When logic and proportion Have fallen sloppy dead And the White Knight is talking backwards And the Red Queen’s off with her head Remember what the dormouse said Feed your head Feed your head
From the beginning, she would read to me what I was interested in. I learned to read by listening to her and looking at words and the pictures. Not fairy tales, not silly stories, but from the natural world: she read from Time Life: The World We Live In.
She encouraged my passion of Science, to be the best I could be. She loved learning, I did too.
Teach Your Children well
She was an elementary school teacher for forty years. Everybody loved her, her fellow teachers, her students, their parents, her children and her grandchildren. She was my father’s best Advocate. And she was my Advocate too, for I was her son: the scientist.
She was the most positive person I knew. The energized bunny personified.
I quickly surpassed her in understanding the natural world, although she was always better with the people world. She was my first Teacher: she was my mother: all four feet, eight inches.
On the nature of ideas: almost right, almost wrong, brilliantly confused, sloppy confused.
On Ansatz and Ersatz Ideas
No ideas areabsolutelyright. Good Ideas, that are almost right, model the world well. However, words are slippery and ambiguous, open to misinterpretation for those who are ill informed or misinformed. Ideas are model metaphors, limited in context.
Green Ideas sleep furiously
There are almost right ideas that are complex ideas. These almost right ideas are a mixture of fast and slow ideas in a circumcised context. These ideas take time to be developed and are not the complete answer. These ideas are opposed or ignored by society in general. Moreover, the incumbent experts of the fast ideas vehemently oppose the incorporation of the slow ideas, but eventually accepted when their time has come.
The Keirsey Temperament Model (KTM) is a framework for understanding yourself and others. Millions of people have benefitted from the KTM, even though there was no advertising of it, except through word of mouth.
The Keirsey Temperament Model does not address, explicitly, the effect of gender, culture, and other environmental factors and influences on a person’s character, which are important factors in the development of an individual. On the other hand, understanding a person’s Temperament often can help in understanding these other factors and influences.
Quantum Mechanics and Quantum Potential
Quantum mechanics is the most accurate approximate theory in Science. Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle is correct but incomplete in understanding, because it is a principle (an assumption) not an explanation. The debate between QM (ala Schrodinger, Heisenberg (Born), Dirac) versus the “hidden variable” QM Bohm-Einstein, both assume the continuity of the speed of light relative to the Planck scales (time, mass, energy, distance, spin, and charge). David Bohm’s new Quantum Potential (via The Undivided Universe) is a better ontological model than conventional QM; however, still doesn’t address the digital (Diophantine) nature of reality.
Quantum mechanics does not predict the right magnetic moment of the muon or tauon. And there are the three neutral leptons that have no explanation. Moreover, there is no set of relations, at this point of time (2020), that conventional physics has any hope of using to bridge that Fermi-Dirac-Landau gap. The Ersatz concepts of Dark Matter and Quantum Entanglement are vacuous rhetorical concepts pushed by the neo-Ostwaldian prophets. Quantum entanglement is a real phenomena, but the popular explanations are nonsensical. Formatics will hopefully address these issues.
Give me a fruitful error any time, full of seeds, bursting with its own corrections. You can keep your sterile truth for yourself. Vilfredo Pareto
There are almost wrong ideas that are much better than vague or confused ideas. These almost wrong ideas often are ground breaking for a time, and they are crucial in the evolution of science and ideas. These are the fast ideas or slow ideas of yesteryear. They’re the best science at the time, limited in the scope, and clearly to some degree very incomplete.
Isabel Myers created the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and helped millions of individuals understand themselves better as individuals. Most people are not very good at introspection, but the MBTI although atomistic in its approach, the four linear factors [E-I,N-S,T-F,P-J], provided a better set of factors to see the People Patterns, than looking to doGs, daemons, tea leaves, 2000 year old texts, or dead ancestor’s droppings, to understand and as a guide to operate in the past, present, and future.
