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September 17, 2021


Have we brought this on ourselves?

How we interpret what we hear, read, or see is filtered through mental algorithms.

The problem with being a human is that humans are judgmental. It is our nature to make judgments. Only through the rigor of scholarship and education do we acquire the skills to accurately mesh the output of someone else to the input in our heads.

Our receptors are corrupted. We no longer diligently seek the analog of knowledge. We boost the treble and saturate the reds to make it conform to what our heads want.

Those with knowledge about COVID seek to use their knowledge in order to lessen the burden on the public, doctors, and mortuaries. We read about whether or not to have a booster shot. Those with the knowledge are trying to look into a glass ball and predict an outcome: they are trying to forecast an analog future when all they have are mental algorithms that postulate alternatives.

Journalism reports, and in reporting we are opening ourselves to an infection. What gets reported is a compressed JPEG of the analog - and this compression is often influenced by ideology.

Unless we live in the world of The Matrix, there is a “there” “out there.”

“Knowledge” is what we discover “out there.”

We communicate that knowledge verbally, in writing, through sounds, or visually. We employ mental algorithms.

The communication of knowledge is treacherous. The treachery lies in the mental algorithms we use. We use these algorithms consciously or unconsciously.

Scholarship has a function. Education and learning have but one purpose. They are not to acquire knowledge. Scholarship is educational workmanship, the purpose of which is to develop the tools to accurately describe and interpret the “there” “out there.”

Mental algorithms do two things. They compress what is out there into a format that can be conveyed to others. When you listen to a CD or take a picture with a digital camera, the sound or the picture you see is compressed. Most digital photographs - no matter how stunning - show only about 10% of the raw data captured; digital music does much the same. So, too, does how we communicate our knowledge.

Our mental algorithms consciously or unconsciously frame and interpret that “there.” Scholarship seeks to convey an analog description of the “there.”

When scholarship interprets the knowledge it has gained the value of that interpretation turns heavily on the wisdom of the interpreter.

As with a digital photograph or digital compression of music, that knowledge is expanded and interpreted by the receiver, in this case our brain.

When my camera’s memory card doesn’t reproduce what the camera captured then it is somehow corrupted. I can reformat the memory card. I can’t reformat the memory card that says ivermectin prevents COVID; I can’t reformat the memory card that insists Trump won. If the card can’t be reformatted it goes into the dustbin and I purchase another card - I wish I could do the same for what passes as sentient fellow creatures.

Great post and great comment by Veeper.

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