A Search for Wisdom
Occasional Paper #4
July 1988WHAT'S IT ALL ABOUT?
Over thousands of years, man has asked the question: what's it all about? He still has not found the answer.
The following is an outline of many ideas all having a bearing on my search for an answer. The subjects mentioned are intended only to suggest a direction of thought. An old truism is to state what you have to say without trying to explain it. Those who agree will not need the explanation and those who don't will not be moved by it anyway.
Only enough is included with each subject to suggest a line of thought. If you are already familiar with the subject there is no reason to elaborate. If you are not, this is hardly the place to present a tutorial on each of the subjects. I draw on my reading, education, and experience. I can hardly cite proper references for I have not kept a proper log.
If a subject should trigger an interest, you can start with any standard reference. There is plenty to read on each subject. Some people have spent their entire life studying many of these subjects. However, a full understanding is not necessary to understand the point of the assembled material. I often end with unanswered questions. Often they are questions for which I have found no answer, but I find them of interest. They suggest a perspective.
At the beginning I would like to provide a basis for consideration of the question: What's it all about? I have two guiding quotations:
Reason is no path to certainty
except in matters that don't matter.
It is a fundamental urge of man to harmonize himself
with his limitations of all kinds.
I would like to give proper credit for these quotations but I do not have them.
All philosophers seek somewhere to begin. There must be a basis for understanding what it is all about. Descartes found that he could begin with <169>I think, therefore I am.<170> From any beginning one can build a rational house of cards. A house of cards is no better than its foundation. Reasoning may lead to a foundation but is not a foundation. Lest you misunderstand, reason is a powerful tool. It will provide a structure for the organization of experience. Reason has been developed by man as a tool far beyond any other animal. Do not discard that tool as you read further.
I find the fundamental urge of man to be a good beginning. I take that beginning because it satisfies my gut feeling that it is as close to certainty that I can get. The urge produces an inner tension that drives me in a search for harmony. I have a gut feeling of satisfaction when I find harmony. That is as near to certainty as I can get. Each person has a different point of harmony. Some like meat, potatoes and gravy. Others are vegetarians. The fundamental urge of each man is unique. Thus I can conclude that there is no universal answer to the question: What's it all about? Each person will have to find his own answer.
Certainty is an individual matter. A group of people cannot have a group certainty simply because the group has no gut. Extrapolations to the contrary, groups of people do not feel. They may individually agree that they have the same certainty. That agreement many be unanimous or by a majority but that does not necessarily make it certain for each individual.
The newborn cries and stops when he is fed. Perhaps crying is a sign of dissonance and food produces harmony. Many examples of gut feelings can be found. They are not always related to food. Not all inner tensions are directly related to food. But the gut is intimately involved in most types of physiological and psychological tensions. Sitting quietly in a chapel can relieve inner tensions and produce the feeling of harmony. A stroll through a beautiful garden in the sun can produce the feeling of harmony. Many of life's experiences can do the same thing. Other words in common use have similar connotations. Some of them might be a feeling of contentment, satisfaction, and well-being.
All words describing this feeling of harmony are intangible. They defy precise definitions. They cannot be measured as required by the scientific method. Yet each conscious person is somehow aware of his feeling of harmony when it exists. He also knows when he does not have that feeling. His driving force is to seek a feeling of harmony <196> for himself. Only the individual can be certain when he finds it. In exploring the consequence of such a beginning, the first and foremost result is that each person is different. It is not possible to build a single unifying explanation of what it is all about. Rather, it is more an individual pursuit of the question taken collectively that is unifying.
Intelligence has to do with the individual's power to find harmony within himself. Applications of this power can be found in many important examples: the significance of the family, the significance of religion, the significance of science, the significance of government, of philosophy, education, and so on. A distinguishing feature of man from other animals is his intelligence. The application of his intelligence takes many directions. The successful application of his intelligence can resolve the tensions produced by an inner urge. It provides an organization of his experience with which he is comfortable. The use of intellectual activity can lead to an inner harmony. Perhaps an examination of artificial intelligence would help in understanding what it is all about.