Isabel Myers modification and adding to Carl Jung’s vague and sloppy ideas was a major improvement. The idea that people are inborn in their different wants, needs, and styles of behavior, often contrary to their families, friends, and communities, was a game changing idea against the early and dominant 20th century blank slate ideas of Watson/Skinner or simplistic primal instinct theories of Freud and Pavlov. Can the individual be explained by four factors? No, but as an initial way of looking at an individual for the “content of their character”
Relativity and Particle Types
Energy/Matter: Isaac Newton was extremely successful when he invented differential and integral calculus to model Kepler’s concept of the motion of the heavens. Newton used his newly coined (mathematical) concepts of mass and fluxons to generate a simple equation relating these two to universalgravity. He also was the first to guess that light was a particle. He obviously had no idea of electrons, protons, and the particle and force zoo that his followers would expand upon.
Space/Time: Einstein, abandoned his work on Brownian motion and the photoelectric effect (involving a Planck constant), to concentrate on the mismatch between Hamiltonian mechanics and Maxwell’s equations. With the use of covariant tensors and the formalism of the Minkowski space, Einstein generated an approximate model of Newton’s guess at gravity that has been excellent in predicting interesting phenomena such as the bending of light waves, time dilation, gravity waves, and phenomena such as black holes. On the other hand, Einstein’s field equations cannot explain the rotation of galaxies and the evolution of the universe without numerous fudge factors (the Gravitational “constant”, the Hubble “constant”, “Dark Matter”, and “Dark Energy”). Einstein’s equations do not involve the Planck (finite) constants, in some sense hiding behind infinity.
From all this it is to be seen how much the limits of analysis are enlarged by such infinite equations; in fact by their help analysis reaches, I might say, to all problems, the numerical problems of Diophantus and the like excepted. [Editor’s emphasis]
Isaac Newton (Letter to Gottfried Leibniz on the advantages of infinitesimal calculus)
Ersatz Ideas: Brilliantly Confused or Sloppy Confused.
“Nothing is more obstinate than a fashionable consensus
These ersatz “confused” ideas are to be explored in more detail in a later blog; however, what follows is a short introduction of the concepts to be developed further. My father spent most of his life combating or ameliorating the effects of confused ideas. But it is not enoughto criticize ideas that one considers wrong or confused, better ideas must be built from from old ideas and new ideas that address the issues finessed or ignored by the ideas of the current time.
Das ist nicht nur nicht richtig; es ist nicht einmal falsch!
Almost Right and Almost Wrong Ideas are the bulk of science; however, there are ideas that arise that are either Brilliantly Confused or Sloppy Confused, that contribute to the evolution of science. These ideas are a little more complex to describe in their role in the evolution of science.
“What you said was so confused that one could not tell whether it was nonsense or not.”
Wolfgang Pauli (to Lev Landau)
Brilliantly Confused ideas often open up new vistas implicitly. To a degree the Brilliantly Confused ideas are partially right, but typically, for wrong reasons. Archetypes of Jung and Freud’s “talking cure” were better than the torture methods of the medics of the first half of the twentieth century, but ultimately have no scientific basis other than vague metaphors. String Theory was promising in the beginning, once Green and Schwarz figured out the right scale, but it rested on a bad assumption: mass and energy are continuous and proportional factors in non-equilibrium circumstances. These ideas eventually fade, but seem to never die.
Sloppy Confused Ideas are wrong turns on bad assumptions (often seen in hindsight, but sometimes obvious to a silent or silenced minority). The “Mental Illness” metaphor used to rationalize psychiatry’s and the pharmacological industry to drug their patients or clients, often compounding the problems of these victims of abuse from dysfunctional families and/or institutions. In the science of cosmology, Steven Hawking used his credibility and dominate position in the field to speculate about how the world works, the popular media loving to advertise his every word. However, Steven Hawking and David Deutsch’s Multiverse is more religion than science.
Active Learning: Learn, Unlearn, Learn
The thing I miss about my father, besides our spirited and long debates, was his interest in ideas. He was always up for discussing them. Looking at them and examining the pros and cons of ideas: how they are almost right, almost wrong, brilliantly confused, and sloppy confused. Understanding can always be improved.
