Re: [Fwd: Re: virus:"other reality"]

Marek Jedlinski (
Sun, 5 May 1996 02:22:57 +0200 (MESZ)

On Sat, 4 May 1996, Ken Pantheists wrote:

< SNIP >

> Observation also has it's limitations.
> Hypothesis.
> Say I'm sawing some wood. You ask me what I'm thinking of. I say "a
> flower". I continue to saw wood. Then I start crying because I am
> thinking about a close friend who has recently died.
> Truth is a problematic term. My experience of sawing wood, thinking of a
> flower and crying *may* have a logical chain. It is certainly a
> "truthful" experience (to me). But you could not reproduce it and
> observe it in an experimental situation.
> > One observed to act as if X were true is said to believe X.
> again, I side with Dave. Observation does not penetrate deeply enough to
> understand a person's belief. In the above example, I could be crying
> because I miss my friend, or I could be crying because I blame myself
> for his/her death. Or a combination of the two. These could not be
> necessarily observed.

Two points.

Observation is only one part of "science" - the other is
interpretation of the observed facts/states. It's probably
the latter that is more problematic.

I like your example and in this case I agree with you; I do not, however,
agree on principle. Yes, observation has its limitations - so the point
is to minimize them. If you were a total stranger to me at the time
I watch you sawing wood, your tears would make no sense to me, surely.
But if I were our very close friend, or a parent, I just *might* make
a connection. If someone were observing you ceaselessly from the moment
you were born 9and recording every second of your life, say, on video)
that person could have well enough observable data to try to interpret
your tears, even as that person would have no insight into your actual
thoughts. (Still, s/he could monitor the neural activity of yoru brain.)

That is to say, the limitations on our observation are relative.
Given enough effort/technology/time, our observation skills may be
expanded and finetuned forevermore, I think.

Marek Jedlinski

PS. I immensely enjoyed the remaining part of your post - about
fantasy and metaphors. I'll need to re-read it all off-line,
but so far you've won me.