335

Knowledge is the accumulation of information which is given conceptual context in relation to other information. A complex web of information you might say. If information is sugar, flour, egg, and milk, knowledge is cake.

Belief is a form of knowledge that presupposes: "I believe I can have cake if I have sugar, flour, egg, and milk."

Even if no cake yet exists, belief that there can be a cake is justified by the information available. Probability based on material evidence.

Faith is a broader spectrum of belief. It deals only in possibility, not a narrower probability. As we all know, anything is possible (hypothetically speaking). There are no realistic parameters for possibility. And definitely no standard of evidence.

Faith is like having sugar and imagining that is all you need to make cake. Obviously not very realistic.

334

The problem with the school systems is that people always expected too much from it because of the hype. They see it said that smart people learned to be smart in school; and so they go to school expecting it to make them smart.

However, school has never been about making someone smart. The only time this was possibly true was in the days of the ancient Greek academy. A very short period in Western history. A similar time was seen in India, China, and Arab around the same period. These are the areas in which philosophy was born.

But for the most part, the purpose of schooling was to produce workers and leaders. Not make people smart. No one can make you smart. If a person becomes smart in school it is because they had the will be be smart. If you lack the will to be smart, or you are an unintelligent person by no fault of your own, no amount education is going to solve that problem for you.

What education will solve is giving you the necessary skills to make a living and contribute to society. You can do this without an education as well, but the work you get without an education is going to be the work left over that no one wants to do. You can be a garbage man or a waiter. Or you can be a computer programmer or a lawyer. But if you want to be a computer programmer or a lawyer, then you need that degree on paper. Because no one is going to hire a self taught computer programmer or lawyer for any more money than they would be willing to pay a garbage man.

333

Have you ever thought about what it would be like to simply stop using the internet? Not just Facebook and other social media, but the whole internet. No computers, no smartphones, no email, just living like the internet does not exist. Is it even possible? Probably not if you need to function in today's global culture. Just considering the possibility can be daunting. You'd lose contact with friends and family whose relationships you've spent so many years kindling and growing; unless you decide to keep in contact by snail-mail, of course--sitting down to actually write a letter on paper. No more would you be subjected to spam and constant bombardments of advertising. Your page and website views would no longer be tracked so that your personal advertising experience is tailored. Heck, no more tracking at all. Especially if you revert to a cash only mode of living, but that's another story.

Would you want to leave some lasting impression on the internet, specifically on social media? Kind of like a relic that says, "I was here!" Or maybe just cut yourself off completely, becoming nothing more than a fading memory to your old friends? "Hey, does anybody remember that guy?"

So, how would you do it? Delete everything? Social media profiles, email addresses, etc? Would you leave a backdoor in case you change your mind? Maybe change your passwords to something not easily remembered, write them down and put them in an envelope, and give them to a trusted friend to hold on to just in case? Or do the relic thing and change your passwords to something hard to remember, do not write them down, and do NOT give them to a friend for safekeeping?

If you go the relic way, what would be your last message to all of your friends? What epitaph would leave at the top of your profile? Would it be something profound? A simple goodbye and thanks for all the fish? Or would you just disappear silently into the night?

If you did leave the internet how would you prepare yourself mentally? So much of our time is consumed by the internet that to leave it seems an impossibility. Would you read more? Work more? Watch a lot of TV (trade one addiction for another)? Exercise? Go on a quest?

Dropping off the internet would be a little like dropping out of society; seeing as how much of our being social entails simply being on the internet. Sure, the interaction with people over the internet is not of the same caliber as face-to-face, but for many who are a little introverted the internet has allowed us join with others in the celebration of life, even if it is a virtual celebration.

I just wanted to throw these ideas out there. I'm not suggesting that anybody actually do it. That would be so anti-social. And scary. And selfish. And ... a way to gain back your sanity?

People say they can't do without internet not because it is impossible, but because they have no desire to do without internet. They are not asking themselves what it would be like without internet, they are asking what it would be like to have their opium taken away from them. An addict isn't going to ever like that happening. But they aren't likely to die because of it, either. They'll just have to do something other than surf the web.

