Gandalf sign

Analytical philosophy has contented itself with its own concept of truth (which deals not with how things really are but with the conclusions that should be drawn if a proposition is understood as true), but it has not considered our prelinguistic relation with things.

– Umberto Eco, Kant and The Platypus

His favourite starting point was the computer model of the brain, and the idea that the difference between the human mind and a simple computer was a difference in degree rather than quality. A sufficiently large computer would be expected to show all the attributes we expect from human thought: imagination, warmth, creativity, and so on.

When studied, this view is not one to be easily dismissed. In fact it is easily defended by a rather ‘unfair’ argument which depends on the limitations of language. If someone says, for example, that it is untrue ‘because how could a computer develop a sense of beauty?’ then you insist that their question is meaningless unless they give a precise logical description of what is meant by ‘a sense of beauty’. This is ‘unfair’ because to give a ‘precise logical description’ of anything is to put it into machine terms, i.e. it is to give a description of how to make a machine that has that quality.

It is as though I insisted that God was an Englishman, he made the world in English, according to English instructions; all foreign languages are subsequent developments created by humans. Then you object, saying that if this was so how can the Chinese, for example, have developed concepts which lie beyond the scope of the English language – for example the ‘Tao’. I say that is nonsense, I ask “what exactly do you mean by Tao, if anything?” Now if you do manage to explain it in English, then you have destroyed your own case by showing how Tao could be a development from the English language.

This means that the machine intelligence argument is a strong one, and is therefore credible, and is therefore a good basis for magic.

– Ramsey Dukes, Thundersqueak

The mistaken idea of a merely outward imitatio Christi is further exacerbated by a typically European prejudice which distinguishes the Western attitude from the Eastern. Western man is held in thrall by the “ten thousand things”; he sees only particulars, he is ego-bound and thing-bound, and unaware of the deep root of all being. Eastern man, on the other hand, experiences the world of particulars, and even his own ego, like a dream; he is rooted essentially in the “Ground,” which attracts him so powerfully that his relations with the world are relativized to a degree that is often incomprehensible to us. The Western attitude, with its emphasis on the object, tends to fix the ideal – Christ – in its outward aspect and thus to rob it of its mysterious relation to the inner man. It is this prejudice, for instance, which impels the Protestant interpreters of the Bible to interpret ἐντὸς ὑμῶν (referring to the Kingdom of God) as “among you” instead of “within you.”

– C. G. Jung, Psychology and Alchemy

Sadashiva’s left side is female and right side is male; the two principles have united but have not merged. If they were to merge that would be the end of the play, and that would be no fun at all.

– Robert Svoboda, Aghora: At The Left Hand of God

Around the survivors a perimeter create!

– Yoda, Star Wars Episode II: Attack of The Clones

Published in: on June 7, 2006 at 12:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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