Recent philosophy a la Jay

January 4, 2005

I’m coming to see the world in part through the philosophy of Bishop George Berkeley, the cleric-philosopher for whom Berkeley, California, was named. All I remember of Berkeley from Philosophy 103 is that the redwood I see in my back yard may not be there. If I look away, it’s not there at all. I quickly look back and see what looks like the redwood; however, it’s just an idea that God put in my head. God creates this virtual reality wherever I look. (Not Berkeley’s exact words.)

We’re so accustomed to kidding ourselves that humans are rational decision makers that we forget that in the real world, unstated assumptions, emotions, hormones, and mental static frequently crowd out logic. I think, therefore where are my keys?

Why has complexity become my recurring obsession? Perhaps because complexity challenges the bedrock of Isaac Newton, rationality, cause and effect, an ordered universe, and faith in logic. The worldview I believed in for the first fifty years of my life does not explain the world I live in today.

Why are you reading something called The Future of Knoweldge?” asked my wife. “You are supposed to be on vacation, remember?” I replied that I was thoroughly enjoying myself, and indeed I was. Author Verna Allee: “There is really only one management question: What do we need to pay attention to in order to be successful? Similarly, there is only one individual question: What do I need to pay attention to in order to be successful?”

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