Ah, too much questions.

332

What's the meaning of life?

I agree that it is human to seek a "meaning" in everything, by which I mean a way of explaining or even understanding things that makes sense and puts their ever-busy minds at rest. The entire purpose of any individual is to be a cog in the wheel of some mindless process that has been going on for billions of years without any real direction. And the only reason why we know this is because the degree of complexity of the process has by chance produced a self-aware entity.

Unresolved contradiction. One that does not work, even under the conditions of acceptable circular logic. If you need to give life meaning, then it conditionally has no meaning, no matter the claim. What we have here is an expression of an ideal. Not reality. Idealism is how logic dies in the mind.

The question is if life already has a hidden meaning we can find, or if we just invent it due to our personal needs and interests. Another question is if we can survive mentally and emotionally living a meaningless life and just vegetating.

In Vedic philosophy, samsara (birth, life, and death) exists because there is no reason for it not to exist. Nothing got in the way of it existing. Nothing put a stop to the causal chain that led to its existence. There was no plan. There was lack of a hindrance on this world strong enough to stop it. Not yet, anyway.

Are we simply not big enough, smart enough, advanced enough to come to these conclusions? Come back in 10,000,000 years and see if you still feel the same way. For all intents and purposes I agree that this is currently the best we can come up with but it is based on very immature logic speaking in evolutionary terms.

We don't have to be that smart. We know how evolution works right in the here and now. We know all the science necessary for determining how it works. And there is absolute nothing about evolution to suggest it is a guided process or anything that began with a purpose in mind.

So even if we don't have a time machine and can't identity the actual moment in which life began, we can accurately describe how life works right now. We can do this with factual evidence and experimentation.

There are no verifiable or valid theories about any "purpose" of life in existence. So until someone discovers a purpose in life beyond its mechanical functions, logically speaking, it doesn't have one other than the ones we imagine for it.

Isn't it egotistical to believe that just because we don't know something and cannot find any evidence of it that it simply does not exist? There is something very special about life and evolution, it doesn't just change for the sake of survival but always seems to evolve toward something more advanced. This is exactly how an intelligent Higher source would have done it assuming magic does not exist. Maybe.

331

In my experience, women's taste in men varies a lot. If you're meeting women you're sure aren't interested in you, keep meeting more women. If you're meeting a lot of women and you think none of them are interested in you, your problem is often gonna be an inability to read women well enough to know if they're interested.

Most women need an emotional connection before a physical connection, so whatever that is. Ask a thousand women what their most important characteristic for a mate is and looks don't make the list. Because men rate physical attractiveness in partners very highly, they assume women do as well, so only notice what they expect to see. Looks aren't immediate, not for "sexual" attraction for women is what I'm saying.

If George Clooney was working at McDonalds no one would give him a second look. But he's a rich, SNAG and the characters he plays are suave.

Females are hardwired to select for good providers and protectors for them and their offspring. Not beauty. You don't need to be good looking to be a good provider and protector. In a jungle brute strength is useful for the dominant male to fight off all the beta males.

But the environment is the wild card. In the urban jungle to provide for women and children, males usually need a stable job, a credit card and a car. Social skills and intellect are more useful for providers and protectors than muscles.

330

"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

At no time in history has there ever been a philosopher who respected or accepted all ideas as equally valid, including those which are dynamically opposed to their own. That includes Voltaire. The quote in context is not saying that all opinions need to be respected. It is saying we should defend the rights of others to have alternative opinions. Alternative opinions which we can then challenge and attempt to invalidate through a process of argumentation.

I feel the same way. Say whatever you want in any way you want to say it. But don't expect that if what you say is nonsense I am not going to point that out. I am actually going to enjoy myself destroying your opinions and ideas through logical and behavioral analysis.

Now, let's put the quote in its proper context, shall we...

