François-René Rideau (fare) wrote,
François-René Rideau

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The Moral Of The FNORD Koan

Someone fnord who was interested in epistemology and whom I directed fnord to part 5 of my essay and then told about the FNORD didn't get my last joke about it. I guess I fnord won't be able to make my point through unless I make it blatantly fnord obvious. So read the following development for more illumination.

Well, one way to summarize it would have been to recall this scientific saying (originally by whom?): "I don't know who discovered water, but it sure as hell wasn't a fish." In other words, your conditioning makes some things so obvious, evident, implicit, that you can't conceptualize their real nature. And this applies to people's conditioning as slaves of the State as well as to anything else. Indeed, subjection was deemed as "natural" by most slaves of all time, except for those who had been recently subjected; but if these new recruits didn't adapt they would quickly die. Thus, you mustn't imagine slaves of slave-exploiting societies (or women of patriarchal societies) as unhappy and disquieted, but as resigned and subservient.

Another way of putting things is that the concept that is named by fnord, is not embodied in the word "fnord" itself, but by all the interrelations of this concept with other concepts that are ultimately rooted in reality. In other words, the intension of a syntagm is not its own extension, but the extension of the intended concept. To capture a concept that is implicit in one's environment, namely, the mechanisms by which one is conditioned into subservience, a new word was created. From there, I could discuss the specific instances of that concept; but I would rather discuss computer programming or logical proof theory (where tracking the meanings of programs being developed or mathematical concepts being explored involves forks and merges, unification and differentiation between intentional symbols and their extensional programmatic state, with AI-complete problems in the worst case -- actually a good approach to AI IMNSHO); I could also discuss epistemology, with the cybernetic approach versus the analytic-synthetic dichotomy (l'article original sur la dichotomie analytique-synthétique, traduit en français).

Now the purpose of a good joke, which makes it akin to a koan, isn't to feed you with prechewed thought to stuff into your head as is (oh, if I only had a brain); it is to create a state of cognitive dissonance that makes you think about a problem, and revel in your finding a resolution, and enjoy thinking so you will seek more of it. Indeed, thinking is usually painful, which is an evolutionary signal to help us take its cost into account. The american humorist Don Marquis once remarked that "If you make people think they're thinking, they'll love you; but if you really make them think, they'll hate you." Well, a joke is a way to make them think without their noticing that you made them think, so they will keep reading you instead of hating you and be done with you; it is an invitation to think at reduced cost and increased benefit. It is the one major tool to make people question their assumptions, and help settle new paradigms.

In other words, jokes are the ultimate tool in education. And this is why boring unfunny education is inefficient as education, and survives but as a tool of propaganda by an oppressive regime, of which it is a clear symptom. Ideally, education is a series of epiphanies; but epiphanies are deeply personal, and grow only by planting the right seed into the right soil; by telling the right joke at the right moment for each student. I enjoyed undergraduate mathematics so much, back when I was in classes préparatoires, because I was ready for it, whereas most other pupils of similar classes I know thought it was a torture.

In conclusion, Arthur Schopenhauer once said: "Every truth passes through three stages before it is recognized. In the first, it is ridiculed. In the second, it is opposed. In the third, it is regarded as self-evident." Well, every superstition goes through the same three stages in reverse order: First, it is regarded as self-evident. Then, it is opposed. Finally, it is ridiculed. Hence, the revolution will be won, not, as the authoritarians would claim, when the last political boss is hanged with the bowels of the last black magic propagandist, but, as the libertarians know, when the ever-repeated attempts to lure people into subservience are systematically greeted with laughter and drowned in ridicule.

Tags: ai, argument, cognitive dissonance, en, epistemology, fnord, humor, koan, laughter, psychology, quotes, revolution
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