02/05/2015

The Voice in the Path: I

"They dispute not in order to find or even to seek Truth, but for victory, and to appear the more learned and strenuous upholders of a contrary opinion. Such persons should be avoided by all who have not a good breastplate of patience."

- Giordano Bruno

The world is a funny thing and life is an interesting condition if we approach it as such, but yet nuances and irritations makes part of life as much as bliss, love and joy – and if we try to take life a little bit less serious than what we tend to do we will also see that what we deem positive have an increase. Because life is deadly serious, and because of this we should try to relax and not take the journey that serious, but rather as explorers and adventurers, heroines and heroes making a journey someone will remember.

Still, everyone is someone’s asshole, and we all complain about complainers, trolls and idiots. Sometimes it is like to being a nitwit appears to be the crown of human accomplishment and thus the more of an idiot you are the more human you are.  And speaking of idiots, both in linguistic succession and meaning it hails upon the ignorant – and what is an Ignotus? A person lacking skill, understanding and perceptions or more detailed someone who is ignoring what is and thus mistake, misperceive and don’t pay attention to what is.

This is why debating and discussing with idiots never lead anywhere, because they simply don’t pay attention to what is discussed about, rather it is about being victorious in the situation. Whenever we see such shadow forms taking shape on the walls of the tavern, it is better to realize what is going on than insist on dialogue or discourse, because it is never going to happen… And of course the one pointing fingers and call the other an idiot is full of himself or of hubris or whatever, but the truth is, that we are all idiots in given fields and situations, no matter how clever we might thing ourselves to be or be perceives as.

Any idiot would naturally defy such conclusion, but let us leave this aside for now and move on further into the vein of ignorance, namely to opinion. An opinion is a judgment. It is a particular form of judgment because it rests upon what is probable and what we know.
And certainly the more you know the more you will also know that you don’t know much, because each new landscape opens for another one in a hermeneutic drama where we are left breathless confronted with the annihilation of what we don’t know. But those we call idiots don’t feel or see things in this way – and this being said there is a difference between moments of idiocy and perpetually being an idiot – and the difference in this lies in how solid you perceive your opinion to be…

…this because when we lose sight of our communality and what happens when we meet and instead insist on convincing the one trying to convince is always left as the idiot, but for some reason idiots never realizes this and push for victory in the debate or discourse.

We all had these encounters and we leave the battlefield of opinions wondering what the f$%#@ happened – and the answer is cognitive bias in how we assess and understand our self. And in this particularly the psychological effect known as Dunning-Kruger effect, which is named so because of two Cornell University professors who set out to discover why people who know less always presenting themselves as knowing more. Hence they were measuring skill in relation to competence and incompetence. Wikipedia gives a good summary of their findings which are:

Dunning and Kruger proposed that, for a given skill, incompetent people will

fail to recognize their own lack of skill
fail to recognize genuine skill in others
fail to recognize the extremity of their inadequacy
recognize and acknowledge their own previous lack of skill, if they are exposed to training for that skill

The conclusion they gave was that the less competent you are the more credit you give yourself, while the opposite were true for those possessing actual skills, they tended to devaluate their achievement. So, back to opinion, the stronger your opinion is the more reason you have to invite in other perspectives – and if possible to make a true self-assessment, which is simply measuring skill in relation to task, talk, experience and knowledge.

But apparently the less you know the louder you speak; the more ignorant you are the more irrevocable is your opinions. And I must add to this that if this is in check the more extreme will be your conclusions. And conclusions made from a sense of victory and convictions will always breed tyranny, inferiority and lizards of the brain.

As Bruno observed such people are not interested in truth, which I would interpret as wisdom in this context, but rather they seek appearance and the illusion of victory. And honestly, victory is not to tear down the chessboard seeing that you are losing, but making the check mate. In other words it is a matter of skill and admitting to possessing or lacking this skill that generates understanding. To say that you have what you don’t have is idiocy – or ignorance perhaps – yet at the root of much of our nuances and irritations we find this simple cognitive bias. And knowing this or not we still challenge the Ignotus, to what ends?

So, this being established allows me to take this cognitive drama out to the world and to the realm of spiritual seekers, occultists and what not, because this world is not free from simple psychological mechanisms moving our actions and opinions. We are still humans, no matter the opinion of our stature, it be sage or idiot as perceived or given. And let us also keep in mind that any learned person can be an idiot at heart as any person learned by heart can be irrational and confusing.
If you have followed me this far I will say that any discussion or discourse, any writ or social interaction that aims towards victory is wrong. You might ask, why is it wrong when I know it is right – or even more boisterous, the truth?

We can speak and debate this matter for pages upon pages, and we will do so for the weeks to come, so let us just leave it to Giordano Bruno to summarize for now:

 "Unless you make yourself equal to God, you cannot understand God: for the like is not intelligible save to the like. Make yourself grow to a greatness beyond measure, by a bound free yourself from the body; raise yourself above all time, become Eternity; then you will understand God. Believe that nothing is impossible for you, think yourself immortal and capable of understanding all, all arts, all sciences, the nature of every living being. Mount higher than the highest height; descend lower than the lowest depth. Draw into yourself all sensations of everything created, fire and water, dry and moist, imagining that you are everywhere, on earth, in the sea, in the sky, that you are not yet born, in the maternal womb, adolescent, old, dead, beyond death. If you embrace in your thought all things at once, times, places, substances, qualities, quantities, you may understand God."