Reading more… Becoming blind…

Advertisements

From concerns over blue light to digital strain and dryness, headlines today often worry how smartphones and computer screens might be affecting the health of our eyes. But while the technology may be new, this concern certainly isn’t. Since Victorian times people have been concerned about how new innovations might damage eyesight.

In the 1800s, the rise of mass print was both blamed for an increase in eye problems and was responsible for dramatizing the fallibility of vision too. As the number of known eye problems increased, the Victorians predicted that without appropriate care and attention Britain’s population would become blind. In 1884, an article in The Morning Post newspaper proposed that: “The culture of the eyes and efforts to improve the faculty of seeing must become matters of attentive consideration and practice, unless the deterioration is to continue and future generations are to grope about the world purblind”. (1)

At the end, we didn’t become blind with the books.

And we will probably not become blind with iPads as well.

But could it be that we are looking into the wrong direction for problems?

The issue with more and more information is not that is causes blindness. But that it opens the eyes. And the more your eyes are open to see things, the more you lose touch with the things which cannot be seen at all. And the latter are the ones which are important. And you need to close your eyes to see them.

At the end, we will keep on reading.

At the end, we will know everything.

And with new technologies we will see anything.

We will be so excited about our knowledge!

So happy for our newly found wisdom!

That we will miss our unhappy (self) children next to us.

Trying to catch our attention to their new play.

Daddy!

Daddy!

Look!

Not now kid. I am discovering the universe!

Daddy…

Daddy…

Look…

The universe is passing right by you…

Daddy!

WHAT?!!?

(I love you…)

Floating into the abyss.

A teardrop…

We believe we can come up to the surface.

Without knowing that we are already home…

I learn. You learn. We learn. (nothing)

Advertisements

“I learn,” “you learn,” “she learns,” “they learn,” yet, according to a surprising new linguistic study, in countries where the dominant language allows personal pronouns such as ‘I’ to be omitted, learning suffers. (1)

A more or less logical conclusion. Learning is about you increasing your knowledge. While being, on the other hand, is about increasing your ignorance to the point that you become one with the cosmos.

Question everything.

Even your ability to question anything.

Do you feel wise? Are you ready to accept that you are not? It is only when you are ready to accept that you are nothing, that you become everything. A cup of tea is not useful when it is full…

Only the wisest of men admitted that they learnt nothing…

Only the most arrogant of men advertised that they know something…

I am. Therefore, I learn.

I am no one.

Therefore, I already know everything…

Not because I know them.

But because I accept that I am already part of nothing…

Spreading bad ideas.

Advertisements
Photo by Spiros Kakos from Pexels

How ideas move through academia may depend on where those ideas come from – whether from big-name universities or less prestigious institutions – as much as their quality, a recent study from the University of Colorado Boulder suggests.

The new research borrows a page from epidemiology, exploring how ideas might flow from university to university, almost like a disease. The findings from CU Boulder’s Allison Morgan and her colleagues suggest that the way that universities hire new faculty members may give elite schools an edge in spreading their research to others.

In particular, the team simulated how ideas might spread out faster from highly-ranked schools than from those at the bottom of the pile — even when the ideas weren’t that good. The results suggest that academia may not function like the meritocracy that some claim, said Morgan, a graduate student in the Department of Computer Science. (1)

Science progresses. But still, the more we discover the more we realize that what we know is void of any meaning. Once upon a time we used to believe we will prove everything. Then came Gödel. And we forgot about him. Now we still believe that what we say – regardless of whether it is proved or not – is related to reality per se. And yet, philosophy has for a long time clarified that any assertion related to ‘reality’ is a very dangerous one.

Humbleness was always correlated with wisdom. But today’s society has discarded that trait as a mark of weakness. And yet, it is only the strong ones which admit that they are the weakest of them all. Our world is full of people who speak loudly and yet they know nothing. And the humble wise men who once roamed the cities, have now left for the desert.

LISTEN TO ME!

I KNOW WHAT I AM SAYING!

(And that is why I don’t… Shhhhhh…)

Sacred mountain. Unholy science.

Advertisements
Hawaii now and then… [Source]

A mountain which used to be sacred, is for many years now a place for science.

