular motion considered from an imaginary point of view common to all human beings. Objective knowledge is our common human perception of reality itself, our best conceptualization of the course and position of what exists in space and time outside of our subjective human minds.
Human beings acquire subjective knowledge by means of introspection, which is a particular human being considering and examining his own thoughts and observations exclusively from his own point of view. Human beings acquire objective knowledge by means of extrospection, which is a particular human being observing and examining space and time exclusively from the point of view of an imaginary, archetypal, unbiased human mind.
Meditation is the method of introspection. Meditation is a private system of solitary reflection on one’s own thoughts. There are no universal rules of meditation. Meditation has no corollaries. Logic is the method of extrospection. Logic is a uniform and standard public system of ratiocination, which allows each individual human mind to conceptualize observations of motion in space or time in a universally consistent way. Logic assumes that what is true of a category of elements in space and time must be true of each particular element in that category.
Thus, if we observe a “blue” element, then we can infer a category of “blueness” in which each observable element must be blue. Conversely, if the category of “blueness” is true, then we can infer that every observable element in that category must be “blue.”
Logic has two corollaries: inductive reasoning and deductive reasoning. Inductive reasoning is inference from the particular to the general. Inductive reasoning is inferring what is true of a conceptualized category of existents from our observations of what is true of particular specimens of that category. Inductive reasoning is the method of the natural sciences.
Deductive reasoning is inference from the general to the specific. Deductive reasoning is inferring what is true of existent specimens of a particular category from what is true of the conceptualized category. Deductive reasoning is the method of the analytical sciences.
Because the motion of particular inanimate elements in space and time is Concatenate, i.e., regular, consistent, constant and perfectly predictable, we can observe these particular inanimate elements, use inductive reasoning and infer categories of Concatenate motion and theories which predict with certainty the true course and position of these elements in space and time.
Because the motion of particular animate elements in space and time is Locomotive, i.e., irregular, inconsistent, inconstant and imperfectly predictable, we cannot use inductive reasoning to predict with certainty the true course and position of individual animate elements in space and time. However, because the Locomotive motion of plants and animals is initiated and controlled by species-specific nervous systems, instincts and genetic instruction, we can use inductive reasoning to predict with certainty the true course and position of species of plants and animals in space and time.
However, because the motion of particular human elements in space and time is Active, i.e., irregular, inconsistent, inconstant and unpredictable, we cannot use inductive reasoning to predict with certainty the true course and position in space and time of either human individuals in particular or of societies of humans or of the human species in general. We can only conceive of a category of Active motion which we assume is self-evident and true. We can only use deductive reasoning and infer deductions from that category which would, if our categorical assumption of action is in fact true, predict with certainty the true course and position of a particular human being, given his particular version of happiness sought.
Understanding of a particular element of creation is subjective knowledge, i.e., information about that element which generally and imperfectly predicts its course and position in space and time as it moves through our expanding universe. Because we are each human, we each experience what it is like to be human. Therefore, we have subjective knowledge of ourselves and our human nature. We can use this knowledge to predict with certainty our own actions in a particular circumstance. However, we cannot use this knowledge to perfectly predict how another human being would act in an exactly similar circumstance. We can only speculate, based on our own action, how that human being would likely act. Since subjective knowledge of human nature does not perfectly predict the future course and position of human individuals in space and time, we must consider our subjective knowledge of human nature as merely an “understanding.”
Wisdom is an astute understanding of human nature. Wisdom understands human happiness relative to the means appropriate to achieving it. A human being who has wisdom is wise. A human being who lacks wisdom is foolish.
Foolishness is loving a happiness that cannot be achieved. Fools remain hopelessly unhappy unless they obtain wisdom.
Both smart men and fools have knowledge enough to achieve happiness. However, a smart man is not constrained to use his knowledge wisely, and a fool uses his knowledge to love unwisely. Stupid men do not have knowledge enough to achieve happiness. Their only hope for achieving happiness is to find a smart teacher and acquire the knowledge necessary and appropriate to achieve their dream of happiness. However, even a knowledgeable man must learn more. He must strive to be wise, or his knowledge goes for naught. Relatively few knowledgeable men strive to become wise. Knowledge of this fact is the most important gift a teacher can bestow. Knowing the difference between knowledge and wisdom is a student’s reward for learning from a wise teacher.
Wise men nearly always have great knowledge about many things, but men who have great knowledge about many things are not necessarily wise. A man who has knowledge of many things, but remains a fool is the most dangerous man on earth. He is most likely to believe his knowledge of many things enables him to achieve a course or position in space and time which is impossible. He is most likely to believe his knowledge of many things makes him a superior human being. He is most likely to coerce others to follow him down his path to impossibility. He is most likely to cause grave harm or death to those human beings who passively submit to his leadership or blindly follow it.
A man who has little or no knowledge and no wisdom at all is a tragic figure because he is unable to be happy and unlikely to survive. He is the cannon fodder of smart fools.
[NOTE: "LOVE IS BARTER, by Sherman Broder" will be available for general purchase when Sherman gets around to publishing it. Sorry, it's just the way he operates. He has been, after all, kind enough to make available this excerpt as a gift to me and this blog. Just don't reproduce it without permission. I can tell you from experience, the man has a damn army of lawyers and won't hesitate to turn them loose on you. Besides, what chance would you have in court when the plaintiff is the world's richest man?]