Awaiting the Onslaught, but Flattening the Curve in Ohio

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The Curves here in Ohio.  How many could be sick and when.  More on this below.

These are frightening times, both here in Central Ohio and around the world.  The news and pictures out of Italy are horrid.  As the poet William Blake wrote: “To mercy, pity, peace, and love, We pray in our distress.”  I have said those lines a few times lately.  And the USA now has the most Covid cases in the world.

Philosophically, there is an interesting point here.  HOW REAL IS SOCIETY?   Is society, as a collectivity, as Real as an organism, as a collectivity?  At NatieRel, we believe it is, in many important ways.  Margaret Thatcher, the famous first women Prime Minister of Britain, did not.  Like any good Conservative, she contended,  No ‘Society’! “There are individual men and women and there are families” and that is all.  I say,  ‘It’s like the Virus is running a trial and it seems to be moving through us like a single body.’

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Thomas Hobbes, another famous Brit, felt differently.  Society is a Real Body, a Real Individual Thing!

Here in Ohio we are waiting for the worst of it to come.  LUCKILY, we are blessed with Excellent Local Leadership.  Our Governor and his Chief State Medical Officer have been terrific.  Our state has attempted to get our in front of this epidemic and we are apparently succeeding.  The National Leadership is a different story.  Mr. Trump has many short-comings and currently we are in the midst of all of them.

First, briefly, this is the situation in Ohio, a state of about 12 million.  As of Monday, March 30th we have 1,933 confirmed cases; 475 hospitalizations and 39 Covid deaths.  Unfortunately, only about 30,000 persons have been tested for the disease, so we are told that the real number of cases far exceeds the above figure.  The state is on an official Stay At Home Order.  Schools have been closed for two weeks so far, and likely for the year.  Many businesses have been ordered shut.  We are told that in about 4 weeks —The Peak—we could have 6 to 10 thousand new cases a day, for a while!

 

(Governor DeWine and Dr. Amy “Action”.  For a Republican administration, they have clearly placed the welfare of all Ohioans first and foremast.  “DeWine, Republican for President”, you heard it here first!)

Second, a word about who is creating and delivering the message here in Ohio.  This matters because They Are Believable People.  I am greatly pleased with how our Governor Mike DeWine and his State Health Officer, Dr. Amy Acton, have gotten out in front of this crisis (apparently) and been so effective (apparently).  Each day they have appeared at a televised press conference at about 2 pm and spoken clearly, personally and honestly about their perception of this crisis.  DeWine is a Republican and it is refreshing to hear him emphasize saving lives not making money.

Acton has been the biggest surprise.  Soft spoken, knowledgeable, empathetic, she has attracted a following of her own.  Nicknamed, “Dr. Action”, she has handled the spotlight as calmly as if directing a 6th grade class.  Acton and DeWine have each acted quickly, decisively and in a manner that exudes confidence and scientific understanding.

So, here are THE CURVES and the best I can understand them, latest available 3/27.

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First, it is interesting and scary to see our lives so significantly laid out on an X and Y axis.  The scientific world view is laying down a significant wager, a prediction, and its credibility is “on the line”, two lines.  Already we have charlatans, refusing to accept this scientific prediction, while living their life based on scientific and technological achievements.

The white curve is where epidemiological forecasters at The Cleveland Clinic and The Ohio State University see Ohio now.  This is the rate of infection at our current “mitigated” state.  “Mitagated” meaning “shut down”, “Social Distanced”, tested and quarantined if necessary, way of life.  The yellow curve is how this infectious disease “would have run its course” without mitigation.

It seems a little like ‘armchair quarterbacking’, to sit in our current position and say “Whew, look what we just avoided!”  But they have the data that past viruses ran that course.  The yellow curve shows the whole epidemic lasting about ONE MONTH, and that being March!  We would have been almost ‘OVER’ it!  Except for “sweeping up all the pieces” and they would have been massive and horrendous!

On the yellow curve, the peak would have been around 50,000 new cases A DAY (!) and lasted for only a few days.  What Dr. Acton has repeatedly commented is that Hospital Capacity is currently about 1/6th that amount!  This virus has fairly consistently shown about a 1/4th hospitalization rate of those sick and almost a 1/10th Intensive Care rate!  The ICUs would have been totally overrun, as they are currently overrun in Italy and Spain.

