Making everyday decisions seems easy enough. But new research from Stevens Institute of Technology suggests that too much knowledge can lead people to make worse decisions, pointing to a critical gap in our understanding of how new information interacts with prior knowledge and beliefs.
Kleinberg and her team, found that when the problem was about something they were already familiar with (like finances and retirement, for example) people became less confident in their choices and made worse decisions, suggesting that their prior knowledge got in the way of choosing the best outcome. (1)
About Children’s Philosophy: A series of articles that will show how small children answer the greatest philosophical questions of humanity. Philosophers need to question everything. And in order to do that, one must think as a child again!
One can find wisdom in crazy persons and in children. So that is what I did: I asked the greatest philosophical questions to a seven years old child. And the answers were amazing.
Some of them you can find in various posts hidden in Harmonia Philosophica (e.g. in the There is no death article). This is an attempt to gather the major answers of the child here.
Humans have been pondering on big questions of philosophy for thousands of years now. And yet, no definitive answers have been found. Harmonia Philosophica tries to guide humans to these questions by promoting non thinking and irrationality, for this is the only way to discard all dogmas and think freely. The child provided great input that helps us enhance our faith in the path we have taken.
A child thinks with no premises, no dogmas, no prior knowledge of things. In that way one can say that a child’s thought is more close to non-thinking than to thinking. This way of thinking can be a true revelation for a grown up who is too used to the things he or she already ‘knows’. True philosophers and scientists alike question everything.
Are you ready to stop thinking in order to think?
Let’s see what the child had to say…
EPISODE 1: Does death exist?
Truth puzzles are an invention of Harmonia Philosophica that helps someone formulate a ‘solution’ to the great philosophical questions of human mind. In these ‘puzzles’ you have all the basic elements of philosophy and all you have to do is connect them with lines or arrows to indicate their relationships. There are no rules on how to do that and that is the basic rule: there are no predefined rules on how to think!
One can read the Truth Puzzles article here to learn more about that method of philosophical investigation.
Details set aside, what is of interest here is that I have a Truth Puzzle to the child to complete.
The instructions were simple: My child, take that page and draw lines or arrows between these words.
An important note is that the child did not have English as its mother tongue so it was difficult for it to understand the words, let alone the fact that the child could not in any case be fully aware of the meaning of the words in the Truth Puzzle anyway due to its age.
After a minute the puzzle was completed. And the result was astounding.
What I saw was that…
The child had connected with lines all elements on the page except one: Death!
Besides the importance of the coincidence that the word Death was the only one omitted (Read the ‘There is no death‘ article for that), another important thing we should always keep in mind: There are no rules on how to think! I had thought that one should connect all elements I had written on the page, but the child showed me that this should not be the case!
Lesson learned: There are no rules on thinking! Question everything! Especially the things that you don’t!
That is how philosophy and science progress!
EPISODE 2: What is Being?
I once asked a child ‘What is Being?’.
I have the question written on a piece of paper and waited to see how this difficult philosophical question will be tackled by a seven-year old brain.
After a minute, the answer was handed back to be.
“What is Being?” – “A word”
To my astonishment the child answered that “Being” is a word. Thinking in a simple manner is and has always been a trait of wise men and women. And children. Yes, Being is a word. Perhaps the best answer to our great philosophical questions cannot be found through Logos but through the experience of life and existence itself.q
Lesson learned: Don’t think too much about questions that you yourself has invented. Question everything. Especially yourself!
Before embarking on a new research project, a thorough and exhaustive review of existing literature must be done to make sure the new project is novel. Researchers can also explore the entire body of previously published data on a subject to answer a new question using that same data. This is a daunting task, especially considering that millions of new research articles are published each year. Where does one even begin to explore all of that data? A software may help scientists in this difficult task. (1)
We try to know everything. And one day we will manage to do so.
Not with knowing them. But without knowing anything.
Not by reading them. But with analyzing them automatically.
How sad that we can never understand that simple truth.
That there is nothing to know. That with every book you read, there are more new books which you haven’t and will never read. That with every question you answer there are more questions you will never answer.
Knowledge is a bottomless jar.
And we are caught in an endless task to fill it.
But it is not the content of the jar we should worry about.
But the jar itself!
And you will see that everything you needed to know was outside it!
Researchers have captured the most direct evidence to date of Klein tunneling, a quantum quirk that allows particles to tunnel through a barrier like it’s not even there. The result may enable engineers to design more uniform components for future quantum computers, quantum sensors and other devices. (1)
We constantly see things. We sense things. We are blocked by things.
Watch carefully and you will see.
That whenever you see something you stop seeing something else.
Our senses are not the window to see the cosmos.
They are our jail inside that cosmos.
A cosmos we ourselves create on our own.
And no, it is not just that our senses might be faulty thus making us sense things which are not there (see here for an article on how healthy people can sometimes mis-attribute touch to the wrong side of their body, or even to a completely wrong part of the body) It is the essence of the senses and what they mean to us which is inherently disassociated with what we call ‘reality’.
A tiny particle can pass through a wall. A human cannot.
You are made by particles. And yet they may never sense what you do.
Disconnected cosmos. Disconnected humans.
Disconnected perception. Disconnected reality.
Due to all the things we think connect us…
Let go of that glue. It is the only reason that you see a broken glass.
As the data boom continues to boom, more and more information gets filed in less and less space. Even the cloud will eventually run out of space, can’t thwart all hackers, and gobbles up energy. Now, a new way to store information could stably house data for millions of years, lives outside the hackable internet, and, once written, uses no energy. All you need is a chemist, some cheap molecules, and your precious information. (1)
We want to store information for ever.
But can that be information?
Every piece of data becomes information within a specific context.
Get that context out and even the most elaborate set of data will be rendered meaningless.
Information can never be stored for ever.
For even after some time the context will be completely unknown or irrelevant to whoever reads it.
Leave the context out.
And you will see the only thing which can ever have meaning as knowledge.
It is simple. It cannot be written or spoken.
Irrational and illogical.
Raw and deep like the ocean.
Raging and dark like the abyss.
There is no way of knowing it. Unless you discard everything you know…
PS. Read the relevant post on harmonia-philosophica.blogspot.com today.