Having come this far, it is obvious that a high level of interpersonal communication is major ability of man. It is more developed than in any other animal. A problem with language is its ambiguity. Each person's vocabulary is filled with unique connotations with which he is in harmony. The connotations of the reader are only an approximation of the connotations of the author. Only to the extent that they are the same, is there communication.
Even beyond the realm of communication, an individual's connotations with the words he chooses are context sensitive. The meaning depends upon the subject matter. It also depends upon what he had for breakfast. An individual's thought processes are always in flux according to the changes in the words he uses to form those thoughts. To communicate one's thoughts, the originator must formulate them in words that are transmitted and interpreted by a second party.
The fuzziness associated with differing connotations suggests that it is surprising that there is ever any communication among people. Two people are on the same wave length when they feel a sense of harmony with their communication. This does not mean that they have necessarily communicated well, even if each is sure that he has. It only means that each has a sense of harmony resulting from the communication.
Thinking of two people as being on the same wavelength has many more ramifications. Not only is verbal communication good, but other forms of communication are good. Biological cycles are well known. The circadian cycle is well known. There are other biorhythms such as REM sleep, and many physiological, biochemical and hormonal functions that go in cycles. Perhaps when people are on the same wavelength many of these cycles are in synchrony. Perhaps when people do not feel a common bond their biorhythms are out of synchrony. Some interesting studies of biological synchrony in animals, have been made. Extrapolation is dangerous but intriguing.
Most cultures have incorporated a scheme of values. These values may have spiritual and psychological origins in man's search for harmony. The ideas of honesty, virtue, morals, and so on seem to provide a structure in all cultures. These ideas provide a basis for social interaction but they do not necessarily make for harmony for each individual. They may tend to make for a stable culture.
Suddenly we may have conflicting harmonies among the people within the society. Is one more basic than the other? Some people have a gut feeling that the individual's harmony is more basic while others feel that harmony of the society is more basic. In practice the two potentially conflicting interactions are brought together in a counterpoint. For many daily activities, there is no need to place one more basic than the other. Then there is a gut feeling of appreciation of the counterpoint produced.
To extend the musical analogy a little further, there is the possibility that discord and dissonance may not be harmonious to any person. The cadence in music tends to set in motion an anticipation that, until resolved, is uncomfortable but when resolved leaves a sense of comfort, that is, harmony. The same is true with a melody. For many years music has been a part of human life. Early church music was often monophonic <196> everything was in one voice and moved together. Only later did polyphonic music develop. Through the years progressively more intricate music developed.
The use of music as an analogy to understanding a personal harmony might be very satisfying. A very basic question has to do with the meaning of music. Music provides one avenue to personal harmony. Music is an art form. There are many other art forms that also have their value in producing a sense of harmony in a person.
What is good art? Good art is that which produces a feeling of harmony in a large proportion of people. This does not mean that each individual will find harmony in what is considered by the culture as good art. The creative artist has an internal feeling that he satisfies by communicating it to others. Not all communication need be in words. It may be through music, paintings, sculpture, architecture, clothes, a person's appearance <196> his makeup <196> and so on.
The effective use of words is also an art. The pattern of a good novel or story, or for that matter any writing, involves presenting a picture whose parts are in discord until they are resolved producing a sense of harmony. The sequence of language perception provides a bottleneck not present in paintings. The touching of many various subjects in this discussion is an attempt to bring together many different images into harmony.
The values of truth, beauty and goodness are not easily defined in any rational way. These values have importance only in the way they affect the individual. These values are apparent to large groups of people. This does not mean that they are apparent to all people. Some people will not find beauty in a colorful sunset. Whatever it is all about must acknowledge individual variation. That there are variations must be accepted. Or must they? This is a question of the conflict between people and society. The values of an individual are not necessarily those of the society.
