Jan Bartscht

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Jan Bartscht
Posted over 3 years ago
Chris Anderson (TED): Questions no one knows the answers to
Dear Chris, Some questions you might find interesting to explore the frontiers of knowledge. 'How is energy transformed into consciousness?' 'What lies beyond existence?' This is a brilliant initiative and hopefully will get more people to see that asking the right question is often more valuable for learning than knowing the answer in the back of a book.
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Jan Bartscht
Posted over 3 years ago
What are human rights? How do we decide and are they universal?
Suggested universal ethical framework 1. Life is the universal process of self-directed growth 2. Life's creative power must be channeled appropriately in order to sustain an ever-more complex and diverse community of life 3. All life has the privilege to choose how it wishes to contribute to this community of life 4. By choosing to contribute to the community of life you are responsible and accountable for the consequences your actions have on the community 5. As you create more life, treat others as you wish they would treat you
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Jan Bartscht
Posted over 3 years ago
What makes an ethical society?
Ethics is the discussion of right and wrong, where to draw boundaries. Being ethical means that you are able to discuss where boundaries of behaviour should be drawn, morality is your commitment to respecting those boundaries. The boundaries we, either individually or our communities, choose, flow from values which in turn come from our beliefs. Ethics is the discussion of how and where, within the context of a particular value system, the boundaries of right and wrong are drawn. Morality is then about how we live according to those boundaries. Therefore, I suggest that an ethical society is one which has the capacity to engage in continuous discussion as to what its beliefs are, its values and where boundaries of behaviour should be drawn. An unethical society is one in which this conversation does not take place! Personally, I think the comprehensive failure of Western society to engage in this ethical dialogue (and instead defaulting to individualism and consumption) is an important contributor to the malaise that affects the west today. An unethical society often leads to an immoral society because there is the assumption that 'anything goes' precisely because there is no conversation around what behaviour is and is not acceptable.
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Jan Bartscht
Posted over 3 years ago
In your opinion, what should the purpose of education be?
An education system must enable an individual to discover, develop and deploy their ability to create a better future for themselves, their loved ones and their community. The key point is to enable individuals to use their creative ability (in whatever shape it manifests itself) to create a better world. Taking that as a starting point, it rapidly becomes clear that one of the key things education should do is to enable people to discuss 'what is a better world' and 'how should we build this better world'. Developing people's ability to communicate and collaborate should lie at the heart of any 21st Century education system. However, it is NOT enough to merely stimulate critical thinking. One of the great challenges we face with the current education system is its fundamental failure to develop ethical reasoning and empathy. The linear, reductionist approach taking to education means that today most young people, myself included, are in the strange position of knowing everything but understanding very little! To conclude, I suggest education must (like all things!) return to its past to re-create itself in the future. We must return to the idea of a 'whole education', body, mind and heart. In a rapidly changing world, knowledge is quickly gained but also quickly becomes redundant. Surely wisdom (good judgement), a strong ethical capacity and good health in body and mind are at least as important as Pythagoras' theorem?....
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Jan Bartscht
Posted over 3 years ago
In ten words or less, what is a question no one (yet) knows the answer to?
One thing to consider is the point that genetics actually *determine* little on their own. Having one gene simply does not guarantee an outcome (although it can make it very likely!). Thus, it is important to be careful here when we talk about causation in complex systems-there are obviously mainly inter-dependent, emergent concepts in play. If you look to the natural world homosexual behaviour is abundant. Looking for the 'gay' gene is for me to entirely miss the point, you are looking for something (being gay) that doesn't really exist. There is not black and white world of sexuality, 'natural' behaviour demonstrates many shades of grey. There might be genes that pre-dispose you to to certain behaviours, as much as there might be cultural or environmental influences that pre-dispose you to being with males and females in different ways.
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Jan Bartscht
Posted over 3 years ago
In ten words or less, what is a question no one (yet) knows the answer to?
Hi James, in this sense I was trying to convey existence as the 'allthing', all that is, conceptualised as an infinite, unfolding system (unfolding in the sense of moving through time). This raises the tough question of what is 'is' or 'being'... In terms of thinking of our mental tools I see it as follows; 'what' identifies a 'thing' in spacetime, (and for thing I would propose 'a particular perceived pattern') 'how' focuses attention on the chain of causation that has led to the 'thing' existing 'why' locates the 'thing' (including its causation 'how') within the greater world the observer perceives by ascribing purpose to the 'thing'. In short, 'what' is the mental tool we use to identify some thing, 'how' enables us to understand the chain of causation that led to the thing's existence and 'why' ascribes purpose to the thing so that it becomes meaningful and hence understandable. This approach can be applied to physical things e.g. a car (what is it? A car. How does it work? Engine, wheels, fuel driver etc. and why? to move from A to B) or to events e.g. travelling from London to New York. 'Why' is deeply embedded and often automatically assumed, this is necessary because without it we cannot make sense of the world around us. Using the journey example, you might know that I travelled to New York (what), by plane (how) but until you know why the event remains meaningless. The overall point I am trying to get at is that by using these three basic tools we literally reify our own world into existence. How skillfully we use these tools plays a huge role in determining the overall complexity and sophistication of the world we end up perceiving.
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Jan Bartscht
Posted over 3 years ago
In ten words or less, what is a question no one (yet) knows the answer to?
What, why, how, who, where, when are not real. They are mental tools that we use to understand the world around us, much like a carpenter uses different tools to create a table so we use different questions and other mental tools to literally construct the world. Asking why a lot simply takes you to the edge of your world, but not to end of existence.
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Jan Bartscht
Posted over 3 years ago
In ten words or less, what is a question no one (yet) knows the answer to?
Another idea for you... Rational thought is an emergent system that sits on the edge of chaos as your finite self consciously collide with the infinite i.e. thought is the resultant of collision between the infinite with the finite. How we perceive 'the world' is based on our mental structures but we are always aware of the infinite, that which we cannot describe. Since, by definition rational though require things to be understandable or at least describable , we fail to cope with the true nature of the infinite and simply do our best to describe it..... this is religion. Religion and rational thought are intimately interwoven, religion takes over where rational thought cannot tread.