I also didn’t continue to learn more “mathematical” (non-discrete) concepts beyond my BS and MS degrees. Only in the last couple of decades I have gone back to learning, unlearning, learning other mathematical domains. For example, in understanding internal structure and dynamics, Peter Scott’s article The Geometries of 3-Manifolds has valuable information about the eight kinds of geometries in three dimensions.
I saw him there as he sat, with his classic slightly bemused grin before his lecture. I had nevergot a book autographed, until then. I am not easily enamored by fame, scientific or any other knowledge or skill domain. But I powered through my natural enryo, for I had brought his book with me intending to get him to sign it. I thought his book as one key to unlocking an important question.
I have studied the contents of the book for years. And continue to revisit and re-cycle his ideas contained within.
… To Subquotient, or Not Subquotient, That is the question!
The divisor status, of the lattice, oh my, Times, Rudvalis. Crack the Dirac, Landau beseech the damp Leech. It’s a Monster Conway Mesh, Mathieu’s Stretch, Jacques’ Mess, Janko’s Sprains, and Einstein’s Strain…
He had given me a quizzical look, since my hair was graying and I didn’t say anything. He said it was his “best book.” I nodded and I didn’t say anything. I am not a mathematician by training, and I was working on a slow idea, not ready for Prime time —On the nature of the universe.
John Horton Conway, InventorRational, FRS (/ˈkɒnweɪ/; born 26 December 1937 – April 11, 2020) was an English mathematician active in the theory of finite groups, knot theory, number theory, combinatorial game theory and coding theory. He had also contributed to many branches of recreational mathematics, notably the invention of the cellular automaton called the Game of Life. Conway was Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at Princeton University.
Now that John has passed from the scene, his Game of Life has ended, a new re–quest–ion will be continued. Conway’s Monster Mesh needs to be fleshed out and explained in more simple and complex terms: 1) in in-form-ation terms, 2) in phys-ical terms, 3) in mathe-mat-ical terms, 4) in in-volut-ionally and en-volut-ionally terms. But also explained with these four towers of Babel — integrated.
My slow idea was to use as a Framework based on Conway’s work on Symmetry and the Sporadic Groups, but also other mathematicians and scientists.
Many mathematicians including Conway regard the Monster Group as a beautiful and still mysterious object. Since there is no “physical meaning” attached to mathematical concepts and percepts, these “conceptual ideas” in mathematics will continue to be “beautiful and mysterious” and ABSTRACT. However, one can be more systematic in the use of ideas. It is about that Relational Thing: not only about Conway, Dirac, Einstein, Newton, or Hawking ideas.
When looking both at the details and the overall Gestalt, patterns can be seen. It might be called Existence Itself More and Less, A Gain.
My father, near the end of his life, considered himself the last Gestalt Psychologist. When I was very young I was fearful of kelp seaweed: my father showed me that it couldn’t hurt me, so I shouldn’t be afraid of it. I learned from him. If you understand something, you can reason about it. If you only have a correlation, you can’t be sure of the factors. He was never afraid to question conventional wisdom or the current fashionable and entrenched ideas (however old or fast those ideas were).
As a clinical school psychologist he was on the front line against invasion of chemical psychiatry into K-12 schools, and he saw how they used “their pseudo-scientific expertise [and argot]” to fool and trap kids and parents into approving the use of brain disabling drugs, within the “educational system” and with the implicit pressure and blessing (and relieving of responsibility) of the teachers and administrators. He also didn’t buy into the dominant paradigms of the first half of 20th century of Freudian psychology and the correlational “blank slate” behaviorism of Watson and Skinner.
“If you don’t understand something said, don’t assume you are at fault.” — David West Keirsey
Throughout my discussions and debates with him in my lifetime, he talked about ideas. We talked about philosophy, science, mathematics, computers, people, and life.