MAN IN SOCIETY
Concerning the role of the individual in society, a well known creed comes to mind. Give me the power to change what I can, to accept what I can't and the wisdom to know the difference. This creed provides a path to harmony for many. It also points up the fact that individual wisdom differs.
The process of the infant growing up is one of successive efforts of the individual to harmonize with his environment. He can be conditioned to many values in the society. The conditioned values may be identical to his personal urges. On the other hand, the conditioned values may be contrary to his urges but he finds harmony easier by suppressing his personal urge and accepting the conditioned value. There are probably many values that are conditioned where there was no underlying urge to harmonize.
The individual may be ambivalent about a particular value, but is accepting. Others may have strong individual feelings about the values being imposed by the society. When the individual's values are congruent with those of society there is little problem. But when they are not, a degree of discord exists between the individual and society.
An interesting question arises in the question of who formulates the values for society. Leaders in society seem to have the answers. Why do they have the answers? There are only a few leaders. Why should the few determine the values for the rest of us? That would seem to be undemocratic. But, by the acceptance of values within a culture, a democratic process is in effect.
Why should our families, religions, schools, governments, and so on, attempt to inculcate a system of social values upon the growing individual? It tends to make a more stable society. In the end there is some sort of democracy here. Only to the extent that the masses of people find it more harmonious individually to conform with the leaders, will the leaders be successful. At times as the storming of the Bastille and the Boston tea party, the leaders change catastrophicly. This has nothing to do with a democratic society in the conventional political sense. The destruction of war is, in a way of thinking, the process of large groups of people deciding upon a system of values among societies that are in discord. War is a democratic response to social discord. What if they gave a war and no one came?
Pavlovian conditioning of operant behavior is successful because of the harmony associated between the bell and the availability of food. It is really a very gut feeling. Psychologists have explored the nature of operant behavior. Skinner and Holland taught their psychology courses in two ways <196> the standard lecture and the programmed system of operant learning. Now some years later the lecture system has not been replaced. There must be some meaning to that.
The modern field of artificial intelligence might have some relevance. At the present state of development it is concerned with expert systems. Expert systems are also known as knowledge based systems. A system is developed to use a computer program to organize and access knowledge. These systems have considerable potential. They also contain several misleading implications.
The major deficiency in the study of artificial intelligence so far has been the missing force driving the intelligent behavior. How can a computer have a gut feeling of harmony? The driving force of man is his feeling of tension that stimulates his use of intelligence to seek harmony. Another way of saying this is that necessity is the mother of invention. His urge to harmonize is the driving necessity. Somehow this stimulation must be introduced into an artificial system before it can be made intelligent. That is if you want to use intelligence with the connotations associated with the intelligence of man.
A second problem with current artificial intelligence research is the constraint placed upon it by the programming languages in use. The structure of a computer is that information stored in some form that is accessible by some programmable algorithm. As such, the computer can be a great extension to man's ability to think. It is worth while to reflect on the process of thinking.
The Saphir-Whorphian hypotheses states that thinking is limited by language. In a similar vein, one could say that the computer language limits the usefulness of the computer as an aid to thinking. For that matter, the hardware design of the computer also imposes a constraint upon its use as an aid to thinking. As long as we are limited to what we have, about all we can do is to recognize the limitation. Having recognized the limitations we should revise the designs of both hardware and software and reduce the limitations.
Thinking could be simply definded as the rationalization of gut feelings. Certainly, thinking is related to the rational ability of man.
Not only does man experience the input from his senses but he is able to organize it in some manner. The unique capability of man among all other animals is his ability to consciously modify the organization of the inputs to satisfy his urge to harmony. These are just a lot of words to suggest an idea that might be worth further thought.
