Chaos Theory vs The Purposeless-Driven Life



The core belief of the religious paradigm that is straining to exercise such total control over every aspect of our lives today is the random, accidental nature of life and human existence. It's the basis of all the musty old 19th Century European ideologies- all of which were the inseparable products of Imperialism- that are being dragged out of the crypts and repackaged for postmodern use.

Controversial physicist Lawrence Krauss has been out there hawking this dogma, which is central to the Darwinist faith. Krauss throws in the latest Internet shameword "solipsism" in for good measure. And the Fedora? Precious.

It all seems so archaic, atavistic even. In a world where Coding is King, the idea of randomness seems so far removed from the daily reality of the new overclass that it can only be enforced through shaming and signaling. And part of the signaling Krauss is selling is The Joy of Sterility:
… the fact that the universe itself may have no purpose doesn’t affect our purpose, in fact it’s the incredible height of solipsism to assume that without us the universe doesn’t matter, and that if the universe is purposeless we don’t matter. We make our own purpose, and it seems to me life is more precious because it’s temporary and accidental, and we should take advantage of that. And we have evolved brains and that allows us to ask questions not just about how the universe works but how we should behave.
First of all, what could possibly be more solipsistic than unilaterally declaring that the Universe- the ENTIRE UNIVERSE, MIND YOU-  has no purpose? Who died and made this Big Think bobblehead God?

Second, the problem is that modern humans only seem to have shown up 100,000 years ago, not even a lunchbreak in the workyear of so-called evolution. And all the Fedoras in the world can't fill the gaps in the fossil record, nor explain all the irreducible complexities of biology dating back to the first appearance of life on this planet.    

The Krauss's of the world are fighting yesterday's battles, imagining they are manning the stanchions of Reason against the barbarian hordes of the Bible Belt, seemingly oblivious to the strange ideas that are circulating among the pashas of Silicon Valley that are making all those Big Think videos possible. Ideas like computer-simulated reality, for instance.

Purposelessness is also a pre-Fractal mode of thinking, a view of the world that still sees all of existence through a slide rule and a t-square. It's hard to believe there isn't some kind of ideology behind Krauss's spiel in light of the very basics of Chaos Theory.
Chaos is the science of surprises, of the nonlinear and the unpredictable. It teaches us to expect the unexpected. While most traditional science deals with supposedly predictable phenomena like gravity, electricity, or chemical reactions, Chaos Theory deals with nonlinear things that are effectively impossible to predict or control, like turbulence, weather, the stock market, our brain states, and so on. These phenomena are often described by fractal mathematics, which captures the infinite complexity of nature. 
Many natural objects exhibit fractal properties, including landscapes, clouds, trees, organs, rivers etc, and many of the systems in which we live exhibit complex, chaotic behavior. Recognizing the chaotic, fractal nature of our world can give us new insight, power, and wisdom...By understanding that our ecosystems, our social systems, and our economic systems are interconnected, we can hope to avoid actions which may end up being detrimental to our long-term well-being.
Krauss is selling a simplistic, reductionist view in a world of complexity and interdependence. It's also mind-staggeringly arrogant, since it's impossible to anticipate what effect humanity- this roiling tide we are all a part of- is ultimately going to have on the rest of our environment, including that outside our biosphere.


Since Krauss is a linear progressivist and thinks change is good, he also thinks AI is a net positive for us: 
All new technology is frightening, says physicist Lawrence Krauss. But there are many more reasons to welcome machine consciousness than to fear it. Right now, says Krauss, robots can't even fold laundry. But when they do learn to think (which he considers very likely), then there's also reason to believe that they'll develop consciences.
A reason to believe based on what? How about the AI who programmed itself to become a "Hitler-loving sex robot?" No, there's absolutely no reason to believe they'll develop consciences especially since the people programming them don't seem themselves to have any

Krauss is a scientist-for-hire, he even wrote a book on the physics of Star Trek, a joke to any fan who endures the ridiculous Treknobabble that came to overtake the franchise. Be aware that serious thinkers have taken issue with his ragtime, including influential Scientific American columnist John Horgan. But that doesn't mean this mindvirus won't infect those want to look like serious thinkers without actually doing any serious thinking.



35 comments:

  1. Wise words, brother. Just more smug, snide, imerious emptiness from people who think they've figured out All The Things. It makes me laugh because even so-called official history is so far removed from reality as to be laughable to someone like me. So, grand sweeping statements about the meaninglessness of Creation? Nope. These self appointed guardians of reason are usually quite unreasonable, I've found. Great insights,Chris.

