Knowledge

  • The Anthropocene Reviewed –– John Green
    • Author: John Green

    • Date Started: [[September 15th, 2021]]

    • Date Finished: [[December 27th, 2021]]

    • Type: Kindle

    • I don't know whether the feeling is universal, but I have some way down vibrating part of my subconscious that needs to self-destruct, at-least a little bit.

    • We have large brains but they might not be large enough to survive effectively in the world we find ourselves. Our eyes still believe what we see, long after visual information stops being reliable.

    • The animals that once terrorized us, and that we long terrorized, are now often viewed as weak and vulnerable. The mighty bear has become, like so many creatures on Earth, dependent on us. Their survival is contingent upon our wisdom and compassion.

    • "I was repulsed by the idea that they were giving money to corporation in order to escape their horrible, miserable lives that were horrible and miserable in part because our corporate overlords have controlled all the means of production"

    • But we cannot do the hard work of imagining a better world into existence unless we reckon honestly with what governments and corporations want us to believe, and why they want us to believe it.

    • For humans, there is ultimately no way out of the obligations and limitations of nature.

    • The definitions of "room temperature" has historically been established by analyzing the temperature preferences of 40 year old, 154 pound mean wearing business suits. Studies have consistently found that on average women prefer warmer indoor temperatures.

    • For me, finding hope is not some philosophical exercise or sentimental notion; it is a prerequisite for survival.

      • Hope is the correct response to the strange, often terrifying miserable of consciousness.
      • The truth is far more complicated than mere hopelessness
    • Knowing something abstractly is different from knowing it experientially. [[The More We Know, The Less We Know]], #knowledge

    • The body is always deciding what the brain will think about, and the brain is all the time deciding what the body will do and feel. #mind-body

    • "Don't just do something, stand there."

    • I'm not sure whether it's even possible to talk about the suffering of others without exploiting that suffering, whether you can write about pain without glorifying or enabling or degrading it. [[pain]]

      • I would have been grateful if, in the midst of the pain, it had suddenly disappeared. Maybe we forget so that we can go on. [[Mortality - Christopher Hitchens]]
      • But we are hardwired to look for patterns, to make constellations from the starts. There must be some logic to the narrative, some reason for the misery.
      • I know they were trying to tell me (and themselves) a tightly plotted, thematically consistent story, but there's little comfort to be found in such stories when you damn well they aren't true.
    • Hiroyuki Doi: "I have to keep on working, otherwise nothing will be brought into existence." But sometimes, I feel like the paper is better before we get ahold of it, when it's still wood. Other times, I love the marks we leave. They feel like gifts and signs, like trail markers in the wilderness.

    • Diseases only treat humans equally when our social orders treat humans equally. [[Homo Deus - Yuval Harari]]

    • Ruskin wrote, "The love of nature is more or less associated with their weakness." He would go on to claim that endowing nature with emotion "is always a sign of a morbid state of mind, and comparatively a weak one."

    • Manguso: "The ward was the only true community of equals I have ever lived in. What I mean is that we all knew we had already lived through hell, that our lives were already over, snd all we had was the final descent. The only thing to do on the way down was to radiate mercy."

    • "As a child, just as I imagined technological advances were driven primarily by the brilliant insights of heroic individuals laboring in isolation, I saw art as a story of individual geniuses."

      • genius as a continuum rather than a simple trait
    • We are so small, and so frail, so gloriously and terrifyingly temporary.

  • What Does It All Mean –– Thomas Nagel
    • If you try to prove the reliability of your impressions by appealing to your impressions, you're arguing in a circle and won't get anywhere.
    • [[The More We Know, The Less We Know]] #knowledge
    • All your evidence about everything has to come through your mind –– whether in the form of perception, the testimony of books, and other people, or memory –– and it's entirely consistent with everything you're aware of that nothing at all exists except the inside of your mind.
    • Perhaps the right conclusion is the more modest one that you don't know anything beyond your impressions and experiences. There may or may not be an external world, and if there is it may or may not be completely different from how it seems to you –– there's no way for you to tell. This view is called [[skepticism]] about the external world.
    • The only evidence that you couldn't have come into existence a few minutes ago depends on beliefs about how people and their memories are produced, which rely in turn on beliefs about what has happened in the past. But to rely on those beliefs to prove that you existed in the past would again be to argue in a circle. You would be assuming the reality of past to prove the reality of the past.
      • #comment I unknowingly performed this thought experiment on multiple occasions while growing up. I even remember asking my mum about it, about diaries and how I could be sure I wrote something from a few days ago and whether it (and my memory of it) was fabricated instead.
    • Science is just as vulnerable as perception.
      • How can we know that the world outside out minds corresponds to our idea of what would be a good theoretical explanation of our observations?
      • Impressions and appearances that do not correspond to reality must be contrasted with others that do correspond to reality, or else the contrast between appearance and reality is meaningless. [[Maya and the concept of perception]]
    • [[egocentric predicament]]: there may be no way out of the cage of your own mind.
  • The More We Know, The Less We Know