What is "Mind?"

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MH2

Boulder climber
Andy Cairns
Mar 18, 2017 - 06:57pm PT
I disagree. Most youngsters I teach lack critical thinking drive due to smart phones.


Peeking through a keyhole, as Mike put it, can lead to disturbing revelations. But are things what they seem?
WBraun

climber
Mar 18, 2017 - 08:29pm PT
the legendary "Dasko"

Who's that?
MikeL

Social climber
Southern Arizona
Mar 19, 2017 - 08:07am PT
Sycorax:

I’ve heard (and made) the same criticisms about the lack of “critical thinking skills” of undergrads (and grads, too).

My personal experience suggests that the older the person is, the less one can require them to undertake hard-core (keen, complete, deep) analyses. The older they are, the more I have to present digested information. Why is that? Is it the topic, is it me, is it them, is it the context, is it all of the above?

The more that people are carpet bombed with “information” and analysis in their lives, the more they become deadened to it. We’re up to our eyeballs in analyses, other people’s interpretations, almost unending editorials about this and that every day. How can people generate their own considered opinions when we’re constantly telling them how and what they should think?

I’m not sure that it’s thinking that’s “critical” or missing these days. Thinking is just one faculty that mind shows one to, and it tends to emphasize models, frameworks, and abstractions—and “facts” . . . oodles of facts. The idea that reason is all we need to show us what is good, beautiful and true is limited in my view.

I thought the humanities meant to build broader understanding and respect of others—to break down provincialisms, nationalisms, blind loyalties, and inbred biases. I thought that the humanities, through a kind of internal simulation that comes from reading and talking with others about reading, was meant to link-up or unite what is thought with what is felt, the heart with the brain, to see a bigger picture than what a keen analysis provides.

Last, what makes a subject come alive for students? Great teachers? Great students? Great instructional methodology? Interesting topic? Great context or learning environment? Culture? Let’s remember that for the most part, students are not choosing your or my class or subject. Most of the time, subject (content) is required. (Few of us are attracted to doing “what’s required.”)

More magic is needed. Teaching is kind of an art, IMO. I’m thinking more and more that everything is (parenting, learning, working, thinking, etc.).
Dingus Milktoast

Trad climber
Minister of Moderation, Fatcrackistan
Mar 19, 2017 - 08:40am PT
Such bright balls of sunshine in this thread.

DMT
Ward Trotter

Trad climber
Mar 20, 2017 - 02:58pm PT
More magic is needed. Teaching is kind of an art, IMO. I’m thinking more and more that everything is (parenting, learning, working, thinking, etc.).

One factor often missing in such discussions as regards teaching in general, whether in the classroom, or inter-generationally, within families and communities, is the absolutely astounding pace of technological change and what such change has wrought to the fabric of human life.For almost all of human history younger generations were schooled in the use of tools and the lay of the land according to the dictates of survival. They learned all the essentials of life and living from the older ones existing in their clan or group. This survival protocol, in whatever guise it took form, was vitally central to survival-- and to some degree became encoded within genes.

What are the essentials of survival and social navigation in the contemporary environment? It is much more likely that a teenager will be teaching grandparents how to operate smart phones, rather than the opposite -- teaching the grandkids about plows, or the best planting window for corn, or where the deer are likely to hang out when the leaves begin to fall, or the absolute essentials of the ways of the midwife.

An astounding and profound reversal in the usual order of generational business has taken place right under our collective noses so that the old have become stripped of much of their economic and utilitarian value. Grandma and grandpa have been converted into sentimental props; or perhaps the mysterious ancient tool found in an old box in the garage which no one can figure out a use for. They share the same fate as the painted portrait in the face of the modern photograph.

This is a very sad outcome. And it deeply effects, often with advanced subtleties, every diverse setting in which older folks teach, instruct, and advise the young, no matter the formal setting or the casual occurrence-- and it is not new, having preceded apace particularly since the industrial revolution-- as the speed of knowledge has outrun the velocity of human life as predictably as the famous race between the locomotive and the horse.





jgill

Boulder climber
The high prairie of southern Colorado
Mar 20, 2017 - 03:17pm PT
This is a very sad outcome, And it effects every setting in which older folks teach, instruct, and advise the young, no matter the formal setting or the casual occurrence


Hmm. Guess the kids will be teaching me complex variable theory. Once they've taught me calculus. Scary.
Ward Trotter

Trad climber
Mar 20, 2017 - 03:24pm PT
Hmm. Guess the kids will be teaching me complex variable theory. Once they've taught me calculus. Scary.

My answer to that would be something like this: one can go a lifetime without calculus or variable theory but only a few days without food and water.
MH2

Boulder climber
Andy Cairns
Mar 20, 2017 - 06:14pm PT
We’re up to our eyeballs in analyses, other people’s interpretations, almost unending editorials about this and that every day. How can people generate their own considered opinions when we’re constantly telling them how and what they should think?


Not telling you how and what to think, but myself, I follow the dog.






WBraun

climber
Mar 20, 2017 - 07:16pm PT
Just look it that dawg !!!

It's a gross materialist mental speculator .....
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Mar 20, 2017 - 07:33pm PT
Maybe food and water have something in Common that Ward Trotter and John Gill can agree upon as presented in this video. It helped me understand your posted artwork, John.



Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Mar 20, 2017 - 08:02pm PT

An astounding and profound reversal in the usual order of generational business has taken place right under our collective noses so that the old have become stripped of much of their economic and utilitarian value.
what is it about my generation?
we're the Rodney Dangerfield generation?
complain we do...
jgill

Boulder climber
The high prairie of southern Colorado
Mar 21, 2017 - 11:11am PT
Hey Mike, I was surprised to find that an obscure theorem of mine from twenty six years ago was a mathematical linchpin in a paper that might overlap with your interests. My result, in pure mathematics, is similar to fixed point theory used in game theory.

Increasing Peer Pressure on any Connected Graph Leads to Consensus


"In this paper, we present a novel generalized frame-
work for expressing peer influence dynamics over time in
a set of connected individuals, or agents. The proposed
framework supports the representation of individual vari-
ability through parametrized accounting for differences
in susceptibility to peer influence and pairwise relation-
ship strengths. Modeling agents’ individual opinions and
behaviors as strategies changing discretely and simulta-
neously, we formally describe the evolution of strategies
in a social network as the composition of continuous
maps. We identify points of convergence and analyze
these points under various conditions."

The "composition of continuous maps" part refers to my theorem. Seeing this paper reminded me that I have seen fixed point theory used in economics as well as game theory. Fixed points occur in physics as well, in renormalization groups(Greek to me). Ed might tell us if they crop up elsewhere in physics.
MH2

Boulder climber
Andy Cairns
Mar 21, 2017 - 03:51pm PT
Wow!


A possible corollary to fixed point theorems: if you watch one place (this thread, for example) long enough, you will see something interesting.
MH2

Boulder climber
Andy Cairns
Mar 21, 2017 - 03:59pm PT
Just look it that dawg !!!

It's a gross materialist mental speculator .....


Don't be too quick to judge.


High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Mar 21, 2017 - 04:12pm PT
eeyonkee, yuval harari on sam harris podcast now uploaded, you might enjoy, I thought it was very good.

...

and speaking of Harari...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=szt7f5NmE9E

"What are humans for?" -Chris Anderson

"As far as we know, for nothing." -Yuval Harari
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 22, 2017 - 04:19pm PT
An astounding and profound reversal in the usual order of generational business has taken place right under our collective noses so that the old have become stripped of much of their economic and utilitarian value. Grandma and grandpa have been converted into sentimental props; or perhaps the mysterious ancient tool found in an old box in the garage which no one can figure out a use for. They share the same fate as the painted portrait in the face of the modern photograph.

----


Another thing is that processing, in the digital sense, now has a greater value than actual content. Or at worse, processing is CONSIDERED content.

Case in point. A big company recently asked me to crank out a bunch of creative content for their web site. That content would help brand the company in a new and novel way. Their advertising and promotional machinery would all vector off the new content. I passed because I don't do that kind of work - actually I can't, having never really worked in advertising - but put the guy onto a few other pros who could handle it. As it turned out, they were offering very low fees for the content, while it was discovered that they were paying top dollar to the programmers who ran the site. When pressed about this the bosses considered the programming duties a real job worth real money, but the people who were supposed to crank out the content that would define who the company actually was - they were just day hires doing a job anyone could do. Or so the thinking ran.

In the past, editorial was considered sacred. Now advertising drives editorial in many regards. And the top earners aren't creating anything but code. Go figure...
eeyonkee

Trad climber
Golden, CO
Mar 22, 2017 - 04:33pm PT
Thanks for the heads-up, HFCS! I've been digesting Homo Deus over the last couple of weeks. With respect to this thread, it is interesting that Harari basically says that he and we (as humans) have no idea why mind emerged as it did. Really. Everything would work just fine without it.

Harari would say that we are an interwoven collection of biological algorithms that include an actor late to the party -- the narrative self. The narrative self creates an after-the-fact reason for our actions, and is essentially what we think of as ourselves.

I think that Dawkins would have an answer to this. It's the fact that, as organisms, we live, we reproduce, and we die. If we didn't die, I would assume that we would not need to reproduce. My guess is that we have evolved consciousness -- the kind we associate with being human, because we die. Algorithms contained in materials that don't die would not need consciousness.

You know, I loved Blade Runner.
WBraun

climber
Mar 22, 2017 - 04:56pm PT
My guess is that we have evolved consciousness -- the kind we associate with being human, because we die

No, you're just plain guessing of the real reason we so called die (leave the mortal material body).

It proves once again that modern science is ultimately completely clueless to consciousness itself by the mere fact of their mental speculations ........
eeyonkee

Trad climber
Golden, CO
Mar 22, 2017 - 05:31pm PT
WB, what you might not understand is that mental speculation is fun, has been for as long as we have been human.
Dingus Milktoast

Trad climber
Minister of Moderation, Fatcrackistan
Mar 22, 2017 - 05:41pm PT
Another thing is that processing, in the digital sense, now has a greater value than actual content.

It always did. For computers or meat brains, its the same. Content is meaningless without the ability to disseminate and consume that content. You must have i/o (input output) and you must have a processior connected to that i/o. I am unaware of any exception this side of the veil darkly.

Or at worse, processing is CONSIDERED content.


In a digital world processing is in fact the content. You would not be able to read my thoughts in this manner if it were otherwise.

DMT
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