Picking up voices…

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Photo by Spiros Kakos from Pexels

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…

COOD: Civilized One-on-One Debates on God, Science, Religion & Metaphysics

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Debating was always a hot topic… [Source: Wikimedia Commons]

Tired of having heated discussions on God and religion with angry people?

Tired of having impolite or rude reactions to your logical arguments?

The art of debating is simple: Just be polite and respect one another!

And yet, to-day it is harder and harder to find someone who can actually do that!

And that is a pity because too many interesting discussions are lost due to the simple inability of people to just sit and listen to each other. In modern era everyone is so keen on persuading others for their own opinion that the hardly find time to listen to the opposite opinions. But fool yourself not: No matter how right you think you are, the existence of an opposite opinion is a treasure that you should cherish!

To tackle this modern problem a new debate safe-space is introduced: COOD!

A private invitation-only group where polite discussion is the only rule!

> Join group at COOD: Civilized One-on-One Debates on God, Science, Religion & Metaphysics <

A place where people debate only on a one-on-one basis and not in the usual ‘everyone attacking everyone’ manner which resembles lynching more than it resembles actual discussion.

And that is not the only good thing about COOD!

The debates are structured in a way that allows for pure and civilized exchange of ideas, allowing everyone the time to read and understand the opinion of the other side! Debating happens with one person posting after the other in sequential order – posting avalanches of ‘arguments’ to burry your ‘opponent’ with arguments is simply not allowed. Strick administrative oversight ensures that each person says something and then waits for the answer of the other side before posting again!

Last but not least: The debates at COOD end after twenty (20) posts from each side and posted. No more than 20 posts are allowed per person! Keep it short and sweet! In that way everyone will pay more attention to the arguments they post rather than getting into a vindictive mode of constant posting until the other party does not have the time or the nerve to keep up. Civilized discussions happen with structure and at some point they have a civilized end.

Everyone reading can then assess the discussion at their own pace.

Any topic can be of course be the subject of another debate as many times as people wish, as long as the above rules are met (Read the Rules in the page for more details).

Too COOD to be true?

Perhaps it is time to believe in miracles…

Truth Puzzles: Solving the mysteries of the world…

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Philosophers have pondered on the answers to the great metaphysical questions of humankind for aeons…

And they have failed miserably to find definitive answers.

Every philosopher has his or her own views, which usually are in complete opposition to the views of other philosophers.

There is currently no way to decide who is right and who is wrong. Perhaps there will never be.

Truth puzzles are here to the rescue!

But what are they?

Simply put, they are a way to easily and quickly draft your thoughts on how the great elements of philosophy and life connect to each other.

The elements of the puzzle are the major elements that trouble philosophers for centuries: God, existence, Being, self, others, life, death, phenomena, reality, One, faith, nothingness, knowledge, senses, thought, consciousness. You can of course add more as you please, but these are the major ones.

Major elements of a Truth Puzzle

The goal of a truth puzzle is to draw the connections between these elements.

How to fill in the puzzles?

It is very easy: Just take all the elements, draw them on a paper and then connect them! The connections could be simple lines, lines with arrows or even lines with explanations detailing the nature of the connections.

I have created Truth Puzzles on paper while sitting for coffee, or with any of the various mind mapping applications available. For example the below image was created with the miMind Android application. Any brain map application will do the trick.

Truth Puzzle 2021-07-24 by me

Now the important part of the instructions: Don’t think too much!

As said already, the solution of the problem is not evident and perhaps will never be! So don’t bother with thinking. Just like in automatic writing, let yourself go and just randomly draw lines and connections between the elements of the puzzle!

Given the complex nature of the problem and our almost total ignorance of what life and existence truly are, there is really no point in trying to think how to draw the Truth Puzzle.

Truth Puzzle 2021-07-25 by Karpouzi

And to be honest, randomly drawing without the arbitrarily created obstacles by human-defined logic, could be the best shot we ever had at the problem in the first place!

So go on and have fun!

Fill in your Truth Puzzles, share it with your friends or even send it to Harmonia Philosophica for publication and, you never know…

What you created might be the solution of the mysteries of the world that Parmenides and Aristotle were looking for…

Harmonia Philosophica on Science in the era of COVID-19: The need for common logic!

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Photo by Spiros Kakos from Pexels

Harmonia Philosophica has been around for decades, writing articles about science, religion and philosophy. Many times, we have been overly critical about the dogmatism inherent in the above fields, especially science. This has been mistakenly used by some people to promotie anti-scientific views regarding the recent coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The purpose of this article is to make things clear enough for everyone to understand that criticism on something does not mean denial of common sense.

Surely, science and scientists have many times been dogmatic about the truthfulness of some of the assumptions they make. And it is the work of every scientist and philosopher alike to pinpoint those assumptions so that the people using them can acknowledge them on their own and potentially question them. Harmonia Philosophica has been working hard on that field for along time now.

However!

Being critical on something (e.g. science as we know it to-day) does not mean that we deny it! To the contrary, every criticism conducted, is based upon scientific evidence and scientific methodology. Questioning the interpretation of the Michelson Morley experiment for example, does not at any point mean that someone is questioning science per se! The criticism made is made in the context and with the scientific tools at hand.

Criticism against science is done with the goal of improving science to the heights it once reached. In the same way that criticism against today’s materialistic philosophy is conducted with the goal of freeing modern thought so as to let it reach its past glory or an era where we thought without first thinking.

(Can you ever criticize what you do not love?)

Surely science has flaws and inherent limitations.

But it is what it is. And it is what we have.

And what else can we do but work with what we have?

There is no non-scientific way to analyze a virus or to analyze the pandemic and propose potential measures to cope with it. There is no non-scientific method to develop vaccines or analyze their efficiency.

By denying science we fall into the same trap that those who deny religion have fallen: Dogmatism! Harmonia Philosophica has been saying that for many many years now: we need both science and religion to reach the truth, if such thing ever exists. And it requires wisdom (and sometimes self-imposed discipline) to know when to use what. Yes, science may have inherent limitations. And we will move forward with them. Towards a slightly better world. Day by day. Article by article.

Science can and has been used the wrong way.

But this means that it can also be used the correct way.

As it has been many times in the past.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a time where we all need to be pragmatic and real. There is an enemy out there and we need to fight it. Criticising the only weapon you have available against it is the only certai way of losing…

Oh, and something else.

Philosophy is great.

But at the end, there comes a time when decisions must be made.

And at that point – where we currently are – endless philosophical discussions about this and that are of no use. To the contrary, they might be proved deadly. During an actual crisis, there is no point in pointing out the obvious (e.g. that “not all experts agree”) or in discussing over and over again epistemological issues not solved for centuries. At some point, whether we like it or not, reality comes into play. Surely our philosophy will play a role in the decisions we will take. But we must not allow it to hinder the making of those decisions on the pretext of ‘thinking’. For even philosophy, as science, is not immune from criticism.

Apologies for the dull article.

For me it is one of the most important ones I ever wrote.

Happy thinking. Stay safe.

Harmonia Philosophica

Philosophy Snapshots

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There are many known (and much more unknown) affiliated Harmonia Philosophica web sites and/ or blogs across the Internet.

To-day we will inform you of the more… poetic one.

Meet Philosophy Snapshots!

A place filled with beautiful poems and short posts meant to draw you away from this world to the only thing that is more important than thinking about Harmonia Philosophica: Not-thinking about Harmonia Philosophica!

If you enjoy Harmonia Philosophica you will surely enjoy this as well!

Happy non-reading!

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