On June 8, 2013, ‘Congo’ — Season 1, Episode 7 of Parts Unknown was aired on CNN.
“It is the most relentlessly fucked-over nation in the world, yet it has long been my dream to see Congo. And for my sins, I got my wish.” Bourdain starts the episode off on a dramatic note as he tries to recreate his favorite book, Heart of Darkness.
On June 8, 2018, he committed suicide while on location in France for Parts Unknown. The suicide appeared to be an “impulsive act“.
When I was young, my father would introduce and discuss, around the dinner table, the ideas of philosophers, scientists, and historians: like Adam Smith, Charles Darwin, Herbert Spencer, John Stuart Mill, Georg Hegel, William James, Arthur Schopenhauer, Bertrand Russell, Oswald Spengler, Will Durant, Ayn Rand, Milton Erickson, and Jay Haley, to name a few.
I had a question early on “How and Why does the World Work?” He had a more difficult question: “What are the long-term patterns of an ‘Individual’s Human Action?” He was clinical school psychologist, who was identifying deviant habits of children, parents, and teachers. He was developing techniques aimed at enabling them to abandon such habits. His methods of research and reasoning enabled him to evolve his ideas into a coherent system. His model of Human Temperament has helped many people to better understand themselves and others.
He was good at qualitative reasoning, wholistic thought: the Gestalt (despite [and because] of having lots of training in statistics). I became good at quantitative reasoning: conventional science and mathematics. Between the two of us, as we debated, I realized that there was a middle way, much more powerful than ad hoc wholistic reasoning or ad hoc atomistic reasoning, when they are used separately. The new middle way, The Slow Idea, is using Comparative Science and Relational Complexity in conjunction as fields of scientific endeavor using systematic qualitative and quantitative reasoning together. To some extent: (hard and soft) science, mathematics, and computer science are towers of Babel, not able to understand each other’s argot and considered irrelevant to other.
The idea of: Slow Ideas <=> Fast Ideas
The root of this idea appeared just recently, thanks to Atul Gawande. He and Matt Ridley noted that ideas operate very much in an evolutionary manner.
FAST IDEAS WORK
eventually, SLOW IDEAS WORK BETTER, and longer
Atul Gawande introduced the idea of slow and fast ideas with an example from the 19th century. The fast idea was anesthesia and the slow idea was antiseptics. To quote him:
“Why do some innovations [ideas] spread so swiftly and others so slowly? Consider the very different trajectories of surgical anesthesia and antiseptics, both of which were discovered in the nineteenth century.”
“The first public demonstration of anesthesia was in 1846…”
“The idea [anesthesia] spread like a contagion, travelling through letters, meetings, and periodicals. By mid-December, surgeons were administering ether to patients in Paris and London. By February, anesthesia had been used in almost all the capitals of Europe, and by June in most regions of the world.”
Antiseptics, on the other hand, was a slow idea. It took decades for antiseptics to accepted by doctors, who had no incentives to change their practices that didn’t help them immediately. Blood stained clothes was a sign of a experienced surgeon; and washing hands, sterilizing instruments, and keeping hospitals clean seemed unnecessary. Germ theory was dismissed by doctors because the “germs” were not readily observed. Miasma Theory still was used as an excuse to not change.
Hey buddy, can you spare a Para-digm?
“Science advances one funeral at a time.” — Max Planck
“The trouble with specialists is that they tend to think in grooves” — Elaine Morgan
Establishment science needs to protect themselves from quacks, but it also resists slow ideas that are not easily incorporated into the current fashionable (often fast) ideas. This is natural, this is the way evolution works. However, Kuhnian revolutions (as in Margulian-Darwinian evolution) are necessary in science to progress and leap across the Quantum Gap.
