Learning new words…

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Children may learn new words better when they learn them in the context of other words they are just learning – according to research from the University of East Anglia.

Eighty two children took part in the study. In two experiments the team taught them some new words for things they couldn’t name – such as honey-dippers and strainers. Dr Samuelson said: “We practiced these new words until they knew the honey-dipper was called a ‘zeb’ and the strainer was a ‘yok’. We then showed them a new thing – a bird toy – in the context of either the objects they knew well (a ball and a car) or things they had only just learned to name (the ‘zeb’ honey-dipper and ‘yok’ strainer).

“When we asked them to get the ‘blick’, they were good at linking this new word to the bird-toy when it was presented with the familiar things, and with the just learned things.”

But, after a five minute colouring break, the children were not so good at remembering what a ‘blick’ was when they had learned it in the context of objects they already knew. (and did better when they had initially leaned the word in the context of the less well-known things — the ‘zeb’ honey dipper and the ‘yok’ strainer). “We had expected that a stronger knowledge of familiar words would be better for learning new words, but we found the opposite was true” claim the researchers.

“It seems counterintuitive, but it is perhaps because the less well-known items don’t compete with the new words as much. If they learn new words in the context of playing with well-known items such as a ball, book or car, they don’t process the new word as much.” (1)

Remembering things. Learning new things. Forgetting others.

The best way to learn is to unlearn.

The best way to remember new things is to forget the old ones.

New things will then become old.

And soon, they will too be forgotten in the quest for knowledge.

Babies we will be once more.

To view the cosmos as it is.

At the moment we are old and die…

And for the first time we will see.

That this is not the first time we see…

Abstract thoughts…

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Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have leveraged machine learning to interpret human brain scans, allowing the team to uncover the regions of the brain behind how abstract concepts, like justice, ethics and consciousness, form.

In this study, Just and his team scanned the brains of nine participants using a functional MRI. The team sifted through the data using machine learning tools to identify patterns for each of the 28 abstract concepts. They applied the machine learning algorithm to correctly identified each concept (with a mean rank accuracy of 0.82, where chance level is 0.50).

Just said these abstract concepts are constructed by three dimensions of meaning in the brain. The first dimension corresponds to regions associated with language. For example, the concept of ethics might be linked to other words like rules and morals. A person must first understand the words to construct the additional meaning of ethics. The second dimension defines abstract concepts in terms of reference, either to self or an external source. For example, spirituality refers to self, while causality is external to the self. The final dimension is rooted in social constructs. There is an inherent social component to the concepts of pride and gossip.

“It’s flashy to call this work mind reading,” Just said. “For me, it is proof that we have identified some of the elements of the brain’s indexing system — verbal representation, externality/internality and the social dimension — that our brains use to code concepts that have no physical manifestation in the world.” (1)

Trying to make sense of thoughts not based on sensual input is hard. But yet again, it may be so that the true source of these thought are the senses but in ways we cannot yet realize. The duality of the cosmos in the material and the non-material cosmos is an axiom taken for granted by both materialists and non-materialists alike. And yet, this axiom could be the source of all the issues we face.

Why should an abstract thought be irrelevant to the senses?

Why would the senses be only relevant to ‘objective’ things?

What is objective?

What is abstract?

In a world which is One, these opposites have the opposite meaning! Could there be anything more abstract than tables and abstract chairs? Close your eyes and they will go away. Could there be anything more tangible than ethics and morality? Close your eyes and you will still feel guilty.

In the world of One, there is no way to find anything objective but the subjective…

In the world of senses, there is no way to find anything subjective but the objective…

Look carefully.

And you will see nothing…

Until you stop looking.

Picking up voices…

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Our brains have a remarkable ability to pick out one voice from among many. Now, a team of Columbia University neuroengineers has uncovered the steps that take place in the brain to make this feat possible.

The auditory cortex is the brain’s listening hub. The inner ear sends this brain region electrical signals that represent a jumble of sound waves from the external world. The auditory cortex must then pick out meaningful sounds from that jumble. The researchers were particularly interested in two parts of the auditory cortex’s hierarchy: Heschl’s gyrus (HG) and the superior temporal gyrus (STG). Information from the ear reaches HG first, passing through it and arriving at STG later.

The data showed that HG creates a rich and multi-dimensional representation of the sound mixture, whereby each speaker is separated by differences in frequency. This region showed no preference for one voice or another. However, in STG ” it is possible to amplify one speaker’s voice or the other by correctly weighting the output signal coming from HG”.

In other words: HG represents, while STG selects. It all happens in around 150 milliseconds.

The researchers also found that after selection, STG formed an auditory object, a representation of the sound that is analogous to our mental representations of the objects we see with our eyes. This demonstrates that even when a voice is obscured by another speaker – such as when two people talk over each other – STG can still represent the desired speaker as a unified whole that is unaffected by the volume of the competing voice. (1)

We learn to listen.

And distinguish voices from one another.

But could that be the problem of philosophy today?

Concentrating too much on specific voices? Caring too much on specific views? After all, there is no philosophical opinion today which has no opposition from an equally important philosopher. There is no case where the philosophy of one philosopher is not refuted in its entirety by the philosophy of another.

