Language. Civilization. Silence. Re-death.

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Photo by Caio Queiroz from Pexels

Sixty years ago, renowned Harvard psychologist B. F. Skinner published one of the most important books ever written about language. Verbal Behavior offered a comprehensive account of our unique capacity for symbolic communication, arguing forcefully over nearly 500 pages that it was learned rather than innate. The culmination of years of work, it was certainly influential – although not in the way Skinner anticipated. Rather than propelling his ideas into the limelight, it sparked a counter-revolution that catapulted a rival theory to worldwide acclaim.

Now, though, that rival theory is in decline and some of Skinner’s ideas are making an unexpected comeback. In recent years, psychologists have discovered that language really is learned, emerging from some general skills that are taught to children in the first few years of life. Surprisingly, these are not grand intellectual feats. Rather they can appear almost trivial – as simple as grasping the relationships between things, such as a large ball and a small one. (1)

We tend to see people who talk nicely as cultivated.

We admire logos. Seeing it as the culmination of our civilization.

But the cosmos was born in silence.

A quiet universe bred us into existence.

Calm trees covered us from the sun while we were growing.

The silent Earth carried us in her bosom.

And in that world…

We came into existence crying loud.

Being torn apart from our mother.

Being separated from the cosmos into being.

The only way to return home is not via speaking.

But by staying silent.

Just listen to the rustling of the leaves.

There is a cave underneath.

Go inside.

There is nothing there.

Only the things you bring with you…

Against politics.

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So many people talking.

So many people shouting.

But the world was not created in noise.

Logos did not first appear with sound.

True philosophy can never be in favor of politics.

In a world where all speak their self, no one knows himself.

In a world full of thought, no one can understand the limitations of thought.

In a cosmos full of everything, no one can even consider that we all came from nothing.

The greatest Kings were always afraid of the crazy eremites of the desert…

Stand aside.

Seek silence.

And you will find wisdom…

Clever raccoon. Wise humans?

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A raccoon managed to solve an intelligence problem by bypassing it.

In a study, the researchers set up a cylinder with a floating marshmallow too low for the raccoons to grab. For the training session, the team balanced some stones on the rim of the tube. When the raccoons knocked them in, it showed how dropping stones in the water would raise the height. Once this had been done, the researchers set up the experiment again, this time with stones on the ground.

Two of the eight raccoons realized that if they pick up these stones, they can use them to bring up the height of the water and reach the delicious marshmallow.

But a third sneaky raccoon managed to create an entirely new method – tipping the entire, very heavy tube so the sugary snack would just come out with the water.

Birds certainly haven’t done that before, as far as we know. (1)

Being clever is about solving problems.

Being very clever is about solving a different problem than the one presented.

Being wise is about thinking there is no problem at all.

We value cleverness. But we misinterpret wisdom for stupidity.

When someone does not see or understand the problems we have, we insist that he is not-so-intelligent simply because he does not share our image of the cosmos. Most of the times we are right. The world is full of stupid people. But sometimes, just sometimes, we are wrong. And the “stupid” old man standing by us is wiser than we can ever imagine.

A racoon throws rocks into the tube to eat.

A smart racoon overturns the tube to eat.

A man admires the racoon.

A wise man does not even want to eat…

Avoiding uncertainty. By simply hiding it. Avoiding ignorance. By simply not asking.

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Researchers report the discovery of a new technique that could drastically improve the sensitivity of instruments such as magnetic resonance imagers (MRIs) and atomic clocks. The study reports a technique to bypass the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. This technique hides quantum uncertainty in atomic features not seen by the instrument, allowing the scientists to make very high precision measurements. (1)

Learning everything is impossible.

Because every new knowledge always generates new questions.

You must accept your ignorance in order to know.

Answering is not the solution in answering.

Stop asking1 questions is.

There is no ignorance.

You always knew.

All you had to do was to realize it.

1 Not in the sense of being consciously ignorant, but in the sense of consciously accepting the cosmos and realizing the fact that all the “knowledge” you supposedly gain is built on notions arbitrarily defined.

Knowing. Bacteria’s memory (x 100). Humans…

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Researchers have identified a mutation that prompts bacterial cells to acquire genetic memories 100 times more frequently than they do naturally. This discovery provides a powerful research tool and could bring scientists one step closer to developing DNA-based data storage devices. (1)

We insist on making the cosmos a big computer.

We want to make it ‘work’ better.

We imagine building machines.

And yet, go ask a wise man…

There is nothing to know.

There is nothing to make work.

Ask a wise man. He will tell you.

A bacterium already does and knows much more than he does…

🙂