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The Same Curves Again, now to focus on the Mitigated (White) Curve.

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Dr. “Action” likes this curve much better!  The white curve is what we actually are on, not a prediction of what would have been.   It shows a Much Longer but Less Severe outbreak, maybe two months in total length— latter March, through  April and half of May.  Acton said today, the peak will occur latter April to first of May.  At its peak, they are predicting about 10,000 new cases a day, but this peak is longer, maybe a week or more.  This later peak gives us time to build up Hospital Capacity and hold down the gigantic and rapid influx from the yellow curve.  But, hospital capacity is still down about 1/3 to 1/2  what will be needed!  

The “shadow” yellow and white curves in the background are what earlier predictions suggested and what our new data and mitigation efforts are achieving and possibly achieving.  The white curve Could be flattened a little more and the peak smaller and slightly later.  All good, says “Action” Amy.

One huge point has been understated thus far; How Many Ohioans Will Get It?  This has not been discussed much, outright.  Acton has given A Huge Range of Possibility: 40% to 70% will get sick.  Now, it seems to me, that is the Colored Areas Under Each Curve.  That area is not that difficult to figure mathematically, but still beyond me.  It seems, the White Area is noticeably smaller then the Yellow Area.  So, the white curve probably shows something closer to the 40% of Ohioans getting sick; the yellow curve predicting that upwards to 70% of Ohioans would have gotten it!  So, STAY AT HOME, BUCKEYES!

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“O–H–I–O” a thing we do in Ohio, most often in relation to our Ohio State Buckeyes’ Football Team, but now also of general significance.  Ohio can be a pretty good place!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So today and yesterday, the big news out of Washington D.C. is that nationally the prediction is that from 100 to 200 Thousand Americans might die from this epidemic!  Mr. Trump contends that his administration will have done well if it is kept to 100,000!  I can’t keep myself from really disliking that man!

STAY SAFE EVERYONE, WHERE EVER YOU ARE!!!  And thanks for Reading.  I don’t know if this post has helped you understand this mess, but I feel a little clearer on it.

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Nature Religion Connection
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On Feb. 19, 2020 a record number of people came out to watch the soccer match between Atalanta and Valencia at the San Siro stadium           in Milan, Italy.(Antonio Calanni/AP)  (New York Daily News.)               “Game Zero”: 35% of Spanish team’s players got Corona.  2,500 Spanish fans attended and many took back to Spain the virus.  Bergamo, the city that is home to Atalanta, sent 1/3 of the town to Milan for the game and now has become “the hot spot” for the disease in Italy! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Dancing With the Daffodils”

 

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Photos by GWW

In Glorious Disregard to the Corona Virus, the Daffodils are in bloom in Central Ohio!  An excellent example of how each glorious Design in Nature is Oblivious to some things, but very much Concerned with others.  They feel the warmth, the moisture. It’s their time.  They Spring forth and lighten our live, and their own, for a glorious week or two.  I guess I mean, It’s Glorious.  And Wordsworth liked them too (1815).

“I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud”

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I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

Yes, “vacant and pensive moods” is what we have these days!  But the Dafs and the hyacinth and the forsythia are here to help.  All in Glorious Disregard to that Virus! 

“Dose 4”: Causes and Meanings in The Universe!

(“Dose 4” in The Meaning of Life, in ten easy doses series.  If you have already read this, read again: improved, clearer, revised!)

This is a “DEEP ONE!”  Well,  at least tries to be.  See what ya think.  will keep it short and sweet, so not to “cause” undue stress in my readers.

I believe that “cause” is the right word to use in this situation, Be-Cause anxiety is not what I intend to communicate in this post, nor would it be what my readers intend to participate in — in this communication situation.  Stephen King intends to — Means To —communicate Anxiety and his readers are eager to understand that meaning and go along — get anxious.  Of course, I am no Stephen King.  (See Dose 3 for more on Communication)

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I’m no Stephen King!  King means to communicate anxiety, I may only inadvertently cause it.

 

The real post starts below.

 

“Heeerreee’sss Johnny!”