A KNOWLEDGE BASE
Knowledge is a form of remembered experience. Experience may be encoded in some form and organized into a data base of knowledge within man's brain. That experience which is available serves as the data base for intelligent behavior. It is available for use in harmonizing his urges and resolving his inner tensions.
It would appear that man does not store knowledge in the same manner as it is encoded in a computer as a knowledge base. We really do not understand how human memory works. It is certainly not encoded in a string of ASCII values. This is the first limitation of knowledge bases as stored in a computer's memory. It would be interesting to play with other methods of encoding the experiences of man. Some experiences seem to be discarded out of hand. Others remain for short periods of time while still others remain a life time. Can one create a design for memory storage which would be divided into at least these three groups? What differences would there be?
One of the major contributions of a computer is the power to simulate. Here a simulation would require objective definition of a defining algorithm to divide memory storage into three types. Perhaps we might consider RAM, cache, and archival storage in modern computers as analogous to the three types of human memory.
Any discipline leading to intelligent problem solving requires a degree of understanding. It need not be a complete understanding. Classical physics provides a good working knowledge of the physical world around us but relativity made some major changes in our understanding of the world around us. A simulated model need not be complete or fully correct. In the construction of the simulation, attention would be directed to the problem.
Computers as we know them today are very useful, but they impose limitations. Most computers are of a von Neuman architecture. Their use must be forced through the von Neuman bottle neck.
Fifth generation computers are being designed to address this bottle neck. Unfortunately, their design appears to be locked in to the use of a specific language. Their usefulness as an aid to thinking will be limited by that language. Other designs are also being considered. The use of a reduced instruction set is an attempt to bring the hardware design closer to the language and the problems. Other ideas of parallel processing and network designs are also being considered. These are being driven by the limitations of existing designs.
The digital computers at present are dominant over analog computers. The information and the programs are forced into a digital format. But much of biology is not digital in function. The action potentials in nerve transmission seem to carry the information more nearly in the form of frequency modulation. The biochemical reaction rates form a continuum and function in an exponential manner.
In a classical description of the behavior of gases, the behavior of a finite number of molecules is described statistically. A similar problem of description occurs in the decay of radioactive isotopes. Given any single radioactive atom, the only way we have of describing the potential for decay is with statistics. We have no way of determining when the given atom is going to undergo decay.
We have many examples in the collective knowledge within our culture and others, in which uncertainties remain. We are reduced to a statistical basis of thinking about things. Managing statistical knowledge is different from managing discrete knowledge.
We can say that there is a statistical degree of collective harmony within society. The idea of catastrophe in a statistical equilibrium has introduced a new field of mathematics. The idea is simple enough. As applied to society, there is a metastable state of harmony. Within a range of discord that metastable state is maintained. Given a sufficient level of discord there is a sudden change of the harmony within society. Perhaps a new revolution will develop as another Boston tea party.
Each individual has not only different urges producing different tension, but different powers to resolve those tensions. Periodic hunger is a recurring urge of most men. When the hunger urge comes to consciousness the individual may simply suppress it until meal time. He knows that the meal will be ready shortly. Or he may go to the ice box and rummage around for something to nibble on. In an affluent society the individual is usually confident of food being available. The individual has the power of performing services for the community and collecting brownie points that he can exchange for food. When it takes only 10 to 20 % of his efforts, there is little problem in meeting the urge of hunger.
There are other societies where food is not as readily available. In some areas there is simply insufficient food for everyone. It is then a matter of who will collect the brownie points necessary to get sufficient sustenance. At some point the securing of subsistence food will come in conflict with other constraints that the individual has learned. There are many examples of starvation in history. Some examples are hardly history.
Individual behavior varies considerably in any group of people as well as among different groups that arrived at their current conditions in different ways. American prisoners of war showed one pattern of behavior. Small groups cast away in large oceans in small boats with minimal provisions provide another behavior. Cultures which have long survived on a marginal availability of food take on a still different behavior. It is interesting to read of the many forms of action starving people may take in different societies.