Voltaire did not say that at any time, nor did he popularize the saying. The quote comes from one of my favorite books, "The Friends of Voltaire," written by Stephen G. Tallentyre--which was a pseudonym of Evelyn Beatrice Hall. It was hard for a woman to be published in her day, so like a few female writers, Evelyn used a man's name to write under.

The quote above was spoken as a summation of Voltaire's attitude and is often misread as being a direct quote from Voltaire himself.

This is an actual quote from Voltaire:

"What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly--that is the first law of nature."

329

Does time really exist?

Time is not a human construct. "Time" is a term which we use to describe the concept or physical phenomenon whereby a facet of causality continuously, and seemingly indefinitely, progresses the passage of events from past, to present, to future in linear progression.

The measurement of time by humans is somewhat arbitrary. But the passage of time is not. It's a physical fact.

Often we see some fringe scientific theories expressed as "time does not really exist." These are unfortunately laymen interpretations of theories that they laymen in question didn't understand.

There are no theories in modern science which state that time does not exist. There are theories in modern science which state that the "nature of time" may not be what we think it is in terms of general relativity. But for the most part, every modern scientist in the world understands completely that time is a real and observable thing that operates independent of the existence of humans.

It existed before we arrived in the universe. It does now that we are here. And it will continue to do so long after we are gone.

They have a saying in skeptic realism. Even though it is the method of the skeptic to question all things, whether possible or impossible. If you question too much of reality, eventually your questioning turns into denial, and denial is just another form of delusion.

Facts should only be questions if a realistic and viable challenge to that fact can be produced. Otherwise, you are just engaging in the pursuit of ignorance, not knowledge. Reversing the progress, so to speak.

Being incomplete is not the same as being wrong. Nothing natural is complete in the human experience. But it doesn't logically follow that everything is wrong because it is not complete.

Since humans do not "know" all the processes and programming that leads up to part of the computer that we are capable of knowing, it is not the knowing that makes it work. If it was the knowing that makes it work, one of two things must be true:

1) We know ever single process of the computer as it happens.

2) The parts of the computer we don't know do not really exist and are just projections of our consciousness.

The first option is a form of philosophical monism, which though not entirely impossible, doesn't explain the need to have computers in the first place. We have computers because of a need that evolved to build them.

The second is a form of philosophical idealism. And if you have known me long enough, you have heard me go on and on about how idealism is "psychic friends network" of philosophy. Don't waste your time on it.

The same goes for time itself. The possibility that it is the product of our mind is so far removed from the reality of the science that you might as well be saying time is magic.

Neuroscience has proven that we have a cognitive sense of time that reacts to stimuli outside of ourselves like most of our senses. Just like our minds do not produce the photons we see, our sense of time does not produce temporal order. It is therefore not just our mind tricking us into believing motion is real.

And from a physics point of view, no time, no causality. No causality, no existence. If there is no physical time, then we should not be having this conversation. We should not even be here.

328

The right brain / left brain dynamic is actually just a myth of the cognitive sciences that we always assumed was true. The truth is, no one is either right or left brain when it comes to reasoning. Yes, there is a physiological preferences in our brains which is responsible for things like our hand orientation. Example: Right brain dominant people are left handed. But for the most part, we all use our right and left brain's almost equally.

It doesn't mean you are illogical. It just means you are more of an analytical thinker (theory and abstracts) than an synthetic thinker (facts and quantities). We all have balance of both, but sometimes one side is just a little bit more dominant than the other. And this is all left-brain activity.

Our left brain is where all that logical reasoning comes from. But it is also where all that applied creativity comes from. The job of our left brain is to understand and create pattern. Could be the patterns of a mathematical formula. Or the patterns in a painting. The right brain's job is to make intuitive jumps to fill in the areas where our reasoning falls short. The right brain is creative in that it loans the more pliable and compromising elements to the rigidity of the left brain's functions. But without the left brain, the right brain is incapable of producing context or structure.

So, we are all mostly left brain people with some of us applying a bit more right brain than others at times.