Following a protracted legal battle and years long protests that left a state deeply  divided, the Hawaii Supreme Court in November 2018 cleared the final legal hurdle for a $1.4 billion telescope project to resume construction atop the Big Island’s Mauna Kea, a mountain considered sacred by many Native Hawaiians. In a 4-1 ruling on Tuesday, the court upheld a 2017 decision by the state’s Board of Land and Natural Resources to grant a construction permit on Mauna Kea for the Thirty-Meter Telescope, better known as TMT.

The court said it had carefully considered the arguments put forth by the project’s opponents who’ve described the telescope’s construction as an attack on indigenous culture and a desecration of sacred land. But, per the ruling, it had ultimately determined that “astronomy and Native Hawaiian uses on Mauna Kea have co-existed for many years and the TMT Project will not curtail or restrict Native Hawaiian uses”.

The ruling also noted the telescope’s potential to “answer some of the most fundamental questions regarding our universe” – a benefit that won’t just be enjoyed by Native Hawaiians but all of humankind.

“We are not anti-science or astronomy,” Lanakila Manguil, an activist who’s been protesting against the TMT project for years, told HuffPost in 2017. “It’s about construction, development and industrial-sized work happening in conservation lands and particularly very sacred lands to our people.” The mountain, which measures about 32,000 feet from seafloor to summit, is home to burial sites and is where Native Hawaiians have been known to bury their umbilical cords as a way of connecting to the sacred land. (1)

In the old days we used to have sacred lands.

In the old days we used to walk on the land.

In the old days we used to dream of the stars.

Only because we believed we were part of them.

Now we want to look at them closely.

To observe and analyze them.

Now we do not have anything sacred.

Now we do not even believe in ourselves.

And we long so much to get out of that land.

And reach the stars.

Only because we believe we do not belong with them in the first place…

Inherited strength & Arrogance in religion, science and elsewhere.

Advertisements
Σιωπή…

Nowadays we often talk about the arrogance of people in various fields. Arrogant scientists do things simply because they can do them, without thinking about the consequences. Arrogant priests are almost celebrating that they quit the church and “moved on”. Arrogant managers in companies behave unacceptably without any empathy for colleagues or customers. And the list goes on and on for ever. Many reasons lie behind such behavior. But few are the important ones. One being the most basic of them all: The ease with which we inherit power and knowledge. An ease that is increasing as the years go by and we ‘progress’.

You see the scientist today does not toil for what he knows. He just reads everything that his predecessors have discovered and by standing on the shoulders of giants he makes his own discoveries. By finishing university he already knows everything that the leading scientists of the last century knew without even sweating. With such power he feels intoxicated. He gets excited. He can go further! To create something else! It does not matter what! He does not even think about whether or not he should respect some limits because he did not go through years of difficulties to get where he is; time that would increase his humility at the same time his strength also increased. His knowledge increased exponentially along with his arrogance. Similarly, the priest today does not bother to be a ‘saint’ or does not spend years of pain and efforts to reach at new spiritual heights that will allow him to humbly guide others. He reads everything that the Fathers of the Church have written and in a few years he is ready to play his role, spreading the wise thoughts of old sages to his followers. The greatest difficuly he ever experienced? The exams at his school. And if he gets bored, well, he just leaves. But the holy people of the past went through hell to become what they became. For them it was not a matter of reading at a university but a matter of living. For them, it was a matter of life or death. And how can you give up your life or deny your death?

The examples do not stop here. As said above, we could go on listing cases of modern people following the easy path, accepting inherited power and being arrogant because of that. The right president of a company has gone through a lot until he reached his position. Years spent in low positions, years of effort and difficulties. He won his place. For such a president it does not even make sense to ask him if he is thinking of leaving and going elsewhere. Such president makes a great president. But to-day, people are just selected to be CEOs. In the same way you select to buy a gun from the super market. And with that gun you can kill. But the karate teacher who has learned after years of practice to kill with his hands, he never does kill anyone. Because the years that he spent to acquire this power made him the right person to use it wisely.

Alchemists had a reason for requiring years of silent apprenticeship to reach a minimum so as to begin doing your own experiments. Pythagoras the same. Be afraid of the easy way. It leads to monsters. Learn what you learn on your own. And only when you work hard enough to make it your own, dare to talk to others about it.

Until then…

Discard your inheritance.

And shut up.

(Inspiration for the post from Ian Malcolm’s speech in Jurrasic Park novel, written by Michael Crichton)