07 January, 2008

Why is reality so damn subjective?

i am entirely convinced that we have little capability of experiencing "reality" in any meaningful way. and i would even go so far as to say that reality has very little meaning, since nobody can experience it. like it or not, we see the world through our senses, and then experience the world through our cognition around the information that we have collected. and boy, let me tell you, there are a few "unreliable" measurement and analysis devices in THAT signal chain. we don't see clearly. we only see what we want to see. the words used to convey information allow for so much ambiguity and interpretation, that even if we do hear every word, we are left with a puzzle to solve. much of the information that we receive is coming via other humans who are equally lacking in the capacity to precisely portray the meanings that may very well be elusive within their own minds. and that's just the "data input" part of the pathway! then it goes to our brain, where we are churning and churning the input together with a gigantic archive of every experience we've ever had - our "transfer function", or "set of rules" about how the world has seemed to have worked thus far. And lump in all those good fears and childhood memories, along with everything we've ever seen in the media about how the world is supposed to work - and what have you got? is it reality? i don't know.

is there a reality? i suppose that depends. there are certain realities. but it all depends how specific you try to be. even if you try to be very vague, you can get into trouble. i could say "it is raining outside". and if we all see rain, then maybe that is reality. but what if it's raining on the other side of the street, and you can't see it because of the lighting. you say "it's not raining outside" and your reality is different from that of the other side of the street. that's sort of trivial though, because it doesn't provide us with much useful.

how about this.

Are we in greater danger of nuclear terrorism today than we were 4 years ago?

here's a case, where presumably there could be a truth about what that risk is. but nobody could truly measure it because the mere presence of more nuclear weapons still would not necessarily imply that we are at greater risk. is there even a reality? if there were zero nuclear attacks in 2004 and then there are zero nuclear attacks in 2008, then how do we truly compare the risk? it's all probabilities, blah blah blah, but probability is only meaningful BEFORE the evaluation period occurs. because NOW the probability of there being a nuclear attack in the US in 2004 = 0. the time has passed. and most things in the world are not like flipping coins. but we try to treat them like they are.

but i'm really off on a tangent from the reality shit that i was trying to discuss.

how about when your perception of a situation is based completely on limited data, and yet the course of action you take is based on presumption that a limited data sample is indicative of a full story. it's like seeing a blip on the radar, and assuming that someone launched a missile, and then launching all of your missiles at russia because you assume it had to be them. but what if the blip on the radar is a weather balloon? or a commercial airliner? or someone in a helicopter flying over to your place to give you a suitcase with a million dollars? or what if the blip on the radar isn't even a blip? what if it's a malfunction? or a piece of green bubble gum stuck on the radar screen?

that's all i'm saying...

01 January, 2008

Are we living in Anchorage, Alaska?

At 7:15am it was fucking pitch dark outside. What the fuck is that all about? If I wanted to be in complete darkness, I would move to Irkutsk. I am not even sure if Irkutsk exists, other than on the Risk board, but I am pretty sure it does. Anyway, I forgot to bring my earpiece for my cell phone with me to work. But apparently we are sort of maybe kind of allowed to keep talking on the phone until July 1st? I don't get it. I cannot, however, respond to your text messages while driving.

What ever happened to freedom?! I want to have the right to endanger others with my behavior!

Ironically, it is legal to drive a fucking Hummer, whose bumpers are at EYE-LEVEL for any normal vehicle. And that's not considered a danger to other drivers. Where is the logic?

I'd love to see a compilation of accident data, in terms of injury severity, in cases where 1 vehicle is large SUV and other is a normal car. Because it would seem to me that insurance companies should charge HUGE premiums for the "safety factor" afforded to those who own the biggest truck.

But I digress.

Happy New Year.