Re: virus: Have a Coke and a Smile!
Wed, 3 Mar 1999 18:13:22 EST

In a message dated 3/3/99 12:52:58 PM Central Standard Time, writes:

<< Jake:
>When [the meditative hyper-rationalist] dies, however, there will remain
>many many things that he assumed which he was unrelflective about. If I was
>him though, I would get out and live a little.

Oh, me too. This is why I suggest just have faith in some things and stop worrying about it. Think about it...what is the practical difference between an "assumption" which is "potentially open to criticism" but which, in actual fact, never gets crtiqued and an article of faith? >>

One is a deliberate handicap, and the other is just something I never found a reason or an opportunity to rationally scrutinize.

>>Both are cause of behavior which doesn't change. The former seems a little hypocritical to a obese person who keeps saying "I can go on a diet anytime I want to, I'm just waiting until after Thanksgiving".<<

Perhaps my brain is wired up differently than yours, Reed. Rationally scrutinizing my justifications is not something that I have to force myself to do. In fact to me, faith is a deliberate effort to stop people from doing something which they would naturally want to do without it - that is rationally scrutinize their justifications. People generally have to be *taught* aversion to this. Why else do you think that three and four year old children are capable of questioning adults far beyond most adult's abilities or patience to respond? Partly because they haven't been taught not to, and if they are fortunate enough, they never will.

Like the nymphomaniac that wants to fuck every potential mate in the universe, I would love to be able to rationally scrutinize every justification there is. Of course we know that this is not possible in any real sense. But I hold it as one of my highest values, that every representation is in principle subjectable to rational scrutiny. And while I can accept the futility of setting the goal as this ultimate CONCLUSION - every justification actually gets rationally scrutinized (every potential mate gets fucked) - I can at least embrace the PROCESS in an uninhibited manner. With this value affirmed, I feel satisfied enough get on with my life in a more balanced manner.

>>Give it up already! Be happy with who you are. Give it your best think and then just accept some things, on faith. Then, as you say, "go out and live a little".

Exactly my point, Jake...Exactly. A little faith gives us the time to smell the freshness of spring. [deep breath] Isn't it inspiring?


I don't think that is exactly your point, though. Faith is a specific and clear limitation on rational scrutiny. It is the holding of some representation(s) to be in principle exempt from rational scrutiny. When I say get out and live a little, I only mean accept the fact that ALL justifications can not be ever be completely rationally criticized. On any given problem, at any given time, there are going to be points of diminishing returns, beyond which we are entering the realm of pure intellectual masturbation. Just recognize that and maximize the value of your time.

When the fruit stops falling from a tree, we may come back another day or another year and get results where before they were diminishing. These are not clear and specific limitations on rational scrutiny. In this metaphor faith is basically saying "Thou shalt not eat the fruit of X tree" not now, not ever. Pan Critical rationalism basically tells me that there is no reason in principle why I could not try to eat from any tree that I please. It does not command me to actually eat from every tree that there is.