virus: Four Principles Digest

Reed Konsler (
Tue, 1 Apr 1997 11:51:52 -0500 (EST)

>From: Richard Brodie <>
>Date: Mon, 31 Mar 1997 15:42:06 -0800
>Reed wrote:
>>I think I have to side with David: Accuracy is better than comfort in
>Accuracy is better than comfort. Usefulness is better than accuracy. How
>many digits of Pi do you use when you're calculating a circumference?

Only as many as your error in observational measurement. That varies
depending on what your application is, but can in some instances get
very large. Faith that Pi=3.14 will eventually lead you to uselessness.
Knowing something very precisely doesn't mean you can round off...
just as it's possible to approach phenomena from a higher level of
abstraction that you understand them at. What is your point?

>> A single "point-of-view" makes us susceptible to
>>manipulation...but accepting as valid any "point-of-view" not based
>>in reason and subject to external criticism makes us far more
>Bah. You accept points of view not based on reason all the time. How do
>you interact with other people?

Perhaps we have a definitional problem. You're right, I "accept" lots of
viewpoints. I "internalize" a more select subset. I live with 3 female
divinity students and have many interesting conversations. Sometimes
I listen and "accept" their viewpoints (which often lack in critical thought)
and sometimes I try to enter into a discussion. Sometimes I argue.
I understand how they think reletively well, but I don't think it's very
accurate and have told them so. We find our common ground in common
human experience, which we all share. I stand by the essence of my
previous statement, replace "accept" with "internalize".

>>The first time you conciously accept a lie as the truth
>>you compromise your integrity.
>It's not black and white, Reed. Remember the Whitehead quote that begins
>Virus of the Mind: "All truths are half-truths..."

Look Richard, there is a difference between using an inaccurate but useful
model and "believing in it". Are we having a semantic argument? I operate
under programs that contain innacurate models all the time, I even teach
them. I have faith, based on evidence, they will work within their known
limits. I don't believe that they are true.

Perhaps this is semantic. Have you ever done any experimental science?
Chemistry requires a lot of flipping between models, it's still very
empirical. We call it "hand-waving" in reference to magicians. Why
use one model her and anther there? Mostly utility. I LIVE is a
world of rules-of-thumb, kludges, provisional hypotheses, and
frank speculation. But it is vital for a scientist (and, I would
argue all people are scientists, even if some aren't well trained) to
keep track of their ontology. If I guess my reaction requires gold
dust to remove sulfur impurities that reaction might work.

But I need to run the controls, even if I "know" it's neccesary.

If you're insisting that people need to keep their mind moving then you
should have taken up Chemistry instead of Computers at Harvard. You
probably would have made less money, but you would have gotten
to Level-3 faster. Now it's time to graduate from post-modernism
and enter Level-4, where you try once again to find the reality outside
of you own desires.

>Actually, I find that most people tend to trust me. People often find
>themselves very comfortable talking to me and frequently entrust me with
>details of their inner lives that they've rarely shared with anyone

Me, too. What's your point?

>>You've given up the quest for truth...but the quest is the end in
>>itself. If you continue to learn your reality will always be expanding
>>and former models will have to fall away.
>I think that last statement is one of those false beliefs you've been
>trying to get your hands on...

Can you explain this better? I can't make any sense of it.

>Thank you for the kind compliment on my book, Reed. There's no test. I
>know it's frustrating to be striving for Level 3, but it's worth it. I'm
>doing my best to assist everyone on this list to make the transition.

Richard, I'm past Level-3. Welcome to the pursuit of level-Pi. I know
it's frustrating striving for it, especially when you are conviced you've
attained enlightenment. I'm sorry I don't have more time to devote to
helping you through this, but right now my primary focus is getting a
PhD. It's mundane, but when I write my books they will sell better,
as you know, If I can say "educated at Harvard". We all compromise
to get the message out, huh?

I know the world it very complicated. You're doing a good job with
the meme-space flexing stuff. I think the book is great and will be very
useful. But now you have to refocus on the attempt to integrate those
different view-points. It's very difficult given that each model is based
within it's own axioms. But don't give up.

Synthesize Richard, Synthesize!


Reed Konsler