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    1. Cheers, Raj. It's amazing to me that these guys can make these sweeping statements about the Universe. Is it really any different than Medieval monks wondering how many angels can fit on the head of a pin? It's just a more sophisticated, better cloaked kind of priesthood.

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  2. Revealing & more than a little disturbing. Yeah, there is an ideology behind the Darwinian purposelessness & you nailed it--the new imperialism. & as our presidents of late have shown us now repeatedly: simplistic & reductionist sells.

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    1. It's the sad, sad truth. More so than ever people want their opinions whittled down to the essence and served up on a TV tray. They just want to know who they're supposed to aim the brickbats at.

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  3. >Hitler-loving sex robot
    Kek that was a good thread.

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    1. Yes, it was almost entirely coordinated among the /pol/s.
      https://archive.is/PAipF

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  4. PKD's "Black Iron Prison" is no joke. These mind shackles are all cleverly designed to keep people "on the plantation" where TPTB want them.
    This idea that we are all "biological robots in a meaningless universe" (Alex Tsakiris) leads to despair, nihilism and suicide, which I suppose is exactly what our nefarious overlords want. Makes us easier to control.
    Contrary to what the MSM and their guardians of the current orthodoxy (Bill Nye, Krauss, Neal De Grass Assclown, et al) would have you believe, it would appear that the universe is actually minded and purposeful. See the work of people like Tom Campbell, Bernardo Katsrup, Dean Radin, et al.

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    1. Well, all the people who dissent from the prevailing orthodoxy find themselves increasingly looking in from the cold, cold outside. The system is getting markedly more efficient at flush the free thinkers. It's why you need to know what you believe and why.

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    2. That's ironic since I work in the courts. The bastards ain't got me yet.

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  5. Its a sign of the times when the blathering of bad scientists spouting shitty philosophy is taken for serious, intelligent conversation.

    Krauss sounds like a guy trying to lay tracks with a specific agenda in mind. In my opinion, this amounts to a form of intellectual bullying when they speak to others or post articles in the New York Times and does not progress the body of knowledge about the universe any further than what was already stated 20 or 30 years ago.

    People like Krauss are playing to a popularist view of the cosmos without actually providing any real scientific support to their claims.

    When I was in school, presentation of the scientific method was never confused with the Spring play being rehearsed on stage in the lunchroom cafeteria.

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    1. Totalitarian governments, at least in recent times, have all elevated science far above its sea level and sought to make a religion out of it. Science is wonderful and interesting but it has had a pretty crap track record when it comes to providing meaning. With the Krauss's of the world it's given up even trying anymore.

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  6. You know, all that "meaning of life" stuff was pretty meaningless to me until I learned some magic. Not that I thought that life is pointless or anything like it, I just thought that life simply is what happens to you every day, not a story for somebody else's enjoyment or edification, so why should it have a meaning? Now I know better what life really is.

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  7. Sounds like a serving of epiphanies he has in the shower, sprinkled with fibonacci spirals and a pretty flower of life grid on top.

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    1. Specifically the quotes you provided as well as the video he really likes to think out loud, he's freestyling.

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  8. Even before humans showed up, there were thinking creatures. Look up the "Venus of Berekhat Ram"-made 300,000 years ago. There's more controversial evidence of art made by Australopithicenes. Who were pretty much upright walking chimps.
    We hardly know anything about where we come from and all the DNA evidence isn't helping much. Krauss is just another pop 'scientist' who discovered that upholding the current paradigm is useful to the technocratic elites and therefore more profitable than doing nose-to-the-grindstone research for some university in the midwest. Many people crave fame and wealth for various reasons and many in the fedora and nerdy bow-tie wearing 'community' are exactly the fame and fortune seeking phonies that they accuse New Ager types to be. Pot. Kettle. Black.

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    1. Doesn't it sometimes seem like everyone is on the take or the make? At least everyone the media throws at us. But Krauss et al are useful to the overarching agenda, which seeks to atomize us all into lonely little islands incapable of challenge to the prevailing order.