 

Reasons can be Causes or Meanings

The “Reason” for an occurrence is not always a cause. The reasons for the behavior of Designed things are in the design. Those reasons are called Information, or are information To the designed thing.   From its Point of View information exists; from more Objective Points of View,  ‘Information’ becomes Causes.

To ‘see’ information is to experience the world “from the ‘inside’.”  To understand “causes” as the cause of an experience is to consider that experience “from the ‘outside’.”   (For more on this “inside/outside” distinction, see “dose 5”, upcoming.)

(To this Hawk, Wind is not a Cause, it is Information!  But if this bird were stuck in a hurricane, that wind would be beyond its Design Parameters and therefore a cause.)

Information is Meaningful

It is important to recognize the difference between Information and Causes because —– well, for example, right now we are Acting within our Design by  Communicating.  To communicating creatures, Meaning exists and it is Information.

I am not trying to cause you to change or amend your belief; I am trying To Inform You, Convince You, to change them.  That means, in this case, I am trying to get you to Re-Interpret your Design (your ‘program’ or ‘worldview’)  and thus behave differently.  When the Blue Jays in my backyard start squawking and other birds scatter, we can say the calls caused them, or the calls had meaning to those birds—“Danger, neighborhood Kestrel Falcon is coming.”  Now to the birds, it probably doesn’t matter what We call it, but to us it does.

“Meaning” is a more subjective thing, and that is good because, philosophically, I want some “subjective” things, like Points Of View, to exist in nature and reality.  Compatiblist’s Theories argue for both meanings and causes.  Logically, it seems to us— compatibilists—that if there is only Causes Then ‘things’ like points of view and other subjectivities do not, logically should not, exist.  (Well only one P. of V. and that will be mentioned shortly.)

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Lawrence Oliver tortures Dustin Hoffman in 1976’s Marathon Man.  Here Causes and Meanings team up to put Hoffman in a bad spot!

For example: If all I cared about was Causing you to change your belief, more options would be open to me. I could lie to you; I could slander you; I could threaten you; I could capture you and torture you, but all that I will not do because it would be Wrong, Morally wrong.  At the Level of Design of Persons that is not permitted (probably because in the end, such behavior is destructive of the organization of behavior at that level — it leads to “a war of all against all”, a lower level of designed togetherness).

(Artistic movements and their Great Painters help us to ‘see’ the world differently.  They help us be Persons.  The ideas of Design, Meaning, Information and Interpretation explain this power of art; Not the idea of Cause.  To the “science above all else” philosophy, art is fluff, mere opinion and emotion, not any kind of truth, or basic reality.    Above is Monet — “Young Girl in Garden…”, Picasso — “Woman with Blue Hat”, Dali— “Sleep”)

In reality, every Designed Object ‘looks out on’ the world in sort of its own way.  It has a point of view.  A bridge, a bird, a computer running a program, a person: All ‘consider’ what is most “meaningful” to them, most important to their functioning, and ‘ignore’ much of the rest.  Each has its own vital parameters and ‘sees’ “Its World” in relation to them.  “Its world” is that which is within its Design.  It is its “take” on the world, and the source for the “mistakes” that can sometimes occur for a designed object.  These objects have Information that is Meaningful to them.

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John Waterhouse, Echo and Narcissus (1903).    Captivated by his Reflection in Nature, Narcissus overlooks his Reflection in the love of the Nymph, Echo.  That is all Information and Meaning which disappears at the design level of causation.

So, in the end, I should say that A Reason (for something happening) has two important forms.  It can be a Cause and it can be a MeaningIf all the world were causes, then I think  the most real thing is physics. Here all the universe is so tightly tied together as particles or a quantum wave (as Sean Carroll called it: “a very sparse universe”) that the only way to “see/”understand” it, as such, is from outside the universe, from the aloof —God-like— position of the scientist.  That is the only P. of V. it allows.  No “out looks” exist within it, no “takes or mistakes”, no meaning or functioning, and the only Information that exists is the patterned necessity of the one object, the universe itself, as it exists from afar to ‘the scientist’ as some kind of disembodied ‘understanding’!

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The Ultimate Physical Background as a Quantum Wave Function. We emerge from Nearly Nothing!  There is more to Reality than MOVEMENT!