The early environment of an individual conditions him in many ways. Much of this is operant behavior. Some young have a way of demanding their wants in most emphatic terms. Early extensive crying and temper tantrums serve to get the necessary attention to satisfy the hunger urge. But not all people adopt these techniques. Different techniques seem to evolve within the same social environment by different people.
What happens when an individual has minimal interaction with society? A large group of human infants deprived of the attention of their mothers or surrogate mothers, but given minimal attention for survival, only survive. I remember seeing movies of a group of such infants several years old, lying in cribs much as a new born lies in a crib. Nothing seemed to have developed.
Obviously, access to social exchanges contribute to individual development, but not every individual in a given social environment develops the same way. Some still like meat, potatoes and gravy while others prefer other foods. There is an interaction between the individual urges and the effects of social exchanges. Similar social exchanges provide the conditioning of individual behavior with often very different results.
The idea of the Golden Rule is interesting. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. This is often construed as a constraining rule, but in a way it is a testing rule. You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours. By scratching your back I am inviting you to scratch mine. That is actually what I want to resolve - my tensions.
Social exchanges begin at birth, if not before. The mother or surrogate mother provides the initial social interactions. With increasing age a child's social environment gradually enlarges. Different children grow in different ways. A major question is: How much conditioning should be imposed upon the child? Should one adhere to a rigid time schedule of meals and sleep? Some children easily take a nap while others fight it. Some parents have strong urges in the care of their children while others are very passive about it.
At what stage of the enlarging social environment should the child start school? Some parents delegate a substantial part of a child's care to others. Sometimes, the mother would rather work and place the child in a child care center. In others the mother would rather keep the child out of school and provide instruction at home.
At what stage should the child be exposed to religious doctrine? Early Sunday school programs are used by many. Some families have a very active religious program daily in the home <196> grace is said at every meal. In other families values are instilled in other ways. The religious sects have many different ways of conditioning the young to particular sets of values. In some religions, these values continue to be reinforced throughout life. At present, large segments of the population have much less exposure to formal religious training than formerly. Social values are instilled in other ways.
Early forms of modern education were directed to the basic skills of communication and numerical training. At the time of the founding of this country the debates of what a school should include were important. The question of the need for Government support of education was questioned. The prevailing doctrine was that public education was necessary to condition the masses to being submissive to the authoritarian political structure. Without this submissiveness, political structure could not survive. In the past, higher levels of education were restricted to a select few. This part of our founding history has been ignored in recent times. What was Noah Webster's contribution and what did he and his contemporaries have to say? I think it would surprise many. His ideas make stimulating reading.
More recently the role of public education has been to condition the child to getting along in society. The tools of verbal communication and numerical thinking have become less important than the value of learning to get along. Also, the educational establishment has extended the amount of exposure to educational conditioning that a child must have. Today it is often said that every child should have the right to go to college meaning that we have to make it possible for each to get there even though the ability may be lacking. Many factors have contributed to this impetus. The length of time the individual is exposed to the educational conditioning is being extended.
Underlying the evolution of cultures is the power of one individual over others. The power the crying baby has over his mother. The power teacher has over his students. The power the church has over its constituents. The power the government has over the people even in the name of government by the people. The power the bureaucrat has over the individual. The power the husband has over the wife <196> or the other way around. This urge for power seems to be associated with the urge to harmonize. What is the gut nature associated with this urge to power over others?
All through life, social interactions are often in the form of the power of one group over another. The masses are conditioned to accept the power of their parents, the school, the church, the government. Not only the masses, but all children are conditioned in this way. It so happens that the conditioning occasionally comes in conflict with the individual's urges. The individual must either acquiesce, or seek personal power to overcome the conditioning forces. To some extent the leaders are those who have the strongest urge to overcome the conflicts and discord and by doing so provide an example for the others. Those who perhaps have urges in conflict with society would acquiesce without outside leadership. Their acquiescence provides political power in a democratic manner.