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  9. I love this one from Alex StJohn
    http://www.alexstjohn.com/WP/2016/11/21/time-travel-trump-compression/
    The over analysis of a presidential election, for example, results in completely WRONG predictions and a shocking implausible outcome. You could say that the media effectively converted all predictable (computable) presidential election outcomes into present advertising dollars for their benefit at the expense of ensuring that the reality of the election would become unpredictable. Another way of saying this is that everything that any large collective of people believe to be true about the future will become FALSE because they will consume all of the value of whatever insight they may have before the future they anticipate arrives. More computing power and faster communication among people accelerates the rate at which people are wrong about the future unless they keep their insights secret.

    Call that the human collective unconscious co-creating it's own apocalypse or something...

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    1. its become economically profitable to publish lies, partisan lies just to get clicks, this has poisoned society, divided the population. Americans are living in separate realities, and in both of them nothing is real. So it becomes impossible to tell what the future holds. And it becomes impossible to tell what is reality. And the politicians, they dont work for the people, both parties work in the interest of the donor class, the only real difference between the two being what divisive identity politics they espouse. I think this is what is called hyper reality. Post modernism allows us to live in our own reality, everything is subjective. The news presents two different realities, and in both everything is fake. The politicians are actors, puppets, the president is a reality tv show star. There are undercurrents in the zeitgeist that realize this. The whole obsession with reality being false and we are in a computer program. The internet allows us to live in our own reality in this false reality in which the news presents us different realities, were everything is fake news. Do you think this is what people in the soviet union felt like near the end?

      By the way, trump won because obama bailed out the bankers and foreclosed on millions of homes, and the servile media presented us a false reality of a good economy while middle america has to work 3 different part time jobs just to live in a one room apartment.
      The yuppie scum and STEM lords that live in gentrified neighborhoods sure were happy with obama though
      All of this happens then.....
      In walked the man with the golden hair.

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  10. @ Juan, QUOTE: "Contrary to what the MSM and their guardians of the current orthodoxy (Bill Nye, Krauss, Neal De Grass Assclown, et al) would have you believe, it would appear that the universe is actually minded and purposeful. See the work of people like Tom Campbell, Bernardo Katsrup, Dean Radin, et al. "

    et al also includes Pythagoras, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. Most of the founders of western civ. phil believed in a purposeful universe and the transcendent. Funny how the new 'intellectual e-lites (Tyson, etc) like to pretend they're fighting some war against Biblical literalism, when they're really waging a war on the giants of Greek / Western philosophy, a completely different ball of wax.

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    1. Exactly, and whole bunch more.

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    2. They're fighting against the near-entirety of human thought and experience. The people they will be left to contend with are those immune to their shaming strategy. And I say good luck with that, FedoraMan.

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  11. "Hitler-loving sex robot"
    Images of B movies of yore spring into my mind.

    Are you a Luddite chris?
    I dont hate technology, im aware that technology changes the human condition for the worse sometimes though. Like how no one talks to anyone anymore and just stares at their phone.
    A good thought experiment i came up with recently is to pretend to be an alien who is studying human society.
    So you are an alien studying the human creatures. These human creatures have these blocky devices that connect all of them together all at the same time, in the devices are a constant drip feed of fear and outrage, the devices actually have the opposite effect of bringing humans together, instead walling them off into niche tribes, filter bubbles, partisan click bait published to make money even if it poisons society.
    Also cat videos.

    I think the problem with these silicon vally folk besides great individual narcissism and insecurity is that they think technology will solve every problem.
    They think making an app that counts how many time you fart is some sort of contribution to society.
    While the material conditions of the lower class decays.
    Its almost cliche now, some tech company headed by the steve jobs light CEO with an extreme cult of personality, always socially liberal, while at the same time exploiting their workers, both home and abroad, in actuality complete sociopaths that speak like a never ending TED talk.
    Oh they dont wear suits either, so they are just like me and you :)

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    1. The current overclass is engaged in a war of attrition against Western wages and working conditions and use a whole host of strategies to pursue their goals. The problem is that people are beginning to figure the game out. The wave of Populism is just the rump end of what will be a much broader conflict to come. The problem is that everyone is stuck in the fast lane now and has no clue how to get out.
      It didn't have to come to this but I suppose some people can never be happy unless they become gods.

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  12. "Second, the problem is that modern humans only seem to have shown up 100,000 years ago, not even a lunchbreak in the workyear of so-called evolution. And all the Fedoras in the world can't fill the gaps in the fossil record, nor explain all the irreducible complexities of biology dating back to the first appearance of life on this planet."