Compatiblist philosophies want to try to get Points of View into the universe.  They believe that, in our more subjective world, many things do Function Things initiate much and that according to their Design.   And that includes you and I, dear reader, we can have a chance to share ideas and disagree, even if that is all that it ever comes to. We are dealing in meanings, here; those kind of Reasons.  

This Universe is Meaningful! There is more to life than Movement!

The Ult Physical Reality is a ‘Dull’, All-Encompassing, Backdrop.

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William Wordsworth:  “I Wandered Lonely as                                    a Cloud”                                                                                                                                   I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
              A host, of golden daffodils; …                                                             
….For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
                  And dances with the daffodils.                 (1815)
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Logo by Marty

 

Communication has Rules! “Dose 3” in this ‘anti-viral regimen.’

(Dose 3 out of ten, in THE MEANING OF LIFE series! “Don’t break The Rules” we are often told.  Well, I ‘fudge’ on my taxes, a little bit, sometimes; I’m not always completely truthful with my wife, that is true; but here are some rules so deeply embedded in Our Personhood that it would shatter the foundations of civilization to push their limits. This is An Excerpt from a previous piece Freedom 5: Reasons in Persons, in the Freedom and the Environment series …

…And we are not just talk’n grammar here!  At stake is the meaning of “meaning” !  This is the way we, Persons, distinguish ourselves  from our animal background, from our larger biological background and then finally from our inorganic background.  It is the way “selves” distinguish themselves from non-selves.  Memes are “informational structures” or “Designs” that we “act in accordance with” to emerge as more complex realities!)

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Peasant Wedding Dance by Pieter Brueghel the Younger, 1610. Humans must basically act together in good faith!

The excerpt:

“Language is possibly the primary form of meme, writes Dan Dennett.  “Doggie”, “cat’, “Ma Ma” and quite a few other words,  when a child points and says these, the child eventually begins to ‘notice’ that ‘all things have a name’, and language acquisition really picks up. They are now ‘getting the point of language’, as a Directed Order—an order with a purpose. 

Now, is that a fact, or is that a rule, that “all things have a name”?  That is kind of a silly question, like the chicken or the egg. Silly because it’s both.  It is a higher level fact and a rule that only leads to more facts, more questions and more designations.  It is one of the rules and facts of language-doing, that know-how.  We have now “gone meta“.  It is akin to asking, “What is the way to fly?”

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Hang Gliding, another way to fly!  Flight: a “free-floating rationale”, “a way of doing”, “a meme”, “a know-how” whose logic has been thoroughly explored and exploited. 

Rules of Communication

A huge step is this next one.  Somewhat like in a child, in the history of communication early “kinda-persons” not only noticed the devices, but “noticed that they noticed them”, argues Dennett.  Now, some of their attention went not only to the immediacy of the communication (noticing ‘words’) but to the devices being used to do it (noticing that they noticed these new ‘things’), that know-how.  ‘Soon’, came not only words, but a word for “word”, a word for “gesture”, for “song”…and with that … what?

It was hugely important to have objectified this process, this know-how of communication and being together.  It was when these “unwitting communicators” (Dennett) probably ‘discovered’ or noticed and named that I was an “I”, you a “you”, and we a “we”.  Of course, these concepts of “I”, “you” and “we” were already “implicit” in the initial communication situation, but without our explicit recognition of them.

Just like ‘the logic’ of flight was implicit in nature and eventually discovered by natural selection, so modern day philosophers have tackled this other problem, like aeronautical engineers: the structure or design of “communication” or “the communicative situation”.  Like any good design, it certainly has one.

(True and Honest Communication is the Basis of All Communication.  Deception, lies, misinformation are all parasitic upon Honest Communication.  If everyone lied and lied all the time, communication would fizzle out.  An Astounding Contention! But true! Ritualized in   the human practice of Oath-Giving.)

A large quantity of literature has grown up around the contentions of H.P. Grice and his Theory of Meaning, starting in the late 1950s to late 80s, explains Dennett.  The core of his ‘discovery’ is that Communication necessarily involves a Three-Way Sharing of Attention, Goal, and Act, a sharing of presupposition and intention.  One, the speaker must intend to invoke a certain response in her audience.  Two, the audience must recognize that intention in the speaker.  Three, the audience’s appropriate response to the speaker is at least partly prompted by their recognition of the speaker’s intention and their willingness to go along with it.  It’s like telling a joke; the teller and the audience must all get that it is a joke and want “to go along with it”.