A common evolution of individual urges is captured in the following observation. He who at twenty is not a socialist has no heart; but he who at forty is still one, has no brains. Is this evolution a result of educational conditioning followed by conditioning in the world of hard knocks?
The ideas of freedom and liberty are constrained in society. The individual may have an urge to take what he wants. The context of society places constraints upon him. Those constraints are interrelated between family, education, the church and government. The individual conceives of freedom and liberty as the right to pursue his personal urges. Yet the agencies of society severely restrict his urges. Man is not free to do as he pleases. He does not have the liberty to do what he wants when he wants. Why should the ideas of freedom and liberty be so emphasized?
This discord between the individual and society has existed as long as man himself. The discord leads to intellectual activity. The family, educational leaders, church leaders, and government leaders individually seek to satisfy their urge for power over the individual who finds the constraints of society adverse to his inner urging. Is the constraint of society upon the individual justified? It is after all only the power of people over one another.
Many cultures today have arrived at a condition free from the immediate demands of hunger. There remain other cultures who are not free of that demand. There is a large range of conditions from one extreme to the other. Upon reflection, probably most of the world still is composed of those who are in need. Most of them do not know where the next meal is coming from.
Why is it that those assured of their next meal are so concerned about those who are not? It must be a result of the conditioning of those who have the time to be concerned with what it is all about. The religious doctrines of the Christian cultures in the western population condition the masses to be concerned for their neighbor. As the world gets smaller <196> time wise <196> our neighbors become closer. The conditioned values are spread over the rest of the world.
We never hear all of the problems others have. Even with our immediate family, we do not always understand the urges of other members and the steps they may take to find harmony. The conditioning values are a product of the many constraints in our social environment.
It is often difficult to understand another person's behavior. It is easier to accept a tolerant attitude if you can accept the idea that your lack of understanding is simply that you do not know all his constraints. Perhaps looking for more of his constraints is the best way to get on the same wave length with another person.
A careful examination of the individual urges and the impact of the society perhaps needs reexamination. The theologians have failed to integrate the facts of the modern world that have been disclosed by science. The world does seem to go around the sun, not the sun around the world. Theologians have finally accepted this. But there are many other facts of the physical and chemical world around us that have not been incorporated into religious doctrine by theologians.
In the past, the church has been a major holder of the world's wealth. Even today the Church holds a large part of the world property and collects a major part of the productivity of man. The state has grown with a degree of separateness from the church. But many of the values of advanced societies are the same in the church and the state. The two powers work closely together. Perhaps one does provide something of a check and balance upon the other. In some areas the state has attempted to replace the church completely and to eliminate it. But there is very little difference between any one of these states and any other. They are all run by people driven by an inner urge to power.
Today some countries think of themselves as being democracies. The appeal to the masses with the idea of one person one vote, is overwhelming. The masses have taken over. Emotional propaganda is most effective in controling the masses. With the well conditioned masses there is little effect of reason. Debates are hardly debates anymore. Public relations experts, especially with the advent of TV, carefully program to appeal to the emotions of the mobs. Control of the mass media is most important for those in power. The ideas that might be presented in a debate are not quietly weighed by the masses. Rather the debates are like a pep rally before a big game. The goal is to appeal to the emotions of the masses not the logic of the masses. In a way, the urges of man are driven by his emotions. Emotions are, after all, a part of one's gut feelings.
The efforts to make the population literate have only made it easier to get to their emotions. Calm, cool reflection is not a common decision-making process among the masses. The ramifications of many problems are much more than can be digested by the masses much less any single individual. But the masses are still driven by their individual urge to harmony. On the average, the individual finds it more harmonious not to rock the boat. The leaders appeal to that in the name of a democratic process.