“It is important to understand that the Four Temperaments are not simply arbitrary collections of characteristics, but spring from an interaction of the two basic dimensions of human behavior: our communication and our action, our words and our deeds, or, simply, what we say and what we do.” — David West Keirsey
David West Keirsey (August 31, 1921 – July 31, 2013)
re-: Latin – ‘again‘
–imagin-: Latin imaginari – ‘picture to oneself,’
–ing: Germanic -ung – Gerund – ‘continuing action‘
My father died on July 30th, 2013 and I intend to honor him, if I can, by writing a blog about him and his ideas every year. First year, Second Year, Third Year
His ideas still have use because his ideas are slow ideas. Moreover, his ideas have wider applicability if re-imagin-ed, judiciously.
Only the educated and self-educated are free.
“… Up to that time I had learned a lot, but not at school. I began reading when I was seven. Read (most of) a twelve volume set of books my parents bought, Journeys through Bookland. Read countless novels thereafter, day in and day out. I educated myself by reading books. Starting at age nine my family went to the library once a week, I checking out two or three novels which I would read during the week. Then, when I was sixteen, I read my father’s copy of Will Durant’s The Story of Philosophy. I read it over and over again, now and then re-reading his account of some of the philosophers.” [Turning Points, David West Keirsey, 2013]
“I mention Durant’s book The Story of Philosophy because it was a turning point in my life, I too, become a scholar as did Durant, thereafter reading the philosophers and logicians—anthropologists, biologists, ethologists, ethnologists, psychologists, sociologists, and, most important, the etymologists, all of the latter—Ernest Klein, Eric Partridge, Perry Pepper, and Julius Pokorny—of interest to me now as then.” [Turning Points, David West Keirsey, 2013]
When I arrived on the scene (about 30 years later) upon which my father and I started debating about ideas. He was well educated, and more importantly self-educated, in Philosophy and Psychology. He considered himself to be the last of the Gestalt Psychologists at the end of his life.
Being a “hard” science kind of guy by nature but always being questioned by my “Gestalt” psychologist father, I always, in the back of my mind, questioned the basic assumptions taught to me in school — like the physics concept of “mass.” I couldn’t put my finger on exactly what was wrong or what issues were being finessed, for I figured that I was either ignorant or not bright enough to know better.
“If you don’t understand something said,
don’t assume you are at fault.”
— David West Keirsey
My father was called Dr. Matrix by his staff at Covina School District. He considered himself as an self taught expert in Qualitative Factor Analysis, because he had to have six semesters of statistics (quantitative and correlative) as a PhD requirement for psychology, and found that those techniques missed important factors and meaning. Rather, he looked for systematic (and wholistic) patterns in human action, using the principles of Gestalt psychology. I often would be his sounding board on his tentative propositions in characterizing the observable action patterns.
“A corporation is a living organism; it has to continue to shed its skin. Methods have to change. Focus has to change. Values have to change. The sum total of those changes is transformation.” — Andy Grove
In Memoriam: Andy Grove
2 September 1936 – 21 March 2016
Andy Grove was noted for making sure that important details were never missed. Having a strategic vision helps in recognizing the important factors.
He had survived by getting things right in the long term and transforming himself.
“By the time I was twenty, I had lived through a Hungarian Fascist dictatorship, German military occupation, the Nazis’ “Final Solution,” the siege of Budapest by the Soviet Red Army, a period of chaotic democracy in the years immediately after the war, a variety of repressive Communist regimes, and a popular uprising that was put down at gunpoint. . . [where] many young people were killed; countless others were interned. Some two hundred thousand Hungarians escaped to the West. I was one of them.“
Even though he arrived in the United States with little money and not knowing English, Grove retained a “passion for learning.” He earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the City College of New York in 1960, followed by a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley in 1963.
“Probably no one person has had a greater influence in shaping Intel, Silicon Valley, and all we think about today in the technology world than Andy Grove.” — Pat Gelsinger, CEO of VMware
“I never gave up and I never let anyone or anything get in my way.”
“It was very difficult when we came to New York because I spoke no English. We moved to a neighborhood with many other German and Jewish immigrants but I mostly befriended Americans since that was the easiest and quickest way to learn the culture, language, and customs of my new homeland.”
“She seems to be able of growing enormous by sheer force of will,”