(Going Meta: Jokes about jokes!  You are probably already ready “to go along”.)

This Three-Way Sharing closes the circle on itself!  And, as Dennett points out, it is a “virtuous circle” as opposed to an uninformative one.  Like every good design, it defines its parts and their functions in relation to each other and their goal.  In this way, they establish a bit of isolation from ‘outside’ influence and establish the Freedom to define themselves and an environment in their terms — “I”,”you”, “we”, “speaker”, “audience”— to an important degree.  It is what every plant and animal and forest Does, implicitly As An Agent; it Functions within its defined limits.  It is not only an Order, but a Directed Order within the emergent domain of Life!

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Every Design is a “Virtuous Circle”, a feedback loop that has enclosed itself to a significant degree and, thus, operates on a Goal to be achieved.

We raise our children to be”our kind of individual”.  And somewhere in early history, somewhere as far back as the dawn of group hunting, or the domestication of fire, this process of human coordination became a necessity to these new humans; it was an adaptation that worked.  And natural selection began to select for it, and even select for adaptations that facilitated it, like lengthening infancy and the white’s of our eyes that aide gaze-monitoring as opposed to the dark eyes of other primates.  Communication was now a necessary “good trick” for successful human groups.”

End of excerpt.

So, IT’S THE MEANING OF MEANING!  Persons are Designed to be closely aware of each other and to work together Fundamentally!   NO “PERSON” ORIGINATES SINGULARLY; PERSONS EXIST ONLY IN COOPERATING GROUPS: “WE PERSONS”!

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                                CREATURES MAKING MEANINGS TOGETHER                                      at the naturereligionconnection

Wow, great day at “The Connection!”

Sorry, in this time of woe, to seem happy.  I apologize, BUT STILL!  On Sunday,  21 visitors checked into naturereligionconnection.org and viewed 52 posts.  That is a new single day high.  And yes, I am feeling a little buzz from it!   That may seem modest –those numbers, but remember, Modesty is a Virtue!.. (?). and … All good things start somewhere!… Every journey starts with a … “Glory lies in the attempt to reach one’s goal and not in reaching it” (The Mahatma)…You must learn to walk before you run…etc…

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Mayan depiction of the Cosmos.  How about this “Connection”?

Also, cool is we had recent views from Morocco, France and Thailand This is a “Connection!”  “We are all in this together”, as we are now saying here in Ohio, though in reference to The Virus!   And we truly are, in many ways!

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Mike Luckovich, 2/22/20    (Great Work, as usual!)

So, expect a few more post in coming days; I have Time (an emergent property!) on my hands!  Rock on, Readers, and avoid that Virus!!!!  

 

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             Trying to Stay Nimble, at            The Nature Religion Connection!     Drawing by Marty

 

What Persons Do with the Reasons they find in Nature! “Dose 2”

 

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(Reasons in Nature are then taken a step or two further by Persons: Natural Selection designed the Flying Javanese Cucumber and Northrop Grumman designed the B-2 Spirit bomber.  Both are “flying wings” that use their entire body to provide lift.  The seeds of the Java Cucumber are grown in gourds — seed pods — the size of a football.  When released they can glide hundreds of meters in the rain forest.  Photos and info from BU Bio-Aerial engineering course.)

Reasons in Humans

Humans have taken the Reasons in Nature and gone a step or two or three farther.  Of course, we started in much the same place as the plants and fishes, and still do, as children.

Much of what children do well, is still “competence without comprehension”, says Dan Dennett.  A child may use many words in simple situations — saying “doggie”, then  point and go to pet — but still not ‘get’ the bigger and more subtle distinctions and elaborations necessary for broad and  accurate use of that term.  They may “take” a cat for a “doggie”, and that is to “mistake”.  It’s our more sophisticated order of language pointing out and being misapplied, but heart-warmingly so.   Birds and fish are competent without understanding, and– from our point of view– we can also contend they occasionally “mistake”.

