Re: virus: Is learning valuable?

Tadeusz Niwinski (
Sat, 05 Apr 1997 00:21:58 -0800

Reed wrote:
>Do you think it is significant to subdivide learning into different "kinds"
>or are you interested in a more universal, less precise "learning"?

Subdividing learning allows to learn more about learning, I think.

>1) Thinkers use their increased modeling ability to analyze their neighboors
> behaviour and manipulate them, often in the "parasitic" (is this
how you
> mean that word, Tad?)

The thinkers (leaders) are not necessarily parasites if they return the
service of leading in exchange for the work they get done for them. I
consider it fair.

> detriment of the "workers" instead of analyzing
> "reality" (ie thinking up more efficient ways of doing things).

Yes, if they use their thinking ability to trick others to work for them and
they do not provide anything in return, I consider them parasites.

It reminds me of a story told by Zig Ziglar about a painter who used to
paint twenty dollar bills. He was so skilful that it had worked for him for
years before he got caught. He never tried to sell his pictures which he
had plenty of. The pictures were confiscated and sold for an average of
$300 each. The time he needed to paint one picture was nearly equal to the
time he needed to paint one twenty dollar bill.

People who cheat are usually smart enough to be able to sell their smarts
for more than what they earn by cheating. They just never believe they can.

>2) The vast majority of people have never understood the "models" developed
> by the "thinkers". Yet, many successfuly pursue their own
> (I guess proving this would require us to define what "success" means).
> It must be possible, therefore, the behaviorially adapt, without
> conciously thinking about it, even to the rapidly changing chaos of
> the modern world.
>3) This may become less true as the "environment" in which each of us lives
> becomes more and more chaotic...but maybe not. I can imagine scenarios
> in which people are hoodwinked by and endless series of fantasies
> ever stumbling on critical thinking...and others in which, as
> moves ever faster it become impossible to manipulate people against
> will as a result of instantaneous feedback.

With internet it looks like we are moving toward a situation when
manipulating other people will become more and more difficult.

>>There is a set of beliefs which stimulates independent learning. The
>>intellectual elite -- who knows the set -- is divided into two groups: (1)
>>those who want to make the set of beliefs public (causing more people to
>>loose interest in "hunting" and other hard work needed for the survival of
>>the group), (2) those who want to keep the set secret. Of course the first
>>group is spreading the set of beliefs, so what does the second group do?
>>Ridicules this particular set of beliefs. This way more people can be kept
>>in the dark and serve as mental slaves to the society. Who is doing a
>>better job for the society?
>This is very interesting. Of which group would you consider yourself a
>member? Which would you assign other people on this to?

The first. I believe everyone has a right to decide what to do with
knowledge. Knowledge should not be hidden from anyone, as there is enough
for everybody. Even such dangerous memes as 3 axioms (and even... 4P's).
Trying to contradict or ridicule the three axioms (which I believe are the
most useful and stimulating for independent learning) seems to put a person
in the second group. It is of course hard to know if they are trying to
reverse axioms for the purpose of deceiving others (and they secretly
believe axioms) or if in fact their minds are not capable of accepting the
axioms. I find interesting to study the motives.

Regards, Tadeusz (Tad) Niwinski from planet TeTa (604) 985-4159