And this is where Harmonia Philosophica comes in play!

You see, for Harmonia Philosophica there is no right or wrong opinion!

For Harmonia Philosophica there is no right or wrong way of thinking!

Because for me, thinking itself IS the problem!

We must stop thinking and start accepting. Start truly living again as we once did.

You cannot explain the cosmos. You can just experience it.

You cannot understand what life is. You can just live it.

The highest forms of philosophy lie within the lowest forms of conscious thinking.

Where there is no thought to cast shadows under the light of Being.

Where there is no though to disturb the calm sea of One with ripples of existence.

The highest philosophy at the end is non-philosophy!

As I once wrote in my opening Harmonia Philosophica article, we must forget how to think in order to truly think.

Really.

Think about it…

Quantum cognition… Quantum cosmos… Classical humans…

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By examining our minds at a quantum level, we change them, and by changing them, we change the reality that shapes them. At least this is what the theory of quantum cognition says about what thinking is all about. (1)

A weird idea. But not less weird than quantum mechanics itself.

We constantly think.

And then think about what we think.

Watching the cosmos.

And changing it at the same time.

The first time we thought, we also thought about what we… thought!

Looking into the mirror, which reflected nothing more than us.

And what are we, than imperfect mirrors of the cosmos itself?

Empty your mind.

Think.

What are you thinking?

1+1 = ?

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Researchers from UNIGE and the University of Bourgogne Franche-Comté tested the degree to which our worldly knowledge and perspective interferes with mathematical reasoning by presenting twelve problems to two distinct groups. The first group consisted of adults who had taken a standard university course, while the second was composed of high-level mathematicians.

When faced with numbers, we tend to represent them mentally either as sets or as values on axes. “We devised six 5th grade subtraction problems (i.e. for pupils aged 10-11) that could be represented by sets, and six others that could be represented by axes,” begins Emmanuel Sander, an FPSE professor. “But all of them had exactly the same mathematical structure, the same numerical values and the same solution. Only the context was different.” Half of the problems involved elements that can be grouped together as sets (e.g. calculating the number of animals in a pack). For example: “Sarah has 14 animals: cats and dogs. Mehdi has two cats fewer than Sarah, and as many dogs. How many animals does Mehdi have?” The second type of problems involved elements that can be represented along a horizontal or vertical axis (e.g. calculate how tall a Smurf is). For example: “When Lazy Smurf climbs onto a table, he attains 14 cm. Grumpy Smurf is 2 cm shorter than Lazy Smurf, and he climbs onto the same table. What height does Grumpy Smurf attain.”

These problems can all be solved via a simple subtraction. “This is instinctive for the problems represented on an axis (14 – 2 = 12, in the case of the Smurfs) but we need to change perspective for the problems describing sets. For instance, in the problem with animals, we look to calculate the number of dogs that Sarah has, which is impossible, whereas the calculation 14 – 2 = 12 provides the solution directly,” explains Jean-Pierre Thibaut, a researcher at the University of Bourgogne Franche-Comté. The scientists relied on the fact that the answer would be more difficult to find for the animal problems than the Smurf problems, despite their shared mathematical structure.

The results were astonishing. In the non-expert adult group, 82% answered correctly for the axis problems, compared to only 47% for the problems involving sets. Regarding the expert mathematicians, 95% answered correctly for the axis problems, a rate that dropped to only 76% for the sets problems! “One out of four times, the experts thought there was no solution to the problem even though it was of primary school level! And we even showed that the participants who found the solution to the set problems were still influenced by their set-based outlook, because they were slower to solve these problems than the axis problems,” continues the Geneva-based researcher.

The results highlight the critical impact our knowledge about the world has on our ability to use mathematical reasoning. They show that it is not easy to change perspective when solving a problem. (1)

Think too much.

And at the end you will stop thinking.

Learn things.

And at the end you will forget what you knew.

Once upon a time you knew how to divide numbers.

But then you tried to learn how to multiply.

Once upon a time you knew how to subtract numbers.

But then you tried to learn how to add.

Once upon a time you knew how to count.

But then you decided to learn how numbers are.

Once upon a time you knew how to draw a circle.

But then you tried to learn how to make a rectangle.

New knowledge constantly added. Only because future knowledge comes. Our constant thirst for new discoveries drives our way through the realms of science. And as we move on, the new knowledge only adds to our ignorance. And the knowledge that has yet to come justifies the knowledge we currently get and clarify.

We have created math to describe the cosmos. But from the moment we started counting the world started laughing. For what is to be known will never be. The veil of mystery for the true meaning of existence is not lifted up with what we do. With every question and every equation we do not tear up that veil in order to see behind it. We are just weaving on it. And it will soon be complete opaque.

In a vicious circle of endless thinking, we can only think of moving forward. But only because we have already been at the end.

Yes, we did first learn to add and then to subtract.

But only because subtraction is addition.

In the same way addition is subtraction.

There is nothing new to learn besides the things you have already learned.

And at the end, when all mathematical operations, have been completed.

You will see zero on both sides of the equation.

And you will remember smiling…

That this is where you started crying…

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