In our democratic societies, the thinking is actually done by the few. Often the thinking is done behind closed doors. The leaders are only too often not among the thinkers who form the direction. Even our US Constitution was written behind closed doors. The leaders too are only followers in search of power to satisfy individual urges to harmony. There is another type of individual harmony. It need not be so closely tied to social harmony. This sort of harmony is a result of the urge to know and understand. Individual harmony can be found in satisfying the urge to know. There are some things that society cannot decide in a democratic way or any other way. They just are.
In a modern progressive middle school, a student brought in a rat. The inevitable question arose as to its sex. The embrassed teacher could not tell and entertained a long discussion. Finally, Johnny said he knew how to decide <196> let's vote.
There are some things that cannot be decided in a democratic manner. The sex of the rat is one. To understand how things are is a most satisfying experience. To witness the beautiful sunset is beyond the conditioning of all societies. This is accepting things as they are.
As a progressive state of affluence spreads in the world population there comes a time to get out of the rat race. The individual has his shelter and food assured. There is no reason for him to continue to pursue the rat race imposed by his conditioning. Too often the conditioning prevails and the individual continues to run in the same pattern. There is no curiosity about other things. The inner drive to do other things has been completely suppressed.
How often does the individual who is forced to retire, live only a few more years. With the inner drive completely suppressed, the retired individual has no drive to do anything. How much better life would be, how much fuller life would be, if life began at retirement? With material sufficiency and enough time available at retirement, the individual possessing an inner urge to harmony is free of the basic constraints imposed upon him earlier. He is finally free to appreciate the beauty of the sunset. In a way it might be like the evolution from polyphonic music to the richness of the Beethoven 9th Symphony. There are many other themes of music that have their richness. There are many other expressions in the other arts that provide a sense of harmony. Perhaps the individual should condition himself to spend his retired years in a complex richness analogous to the 9th Symphony.
The retired individual might provide an example of values different from those imposed by the conditioning from the various forms of the establishment. Some cultures today produce enough to assure a sufficiency for those retired. It might be that it is time to get out of the rat race. Conformation with imposed values by the establishment is less necessary. Perhaps an individual should condition himself to seek early retirement rather that to postpone it.
The conditioning today is like trying to keep up with the Joneses. If others have it I need it. Perhaps it is time to rethink that philosophy. How can an individual over come the forces of the establishment? First he can as an individual overcome the conditioning of the establishment. One person can start it. The individual who finds another set of values and lives by them provides an example. He can satisfy his need for power and passively lead the way.
It is so common for a recent convert to religion or any other group to attempt to spread the gospel. Missionaries go to all parts of the world attempting to convey their conditioning. It is interesting that they develop so much drive, having found their answers. There are others who find different answers. Rather than trying to teach the answers in a positive and often dogmatic manner, they find that simple living by the answers is most powerful.
It is the intellectual challenge of searching for harmony that is most stimulating and rewarding. As with any problem, being able to state the problem is a major part of the solution. With natural languages being ambiguous, and language being the root of thought, how can one remove the ambiguousness from language and from thought? Artificial intelligence as a field is an approach to examining the intellectual processes of thinking. As such it can provide a guide to study. The modern computer as an extension can provide a tool for organizing material for thinking. But be not satisfied with the tools available. Be prepared to fashion new tools.
I have no definitive answer to the question: What's it all about? I have found a way to inner harmony with the counterpoint produced by life experiences. I have a certainty that there is something right for me about my approach. Perhaps that is what is meant by the Tao. Above all else, I must be dogmatically undogmatic. At the risk of appearing to be contradictory, I offer the following as a few guiding commandments.
Be creative. Organize your experiences into an effective knowledge base. Think about your urges intelligently. Act accordingly. Become an example of an unforgettable person. Use the examples set by other unforgettable people.Glen B. Haydon, M.D.
Route 2, Box 429
La Honda, CA 94020HINDSIGHT is decicated to examining the past in a search for wisdom coping present. After all, hindsight is always 20/20. Extrapolations into the future are left to the reader.