Thursday, 21 October 2010

Science's arrogance?

In Nasim Taleb's book 'Black Swan, the Impact of the Highly Improbable', page 138, it mentions:

"Let us examine what I call epistemic arrogance, literally, our hubris concerning the limits of our knowledge. Episteme is a Greek word that refers to knowledge; giving a Greek name to an abstract concept makes it sound important. True, our knowledge does grow, but it is threatened by greater increases in confidence, which make our increase in knowledge at the same time an increase in confusion, ignorance, and conceit."

Episteme, it may refer to knowledge but it primarily means 'science', so someone should read the term of 'epistemic arrogance' as 'scientific arrogance', more at the heart of the matter alluded by the uncommon use of the term, unfamiliar to a wider audience. The use of the Greek word 'episteme', it is not merely giving a veil of importance but the equivalent of a derogatory term to science itself. That science could stoop so low as to becoming arrogant.

By the use of Greek words freely outside the context of the Greek language ignoring the semantic overtones that bear, it has been an ingrown pastime, Greeks would say a lack of respect of the language. But what the heck, why not, words are merely symbols to be used at will to the context it is transferred to and the meaning attributed it alone. However when as in this case the use of a word that in its original form means what you try to avoid saying to their face reveals a cautiousness from the part of the introducer and mar the very concept itself instead of being different.

You are avoiding saying to their face that science itself creates arrogance.

.. has a past ..

It is not the limits of our knowledge that it is questioned here but our over-reliance to our conscious aspect of our consciousness, it is our conscious mind that is arrogant, it bears the ingredients to become arrogant.

.. don't blame knowledge itself but the way it is used ..

It is our conscious mind that overwhelmed by notions that prevail in our societies, in the current stage and age, that drives individuals to a trail of arrogance.. (page 139)

".. Harvard Business School students, a breed not particularly renowned for their humility or introspective orientation. MBAs are particularly nasty in this regard, which might explain their business success."

.. nasty ..!!

or in page 137

"Many of the opera-bound people looked like they worked for the local office of J. P. Morgan, or some other financial institution where employees experience differential wealth from the rest of the local population, with concomitant pressures on them to live by a sophisticated script (wine and opera)."

Conscious mind is a product, highly amenable to influences, which at any time could lead it astray. Succumbs under the pressures, a (highly?) volatile quantity. That is the make-up of our conscious mind. Restrains, puts reigns to its unconscious counterpart, undermines the unconscious, instils it with fear, hesitation. Hesitance, self-doubt creeps in, confidence is undermined.

When my conscious self gets in the way, interferes, I loose the streak that my unconscious put forth. All the concepts are there, awaiting, but the conscious is an ill agent, contributor, handler. Can not handle things in the way the unconscious can, knows, handles.

And how can it not be. Logic reasoning, logic reasoning works at another level above what unconscious works, a bundle of things that their main reason being there, is to put barriers, to slow down, mostly to a standstill, the thoughts that rush in.

Science, the way it is employed by its purveyors, can not be imaginative.

Conscious mind emergent? A construct? What fires up the conscious, cranks the brain machine from the top, from a higher level? Till all the cogs of the brain machine are in motion, it takes time, they are not deployed fast. Fast enough. A notion that is revealed to any individual that complains at a computer, that is not fast enough, unaware of the speed, the complexity of a program entails, which its conscious mind can not emulate, but its unconscious can.

The unconscious works down at the deepest level, down to the level of neurons themselves, at speeds unimaginable. Where inspiration resides and fires up.

The conscious, can not only keep up the pace, but stops the fire spreading. The unconscious is what pokes out the ideas, bifurcations ahoy. The conscious kills the unconscious, undermines, the unconscious, instils it with fear, hesitance. When my conscious mind gets in the way, interferes, I loose the streak that my unconscious pushed forth. Grammar rules, overbearing syntax, fancy words that could do without, see to that. The conscious writhes in, struggles and suffers.

and its use in this context it is not merely to make the abstract concept sound important but it is used to derogate science itself or at least one of its aspects the aspect that science can be used in arrogant ways, a slur against science itself and not a totally different concept.