Reader Rose sent me the following piece this morning, with the comment: “Good read.” I read and replied:
Yes, and comments wonderful, too. Thanks! Nice to realize that there are undumbed down people still holding their heads above the murky emotional currents in U.S. waters.
And yet, and yet. Walking with puppy Shadow just now I’m once again remembering the larger issue that nobody else seems to ever talk about. Here goes:
Ever since I absorbed Ludwig Wittgenstein’s “Tractatus Logico Philosophicus” back in the ’60s, I’ve been intrigued by our western scientific notion of a “fact.” On how “facts” dominate our view of the world, or they seem to. (Within a decade or so I began to call them “factoids,” since they seem to blink in and out like nuclear fission materials. You can imagine my surprise at one point when I noticed that CNN had picked up on my word!)
It’s as if each of us, without realizing it, looks out at a self-created or culture-created “screen” which we then pixilate in a certain way, i.e., turn into dots, or “data points” (facts), which we then strive to connect, to see patterns. Indeed, as humans, we cannot help but look for patterns. And yet the patterns we see are determined by what we are looking for.
The MSM presents us with “official” screens pixilated in a certain way, overlaid by certain patterns. Those who are not yet “thinking for themselves” uncritically vacuum up the patterns into their chronically overwhelmed brains and use a selection of official data points to justify or prove the official patterns found!
We’re not expected to ask the question, “what is being looked for here and why?” Though in recent years, some are beginning to ask the question “Cui bono? Who benefits?” And the answer is usually, “follow the money.”
Aside: I wonder if we would be confusing ourselves inside these twisty epistemological conundrums had money not been invented — that strange scrim that for the last 5000 years we have used to cover and value the “dots” we choose to find in the continuum of endlessly unfolding nature.
Those who do ask the question “what is being looked for here, and why?” and then find different ways of “connecting the dots,” different patterns than MSM allows, are labeled “conspiracy theorists.”
What we are looking for is key. Without our focused intent, either we are “brainwashed” by official patterns, or we would find no pattern, because — in the infinity of patterns possible to connect an infinity of dots — there would be no way to decide one or the other.
This becomes increasingly obvious as more and more powerful computers compute and store more and more data points which are suddenly released by “whistleblowers.” As the “data dumps” and “truth bombs” expand, it becomes increasingly obvious to anyone who thinks about how we think, that ALL selections cannot help but be “cherry-picked” according to expectations or desires of one kind or another. The Panama Papers offer the latest example.
So, while I very much appreciate the ethical concern demonstrated in the following article, I am surprised that the two people involved, both experienced and respected journalists, are still philosophical “positivists” (cf. the early Wittgenstein) who haven’t yet recognized that though we are conditioned by our culture to see “facts” as “out there,” and that “facts are what is real,” and thus what we can compute, the actual number of pixels in any screen we choose to project into the present moment can be looked upon “close to,” and found to be infinite!
In other words, there is simply no end to the ways we can perceive and investigate “what is really going on.” No end to interpretations, perspectives, stories, explanations — like dandelion spores, blowing in the wind of the unfolding mystery the natural world continuously presents to our prying eyes.