Dennett calls these competencies “know-how”.  They are “a way”, a way of doing or behaving based on a Design Approach.  They are “an informational structure”— some “relatively simple” such as a single word, others very complex such as a language — and in this sense they are similar to “a software app”, and what biologist Richard Dawkins has called “a meme”.  They are organized around a Reason in Nature, and they “cut nature at the joint”*, or at least cut into the more stripped-down and objective side of nature, in the way we do, to ‘see’ ourselves emerging from it.  It’s the way we ‘see’ and understand “lion”, for example, as existing as part of a world composed only of subatomic particles and laws of physics.  It’s like a complicated game of connecting the dots.

*”cut nature at the joint” is an old philosophy phrase, origin I do not know

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(Leo the lion, or better Leona the lion, Emerging from the background.  It’s the particular way we humans—with the help of Mother Nature and Natural Selection — have come to cut up the more objective background of the world into more Person-like objects.  Of course, creatures from some other world will have somewhat their own way of doing it.  This astrological map is only an early attempt at connecting the dots of life by humans, an effort that continues today with more reasonable attempts.)

“Being of One Mind”

Memes start simple, as something Persons can copy and transmit relatively easily from one person to another, and then grow in complexity.  What this eventually comes to is that when a group of persons share the same memes, we can say these memes inhabit their brains and these people are now of one Mind.  These people now operate on many of the same presuppositions and in many of the same ways.  They function together and exhibit a design.   This is an explanation of Mind and Consciousness not as some new and mysterious kind of thing, but as a sociological and social psychological structure, an emergent property of groups of humans: “A Design for Enhanced Human Togetherness!”  

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An interesting example of A Mind: a football team Functioning together according to a Design.  “There is no “I” in TEAM” but a little improvisation sometimes helps.

Know-How is Different from Knowing-That

This “Know-How” is very different from scientific knowledge, which we can call “knowing that” in this case.  We know how to speak our language, but that is not scientific knowledge of language, not knowledge “that” (as if pointing) certain parts of the brain are active or that certain neural patterns exist or certain neural signals are sent.  That is more Theoretical Reasoning; this is more Practical Reasoning or the knowledge of how to be a person and function with other persons.  Picasso certainly knew how to paint but was not in the least interested (I assume) in knowing that painting is associated with various neural processes and even must have some obscure relation to the laws of physics.

“Know-How” and Practical Reasoning are the knowledge of how to be a Person and function in coordination with other persons in their various traditions of acting (memes).

(The Providential Environments: settings in which we pass on the traditions — or Know-How — of Personhood.  Korean folk dance, elementary school, family fishing, music concert, Philippine folk dance, mother and daughter cooking.  All require Knowing-How, personal interaction and instruction, not Scientific Knowledge of Causes! )

Humans have honed providential environments (my phrase) to aide in the transmission, creation, acquisition and development of memes or know-how.  These environments are “providential” because being in sync with them is constructive of us as complex things—what we call “persons”.

A school or a university –a place for education and creativity– is one of these “enhanced” environments.  A family should be an environment that initiates the transmission of these memes of personhood: language, appropriate role playing, responsibility, common goals and  coordinated behaviors.  The arts, the crafts, sport — cooking — are all “know-how” and not primarily “knowing that”.  “Knowing how” involves understanding and acting by the rules and traditions of a procedure.  “Knowing that” is more objective; it can attempt to separate the doer from the object that is being worked on, and in that way can become what we call scientific knowledge.  So, “Science” is itself a human “know-how” that seeks “knowledge that.”   In that way, scientists can get philosophically confused about what comes first!

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Wow, the traditions of Know-How.

The Traditions of Know-How (memes) are the Reason in Nature that distinguish us from other animals, plants, and the planets.  They are our unique Design of living together to create the Level of Complexity we call Being Persons!  When we Act According To Our Design, we act with a limited amount of Freedom, Responsibility and Reason.  We “act under the idea of freedom” is how  the great German philosopher, Kant, put it.

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GWW: Feeling Free at The Nature                    Religion Connection.                  Drawing by MARTY
(Dose 2 is some Mind Food to Chew On!  That distinction between “Knowing How” and “Knowing That” is a killer.  Science oriented people often don’t get it: Our lives as Persons and Cultural Creatures, Intellectually Precedes the theoretical finding of our sciences!  Deep, Baby, Deep!  Thank you, Dan Dennett.  Stay tune for Dose 3. )

 

There are Reasons in Nature: “dose 1”

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“Huston…The Eagle has landed” said Neil Armstrong.  The Eagle, another creature designed to function well not in “any”, nor even “the”, but “its” environment.

