Saturday, June 21, 2008

Myth in the Making

It is strange how we end up spending time dwelling on issue that we don't like.

I've spent the last three days trying to write a page called of myth and math.

Myth is a loaded term like "propaganda." One might say that propaganda is the process of making myths for partisan gain.

The gist of rich theory is that the existence of myth is not a problem. Myth actually plays a vital role in the developing of language and the transduction of culture. In both mathematics and logic, people are generally more interested in the form of an idea than in the legitimacy of the source of the idea. A good idea that came from analyzing bad data is still a good idea. A bad idea that came from analyzing good data is still a bad idea.

Anyway, the theme of rich theory is that there was a radical reassessment of western culture that took place during the modern era. This radical reassessment led to a string of extremely destructive radical ideologies.

An impetus for this radical re-assessment was the idea that we could transition from a culture based on myth to one based on science. The reality was simply the creation of new myth.

This process also leads to the corruption of science.

A few of the points that I wanted to make are that there is not a perfect way to separate fact from error. That means that there is an element of myth to everything we think we know. I believe that, by accepting up front that there is an element of myth to all of our knowledge, we will find that we can work to overcome our imperfect knowledge through reason.

Our knowledge is imperfect, but through the process of reasoning we catch a fleeting glimpse of truth.

A person demanding that we have perfect knowledge before engaging in reason is apt to be disappointed and might develop the cynical view that there is no truth.

The demand that we have perfect knowledge before engaging in reason leads immediately to absurdity. Lets say there was a being endowed with perfect knowledge. Well, that being would have no need for the ability to reason because it has perfect knowledge.

Reasoning is a process where we improve upon our imperfect knowledge.

The existence of myth (imperfect knowledge) is not a problem. The real issue is one's reaction to myth. When people try to overcome the imperfection of their knowledge through reasoning, things tend to get better. When people take the alternative path and decide that all is myth and try manipulating myth as a path to power, then things get worse.

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