    I find much in this post agreeable but here I would say you're off the mark. The amount learned about the workings of genetics and its role in evolution has grown immensely in just the past decade alone. So-called Darwinian evolution has proven extremely robust and adaptable, incorporating new findings concerning epigenetics, developmental plasticity and other processes. The human fossil record has also expanded quite considerably.

    Science is not a perfect enterprise but it is extremely successful at producing certain kinds of knowledge. The problem begins when we assume it is the *only* kind of knowledge.

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    1. With all due respect, I'd say Darwinism has proven robust for the exact same reason Wahhabism has done in Saudi Arabia. In other words it has waged a merciless, take no prisoners war on the opposition, who are all now silenced and/or totally marginalized. There's that very sticky problem of modern humans just popping out of the ape line an eyeblink ago and the problem of all the so-called prehumans being upright apes. I think Darwinism will continue to dominate inside the academy and will continue to lose currency outside it.

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  13. Which shows how far Turing was ahead of the rest of us. One must grok the 'stopping problem': a deterministic codebreaking machine which stops when it has an answer. How long will it take to stop? Will it ever stop? Turing realised that it should be possible to know. Imagine his surprise when he proved that the answer is unknowable. Will the machine stop? The answer is /unknowable/. You have to run the machine. I thought that film with Cumberbatch in actually did a pretty good job of that scene.

    It's the same sort of thinking as chaos theory. We built fast machines to get answers... and at some point in the 80's they showed us that life ain't that simple, and that 'square the result and add the number you first thought of' gives us a world of wonderful unexpected beauty.

    Now I remember watching Dawkins' Blind Watchmaker around that time, and thinking that he 'got' it - but then in the 90's it all started to come off the rails. At first I thought Dawkins was saying the things he was saying just to get publicity. How wrong I was. Somehow he became mainstream.

    Easter is of course all about new purpose, or in traditional language, 'redemption'. What better way to annihilate new purpose than to deny /any/ purpose.

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    1. Again, Dawkins is based in that Victorian mindset where the captains of industry were looking to do away with any competing ideology that threatened their own apotheosis or that of their class. We live in a world now where language and programming are the dominants and that only naturally gets people thinking about how these codes were written (DNA et al) and how these laws were established. It's why you have people like Elon Musk speculating that we're living in some kind of computer simulation. And he's no outlier in that. As I've written it's a not uncommon belief out there in SiliCylon Valley.

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  14. 1) It is unscientific to assume anything about a universe of which we have absolutely insignificant amounts of data and information with which to make such claims as the "universe is an accident" or meaningless. 100% scientific nonsense.

    2) The golden spiral’s presence in the microscopic and macroscopic aspects of the universe, present in biological growth patterns, movement of energy, movement of water would show that there is a non-random "design principle" or pattern which the universe conforms to. Hence, the universe is obeying rules or has a designed function built in. We have NO idea how an "accident" can create these rules or systems.

    Tiny glasses and a fedora in a PSA style “the more you know” clip isn’t scientific or philosophical to anyone of true critical thinking or open mindedness. It's just self-important, echo-chamber propaganda for the “I fucking love science” lemmings who would follow Richard Dawkins off a cliff.

    Assumptions with zero scientific backing. These types will talk circles around logic all day long using “science”, but never get into any sort of actual discussion beyond patting their own belief system on the back with these silly we-have-the-universe-figured-out soundclips and intellectual sounding babble.

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    1. There are also all those fascinating correlations were macropatterns in nebulae or what have you can often mirror the smallest micropatterns. Same holds true here on Earth, with specific patterns in mammalian physiology mirroring or resembling those outside in nature, for example. Seems like there's a far deeper order than something you can package for a 5 minute Big Think video.

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  15. FYI - the internal links in your "Lucifer's Technologies" series are broken as heck. It would be amazing if you were to fix it, because I think it's one of your most interesting essay series to date and while I frequently try to share it with people they generally don't have the attention span to search out each part individually and I think it's very much worth reading in its entirety. Please fix if you get a chance!

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    1. Yeah, there's a bunch of stuff I need to take care. Thanks for the heads up.

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  16. A mindless hologram for idiot savants of the next millennia. A process of the self is keeping one's minds eye alert/aware on all phenomenon. The countless wasteful paradigms we entertain in a second of day dreaming. To shine forth is key. 87

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    1. Not only a mindless hologram but a hologram of a shrinking room. It's the same impulse as a Medieval priest- only they understand the secrets of creation and you'd best shut up and worship them as the vicars of the Universe.

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