29 SEP 2017 by ideonexus

 It’s Okay to “Forget” What You Read

What we get from books is not just a collection of names, dates and events stored in our minds like files in a computer. Books also change, via our mental models, the very reality that we perceive. You can think of mental models as psychological lenses that color and shape what we see. Some of this is genetic or cultural (Americans focus on very different parts of a picture than the Japanese do), but much of our perception is also shaped by experience — and experience includes the book...
Folksonomies: reading memory experience
Folksonomies: reading memory experience
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23 MAY 2015 by ideonexus

 A Sonata as Teacher

Music makes things in our minds, but afterward most of them fade away. What remains? In one old story about Mozart, the wonder child hears a lengthy contrapuntal mass and then writes down the entire score. I do not believe such tales, for history documents so few of them that they seem to be mere legend, though by that argument Mozart also would seem to be legend. Most people do not even remember the themes of an evening's concert. Yet, when the tunes are played again, they are recognized. So...
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30 JUN 2013 by ideonexus

 Our Collective Memory

Taken globally, the set of traces that we leave in the world does without doubt add up to something. It is through operations on sets of traces that I understand an event that I take part in. Tolstoy wrote about the foot soldier in the Napoleonic wars. The soldier he describes cannot have the experience of the war he is waging nor the battle he is fighting because the only “global” traces of the war are inscriptions—notably, maps and statistics. There is no scalable observation that mov...
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No one soldier experiences a War. They experience details from their microcosm encounter with the war. The war itself is a collective memory experienced only in history books.

11 MAY 2013 by ideonexus

 Reading is a Shortcut to Wisdom

The problem with being too busy to read is that you learn by experience (or by your men’s experience), i.e. the hard way. By reading, you learn through others’ experiences, generally a better way to do business, especially in our line of work where the consequences of incompetence are so final for young men. [...] Ultimately, a real understanding of history means that we face NOTHING new under the sun. For all the “4th Generation of War” intellectuals running around today saying tha...
Folksonomies: wisdom reading experience
Folksonomies: wisdom reading experience
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Without reading, all we have is experience to give us wisdom, but that experience in war comes at too high a price. Through reading we can gain the wisdom without having to sacrifice the soldiers.

27 APR 2013 by ideonexus

 Molyneux's problem

I shall here insert a problem of that very ingenious and studious promoter of real knowledge, the learned and worthy Mr. Molyneux, which he was pleased to send me in a letter some months since; and it is this:- "Suppose a man born blind, and now adult, and taught by his touch to distinguish between a cube and a sphere of the same metal, and nighly of the same bigness, so as to tell, when he felt one and the other, which is the cube, which the sphere. Suppose then the cube and sphere placed on...
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A blind person, familiar with a cube and sphere by touch, is made to see. Without touching the objects, would they be able to distinguish them by sight?

21 JUN 2012 by ideonexus

 Superstition is Based on Personal Experience

Almost every major systematic error which has deluded men for thousands of years relied on practical experience. Horoscopes, incantations, oracles, magic, witchcraft, the cures of witch doctors and of medical practitioners before the advent of modern medicine, were all firmly established through the centuries in the eyes of the public by their supposed practical successes. The scientific method was devised precisely for the purpose of elucidating the nature of things under more carefully cont...
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Astrology and other pseudosciences are believed because they appear to work in the real world, it is up to experiment to disprove them.

28 APR 2012 by ideonexus

 Experience is Experiment

The lessons of science should be experimental also. The sight of a planet through a telescope is worth all the course on astronomy; the shock of the electric spark in the elbow outvalues all theories; the taste of the nitrous oxide, the firing of an artificial volcano, are better than volumes of chemistry.
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Emerson describes the importance of feeling electric shocks, fake volcanoes, tasting NO, etc.

31 JAN 2012 by ideonexus

 Science Takes Us Beyond Our Experience

The aim of scientific thought, then, is to apply past experience to new circumstances; the instrument is an observed uniformity in the course of events. By the use of this instrument it gives us information transcending our experience, it enables us to infer things that we have not seen from things that we have seen; and the evidence for the truth of that information depends on our supposing that the uniformity holds good beyond our experience.
Folksonomies: inference experience
Folksonomies: inference experience
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The act of inference is positing behaviors and laws onto things we have no experience of yet.

30 JAN 2012 by ideonexus

 The Illusion of Taste

When carbon (C), Oxygen (o) and hydrogen (H) atoms bond in a certain way to form sugar, the resulting compound has a sweet taste. The sweetness resides neither in the C, nor in the O, nor in the H; it resides in the pattern that emerges from their interaction. It is an emergent property. Moreover, strictly speaking, is not a property of the chemical bonds. It is a sensory experience that arises when the sugar molecules interact with the chemistry of our taste buds, which in turns causes a set...
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When we taste sweetness, our tongues are not responding to the C, O, or H, but to the molecule.

28 JUL 2011 by ideonexus

 Children are Scientists

Thousands of experiments confirm that babies learn about their environment through a series of increasingly self-corrected ideas. They experience sensory observations, make predictions about what they observe, design and deploy experiments capable of testing their predictions, evaluate their tests, and add that knowledge to a self-generated, growing database. The style is naturally aggressive, wonderfully flexible, and annoyingly persistent. They use fluid intelligence to extract information,...
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They explore, test hypotheses, and record everything in memory to understand the world.