Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

  • Music:

In Search of Clever Hands

If we wanted to determine if domestication creates an environment of artificial selection (for intelligence) for dogs and cats, how would we do it? Likewise, how might we design a company (or breeding club?) to most efficiently create a strong selective process towards that end?

It's easy to think about the origin/roots of words like "vacation" and get weirded out. I suspect that people who are more educated/intelligent/linguistically inclined have weaker connotative content for derivable words like that (and possibly in general, for that and other origins - words like dogma have long been used without any negative connotations by various movements and the Catholic church, and so people with a sufficient background might not share the common fairly negative connotation). General wonder - are connotations something that should be preserved in language (presuming we had a way to weaken them). They serve a purpose in persuasive speech, but are they harmful to careful thought (in the sense that they obscure links between values and judgements)? It may be that after people understand the proper impact of value-relativism, we'll find that honest dialogue suggests we move to weaken them.

It is very amusing in online games to form guilds/clans/groups of players that act to correct people towards good spelling/grammar.

Life status in a nutshell:

  • I am not in a nutshell.
  • Still no job news from CMU. I am starting to apply for jobs at MIT and UTAustin now, realising that if I get a good offer I will be moving. I have tenatively decided that moving does not make a lot of sense given that I would hopefully be heading to grad school within a year or two which would mean moving again, but getting back into academia makes the most sense. I am playing with the idea of doing contract work
  • Depressive fits come and go. Life is not always easy.
  • Migraines also come and go.
  • Peanuts are awesome
  • It's too easy to fall behind on necessary supplies for life
  • I've been a little bit less friend-lonely recently, although relationship-lonliness is acting up again. Part of this may be related to helping an ex-gf out with something, and realising that she still is the last person I've dated, despite that being years ago and her being married now. As far as I know then, two of the people I've dated are married, one is not, and another would need to move to California or outside the country to legally marry someone suitable. I still wonder if I'm ever going to have that someday. Chewing again on what I want/need - it seems like it would probably not be hard to find things that are "not quite right" - interesting people whom I'm not physically attracted to, or people I'd need to sacrifice a lot of who I am to be with, or people whose mind isn't shaped right for sustained interest. Would it be foolhardy to do shorter-term relationships with people where I thought it unlikely there was long-term potential? Hmm.
  • I again have large amounts of Pai Mu Tan tea, which is a good thing

Reading more Machiavelli, trying to understand how Nietzsche and he would consider each other - much of their notions of virtú are similar, although Machiavelli's harsh criticism of backwards-looking philosophies might not fit well with N's (at least early) tendencies to justify/frame his philosophies in terms of Greek and Roman thinkers. Also I'm wondering how much the Enlightenment changed the "rules of the game" for what is prudent in political matters - M's perspective made and still makes a lot of sense, but his notions of what the people expect and will accept from their leaders may be outdated as the "moral inversion" he saw the beginnings of reached fruition long after he died. Machiavelli did speak of this inversion from "classic" Roman morality in the Discourses, where he worried that raising as high values things such as timidity and resilience instead of vigour and strength resulted in societies and leaders who would be unable to protect the fruits of Western Civilisation, although by the time of Nietzsche this inversion had gone much deeper and N's struggle against it was one of the dominant themes in his philosophy (N called it "slave morality"). Personally, I'm not strongly attracted to either classic "martial" morality or modern "turn the other cheek" morality - it is possible to form coherent and interesting philosophies around either, but modern Christianity (and Multiculturalists, in a somewhat different direction) takes this to a ridiculous level in the direction of slave morality, and martial values feel both too vain and too hostile to careful intellect to me.

I suppose in the scope of philosophical exploration, one usually finds oneself to be a moderate on most axes except for a few (even though one almost certainly looks like an extremist to those not operating in philosophical spheres, no matter the direction one starts wandering/wondering).


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