David Llewellyn Foster

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David Llewellyn Foster
Posted 5 months ago
Alex Wissner-Gross: A new equation for intelligence
Thank you for this thought provoking response Larry. You suggest that entropic forces must exist as a consequence of some primal circumstance, environment or condition and that somehow out of this flux life "was created." These are difficult statements to validate empirically by an intelligent life form (ie us) with the developed abstract capacity to reflect upon an existence that has evidently itself resulted from such a random convergence of events. I still see a plausible confusion therefore between intelligence itself as a living function in a certain sense that is opportunist, and the instruments of that intelligence, its synthetic cognitive media like mathematical logic ~ or self-expressive language and the deep "poetry" of sentient experience that is formalized by self-awareness as memory. Lyn Margulis revolutionized our understanding of evolutionary biology with the notion of symbiosis. If we accept that consciousness itself must be an adaptive and (self-directed) emergent (cellular) process, this dynamic creativity must also be intimately associated with those actual forces and constraints that constitute the material substrates of the energetic autopoietic forms we recognize as symbiotic organisms. So I would suggest to you that life is not rare or "separate," that all forces are sentient and alive but that our understanding of life is often impaired by the instrumental mechanisms of the mind, buttressed by our conceits of illusion and inflected by pretensions of identity. Learning is about direct apperceptive correlation and creative heuristic reflexivity .
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David Llewellyn Foster
Posted 6 months ago
Alex Wissner-Gross: A new equation for intelligence
Interesting. Consider the wisdom of slime molds! Confusion about intelligence may be due to the abstracted nature of our symbolic logic, the instrument of articulate reason itself. Human reason maps our perceived experience of complexity, drawing heuristic inferences from (conscious) interpretations of shared, cumulative and reciprocal neurophenomenological data; but necessarily constrained by the mechanistic illusion of temporal sequence, and the type of language adopted. Life itself (as understood by us as diverse and distinguishable) seems to optimize all living contexts and conceivable options, constantly adapting and adjusting to circumstance. Reflexive, coherent consciousness may be the direct experience of this ordered, symbiotic, ecosystemic (hierarchical) and cosmological dynamism. Any hypothetical (intellectual/symbolic) co-relation is in some sense then, provisional, functional, reciprocal & instrumental. The question is whether it is morally useful, appropriate and culturally (ie spiritually) relevant to its operative domain of action~ that is to say, necessary and advantageous to the holistic economy of existence. http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/01/slime-mold-grows-network-just-like-tokyo-rail-system/ http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/19846365
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David Llewellyn Foster
Posted over 1 year ago
The debate about Graham Hancock's talk
Finally in retrospect, I feel I owe it to all the people who have contributed such valuable opinions to this discussion, to recommend Rupert Sheldrake's conference talk on Science Set Free at ELECTRIC UNIVERSE 2013: The Tipping Point, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Part 2 is particularly eloquent and learned, a great discourse by a brilliant mind. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0waMBY3qEA4 If TED's advisory board deem this high level of intellectual competence somehow inadequate, then I have nothing but contempt for their blinkered poverty of thought, and the sheer, perverse absurdity of the patronizing arrogance they are displaying in promoting such a skewed mental landscape. Tant pis!
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David Llewellyn Foster
Posted over 1 year ago
The debate about Graham Hancock's talk
Thanks for that clarification Lewis. I guess it's the perils of franchising that must be addressed. Be that as it may, if TED central disapproves, could they not simply have issued a respectful, sceptical and civil disclaimer? I mean that "website of shame" tactic was hardly appropriate; and as for Rupert Sheldrake being branded a charlatan that is just disgraceful and profoundly ill-considered, actually quite ignorant.
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David Llewellyn Foster
Posted over 1 year ago
The debate about Graham Hancock's talk
I'm refraining from further comments as I feel I have probably said enough. My final observation is addressed primarily to John Hoopes. The error here is TED's as they invited the man to speak. If they don't like what he said, tough. John, should we not invoke the statute of limitations here? This is beginning to sound inquisitorial. Why dwell on Hancocks past errors? This talk was about growing up, getting over his chronic dependence on cannabis and the fact that Ayahuasca initiated him. All commendable good stuff in my view. Just for the record, I'm pasting a previous response to you that got misplaced in the melee. ........I don't think that is exactly right John, (with reference to scientology etc) because the overall rationale of TED talks seems to be about respecting Nature and promoting environmental responsibility, so arguably Hancock's (new) ethos and intent might fall nicely into that ecological ballpark while all the others you mention would not qualify. So much contemporary applied science in industry is massively destructive and reprehensible in practice ~ what Polly Higgins another Whitechapel contributor calls ecocidal, so GH is suggesting Ayahuasca remedies are part of the solution....... Far better to be part of the solution to our ills than merely further exascerbating the problems, surely? The bottom line has to be this: does what we do and say contribute to civilization (ie planetary well-being) or compromise it?
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David Llewellyn Foster
Posted over 1 year ago
The debate about Graham Hancock's talk
In response to John Hoopes I don't think that is exactly right John, because the overall rationale of TED talks seem to be about respecting Nature and environmental responsibility, so arguably Hancock's ethos and intent might fall nicely into that ecological ballpark while all the others you mention would not qualify. So much contemporary applied science in industry is massively destructive and reprehensible in practice ~ what Polly Higgins another Whitechapel contributor calls ecocidal, so GH is suggesting Ayahuasca remedies are part of the solution.
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David Llewellyn Foster
Posted over 1 year ago
The debate about Graham Hancock's talk
OK thanks for the acknowledgment. Leaving aside Jan's preoccupations for the present, if you are right about Hancock's evangelism, could that not be ascribed to countless other contributors? Where do we draw the line between enthusiasm and tub-thumping, apologist spiritualism or plain chicanery for that matter? What seems to be relevant here is that Graham Hancock is claiming that these encounters have had ongoing therapeutic value, and that the value is due to the modus operandi of Ayahuasca in an indigenous ceremonial context. So this formal context is very significant for these perceived effects to be operative. In other words he is describing the power of empathetic participation in a cultural experience that has had demonstrable benefits for his mental and psychological ~ and arguably, spiritual ~ well-being, and possible ramifications for the health of the greater ecosystem, because, presumably, he ends up talking about it at TEDx Whitechapel. The question is, do we care? Or is it relevant and appropriate for a TED event? You say no, it isn't. The audience seemed to appreciate him though. What about Rupert's ten dogmas? Is that not a suitable science topic?