“I’ve been having these strange thoughts lately…
Like, is any of this for real… or not?”
22,000 times as luminous as the sun… is some star I have forgotten(remembered(never(always)known)).
Let luminosity be A. Let sun be B.
In words, the sun cannot be compared with luminosity because the sun is a noun and luminosity is an adjective.
Or can they?
Can [sun ≤ luminosity] or [luminosity ≤ sun] ?
Category error it seems… only to the unenlightened.
In Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress, Steven Pinker attempts to construct a narrative where humans have achieved wonderful things because they stumbled upon wonderful values. Now we must protect these wonderful values and optimistically hold them forth in our personal lives and as a society. In general, this book is in the mood-lifting business. This is a worthy goal.
But early on, when noting the realizations of Enlightenment thought, he mentions that natural events unfold with no particular regard for human welfare. Bummer. This really goes against genre he was trying to tap into… oh, well. Wait what? He still rambles on for hundreds of pages after this statement? Well, does he not consider human minds to be composed of natural events? Because so long as he does, then this commits him to the view that humans have no particular regard for their own welfare, since they are natural systems governed by natural laws.
This is the problem with narratives – palatable or disturbing; anthropocentric or cosmic. They are lies. At bottom is the mysterious humming quantum mechanical machinery of nature. This is all. We are this flow. What we do is what we do and it can’t be otherwise.
Of the human macro-ideologies, only Eastern trends within Buddhism and Taoism have attempted to embrace the storylessness. In the West, we are left with the story shell of Abrahamic religion and then try to fill it in with the Truth as revealed by reason. It doesn’t work. It’s internally inconsistent. Category error.
If you look under a microscope, you will find cells. Cells are not moved by the soul of Plato nor by the Atheistic Liberal soul of the Enlightenment. Their behavior is alien to our words.
The evidence is in: We are aliens unto ourselves.
“Who speaks? And who listens? Whatsoever is in motion cannot be stopped with its own motion.”
If the goal is to construct a happy, empowering narrative, might as well skirt past the gates of the deep. Don’t even go there. Don’t mention it. Because an honest assessment reveals the Flow. And not everyone is ready for that – certainly not the people who are looking for empowering narratives in the first place.