Reasons in Nature

“There are Reasons in Nature!” says philosopher Dan Dennett.  A hawk exists because it is more successful at survival and reproduction through its ability to fly.  That is its “justification”, and the origins of the Practice of Justification, itself.   In general, Dennett calls theses kinds of reasons “free-floating rationales” because they are reasons without a reasoner; reasons not Represented in a Mind but are discernible in the design of the creations of Mother Nature. 

In this sense, Natural Selection is “a reason finder” and has filled this planet with a splendid array of living things operating for, or by, one reason or another.  And interestingly, since these are Reasons, there are more and less effective and efficient ways — rational ways — of accomplishing them.  Natural Selection is not only “a reason finder” but also “developer”.

(Natural Selection has discovered Powered Flight four times; first in insects, then dinosaurs, birds and finally bats.  It is a “reason-finder” and “developer”.  The Reason these creatures survived was, in part. their ability to fly.  That is there Justification.)

(Nature is full of Reasons. Gliding is A Reason these animals exist.  Only Persons have Reasons AND are sometimes aware of them.  But these creatures “do not do badly” in there own way: Bluntnosed Flying fish, Flying Squirrel, Paradise snake, Borneo Flying Frog, Gliding Ant, Flying Dragon Lizard are just a few of Nature’s gliding creatures.  I do not know the approximate number of species that Glide, but each of the classes above have several different species that do. And this is not to mention animals that “parachute”.)

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(A “ballooning” spider!  Note the thin thread coming from its abdomen.  Another way Mother Nature has designed a creature to “fly”.  Natural Selection, through its mechanical process of trial and error, has sought and discovered this Opportunity too, and perfected it.  It justifies this creatures survival.)

 

Objects that have a purpose exhibit design.  They are —by definition — interrelated and interacting with “their” environment.  Some biologists become nervous here, and insist that Design in Nature is only “apparent design”; it is “seemingly designed”.  It is, as if, they say, “Things are not really put together that well.”  They fear that a design needs a designer, or that “adaptionist” thinking and talk of “purposes” is Teleological — as if nature is striving for some goal.  They think this kind of talk places the creature and its environment in too tidy a package.   It is insufficiently scientific, causal and contingent.

But, there are many things that are really well connected: their parts are defined by the point of their design, and design ‘flows out’ into the environment!  (“Huston, the Eagle has landed!”)  We can say ‘designed objects are Caused by their environment’, but in our broadest attempt to understand our world and our situation in it, we must recognize that that is only a half truth and the seed for significant confusion.  It is better to say, “The two Inform each other!”

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The hawk is landing!  The relationship between the form of the wings and the air is inherent The air ’causes’ flight only because the wings are designed to allow air to have that function.  This is primarily a relation of INFORMATION and not causation!  Wings and air are connected in a joint purpose. 

Now I know some of you are finding this idea strange — reasons in nature –— but part of its point is to establish Reasons in Persons and then having a basis for it Naturally!  What scientist does not respect good reasons?  So let’s give them a natural foundation!

That is what we do when we think in the widest context; we want a lot of things to fit together.  The reasons for our behavior and the reasons ‘in’ our consciousness MUST come from nature but also be true to themselves at there own Level of Complexity.  To think that thinking is really a chemical or neural or physic’s process, that “thinking” is primarily caused by these, is what the famous American philosopher John Dewey called, “the modern one-sidedness.”  

So, this world of ours, and this planet Earth is Not Devoid Of Rhyme or Reason.  As lonely and foolish as it all may seem, sometimes; some of that is our fault.  It is a failure of Our Vision and Thought and Heart.  Reasons abound around us.  As smart as we are, in some ways; oh, how far we need to travel!

Getting really wide and two-sided, here, at The Nature Religion Connection!  Enjoy!

(Well, that is the first dose!  I better ‘pick up some steam’ fore I only have nine more to go.  But, you must admit, it was short!  Looking to gain some momentum and to nailing down “The Meaning Of Life, in ten easy doses!”)

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FLIGHT JOAN MIRO STYLE: The Smile of the Flamboyant Wings (1953)