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reBlog from Valentin: Explore Your Possibilities

2010-May-2

Isaac Newton's personal copy of the first edit...Image via Wikipedia

I found this fascinating quote today:

Instead of a stimulating cup of coffee, bracing dose of truth. “People have such very poor sense of time,” Humans make errors. We make errors of fact and errors of judgment. We have blind spots in our field of vision and gaps in our stream of attention. Sometimes we can’t even answer the simplest questions. Where was I last week at this time? How long have I had this pain in my knee? How much money do I typically spend in a day? These weaknesses put us at a disadvantage. We make decisions with partial information. We are forced to steer by guesswork. We go with our gut. That is, some of us do. Others use data.Most thoughts are tagged with date, time and location. What for other people is an inchoate flow of mental life is broken up into elements and cross-referenced.Charles Dickens was already making fun of this obsession in 1854, with his sketch of the fact-mad schoolmaster Gradgrind, who blasted his students with memorized trivia. But Dickens’s great caricature only proved the durability of the type. For another century and a half, it got worse. If Isaac Newton weren’t this kind of quantifier our culture would be quite stunted in our knowledge of physical phenomena and the rules that allow us to model and make predictions… A pity I can’t make myself do this sort of thing. I recognize there is a correlation between weather, humidity, barometric pressure and the grind setting on my coffee grinder with regard to making an optimal espresso. The trend that I see is man vs. machine and that over time we are becoming more like them; 24×7, quantitatively driven, etc. as the chip (computer brain) keeps doubling every 18 months over time this will only continue. Isn’t progress based on someone working in that area of the “known-unknown”, where we know that we don’t know?Valentin, Explore Your Possibilities, May 2010

You should read the whole article.

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